Thursday, June 29, 2006

Guilty pleasures # 5

Rachel Stevens - Come And Get It

Yes, I have a thing for hedonistic teenage pop tunes when they are so brilliantly crafted, but unfortunately this is something that just happens on rare occasions. Now when there's an album where almost every song reaches that level (think something like Goldfrapp-meets-Eurovision), I can just do something and that is to surrender myself. And the fact that "Come And Get It" was a total sales flop and has been adulated by the alternative margins is the most recent proof that the world is such a wonderful (and ironic) place.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Cibelle - The Shine Of Dried Electric Leaves

After debuting on the final project from the late Suba, where she lended her warm and sensual voice to the excellent "São Paulo Confessions", Cibelle went on with a solo career, always with the goal to refine her influences and create a new language that she could call her own. And with "The Shine Of Dried Electric Leaves", her second album, we're shown that she's already managed it, with the help of friends such as producers Mike Lindsay, Apollo 9 and former Air house-engineer Yann Arnaud, and guest appearances by Devendra Banhart, Spleen and Seu Jorge - famous for his David Bowie covers heard in the movie The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Coming from Brasil, she now lives in London and this simple fact is actually the best way to describe her music, where cool tropical ambiences are mixed with some electronic micro-sounds that could only be heard in selected London night locations. This results in a melting-pot of different elements that stick together perfectly, with songs in english, portuguese or even french. Searching for sophisticated pop gems that gracefully come out of your speakers? Look no further, this is it.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Music Videos # 8 and # 9

The Knife - Silent Shout + We Share Our Mothers Health

Dated techno keyboards? Weird vocals? Creepy ambiences? The beautiful contradiction of such unexpected elements creating some of the most compelling music around? Welcome to The Knife's fascinating universe with these two very cool videos:

Silent Shout (directed by Andreas Nilsson)
We Share Our Mothers Health (directed by Motomichi Nakamura)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Polaroids # 3

ROMA Publications exhibition

(Picture taken on the 17th of June 2006 to one of the fabulous videos included in the ROMA Publications exhibition, which can be seen at the Culturgest galleries in Lisbon. More info about this independent editorial project can be found here)

Wise In Time - The Ballad Of Den The Men

Ian Simmonds, the Welsh man behind this new project, has been supplying us with essential music for over a decade. As a member of Sandals, he made "Rite To Silence" (1994), one of the definitive releases of the 1990's decade, creating the perfect dance symbiosis between dub, house, techno and rock. Then he went solo and released some perfect soundtracks for the so-called pre-millennium tension, where we could almost see the end of the world coming, in albuns such as "Last States of Nature" (1998), signed as Ian Simmonds or "The Hill" (2000), as Juryman. After a long absence, he returns with what he does best: ellegant and nocturnal music to be heard essentially in the dark. It has elements of electronics, jazz, blues or folk but, more than that, it fits in a category of its own, one of nocturnal and claustrophobic poetry. Blindingly beautiful.

Polaroids # 2

Lisbon gardens during springtime

(Pictures taken between May and June 2006 in some public gardens across Lisbon - Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Príncipe Real, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and Av. da Liberdade)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Music videos # 7

Madonna - Get Together

Some people just eat too much mushrooms and whoever made this clip is surely one of them. With that said, we have to confess that we do love this cool animated video, totally fitting with the mood of the song. Which, by the way, is one of her best singles in years.
See it here.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Underrated Projects # 3 / TV Moments # 3

On The Air (1992 TV sitcom)

Fresh from his initial Twin Peaks / Who-killed-Laura-Palmer success, David Lynch returned to television to share with us his own vision of what a sitcom should be, thus resulting in this fascinating On The Air, a TV show about a TV show where everything always goes wrong. Full of surreal and absurd moments, this was a big fuck-you to all the prominent TV-languages that had been seen so far, inventing its own rhythm and even its own sense of humour. Such audacity resulted in the show being cancelled after just 7 episodes, but it still remains as one of the greatest TV lost pearls.

Guilty pleasures # 4

All Saints - Pure Shores

Released in 2000, here's a great song to hear in your ipod, full of ethereal details to help you fly your way through the streets.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Inside Man

This is not Spike Lee doing mainstream, this is the mainstream going all Spike Lee on us. Inbetween the lines of one of the most intelligent scripts in recent times, he manages to pulverize this film with his usual trademark references: its refined humour, the racial and social conflicts and, of course, another ode to his beloved New York City, post-9/11. The rest is mostly an (excellent) excuse for him to play, making this "Spike Lee joint" belong to the category of First-Class Entertainment. Now, who's the inside man after all?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Herbert - Scale

It's amazing how, after 10 years, he still manages to make such excellent music that never seizes to impress us. "Scale" is the sound of a man getting older and applying all his accumulated wisdom in what he does. This is probably his most accessible album in years and, at the same time, his most luminous. There's more importance given to the songs and the singers themselves and less to the recording methods used (although, apparently, there were still some conceptual efforts made, as the sounds heard in here came from sampling 723 different objects, 37 of which are shown in the album cover). This results in music that is mostly joyful, with occasional moments of melancholy, in memorable and sophisticated songs full of swing, where the strings play an important role to create moments of extreme beauty. And in the meantime, combining elements of jazz, electro, techno, ambience, funk and minimalism, what we have here is an album that becomes the synthesis of its author's musical language. Considering that he's one of the most important musicians around, "Scale" becomes nothing less than obligatory.

