Monday, December 29, 2014

Top 10 Movies of the Year 2014

The Immigrant

James Gray's modern American classic about the price of freedom. Marion Cotillard is a revelation yet again. The shot of her in the confession booth with her face emerging from the darkness is the best movie moment I saw this year. Pure class, pure cinema.

Maps To The Stars

The sharpest, most brutally realistic dissection of Hollywood culture ever made. A precision look at the damaged psyches within a morally corrupt system that creates monstrous children and churns out content for morons. The actor that plays the spoiled kid deserves an Oscar for being so repulsively vile. 

Welcome to New York

A return to form for Abel Ferrara and arguably his best film. A much darker look at debauchery than Leo DiCaprio's Wall Street fantasy from last year. Gerard Depardieu is awesome as DSK. The stunning final shot as he looks into the camera was the best ending of any film this year.

Under The Skin

A uniquely psychedelic vision about the alien within that rides the line between experimental and classical perfectly. Not since Enter The Void have we seen something this trippy on screen. A triumph for Jonathan Glazer.

Abuse Of Weakness

One of the great Catherine Brilliat's most personal films. Deals with her recent stroke and her run in with a famous con man swindler. Up there with Fat Girl and Romance as one of her best. Isabella Huppert is astonishing as always.

Starred Up

Masculinity, violence, respect, anger. All throughly dissected in this hardcore British drama about their incredibly harsh prison system. Tremendous.


Patriotism, ego, homosexuality, sport, manhood, insanity. Steve Carrel as John du Pont is one of the more complex and creepy character studies I can recall. And I finally gained some respect for Channing Tatum. Amazing film.


Not a film per se but a mini-series from the UK. This three hour deconstruction of a killing spree is an intricate portrait of grief. Inventive, scary, affecting.

Force Majeure

Heavy movie about a family in crisis punctuated by moments of pure comedy. Bergman-like moments of existential grief mixed in with some of the biggest laughs of the year. Totally unique.

Wolf Creek 2

The horrors the outback come alive once again in Greg McLean's follow up to his 2005 classic. Largely inspired by the unholy killings of Ivan Millet

Late contender for Movie of the Year: Whiplash. The nerve wracking intensity of musical performance has never been captured like this before. Amazing performances, great music, and lots of huge laughs. A modern classic.


I also very much enjoyed the visceral exploration of alternate dimensions via Ketamine of Coherence, the unexpectedly twisted end to Bobcat Goldthwait's Bigfoot film Willow Creek, David Michod's wonderfully harsh statement on the value of human life The Rover, the awesome rendering of relativity and fifth dimensional timespace in Interstellar, the composed and nuanced paranoid nightmare of Night Moves, the foreboding mysticism of I Origins, the allegorical home invasion in Borgman, Von Trier's epic journey into hell Nymphomaniac, intense crime picture The Drop, the price of conformity exposed in Cheap Thrills and the Australian crime epic Son Of A Gun.


I recommend checking out the inspiring and truly heroic public defenders in Gideon's Army, the demented pedophile cult exposed in Secrets Of The Vatican, the obsessive art recreation in Tim's Vermeer, the unfathomably evil oil company killing people and gorillas in Virunga, Nick Cave autobiography 20,000 Days On Earth and the eight Mind Of A Chef episodes that focus on the brilliant chef Magnus Nilsson (Season 3, episodes 9-16). I also very much enjoyed Lisa Kudrow's brilliant and hysterical satire of Hollywood idiocy The Comeback.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A Private Realm - Excommunication & Withdrawal LP

"The Age of Reason and its industrial, post-modern antecedents are facades obscuring the seething dream world of primeval urges that surfaces only in sleep."

Tears of Joy presents the debut album by A Private Realm. Their first release was a 12" and DVD on Tears of Joy in late 2012.
Excommunication & Withdrawal evokes the deadening American landscapes of school shootings, military suicides & general societal dissolution. Thematically the album draws from a variety of inspirations: the media's exploitation of the traumatized, the roots of extreme Islam, the skullduggery of the Cryptocracy, and Elem Klimov's Come And See, the classic film on the unthinkable horrors of the Nazi occupation of Byelorussia- all of which are filtered through the fried brains of two one-time LSD dealers.
Made with a variety of old synths, new modulars, noise boxes, voices and drum machines, musically the work moves from softer ethereal pieces inspired by the likes of This Mortal Coil through to blasts of electronics inspired by the likes of early SPK & the recently departed noise visionary Zbiegniew Karkowski. As lifelong warehouse rats the inevitable thrust of the LP is techno, inspired by the militant sounds of the obvious masters.
Written and recorded under duress in a shitty apartment in North Hollywood while surrounded by poverty, drug abuse and suicide.
Released in an edition of 190 with unique hand silk screened sleeves and stamps, color print insert and download code (with one additional song that wouldn't fit on the vinyl). Mastered by Kris Lapke.

