Sunday, January 31, 2016

The Trip (1967)

The Trip (1967) is a counterculture-era psychedelic film released by American International Pictures, directed by Roger Corman, written by Jack Nicholson, and shot on location in and around Los Angeles, including on top of Kirkwood in Laurel Canyon, Hollywood Hills, and near Big Sur, California in 1967. Peter Fonda stars as a young television commercial director, Paul Groves.
Paul (Peter Fonda), a director saddened by his failed marriage and unsatisfied with his work, is looking to start over. His friend, the cool, sage-like John (Bruce Dern), suggests that an LSD trip is exactly what Paul needs to get out of his rut. Paul decides to indulge, and experiences visions that are alternately beautiful and terrifying. His hallucinations, which include a carnival populated by dwarfs, bizarrely erotic encounters and even his own death, radically reshape his consciousness.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Jefferson Airpline Live at the Monterey Pop Festival

Paul Kantner has died, aged 74. Kantner was a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane who stayed with the seminal San Francisco psychedelic band through its transformation from 1960s hippies to 1970s hit makers under the name Jefferson Starship. But by the mid-1980s, when Grace Slick and Mickey Thomas were lead vocalists, Kantner thought the music so “mundane” that he left the Jefferson Starship and successfully forced the remaining members not to use the name “Jefferson”. (His former bandmates called themselves Starship and had three No1 songs, including Sara and We Built This City).

This video is from the 1967 performance at the Monterey Pop Festival by Jefferson Airplane. A triumph of psychedelic rock.

Jefferson Airplane plays:
Somebody to Love
Other side of this Life
White Rabbit
High Flying Bird
Young Girl Sunday Blues

The albums

  • Jefferson Airplane Takes Off (1966)
  • Surrealistic Pillow (1967)
  • After Bathing at Baxter's (1967)
  • Crown of Creation (1968)
  • Volunteers (1969)

  • Are all worth checking out, listening to again and again. They are gold.

    Thursday, January 28, 2016

    The New Sound of Music (BBC Documentary 1979)

    The New Sound of Music is a fascinating BBC historical documentary from the year 1979. It charts the development of recorded music from the first barrel organs, pianolas, the phonograph, the magnetic tape recorder and onto the concepts of musique concrete and electronic music development with voltage-controlled oscillators making up the analogue synthesizers of the day. EMS Synthesizers and equipment are a heavily featured technology resource in this film, with the show's host, Michael Rodd, demonstrating the EMS VCS3 synthesizer and it's waveform output. Other EMS products include the incredible Synthi 100 modular console system, the EMS AKS, the Poly Synthi and the EMS Vocoder. Most of the location shots are filmed within the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop studios as they were in 1979. Malcolm Clarke demonstrates the Synthi 100, also known as the "Delaware", Michael Rodd demonstrates musique concrete by tape splicing and manipulation and Paddy Kingsland demonstrates tape recorder delay techniques (also known as "Frippertronics"). The Yamaha CS-80 analogue synthesizer is demonstrated by both Peter Howell and Roger Limb. The EMS Vocoder is also expertly put to use by Peter Howell on his classic "Greenwich Chorus" for the television series "The Body in Question". Dick Mills works on sound effects for Doctor Who using a VCS3 unit, and Elizabeth Parker uses bubble sounds to create music for an academic film on particle physics. Peter Zinovieff is featured using his computer music studio and DEC PDP8 computer to produce electronic variations on classic vintage scores. David Vorhaus is featured using his invention, the MANIAC (Multiphasic ANalog Inter-Active Chromataphonic (sequencer)), and playing his other invention, the Kaleidophon -- which uses lengths of magnetic tape as velocity-sensitive ribbon controllers. The New Sound of Music is a fascinating insight into the birth of the world of recorded and electronic music and features some very classic British analogue synthesizers creating the electronic sounds in this film. The prime location for these demonstrations is the BBC Radiophonic Workshop where much creativity and invention took place during the period the workshop was in operation in the latter part of the twentieth century. Electronic music today is used everywhere, and many musicians gain inspiration from the past, as well as delving into the realms of sonic structures and theories made possible by the widespread use of computers to manipulate sounds for the creation of all kinds of musical forms.

    Wednesday, January 27, 2016

    Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution'

    Auschwitz: The Nazis and 'The Final Solution' is a BBC six-episode documentary film series presenting the story of Auschwitz through interviews with former inmates and guards to include authentic re-enactments of relevant events.

