Tuesday 21 May 2024

Just Give It All To Christ · Lucky Rosenbloom


Lucky Rosenbloom (1985)
Back to the electro. This is something else. I guess it's electro gospel but I mean it could be gospel-house, I don't get the genre pigeon hole here...I'm guessing it's down to the make of drum machine and his geographic location which was St Paul. 

This is a WTF? tune if there ever was one. It's electronic, it's post disco, It's funky, it's jazzy, It's futuristic, it's the strangest space age gospel tune you ever heard. Insane synth action with luxurious soul jazz piano stylings, acidic squelches, off the wall funky keytar breaks, unorthodox recording techniques and more. At one stage (0.42) I thought another song had started playing in another window of my computer but no that's just this song's strange arrangement and unique sound design. I can't tell whether that was incompetence or deliberate, either way it was surprising and a genius move.

If my memory serves Rosenbloom was a pastor and tv evangelist who recorded just this one 7" single and last year it got re-released by one of those trendy reissue labels either Light In The Attic or Numero Group. 

I think maybe this is outsider music.  

Monday 20 May 2024

Broadcast - Spell Blanket


Running Back To Me - Broadcast (2024)
Witchy and tribal. This definitely has a second half of the 00s vibe, making clear that there was definite overlap between Hypnogogia and Hauntology. This has a similar spirit to groups like Pocahaunted but then again I guess Broadcast were always more than just hauntologic with their folky neo-psych and dilapidated moogy dream jazz.


March Of The Fleas - Broadcast (2024)
Sorta like a lo-fi shoegaze jam but Broadcast stylee. I get that these are demos but were Broadcast ever this raw? My brain says no but I don't really trust my memory bank anymore so who knows... maybe I'll have to dig out me dusty old cds and give them a listen. So the recently released Spell Blanket compilation is made up of 36 demos recorded between 2006 and 2009. This material was apparently sketches for a future LP that never got made. (Retro) Retro retro-future.  


Broadcast - My Body (2024)
Hymn for an occult ritual... goths in the woods...fun baby Diamanda Galas doing spooky incantations...

I don't recall Broadcast ever being this overtly... well just this overt. 

Disturbing or hilariously cheese-y, I don't know... maybe both. 


Broadcast - Follow The Light (2024)
While containing many sketches and snippets Spell Blanket has plenty of gorgeous haunting psych-folk moments like this. Surely one of Trish's most outstanding tunes.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Staring Into The Abyss

CELEBRATE THE NEW DARK AGE


Bernard Herrmann - Gort/The Visor/The Telescope (1951)
Bernie doing his darkness and fear thang with added theremin.


Front 242 - Moldavia (1991)
The sound design and the way sound is organised here is pretty impeccable. Also just an iconic anthem innit.


Health - Ashamed Of Being Born (2023)
It's hard to have an affect if you're a post-industrial pop group post-1980s but this is somewhat interesting if perhaps post post-post ironic (or should I add in a few more posts). This video with its images of the cult of nerdy fandom with their infantile dress ups and mental illness deification is all about you and your identity or lack thereof and the emptiness at the heart of it all...The downer euphoria "I'm a sad boy" identity pioneered by the likes of Drake is transposed here onto a Linkin Park/NIN style jam. What's the difference anymore? Rap, psych, metal, industrial, dance pop: All this shit sounds the same...is the same. 


Pedro The Lion - Rejoice (2002)
Codeine/Low/Idaho.... Pedro has the blueprint...pulled off with particular aplomb. This is a raw non-ironic sad boy but it feels like he's reaching for something more and not just acquiescing to the abyss. 
 

Crass - White Punks On Hope (1979)
A song slagging off The Clash is always a winner with me. Also notable for astute commentary on retarded "There is only one viewpoint. It's ours and we are correct" lefty conformism and meaningless pick a team "Which side are on?" politics that still rings true today. Imagine thinking for yourself...
 
