Category Archives: Review

Just a little bit of last year creeping back in – Gonjasufi

Gonjasufi – MU.ZZ.LE

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The simultaneously croaky and sweet voice of Sumach Valentine is what will catch your ear when you first start to listen to Gonjasufi’s album MU.ZZ.LE with its abstract hip-hop sound.

A handful of electro pop, some down tempo beats, smothered with a sort of slow motion, head-spinning swirls from guitar snares, piano samples and strained out synthesizing strings you might think that this album be a little passive. But Valentines sweet groaning is what off sets the pace turning it into the ultimate bachelor album – the ultimate getting laid album. Pop the album on when you bring someone home and watch as they turn to putty in you hands. The relaxing pace from song to song is somewhat meditative in its delivery and itches for a kind of cathartic release. Yearns for it in fact. And just as you are about to twiddle down Gonjasufi to an ‘easy lay’ album, the lyrics prove to have far more depth filled with raw emotion that, on unwrapping the plastic from the cover, is not initially expected. Especially in light of the fact that Gonjasufi’s previous album “Sufi and a Killer” seemed to have a very collaborative feel to it.

Valentine seems to be focusing many of the lyrics on searching for love, guilt and tripping out, however the sense of honesty that comes from Valentine is really what makes the album worth a spot in your collection.

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Just a little bit of last year creeping back in – Zola Jesus, Conatus

Zola Jesus – Conatus

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Conatus is mainly built from thundering toms, majestically revolving synthesizers, and warm courses of classical stringed instruments. “I kept having these primal images”, Nika Roza Danilova said of her new album, “just quite strange landscapes and shapes I couldn’t shake.” That may sound like a meaningless gloss, but on “Swords”, the minute-long opening track, you can hear exactly what she means.
With her background in opera, one can hear how she challenges the norms of perfectly executed notes in terms of a classically trained perspective – to much of my delight. The Zola Jesus project is something brand new from someone incredibly young and from her collaboration with M83 on the “Intro” song in “Hurry up, We’re Dreaming” one can see she is destined to grow as a musician. Her indecipherable lyrics at points puts the ear and mind to work as one tries to figure out what she is saying, this is none the clearer in “Vessel” which might also just be the most formidable song on the album. Conatus has a broody yet sensual feel to it and if I had to compare it to any other album it would be Bjork’s “Homogenic”.
The restraint of the beats makes you feel like you want to get up and dance yet stay seated and allow the music to swirl like a whirl wind in and around your aural anatomy. Keep your eye on this one, its gong to become really big!<

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That’s Just Fuckin’ Shameless

It has blown me away, and not in that explosive kind of way, it’s more of the perverted filthy on-his-knees in a dirty bathroom kind of blown away and I loved every second of it.
To sum it up in one line: it’s about a drunk, useless father and the many kids that live like rats trying to get by in life as best they can.

What makes it watchable?

The humor. It’s really funny to spite the fact that I cringe every time Frank Gallagher, played by William H. Macy, is in a shot. The man is just repulsive and Mr Macy pulls off the best role I have ever seen him do, I am just flawed at his ability to make this character, this repugnant and repellant character, into someone great… No, let’s not go that far. He is completely watchable, like eyes glued to his every movement and ears pert, soaking up every sound that comes from his lips kind of watchable. The reason for this is because he made a person I could so easily dismiss with the flick of a channel into a human being that I believe exists in this world, and that grabs my attention, this man that is so far removed from the man I am and how he can become very relatable, and I find myself not sympathizing for him but wanting him to get up, wipe the puke from his face and get away with his shit, to only continue with his shit. So now the most important question is, do I even want Frank to clean up his act?

What makes it astounding?

As the season came to an end the three factors that make this better than anything else on television that I have been privileged o watch boils down to three great stories, the big sister, the little sister and the gay brother.
The Big Sister:
Fiona Gallagher, played by Emmy Rossum, is a compelling character to follow. I find myself wanting to feel sorry for her but the tough, strong and tenacious character that she is does not allow for pity. Not even from the audience. Fiona glues all these ratty little parts of a scrubby family together without being the mom. There is a mom. She’s not around much, but it’s better that way. Back to Fiona, she is tough, on herself and everyone in the home but I just love her the most. If I were a guest at the Gallagher home I would probably have been invited by her, so I like her.
The Little Sister:
Debbie Gallagher, played by Emma Kenney, is the most objective way of looking at the family in terms of any validity in their existence. She embodies the moral compass of this story but evokes this through the eyes of a child mixed with a sort of widened outlook on life. So why is she so astounding to watch, seems like she might be the boring part of the story. One reason, this entire season Debbie has been on the same path without emotion to really veer her off. But by the end all that build up of emotion that is accumulating in this little nine year old girl crumbles into one of the most honest and raw sob moment. And when I am moved by a television program it’s worth taking note.
The Gay Brother:
Why? For the obvious, he goes around shagging other guys. But he is young, so it’s not really the lascivious nature of watching these hook ups, it’s the idea that guys are doing things younger, and in my opinion at the proper age. He does things that I -sort of- did, only I was in my twenties. So it’s just interesting to see his development in his environment. Plus his hook-ups are always so scandalous. His name is Ian Gallagher and he is played by Cameron Monaghan.

