Friday, 26 June 2020

Mo Movies 34

RECENTLY RE/WATCHED
I have watched a lot more movies than this since the last movie post but I just didn't feel like writing about them. I reckon I started about ten movies that I abandoned as well. Then there's the nights where I scroll through all the streaming sites looking for something to watch then all of a sudden its midnight. The eternal scroll is somewhere between window shopping and choice paralysis. I'm also very mentally distracted currently by the authoritarian cult of regressive extreme left political activism which alarmingly makes 2020 resemble 1984 more and more with each passing day. Nobody seems to give a fuck, that's frightening. The show must go on though...

La morte negli occhi del gatto (1973)

La Morte Negli Occhi Del Gatto aka Seven Deaths In The Cat's Eye (1971)
I accidentally bought this on the internet thinking it was the below movie. When the opening credits started rolling mentioning Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg I knew I'd got mixed up and had the wrong film. Too many gialli with the number seven, cats, eyeballs and death in the title, sometimes makes it a confusing genre to navigate. I didn't mind though I was quite intrigued. I mean Serge Gainsbourg as a Scottish detective come on everybody needs to see that! So this is set in a gothic Scottish castle. When? I couldn't say exactly maybe its the olden days but when Corringa (Jane Birkin) arrives at the estate by a horse drawn carriage she's wearing sort of modern mid 20th century clothing so it's an atemporal zone. None of that matters to the story which is pretty funny and perhaps needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Near the beginning we see what they call an Orangutan watching Corringa through a window but its definitely a man in a Gorilla suit though like Mighty Boosh's Bollo. Anyway there's a scary cat, burning of a bible, dungeons, secret passageways, kissing cousins, a black gloved killer, ye olde shaving razors, vampires (?), lesbians, red herrings, priests, tombs and inheritance issues. If you want a faux-gothic Giallo movie that's light and a bit silly then here you go.
 
Shirley Corrigan and Anthony Steffen in Sette scialli di seta gialla (1972)

Sette Scialla Di Seta Gialla aka Crimes Of The Black Cat (1972)
One of my all time favourite Gialli. This is set in the picture-esque city of Copenhagen, Denmark. Blind movie composer Peter (Anthony Steffen) becomes the amateur sleuth after his ex-girlfriend dies. The police don't think its murder but Peter knows better. I mean he's blind but even he can see its murder. Hold on to your hats we get overheard conversations, a modelling agency, a fashion house, adultery, a deadly cat, a phoney drug addict, sex photo extortion, silk shawls, 70s restaurants/bars, pet shops, a bus chase, a shocking death shower scene, blackmail, a white caped murderer, a body count, a butler, red herrings, tape recordings and more. Unusually we get an incredible set piece on a construction site (?) with the blindman Peter having to dodge murderous machinery whilst on dangerous scaffolding. This is an intense action sequence that sets this Giallo film apart. Highly Recommended.


The Jade Eyed Cat aka Il Gatto Dagli Occhi Di Giada aka Watch Me When I Kill (1977)
This is not your usual flamboyant outrageous fun Giallo. The tone here is quite serious. Its like Antonio Bido wanted to make a significant bleak revenge drama but he had to wrap it up in the genre of the day to get it made. You know things are different right out of the gate as the killer has white gloves. I know shocking right? This movie has to be seen if only for the death by gnocchi scene or are they dumplings? The amateur sleuth in this one is a recording engineer so surprise surprise we have lots of stuff on tape and phones. The soundtrack from Trans Europe Express is notable for its Goblin-isms but it gets particularly freaky when there are these amazing vocal-drone incantations which are very haunting. The Jade Eyed Cat is for Giallo enthusiasts who want to go deep into the genre.

Coherence (2013)
A good premise executed badly. A white upper middle class dinner party goes awry due to a comet passing during the evening. This causes a bunch of alternate realities ie. this dinner party with these same guests is happening across the road in the same house. First of all to make your horror/sci-fi/thriller flick watchable the characters or at least one or two of them need to be relatable, nice or sympathetic. I didn't care what happened to these dinner party guests because they were all dicks. Their reactions to this crazy uncanny scenario just didn't feel real or have enough hysteria. I feel like the movie makers just didn't think this whole concept properly through. Did something go wrong in the development stage? They needed to edit down the concepts and make it more minimal. If the realities were infinite why did it just come down to the actions and consequences of one character. Perhaps to give Coherence more coherence the comet should have just caused Emily (Emily Baldoni) to have one doppelgänger. It's got Xander from Buffy though so it was good to see him again. There was also another dude who looked exactly like him and I mean a whole other actor/character Kevin (Maury Sterling) which was not part of the parallel lives plot. So that was a bit weird. Twilight Zone, Black Mirror and a bunch of other films cover this conceptual territory a lot better. Don't bother pressing play on this at netflix.


Defcon-4 (1985)
A cult-y Canuxploitation flick produced by Roger Corman's New World Pictures. Defcon-4 starts out very promising but ends just alright. Three astronauts witness WWIII from their secret space station. They crash down to post-apocalyptic earth a couple of months later. One Astronaut Jordan (Kate Lynch) is knocked into a coma, one gets out of the aircraft only to be immediately killed while Howe (Tim Choate) makes it out alive but gets captured. Vinny (Maury Chaykin) a renegade takes Howe to his fort. There is a fascistic new world order and crazed cannibals on the loose. Everyone needs to leave this radioactive zone otherwise they will all die. The only hope is to get a boat to a safe zone in South America. I loved the opening 25 minutes in the space station but once we got to earth it was c-grade Mad Max (1979) all the way. Fans of the post-apocalypse sub-genre need to see this though.



The Sender (1982)
Pretty good lil Horror/Sci-Fi gem. Telekineses is the order of the day here. A young man mysteriously walks into a lake with rocks in his pocket but he is saved before drowning. John Doe #83 ( Željko Ivanek) ends up in a psych ward. What's going on in his brain though and just who the hell is he? The Sender's got a great tone and many terrific chaotic set pieces to put it right up there with that other similarly themed movie of the time David Cronenberg's masterpiece The Dead Zone (1983). There must have been something in the air at the time or was it just Stephen King's brain? Well worth a look.


THE SUCKLING (AKA SEWAGE BABY) LIMITED EDITION BLU-RAY SLIPCOVER ...