"Pogo on a nazi, spit upon a jew
Vicious mindless violence that offers nothing new
Left wing violence, right wing violence, all seems much the same
Bully boys out fighting, it's just the same old game
Boring fucking politics that'll get us all shot
Left wing, right wing, you can stuff the lot"



Polvo - Every Holy Shroud (1994)
Like Pavement and Unwound tunes like this sounded nostalgic back in the 90s when they were released. I've gotta say It is surprising that I still really enjoy Polvo. In fact I think I like their mixture of stop start shenanigans, weird time signatures, modal guitars and daft surreal melancholy more now. Still acquiring the taste 30 years on. 

"Celebrate the new dark age with us
Calculate the irony with someone you can trust"

Friday 17 May 2024

Midnight Star - Electricity


[1983]
The charms of Midnight Star..... they certainly had a fucking knack for these insidious grooves. Although this was infectious electro-funk for the future these fellas were so old school they still wore their showbiz threads instead of the trendy sneakers, leather jackets and tracksuits. It didn't really matter though coz if you were breakin' or roller skatin' this jam was electric. 

Thursday 16 May 2024

The Future - Nuclear Holocaust


The Future - Nuclear Holocaust (Vocal) [1984]
Oblivion was just a push of a button away back in the day when the cold war was raging with it's arms race and star wars programme, We understood the very real threat that we were going to be blown to bits by a nuclear bomb at any minute. Paranoid dread was real and normal to us kids at the time. 

We didn't get our Nuclear Holocaust or jet packs. It seems jet packs aren't on the horizon anymore but the future does offer us the renewed promise of the possibility of thermonuclear annihilation. Isn't it nice that our childhood dreams are being kept alive by our overlords.

The Future is an alias for Michael Johnson Jr of legendary electro-funk combo The Jonzun Crew.


The Future - Unclear Holocaust (Re-mix Version) [1984]
You may prefer the instrumental dub mix b side for your breakdancing til armageddon. 

Monday 13 May 2024

Sandy Kerr - Thug Rock


[1982]
Sweet, smooth and sultry this funky post-disco* hip-hop jam is the business. Behold that groove, bass-line extravaganza and cowbell goodness. Everybody get out your roller-skates, it's time to partay!

*Disco often gets conveniently overlooked as a major ingredient in the formulation of hip hop. By the time it mutates into rap nobody's owning up to it as an influence.

Sunday 12 May 2024

Strafe - Set It Off


[1984]
An epic elemental electro-funk masterpiece.

When the differences between funk, electro, house and techno or even post-disco, freestyle and chart dance pop were pretty flimsy. If you added the emphasis on a particular instrument here it may have been categorised as a different sub-genre. A lot of categorisation at the time was geographical. In Australia in 1984 just starting High School it was all just called dance music. 

Set It Off's influence continued into at least the early 00s with the likes of The Neptunes ripping off this aesthetic wholesale and calling it their own. 
 
Still the future. 

Friday 10 May 2024

Newcleus - Computer Age (Push The Button)


Newcleus - Computer Age (Push The Button) [Club Mix] - (1984) 
A lot of old school electro jamz are amazingly pertinent to today, probably more so than anything actually current in pop music. 

Some theorists say now that AI has been unleashed onto the public that we're doomed. How much more doom mongering propaganda can we take? I suspect AI was released into society to create more havoc, confusion and chaos so that more control can be exerted upon us lowlife masses. It will have you screaming for the government to fuck you harder with regards to your dwindling freedom.

Many people are under the misapprehension that science-fiction books & movies and futuristic electronic music are always cheerleading retarded technological progress but no many of these artist's artefacts have always been about warning us of these incredibly anti-human existential dangers. Enjoying Kraftwerk, John Foxx or Newcleus doesn't equate to wanting to comply with trans-humanism. 

