Wednesday, August 24, 2011

FTRK #57 and #58 = "Red Horse (Judges II)" and "The Righteous Wrath Of An Honourable Man" by Colin Stetson


Red Horse (Judges II) - Colin Stetson (2011)

The Righteous Wrath Of An Honourable Man - Colin Stetson (2011)

From the first listen the radical music of Colin Stetson, a solo baritone saxophone player, is nothing short of amazing. Even more so when the knowledge that the album New History Warfare Vol.2: Judges was recorded with no overdubs and virtually in one take. The two tracks selected for the FTRK series are both outstanding, etheral rhythms that don't just feature the deep sound the instrument is characterized by, but precussion by the keys and squeals from the reed.

"Red Horse" is, in one word, alive. It's raw, powerful and stressing. The bass keeps the tempo under control to the extent in which it seems to be dragging some servile creature down (presumably a horse). As the screeches and whines build towards the conclusion, the creature seems to grow weaker, and the bass ever so constant. Overall, it seems as description of a struggle beneath order.

"The Righteous Wrath Of An Honourable Man" is a colourful arpeggio of dreamy stature. The song is similar to "The Flight of the Bumblebee" in terms of tempo and rhythm, but much more regal and melodic. It's a gaseous, pale sound alone within the expanse of an empty corridor that seems to travel and explove its every crevace in order to act as a memorandum of sorts.

Video:



"Red Horse (Judge II) & In Love and In Justice"
Produced by The Blogotheque

Further Listening:
Official Website

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Devon #3 = The External World

The External World is, well, strange. It is a bunch of random scenes tied tied together by a boy learning to play piano. Some such scenes (alliteration!) include "The frisbee of misguided parental advice", a scalpel store where you get a puppy with every purchase, a girl who gives a celebrity worm a seizure and does bad, bad things with it, the Nazi art museum, what I can only describe as a "portal cat", a crippled and bullet ridden Jesus riding his wheelchair over water (the camera travels through his head), and a retirement home for cartoon characters where an old racist stereotype dreams of freedom and equality before firefighters rush in and beat him to death with those same words while the "irony" flashes on the screen. It's nonsense really, but that's the point. as while the violence and sex may offend some, it isn't really happening, so why let it bother you? In fact, the film points out that we can't be sure that anything is real, so why get worried. It's a simple premise, and it gives the creators lots of room to show random bullcrap (scratch that, random entertaining bullcrap). It's message may be a bit overdone, in my humble opinion, but the short is really entertaining and funny, so why not give up fifteen minutes of your life. Just prepare to either think about it intensely and come up with your own meaning for it, or don't think about it at all, and just laugh at the ice cream pooping manga frog.

The external world can be found here.

Devon #2 = Cowboy's And Aliens

Cowboy's and Aliens is a movie involving both cowboys and aliens. Well, ok, there is a bit more to it than that. Daniel Craig is a cowboy who wakes up somewhere in the old west with no memory and a strange metal armband. He soon discovers that he was involved in a train robbery and that he stole the gold of Harrison Fords character, Woodrow Dolarhyde (damn, I can't help but love that name) a man who lords over a small town and generally looks to be the bad guy, before the aliens show up. Eventually the Aliens attack, steal loved ones of certain characters, and the main group of, well, cowboys, plus a child and a woman ("well, we've already got a child and a dog, why not a woman"), set off to save them. The gold heist is the thread that connects Harrison, Craig, and a gang of outlaws, and serves well as a way to create interesting relationships between the characters. And while Daniel Craig's sexist, ass kicking loner is a bit too similar to James Bond, Harrison Ford managed to lose all semblance of Indiana Jones or Han Solo, largely because his character is such a huge asshole. That can actually be said about most of the characters, save for the preacher of the group. They are all jerks at the start of the film, but develop into better people through their shared experience. Confidence is earned, racism is overcome, and forgiveness is given. This is actual character development, and sets Cowboy's and Aliens apart from being just a forgettable summer action film. Its not Oscar material, either, but it makes the action scenes better.

The Alien side of the equation may be a bit divisive. Simply put, they look like the creature from the black lagoon. They are fish people. However, I didn't mind if they were a little silly, as they serve as great villains through their superior technology compared to cowboys of the early nineteen hundreds, they provide some decent jump cut scares, and for the last few minutes that Craig is inside their ship, they move in a way that evokes the Xenomorph from Alien, which is really damn creepy.