The Suckling aka Sewage Baby (1990)
1990? While watching I was trying to guess what year it was made and I decided on 1985 or 86 but thought it could have been even earlier. It definitely has an atemporal vibe going on. Now this a batshit crazy movie but to add to that I think tubi's streaming service was fucking up. I was getting replays, flash forwards, flashbacks, scenes repeated more than twice and all kinds of glitches which made it feel like I was on an intense acid trip that was going down a dark and delirious path. It was like one of the most out there experimental cut up/loopy film experiences I've ever had. Now I'm eager to watch the actual blu-ray to see just how avant-garde this absurd monster flick really is. The Suckling is the story of a young lady and her boyfriend going to a brothel that seems to be in a time-warp to get an abortion (?). Yes you read that right. The coat hanger abortion takes place and the foetus is flushed down the toilet. Then all hell breaks loose as the foetus quickly becomes a mutant monster. This low budget flick contains some of the strangest cinematography, if you can call it that, I've ever witnessed. The mutant baby monster is pretty good though. This is well worth a watch for a bit of WTF? fun. Late night movie of the week.



Raw Force (1982)
This is a mega-mix genre mash up 80s stylee. It starts out with a bit of T&A and white boy kung fu. Then there's sex trafficking involving mad cannibal monks, ghostly kung fu zombies, a German baddie Hitler lookalike-y complete with wonky moustache, a decapitation, pyromania and even piranhas. It's all wrapped up in an exotic 80s action/adventure set in the south seas. Raw Force is nuts el-cheapo entertainment but one of the main protagonists of the film is just not quite who you want as the hero as he sleazes on to somebodies wife at the beginning and is lecherous towards her for the entire movie. Odd.


Bay Of Angels (1963)
The legendary Jaques Demy directs the legendary Jeanne Moreau in this peculiar existential gambling drama that takes a romantic turn even if it's a somewhat dark one. Moreau is absolutely magnetic as the mentally scattered gambling addict Jacki. She inhabits this character like she's lived it her entire life. Jacki's not necessarily likeable with her cold dark heart but you can't turn away as sometimes she reveals vulnerability. Jean (Claude Mann) the conflicted gambler who becomes enamoured by Jacki is also impeccably portrayed. Then there is France photographed in black and white which is stunning. Bay Of Angels is not just a character study par excellence it is movie making of the high calibre variety.




1984 (1984)
I don't want to write prescient because the George Orwell story Nineteen Eighty Four has been relevant to society ever since it was published in 1949. 1984 mirrors the stupidity going on right now on both sides of the political spectrum ie. The fascistic police state and the authoritarian left. Both of which are totalitarian. Although 1984 is largely a critique of what goes wrong with the regressive extreme left once left to their own devices. This cautionary tale is so pertinent to this very minute. Big Brother style law enforcement surveillance is prevalent now days and in a lot of cases justice depends upon it. Cancel culture is right here as Winston Smith's (John Hurt) actual job. His job is to unperson people, wipe out any evidence that they ever existed. Sound familiar? Is George Orwell not taught in schools or universities anymore. I can't imagine many professors wanting their students to read this indictment of their extreme leftist doctrine of unfreedom of speech and compelled political correctness. What would happen if the kids realised they've diminished themselves as individuals at the behest of authoritarian groupthink?

1984's most applicable to today's situation with fake news and computerised manipulation of narratives towards your particular political bias despite the facts and the truth. Sorry, I mean we could all write an essay, a thesis or a phd dissertation on this subject and probably have. This really does feel like school but you know how you always used to say to teachers "What relevance is this going to have on my life?" I think a teacher/lecturer could confidently say this is probably the most relevant and useful topic you'll ever learn about in the education system.

What about the movie though Tim? Yeah it's a good lil disturbing dystopian drama with the good actoring and ace retro-future vibes. 2020's world is basically 1984's world with just a few cosmetic adjustments. The forbidden love story between Winston & Julia takes up a surprising amount of the movie. I'm not sure how much of the book that took up because I'm not sure I ever read the bloody thing to the end!

There's a surprising amount of full frontal female nudity from Julia (Suzanna Hamilton) for bush fans. No full frontal male nudity though. When was the last time you saw a man's cock in a mainstream movie? I recall Harvey's Keitel in The Piano (1993), Ewan's McGregor in that boring Greenaway movie and was there someone starkers in one of the Monty Python films. That's not a lot and perhaps I'm showing my age. As discussed recently on The Projection Booth Podcast seeing a man's penis on screen is still a rarity.

Everybody over the age of 15 should watch this movie. While these concepts are not news to me they might just well be for a 22 year old. If you are one of these people be prepared to have your life and world turned upside down as reality and nefariousness comes crashing into your face.




Top Of The Heap (1972)
This unique picture has been discussed on both The Movies That Made Me and Pure Cinema podcasts recently. I guess there's something in the air with all the George Floyd demonstrations and riots. Christopher St John writes, directs and stars in this wonderful piece of cinema. George Lattimer (Christopher St John) is an African American cop on the streets of Washington DC. He's been doin his job as a street cop on the nightshift for over 10 years. Lattimer becomes disillusioned after a white moron gains a promotion over him. Throughout the movie he becomes more and more unhinged as his work, family and social life spiral out of control along with his mind. He hates himself and the system.

There are two key scenes that make this relevant to today: He gets racially profiled by another cop after getting off a bus. The White cop doesn't realise Lattimer's a cop as he has a trench coat over his uniform. Lattimer has this coat on so as to not alienate himself from the black community and because he's become conflicted about his job. This scenario could have quite easily gone pear-shaped George Floyd stylee. Showing things haven't really changed with regard to police attitudes in fifty years. The trench coat over his police uniform mirroring images off today's news where cops are turning up to work in plain clothes in fear of their lives.

He gets into a fight with a bunch of black people who run the club where his mistress works as a singer. Black on black violence in America is an ongoing concern. It was pointed out to me recently that university studies have shown that African Americans are just as likely to be killed by other African American cops as white cops. This study totally shocked me when I read it the other day. So this was totally relevant.

Anyway despite the dark and serious social issue subject matter this movie is also a whole lotta nihilistic fun. Sometimes it is absolutely hilarious. One particularly memorable funny scene is when Lattimer turns up at his mistress's (Paula Kelly) place. She's so stoned she can't take his heavy vibe seriously so she mocks him by repeating what he's saying in soulful singing over her jazzy chords on acoustic guitar. This is comic gold that had me laughing out loud and it felt so real. The daydreaming sequences where Lattimer is an astronaut are off the wall and make up a substantial part of the film. Fans of 70s cars, fashion, music and interior design are in for an eyeball treat.

This is a visionary work of African American cinema that should be right up there with Symbiopsychotaxiplasm, Take One (1968), Cotton Comes To Harlem (1970), Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song (1971), Killer Of Sheep (1977), Penitentiary (1979), Do The Right Thing (1989) etc.


