!Album Review! Johnny Marr- The Messenger

5 Mar

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An album for indie nostalgics, Johnny Marr’s first proper solo album “The Messenger” delivers a sound reminiscent of the past, but it’s all alright. Marr’s musical offspring deserves to be auditioned with sweet indulgence that fans of glorious past eras will understand and not with the critical eye of all new shabby chic indie aficionados.
“The Messenger” is wholly interlaced with the clinking of chords that can only scream “The Smiths”, but as a whole it is an exploration of Marr’s musical collaborations and experiences throughout the years. With groovy bass lines that would revel on a Modest Mouse album and garage inspired licks that The Cribs would be coining as their own, Marr takes the reins on this album and gets involved with everything from the lyrics to pre and post production.
According to the former Smiths guitarist, “The Messenger” is the story of his experiences while living in Britain, it’s about the “beauty, energy and stories”. While some may still be biased in the Morrissey-Marr conundrum, it is a fact that the guitarist’s lyrical panache comes nowhere near his creative guitar strumming. While the verse-chorus-verse wording does nothing for the album, the shimmying signature guitar licks and melodical harmonies do just what is intended- and that is an album that sounds exactly like a Johnny Marr album.
“New Town Velocity” swivels off with an acoustic intro, only to go into Marr’s simple train of thought. There’s nothing new here, but it’s never been heard before- at least not in this exact sequence. “European Me” would not be out of place on a mid-Smiths era album, but that doesn’t matter either. It’s seductive through it’s simple jangly guitar spasms and a mellow voice that soothes an aching need for a new “old”.
“The Messenger” is nothing new, it’s something old wrapped in the tinsel of our slim fitting, high-rise denim era. There’s a potential here that could have only been reached with a strong vocalist that had the skills to transform the lyrical lividity into something that matches the instrumental prowess. It’s a good effort and a listen which many will smile fondly upon, but it will not reach the ears of future generations, because put simply Johnny Marr is a fighter, he persists, but he doesn’t always win.

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!Review! Pitchfork TV Documentary- Belle & Sebastian “If You’re Feeling Sinister”

4 Mar

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“Load the gun, point it in the right direction, fire it and it will happen” is what Stuart Murdoch once said when Belle & Sebastian were at the start of their less than glamorous, but cult-like journey. And that is exactly what happened. Pitchfork media takes fans down memory lane in a wonderful biographical documentary of the Scottish indie surprise of the 90s.
Laced with grainy footage from the private tapes of the Belle & Sebastian family, the documentary features all the members talking about their inspiration, their rehearsal stories, their drunken nights, stoned conquests and musical feats.
The documentary focuses on the iconic “If you’re Feeling Sinister” album that may have not caused an uproar back in 1996, but that later birthed itself into its very own “cult” status. With lyricism that borders on contemporary urban poetry, Belle & Sebastian have managed to urge prosody and routine minded indivduals to bond.
Like true artists, who live for their music alone, the members of Belle & Sebastian refused to appear in press photos and rarely accepted interviews. It was through this strange modus operandi that they crafted an odd allure that was intriguing to what became their fanbase.
We’re shown the way that Belle & Sebastian came to being, the documentary in itself is a bildungsroman synopsis where the main protagonists talk about their journey through life and art. Stuart Murdoch, the lyrical mind behind the Scottish band, tells of how the fact that he was suffering of chronic fatigue as a young man and his isolation from people contributed greatly towards the general feel of their songs. And although it may seem like it, Stuart Murdoch is not the mastermind fuhrer that led Belle & Sebastian artistically. There was a democracy in the band when it came to what the lyrics were and where their general musical direction was going.
Pitchfork’s documentary, directed by RJ Bentler is a light-hearted look at what the great Scottish band was and where it is now. It surprises the beautiful moments of their youth with superb footage from personal collections all the while interlacing the visual with heartfelt and nostalgic comments from all the band members and the people who helped them achieve their potential. It’s a must watch for fans of the band and even for those of you who are less of Belle & Sebastian connoisseurs, who know’s it just might convince you to expand your musical knowledge?

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Ink

23 Feb

Ink

Mixed Media portfolio work

The Virginmarys- King of Conflict !Review!

11 Feb

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The Virginmary’s “King of Conflict” is simply one of those finer things in life. It’s a roller coaster of subtle tributes, raw emotion and superb inspiration. It doesn’t falter on any level, but rather sticks the knife in and refuses to stop twisting and believe you me, you’ll enjoy every second of it.

“Dead Man’s Shoes” blasts off with a groovy vibe only to propel you into a singeing anthem that does justice to rock music. It’s one of those adrenaline infused head-bopping tunes that works perfectly as the album’s opening track.

The second song “Portrait of Red” is no less enticing as its predecessor. With “Baby treat my body like a canvass” as its repeating motif, there’s so much raw sex in this song that you’ll feel the need to draw your blinds. It’s dirty and naughty, and so down to earth with its Hendrix-like solo halfway through.

“Just a Ride” deserves to be the song of this decade. Lyrics that growl the derelict truths of relationships and a bass line that makes hairs stand on end can only make for the perfect musical display of hurt and anger. There’s no other word to describe the song apart from “perfection” and this word isn’t thrown around easily.

