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Archive for December, 2008

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Bob Harris (Lost In Translation): Who do I have to fuck to get off this planet?

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Dale Drewer (Attack of the Crab Monsters): Once they were men. Now they are land crabs.

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Jackie Moon (Semi Pro): Everybody panic! Oh my God, there’s a bear loose in the coliseum! Everybody panic! It’s just like the Titanic but it’s full of bears!

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Chuck Barris (Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind): I came up with a new game-show idea recently. It’s called The Old Game. You got three old guys with loaded guns onstage. They look back at their lives, see who they were, what they accomplished, how close they came to realizing their dreams. The winner is the one who doesn’t blow his brains out. He gets a refrigerator.

austin_powers_mike_myers_as_dr_evil2Dr Evil (Austin Powers): My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a fifteen-year-old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize and then he would drink. He would make outrageous claims like he invented the question mark. Sometimes he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy. The sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical. When I was insolent I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds – pretty standard really.

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001271I have heard a few accuse MIA of being a bit repetitive. Maybe there is a certain truth to this. She always brings in a distinctly IDM flavour to all of her songs; the south Indian dapan koothu style is also omnipresent in her music. It’s only been a year since I started tripping on MIA, so I’m going to classify these predictabilities as familiar comfort. I pretty much know what to expect from her tracks, and it really doesn’t take away anything from the whole experience.

tamil-cinema-dalapathiYeah I do hope she explores weirder and presumably more obscure sounds in her new album. But even if she didn’t, I wouldn’t complain too much. How the hell can I hold anything against someone who sampled Ilaiyaraaja’s Kaatu Kuyilu (Bamboo Banga) over a delicious percussion beat and some sweet British IDM.

I swear I could almost visualize Rajinikanth and Mammooty getting their freak on.

Download

MIA – Bamboo Banga

Watch

MIA and Timbaland – Come Around

Read

MIA’s interview with Stylus Magazine

P.S: This one’s for you, Jerry boy.

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Five years ago, if someone had told me that there was a remix of Alice In Chains out there that does not make you want to gag and torture the nearest DJ, I would have scoffed at your supposed insolence. Back then, I recited prayers before the miserable altar of Alice In Chains. A couple of us even got really, really drunk and obnoxiously depressed when we heard about Layne Staley’s death. So any talk about remixing Alice In Chains would have infuriated me to no end.

I am still reluctant to accept all art as such, but I guess I have become more open-minded towards music. Techno still pisses me off, but basslines and turntable rhythms – I have learnt to appreciate without fussing about the purity of music and such nonsense. I think it’s almost criminal when folks only let their brains decide how good music is or should be.

Give your ears a chance to take decisions too.

I still stand by my previous opinion that Alice In Chains is probably the greatest post-rock band ever and Layne Staley – one of the most talented vocalists in any genre. But are they so good and so original that to experiment with their sounds would be as dastardly as killing newborn puppies?

I’m afraid not. Sorry, Layne

Download

Alice In Chains – Again (Trip Hop remix)

templeofthedogAny self-respecting fan of Alice In Chains should own (or at least download) Temple Of Dog’s self-titled masterpiece. In case you don’t already know, Temple Of Dog is a Grunge ensemble with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard, Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder joining forces with Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron to pay tribute to their fallen friend – Andrew Wood, vocalist of the hard rock band – Mother Love Bone.

On Hunger Strike, we even get to hear Vedder in a dueling chorus breakdown with Chris Cornell. On Say Hello To Heaven, Cornell soars higher than any grunge vocalist has ever conceived to be physically possible.

As good as it er…sounds.

Watch

Temple Of The Dog – Hunger Strike

Temple Of The Dog – Call Me A Dog

Chris Cornell – Say Hell To Heaven (Acoustic)

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Emo is nothing but a placid subgenre of mainstream punk music. It started innocently enough with bands such as Fugazi, Sunny Day Real Estate and Jimmy Eat World creating music that was a bit more emotional than, let’s say, the average beer-guzzler was accustomed to. It veered away from the path of modern American rock and came dangerously close to a territory where Papa Roach and Linkin Park had previously urinated upon as a mark of dominance.