Django (1966)
There was a time in the 90s when it felt like I watched every single Spaghetti Western ever made, well at least half, they made a lot of them. SBSTV also seemed to have a year where that was all they showed movie-wise. Good times. So I totally had Spaghetti Western fatigue. While I've remained enamoured by the soundtracks in the new millennium, I don't think I've watched one of these flicks since the 90s. Tubi has changed the movie watching landscape though. They have so many ye olde films, heaps of good ones. I thought signing up to Amazon Prime was great but tubi's even better and its free. So they've uploaded a motherlode of 60s/70s Italian westerns and not only that they seem to be great prints. I think they have a deal with Arrow Video so there's a bunch of Ringos, Djangos and Sartanas to watch. Everybody knows and loves Sergio Leone but now you get to watch the rest. I can't stand Clint Eastwood so its lucky they made over 350 spaghetti westerns not starring him for our pleasure.

Django is a great place to start because it's one of the best Spaghetti Westerns. Django (Franco Nero) turns up in a muddy border ghost-town dragging a coffin. All that's left in the deserted town is the saloon, the barkeep and his harem of ladies. There will be violence, quicksand, gold, Mexicans, racist Confederates, a western take on the trojan horse, much blood shed, revenge, a cemetery and quite possibly the greatest opening song ever in the history of film. Recommended.


Cemetery Without Crosses (1969)
You know you're in for a treat when Scott Walker sings the opening song of a Spaghetti Western! Well it's an Italian-French co-production innit. So what is a French Western called? A Baguette Western? Robert Hossein writes, stars and directs here. This is a tragedy with more tragedy followed by some tragedy. We get vengeance, more vengeance followed by some more vengeance. Maria's (Michèle Mercier) husband is killed and she wants vengeance but not just any old vengeance. She wants the posse who killed her husband to be humiliated in front of the entire town and that's just for starters. Along with the horseys in the desert we get the Spaghetti Western perennials: Lynching, a corrupt Sheriff, ghost towns, robbery, coffins, gold, fast gunslingers, minimal dialogue, cemeteries, mucho bloodshed, a dead dude on a horsey, nihilism, kidnapping, romance and of course revenge. This one is for the ladies. Cemetery Without Crosses is stylistically beautiful with a terrific story which makes this a gem and probably a masterpiece of the genre. Highly recommended. 

Sunday, 14 June 2020

Ekoplekz Complete. Nick Edwards ReBegins.


Last year Ekoplekz aka Nick Edwards called it quits. As far as I know the Ekoplekz moniker is finished with. Edwards has been quite mysterious over the years appearing and disappearing on social media. A few months back I noticed he had popped up on Instagram only to disappear recently. In the last 12 months he also joined and then left twitter again (don't blame him, twitter's fucking toxic). Anyway during correspondence late last year with one of his record company people, I was told his fantastic 2019 tapes Metabolism and In Search Of The Third Mantra were to be the last new Ekoplekz recordings ever.

Ekoplekz is finished but you can't keep a good man down. Nick Edwards is back under his own name with a new digital album For Now, Our Desire Is Nameless. This one's on a more minimal tech tip. The opening tune Watching is a subtle repetitive minuscule lock groove that he has somehow made mellifluous. The Same is a lightly defective neo-cosmic jam. The push and pull rhythm of Old Things could have made it an absolute banger but it's like rhabdomyolysis has occurred and it's barely hanging on to its anaemic life. Definition is a standout tune that feels like a homage to the glory days of the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction milieu. Track 4 On Higher is supreme pulsating enviro-electronic-ambience. Screens has got to be the most minimal thing he's ever done as it shape shifts out of its psychedelic circular pattern and almost dissipates as it unfurls into tiny wisps of sound with a Carpenter-esque sting as the album's finale. Wow this is pretty fucking elevated stuff. It feels really meticulous but these are live improvised jams which makes me think he has mastered his craft to a sublime degree. 


Recently though there has been a whole lot of archival activity over on the Ekoplekz bandcamp page. Edwards has been putting every little bit of Ekoplekz's audio history up on this digital platform to properly catalogue and conclude the ten year Ekoplekz era. I believe this project is now complete. So for starters he has put up Volume 1 (2010) which was the first Ekoplekz release. By the time I became aware of this limited to 20 copies cdr and its abridged second edition of only 50 copies they had all been snapped up. Luckily someone uploaded it onto a sharity blog at the time and that's where the obsession began. Edwards describes this as primitive unproduced early demos recorded on a four track cassette.


Now if you thought it was hard to get your hands on Volume 1, it was virtually impossible to your hands on Doctrine: 789305 (2010). This private press tape of less than 10 copies was only given to his friends! Edwards says he never had any intention of this ever resurfacing again but some of his friends told him that it was one of his best recordings and urged him to release it. So voilà after finding the master tape at the back of a drawer Edwards has put it up on bandcamp for you to download digitally. His friends were right this is easily one of the best Ekoplekz albums. Doctrine: 789305 is full of splendid crunchy dubbed out no-fi electronic goodness. Ekoplekz hedz need to hear this!  


Volume 2 (2010) is the third Ekoplekz release and it was another private press cdr of just 50 copies. I've never heard this one either so I was pretty excited to see it on bandcamp. I gave up on ever getting a version of this album years ago. I know some of the tracks because they were on that Pontone mix which must have been done in late 2010.


I did not know this even existed. This 2012 recording might just be the ultimate Ekoplekz release. I fucking love these berserk noisy electronics and the two 20 minute tracks totally suit this delirious saga of radiophonica. Discogs has The Nunton Complekz filed as an artist name. I dunno, maybe it was an alias. Nick Edwards was quite fond of an alias like Ensemble Skalectrik, PLKZFX, Phlekz etc. Then there were his collaborations eMMplekz (with Baron Mordant), EKOCLEF (with Bass Clef), pHarmerz (with Farmer Glitch) and so on.    



If that wasn't enough for you or you already had those obscure early releases just hold on to your horses. On the first of this month Nick Edwards unleashed the motherlode of Ekoplekz rarities. Wrekage 2011-2019 is an hour and forty minutes of tracks that have previously exclusively appeared on other compilations. On the bandcamp page this compilation is described as "An anthology of orphans from the main discography." This is the most diverse collection of tunes ever issued under the Ekoplekz moniker. Wait for it...there is a cover of Syd Barrett's Late Night with vocals and psych guitars which is.....well, to put it mildly surprising.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Mo Movies 33


CULT MOVIES PART I - A SPACE DEBRIS RAMBLE
If you're an old school cult movie fan, you know into  El Topo (1970), Pink Flamingos (1972), Rocky Horror (1975), Eraserhead (1977)Night Of The Living Dead (1968) etc. and haven't refreshed over the last ten or twenty years you might not know of the rising cult film Runaway Nightmare (1982) reviewed below.


