Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Electronic Music Films

I was recently asked if I knew any documentary films that would shed more light on the history and beginnings of electronic music. I did some searches, and subsequently found out that most of those documentaries in existence (well, at least those listed at Internet) concentrate mostly on the latest developments in electronic music, or to be more precise, electronic dance music and rave culture.

The early history of electronic music (before 1960s, an area mostly populated by academic/avantgarde composers and inventors of electronic instruments) seems to be only sporadically (or as footnotes) featured in most existing documentaries, bar perhaps Steven M. Martin's 1994 feature on León Theremin or even Mika Taanila's 2002 Future Is Not What It Used To Be on Finnish electronic instrument inventor Erkki Kurenniemi; not forgetting the films dedicated to Robert Moog or Bruce Haack. If you know of any other related documentary films, please let me know.

  • Music Arcade: BBC Radiophonic Workshop (UK, early 80s?)
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
  • Discovering Electronic Music (USA, 1983)
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
  • The Electric Music Machine, Five Days at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (UK, 1988)
    Part 1
    Part 2
    Part 3
    Part 4
    Part 5
  • Bring The Beat Back (Finland, 1992)
    Director Hannu Puttonen info
  • Rave New World (UK, 1994)
  • Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey (USA, 1994)
    related clips @ YouTube
  • Universal Techno (France, 1996)
  • Modulations (USA, 1998)
    IMDB entry
    trailer @ YouTube
  • Hang The DJ (Canada, 1998)
  • Sonic Visions: From Stockhausen to Squarepusher (USA/Netherlands, 1998)
  • Better Living Through Circuitry (Australia, 1999)
    clips @ YouTube
  • Synergy: Visions of Vibe (UK/Japan/Germany, 1999)
    clips @ YouTube
  • Bass Frequency (USA, 2001)
  • The Future Is Not What It Used To Be (Finland, 2002)
    info @ pHinnWeb
  • Electro Dziska: Miami 2001-2002
    a clip @ YouTube
  • Radiophonic Workshop -Alchemists of Sound (UK, 2003)
    clips @ YouTube
    BBC Radiophonic Workshop @ Wikipedia
  • Bruce Haack: King of Techno (USA, 2004)
    clips @ YouTube
  • Moog (USA, 2004)
    IMDB entry
    info @ Wikipedia
    (see also: Bob Moog clips @ YouTube)
  • Liquid Vinyl (USA, 2006)
    trailer @ YouTube
    a clip @ YouTube
  • Darkbeat, An Electro World Voyage (USA, 2006)
    trailer @ YouTube
  • Feiern (Germany, 2006)
    trailer @ YouTube
  • High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music (USA, 2006)
    trailer @ YouTube
    another trailer @ YouTube
  • Put the Needle on the Record (USA, 2006)
    a clip @ YouTube
  • Rough Electro (Romania, 2006)
    trailer @ YouTube
    another clip @ YouTube
  • The Sound of Dubstep (UK, 2006)
    a clip @ YouTube
  • What The Future Sounded Like (Australia, 2007)

    More related titles @ IMDB:

    All electronic music documentary search results @ YouTube

    History of electronic music links @ pHinnWeb

    And a silly old text of mine

  • Monday, February 26, 2007

    Jori Hulkkonen on the Sad State of Post-Electronica Days

    Finnish electronic artist Jori Hulkkonen has now released an album of his new synthpop type project called Processory, featuring vocals from a mystical person called Jerry Valuri (reading from between the lines in the interview quoted below, it's indicated that it's just Jori himself, though obviously Mr. Hulkkonen would go to lengths to deny this).

    So in occasion, Finnish music magazine Sue interviews in their latest issue Jori Hulkkonen, who gives some interesting comments about the current reception of electronic (dance) music in Finland after the late 90s craze of electronica; probably this applies to mainstream media around the world too:

    "Suomessa ollaan konservatiivisia. Nyt on jopa otettu muutama askel taaksepäin. 90-luvun lopulla, kun elektroninen musiikki oli kaupallisesti menestyvää, löytyi ulkokultaista pro-electronica-asennetta. Oltiin ymmärtävinään sitä kulttuuria. Nyt kun se ei ole enää niin suosittua, paukutellaan henkseleitä, että kyllähän me tiedettiin, ettei se kestä. Se on tavallaan huvittavaa."