Are we under their control, or are they under our control, or what?
Push the button
Computer age is now
Everyone must have a machine
They say it's gonna make life easier,
well, I can't stand it....
They say we should put them in control
Well, maybe next we'll give them a soul
I guess we must now think that we're gods,
While we're less men than ever
I know the Lord cannot be too glad
In fact, I'm sure he must be quite mad
To see us take His role from our lives
And give it to computers
For here we sit in our easy chairs
As our machines decide how we'll fare
Who will suffer, who will survive?
It's up to the computers
Push the button
Are we under their control, or are they under our control, or what?
Warning! Warning! Warning! Warning! Warning! Warning! Warning! Warning!
Computing
"I'm no longer in control
I can't program my machine
Now it wants to take my soul
Stop it or it will proceed!"
Why is it you're trying to give me
Programs
I'm in charge and yet you're trying to
Program
I'm metal so you think you have to
Program
But I'm a man 'cause I don't need no
Programs
Now computing...now computing...now computing...now computing...
Are we under their control, or are they under our control, or what?


Totally epic track that gets pretty cosmic at 5:40.

Sunday 5 May 2024

Bonny - Prefab Sprout


Bonny - Prefab Sprout (1985)
Impeccable.

Timeless 80s pop perfection: aged like fine wine. Paddy McAloon's idiosyncratic words and feels ensure Bonny is like nothing else. Wretched grief thoroughly captured in an authentic yet beautiful manner. 

Heartbreaking.


Rev-P - 1994 (1994)
Strangely several elements of Bonny were used here to great effect in this unusual uncanny slice of dark, damp and dubby jungle. This murky tune was created by Pete Parsons aka Voyager aka Static Substance

Friday 26 April 2024

Master C & J - In The City (Devil Mix)


[1987]
Immaculate restrained minimal disco-funk of the future... There's still something rather inexplicable about certain early Chicago house tracks and In The City is no exception with its liminal unnamed vibe. Bleak lyrical content delivered via frightening vocal science intermingled with bouncy bass and exuberant drum machine hand claps signal a somewhat poignant inevitability of 80s urban living. This downcast sensibility is blanketed by warm synth tones leaving feels tilted towards elation rather than agitation, adding a disconcerting dimension. Dystopian psychedelia where danger and excitement are so entwined they're indistinguishable from each other.

Wednesday 24 April 2024

Mr. Fingers - Mystery Of Love


[1985]
The enigmatical Mystery Of Love is still fresh to this day and ultimately transcendent. This is the original 1985 instrumental not the later re-recorded version with vocals that came out under the moniker Fingers Inc.

It's funny innit that years later somebody in the UK termed ambient house a sub-genre because house at its inception was already ambient and house so...

That fluid bass swirling like a kaleidoscope giving it a circular momentum, the ace cymbal work and those wistful washes of melodic synth with a euphoric tinge make this primo 80s tune-age from Chicago! 

A flowing atmospheric track like this seems more suited for driving, home listening or headphones than a sweaty dance-floor. Larry Heard created a timeless and indeed mysterious sound here.  

Tuesday 23 April 2024

Chip E - Time To Jack


[1985]
More raw stripped down jackin' trax from Chicago. Appearing to be deceptively rudimentary these hypnotic, pounding yet intricate rhythms are sterling elemental beat-science. Chip E uses minimal elements from Italo-disco and electro-pop creating delirious drum machine driven damage, originating one of the finest early house tunes. 

Monday 22 April 2024

Jesse Saunders - On And On


[1984]
Some people don't realise that house wasn't always a lame genre so here's some house before house got defined. No piano riff-age or acidic squelches here. On And On is still rudimentary and raw utilising specific disco elements but rearranged for maximum pleasure. Unhinged synth lines, primitive drum machine hand clap breaks galore and loops into the future. 

Saturday 20 April 2024

Vis-A-Vis - Obi Agye Me Dofo


[1977]
Rolling golden grooves for miles... Highlife indeed!