A whole new set of cult-y movies are lining up to take over from the old tired midnight movie cannon. Things like Office Space (1999), Audition (1999), Battle Royale (2000), American Psycho (2000), Ichi The Killer (2001), Donnie Darko (2001), Oldboy (2003), The Room (2003), Shaun Of The Dead (2004), Jennifer's Body (2009), Mother (2009), District 9 (2009), Birdemic (2010), Attack The Block (2011), Spring Breakers (2012), It Follows (2014), Inherent Vice (2014) et al. are the more recently made films entering into this zone. Whether or not their cult status will hold is another question.

When Donnie Darko first appeared on cinema screens it was an instant cult movie a bit like Panos Cosmatos' 2018 gem Mandy. Over the years I've noticed interest wane a bit in Donnie Darko but in the last couple of years the cult has come back strong. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004) and Napolean Dynamite (2004) seemed destined for cult movie immortality but they have both faded from view. Were they too successful at the time or even trying to be cult movies? I really do think in Jared Hess's case with Napolean Dynamite he was just trying way too hard to invent a cult movie. Directors don't make cult films the public do. There are certain characteristics that come in handy for a movie to become cult-y especially if it was a flop either at the box office or critically and even better if it was both. Something being just a bit off or askew about the film that makes it imperfect for audiences at the time of release is also a good trait for your future cult movie to have. Sometimes you need your film to become cherished after people, maybe even the next generation, rediscover then re-watch it once a particular amount of time has gone by. Re-watchability is the key ingredient for a movie to become cult. Time will tell if inept films like The Room and Birdemic will remain revered items or just fleeting curiosities. Movies such as Attack The Block, Battle Royale, American Psycho, Audition and Ichi The Killer only seem to be gaining in cult-y momentum. It will be interesting to see if the public's attention will stay on South Korean movies or shift away due to a backlash after commercial success or if something else comes along to usurp the collective imagination. Mike Judge, Paul Thomas Anderson, Karyn Kusama and Edgar Wright seem to be the directors de-jour of the last twenty years for young cult audiences as they not only have a film mentioned in the above list but others waiting in the cult-movie wings ie. Idiocracy (2006), The Master (2012), The Invitation (2015) and Scott Pilgrm (2010). Watch this space. 


Cruising (1980), Maniac (1980), Possession (1981), Evil Dead (1981), Basket Case (1982), Going Down (1983), Sleepaway Camp (1983), Repo Man (1984), This Is Spinal Tap (1984), Razorback (1984), Re-Animator (1985), Dogs In Space (1986), Withnail & I (1987), Bad Taste (1987), Ghosts Of The Civil Dead (1988), Akira (1988), Spoorloos (1988), The Killer (1989) etc. remain the 80s cult movie staples along with pretty much anything made in the 80s by John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, David Lynch, Joe Dante and even apparently now ugh John Hughes. Actually you rarely hear the mention of John Woo or Spinal Tap these days so those pictures may be drifting away from cult zones like other old 80s cult favourites The Gods Must Be Crazy (1980), Forbidden Zone (1980), Eating Raoul (1982), The Outsiders (1983), Peter Greenaway, Wim Wenders, Brazil (1985), Subway (1985) and Mona Lisa (1986) have. These films will remain near and dear to Gen Xers but they don't seem to be translating to younger tastes. I mean I doubt my 22 year old niece has even heard of Peter Greenaway or The Gods Must Be Crazy but she has seen The Room, Donnie Darko, Shaun Of The Dead and It Follows.

John Carpenter
's The Thing (1982) has become the 80s Vertigo (1958). It was considered a disaster critically and at the box office at the time of release, has built up a rabid cult following over the years, has been re-assessed and is now considered one of the best films ever made.


People are still digging up the weird and wild from the 80s for your viewing pleasure though. The cult builders like Drafthouse, Vinegar Syndrome, Film Twitter, Shout Factory, Twilight Time, general movie-goers, film-makers and self-appointed guru tastemakers are staking a claim for some less well known 80s movies to take over. Night Of The Comet (1984) seems to have rapidly risen up the cult movie charts in the last ten years along with a few others like Night Of The Juggler (1980), Mystics In Bali (1981), New York Ripper (1982), Liquid Sky (1982), Grease 2 (1982), Vice Squad (1982), Siege (1983), 10 To Midnight (1983), Walking The Edge (1983/5), After Hours (1985), My Chauffeur (1986), White Of The Eye (1986), Near Dark (1987) Lady Terminator (1988), How To Get Ahead In Advertising (1989) and Tetsuo: The Iron Man (1989). Hmm perhaps I'll discuss what's going on with shot on video classics, 80s kids/teen movies plus cult films from the 90s next time.

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Runaway Nightmare (1982) 
Mike Cartel is the one & done director behind this cult movie. A couple of worm farming dudes Ralph (Mike Cartel) & Jason (Al Valetta) discover a lady who has been buried alive. The worm wrangling duo are then kidnapped by a criminal desert dwelling cult of women. The worm farmers are initiated into the cult for use of their muscle but then find themselves embroiled in a heist against the mob, violence, sex, time-bombs, witchy goings on and more. Vinegar Syndrome, the Blu-ray company, restored and issued a Blu-ray of this recently so that might give you some idea of what kind of flick this is. Runaway Nightmare will have your jaw dropping several times. Whether that's a good thing or not probably depends upon you. If you're up for a WTF? plot with strange acting and odd dialogue that feels like it was directed by John Waters' long lost cousin from Death Valley you are going to love it otherwise move along nothing to see here. I think this was one of the first ever movies to be released straight to video ensuring it inevitable cult status. Runaway Nightmare feels like an exploitation movie that doesn't know what exactly it's exploiting. Perhaps I'll call it Worm Farming-sploitation. Late Night Movie of The Week.


Battles Without Honour and Humanity aka Tarnished Code of Yakuza (1973)
A Yakuza film that apparently changed the face of the Yakuza genre although five years earlier there was Outlaw: Gangster VIP (1968) followed by several sequels so perhaps this is an overstatement created by retro marketing spin doctoring. Even this film's director Kinj Fukasaku made the masterpiece Street Mobster, a modern tale of yakuza life, the previous year. If you don't know, the yakuza is the Japanese mafia. So this film right here is considered to be The Japanese Godfather. It certainly has many parallels with that film but this isn't some kind of copycat deal. These stories are based upon Kōzō Minō's (an imprisoned member of the Yakuza at the time) manuscript that were novelised by journalist Kōichi Iiboshi. The tales here are of real life events in Japan's mob underworld post WW2. Battles Without... is a stellar gangster picture with all the accoutrements prison, corruption, parole, brutal violence, initiation into the mob, cop murder, yakuza codes gone awry, utter chaos, drugs, murder, hierarchy, betrayal, nihilism, the bleakness of futility and more murder. I am very excited as there are another four films in this series.