    As my rough translation this would go something like:

    "People in Finland are conservative. Now they have even taken some steps backwards. In the end of 90s when electronic music was commercially successful, there was a lot of cant pro-electronica attitude. One pretended to understand that culture. Now, when it's not that popular anymore, one is boasting that, yes, we did know that it wouldn't last. That's amusing in a way."

    What Jori Hulkkonen says here is very symptomatic about the ways media seems to work. After electronica (the moniker many hated) inevitably became unfashionable, music media did what they were expected to do: the return "back to basics", and the re-emergence guitar rock and all the popular myths contained in it, still lovingly favoured by the white middle-aged male music critics who dominate music mags the world over. Out go the Roland and Korg synths, 303s, 808s, 909s; in come (for the nth time in the music history of the last 50 years) the Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters. Enter The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Libertines and myriads of other "s"-suffix bands of young hopefuls donning leather jackets, 80s-style stretch jeans, sneakers, shaggy haircuts and overdriven guitar sounds. It was 1979 again, and again and again; the celebration of recycled sounds. After these "s"-bands had their respective turn to lose their hold in music fashion, then it was time to dig up the late 60s/early 70s folk sounds, where "singer-songerwriters" and Mother Nature's hirsute sons and daughters ruled supreme: psychedelic folk, forest folk, New Weird of America/Finland/Antarctica/whatever. All in all, electronic dance music went back underground -- where some people think it should also stay.

    Friday, February 23, 2007

    Mika Vainio: Revitty (CD)

    Pan sonic (a.k.a. Mika Vainio and Ilpo Väisänen) were one the main reasons I started to maintain pHinnWeb back in 1996, and I still consider them the flagship of Finnish electronic music, who have consistently followed their own path and created out of diverse influences -- varying from Suicide, Einstürzende Neubauten and industrial to Jamaican dub reggae to the eclectic "horsemeat rockabilly" of the late Hasil Adkins to their admiration for Johnny Cash -- an idiosyncratic sound, which is at the same time abrasive but also strangely grooving.

    There's now a new solo album out from Mika Vainio (also known as Ø). "After opening Wavetrap's catalog with his solo album Ydin back in the year 1999, Pan sonic's Mika Vainio comes back with another offering for the label. Entitled Revitty ('Torn'), the record is as subtle as it is merciless, while remaining deeply musical in Vainio's own unique sense."

    Artist: Mika Vainio
    Title: Revitty (CD)
    Label: Wavetrap
    Cat. No.: WAV 006
    Date: December 2006


    1. Hampaat I (03:53)
    2. Hampaat II (04:19)
    3. Hampaat III (04:42)
    4. Huone (03:45)
    5. Tänään (01:12)
    6. Yksinäisyys, suru, katkeruus (20:46)
    7. Raatelu (14:43)
    8. Loppu (01:59)


    Revitty = Torn

    1. Teeth I
    2. Teeth II
    3. Teeth III
    4. A Room
    5. Today
    6. Loneliness, sorrow, bitterness
    7. Mauling
    8. The End

  • Info & MP3 soundclips @ Raster-Noton
  • Info & MP3/WMA audioclips @ Juno
  • A review at Rare Frequency
  • Another Danny Dark Records Collage

    [large image]

    A new entry to pHinnWeb's irregular series of collage art from around the world: another ad from British record label Danny Dark, again spotted from The Wire: the one above is for the forthcoming release Rock 'n' Roll Darkness by Walter & Sabrina.