I haven't heard this in 15 years but I came across it on the youtubes last night... and wow it's... magnificent! Soundway compiled this tune back in the 00s on the great double cd Ghana Special: Modern Highlife, Afro-Sounds and Ghanian Blues 1968-81. This infectious track is highlife merging into afro-synth-funk and it's on another plain innit. 

If you love Nigerian synth legend William Onyeabor you are going to love what Tonny Doziz does with his synthesiser here. This is a hell of an ensemble. A crack percussion team is deployed to give you maximum rhythmic pleasure: On congas of glory George Asante, cowbell extraordinaire Alex Jubin, Danel Asare on maracas and drummer Kung-Fu Kwaku aka Shaolin Kung Fu (Gybson Papra). Held down bass-wise by Slim Yaw Manu.

... hypnotic sweet psychedelic-jazz-funk Ghanian stylee is the Vis-A-Vis highlife way. 

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Robbie Dupree - Hot Rod Hearts


[1980]
When falling in love was like being on the run: It was gangster. It was heroic.

Roger's previous single Steal Away was an American top 10 smash and a number 24 hit here but this follow up didn't even crack the top 40 here in Australia but make no mistake this is one of the greatest soft rock radio anthems of all time. 

"Ten miles east of the highway
Hot sparks burnin' the night away
Two lips touchin' together
Cheek to cheek, sweatshirt to sweater"

Yes indeed he wrote and sang that line "sweatshirt to sweater" and somehow made it noble and beautiful.

Hot Rod Hearts lyrics are deceptively simple but are actually brilliantly concise. Coupled with the lightly sophisticated sound it's pop perfection innit, right up there with early Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, Phil Spector's girl groups etc. 

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Home On Monday · Little River Band


[1977]
Staying in Melbourne zones... What about this west coast classic from rainy Melbourne? Expansive melodies and harmonies galore, adult sentiments, gambling themes, such bleak lonely freedom loneliness, confusing wistfulness and dreary romance. 

I had this on a tape in primary school and the emotions entwined with that immaculate arrangement were just so unusually complex it was incredibly disconcerting yet enticing for a young mind. 

It's also a phone call song like the previous post's I'd Really Like To See You Tonight but much more consummate in its execution. 

Rick Springfield - Don’t Talk To Strangers


[1982]
Here's a forgotten bit of gold that was at the intersection of soft-rock, teeny bop and yacht rock! It's our Broady-boy* Ricky and his lost classic Don't Talk To Strangers

Monday 8 April 2024

I'd Really Love to See You Tonight · England Dan & John Ford Coley


[1976]
Getting more into the yacht-y end of the soft rock jamz. And boy oh boy they wrote an excellent chorus here, one of the great pop songs about laundry.

"I'm not talkin bout the linen"

It's the real name of the song innit, as stated by the song's true fans, AM radio enthusiasts and Samuel L Jackson in The Long Kiss Goodnight. Don't let Geena Davis tell you otherwise. 

There's some incredible 3D production shit goin on here... yeas.

Saturday 6 April 2024

Steve Perry - Oh Sherrie


[1984]
Hits Huge 1984: Australians of a certain age are gonna remember that various artist hits compilation and this tune was the best thing on it. I don't think Journey were all that popular here, having no top 40 hits (Don't Stop Believin' peaked at #100) but Steve Perry's debut solo single was a top 5 smash. This song is just as excellent as the first time I heard it back in high school when I was in year 7. 

The synth-y intro, the voice, the emotions, all of those emotions in that fabulous voice, the dramatic doomed from the start romance, the self-hatred, the sexual confidence, the ace succinct guitar licks and a crafty coda outro all add up to soft-rock anthem gold.

"You'd be better off alone
If I'm not who you thought I'd be

But you know that there's a fever
That you'll never find nowhere else"

This depiction of a doomed passionate tryst captures a frisson that is incredibly enticing stuff, particularly for young players.  