Dream Team?

They have declared their mutual admiration in multiple occasions and now it seems they will finally join forces. Apparently, Björk has been in the studio with Timbaland (best known for his ground-breaking productions for Missy Elliott), writing and tracking music for her next album. We at Random types can't wait to hear the results.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Music Videos # 6

And the saga goes on, luckily for us. Check out this epic performance at this year's MTV Movie Awards show.

Music videos # 4 and # 5

Hot Chip - Over and Over + Boy From School

DIY attitude and bricolage playing are concepts behind Hot Chip's music and these clips, besides other attributes, have the advantage of being completely coherent with their universe. Here are the first two videos taken from "The Warning":

Over and Over (directed by Nima Nourizadeh of Partizan)
Boy From School (directed by Garth Jennings of Hammer & Tongs)

Hot Chip - The Warning

Their first album - 2004's "Coming On Strong" - was a lo-fi experience, with pure pop-melodies played in a false-naïve way that was totally irresistible. But nothing would prepare us for the next step: "The Warning" is absolute-genius-pop-music-elevated-to-perfection. The simple, almost-childish attitude towards melody and music is still here, but only in a false way, as this time things get much more complex. Last year, Some Water And Sun had already done something similar with "All My Friends Have To Go", bringing 80's influenced melodies that could be sang by Scritti Politti into our digital age, but now things go even further. Supporting perfect songs we have hip-hop, disco, funk, indietronica, techno, house, digital folk or 80's electro in an absolutely successful attempt to abolish all contradictions and create harmony out of chaos. The fact that, with a smile in their faces and a lot of humour, they accomplish all this in a way that seems so simple and easy, is just the miracle of pop-music in full force.

Music Videos # 3

Kanye West feat. Lupe Fiasco - Touch The Sky

Latest clip from everyone's current favourite hip-hop star. Being the third time he works with director Chris Milk, this time they are using some effects and a cinematography that pay direct homage to the 70's blaxploitation movies. Featuring a very special guest appearance, it manages to show Kanye in his usual larger-than-life character and, at the same time, make some fun of it. Pay special attention to the humoristic interlude in the middle, so far from all the usual hip-hop cliches.
Check the video here.

Polaroids # 1

Franz Ferdinand live at Parque Tejo, Lisbon (07-06-2006)

Pharrell live at Parque Tejo, Lisbon (08-06-2006)

Monday, June 05, 2006

Burial - Burial

Let's just start by saying this is probably one of the most important music releases in recent times. Ground-breaking albuns that are nothing less than genre defining don't happen often, with the best example probably still being 1995's "Timeless", by Goldie, responsible for taking jungle and drum'n'bass out of the underground and into the world in all its glory.
Cut forward to 2006 and we're introduced to dubstep, a new genre that has its origins in UK garage, slowing down its rhythm, cutting its voices and applying new sound techniques inspired by dub. And Burial, the mysterious London producer responsible for this urban masterpiece, will surely be remembered as its standard-bearer.
Of course, as with all visionary musicians, Burial doesn't limit itself to one genre, instead creating an intimate and personal view of how he sees what music should be: minimal, dark, post-apocalyptic, subterranean, mysterious, hypnotic and also moving... The result? A bit like walking alone into the spaces that were once occupied by raves and finding them totally empty and abandoned to degradation. Meaning that, after "City Watching" (2000) by Two Banks Of Four, and as its album cover brilliantly suggests, we have a new soundtrack for the urban city night, one that is much scarier but without a milligram of less beauty, just on the contrary. Not a single sound in here is unnecessary, not a single sample is out of place, not a single rhythmic texture is less than pure poetry, creating a suffocating ambience but full of melancholy, as if the haunted echoed voices that are sometimes heard in here were nothing less than an interpretation of our deepest feelings. We're not the first ones to say it, but we agree: Breathtaking.

The Bamboos - Step it Up

One year later, here is the first logical sequence to 2005's "Naturally" by Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. And what is it? Once again, music that sounds like coming directly from the golden age of soul-funk: infectious, energic and full of good-vibes. The fact that this time it comes from Melbourne in Australia could be a surprise but, more than that, it's only a reflection that the world is becoming a small village. And, apparently, ready to shake the bad vibrations off and just dance like there's no tomorrow.