    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Finnish TV Commercials Nostalgia

    Finnish TV channel MTV3 has listed under its Kaikkien aikojen parhaat sekunnit ("The best seconds of all time") a series of video clips of Finnish TV commercials from the 1950s to the present day. The slick Shell commercials (see also this) with their cool fashion models and the baritone voiceover from Kaj Gahnström are still well remembered, and I wonder if the unabashed eroticism of Vivante shampoo commercial would pass the censorship today...? Tupla-City was a light-hearted Western film pastiche for Tupla chocolate bars. Helsinki's Ajatar store represented the height of 70s Finnish fashion (with now politically uncorrect fur hats, too). Finnhits was the massive phenomenon of iskelmä light pop collections of the 70s and the late pop star Irwin Goodman advertised Jenkki bubblegum. Väinö Purje advertising the meat selections of the K-kauppa grocery store chain surprisingly became a big star in the Soviet Estonia (where ordinary citizens didn't exactly eat wienerschnitzel every day), where Finnish TV broadcasts could also be seen.

  • 1950s and 1960s
  • 1970s
  • 1980s
  • 1990s
  • 2000s
  • Saturday, February 17, 2007

    Finnish Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from a Remote Northern Country

    The Renegades: 'Cadillac'

    The Renegades: '13 Women'

    [NOTE: THIS COMPILATION HAS NOT BEEN OFFICIALLY RELEASED YET. PLEASE, DON'T SEND ME ANY ENQUIRIES ABOUT WHERE TO GET IT. Whenever I will receive information about the official release and label, I am going to add the info to this blog; before that, ALL ENQUIRIES WILL BE IGNORED.]

    Some time ago I received from Euphonic, a Finnish record collector, this 2-CDR compilation which is now seeking for an official release. Suffice it to say I was very happily surprised and also truly flabbergasted by the contents here. You see, as old fans of this type of music, for some years me and some friends have been toying with the idea of a Finnish counterpart to the legendary compilation records Nuggets and Pebbles, consisting of garage rock, freakbeat and psychedelic pop of the 1960s.

    The quest for similar Finnish bands and songs from the same era has been mind-boggling but not a little bit frustrating, especially with us not being heavy-duty vinyl-hunting record collectors ourselves but rather lazy dabblers usually happy with CD re-releases; it also often having felt there are scarcely a handful of local examples which would have even remotely fitted to this template. In that period between the early 60s Finnish rautalanka craze (instrumental guitar bands styled after The Ventures, The Shadows, et al.) and the progressive rock bands such as Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti emerging in the end of that same decade, as Euphonic expertly points out with his track choices, there was apparently quite a lot of "Nuggetish" music from local bands; many of them unfortunately lost in the mists of time. At least before their re-emergence here.

    On the other hand, the question of what is exactly kosher and what is not for this type of compilation is of some dispute. It's good to remember even the variety of selections on countless Nuggets compilations and CD boxes can be quite heterogenous; varying from raunchier "proto-punk" of the bands like The Sonics to some more light and soft pop or ballads, even though of slightly psychedelic (or pseudo-psychedelic) flavour. Euphonic commented in the related thread at another similarly-themed (and also unofficial) compilation Pebbles from the Shores of Thousand Lakes, that the "comp was well meant and all that, but it really stretches the whole Nuggets concept into unrecognizability by including a lot of material that simply does not belong there". Likewise, following these same strict criteria, pHinnWeb's own tentative efforts to find a repertoire of representative songs here might be considered more or less misled, too... Personal tastes and preferences aside, I really think Euphonic (and his contributing record-collecting compadres) has done an amazing work here in digging up some of these little musical, erm, nuggets (or, perhaps in this case, frosty ice-covered pebbles).

    The collection features a booklet of extensive liner notes by Euphonic; featuring a chockful of background information on Finnish rock scene of the day, detailed band biographies with information on respective line-ups and naturally of the original releases' record labels and catalogue numbers.