Friday 5 April 2024

Eddie Money - Take Me Home Tonight/Be My Baby


[1985]
Mid 80s mash up goodness. 

This is so much more goodness than I remember. I don't recall this video at all. It's hitting the synapse jackpot though: The 80s anthemic production, the oriental synths, the daggy dad dancing, those sunnies, that, I dunno what it is, some kinda legendary fancy tracksuit top, then wait for it he pulls out and pretends to play a mini saxophone. Then that break where it's just guitar and vocals and Ronnie fucking Spector. 

Eddie and Ronnie for the win.

Also this does not get the credit it deserves. It's at least a year prior to Walk This Way so... as I said Eddie and Ronnie for the win BABY!

Thursday 4 April 2024

REO Speedwagon - Take It On the Run


[1980]
Unbelievably this wasn't a number one hit (#30) and doesn't ever feature on golden oldies radio here in Australia. It might just be the best thing they ever did though. A shonky love-life scenario entwined in large melodies in peak radio rock anthem sung by crafty songsmiths who were so uncool it was heroic! 

The  teen drama spirit of girl groups, Phil Spector and Love Me Do Beatles lived on here.

Sunset Grill · Don Henley


[1985]
I don't recall hearing this in the 80s. I mean I had the 7" single of Boys Of Summer but I'm guessing this tune wasn't a hit here in Australia (quick search reveals it only got to #98 on the charts). Anyway this is something else innit. Fretless bass, brass smothered in thick layers of synthesisers and dodgy lyrics about watching prostitutes while drinking beer. Whether it's good or bad I cannot say... or just maybe this sprawling epic is awesome.

Friday 29 March 2024

Incredible - Future


[2017]
I really haven't given rap a crack or given a crap about rap since 2018 a year after Future's HNDRXX was issued. In 2018 albums by Migos, Young Thug and Future were in my year end list and then my love of Atlanta trap and whatever followed took a dive and waned to zero interest. After 5 or 6 years of being fully immersed in the innovative delirium of Atlanta trap and its orbiting scenes I just thought well if Thugger and Future ain't cutting it any longer what's the point? 

Future had such a great run from 2013's Monster followed by Beast Mode, 56 Nights, DS2, What A Time To Be Alive and ending with 2016's Purple Reign. He was on such a roll I thought it was never gonna end indeed this purple patch was a purple reign. However in 2016 he released the disappointing Evol then the totally bloated Project ET. Then in 2017 he dropped the double wammy of HNDRXX Future in the same week which was just way way too much and didn't really signal the full comeback we were all hoping for. Those two solo albums should have just been condensed into the one succinct banger-fied LP with all the dross chucked in the bin.  

Anyway for some reason in the middle of the night I had the urge to listen Future's 2017 albums HNDRXX and Future again. I can honestly say I was surprised. Many of the tunes from HNDRXX in particular were exceptional and not the ho-hum death of Atlanta trap I thought they had signalled. I mean four or five tunes less and it might have been an all-timer. The vibe unexpectedly isn't anywhere near as nihilistic as the drug addled death wish that was DS2, in fact it feels rather sparkly and upbeat in comparison. The slurred wobbly meat glitch vocal science seems to be more restrained than usual or perhaps it's just been expertly refined due to further mastering of his techniques of fusing his flesh and bone vocals with the tech gimmix of the time.  

Incredible is incredible, as are the two other tracks on the LP produced by Dre Moon. I listened to this straight after listening to a mixtape of 80s rock anthems and it totally stood up in anthemic anthem-ness next to those anthems. He's reaching the same ecstatic heights here that he achieved on the 2012 hands in the air classic Turn Out The Lights.  


Dre Moon's beats here are like a sunshine pop/psych-rock opus crossed with the usual seedy luxuriance and dilapidated RnB all complimenting the low-key euphoria of Future's slurred strangely emotional delivery. The funny thing is using an array voice altering fx usually alien-izes and trivialises an artist ultimately making them a novelty but Future's performances seem to gain gravitas and pathos. You have to think that he and his producers were so advanced in the sophistication of this human/tech merger that it placed them (along with Migos and Thugger) light years ahead of everyone else. 