A few years later, once market-savvy musicians and music critics had their way with it, emo became a fashion statement. Sort of like goth, but with less attitude and more make-up. And now things got extremely annoying.

Band like My Chemical Romance, Evanescence, Panic At The Disco and Dashboard Confessional gained popularity by re-enacting several episodes of Dr Phil meets Oprah Winfrey backed by bass guitars, percussion beats, tears and rolls of Kleenex. The targeted audience, however, were enthralled that they no longer needed that Staind album to help them cry to sleep at night.

Going by the age-old entertainment ritual to spoof anything that becomes popular, this subculture too was dragged through parodies and provoking caricatures. Most of them had a problem with the emotionally-stunted shenanigans of these emo musicians who were desperately trying to get the world to feel sorry about their depressed state of mind.

Azuzephre struck the funniest blow by creating two animated characters – Pon and Zi. Little comic strips began appearing online that had these itsy bitsy characters talking and acting like emo musicians.

Sort of like Happy Tree Friends, but without the bloodshed. Very, very funny.

From the Pon and Zi website.


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Sometimes the world rules…

Slumdog Millionaire: It’s fantastic that Danny Boyle teamed up with Vikas Swarup. It’s not often that a great novel gets to be made into good movie (yeah that went well…grrr  read here). I almost get a headache thinking about how much better Q & A is when compared to any Booker Prize-winning Indian novel.

Shoe-In: Cheers for George Bush-based flash games. Finally, sliced bread has stiff competition. I just hope Lebanon and Turkey don’t go to war over the shoe’s origins.

The Wrestler: Mickey Rourke’s stamp of approval for underground wrestling. Fake you too, soothsayers.

Trinket, Montane Trinket: A new species of snake has apparently been discovered near Goa. Added to that, a new forest has been discovered in the northern Mozambique region of southern Africa. Yippee…the world is having an abortion.

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Sometimes it chews on donkey balls…

Ghajini, It Seems: Apparently South India didn’t do enough damage to Memento. And kudos to that Bollywood guy who claims Ghajini is not a remake of Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece. He’s right, you know? It is not just a remake; it is a piss-poor, batshit crazy, self-defecating, puerile remake.

High School High: Congress has demanded that minority affairs minister Antulay should take his comment back regarding the death of Hemant Karkare. The minister apparently replied, “You take your comment back”, to which Congress said, “oh yeah…” thereby initiating a 2-hour staring contest.

Broadcast Media: With no specific natural disaster scheduled for next year and with Indian security being tightened up to avoid terrorist attacks, the media has now decided to make people paranoid about polio vaccination.

Popular Genes: A random study showed that teens become more popular if they carry the human gene linked to rule breaking, adding more steam to the theory that to rebel is to battle Attention Deficit Disorder.

Epiphany: Jeers to everyone in general for requiring a panel of experts to tell them “Indian and Pakistani journalists have been acting like nationalists instead of like journalists.” You could have dug up Helen Keller from her grave and asked her instead.

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Not many films rattle me. Even fewer leave me searching for words to summarize how I feel about them. Pratap Pothan’s Meendum Oru Kaathal Kathai. Parthibhan’s Thendral. Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem For A Dream. Martin Blank’s Combat Shock and probably Kim Di Duk’s The Isle. Each of them for various reasons ranging from Oedipal issues and drug problems to losing loved ones and sexual depravity. Last night, Eden Lake took the top spot in the list of films that left me staring blankly at myself while the end credits rolled. Starring Kelly Reilly and Michael Fassbender as a couple looking for an idyllic weekend and getting anything but that, Eden Lake tapped into some of my darkest fears.edenlake-uk-poster-tsrimg

It would be extremely presumptuous to pigeonhole Eden Lake as just another slasher film, which torments the protagonists and leaves them bloodied, bruised and abused. The difference between this film and a million others is that the tormentors are children; and I’m not talking about devilish kids born to the seventh son of Satan. These kids are merely an exaggeration of a few of the critters that I have mingled with as a child. I bet you know one or two just like them too.
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The film manages to avoid the idiotic fallacies that one would associate with this genre. Hell, it even sidesteps the depravity that Oliver Blackburn’s Donkey Punch could have done without. And the actors put on a great show as they perfectly convey the fear that is seemingly omnipresent thirty minutes into the film. A special mention to the child actor – Jack O’Connell. Congrats young fellow, you have replaced Cochin Haneefa in Mahanadhi as the most remorseless make-believe character I have come across on-screen.