The Street Fighter (1974)
More 70s action from Japan via the legendary Toei Studio. Sonny Chiba as Terry Tsurugi karate kicks and karate chops his way through a whole lot of corrupt business people and Yakuza to try and protect oil fortune heiress Sarai (Doris Nakajima). This is quite possibly the first Japanese martial arts flick I've ever seen and I think it was exactly the right place to start as this is karate gold. Look out for spectacular scenes where Terry castrates a rapist with his bare hands and rips out the vocal chords of assassin Junjo Shickenbaru (Milton Ishibashi). This is a whole lotta bloody bare knuckled gory fun. Late Night Movie Of The Week.


Dead & Buried (1981)
This is a nifty lil' horror gem. Halfway through you might think "Oh I've seen it all before" but hold your horses as it's well worth waiting until the very end for the pay off. I recommend you go into this flick with as little knowledge as possible about the plot. It's weird, spooky and set by the seaside. Can you go wrong with that combo? Nope, Gary Sherman of Death Line (1972) and Vice Squad (1982) fame directs.


Come Drink with Me (1966)
More top chop socky from the Shaw Bros Studio. Set during the Ming Dynasty this wuxia movie stars Cheng Pei Pei as Golden Swallow and Yueh Hua as Drunken Cat. This duo have to battle their way through an evil monastery where Golden Swallow's brother is being kept hostage. Will this duo survive the violent antics of Liao Kung (Yeung Chi-hing) and the brilliantly named Jade Faced Tiger (Chan Hung-lit)? Or will evil prevail? Things get complicated when it emerges that Drunken Cat has mixed feeling about fighting Liao Kung. There are grey areas in classic good versus evil tales. Late Night Movie Of The Week.  




Alleycat Rock: Female Boss aka Stray Cat Rock: Delinquent Girl Boss (1970)
Top lil el cheapo lady biker exploitation flick from Japan's Nikkatsu Studio. The Japanese (mis)understand pop culture and pop art on a whole other level to anybody else. This movie beats Roger Corman at his own game! This stars my new favourite actor Meiko Kaji plus pop star Akiko Wada. We get the works in this pop art pile up. There's girl gangs, right wing nationalists, rebel motorbike clubs, fake delinquents getting wasted, villains in a dune buggy, a fixed boxing match, implied lesbianism, bloody knife violence, gangsters, a psychedelic rock nightclub, general disillusion, a crazy car chase through the streets of Tokyo, eye catching fashion, guns, love and more. The car chase which is two dudes in a dune buggy chasing the bad arse Ako (Akiko Wada) on her motorbike throughout the Shinjuku district of Tokyo is worth the price of admission alone. The cinematography from Muneo Ueda is gloriously berserk. You've never seen some of these angles before. Yasuharu Hasebe's direction is wild with surprising splashes of colour. If that all sounds good to you then you need to see Alleycat Rock: Female Boss. Late Night Movie Of The Week.


Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
I missed this blockbuster at the time, just never got around to it. A Maori foster child Ricky (Julian Dennison) gets one last chance with a strange rural couple otherwise he's off to Juvey. Events unfold unexpectedly so Ricky and Uncle Hector (Sam Neil) end up on the run from the law. As the cops close in on the unlikely pair of outlaws they end up deep in the bush. All sorts of comic antics and misunderstandings take place in this charming adventure-drama. Kids love it because it's got kids doing bad things and it's essentially a kids' film. Hunt For The Wilderpeople became the highest grossing film in New Zealand's history. Director, writer, producer Taika Waititi is on a hell of a winning streak even winning an Oscar this year for 2019's JoJo Rabbit. Oh and it's got New Zealand's funniest man Murray from Flight Of The Conchords in a small role.


Stray Cat Rock: Wild Jumbo aka Alleycat Rock: Wild Jumbo (1970)
This is the second film in the Alley/Stray Cat Rock series. This one isn't about bikers or violent urban girl gangs but it's nihilistic as fuck despite its mostly bucolic setting. This is not in any way a continuation of Female Boss although many of the same actors appear here but they are totally different characters, other people. Wild Jumbo is a mix up of an existential road movie, a beach flick and a heist film with a bit of revenge chucked in. A directionless delinquent gang are tipped off as to the whereabouts of a load of cash by Asako (Bunjaku Han). Asako is an independently wealthy mistress of a cult leader but she wants revenge upon the new religion. The gang, which includes C-ko (Meiko Kaji) and a bunch of dudes, arm themselves with some old rusty WWII weaponry and map out a foolproof plan to earn 30 million Yen. This is a weird movie with the heist really only coming into play in the last twenty minutes. Wild Jumbo is directed by Toshiya Fujita (Lady Snowblood) so it doesn't quite have the insane audacity of the director/cinematographer combo of Hasebe/Ueda but there are occasionally some pretty cool stylistic flourishes especially the underwater work, freeze frames, sped up footage, negative film and most bizarrely the usage of a speech bubble.


Return Of The Street Fighter aka Blood Of The Dragon (1974) 
Sensational action packed sequel martial arts/revenge/yakuza mega mix with more ocular violence than a Giallo film. Sonny Chiba is back as Terry Tsurugi and he's in fine bare knuckled karate form. This must be seen for several great scenes including Terry's jailbreak, the eye-popping karate headkick and a WTF? moment you will not believe so long as you've seen the original Street Fighter (1974). This is pure pop culture entertainment!



Stray Cat Rock: Sex Hunter aka Alleycat Rock: Sex Hunter (1970)
A title that seems to have got lost in translation but would have suited the international exploitation market so what the heck I suppose. There is attempted sex trafficking and there is human hunting but there's not really sex hunting anyway... Hasebe is back in the director's chair for the third film in The Alley Cat/Stray Cat Rock series. This is the most perplexing of The Alleycat Rock series so far with its social issues and narratively it's the least cohesive. The girl gang The Alleycats hang out with the boy gang The Eagles but there is a rift and they soon become rivals. The Eagles have gone full fascistic and racist. Mako (Meiko Kaji) meets and becomes fond of Kazuma (Rikiya Yasuoka) who is a half breed Afro-Japanese. This is not going to be cool with Baron (Tatsuya Fuji) the leader of The Eagles who has previously been in a chaste relationship with Mako. However that's not all. He is angry as his sister was supposedly raped by a half breed Afro-Japanese man. A purge of mixed race men from their town is ordered by the Eagles. What will become of all this turmoil?


