Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ellen Allien & Apparat - Orchestra of Bubbles

There must be something really special in Germany to make its music production so intense and creative. From Kraftwerk to Jazzanova, from Can to Boozoo Bajou, many historical music moments have happened in this country. Even David Bowie's best albuns were recorded there, with his infamous Berlin trilogy (Low, Heroes and Lodger).
Take Ellen Allien, for example. Coming from Berlin, she now has a new album together with Apparat and, to cut it short, it's another revolution in techno music, one more to add to the many that have been happening in this city for the past few years. What we have here is a collection of songs that prove this genre is not always dark and cold, creating warm and involving ambiences that are pure poetry turned into aural pleasure.

Orchestra of Bubbles is just the newest of many recent releases that have taken inspiration in techno to create a new personal universe. Other landmarks include:

Villalobos - Alcachofa (2003)

Superpitcher - Here Comes Love (2004)

Matthew Dear - Backstroke (2004)

Isolée - We Are Monster (2005)

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Gnarls Barkley - St. Elsewhere

First there were Outkast and their revolution turned into music that was "Speakerboxx/The Love Below". Then came the morning after with Plantlife and their unfairly-ignored "The Return Of Jack Splash". Now there is another band breaking into pieces the whole history of funk and soul music only to reconstruct it all over again but in a completely new form. Gnarls Barkley are the result of a collaboration between Cee-Lo (Goodie Mob) and super producer Danger Mouse (Gorillaz, Dangerdoom) and are already making history: their first single, the super-catchy-ode-to-madness-best-song-in-ages "Crazy", was the first to top the english charts with no physical release, just out of downloads. Over-hyped? Not at all, when there's an album of upbeat music consisting of 14 future classics. Maybe just a small sign that the future is here and this time justice is being done.

Monday, April 24, 2006

TV Moments # 2

Six Feet Under

You've surely heard about this show by now and you either love it or you absolutely don't care. For those of us that are fans, new episodes are starting today on portuguese television (RTP2, 22:30). Tune in and don't miss it.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Indie Lisboa 2006

Lisbon's most interesting film festival is now taking place until the 30th of April. In some cases, it will be the only opportunity to see some of the best movies around. For more infos and schedules, check out the Indie Lisboa Official Site.

Iconic Images # 1

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Broken Social Scene - Broken Social Scene

More good news from the canadian alternative rock scene, following the Arcade Fire phenomenon. Actually they have been around for longer, but are now benefiting from the visibility that "Funeral" has created and we just have to thank it. The emphasis here is less in songs - although they still exist - and more in textures and complex structures that seem randomly created but are intriguing to follow. The rest is there: epic sounds, cathartic explosions, emotional orchestrations, distorted guitars, chaotic instrumentations and the pleausure of listenning to all of it making perfect sense, as if it couldn't be any other way.

Susumu Yokota - Symbol

Japanese culture is really intriguing. Instead of creating completely new things, Japan has specialized in adapting what the other regions have invented and perfect it, making it their own. In the meantime, their cities are the paradigm of cosmopolitan culture but on the other hand there's a big obsession with nature everywhere.
All these contrasts reflect in their music, from Silent Poets to United Future Organization, Chari Chari, Reflection or Nobukazu Takemura and now in Susumu Yokota's new album. The concept in "Symbol" is not particularly new: mixing classical music with electronic sounds. But it's perfectly and beautifully done, creating a possible soundtrack to our dreams of paradise landscapes.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Must-have objects for a survival kit #2

Confessions Tour Ticket

Hard to get and quite expensive, but it doesn't matter at all: being at a Madonna's concert is a mandatory out-of-this-world experience.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Spank Rock - YoYoYoYoYo

Being taken aback by a new record, one that gets us speachless because it sounds like something we've never heard before...that is still one of the best feelings there is. When everything sounds fresh and new and all the elements mix together in a perfect way. When you recognize its separate components (hip-hop, funk, grime, house, crunk, dancehall, video games) but the sum of it all has a sound of its own that makes your body want to move non-stop.
Here's YoYoYoYoYo, the debut album by Spank Rock. Don't try to resist it, it's impossible.