Preview tracks can be heard here
1. Raining Stones
2. Newtown Families
3. Ulster Shadows
4. What Smart Is *Digital Only
1. Through A Glass Darkly (PTSD Struggles)
2. Dreamhealer
2. Kill Hitler
3. Cowan Cryptocracy Mix)
Available now from the Tears of Joy shop or in stores December 22nd.
Digital available from iTunes, Beatport, etc...

"Do not be lulled into believing that just because the deadening American city of dreadful night is so utterly devoid of mystery, so thoroughly flat-footed, sterile and infantile, so burdened with the illusory gloss of baseball-hot dogs-apple-pie-and-Chevrolet, that it exists outside the psycho-sexual domain. The eternal pagan psychodrama is escalated under these modern conditions precisely because sorcery is not what '20th Century man' can accept as real."

Also available now: TEAR005 Rinpoche - Beyond The Hills 12"

Monday, November 10, 2014

Nurse With Wound - Salt

A deeply enveloping drone journey not to be taken lightly.

Nurse With Wound - Salt

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Dark Peace: A Tears Of Joy Mix

A compilation of unreleased or forthcoming music on Tears Of Joy. For stream or download.
Concrete ambient bass meditations, enlarged big room rhythm exercises, fluff-era acid workouts and consciousness-around-the-horn abstraction work.

Mixed in North Hollywood October 30th, 2014.
Intro (Cries & Whispers) 
City Illusion - Vineland (Live For Each Moon Dub) 
Live For Each Moon - The Settler 
Romeo - TB1 
T.E.A.L. - Membrain 
A Private Realm - Refuse to Conform 
Three Baskets - Initiation 1 
Rinpoche - Acid with Leslie & TK 
Snake - Kind of Upset  
Live For Each Moon - Paper Champion

Monday, October 27, 2014

HARASSOR - The Harassor

Video I made for local Los Angeles hardcore band Harassor. Track from the forthcoming LP Into Unknown Depths on Dias Records. Footage compiled from the Beslan School hostage crisis in 2004.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


Commercial I made for Tears Of Joy

Forthcoming releases in 2014:

TEAR004: A Private Realm - Excommunication & Withdrawal LP.
TEAR005: Rinpoche - Beyond the Hills 12" single.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

T.E.A.L. -- Coffins EP

After 12"s from A Private Realm and Rinpoche, P-Lord affiliated label Tears of Joy have released their third record. This one introduces techno experimentalists T.E.A.L. You can hear the entire record record here and purchase direct here. Or it will be in the usual shops next week. Features artwork by Nick Barbeln of Clipd Beaks. Released in an edition of 217 with digital to follow. The video for the track Skulls is below.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Joni Mitchell Interview

A throughly fascinating and insightful look into the mind of Joni. The interviewer is slightly annoying (interrupting Joni Mitchell when she starts discussing quantum physics) but hold his own well enough. The (medically unproven) disease she continually references is Morgellons.

Monday, June 16, 2014

A Few Notes on SPK

Some of the best music to ever emerge from Australia was undoubtedly created by SPK. They have one of the more confusing discography's to work through as many releases have various covers for each pressing, different versions of the same song with the same name or no names at all, often different names of the band for each release and even two different versions of the band entirely. It was mainly based around Graeme Revell who was the driving force and sole continuous member during their 10 year existence. He moved to London relatively early in the SPK lifespan and the remaining members, notably Neil Hill (committed suicide at age 28, his wife Margaret Hill died 2 days later from anorexia), still put out music under the banner as SoliPsiK (the ultra rare See-Saw 7"). There were many collaborators throughout the years, the other consistent being Revell's wife Sinan Leong, who appears on most releases and also appeared on a few classic Nurse With Wound albums.