Cheap Thrills (2014)
This should have been called Demented Cheap Thrills. A dude Craig (Pat Healy) is in a bar, he's down on his luck and his downward spiral continues when he meets a wealthy psychopathic couple. These coked up arseholes dare him to play silly little drinking games but eventually their dares escalate to acts far too extreme for normal humans to even contemplate. Whether or not this film is supposed to make you think about what lengths you would go to for money or just an excuse to make a brutally violent movie is a bit of a moot point as it's all pretty unconvincing. That might just be me though because I just couldn't help thinking that's Pat Healy the nice chap I heard talking on a podcast once but here he is doing actoring. Well worth a look if you like extremely despicable people doing intensely horrible things. I know that sounds great and it's actually a really good premise. I wanted to like it more but...



Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009)
Not a bad little primer on American horror movies. But if you've seen things like Eli Roth's 7 part season History Of Horror (2018) or the 3 part A History of Horror With Mark Gatiss (2010) you really don't need to see this. Nightmares... however was made previous to those two documentaries. We get a lot of male (not one woman) talking heads as they go through a hundred years of American and some Canadian horror movies. I guess the Canadian flag is red and white so they can technically get away with this. Joe Dante is always eloquent and interesting while Mick Garris is just eloquent. This documentary is narrated by the man with a golden voice Lance Henriksen. It also includes interviews with legends Roger Corman, George A Romero, Larry Cohen, John Carpenter and a bunch of less noteworthy movie people.

The best bit was a great piece of editing which contained a bunch of sex and slashings from the Friday The 13th films. That 3 minute sequence on its own would be a visual essay masterpiece.

Anyway an hour and a half is not enough time to cover everything so many great horror films get overlooked ie. Let's Scare Jessica To Death (1971), Messiah Of Evil (1973), Black Christmas (1974), I Spit On Your Grave (1978),  Maniac (1980), The Changeling (1980), The Hitcher (1986), Night Of The Creeps (1986) etc.

There was definitely no room for horrific pictures that are in other genres like The Wizard Of Oz (1939), The Honeymoon Killers (1970),  Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971), Deliverance (1972), The Silent Partner (1978), The Temple Of Doom (1984), Return To Oz (1985) Labyrinth (1986), Requiem For A Dream (2000), Passion Of The Christ (2004), anything concerning The Holocaust or nuclear war etc. This, I've just realised is the perfect topic to make to a documentary about. Actually it's two different topics. The first doc would be called Non horror Movies That Scared The Shit Out Of You When You Were a Kid or just Horrifying Kids Movies. It would be fascinating and so crowd pleasing. I recall Snow White and Sleeping Beauty being scary when I was really small as well as being haunted by TV shows Doctor Who and Catweazle. Actually I can't believe about ten documentaries haven't already been made on this topic, its such an obvious and winning formula. The other doc would be Non Horror Movies That Are Actually Horror Movies. This is a good topic too if not quite as delicious or psychologically charged as the first.


Jesus Camp (2007)
I think this was supposed to upset me, freak me out and make me become an extreme regressive lefty but I got caught up in the whole Jesus juice vibe. The trance-y hysteria these evangelical Pentecostal Christians whip up amongst middle America's kids here is electrifying and palpable. I think I got a little hypnotised. I can equate it to when I was looking into the darkish web and 4chan type of stuff that I was going to write a book about (Angela Nagle beat me to the punch with the excellent Kill All Normies). I spent so long engaging in that dark underbelly it began to rub off on me somewhat. I mean I understand the sick sense of humour of the seediest liberal baiters on the planet as it's infectious. It made me feel sick though that I knew of the song Remove Kebab which was played on the car stereo of the killer responsible for the NZ Mosque massacre. When I was younger the same thing happened when I delved into extreme left politics for a skeptical investigative look. I couldn't help but get some of it on me. I always know deep down I'm a moderate and issue by issue based politically because that's what being a critical thinker is about. In Jesus Camp I'm well aware of the nefariousness of America's moral majority and how it's fucking with everybody's (left of the far right) head.

In this film intellectually you can see the horrible anxiety inducing brainwashing of young minds that is quite possibly child abuse. These fanatics want their children to be vehemently against abortion and to believe that their so called Christian (theologically they are way more old testament rather than gospel based) way is the only right way. At one stage one of the evangelical adults lets it be known that she wants these children to be as intense as children brought up under extreme Islam ie. be willing to die/commit suicide in the name of God at a young age.

This film makes you understand why musical artists like Swans and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds integrate performative aspects and language from evangelical fire & brimstone sermons into their acts because it has such power and passion. It's deliciously intoxicating. I mean Bad Seeds concerts have now actually become spiritual events and I fucking love it.

The film-makers here I think accidentally caught on celluloid the exhilarating momentum these charlatans for Jesus can summon. If they didn't intercut it with snippets of Mike Papantonio's moderate Christian and politically secular radio show this may well have been seen as a very dangerous film that easily could have been misconstrued as an evangelical propaganda film. I'm guessing the film-makers didn't want to inflame Christians into becoming soldiers for God. I reckon they probably wanted the opposite of this scenario to occur.   





Sister Street Fighter (1974)
Five star entertainment! More Japanese karate on film. This is fuckin ace. I know next to nothing about Japanese martial arts movies, except for the two previously mentioned in this post, but I feel like I just might have watched the best one. This is ladies night and the charismatic Sue Shiomi stars as the bad-arse Tina Long. We get blood spurting action fun as Tina fights her way through an army of enemies who have an array of martial art disciplines. Sister Street Fighter includes poison darts, karate fights on dangerous bridges, dungeons, a strip club, a bed of spikes, Sonny Chiba, phoney heroin addiction, broken necks and much more. Late Night Movie Of The Week.       


Theory Of Obscurity: A Film About The Residents (2015)
If you're a fan of The Residents you probably don't need to be told how fabulous they are and you've probably seen most of this footage before. If you are new to them this probably isn't a great place to start either as it's not like a chronological recount of their career. It kinda goes through the very early pre-history and history of the band then a lot of recent tour stuff. It fails to mention that this incredible group had one of the best winning streaks in the history of (un) rock LPs. Between 1974 and 1980 they released these LPs respectively: Meet The Residents, Third Reich 'N' Roll, Fingerprince, Duck Stab, Not Available, Eskimo & Commercial Album. That's seven absolute classics in a row. Some people include the next two records  Mark Of The Mole (81) & The Tune Of Two Cities (82) in that run as well. So that is a rarified position to be in. I can't name many bands with an undeniable run of records like that

During the following 40 years they've had peaks and valleys and an extreme nadir in the 90s. They have been more known for their cutting edge multi-media concert extravaganzas than their albums. In the new millennium they have come back strong ever since 2005's Animal Lover LP however. The Bunny Boy, Lonely Teenager, Mushroom, Talking Light, The Wonder Of Weird, Shadowland, Ghost Of Hope etc. have been some of their late career highs. Apart from all that they've had some wonderful singles, EPs, films, concerts, videos and collaborations. Of course that might all might mean nothing to you as they are most definitely an acquired taste. If you don't know who they are you might have seen their pictures as they gained notoriety in the 70s & 80s for being the anonymous band with giant eyeball heads with a penchant for tuxedos. This was all before Kiss, TISM, Slipknot & Insane Clown Posse. Check out their Third Reich 'N' Roll or Commercial Album LPs and the Satisfaction 7" single then you'll know where you stand with The Residents.