What makes it memorable?

It’s unbelievable at sucking some of the strangest plot pieces out of nowhere, shocking me, embarrassing me, making me laugh and then drizzling the entire moment in humanity. This show s filled with humanitarian moments that surpass any other family related show before. Shameless transcends from white trash shenanigans to elegiac poetry that’s far more relatable than I care to admit to myself.

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The Woman in Black

Looking back twenty nine years, a book was written with an eerie atmosphere, which is from the creepy setting that was home to a malevolent ghost, a gross, decayed visage of a woman in black. It’s a quick read and a pleasant one at that. Nothing worse than working ones way through a tedious ghost story, only to fall asleep mid chapters therefore loosing the build up to the real creep out moments. The book is a dreary story, so expect the haunting, the scares and the horror to have a certain undercurrent of pure sadness and tragic inertia pulling it’s way through the story telling. And by the end you will be left wondering if you are in fact creeped out or extremely depressed? Nonetheless it will all be over within a day.

A Quickie:
The story centres on a young solicitor, Arthur Kipps, who is summoned to Crythin Gifford, a small town on the east coast of the United Kingdom to attend to the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow, an elderly widow who lived alone in the secluded Eel Marsh House. Some creepy shit happens at the funeral, Mr Kipps tries to be brave. Then some creepy shit happens at Eel Marsh, Mr Kipps tries to be brave. Then some sad revelations occur, Mr Kipps is brave.

Enjoy the pace as it is easy not only to go from page to page but chapter to chapter. It’s a goodie.

The book has been made into a film with the same name starring Daniel Radcliffe. Strange how Harry Potter has made a giant leap from wizard boy to father – I wonder how this will be to watch. But a good British ghost story is a good British ghost story and surely it will transcend from paper to screen if it’s backed by some great British talent.
So grab the book before you watch the film just to see who imagined it better, you or the director.
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A Love Song Like No Other

A review I read summed up the album Born to Die perfectly: “it’s the album equivalent of a faked orgasm” but amongst song after song of more or less the same drab the title track from Lana Del Rey is a true little gem. There are three main reasons I fell in love with this song:
One.
It begins with a frantic set of strings set off with a deep beat, mixing the thrill of falling in love with the sensuality immediately. If you are familiar with Del Rey you will find that her breathy voice will not escape your ear from the moment you hear it. And in the beginning it starts as a whisper followed by that distinctive depth her voice carries.
Two.
The wobble and wavering she puts her voice through, and taking it quite high at points only to bring it down again, sets the space for a romantic ride on a cloud or drifting over gentle swells in the ocean. It’s dream like quality speaks to the love she is talking about.
Three.
The lyrics tell the most beautiful story with a gorgeous honesty to it…

don’t make me sad, don’t make me cry,
Sometimes love is not enough, the road gets tough, I don’t know why
Keep making me laugh, let’s go get hi
The road is long, we carry on, try to have fun in the meantime

Give it a listen.

Born To Die

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the Hunger Games

A great film to hit our screen this past week is Hunger Games, a great little adventure flick jam packed with social commentary, political comparisons and a good old fashioned tale of survival and morality and how the two may clash when they meet.
Now, as the film begins you learn that the land has been stricken with a massive famine that send the outreaches, or twelve districts out of the city, into revolt. There actions are defeated and are forgiven on one condition. That each year each district will “donate” one boy and one girl to partake in a battle to the death with each other. A sort of – twenty four people enter, one person leaves – typed vibe. The concept immediately took me back to the 2000 film “Battle Royale” where all the naughty kids were brought to one island and forced to kill each other. The last one standing survives. The difference in concept is that Hunger Games is so heavily based on the importance or the power of reality television whereas Battle Royale was rather chaotic in it’s depiction of trying to regain order to a generation lacking respect and purpose.
So if what is the film trying to say about reality tv and our passion for watching?
First it speaks to capitalism, and how if something is profitable in a capitalistic world then it must not only be done but exploited to the maximum too. This begs the question, if it were not profitable would it be done at all? If a rhino’s horn was worthless would they still be killed? And at what point does morality out way cash?
Second, it speaks to uncontrollable urge to watch even if we know we shouldn’t. It’s driving past a car accident, hoping no one is hurt but still looking at the ordeal to see if you can spot a lifeless body. We have a desire to look, however in this case our desire to look keeps the game in play and in turn twenty three teenagers will die. So at what point is our urge to watch partly responsible for the demise in societal morality?
Third, the film depicts the game as a sport. Testing the might of the poor districts against each other. So if the game is merely a sport what are the cameras? Why is watching each second any more important than just knowing the outcome?
To spite all the thinking one can do throughout the film about the world, politics, desires, animosity, capitalism and dominance, it is still a very cool film to watch. The action is raw and thrilling. The emotions are baser yet profound. The world in which the story takes place is amazing, like a circus, with wild colours and outlandish costumes. Packed with great performances from Jenniferr Lawrence as Katnis Everdeen, the strong willed, brave and level headed heroin of the story. Backing her up is her mentors Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Effie (in Elizabeth Banks most unrecognizable role) and Cinna (Lenny Kravitz).
The love story was a total yawn festival, and the ending was completely ridiculous. I mean the idea of making all this commentary about capitalism and then leaving the ending so open ended, begging for a sequel… The whole thing just reeks of capitalism. But for now, enjoy the fun futurist adventure flick Hunger Games before it becomes a sappy teen romance wank, and even hearing the name Hunger Games sends your stomach into a fit.