That eerie ambient synth line here is straight out of early 90s British ambient house. It's a love song innit. Some spellbound space-y opulence on display here. 

Wednesday 27 March 2024

The Severed Arm/Messiah Of Evil - Phillan Bishop


[1972]
This avant-garde composer has just three scores to his name and what glorious works they were in the pre-Tangerine Dream/John Carpenter era of electronic scores. Who even knows if these were existing pieces or specifically arranged for these three films? I'm sure he was probably an academic connected to a university that probably had an electronic/computer music research centre but I can't be sure because I can find zero primary sources of  information on the guy. Phillan Bishop is so mysterious I'm inclined to think he never even existed except as a pseudonym. Having said that he was one of the essential pioneers in the first half of the 70s with regard to the development of synth and electronic film scoring.

The only biographical info I can find is that Bishop was born 1948 and died 1991 at 43 years of age and was the nephew of Jazz pianist Hampton Hawes. That's it!

The Severed Arm's disconcerting reverberations, clanky bloops, unsettling rudimentary synthetical signals, eerie tones, clangorous drones and archaic unearthly textures are classic mid 20th century gestures from the electro-acoustic world.

It's unbelievable that Creel Pones have never done some kind of archival release of Bishop's delightfully deranged scores.



[1973]
Youtube channel Fish Man on youtube manages to extract 4 minutes and 13 seconds of the unsettling Messiah of Evil score here in this clip. Bishop definitely achieved peak eeriness for this eerie of the eeriest movies as heard in the first three and a half eerie minutes here then in the last forty five seconds we get those absurdly heavy clanks, a masterpiece of horror sound design as is the apprehensive whirling synthetic delirium of the finale. It all perfectly matches the surreal horror of the antics in the sea-side town of Point Dune.  
 

[1975]
A swirling vortex of ominous electronics, clanks, scrapes and buzzing bleeps put through an echo chamber, discordant gothic piano and harmonica reverb-ed to oblivion, sinister chirps, off kilter synthetic bursts of sound, echoing atmospheres of malignancy and ending with spooky toy-town music box shenanigans amongst an array of blustery gusts. 

Phillan Bishop was a sublime sorcerer of scary synthetic sound: A gift to these horror film makers.    

Monday 25 March 2024

Don't Go in the Woods Alone - H. Kingsley Thurber


[1980]
More unreleased pioneering electronic soundtracking. It's all about the first minute here. Two awesome layers of synth. That thick dark threatening synth bass drone paired with the modulations of the meandering melancholic glimmering melody over the top. Intermingled between the synths there's also something that sounds like a treated stringed instrument, maybe a banjo, guitar or a Jew's harp, giving it a further menacing vibe. Later in this 14 minute snippet of soundtrack from 1980 we get all sorts of uncanny, atonal jump scare fx and drums of impending doom. This is golden ultra gloomy synthetic scoring... almost makes me wanna check out this terrible movie again...  

Monday 18 March 2024

Fiend ost - Paul Woznicki


[1980]
Glorious improvised thick synth textures with dark apprehensive tones. Synthesizer as multi layered drone generator for vibe setting although there's an occasional melodic piano interlude. This is peak synthetic film scoring. Composed for low budget regional horror auteur Don Dohler of Night Beast notoriety. 

*Just noticed that this is no longer unreleased. An LP of the Fiend score was recently released by the ace cult soundtrack label Mystic Vault. 