Back to the documentary it's more about the myth making and concept art side of the band which is a bit gimmicky and tired now plus I feel like it has all been covered before in other films, dvds, articles, books and videos. Luckily The Residents have the music to back it up. As they have been anonymous throughout their career it's hard to track how many original members are still left. I think a couple of integral members have recently passed away... but who knows?   


The Visitor (1979)
One of those video shop movies. I must have seen the cover a hundred times but never thought to watch it. Ten years ago I discovered the terrific soundtrack by Franco Micalizzi but I still never thought to watch the film. The Visitor is ubiquitous across pop culture media but still I never bothered with this cult movie. Finally scrolling through tubi I came across it one night while I was severely affected by pain killers. The Visitor finally arrived in my life at the perfect time. For a start check out this for a cast John Huston, Mel Ferrer, Shelley Winters, Glenn Ford, Lance Henriksen, Sam Peckinpah, Franco Nero and even Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. What the fuck is going on here then? This must be one of the original sci-fi horror mega-mix pastiche movies before the more recent James Wan and Leigh Whannell type of mega-mix things. This movie mega-mix extravaganza chucks everything in including The Bad Seed, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, The Birds, The Omen, The Exorcist, The Kitchen Sink and a whole lot more to make one of the most enjoyable and batshit crazy movies ever. Funnily enough with all its influences right there in front of you it makes for a one hell of a unique experience. Directed by Michael J. Paradise who I believe was Fellini's sidekick. Late Night Movie Of The Week.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

The Chameleons - View From A Hill

Shoegaze Began Here - Part I


The Chameleons - View From A Hill (1983)
I was going to do do a whole thing with 7 or 8 different bands and their legacy on shoegaze/dreampop but once I get The Chameleons on the stereo I'm stuck for days. This tune from 1983 is magnificent! Its contemporaneous with the likes of The Church, Cleaners From Venus, The Blue Orchids, The Cocteau Twins, Durutti Column, The Sound etc. The only thing is hardly anyone knows who The Chameleons are. For those who don't know: They formed in Manchester circa 1981 and I guess they were in the realm of dark yet uplifting post-punk and neo-psychedelia. The three LPs from their original 1981-87 era are all excellent. They even signed to Geffen for the Strange Times (1986) LP but broke up a year later. Interestingly Clive Davis signed the The Church to Arista around the same time David Geffen signed The Chameleons. There must have been something in the air. Anyway this song View From A Hill is from the debut Chameleons album Script Of The Bridge (1983) and is one of my nominations for my upcoming proto-shoegaze post.


The Chameleons - Silence, Sea & Sky (1985)
Maybe I need to start a Dreampop Began Here segment as well. This tune is totally Blue Velvet/Twin Peaks Angelo Badalamenti except it's a year before Blue Velvet and four years before Twin Peaks. You expect Julee Cruise to come in at any minute. Anyhow Silence, Sea & Sky was composed on a Solina which is an ARP string synth. Brilliant stuff.


The Chameleons - Caution
Now lets just get down to the rock! As I said I get stuck on The Chameleons so it might be a couple of weeks before anything else crosses my eardrums. Here's a mammoth and mighty tune from their third LP Strange Times (1986). This is how majestic and intense I always thought Echo & The Bunnymen should have been but they were disappointing poseurs. It didn't matter though because we had The Chameleons.


The Chameleons - Soul In Isolation (1986)
I'm surprised this didn't become the COVID19 anthem. Anyway it was interesting to read in the comments that guitarist Dave Fielding wrote this tune even before the first album Script Of The Bridge (1983) was recorded. It's another dark intense epic. Sometimes they reach a Husker Dü like fever pitch except amongst the claustrophobia there is space for respite until you realise that is dread filled too. Classic.


The Chameleons - Second Skin (1983)
Oh man I've got it bad now I can't stop. The Chameleons are so so fucking good. This song might just be their most satisfying and best. It's got such a wonderful soaring 80s melody and those lyrics... "I dedicate this melody to you... No wonder I feel like I'm floating on air" fit perfectly. Second Skin is a song about great songs that make you feel elated that is a great song that makes you feel elated. What a fucking conceptual triumph! The duel guitar interplay, that insistent mystic rhythm and the round and back again backing vocals fuse together for a swirly trip where you feel like you're "walking on air". Second Skin is just so delicious, delightful & euphoric. I just noticed this tune has had over a million youtube views so perhaps some people are finally catching on to the delectable greatness of The Chameleons. Maybe the mysterious youtube recommendations algorithm has weaved its magic once again (?). For a band that never cracked the top 40 anywhere in the world that's impressive. A true cult band! "This is the stuff dreams are made of."


The Chameleons - Perfume Garden (1985)
Another fine tune with an ecstatic buzz.

When Interpol first came out I was hearing them on the radio all the time and kept thinking "Oh Chameleons must have reformed I'll have to find that cd next time I'm in a record shop." A week or two later my mate brought around some cd burns and one of them was that first Interpol album. So I was shocked and a little disappointed. For a Chameleons tribute band though Interpol did alright. I must admit I never heard any of their following records. I always thought Interpol were what you would have wanted your ultimate high school band to sound like: The Chameleons as your blueprint then chuck in bit of Television, some Died Pretty, a splash of The Sound, add a slice of The Church, a dash of The Smiths with a twist of Joy Division.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Shoegazi


Original - Leftfield (1995) 
There's been a bit of chatter over at Energy Flash about the cross pollination of shoegaze, ambient and techno in the 90s and beyond due to the imminent reissue of the self-titled LP from The Primitive Painter. They were a German duo I'd never heard of until a fortnight ago. Their one and only LP was released in 1994. They had a love for house and 80s indie-pop and noise-pop. Anyway Simon posted a bunch of "SHOEGAZETRONICA" the other day including a FSOL remix of Curve. It put me in mind of the above track which features vocals from Curve's Toni Halliday. I loved it at the time but it's not as exciting as I remember. In fact it kinda feels as dull as say Groove Armada. Am I right?