There were three main phases of the band, the first being the early industrial noise material up until 1983 which is arguably their strongest. These very earliest recordings were intense punk inspired songs often creativity utilizing a wailing EMS synth in the background.  Those early 7"s were collected onto side one of the essential compilation Auto De Fe:

The B side to Auto De Fe, recorded in 1981 (as opposed to the late 70's) sits perfectly between their noise and dance periods:

The first proper full length (there were multiple live cassette releases and bootlegs) was Information Overload Unit (under the name System Planning Corporation) that was recorded while Neil Hill and Revell were working in a Sydney mental ward- the album deals with insanity and contains field recordings they made of patients. It's an noisey experimental masterpiece of the highest order, predating much of that kind of music:

After that was Leichenschrei, a very dense, amazing industrial classic by anyone's measure. It's a timeless recording- find it, buy it. Next came an incredible EP under the name SepPuKu:

After 1984 came the comparatively commercial period that spawned the dance classics Metal Dance, Junk Funk, Breathless and more, though I would venture to say, while still awesome, this is the weakest of their output. A few years later came the neo-classical ambient world music excursions that evolved into Revell's current film score career. The highlight of this era would be the Zamia Lehmanni Songs of Byzantine Flowers LP that is a groundbreaking mix of world musics and dark ambient textures, the pinnacle being the hauntingly beautiful single In Flagrante Delicto:

The obscure album Revell made up entirely of insect sounds, The Insect Musicians, is worth noting as well.

A totally amazing band, I recommend spending a few months or years exploring their catalog.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

James Clausell Presents Live For Each Moon: A Mix For Golden Zed

A new mix for the up and coming label out of Long Beach Golden Zed. Recorded at home one Saturday afternoon. May 2014.

1 Burial Hex - Six Wings
2 Playgroup - Squeek Squawk
3 Kambo Super Sound - Kambo Dub Station
4 African Head Charge - Some Bizarre
5 Sunil Sharpe - Roki
6 Donato Dozzy - Sotto Ma Sotto
7 Call Super - Acephate II
8 Rrose - Waterfalls (Birth)
9 Jack Murphy - B1
10 T.E.A.L. - Birds
11 Aquarian Foundation - Planet of Discipline (Trip)
12 Jay Daniel - No Love Lost
13 Ty Holden & James Reynolds - Love the Dub (Where's My Accapella)
14 Colours Ft Stephan Emmanuel & June Hamm - Hold On
15 Imagination - Instinctual (Dave Morales Def Vocal Mix)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

X: The Unheard Music

Cool documentary from 1986 about the Los Angeles band X.  Growing up I never understood why people loved them but by the end of this film I understood. It's good, solid punk rock thats ages well. I recommend getting their albums on vinyl, the productions sounds much better than they do in the film.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Decentralize the Hierarchy.

A throughly fascinating talk on Bitcoin from Andreas M Antonopoulos. Highly recommend viewing.

If you feel like donating to this long running, ad free website, my Bitcoin address and QR are below. I'd use the money to buy server space to keep hosting music for everyone. And it'd able me to post more content.

I'd also be happy to trade for records (or files) on PWF or Tears Of Joy. Each vinyl is 0.02050 BTC (or $10 as of May 1 2014).

Thanks for your readership.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The People's Director: Ken Loach

     Upon hearing Ken Loach's upcoming film could be his last I thought this would be a good time to share some thoughts about his work and hopefully turn people on to bits of his massive catalog. I don't think he's ever made a bad movie. If you're looking for mindless entertainment or sentimentality look elsewhere, Loach's work is extraordinarily realistic and you wont find many happy endings in his movies. But there is a deeply human thread running through his body of work that's always interwoven with a concise anti-establishment statement told in an alarmingly natural and relatable way. Loach has made almost 30 feature films, more if you include teleplays for the BBC in the early years, so the breath of his repertoire may be intimidating and many of his movies are near impossible to find or see (though there are quite a few for rent on his youtube channel).  

Cathy Come Home, 1966

     A good place to start is a trio of masterful films he made in the early 90's: Riff-Raff, Raining Stones and Ladybird Ladybird. Each one focuses on the affect a different social institution or program has had on working class UK, and each are incredibly powerful stories. Raining Stones deals with poverty most directly; in the opening we find the main characters killing sheep for their mutton to sell in their local pub. The protagonist is a Catholic, devout to the point of idiocy, yet the film takes a very balanced thoughtful approach to the way religion controls the lives of believers. Riff-Raff deals with safety regulations on a construction site while Ladybird Ladybird is one of his crowing achievements. Grounded by an earth-shatteringly emotional performance from Crissy Rock as a mother battling child protective services for the right to be with her kids, it's a heavy, disturbing look at a twisted bureaucracy out of control. 

Ladybird Ladybird, 1994

One of the things you'll hear from certain Loach fans is they find his style of docudrama so moving, not just because of the quality of the filmmaking and performances, but that it was the first time they ever saw "normal" people like themselves on screen; relatable characters that spoke the way they spoke, dressed like they dressed and dealt with the same daily problems they did. The local dialects and accents in his films are thoroughly authentic to say the least. For an outsider it can be, at times, difficult to decipher. Indeed, some movies have been broadcast in the US with subtitles, though, personally, I can usually pick up on the cadences and slang pretty quickly. The most egregious offender of this is probably 1998s My Name Is Joe. It's a solid film thats deals with AA, poverty and love but the Glasgow accents are very strong for those not used to them. 

