Monday, December 31, 2007

The Best 2 Movies of 2007


I didn't see all the movies I wanted this year but the last two I watched were easily the best.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
This is a Romanian film set there under the communist rule of 1987. The story concerns a woman trying to help her friend get an abortion, something that was punishable by jail time. The gripping realism of this movie is not for everyone. It's attention to detail is emotional and disturbing. The entire film takes place in the hallways and rooms of Romanian block housing. The cinematography is phenomenal. Incredible acting. The exellent use of natural light and letting the screen fall dark at times as we follow people through apartment hallways lends a disturbing atmosphere to an already very heavy film. If you are willing to go there, this is film art that will hit you hard.

There Will be Blood

The poster says "where ambition meets faith, there will be blood," which is an exellent description of the story. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, a hardened oil prospector at the turn of the century. He finds an enemy in an evangelical preacher that has his church on oil land that Plainview wants. The film details the rise and fall of these men. Warren thought it was a major comment on the idiocy and greediness of religion and big business. I saw it as a more personal story, but upon second thought, he must be right. The production design, sets, lighting, and camera work are very well done. Johnny Greenwood of Radiohead turns in an amazingly far out, intense and trippy score that feels like another character in the film. It sounds almost Eraserhead-ish at times. I recommend seeing it on the big screen if you can.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Ashford & Simpson

These are two of the universe's finest songwriters performing one of thee most exquisite tunes ever written, live in concert.
These two lovers have been solidifing their love through song since the 50's. They started composing for Motown, writing classics for Ray Charles and Diana Ross before they left the label to start releasing music under there own name. Ashford & Simpson are the only ones that perform at this level that we are aware of at this juncture in time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Pondering People # 2: TRISTAN


Tristan aka Trick, is my little brother. He lives in lower Nob Hill in San Francisco where he is learning to be a teacher. He has more style in his belt buckle than you have in your whole wardrobe. He showed up for Christmas dinner looking like a 70's African hillbilly and I had to capture the look to share with you. Our mother was firmly against posting these pictures. Ladies, give him a call at 415 608 6335.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Harvey


The latest Harvey party was last weekend. Paul T and company found an exellent new space in east LA. The heads came out of the woodwork and were ready to party. We did. The crowd was going off all night, yelling like crazy for each little change in the music. Harvey made amazing use of his 1/4" tape dub delay system all night long, really tripping people out with it. He took the music unusually deep this time. Not soft, sensual deep; but dark, on the edge of sanity deep. It sounded like a lot of 90's records from London or something. Some of the artists he played throughout the night were Voyage, UFO, Still Going, Visual, Chris & Cosey, Edgar Winter, Mandy Smith, Paper Dolls, The Osmonds, Reverso68, and he even broke out the very first Black Cock edit. When the lights came on at the end of the night he played Music of Life by Cerrone. It sounded amazing on the Sarcastic Sound System. My friend who has been seeing Harvey play forever said it was the best set she's seen him play. That means this was some of the best music ever, and it definetly was. Get in touch if you want to come with us next time.


Photos by Kerry.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Karlheinz Stockhausen: 1928 - 2007


One of the great musicians of our time died last week. He was one of the furthest out composers ever. Karlheinz was one of the first to apply concepts and philosophy to classical music. The resulting music is now referred to as 'new music' or 'experimental.' His works were highly conceptual, extremely complicated, and very challenging to understand, and at times, to listen to. Stockhausen wrote the first piece of published electronic music. Like his contemporary John Cage, he worked extensively with chance in his compositions. He composed hundreds of works in his lifetime. His piece Stimmung simply held a B flat ninth for 70 minutes. His work Gruppen was for 3 orchestras playing simultaneously, slowing shifting patterns. From 1977 to 2003 he worked on Licht, a cycle of seven operas, each based on a day of the week. The piece was over 29 hours long. A performance of Licht requires a string quartet in four helicopters hovering above. I could go on and on about the ideas behind his works. If you want to know more check out his wikipedia page.

More Film Reviews

Control

This is Ian Curtis' story told by people that knew and loved him. It is based on his wifes recollections of him, as she also produced the film. This is the best recent use of black and white cinematography I can think of. They shot in color then transfered to B&W because it fits the streets of Manchester and the mood of the film better. This was beautifully shot in the exact places Ian grew up. The actors do a great job. Sam Riley does the legendary Curtis dance well, and Samantha Morton is incredible as usual. This is not an uplifting picture but super inspiring nevertheless.