Saturday 16 March 2024

Sanja Ilic & Slobodan Markovic - Dark Echoes


[1977]
Fabulous score to a Yugoslavian horror movie set in Austria. Highly innovative synthetic film scoring from this duo from Belgrade. Put in synth score context it was recorded in the same year as Goblin's Suspiria, Tangerine Dream's movie debut Sorcerer and a year before John Carpenter's Halloween. This is the sound of synth and electronics in horror before it became formulaic. There's a real sense of pioneering freshness here as they utilise an array of textures, sounds and fx to capture all sorts of strange and dark flavours. A Dark Echoes soundtrack has never been released and this eight and a half minute snippet of the score's audio is all that can be found on youtube. 

Thursday 14 March 2024

Peter Bernstein & Mark Goldenberg - Silent Rage ost


[1982]
The best 80s electronic movie theme tune. There's just something about it. An intangible essense of the groovy yet haunted variety. A meticulously crafted tenebrous synth score yet somehow also jaunty. An uncanny pop triumph. 

Haunty-ology fans (Do they still exist?) take note, this could be a blueprint for several Ghostbox artists. 

A Silent Rage soundtrack cd was finally released just last year by Dragon's Domain Records.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Drew King & Peter Jermyn - Siege OST


[1983]
On this low budget Canuxploitation cult movie's score we get great thick synthetic textures of dystopian sound then The Closing Theme at 2.55 is delightfully dire dark death-disco. The real futuristic bad vibes. 

This is not a lost future. It's the sound of a future they didn't cancel, our current deranged state of affairs: The militarised police shooting protestors in Melbourne, going to prison for stickers, the UN proclaiming trans lesbians are lesbians, getting arrested for tweets, the national guard patrolling the NYC subway, politicised intelligence agencies, de-banking citizens for wrong-think, getting attacked/murdered by illegal aliens, endless war, mass surveillance, football clubs banning life-long members for incorrect views, robo-dogs, continuous emergency powers, obscene wealth tranfers during C****, the general criminalisation of the normal law abiding population (farmers, truckers, you, me) etc. etc. You will comply. You will submit. You will eat ze bugs!

Sunday 10 March 2024

Jonathan Newton - Unhinged OST


[1982]
Surely the holy grail of never released horror synth scores. This 1982 score is post-Carpenter synthetic slasher-core with haunting wonky pitched radiophonic synths, ultra menacing pulsations, ominous drones, unhinged analogue cues and stings.


That melancholic glinting modulating analogue sound so beloved by The Radiophonic Workshop, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada as well as their haunty-logical offspring Belbury Poly, Advisory Circle etc. is used here to perfection.


Since the dawn of the sharing mp3 files via blogs thing in the 00s, fans have been putting together their own versions of the Unhinged soundtrack. It's a mystery that the cult Unhinged score has never been commercially released. 

Jonathan Newton aka Jon Newton only ever did a handful of scores... he went on to be a music professor teaching at Portland Uni. 

Saturday 9 March 2024

Just Before Dawn - Brad Fiedel


Getting a bit more esoteric here in the electronic horror film scoring. Fiedel would later become famous for his Terminator score a few years later. On this 1981 score for Just Before Dawn the synth action is just one aspect alongside industrial, new age, field recording, pre-hypnagogic sleazoid funky glam and whatever else.  

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Blood Rage - Richard Einhorn


More 80s synth horror soundtrack goodness. Richard Einhorn is an award winning symphonic record producer but is known around my house for composing legendary electronic horror scores to Don't Go In The House (1980) and Shock Waves (1977) amongst others. The 1983 Blood Rage score however has never been released.


[Added Entry 9/3/24]
A longer and better sounding selection of music from Blood Rage. 

Wednesday 28 February 2024

Theme from C.H.U.D. - Cooper Hughes


(1984)
More 80s synth-y soundtrack goodness. Back in the 00s you could only get like a 13 minute fan-made mp3 download of this soundtrack but a few years back it got the deluxe trendy coloured vinyl reissue  treatment. Theme From C.H.U.D. is an absolute peak of very tasty post Tangerine Dream/John Carpenter synthetic film scoring. What a cracking tone they create here. Cooper Hughes wasn't one dude it was two dudes: Martin Cooper and David A Hughes who If I recall correctly were both in OMD's live line-up for a while. 