    About the bands themselves, most of them hail from Helsinki, though represented too are such towns as Espoo, Tampere, Turku, Hämeenlinna, Jyväskylä, Porvoo, Kuusankoski, Somero (the pre-fame Rauli "Badding" Somerjoki on Chuck Berry), Tornio and Mariehamn; indicating that a vibrant beat scene was found all over the country, not only in its most obvious urban spots. The double-album also prominently features some bands who were not Finnish but instead recorded or enjoyed their biggest popularity here. The most notable of these is of course Birmingham's Renegades, who busted Finnish charts with their 'Cadillac'. Also Brummies were The Andicaps featured here. From Liverpool hailed The Kirkbys, and from Blackpool Reverend Black & The Rocking Vickers; the latter band featuring in its line-up one Ian Willis, later better known as Lemmy of Motörhead and Hawkwind! Such British expats as Jim Pembroke (The Pems, Blues Section) and Frank Robson (Mosaic) also have their important role here. The most curious foreign guest on the compilation must be, though, Petr Novák, appearing with George & The Beatovens, hailing from Communist Czechoslovakia, but enjoying a brief Finnish stint.

    I don't know if it's too purposeful to give any detailed reviews of every featured band here, but some personal highlights include, for example, The Beat Stones' 'V.I.P.', perhaps following somewhere in the footsteps of The Yardbirds; the legendary 'Kevät' ("Spring") by New Joys with its ultra-sharp, fuzzy band sound and somewhat gloomy lyrics (during long winter nights a guy dreams of spring so he could be with his girl -- so, spring finally comes but the girl won't be anywhere to be seen); 'Meditation' by Mariehamn's Hitch Hikers (a bluesy excursion featuring some protopsychedelic-sounding guitar modulations reminiscing of Indian music); Blues Section's hard-driving, sound FX-laden 'Hey Hey Hey' and The Islanders' wah-wah guitar and violin-flavoured arrangement of 'Beat The Clock' by The McCoys (UK), featuring as its vocalist Kirill "Kirka" Babitzin, who recently died (eerily, I received these records the very same day the news were widely spread in Finnish media of Kirka's passing). As an overview, all 66 tracks featured here give even a somewhat surprising image of the 60s Finnish band scene as extremely vivid and well aware of international trends of its day. (Even though the English language in some lyrics leaves something to be desired, to say the least.) Kudos to Mr. Euphonic for putting together this massive work.

    Finnish Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from a Remote Northern Country, Vol. 1 (Disc One)

    1. The Renegades (UK): Cadillac
    2. The Needles: A Dying Man
    3. Eero & The Boys: Route 66
    4. Eddy & The Lightnings: Shut Up
    5. Topmost: The "In" Crowd
    6. Jim & The Beatmakers: My Only One
    7. The Beat Stones: V.I.P.
    8. Antti "Andy" Einiö & The Islanders: Farmer John
    9. The Holders: I Only Want to Look at You
    10. Rev. Black & The Rocking Vickers (UK): Zing! Went The Strings of My Heart
    11. Eddy & The Lightnings: Olet paha!
    12. Cay & The Scaffolds: Girls
    13. The Savages: Hip Hop
    14. The Renegades (UK): Far From It
    15. Jormas: New Orleans
    16. The Firestones: Can Anyone Be True
    17. Jim Pembroke (UK) & The Pems: I Don't Mind, I Got Mine
    18. The Mods: Tommy Jones
    19. Silvery: There's No Other (Like My Baby)
    20. New Joys: Kevät
    21. The Kirkbys (UK): 'Cos My Baby's Gone
    22. The Roosters: Hold Me
    23. Cay & The Scaffolds: You
    24. Jormas: Dance to the Locomotion
    25. Topmost: I'll Go Crazy
    26. The Needles: Where Can She Be
    27. Buddy & The Wiremen: Shanghai
    28. The Downwalkers: I Don't Believe You
    29. The Esquires: Tunnen sen
    30. The Coyotes: Angela
    31. Eero & Jussi, with The Boys: Hello Josephine
    32. Jormas: California Dreamin'
    33. The Gregory Allan: Shape of Surprise

    Finnish Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from a Remote Northern Country, Vol. 2 (Disc Two)