    The series uses four principal elements: rarely seen contemporary color and monochrome film from archives, interviews with survivors such as Dario Gabbai and former Nazis such as Oskar Gröning, computer-generated reconstructions of long-demolished buildings as well as meticulously detailed and historically accurate re-enactments of meetings and other events. These are linked by modern footage of locations in and around the site of the Auschwitz camp.

    Laurence Rees stressed that the re-enactments were not dramatisations, but exclusively based on documented sources:

    "There is no screenwriter… Every single word that is spoken is double — and in some cases triple — sourced from historical records."

    This reflects the conception of the earlier BBC/HBO film Conspiracy, which similarly recreates the Wannsee Conference (an event briefly portrayed in programme 2 of this series) based on a copy of the minutes kept by one of the attendees, although that film also includes speculative dramatised sections.

    The computer-generated reconstructions used architectural plans that only became available in the 1990s when the archives of the former Soviet Union became accessible to Western historians. The discovery of these plans is described in the 1994 BBC Horizon documentary Auschwitz: The Blueprints of Genocide.

    As Soviet troops approached Auschwitz in January 1945, most of its population was evacuated and sent on a death march. The prisoners remaining at the camp were liberated on January 27, 1945, a day now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. In the following decades, survivors, such as Primo Levi, Viktor Frankl, and Elie Wiesel, wrote memoirs of their experiences in Auschwitz, and the camp became a dominant symbol of the Holocaust. In 1947, Poland founded a museum on the site of Auschwitz I and II, and in 1979, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

    The Stuart Hall Project (John Akomfrah), 2013

    I met John Akomfrah once. I was leaving a screening of "7 Songs for Malcolm X" early at the Museum of Visual Culture in Umeå Sweden in 2007 (parental duties called). He was sitting in the foyer while the film was screening. I approached him and thanked him for his work, (Handsworth Songs is a work of genius), and he said he was now working on a biopic of Fela Kuti. As far as I know he has not finished it. I hope he does one day.

    The Stuart Hall Project is a 2013 British film written and directed by John Akomfrah centred on cultural theorist Stuart Hall, who is regarded as one of the founding figures of the New Left and a key architect of Cultural Studies in Britain. The film uses a montage of documentary footage together with Hall's own words and thoughts to produce what Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian called "an absorbing account", awarding it four stars and stating that it has "an idealism and high seriousness that people might not immediately associate with the subject Hall pioneered".

    Sight and Sound magazine's Ashley Clark described it as "a strongly personal work" that "unfolds simultaneously as a tribute to a heroic figure, a study of the emergence of the New Left and its attendant political ideas, and a summation, in thematic and technical terms, of the key characteristics of Akomfrah’s body of work thus far (intertextuality, archival manipulation, a focus on postcolonial and diasporic discourse in Britain)."

    Monday, January 25, 2016

    Underground England - New Age Travellers Documentary (1993)

    "The film, admittedly with an interesting concept at its heart, documenting travellers in the United Kingdom in the winter of 1993. It soon descends into a self-serving analysis of the director himself, who appeared to be somewhat disconnected with the idea of film-making ethics.

    At one stage, director Edward Porembny pretty much forces his way into a traveller tent uninvited, with his soon-to-be disillusioned camera crew following this absurdly strange action. The travellers were forthright in their rejection of his entrance, yet he ignored their requests for his own wildly selfish objectives. This is not documentary film-making, but a feeble attempt at trying to CREATE something to document.

    Later in the film, Porembny endangers the lives of his film crew, by coercing them into taking a flimsy raft out to sea. There is no apparent reason for this, as the narrative of gypsy travellers had been completely washed away by this point, only to be replaced by a self-indulgent, self-analysis of the untalented director.

    All in all, this is 54 minutes of 'documentary' that is more suited to exposing the desperate ambitions of a below-average director, than actually learning anything interesting about British gypsy travellers in the mid-1990s. For what it is worth, I laughed at the absurdity of the director's efforts, but only in the act of averting the reality of the cold, dark methods of this tripe filmmaker." Alan Richards

    Friday, January 15, 2016

    Earth Dream 2000

    Counter culture collective project of DIY cyberculture and techno parties. Robin Mutoid of 'Mutoid Waste Company' heads to Port Augusta in Australia's far south to see who will answer the call. Those who come will be challenged on every conceivable level on their 20,000km journey, bringing them together as a community and allowing them all to participate in a fascinating study into 'lateral human governance'. Sometimes violent, often humorous and always passionate, this is their story.