This is a pretty good film, which, to be honest, really surprised me. I was expecting to watch James Bond and Indiana Jones wearing cowboy hats and punching monsters, but instead i saw something better. Mind you, I don't want to build this up to be an amazing film, because it wasn't (one twist may pull you out of the experience completely, and it has a very slow start before the characters reveal themselves), but it was a damn (fairly) good one. Go see it, if not for it being a good movie, then because it has one of my favorite death scenes ever, involving an Alien, a gold collecting machine, and the wrath of Daniel Craig.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FTRK #55 and #56 = "Tjære For Alltid" and "Nordland" by Binärpilot


Tjære For Alltid - Binärpilot (2010)

Nordland - Binärpilot (2010)


Binärpilot is a very talented chiptune artist, claiming to be a sentient android straight from Norway. The two featured tracks, fresh from the Nordland album, pack plenty of heat. According to Deathelectro.com's Tobias (the album cover is being leeched from his site), he is "..a master of this teknique [(Chiptune)] and therefore has a special place in my heart.".

"Alltid" features a progressive rhythm, with zippy whines and plucky arpeggio to compliment the classy bass rhythm. Each of the three components seem to have their own moments to demonstrate "solos" without interfering with the pace whilist maintaining its upbeat nature. As for "Nordland", Binärpilot entertains us with a sample of his computerized (not vocoded) voice amongst another slick bass riff and the back and forth slur of the synthesizer in a very approachable combination.

Binärpilot's entire discography is available free on his official website. Check it out!

Further Listening:
Official Website
Official MySpace

Friday, August 12, 2011

FTRK #53 and #54 = "Haydée Morcelée" and "Brise Méprise" by Pas Chic Chic


Haydée Morcelée - Pas Chic Chic (2008)

Brise Méprise - Pas Chic Chic (2008)

A bright winter morning in Northern Quebec seems a fitting scene for the plucky but frigid atmosphere of "Haydée Morcelée". From Pas Chic Chic's better half of Au Contraire, takes us along a rather joyous ride through flaky white precipitate, occasionally bumping along screeching FX. The mix of acoustic guitar and tones makes it feel rather progressive in an emotional perspective and produces a glowing texture.

The track is curiously followed up with a very melancolous song by the name of "Brise Méprise". Its creeping nature seems to weave like sewing needle through fabric. The atmosphere almost makes it feel as if the vocalists are merely puppets being paraded about the rocking rhythm in a circus-esque performance. Approaching the end, the organ "breakdown" provides rather conclusive evidence of its intentional depressing aura.

Pas Chic Chic's full discography is available free on their website. Check it out!

Further Listening:
Official Website
Official MySpace

Devon #1 = Transformers: Dark of the Moon

Disclaimer- I never watched the cartoon

So, first review eh? Well, what movies have I seen recently. There was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a fantastic looking sci fi movie with a brilliant concept and remarkable use of the series's heritage. Or, there was Captain America, a clever return to basic superhero storytelling from Marvel, which captured the time period presented perfectly, from Captain America's"I'm a soldier, thus I will kill people (off-screen)" approach, to the fictitious Captain America comic being his real life first issue, right down to the Hitler punch. Or there was Transformers 3. Yeah, lets go with that.

I really don't like this title. For one thing, that just sounds stupid, not just because it's a misnomer, but because they clearly wanted to call it "Dark Side Of The Moon". It turns out, that was exactly what they were going to call it, but Pink Floyd threatened to sue. Secondly, the moon barely factors into it at all. The first scenes do indeed focus on how a ship from Cybertron, the transformers home planet, though if you didn't know that coming in then you really have no business with this movie, landed on the moon. This is shown to be the reason that President Kennedy (who appears via news clips and a decent lookalike, a nice touch) started NASA and the space race. I usually love alternate history like this, but the way that Transformers bends history around the moon landing conspiracy theories, seems really off putting. I suppose that a movie about transforming robots does warrants a fair amount of suspension of disbelief, but this stuck out for me, personally.

 The movie properly begins as we cut to the modern day as a device, a "sky bridge", that the U.S. recovered from the moon, lies at the source of the Chernobyl explosion. That's another little logic problem that i got caught up on. Why would U.S. property be used by the Russians in the cold war? But again, it's about giant robots. The Autobots go to the moon and take more sky bridges (when combined they will teleport Cybertron next to the earth) plus their old leader, Sentinel prime. This is great, except that he is evil! I would seperate the introduction of his character and the twist of him being evil, but the movie barely does, so why draw it out here. Sentinel doesn't really have any moments to show his character, not even when told that his species is now endangered and that their war was lost. This makes  his turn to evil seem less like a desperate plea to save his planet and more like a cartoonish plot, particularly when it is revealed that he suddenly hates humans and wants them enslaved. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to see him tying women to train tracks and yelling "Curses, foiled again!". And thus this character is wasted, and worse, a waste of Leonard Nimoy's voice talents.