    1. Blues Section: Call Me On Your Telephone
    2. The Scaffolds: I Wanna Be
    3. Eddy & The Lightnings: Any More
    4. Eero & Jussi, with The Boys: I Just Wanna Make Love to You
    5.The Renegades (UK): Take A Heart
    6. The Andicaps (UK): You Make Me Happy
    7. The Hitch Hikers: Meditation
    8. King Albert & His Strolling Bones: The Octopus
    9. The Sounds: Roll Over Bach
    10. Jim & The Beatmakers: You Can't Go Away
    11. Eero & The Boys: Sinä vain
    12. The Scaffolds: You're Running Out of Money
    13. The Islanders: Beat the Clock
    14. The Kirkbys (UK): Don't You Want Me No More
    15. The Roosters: What Have I Got of My Own
    16. The Five Comets: I'm Coming
    17. Blues Section: Hey, Hey, Hey
    18. Harry & The Hound Dogs: You Better Be All Right
    19. The Five Yes: Bye Bye Johnny
    20. Ernos: Harha
    21. The Renegades (UK): Thirteen Women
    22. Jormas: I Can't Break The Habit
    23. Johnny & The Sounds: I Can't Break The Habit
    24. The Roosters: See See Rider
    25. Topmost: I Keep Forgettin'
    26. The Careless: Desolate Time
    27. The Victors: I'm In Love With You
    28. The Rondo Four: Get On The Road
    29. The First: Olet mielessäin
    30. The Tonics: Hey Mister Flowerman
    31. Petr Novák, with George & The Beatovens (Czechoslovakia): Why Do You Leave Me
    32. Frank Robson & Mosaic: Happier Man
    33. Silvery: Free


  • Finland Rocks @
  • Nuggets from Finland @ Cratedigger blog
  • More Musings on Finnish Nuggets @ Cratedigger blog

    Related links at pHinnWeb:

  • 60s Garage Rock & Psychedelia in Finland
  • Beyond the Calico Wall: Garage Psychedelia @ pHinnWeb

    Related videos:

    Topmost: 'Merisairaat kasvot/Nään mustaa vaan'

    Topmost, a band featured on this compilation, was probably best known in Finland for these translated cover versions, respectively, of 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' by Procol Harum and 'Black Is Black' by Los Bravos.

    The Creatures in 1966

    The Creatures (not to be confused with Siouxsie Sioux's UK project of the same name!) was a Finnish band featuring the talents of young Kirka Babitzin (only 15 at the time of this excerpt) and Henry "Remu" Aaltonen, later best known as the drummer of The Hurriganes [sic]. Sadly the band never got to record, so one of few remaining testimonies of their fierce energy is found in Mikko Niskanen's 1966 film Käpy selän alla, where this excerpt is taken from.
  • Wednesday, February 14, 2007

    [MP3] 'Battlestar Erotica', a brand new Kompleksi track!

    Battlestar Erotica, a brand new Kompleksi track for Valentine's Day! For all romantics and young lovers! It's only version 1.0/Beta Test, so feel free to give your comments for all the future mixes...

    What he wants
    is not what she wants
    is not what he wants...

    Battlestar Erotica
    Battlestar Erotica

    Torn wedding pictures and broken plates
    my father and mistress having secret dates
    A twenty-year marriage and a sudden divorce
    my mother cried: "Run back to your whores!"

    Battlestar Erotica
    Battlestar Erotica

    You were a schoolboy having zits
    always dreaming of sophomore tits
    Now love makes you go from riches to rags
    you'd better stick to your porno mags

    Women are from Venus, men are from Mars
    this kind of stuff drives me drinking in bars
    Women are from Venus, men are from Mars
    this kind of stuff drives me drinking in bars

    Will love ever be stronger than fear?
    She told me: "Don't come near"
    Wanted to take her over the border
    she gave me a restraining order

    Battlestar Erotica
    Battlestar Erotica

    Nothing was enough for Mrs. Rice
    her husband didn't have enough size
    Now she's got a vibrating toy
    that brings her so much joy