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Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror on the wall… I see a double yawn!

This was my initial response to the idea of making the classic Snow White and the Seven dwarfs into a film with over the top costumes and a childish approach to the story. In fact I was more than pleasantly surprised when I learned that the camp story was pushed to the max in order to bring the ever so subtle satire behind the dialogue to life.

Don’t let this one fool you, it’s a good laugh – and for all the right reasons.

The story starts off with an awesome little animation, to spite Julia Roberts infamous voice that breaks that suspension of disbelief, nonetheless I was hooked. Roberts pulls off a great performance as the deeply sarcastic evil queen, which transcends the tired story of an evil queen into one of a timeless tv show villain we all love to hate.
Nathan lane as the henchman – too good. His camp behavior is a far cry from the scary puppet who bends over backwards to please his evil queen. And again, the story manages to take the idea of the henchman and give him a fresh face.
Snow white – who on first appearance one thinks is this Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Frida and the Seven Dwarfs, as her eyebrows are rather distracting – becomes a really wonderful character as she tries to fight back, giving a little bit more strength to that silly damsel in distress look.
One might think that the eye candy in the film will stem from the Prince but oh how wrong one would be for thinking like that. And cue my new little man-crush. One of the seven dwarfs called Wolf is so sexy. Damn that little man made me salivate and that was way before he exposed his beefy chest. Granted, I am a sucker for a beard but this little man is packed with muscle power that you too will find yourself thinking… I wonder what shagging a small he-man would be like? Kinda like having a horny smurf going at your body like a miniature power tool…

All in all, it’s a fun little film packed with great lines that are guaranteed a giggle, outfits that sparkle and amaze, and a cast worth watching till the end. So if you are in the mood for something lite and fun… And if you are one f those peeps that finds Julia Roberts funny, then this one is for you. But remember what film it is, family, so too early a viewing might include too many kids, too late a viewing might have too many adults. So go catch it with a blend of young and old to bring the magic of Mirror Mirror to life.

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Taking Us Back Old School Style…

If there was ever a time you found yourself swimming through deep beats on a dark dance floor back in the early naughties then you were one of those true fans of deep house. And as I sit back and look at all the clubs around me I wonder where is the DEEP house still prevalent?
Maybe it’s because deep house is fairly non existent with new artists of today… Until I stumbled onto The Field with their new album Looping State Of Mind. The album begins with a high toned synth that slowly rolls into a paced bass line carried there by a systematic, stamping beat. And the first track, Is This Power, should hit a nerve when it comes to that old school, deep bass beats that we so love.
The music seems to flow more or less the same from that tone until you are met with the trippy title song, Looping State of Mind, and you are going to love it. It feels like a slow mix of ragga influenced beats that makes you want to lift your knees as you swoop around the room dancing. It will definitely hit that African feel we all love so much without taking it into that crazy, I need to drink a six pack to handle this jungle fever, kinda vibe africanism leaves you with. So, brothers and sisters, take this one in the only way deep house allows you to take it in… Deeply.
Which brings us to the most stunning song of them all. A piano accompanied little gem that is far more emotionally driven with a sense of epic proportion than all the other tracks on offer. It might remind you of some of Moby’s late nineties tracks where the piano and a soft, somber beat dance in perfect unison together. It almost draws a tear as the music reaches out to it’s immediate atmosphere and turns it into one of euphoric perplexities.
The last track… Let’s just say it’s the last track, end of that.
But the entire seven track album is totally worth your while. If you feel the need to see what ever happened to deep house, this is where it went guys. This is it’s development as a genre of music and compared to some other genres from the dance world I am eager to say that the development of deep house is totally like a bottle of wine, aging, maturing and now displaying something very cerebral in an unexpectedly beautiful manner.

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