Even though it’s definitely one of the best films I have ever seen, I cannot bring myself to recommend this to anyone I know. Delusional or not, I imagine that most of my friends are pretty content with their lives or at least hopeful enough to look forward to something pleasant in the future. I am just not too sure if Eden Lake’s brilliance is sufficient compensation for the terror it induces. And I am not saying James Watkins’s debut is disturbing enough to leave you nervously peeking over your shoulder at every single family vacation from now onwards. I’m saying it comes close to doing that.

I’m not going to reveal anymore of the story but I’ll tell you this much…the climax of Eden Lake is the most frightening two minutes I have been through while sitting in front of the television. Maybe next week, I can bring myself to recommend it.

Brilliant, pulsating and utterly devastating…all in one breath.

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grime_500What the hell is dance music, anyway? Music, which makes you want to dance? Maybe. Intricate dance patterns that actually send energy waves to stereos and craft fast-paced beats that bear geometrical similarity to the movement of feet? Maybe not. What I can be sure of are the ignominious adjectives that people use to describe this movement.

Look… Kraftwerk were experimental poppers, the Bee Gees were disco with ALL CAPS switched on, Lou Bega was just plain retarded and anything that came from the Ibiza progressive Rave and House scene had the Satan infamous “Will Make Music To Buy Happy Pills” tattoo imprinted on it’s posterior. And don’t even get me started on techno remixes and club hits. Barring Lou’s retardation, which really is quite an unfortunate social disease, the rest of them are sub-genres of dance music that have popped up mainstream to appease those who find it really hard to hold a conversation as opposed to spastically moving their limbs.

Dig deeper. A treasure chest of awesomeness await untrained ears.

As stupid as it sounds, Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) is another name for the evolving electronica scene. It is said that this beast suckled on the teats of the penultimate phase of the British rave scene. The Orb, Autechre, Aphex Twin, Ozzric Tentacles and to a lesser extent – Orgel 45, Prime Number Recorder and Wisp – are all purveyors of IDM. They guys make fantastic sounds that makes you want to get jiggy with it and a couple of tequila shots thrown in for good measure.

large_dizzee-rascalIt is also said IDM cross-pollinated the bejeezuses out of the Grime genre, which I might add, is a gruff cocktail of UK Garage, Dancehall, Hip-Hop and Neo-Rastafarian. Look no further than Dizzee Rascal for a taste of how it sounds. His debut album – Boy In Da Corner – won him a nifty Mercury Prize and the respect of a rather large and rabid fanbase. He even shares many similarities Adrian Thaw (Tricky). For starters, their hairdos look like the punchline of a joke that the Farrely Brothers and Tim Burton came up with. Both of them are extremely aggressive in the sampling methods they use. Of course, the vocals…well, either you hate it or you are completely sold on it.

I dig it big time. It’s fun, fast and makes me want to nod my head. You sure as hell don’t need happy pills to trip on this.I

Download

Dizzee Rascal – Dance Wiv Me

Buy

Dizzee Rascal’s Boy In Da Hood

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sydbarrettAs far as I know, Pink Floyd is God to a legion of pre-Their Satanic Majesties Request aficionados. Before Rolling Stones released this album in 1967, Syd Barrett and his merry men had the world convinced that psychedelia is beyond recognition. As much as I adore The Stones, I must say that Satanic Majesties set in motion the bastardization of psychedelia. With catchy melodies, stuttering bass lines, Mike Jagger’s crazed vocals and Brian Jones squeezing sounds out of electric dulcimers and mellotrons, this album kicked obscurity out of psychedelia and gave it a more comprehensible shape and form. Maybe it did sound good, but certainly not enough to be clubbed along with The Piper At The Gates of Dawn or even A Saucerful Of Secrets.