    Women are from Venus, men are from Mars
    this kind of stuff drives me drinking in bars
    Women are from Venus, men are from Mars
    this kind of stuff drives me drinking in bars

    Battlestar Erotica
    Battlestar Erotica
    Battlestar Erotica
    Battlestar Erotica

    Women are from Venus, men are from Mars
    This kind of stuff drives me drinking in bars
    Women are from Venus, men are from Mars
    This kind of stuff drives me drinking in bars

    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    It Was 40 Years Ago Today: 'Strawberry Fields Forever' by The Beatles

    The Beatles: 'Strawberry Fields Forever' (1967)

    Today it's been exactly forty years since 'Strawberry Fields Forever', the most adventurous single of The Beatles, written by John Lennon (and also being my own personal favourite in the band's all recorded works), was published in the UK (in America it came out a couple of days later, 17 February 1967).

    Backed by Paul McCartney's 'Penny Lane', this "double A-side" single gave some foretaste of what was to come with the band's June 1967 album Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Band, which is considered a landmark in the development of pop music in general, though many Beatles fans still argue whether as complete albums Rubber Soul (1965) or Revolver (1966) are even better ones. (Personally, I think none of these albums are totally immaculate works, each having their uneven parts and maybe some not-that-memorable songs alongside some undeniably classic tunes, so instead of naming just one album over the others, I'd just vaguely choose the band's general creative output somewhere in between 1965 and 1967 their best, of representing their "Golden Era".)

    An important musical reference to The Beatles in these days was musique concrète; especially Paul McCartney was interested in the works of Karlheinz Stockhausen, and in 1968 Lennon would create, with assistance from Yoko Ono and George Harrison, his own (in)famous concrète piece 'Revolution No. 9' for the band's White Album. ('Carnival of Light', another experimental piece from the band still remains unpublished.) The Beatles and their producer George Martin had already experimented with the possibilities of "tape music" when creating for Revolver 'Tomorrow Never Knows' (my second favourite Beatles track, probably), a baffling but also rhythmically grooving piece based on the adaptation of "The Tibetan Book of the Dead" in a psychedelic tripping guide by Timothy Leary et al. The sonic achievements of the band and Martin were not less remarkable when remembering Abbey Road's studio still used four-track recording techniques, already primitive in comparison to Stateside studios having 16-track recording consoles at their use.

    Starting with an an eerie flute-like mellotron phrase intro on the left channel and Lennon launching his drowsy-sounding reading, 'Strawberry Fields Forever' is sound-wise like a whole symphony condensed into four minutes. Accompanied by Ringo Starr's concise martial drumming breaks, a mêlée of pseudo-Indian music played with such instruments as swarmandel, trumpets, sawing cellos, guitars and bass stereo-panning in between the channels, this is rather a collage of sounds and music carefully assembled together in studio than any straightforward band "song". The eerie atmosphere in Lennon's vocals is not lessened by the fact that the released version of 'SFF' is put together from two different takes of the song, both in different tempos and keys, carefully joined as one by George Martin and recording engineer Geoff Emerick with elaborate tape playback speed changes, also pitch-shifting the vocals in the process.

    The song which John Lennon wrote in Almeria, Spain -- while filming How I Won The War in late 1966 -- is lyrically as if a kaleidoscopic Zen riddle, full of psychedelic non sequiturs; a sort of existential search for an elusive identity, when reality is just a game through which we wander with our eyes closed, no one sharing exactly the same wavelength (or in Lennon's words, "my tree"), and all we see being but an illusion, though in the end it may all turn out well, with all "working out" -- so why worry? As Hassan-i-Sabah allegedly put it in 1124: "Nothing is real, everything is permitted". All said, your own interpretation of this song is as good as mine.