Sentinel's evil turn, using sky bridges to teleport Cybertron to the earth, comprised most of the plot, save some death scenes and the resolution. I would say this plot composes about 45 minutes of the movie, non consecutively, and it slows down considerably in the second and even third act. Another 45 minutes involve's Sam, our hero, played by Shia LaBeouf. His plots go something like this: Sam is trying to get a job. His parents show up, have two jokes, and appear in two scenes. That transforming toy car is causing trouble again, but this time with a wacky (read: perverted) sidekick. This sidekick doesn't have any perpose or explanation, unless I'm forgetting something from Transformers Two. In fact, the only things I remember him doing are saying clusterfuck and peaking up the new girlfriends dress. Speaking of which, Sam has a new girlfriend who just isn't memorable at all. Megan Fox was mostly eye candy in the first two, but at least her personality was there, for good or bad. The new girl seems under written, and probably was as she was brought in to replace Fox only after filming had began. Sam he seems to constantly mistrust and be jealous of whats her face, and it even seems like Sam doesn't actually care for this woman, saying "I love you" and sounding as if he just wants an attractive girlfriend. This makes him seem like a jerk, which is a shame because Shia LaBeouf was, in my opinion, one of the most tolerable parts of the first film. Whats her name also has a boss played by someone from Grey's anatomy, who I will refer to, for purely comedic purposes, as McSexDoctor. McSexDoctor seems to be the source of Sam's mistrust and jealousy of whats her face, which could be resolved in a much better film through character building and trust between Sam and whats her face, but also with a respect forming between Sam and Dr. McSexDoctor. Instead, they made his character evil. This is fairly obvious from his introduction because, well because of the poor script and acting, but also because Dr. McSexDoctor (god I love typing that) give's her an expensive supercar that is clearly a Transformer. Sam runs into Seymore Simmons from the other movies, aka the guy who bumblebee peed on (I think, confirming this would require re-watching a Transformers movie, an act I will not stoop to) appears via a cameo from Bill O'Reilly, and apparently is a good guy. Not O'Reilly, the pee guy. And he (pee guy) has a romance with a "hilariously" uptight woman who runs central intelligence (a plot line consisting of one line, followed by one end sequence kiss). Oh and there's a crazy Asian dude. And megatron shows up. And John Malcovich is there. Except hes Sam's craaazy boss. And i really wish he had been the vulture in one of the Sam Raimi spiderman movies. And there's a billion other tiny little plots. And everything I have described in this paragraph goes nowhere and has little resolution, save for McSexDoctor having a very iffy feeling death. These plots exist only to eat up time. Sam himself isn't even obviously responceable for the Autobot's winning, he could of sat this one out entirely. Sam's only real contribution is that he figures out is that Sentinal is evil, but Sentinal reveals himself before Sam can say anything. Sam exists only so that we arent watching an hour and a half long movie with only giant robots fighting and making gravel voiced speeches. But that is the movie Michael Bay should have made! A big problem with this movie is that all this (the whole damn paragraph) should have been left out or streamlined, or even just made relevant to the plot. Transformers succeeds when it realizes that it's about blowing shit up, and this film fails because the far to few examples of blowing shit up are few and far between, lost in a random sequence of empty, soulless, and irrelevant plots..

The last hour of the movie (and it will feel like an hour) is one big fight scene. Oh, and the government exiled the transformers, but they stuck around secretly, and now Chicago is under siege. Anyway, the last hour of the movie (and it will feel like an hour) is one big fight scene. Sam goes to find his girlfriend who is being held by McSexDoctor, who has since been revealed to be evil. The soldiers from the previous movies (?) come with Sam, armed with only guns (I never understood how guns can hurt these robots, but i digress), and exactly one (1) rocket for their rocket launcher. One. And it's not like they only shoot it once, they actually go out of their way to say yeah, we only brought one rocket. So blah blah they go up a skyscraper to shoot the Trump building which is the focal point of the teleporting device. Blah blah their skyscraper falls over via giant metal ringworm. Blah blah a guy who had either zero or one line dies in slow motion. Blah blah blah the good guy are safe, but wait, they're not! Optimus Prime flies in with the wings he got in the last movie, looks cool for all of thirty seconds, saves Sam and friends, and then proceeds to get stuck in hanging wires for 15 minutes. No really, he is just hanging upside down awkwardly for a long time, which just feels strange. Eventually he is freed by the three soccer hooligan transformers (two of which have almost no lines). Next, a transformer who only had three or so lines with the face and voice of Albert Einstein gets killed by the Decepticons. They put him on his knees and shoot him in the back of the head, causing blood to fly everywhere. Oh yeah, the dozens of shot, exploded, and stabbed robots bleed now. Now, no one expected this movie to be child friendly, though it should have been, but I know that some kids are gonna have some strange feelings after seeing this. Speaking of the Einstein bot, he, along with the hooligan robots and a Spanish-sounding Italian sports car Transformer are the most notable new robots, and of these only two have a personality (I'm a hooligan! I'm Einstein... for some reason!) anther two have no lines, Einstein bot  gets shot horribly, and the culturally confused sports car disappears halfway through the movie. But they will make great toys!