Raining Stones,  1993

      Loach is perhaps best known for the 1969 film Kes, a simple story about a boy and his relationship with his pet falcon that helps him escape from his abuse stricken home life. One of his best movies is undoubtably Sweet Sixteen, another Glasgow set story penned by longtime collaborator the brilliant Paul Laverty. Ken has only written a few of his films but he is there from the inception of the idea and collaborates throughout the process yet leaves a lot of the actual writing to others, among them longtime creative partners Laverty and Jim Allen.

Sweet Sixteen, 2002

    They have done a few amazing period pieces, most notable is the riveting and unsettling Palm D'Or winning masterpiece The Wind That Shakes the Barley from 2006. Cillian Murphy stars as a young Republican dealing with the English invasion of Northern Ireland in the early 1900s. It may be the best film about that conflict ever made, and that's saying a lot. Land and Freedom from 1995 takes us inside a POUM revolutionary group during the Spanish Civil War. The film that followed it, Carla's Song, is set in 1987 Nicaragua among the Sandinistas. 

     Loach’s repertoire is punctuated by a series of intelligent political documentaries. His most recent, Spirit of 45, about the history of the labour party in the UK.  His most recent features are slightly lighter fare: the excellent and underrated ode to the joys of whiskey The Angels' Share and the dramatic soccer comedy Looking for Eric. Rouge Irish from 2010 dealt with war mercenaries and the particularly excellent It's A Free World... is one of numerous films of his about immigration. All of these are movies worth seeking out.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley, 2006

     I should mention one hallmark of Ken's work is his humor. There are laugh out loud moments, solid everyday laughs, in even the most dreary of his films. Another consistent throughout his career is his knack for casting and the quality of the actors he finds. He often discovers and casts non-professionals that embody the role needed perfectly, almost every lead in every movie is remarkable. 

     I don't think there has been a more important political filmmaker than Ken Loach. No one has portrayed the struggles of the working poor that he dramatizes so effectively, time and time again. The trials of oppression are humanized through his films: tragic, educational, comic and ultimately uplifting, Loach's repertoire deserves to go down as one of the finest ever. An important artist is there ever was one. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Best Films of 2013

While we didn't have masterworks from Audiard or Haneke or Tarr, it was still a pretty good year for film. I didn't have time to see everything I wanted (Jonze, Coens) but below are a few films that made an impact. Recommendations for documentaries can be found here and brief thoughts on cinema throughout 2014 can be found here.

1. 12 Years a Slave
A long hard look at a cinematically under-explored part of history featuring vividly rendered brutality as deeply disturbing as it is beautiful: sick minds seethe as broken souls are rendered subservient. Heroic filmmaking.

2. The Place Beyond the Pines
Incredible. A thoroughly intense American Epic. Everyone's performance's are first class but Emory Cohen and Ben Mendelsohn are especially outstanding. Bravo.

3. Moebius
Kim Ki-Duk's dialogue free Buddhist penectomy-heavy familial gender study is uniquely transgressive and totally unprecedented in the history of cinema. Full review here.

4. Escape From Tomorrow
The consequences of imagineering are explored in this psychedelic descent into modern magical archetypes and myth-making. Trippy, creepy, relevant and totally original.

5. Simon Killer
An American weirdo in Paris. An understated exploration of a modern sociopath and a well paced unraveling of mania. Brady Corbett turns in another very believable performance in this Joran Van der Sloot-esque tale of modern masculinity.

6. Our Children
Joachim Lafosse's devastating portrayal of a mother overwhelmed by parenting. A very tense, timely, superbly acted film.

7. Evil Dead
A surprisingly well made remake- the debut feature by Uruguay's Fede Alvarez. It's definitely the best horror picture in some time, especially the first half. The atmospherics and camera work were unusually excellent for the genre. This is about as scary and realistic as "demons" can get.

8. The Bling Ring
A condemning portrait of celebrity culture and the vain emptiness it spawns. I know people like this and can confirm they are actually this annoying. Sophia Coppola's best work yet.

9. Shadow Dancer
A very solid entry into the canon of great IRA dramas punctuated by a surprisingly heartless ending.

10. Black Mirror
Not a film but a TV series by UK genius Charlie Brooker. Each of the six hour long episodes are totally different from one another, tied together by themes of media and technology. The first episode, The National Anthem really blew my mind. Demented, intelligent and very funny stuff. The title of the series says it all- track it down.