    What makes this particular piece of music -- probably ancient history for today's hipper-than-thou clubbers, fanboys and DJs chasing after those latest rare pieces of vinyl of dubstep, grime and [here the name of any other fashionable here-today-gone-tomorrow genre of dance music] -- still relevant for the jaded "heard-it-all" ears of 2007, then? Technically, 'SFF' is one of the prime examples of pop's early era of "studio-as-an-instrument", paving way for all the later innovations in the techniques of electronic music and sampling; for such genres as dub reggae, disco, hip-hop, electro, techno/house, you-name-it, and the whole remixing culture. Of course, The Beatles were not the originators of these techniques but when popularizing these with their works, they influenced just through the sheer volume of their international mass appeal countless musicians and record producers around the world. It's an old cliché that if The Beatles had come into existence in our own days, they would have eagerly embraced the possibilities of synthesizers (they did include the Moog synth on their Abbey Road album of 1969), samplers and modern music software. Instead, creating their works in technically far less advanced 60s, they had to rely on the studio techniques of their own day, still very primitive from our post-Pro Tools perspective, and invent their own ways as they went along.

    As to the band's cultural influence for the younger generation, today it's easy to deride The Beatles. When the nihilist mindset of such genres as goth, industrial and metal have made such dark subject matters as suicide, (mass) murder and self-mutilation appear "cool" and even appealing, the band and their naive era of flower power and universal love just appear laughable for today's "faster-harder-louder-darker" kids. And while The Beatles still keep making regular appearances on the covers of such "dadrock" magazines as Mojo and Uncut, assuring sales among the members of older pop generations getting nearer their pension days, it's just totally uncool to confess even any distant admiration for the band; a fact further confirmed by the band's record label EMI and their milking The Beatles' output to death with such cynical compilations as The Beatles 1 of 2000. (Love, the recent "mash-up" album of the band's songs -- "remixed" by combining together elements from different Beatles songs originally having nothing to do with each other -- could at its best called just "interesting", thinly disguising the fact of it being basically only another "Best of" record. Momus, a cult artist and an avid cultural commentator in his own right, was not as merciful as your present writer, though, instantly dismissing Love in his blog as "remasturbation".)

    Anyway, even if we discount all that cultural burden created both by the nostalgia market and the drastically changed tastes and values in music and culture since the 60s, it's still hard to assess The Beatles as "just another" band or musical artist than as a wide cross-cultural "phenomenon"; the approach which probably does gross injustice to everyone involved.

    It seems the 1960s were very different times compared to ours: the times when people still honestly believed in utopias, actually thinking that such things as the "world revolution" (or for those less politically inclined, not less than "heaven on Earth") were on their way. Despite the war in Vietnam, racial struggles or the threat of imminent nuclear war, for a lot of people everything just seemed to point to that direction: music, fashion, politics and the prevalence of mind-altering chemicals, opening new and unforeseen vistas. Experimentalism was considered a virtue everywhere. It all faded away very soon as the general disillusion set in and the world turned from day-glo to something even darker and grimmer than it had been in the monochrome pre-halcyon days of the 1950s and early 60s. Post-9/11, and it seems we are returning all the time closer to the dark ages of the medieval world of bigotry, zealotism, political and economical feudalism, even torture. More than ever, we must rediscover the seeds of hope, humanity and spiritual rebirth. Examine such works as 'Strawberry Fields Forever' -- really in some sphere of its own; outside of time, any time -- and you will constantly find those there.

    Let me take you down, cause I'm going to
    Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real
    And nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever

    Living is easy with eyes closed
    Misunderstanding all you see
    It's getting hard to be someone, but it all works out
    It doesn't matter much to me

    Let me take you down, cause I'm going to
    Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real
    And nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever

    No one, I think, is in my tree
    I mean, it must be high or low
    That is, you can't, you know, tune in, but it's alright
    That is, I think it's not too bad

    Let me take you down, cause I'm going to
    Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real
    And nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever

    Always, no, sometimes, think it's me
    But, you know, I know when it's a dream
    I think, er, no, I mean, er, yes, but it's all wrong
    That is, I think I disagree

    Let me take you down, 'cause I'm going to
    Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real
    And nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever
    Strawberry Fields forever
    Strawberry Fields forever

    (Cranberry sauce!)