Resident Evil: Extinction

This was pretty good. The production design was incredible, the sets looked awesome. The lighting, cinematography, and overall tone were impressive too. They rehashed the 'post apocalyptic last humans on earth battling the undead' plot for the hundredth time, but whatever. You know what your getting if you sit down to watch this. I watched it online at 4 in the morning. Milla Jovovich is pretty rad, I read she is the highest paid supermodel in the world (10 million a year.) There are tons of cliches and faults with this movie but if you wanna zone out, it's pretty scary and fun.

The Queen

Finally saw this. It's interesting because the actors are playing living people experiencing recent events. I didn't realize the extent of the controversy in England regarding the Queen not publicly reacting to Dianas death. I guess they didn't even like her. Tony Blair comes off as the idiot he is. The film is a good guess at what life is like for the Royal Family.

American Gangster

Pretty standard stuff. Drug dealer vs cop and the dealer eventually gets popped and narcs. But definitely worth watching. I am sick of Denzel doing the same shit over and over but oh well, better than Will Smith. Props to the script by Steve Zallian, the Don. No easy task putting that together, the man is a master. I hate to say it but I think T.I. is a WAY better actor than RZA.

Trekkies

Holy shit! This is awesome! I got it for a dollar on VHS from my local library. This is a classic documentary from before documentaries were popular. Informative, weird, and thought provoking. Laugh out loud funny too. I find it inspiring how dedicated these nerds are. The girl in the picture is my favorite.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

P-Lords Music Mix #2



Mixed Live by the Brothers K

It's Immaterial - Driving Away from Home
Front Line Orchestra - Don't Turn Your Back On Me
Eddie Kendricks - Girl, You Need A Change of Mind
Womack & Womack - Love Wars
Ashford & Simpson- It Seems to Hang On
ABBA - Lay All Your Love On Me
Marianne Faithful - Broken English
Central Line - Walking Into Sunshine
Man Friday - Winners
Postive Force - We Got the Funk
Peter Brown - Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me?

Photo by Doug Port

Monday, December 3, 2007

New Film Reviews

A Mighty Heart

Not my cup of tea. This movie feels like watching the news. A bunch of middle eastern babbling about a missing guy. No development, suspense, or interest at all. The editing is what really ruins the movie. There isn't one scene more than four or five seconds long. It's impossible to think about whats happening when the edits are so quick and annoying. I imagine the director or editor got his start at MTV. Angelina Jolie is boring. Just because she styled her hair differently and does a bad accent does not make her performance note worthy. This movie sucked.

Bug

This was an interesting film about paranoia and schizophrenia. Very bad title decision as it has almost nothing to do with bugs. They are a metaphor for one mans insane delusions and a woman's drug induced hallucinations. It's directed by William Friedkin, who did The Exorcist and based on a play by Tracy Letts. Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon give excellent performances. If you have ever known anyone crazy or totally strung out, this film might get under your skin. If you haven't it probably will too.

Zwartboek (Black Book)

This is about a group of Resistance fighters in Holland towards the end of World War Two. A woman's family is wiped out by Nazis and she goes undercover to free some captured comrades. It's a long movie but interesting developments occur enough to keep you locked in. If you have a problem with subtitles, beware, this is in Dutch and Hebrew and the plot moves quickly. But I suggest you learn to read better, because most interesting films are in other languages. There are a couple bullshit moments that are worth just looking past, but most of this film is pretty engaging.

No Country for Old Men

Whoa. The Coen Brothers are back. They have created one of cinemas great villains in Anton Chigurh, played by Javier Bardem in a phenomenal performance. This dude is evil. Deranged. Smart. Psycho. The haircut!! What an inspired call! (Aparently from an photo of a Texas brothel patron from the 1890's). His clothes and weapon round out the freakishness. The way the Coens build suspense is incredible. It's not so much what the film's about, but the way they do it. I really like how they left a lot to the imagination. So much so, that at my showing people booed at the end. I guess they were excepting a tidy Hollywood ending and instead they got thoughtful, provoking dialogue. One of my favorite parts is the fade to black they use after Llewelyn Moss meets the girl by the pool. That was one menacing fade out.

Rescue Dawn

Werner Herzogs telling of Dieter Denglars story. It is the true story of a man shot down and taken prisoner in Laos in the 60's. I wont tell you more, just see it. This one isn't as stylized as Herzogs other features, as he ops to tells Denglars story strait up. No war movie bullshit here, it is barely about war. It is about survival. Mind blowing acting by Jeremy Davies, Christain Bale, and Steve Zahn. Herzog does it again. Do not miss these masters at work.

