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Archive for the ‘Wes Anderson’ Category

borgesSOUNDTRACK: SEU JORGE-Tiny Desk Concert #79 (September 13, 2010).

seuSeu Jorge was the melancholy singer in Wes Anderson’s movie The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. He sang the David Bowie songs and was amazingly soulful and brought a completely unexpected quality to the Bowie songs.

He plays these five songs with his band Almaz.  For reasons unclear to me only one of the songs is on the video, but the other four are available in audio format.

He sings three songs in Portuguese, and his voice is husky and passionate, so even if you don’t know what he’s singing about, you can feel the emotion.

The first song in English “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” has a cool trippy 70s vibe, with some cool keyboards.  Although I don’t love his version of “Rock with You” which I imagine was super fun to sing, but it’s so different from the Michael Jackson version that it’s hard to reconcile the tow.

  • Cirandar” (Audio Only)
  • “Saudosa Bahia” (Audio Only)
  • “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” (Audio Only)
  • “Pai Joao”
  • “Rock With You” (Audio Only)

[READ: October 19, 2015] The Last Interview and Other Conversations

I have never really read any Borges (a piece here and there sure, but I have his Collected Fictions waiting for me and just haven’t gotten to it. However, when I saw this book at work I decided to give it a read. I have very much enjoyed the other books in The Last Interview series (there are ten and I have read four) so I thought I’d like this too, and I did.

Borges is a fascinating individual. He was legally blind from a youngish age and was completely blind by the time of the last interview. He was humble (but not exactly humble—he genuinely didn’t think he was that great of an author). He was a pacifist (remaining neutral even in WWII) and basically spent his whole life immersed in books.

This book contains three interviews

“Original Mythology” by Richard Burgin (from Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges, 1968)

“Borges and I” by Daniel Bourne, Stephen Cape, Charles Silver (Artful Dodger 1980)

“The Last Interview” by Gloria Lopez Lecube (La Isla FM Radio, Argentina, 1985) [translated by Kit Maude] (more…)

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myopSOUNDTRACK: DEVO-“Satisfaction” (1977).

devoThis has to be the most audacious cover of its time.  Devo took one of The Rolling Stones’ more beloved song and turned it into a weird, angular piece of art.

The original has a simple riff, a surprisingly slow pace an a slinky, sexy groove.  Devo has sped it up and, most importantly, made it angular and complete unsexy.  I have been listening to this song over and over trying to figure out what is going on.

The drums are consistent but there’s all kinds of interesting sounds in the drums.  The guitar and bass are doing one or two repetitive riffs that don’t quite make sense individually, but work well together.  The bass line itself is just fascinating–how did anyone think of that?

Lyrically, the song is the same, but instead of sounding like a guy who is trying to score, he sounds insane.  And the babybabybabybabybabybaby section is hilarious and weird.  Then they throw in a modified “Satisfaction” riff loud on the guitar at the end with the band chanting “Satisfaction.”  Talk about deconstruction.

No Devo song would be complete without the visual element.  All five of them wearing their plastic hazmat suits, moving in stiff/jerky motions, more robot than human.  And of course, Mothersbaugh himself looks crazy with swim goggles on and mussy hair.  Then they show his modified guitar–the first item in close up.  There’s duct tape all over it, and extra knobs and some kind of square bottom section.  It seems impossible that it is making the sounds that he is shown playing on it since the strings (or is it just one string?) seem so loose.

There’s the guy doing flips (Wikipedia tells me he is dancer Craig Allen Rothwell, known as Spazz Attack, whose signature dance move was a forward flip onto his back).  And of course, there’s an appearance by Booji Boy sticking a fork in a toaster.

What on earth did Mick and the boys think of this?

This cover was done in 1977 and it is still remarkable today.

[READ: September 1, 2015] Myopia

We saw Mothersbaugh’s Myopia show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver.  In retrospect I would have loved to spend more time there (although the kids probably wouldn’t have).  So when I saw that there was a book for the show, it seemed like a worthwhile investment.

And this book is a fascinating and comprehensive look at Mothersbaugh’s life and output as a visual artist and a founder of Devo.

Mark was a quiet kid and he was legally blind when he was born.  It wasn’t until he was around 5 that he got a pair of glasses which totally changed his world.  He was always artistic and rebelled against convention.  His world was greatly expanded when he went to college.  But he was at Kent State when the four students were killed by the National Guard. This affected him profoundly and send him investigating the world of devolution.

Of course most people know of Mothersbaugh from Devo–who were huge in their own way in the 1980s.  I was a young lad at the time and while I liked “Whip It,” I never thought they were cool (if only I knew).  But before creating Devo, Mothersbaugh was creating all kinds of visual arts.  He was doing print making at college, he was doing postcard mailers to people. It was only when he realized how much cheaper it would be to make music than to constantly be making print items that he devote some energy to Devo instead. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 2, 2015] Myopia.

myopiaI grew up with Devo in the background.  But I honestly never really gave them a lot of thought.  The biggest surprise for me was back in the late 80s when in a radio interview Geddy Lee said that he liked Devo quite a lot (the caller said that he saw him wearing an “Oh No It’s Devo” pin).  I have a couple albums, and I knew all about “de-evolution” but it kind of ended there.  I also knew that Mark Mothersbaugh had become the defacto composer for all the great contemporary films.  But I had no idea the extent of his creativity.

When we were visiting relatives in Denver, Sarah’s brother took us to MCA Denver for Mothersbaugh’s show Myopia.  I could have looked at the exhibits for hours (although the kids weren’t that exited by the whole thing).  The entire museum was devoted to Mothersbaugh.  There was a live video in the basement.  And as you progressed up the levels, the chronology of Mothersbaugh’s vision unfolded. (more…)

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