Jimmy Edgar - Color Strip

Do the 80's still count? Yes, if they serve as inspiration and not as a motive to copy/paste And here's another proof. Actually it doesn't stop in one decade, taking at least 30 years of musical history in an hybrid that sounds created in 2006. Signs of the times.

Madonna - Confessions Tour

Madonna has announced the dates of her new world tour, which will start on the 21st of May in Los Angeles. She will be playing in the United States until July and then will come to Europe, with shows in the U.K., Italy, Germany, Denmark, France and Holland, before ending in Japan in September.
Click here to see a clip from her performance of "I love New York" (best song on her latest album, among with Get Together, Future Lovers and Hung Up), which took place last November, in an intimate show in London broadcasted live through the internet.

Gorillaz R.I.P.

They are one of the most revolutionary musical concepts ever.
Their last album - Demon Days - is absolute genius.
Basically, If i had a favourite band, they would be it.
Yesterday Damon Albarn announced that the Gorillaz project will end, at least for now.
It makes total sense in a way, as they are leaving on top of their creativity and popularity.
All hail the Gorillaz, the ultimate music band of our times.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine

She's been around for more than 10 years but it was not until recently that i have really noticed her and paid some more attention. This is her third album, a collection of songs from someone that is now more mature and makes sure we see it on her music. The result is perfect pop music with some jazz inspiration and a confessional mood that prevails on the whole album. The conclusion is that she's turning herself into a brilliant singer-songwriter.

Modeselektor - Hello Mom!

More from the german electronica scene but this time, instead of dark and austere moods, what we have here is totally different. Something like "Hey, why don't we put together some techno and hip-hop, take some upbeat drugs, mix everything in the computer and see what's the result?". And? A very good one indeed where "Fun" is really the keyword.

Monday, April 03, 2006

TV Moments # 1

Desperate Housewives

The second season starts today on the portuguese Fox Channel. It will be nice to once again be taken by the black humor that is all over it, while we follow the lives of the characters, all so complex but oh so normal.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Liars - Drum's Not Dead

This is one the of the most unpredictable rock bands of our times.
First there was "They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top", one of the vital albuns for the early 2000's New York electro punk scene.
Then they moved to Berlin, cut with their past and recorded "They Were Wrong So We Drowned", a radical experimental concept album about witchcraft and german pagan mythologies.
Now they once again make a radical change and immerse themselves in the roots of it all, making a record based on drum's possibilities. Being the first musical instrument used by man, there's a sort of a primitive ritualistic feeling in these songs, as if they were recorded by 21st century cavemen. Pure visceral and hypnotic music, already one of the best records of 2006.

Guilty pleasures # 3

Beyoncé - Check On It (featuring Slim Thug)

There's something really annoying about the amount of advertising she has done lately. L'Oreal? Tommy Hilfiger? McDonald's? Is there anything she wouldn't do for money?
But truth to be said, she knows how to create perfect pop singles. After Crazy in Love - still one of the best songs in recent years -, this one manages to follow its steps and once again be purely irresistible.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Poetry # 1

This is still one of my favourite poems ever...

by John Donne (1572-1631)

I WONDER by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved ? were we not wean'd till then ?
But suck'd on country pleasures, childishly ?
Or snorted we in the Seven Sleepers' den ?
'Twas so ; but this, all pleasures fancies be ;
If ever any beauty I did see,
Which I desired, and got, 'twas but a dream of thee.

And now good-morrow to our waking souls,
Which watch not one another out of fear ;
For love all love of other sights controls,
And makes one little room an everywhere.
Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone ;
Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown ;
Let us possess one world ; each hath one, and is one.

My face in thine eye, thine in mine appears,
And true plain hearts do in the faces rest ;
Where can we find two better hemispheres
Without sharp north, without declining west ?
Whatever dies, was not mix'd equally ;
If our two loves be one, or thou and I
Love so alike that none can slacken, none can die.