In 1970, Pink Floyd released Atomic Mother Heart – an album, which chronicles their departure from all things kaleidoscopic and trippy. In fact, Gilmour admitted that he was quite tired of this talk of him being the king of “space rock”. On a personal note, if somebody had called me that…I would have probably quit my job, worn a jazzed-out helmet and pretended to be averse to plutonium, …but then again my musical expertise is limited to strumming the first two chords of Janis Joplin’s Summertime. It was also the year when for some absurd reason, the music industry convinced itself that bands such as Hawkwind, Beach Boys and The Moody Blues had something to do with psychedelic rock.

syd-barrettDespite the thorough beating that the genre was taking that year, a rare silver lining emerged from out of nowhere…in fact, rather prematurely in January. I sure as hell think that Syd Barrett’s first solo album – The Madcap Laughs – was psychedelia’s swansong. The last great ‘acid-influenced’ classic rock album.

Fittingly enough, on Dark Globe (possibly the album’s finest piece) Syd Barrett goes on to sing, “Won’t you miss me? Wouldn’t you miss me at all?”

Almost thirty years later, like the sod that it has proven to be, the music community answered his question by buying heaps and heaps of albums that added the prefix – Goan and the suffix – Trance to the once mythical genre of psychedelia.

Watch (until I box it)

Dark Globe – Syd Barrett

Buy

Syd Barrett’s The Madcap Laughs

P.S: See, Kevin…seek and ye shall find.

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heathjokerI didn’t particularly appreciate Vir Sanghvi likening Joker to two-bit terrorist organizations and then India to Batman. Just so you know, The Joker never caused “mayhem and murder” just because he could. He did it because he craves for a more enlightened society. He chooses to break down the wafer-thin, cyclopic perspective that Gotham City’s residents have on the society they lived in. It’s neither madness nor random acts of barbarism; more of a conviction to the truth that his life’s tragedies had taught him. The second greatest edition of BatmanA Serious House on Serious Earth – even implied that The Joker’s “mental state is in fact a previously unprecedented form of super-sanity”.

He concludes the article with a well-timed misnomer of a statement.

“What strange times we must live in when a Batman movie more accurately reflects the real world than any action thriller”

My good man, the only thing strange is your belief that the world has been anything but strange sincethemanwholaughs1 its birth.

A special shout-out to Conrad Veidt’s portrayal of Gwynplaine in The Man Who Laughs.

Such a delightful irony it is that the inspiration for The Joker has its roots in a film that is quite possibly the first instance of German expressionism rubbing shoulders with romantic melodrama, surrealist horror and pre-World War II film noir.

Yes good sir, I think it’s pretty rad too.

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conformityWithout politics, justice would wreak havoc on our lives. I really can’t see justice as anything other than pre-conceived faith that we are somehow expected to have in those who have long since spent their lives interpreting a largely Utopian concept into words and numbers. I prefer a corrupt system to an honest one simply because in the light of today’s social consciousness, people’s notions of morality and righteousness are far more dangerous than what they perceive to be unscrupulous and selfish.

Having said that, far worse are the pretensions that come along for the ride to ensure reckless abandonment of decorum. I even remember people hosting lighting candles during the aftermath of the Kumbakonam tragedy. Yes, nothing like an open flame to express a unified voice for the kids who tragically died in the fire.

It’s a twisted hyperbole we live in. One in which morality has spilled more blood than hate can even dream of and violence has saved more lives than good intentions ever could. A nonsensical wonderland where television makes viewers paranoid and religion encourages its’ followers to waste away their lives in fear and racial apathy.

And yet there are people out there – so convinced of their ability to straighten out other people’s socio-political priorities and so much in love with the notion that they are a part of a group that opposes what has prematurely and conveniently been identified as the root cause of a larger problem.

It’s the same logic that gave America four more years of George Bush and Indian cricketers the false notion that they are prima donnas. You could argue that it also paved the way for Barrack Obama to become the leader of the free world. However, Mrs Ann Dunham’s baby boy represented hope and change; two things that don’t belong in the same sentence as “collateral damage bah humbug…let’s just bom the fuck out of Pakistan”.

So what I am saying here, dear random sender of self-righteous email #32, solidarity against terror is absolutely pointless when most of the individuals expressing it are completely irrelevant to our country’s anti-terrorism processes. And if your idea of a perfect world involves hate and fear binding individuals together, I shudder to even imagine what your vision of dystopia is.

Download

DJ Shadow – Midnight In A Perfect World

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