The good guys win through some manner that I honestly forget and kill four important Decepticons, only two of which I had realized were in the movie. Optimus fights Sentinel with the help of Megatron, who Optimus immediately kills via axe to the face. Sentinel, defeated, then begs for forgiveness, and Optimus shoots him not just once, but a second time as his mutilated body tries to crawl away. Again, Sentinel was practically begging for his life, and Optimus just kills him. This doesn't feel like a victory, honestly it feels like a moment from a much more morally ambiguous film crammed into something as goofy as Transformers. The needless bloodshed, with literal blood, is distracting and honestly, kind of sad, not something you want in a movie such as this.

So yeah, this movie has problems. It needs editing badly, it has characters and plot lines that exist only for padding and/ or selling toys, not nearly enough shit seems to blow up for a "shit blows up" movie, the pacing is too slow, and importantly, the tone is wildly fluctuating between childish humor and trying-to-be-serious death, either of which is incredably inappropriate for a movie based on a children's toy line and cartoon. This film is a combination of a kid's movies plot, an adult movies tone, and the stupidity of a really bad teenage sex comedy, multiplied by a length worthy of a Lord of the Rings film. It's worst crime however, is that all these problems make the film just plain boring. What this movie should have been was a simple, nostalgic interpretation and modernization of the cartoon, with clear morals, few subplots, and plenty of explosions. Transformers is not a complex thing. Make a movie that is appropriate for younger viewers, enough action for a summer blockbuster, a suitably epic and clear good vs evil plot, a decent script, and, most importantly, a respect and admiration for the original series, and you would have a good movie based off of a liscense such as this. Don't do any of that, and you have Transformers 3.

Well there we go. Off to a great start eh? Join me again sometime when I review something good, at some point. I will say things, possibly humorous things, and they will be entertaining. Cheers.

I give it a thumbs down. I guess. Reviewing system coming soon.

NWSL #8 = Another Author

Simply put, we've been interested in expanding for a while. At last, the term "we" becomes literally applicable; Devon will be joining Oil Sound to do movie reviews. As of writing this post, there are a few formatting issues that need to be covered before we're settled in, such as the description of the blog and its classy coffee stain theme. Expect good things! :)

Devon: An Introduction - "Oh, we better hurry, I think that's our boat to hell."

There is a lot of thought that goes into introducing yourself in a blog, or anything with a chance of gaining some kind of- sort of readership. Even just having your work seen online is a terrifying thing to jump into. No matter how one does it, they seem to always regret it. So, without further adieu, lets screw up my introduction. My name is Devon, I like writing and movies. Now, you see that title? That's a line from TEKKEN: The Motion Picture, and, dear lord, it is god damn hilarious (Mwahaha, I have distracted you from my contrived introduction). It pains me to think that, at some point, someone sat down and typed out those words (forget that it was probably badly translated japanese for a moment). Now obviously, you could give it some context, and it could probably be decent right? The characters are indeed boarding a boat leading to a corporations hidden island headquarters to compete in a... secret fighting tournament for the control of that same corporation because... nope. Didn't work. That line is just awful. You see, (and here's where i hopefully tie it all together) writing is something that I love doing, whether it be the ideas, editing, or actual writing involved in the process, and at no point do I ever want to be in that guys shoes, writing a direct to DVD anime based on a video game franchise, and just giving up, typing out something like that. Something like "Thats a lotta fish" or ”You know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.” That's why I'm here. I'm gonna review movies, not just to recommend some of them, to ward people away from others, or even to try and make people laugh. I'm here to make sure that when I write some awful, putrid line, I'll know to stop, take a look at whatever i'm writing, and think; "well now, that's just stupid". I hope to get tonnes of feedback, especially while I find my style.Thanks, and i hope you all enjoy my stuff.