The rest of the album is just as much of a contemporary urban portrait. With songs like ” Running for My Life” and “My Little Girl” these guys grasp the notion of innovation all the while paying their respects to great bands of the past.

The Virginmarys are the next big thing. They should be on everyone’s shelf, in everyone’s mind and most of all in everyone’s earshot. Blast them up next time and they will surely blast your numbing mind away. They’re an antidote for the masses and deserve to proclaim themselves “Kings of Conflicts”, you won’t know whether to cry, laugh, have sex or punch the sad pathetic stranger that’s sitting next to you on the tram.

Interview: Mark Waring- Animation Supervisor on Frankenweenie

11 Feb

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The other week I spoke to Mark Waring, the animation supervisor that worked with Tim Burton to bring Frankenweenie to life. We spoke of what makes this latest release so appealing to audiences of all ages as well as what it’s like working on such a fun project.

Q: Stop motion animation is possibly one of the finer sides of filmmaking, what type of challenges did you meet while filming Frankenweenie?

A: We had to face many different challenges on all sorts of different levels. We based our whole film on inanimate objects, therefore it’s harder to work with than with actors. We also had to shoot everything for a later conversion to black and white, so it was harder to tell what certain shades would look like, sets, expressions and so on.
Shooting for black and white was harder for the camera department, I’d say. It was sort of like re-learning the techniques used in the 30’s. The main challenge for the art department was probably distinguishing between all the different shades of white as well as black.

Q: Was it more difficult filming with a 3D conversion planned later on?

A: Well, we could have shot everything in 3D right from the very beginning, but it would have taken too long and we were on a very tight schedule. Certain things were shot in 3D from the start, while others were not. There were many different levels that we worked on. Every thing has to be shot separately when you’re doing stop motion animations.

Q: The whole concept and filming techniques adopted for Frankenweenie resembled the cinema vogue of the 50s, why do you think this had so much appeal to audiences?

A: The story in itself is timeless. It’s a genre that will never grow old. Tim Burton just took it and worked with it so well that audiences didn’t feel like it was out dated. There were also different characters present that are still loved and played upon to this day, such as vampires, Godzilla, mummies, Black Lagoon Monster, etc. All the elements that appear in this film are timeless. It’s familiar territory that people will always be happy to revisit whether they are young or old. I think that Frankenweenie is literally a mash-up of what Tim Burton loves as well as his personal experiences as a child.

Q: What is it like working with Tim Burton? Do you get a lot of say in the creative process or does he like to steer everything?

A: Tim Burton is quite a generous director to work with. Although he has a clear idea of characters and design he leaves lee-way to other creatives working on the film. He has a core of people around him that he likes to work with closely. Even though he always has other projects going on he is always very involved with each project.
The thing about him is that if he’s happy, he’ll let people work in some of their input as long as the outcome is along the lines of his vision. If it’s mainly going towards his initial overal view of the project he is more than happy to immerse further creative input into the project.

Q: This movie is based on an earlier version from the 80s, how would you say the story has evolved?

A: Well, Tim Burton always wanted to make Frankenweenie into a feature-length film, but due to money and pressure from Disney studios he wasn’t able to back then. Now with his notoriety he was able to finally create what he always wanted to.
Obviously this new version of Frankenweenie is based on the short film that he made 20 odd years ago, but he realized that he needed to expand. He needed to develop his characters and storyline to work in a feature-length film. All the monsters are based on the initial movie and even though some things have been added, the main theme, the main message of the short film are still present in this one.

Q: There is an extra Sparky short on the Blu-Ray release, are there plans to continue making more?

A: It was a great opportunity for me to work on it. I got the chance to direct it myself. I loved the idea of Victor making shorts on super 8 film. It was a nice thing to do, but it would have been even better if we could have done more while working on the feature length. When we were sitting and brainstorming for this extra bit we made a list of what else he could film. There’s a list that we might tap into in the future, or not, but I think it’s great that we’re keeping Victor alive through the possibility of him “directing” B-Movie style shorts in the future. It would really be something great to do.

Q: Thank you for your time!

A: The pleasure was all mine.

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Qu’est-ce que c’est?

9 Feb

Qu'est-ce que c'est?

We could always start our own Revolution (!?!)

1 Feb

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It’s an odd thing- the internet. When I posted yesterday I wasn’t expecting 4000 views in less than 24 hours and being featured in some online papers. It’s strange when you think that there are so many people out there that share your views, regardless of nationality, background or race.

There have been voices that have agreed with me and some that haven’t, which is beautiful. It’s beautiful because we’re still allowed to express our views without fear of persecution. But even so, there were more that have agreed with me. If there are so many of us why has nothing been done so far?

We don’t need our government to speak up for us, we can speak for ourselves. We’re expecting them to counter-attack the “anti” campaigns that we all have to witness, when it’s in our power to do so.

Writing these posts in English has made it possible for more people to understand where I’m coming from with these thoughts, and even though I expressed some harsh views yesterday I want to underline that in no way do I think that all Brit’s are the same. People here can be amazing on all levels, but there have been quite a few that have proven otherwise.
WE need to make them understand, to make those people that take everything the media says for granted open their eyes. No need to wait for anyone else to do it for us.

THOUGHTS?