    Friday, February 09, 2007

    [MP3] 'Ghost At Noon' by Kompleksi vs. Citizen Omega

    'Ghost At Noon' (by Kompleksi vs. Citizen Omega). Our own take on hauntology, inspired by Alberto Moravia, R.D. Laing, Giorgio De Chirico and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari by Robert Wiene.

    I'm a ghost at noon
    I'm a ghost at noon
    I'm a ghost at noon

    I'm a ghost at noon
    hidden in plainsight
    I'm walking on the moon
    a sleepwalker at daylight

    I'm a ghost at noon
    blink, and you'll miss me
    I stay in my cocoon
    you'll never absorb me

    I'm a demon at noon
    and I bear shame
    I fall into a swoon
    no one knows my name

    As I stroll down this street
    asphalt burns beneath my feet
    People think I'm so strange
    but I'm just out of their range

    I stay in my shell
    I could be that wall as well
    I don't know if I'm really here
    or if I'm someone else's dreams
    Please, don't come near
    I'm splitting at my seams

    The clocks stop ticking
    in the town where time stands still
    I'm a mask
    concealing the real
    Safe from prying eyes
    I feel unreal

    I'm a ghost in the deserted garden
    I can feel their stares harden
    Chaotic non-existence looms
    breathing in exhaust fumes

    I feel like a dead in this town
    all the people put me down
    I hang my head, avoid people's eyes
    my mind is paralyzed

    What's behind the broken mirror?
    I am everywhere and nowhere
    My heart is singing
    those voices in the dark
    and I can't disembark

    I'm a ghost at noon
    you will never understand me
    Permanently out of tune
    why can't you see?

    I'm a ghost at noon
    avoiding people's hungry eyes
    It's going to happen soon
    sunlight hurts my eyes

    (lyrics © pHinn)

    Thursday, February 08, 2007

    Peter Watkins: The War Game (1965)

    The War Game Part 1 (of 5)

  • Part 2 (of 5)
  • Part 3 (of 5)
  • Part 4 (of 5)
  • Part 5 (of 5)

    Before Privilege, Peter Watkins had already stirred controversy with his 1965 nuclear war pseudo-documentary The War Game, which was banned by the BBC, who considered it too shocking for its graphic nature depicting realistically the possible consequences of a nuclear attack.

  • The War Game at the director's site
  • Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Tina Ulevik: Xenophobic Site (2006)

    Tina Ulevik: Xenophobic Site (2006)

    Tina Ulevik is an Australian director specializing in experimental short films. I love this haunting, spooky work which is her latest. "Filmed on location at the sites of two concentration camps in Germany, Xenophobic Site portrays a visually and sonically experimental re-imagining of this dark part of history. Produced on a low or 'no budget', this film was created on digital video and super-8 film and edited on a home PC. Copyright Tina Ulevik Spul Films Australia 2006." You can see Tina's previous experimental short films at Spul Films Australia MySpace site.

    And coming soon: stay tuned to this blog for more works of Tina; featuring some Finns you might already have heard something about...

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    [MP3] Kompleksi vs. CTNE: 'Kompleksi'

    'Kompleksi' (by Kompleksi vs Club Telex Noise Ensemble; originally titled as 'CTNE'). An eclectro-dub psychodrama. Warning: not for the faint-hearted.

    Shrinkwrapped soul
    kept in the freezer
    Brigid the Frigid
    she's no teaser

    Frozen heart
    stopped at the start
    Antiseptic, clean
    can't be seen

    Always immaculate, always absentee
    please don't leave spots in me
    Stains on my floor
    close the door

    It's so hygienic
    shining surface
    Collector's item
    never left its package


    The fear of being at the mercy of irrational
    the fear of losing control

    So you freeze
    and you put on a mask
    under which no one can see or hear you

    Saving faces and losing souls
    you're an actor and the audience is hostile
    You would like to scream
    but all the words get muffled all the time
    before they even leave your mouth

    Talking in fragmented sentences, confused
    there are cracks on your concrete shelter

    It's important not to be different

    (lyrics © pHinn)

    Friday, February 02, 2007