The Future is Unwritten

This is about the life of Joe Strummer. For a movie about the Clash just watch Westway to the World. It's awesome. If your really into Strummer or the Clash watch this. It details his entire life. From his hippie beginnings to his hippie endings. And a whole lot of punk in the middle. My favorite part was the end when he got into dance music and raving. There's some rad footage of him getting down around the campfire at parties. An inspiring story.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia


I gotta say this is one of the funniest shows I've ever seen. It's about four fuck ups that work in a bar and the trouble they get into. Three of the stars created and write the show. Topics include abortion, racism, sexism, religion, transsexuality, slavery, war, sexual harassment, cancer, homelessness, and drugs... lots of drugs. In fact, there is more drug use and humor in this show than anything I've ever seen. The characters somehow always find a reason to get hooked on crack, meth, glue, cocaine, seditives, LSD, and more. The episode where Danny Devito doses Charlie and he becomes the Green Man is a classic. You can tell by the writing these people trip. Charlie Day has got to be one of the funniest characters ever. They shot the pilot themselves for 85$, the FX Network saw it and signed up for a season. Devito saw it, loved it, and came on as the bar owner in season 2. This is a show that gets funnier as you get to know the characters better. I know most people hate sitcoms, or TV in general, but this one is worth watching, renting, or even buying.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Celebrity Madness

The Potion Lords went to the Grove to see No Country for Old Men. Great movie. On the way out I noticed a nicely dressed girl with short blond hair and a really nice ass. She was walking in front of us with some dude. Just before we walked out the front door of the theater I noticed it was Paris Hilton. Ut oh. Cameras starting flashing, paparazzi started scrambling, yelling, and running. They cornered her and she couldn't go anywhere until security came over and escorted her to the parking lot. I'd never seen that sort of thing happen right in front of me. It was weird. The camera guys were menacing and obsessive and the overall vibe was not cool. What a crazy life she has. Just trying to take in a Coen Brothers film on a Monday night just like everyone else and she has to deal with those wackos. It took her 5 minutes to walk like 100 feet. She could barely move because they kept jumping in front of her. Below is picture from the fiasco.

A while back I ran into David Lynch at the Grove. That was pretty amazing. He was on his way into a restaurant with a young girl and his coat was tattered with holes in it. He looked like a real character in person.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ketamine Brothers: After The Final Rose


New mixes are finally available! Its been 9 months since we did any recording. Here are a few hours of our November 7th set at the Arsenal.

Ketamine Brothers Live: After The Final Rose Mix Part One

Ketamine Brothers Live: After The Final Rose Mix Part Two

Ketamine Brothers DJ every Tuesday and Thursday at AC Lounge, 2819 Pico in Santa Monica. Also at the Arsenal in west LA every Wednesday. And every fourth Thursday at Mountain Bar for the Cradle to the Rave party.

Here is another one from November 21st. Its a house mix:
Ketamine Brothers Live at the Arsenal November 21st 2007.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Eraserhead


Tim, Alex, and I saw the midnight screening of David Lynch's debut feature, Eraserhead, tonight at the Nuart. The film debuted there in 1977 and played every weekend for seven years. It took Lynch five years to film it, mostly at the American Film Institute here in Los Angeles. The film is an uncompromised vision of self expression dealing with the darkest parts of human exsistence. Using subconcious archetypes and surreal images, Lynch presents themes and ideas concerning sex, creativity, birth, alienation, and the grotesque. Any interpretation is a worthy one, Lynch has never openly discussed the film in depth. Tim found it angnst riden, the work of a young man coming into himself and "sheding his clown suit." He saw it as an exorcism of the disturbed and isolated parts of the mind. The sound and music is absolutly incredible, constantly creating a tone that is downright heavy. The title is an interesting idea and metaphor. Tim saw the eraser looking head of the disturbed protaganist Henry as negative, representitive of the force that erases the creative spirit. I saw it as the idea of eraseing all rational thought and everything you ever knew from your mind to make way for The Other to rear its unknown head. Fans of this film include Mel Brooks (hired Lynch to direct Elephant Man after seeing it), Stanley Kubrick (he used to screen it in his house for friends), Terrence Malik (tried to raise funding for it), and Charles Bukowski (one of the only films he deemed worth watching.) This is Lynchs dreamy vision of one mans Hell on earth and, as he says, his most "spiritual movie."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rub n Tug