    Sunday, January 10, 2016

    William S. Burroughs - Profile and Interview BBC Radio (1982)

    John Walters interviews Barry Miles and William Burroughs for ''Walters Week'' a weekly arts programme on BBC Radio 1 . Broadcast - 11-11- 1982 - includes ''The Do - Rights'' and ''The Wild Fruits''. Overall I find Waters to be vague, conciliatory and ill informed when it comes to his interview. He skirts around topics, repeating the relevancy of London to Burroughs' writing over and over again but not really taking up what that writing dealt with. The opening sequence with Barry Miles is insightful, speaking as he does about the underground press in the 1960s and its embrace of the writing of Burroughs. Otherwise I found myself infuriated by Mr Walters ill-prepared and heavy technique. The two readings by Burroughs are excellent, particularly "The Do-Rights" is very funny.

    Saturday, January 09, 2016

    Slavoj Žižek- If Communism Failed How do we Avoid the Cynical Conclusion that Capitalism Won?

    Slavoj Žižek: FAQ-Room 2 - 19. November 2015

    "The recent events in Greece - the forced capitulation Syriza - have once again made ​​it clear where the key problems of today's leftists are: How can we ever imagine a perspective that actually weakens the power of global capital? Specifically: What happens if one is elected "radical left" government? What can they really do? How can they avoid the social democratic compromise without falling into the state socialist trap?"- Slavoj Žižek

    Slavoj Žižek, born in 1949 in Ljubljana, is a professor of philosophy at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia and teaches at Birkbeck College for the Humanities in London. His brilliant publications and equally inspiring and entertaining performances have triggered as much euphoric approval as wild condemnation. But undeniable, he is one of the most influential intellectuals and analysts of the 21st century and the most important thinker of the New Left.

    Wednesday, January 06, 2016

    Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait (2006)

    A documentary that captures a famous athlete as a body in space, without words, but with the strength, intention and skills that made him famous. Filmed during the Spanish Liga Real Madrid vs. Villarreal CF game on April 23, 2005 at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in real time using 17 synchronized cameras. The soundtrack is by Mogwai.

    Monday, January 04, 2016

    Cobra Gypsies

    An adventure with the gypsies of Rajasthan, the new movie of Raphael Treza

    - PayPal Donation
    - Follow Raphael: 
    - Buy the soundtrack:
    - Listen to the soundtrack:
     - watch Raphael's first movie "Hallucinogen Honey Hunters ":
     - and "Night" Ghat", the prequel of Cobra Gypsies:

    Saturday, January 02, 2016

    Hip-Hop Beyond Beats & Rhymes

    Critically reading hip hop in this 2006 documentary film written, produced, and directed by Byron Hurt. The documentary explores the issues of masculinity, violence, homophobia and sexism in hip hop music and culture, through interviews with artists, academics and fans. Hurt's activism in gender issues and his love of hip-hop caused him to feel what he described as a sense of hypocrisy, and began working on the film.

    Friday, January 01, 2016

    Free Tekno - Full documentary

    Free Techno is a journey into the underground of illegal underground techno festivals in central Europe. The crew travel with a group of Dutch and Irish boys who throw illegal rave parties in the forests of Germany and the Czech Republic and gain access to an underground that many have heard of but few have seen.

    I saw it, between 1996-2000. It was wicked.

    The film can be supported here.

    Freetekno is the name of a cultural movement that is present in Europe, Australia and North America. Freetekno sound systems or tribes form in loose collectives, frequently with anarchist philosophies. These sound systems join together to hold parties wherever a viable space can be found – typical locations include warehouses (also known as squat parties), fields, abandoned buildings or forests. Because freetekno parties are usually held illegally this sometimes leads to clashes with the police, as was the case at both the 2004 and 2005 Czechtek festivals and many other, smaller parties around the world at different times.

    London in the United Kingdom plays host to "free parties" (term used by the squat party scene) thrown by an array of sound systems every week. A regular theme is (and always has been) techno, although drum & bass, breakbeat, hardcore and psytrance can be common. Parties will occur all over London from derelict/deserted buildings in the borough of Hackney to empty office blocks in the City of London. However, the South West of England is generally considered to have the best free party 'vibe' due to beautiful locations of the raves, as well as the welcoming nature of all those attending. In contrast to London, the music played in the south west in generally reggae, fidget, breakbeat and hardtek.

    Ten more films from the teckno, rave and hardcore scenes can be seen here.