The Primitive Painter were duo Roman Flügel and Jörn Elling Wuttke better known as their techno aliases Acid Jesus then they became the chartbusting Alter Ego from 94 onwards. The Primitive Painter LP was somewhere in-between. This album got lost in the 90s glut but has gone on to become a cult record. Original copies (only 500 pressed) now go for crazy money on the internet and I can see why, that above tune Hope is exquisite.


Anyway I ended up writing a whole thing on Curve over at Energy Flash which is funny considering I only ever had their first three EPs. I do however find failed major label pop stars who then change their style in a second, third or fourth chance at success/fame fascinating. I've touched on this before but whatever. People I can think of who fit in this category off the top of my head are Guy Chadwick, Matthew Sweet, Alanis Morissette, Robin Thicke and of course the two ladies mentioned below Toni Halliday and Shirley Manson. There must be stacks more people in this category though. Some groups who went on to be glam bands had second chances. Mud were a psych-pop band originally and Sweet were maybe some kinda pub blues band. Once in the hands of the right songwriters and/or producers these musicians get reinvented. A book on this kind of thing would be fascinating. Below is what I wrote in Simon's comments box.


The mark Curve have left on music history is via who they influenced ie. Garbage who sometimes sound uncannily like Curve except Garbage were million selling alt-pop titans. Both groups though were kind of phoney manufactured groups chasing alternative trends (nothing wrong with that The Sex Pistols were a boy band). Other parallels include second chances for both front women, well actually for Shirley Manson it was her third bite of the cherry. She had been in 80s/90s band Goodbye Mr McKenzie then Angelfish who were a record company manufactured vehicle for Manson. One of the Garbage dudes saw her on MTV and that was that.

Toni Halliday had several bites of the cherry too. She was in group State Of Play with members of Eurythmics live band. They did an LP in 1986 which nobody cared for. More Eurythmics connections continue here as Toni was then signed to Dave Stewart's label (Anxious Records) for a solo LP that failed to make an impact on anybody despite engineering and production from Flood and Alan Moulder. Toni then formed Curve with State Of Play/Eurythmics bass player Dean Garcia and their wild card was Alan Moulder on production, mixing, engineering and sometimes guitar duties. Curve were also signed to Anxious Records during their most successful period 1991 to 1993 where they did catch some chart action in the UK. They had 5 UK top 40 singles and the first two LPs went to 11 & 23 respectively.


Blindfold - Curve (1991)
Curve's first single Blindfold took MBV's Soon template and made it less good in an aim for chart domination.


Coast Is Clear - Curve (1991)
I do however recall thinking their 2nd single Coast Is Clear was undeniable despite how derivative/generic it was ie. Nirvana's Smells like Teen Spirit. You can hear where Garbage took some inspiration with regard to melody, gloomy vocal tone & petulant lyrical content right here. I've enjoyed listening to this one again.


Frozen - Curve (1991)
er...another one cut from the same cloth. I quite like this one too. I must admit I never followed them past the initial run of EPs and I guess The Frozen EP is their peak. EPs were where it was at for shoegazers. Imagine if Slowdive's Just For A Day or Ride's Nowhere where cut down to just the four or five essential tunes that hadn't appeared on any previous releases?


Want More Need Less - Curve (2001)
Didn't know about this one until today. Kevin Shields plays on two tracks on Curve's 2001 comeback LP Gift. If you took the vocals off this, it would sound like a Loveless (1991) outtake. Perhaps it should have been titled "Want Less Need Less". This might have been a strange experience for Shields as Curve had cribbed most of their ideas from him or maybe he was just flattered. Flattery gets you everywhere. Toni Halliday is married to legendary Glider/Tremelo/Loveless engineer Alan Moulder so I guess they would have probably all known each other.


Vow - Garbage (1995)
I fucking loved this when it first came out. It still sounds damn fine. I always thought this was somewhere between peak psych Beatles (Tomorrow Never Knows/I Am The Walrus), MBV via Curve with classic grungy riffage, pop hooks and production. They never topped this did they?


Shoegazetronica Began Here Part I.
Instrumental B - My Bloody Valentine (1988)
The near mythical tune that came free on a 7" with the initial pressings of the vinyl version of Isn't Anything (1988). I bought the cd so I thought I'd missed this forever until that great compilation EPs 1988-91 surfaced in 2012. That breakbeat mixed with Kevin Sheilds' eerie fx make this track so much more as it also predates Aphex Twin, Seefeel, Boards Of Canada, Hauntology etc.


Shoegazetronica Began Here Part II.
Blue Bell Knoll - Cocteau Twins (1988)
From the 2 minute 20 mark to the end of the opening title track of the Blue Bell Knoll LP The Cocteau Twins set down a template for funky drumming amongst gusts of guitar bliss. This slice of music of just over a minute is a concise blueprint for what was to become shoegaze and a jump off point for Shoegazetronica. Other tracks and sections of tunes on Blue Bell Knoll reiterate this vibe especially Carolyn's Fingers & A Kissed Out Red Floatboat.


Shoegazetronica Began Here Part III.
A Love From Outer Space - AR Kane (1989)
This just opened up a whole other expansive universe of sound along with several other tunes from the LP "I" (1989). You can hear the seedling of Saint Etienne here. In the youtube comments of the video clip version somebody calls it R&Bgaze.


Spirea Rising - Spirea X (1991)
Anyone remember this? I thought they were gonna be great and push the boat out on the whole rhythmic dubby shoegaze thing but it turned out this was the only half decent tune they did. I still really like this particularly that bass. An LP of tunes in this style would have been awesome. We had to wait a year or two for Seefeel then a year or two more for Bowery Electric's Beat LP.


Semtex - Third Eye Foundation (1996) 
Then there was this guy Matt Elliot who took it all to a less idyllic place although there is some kind of bliss in its nihilistic abyss. 


Sleep - Third Eye Foundation (1996)
The stories were circling in the mid 90s that Kevin Shields was making a jungle inspired My Bloody Valentine record but Third Eye Foundation beat him to the punch. This is still quite a rush and a blueprint for a genre that never happened.



Untitled/Get Out #3 - Pita (1999)
Does this track somehow fit amongst the whole shoegazetronica? For me it does! Untitled #3 from Pita's Get Out album is kind of like a Slowdive instrumental put through a virus ridden laptop. This is like a distant cousin to My Bloody Valentine's To Here Knows When. It's all about the euphoric amorphous noise and the spires of splintering sound reaching for the heavens. Rejoice in this crackin track. [Added Entry 16/5/20]


Soon - My Bloody Valentine (1990)
For reference's sake here's a little tune that was slightly innovative and influential.