Rub n Tug did there 3rd party in Los Angeles on Saturday. If you're not familar with them, they are a DJ duo consisting of Thomas Bullock and Eric Duncan. Thomas came from England in 1991 and was the 'crazy one' in the legendary San Francisco psychedelic dance music crew Wicked. He has produced many styles of music over the years under the names Mammal, Mirror Boys, and Otterman Empire. Also, in the groups A.R.E. Weapons, Bobbie Marie, 3 Wheels Out, No Hassle From the Man, Supergroup, and Map of Africa. Eric is a DJ from LA that hooked up with Thomas in New York and started throwing parties in an old massage palor, hence the name Rub n Tug. They have made some of the best dance music ever by remixing a variety of artists. At this weekends party they played harder and deeper than usual, focusing on house and techno with a good dose of disco and 60's rock. When the sun came up at around 6 they broke out the weird eclectic tunes like So Happy Together by The Turtles and played them for an hour or so. That was the best part. Thomas dropped their classic mix of Sly Mongoose right towards the end and people went nuts. They were working the volume knobs from silence to full blast to emphasize different parts. Classic. It seemed like a bigger turnout than last time, maybe words got around a bit. The amazing photo above of Thomas was taken by Rob Derba. Listen to some of their mixes here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Warren's Song of the Month

Warren has classic songs to revive at our DJ gigs come to him in dreams. So here is the first song in a new series. Hear this and more at our weekly gig at the Arsenal in west LA every Wednesday 8 till 1am. 12012 Pico.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

10 Absolute Disco Classics

Hmmmm... You thought you didnt like disco? Thought it was all about the BeeGees and Saturday Night Fever? Wrong. That was bullshit. Disco was an underground counter culture party movement that changed the world. It was open minded, open armed, psychedelic, and just about every good thing you can think of. It certainly didnt matter what you wore or how rich you were. Anyway, to learn more read Tim Lawrence's book, Love Saves the Day, A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979. In the end, it's all about the music. Here are 10 classic jams. Click on the song title to hear them.

1. I Got My Mind Made Up (You Can Get It Girl) (Larry Levan Mix) by Instant Funk

Between the deepness of the bass tone and the kick drum, lies open space that propels the tune into sonic perfection. This is funk. Deep dance music. If you listen to the original, then Larrys mix, you will realize the danceloor genius of Levan.

2. Let's Start The Dance by Hamilton Bohannon

Lets start the dance. This song will make people move no matter what. Unbelievable vocals, crazy arrangements, i dont even know what to write. Just an estatic tribute to life.

3. Disco Circus by Martin Circus

How the hell did he make this music? There are so many voices and melodies it sounds like raving maniacs escaped the circus to make a dance record... When the famous, sampled many times over, da da do do do voices come in, watch out. Psychedelic in a merry prankster way. There is a rare 14 minute version out there somewhere but this is the 8 minute Francois K edit.

4. Thinking of You by Sister Sledge

My favorite track off an amazing record that gave us some of discos most famous tunes like We Are Family and He's the Greatest Dancer. Thinking of You is a ballad, a very funky and beautiful ballad. Chic does the music and the Sledge sisters get super soulful. My favorite love song ever.

5. Try It Out by Gino Soccio

Not sure what to write about this one either. Its got a great message, an incredible bass line, horns, and arrangements. It has never left my record bag since I bought it and I always reach for it whenever the party is at its peak.

6. Let No Man Put Asunder by First Choice

To hear a record like this that was recorded so well to tape in the seventies played on vinyl on a good sound system is an experience you won't soon forget. It sounds so fucking good. If you have only heard recordings like this that have been digitized, come over and let me play this for you. Recorded at the classic Sigma Sound Studios in Philly.

7. Somebody Else's Guy by Jocelyn Brown

A slow groovy jam about being cheating on. She has such an incredible voice that can also be heard on Cerrone's classic Hooked On You. The thing that gets me is when the chorus of different voices sing with her. This is a remix version on Prelude.

8. Don't Make Me Wait by Peech Boys

Also known as NYC Peech Boys, after legal threats from the Beach Boys, this Larry Levan produced group made a number of classics like Stay With Me and Life Is Something Special. I included this mellower tune because it shows the sublety of the nuanced groove that Levan was producing in the early 80's.

9. Stand On The Word by Joubert Singers

This was a gospel tune by The First Baptist Church Of Crown Heights that Tony Humpries either added music to or re-recorded everything for his mix. The first version was first circulated by legendary mixer Walter Gibbons. Pure joy. Best Song Ever. Almost makes me believe...

10. Keep On by D-Train

This is what is up. A loft classic. An anthem. "The sky is the limit and you know you can have what you want, be who you want..."

Monday, October 22, 2007

P-Lords Music Mix: Fall Edition


Here is a mix I recorded tonight. This one is the result of a lot of research, digging and hunting for the proper versions on vinyl, and trying out the tunes during sets. These are songs about love. I think you'll dig it.

Check it out.

The Source feat. Candi Staton - You Got The Love
Louis - Pink Footpath
Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill
Fleetwood Mac - Big Love
Carly Simon - Why
Taana Gardner - Heartbeat
Pat Metheny Group - Barcarole
Art of Noise - Moments In Love
Ooioo - Linglinglee (Kan&K.U.D.O. Mix)
Aphex Twin - 4
Joubert Singers - Stand On The Word
Jocelyn Brown - Somebody Else's Guy
Jorge Ben - Oe Oe Faz O Carro De Boi Na Estrada


I think Frankie would have been stoked on this if he played it loud enough.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge 1969-2007


Member of Psychic TV and Genesis P-Orridges' "other half," Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, died unexpectedly on October 11th of an undiagnosed heart condition. She died in Genesis' arms in Brooklyn. Anyone that knows me, knows Genesis is one of my greatest inspirations. So to hear his partner is gone is kind of devastating. My heart goes out to the PTV family. Me and P-Dorkel saw her play
with Psychic TV a few years ago and we agreed it was one of the best concerts we'd seen. Genesis and her had been getting surgeries/performing rituals to look like each other as much as possible in order to manifest their idea of Pandrogeny. Essentially, they are utilizing science and will to realize the idea of moving beyond age-old concepts like gender. Evolutionary development naturally leads to new ways of perceiving and living. More eloquently, in Genesis' words, Pandrogeny is "a state of positive androgeny. An alchemical state where all physical and mental boundaries are dis-solved to awaken our remembrance of what we were before the beginning of T.I.M.E." It is "the end of this 'redundant' physical manifestation of form of our species and the recognition that the brain is a separate yet coexistent entity symbiotically dwelling within the body." A fascinating article on their body art project is here. Lady Jaye was living these ideas for real. Very inspiring. RIP.

This is some mind bending art they did together: More here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Scariest Films of All Time

Halloween is coming. So Tim wrote the top ten scariest films of all time for Potion Lords. Tim knows horror. He always has. He's probably seen every horror movie. Here they are:


1. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Raw. I saw this film when I was a young lad, and I had waking nightmares for years after. Leatherface will stick with you long after the film has ended. After watching this, you'll think twice about picking up a hitchhiker and eating Southern Bar-B-Que.

2. Susperia

A surreal nightmare captured on film. The first five minutes of this film will leave a mark. Sound and image blend to create disturbing moods. A gothic masterpiece with one of the best sound tracks ever composed.

3. Halloween

The unknown in your home. Michael Myers will haunt my dreams forever. Nothing scares me more than sitting at home in the middle of the night, windows everywhere, and suddenly feeling like I am being watched by him... The best horror melody ever written.

4. The Thing

Atmosphere. Isolation and despair. Distilled paranoia captured on screen. The tone set in this film is ice cold, like the arctic surroundings.

5. Hellraiser

Doom. Imagery straight from the unconscious. Chains, torn flesh, demons, and eternal damnation. A Pandora's box nightmare.

6. Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer

Sick. What makes this scary is that it's based on reality. Henry claimed to kill over two hundred people. He was active for over a decade, he killed his mother when he was twelve.

7. Last House On The Left

Shocking. This film signaled the end of sixties innocence. The brutal scenes of torture are still just as disturbing today. When you watch this film, you don't want anybody walking in on you.

8. Repulsion

The mind is a powerful thing. The tale of a young, beautiful, disturbed virgin's descent into madness. You feel as if you are going insane. One of the first films to translate insanity onto the big screen.

9. Nosferatu

Dark. Classic. The shots are unbelievable, the casting and costumes are freaky. Once you catch a glimpse of Count Orlock, you'll never forget him. Another film straight out of a nightmare.

10. Johnny Got His Gun

Pure horror. This film will change you forever. A stark depiction of living hell. One of the most terrifying concepts imaginable. It sticks to you like blood you can't wash away. The most powerful anti-war film ever made.