Sunday 25 February 2024

Code of Silence - David Michael Frank


More great 80s sumptuous (or is that sickly) synth-y soundtrack gold from films I've never seen. This is another score that I can't believe hasn't been reissued by one of these trendy coloured vinyl reissue soundtrack labels.  The evocative synthetic sound of David Michael Frank conjures the grain of vhs and the seedy strangeness of straight to video movies with this suspenseful vaguely oriental jam with tropical overtones. This atmospheric lament even becomes anthemic in the last couple of minutes when the funky bass and drums arrive with a fine string arrangement to top things off. Nice.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Bloodsport Soundtrack - Finals - Paul Hertzog


More synth-y soundtracking from the films I've never seen. This mysterious Paul Hertzog fella only did a handful of scores. 1988's Bloodsport was his second after the legendary My Chauffeur in 1986. Who knows what he did after the early 90s. I'm guessing since this synth-y style of soundtracking became unfashionable he probably ended up in education like the rest of us. Still you'd think some of these 21st century directors with a penchant for 80s sounds would have tracked him down to give their retro movie that authentic 80s feel but it seems after his excellent 1991 score for Breathing Fire he disappeared completely from the music and film industry.  

Monday 19 February 2024

Eye for an Eye Theme · William Goldstein


Futuristic saxophone synth-y goodness with added fretless bass. Many of the best soundtracks are for movies you don't know or care about.

Sunday 18 February 2024

Ozark Mountain Daredevils - Jackie Blue


Ozark Mountain Daredevils - Jackie Blue (1975)
Timeless one hit wonder here in Australia and still occasionally heard on golden oldies radio. The guitar in this is just divine here as is the entire arrangement on this sweet luxurious soft-rock jam. 


[Added Entry]
Old Grey Whistle Test 26/3/76
Me old mate Retina Soup recommends this version in the comments and he's right as these guys are totally peaking here in a laid back, funky in the pocket manner. Masterful. 

Saturday 17 February 2024

George Benson- Give Me The Night


That moment when you hear a song clearly and properly for the first time in your life despite it having been in your life for over forty years. An enticing glimpse into the promise of adult life. You didn't know what it meant but you knew there was something seductive and glamorous awaiting. Lusty romantic desires waiting to be fulfilled.

Supreme yacht-boogie-disco jam. 

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Swell - Well?


The connoisseur's choice for best guitar cd of 1992. That's me and me old mate Tony but somebody at Melody Maker liked it too and somebody at 3PBS-FM Melbourne and I guess it got a cd release in Australia and me old mate Dan from Grafton liked it too... but you know I guess it wasn't a sleeper hit like Slanted And Enchanted or Spiderland or a guaranteed blockbuster like Copper Blue or Automatic For The People or have a cult-y groundswell status like PJ Harvey, Screaming Trees or Red House Painters... yet it's surely the coolest guitar record of the early 90s.

David Freel was the most detached deadpan fella out there. He wasn't doin no cheese or overtly emotional crap, nah his gloomy yet understated post-154 neo-psych jams were stoic, cryptic and cool. I hazard a guess that this is the exact reason Well? isn't a popular record and only an acquired taste, despite having swinging drum hooks galore and melodically mysterious guitar lines to die for. 

The bittersweet noir of Swell's Well? is even better than I remember. 

Moody.


The hit single! not...(In a perfect world.....)


There's magic on this when that bendy cosmic guitar line and those drums do that hypnotic push/pull thing... glorious.


An impeccably considered simmering jam of the highest order where the menace and tension are tightly controlled, restraint before histrionics.


Throwing out their most angular shapes and apprehensive dialogue. 

"Your TV and talking is wasting my time"

"I see shadows on the bright side"

This insidious gloom just gets under your skin. 

Infectious.

Saturday 10 February 2024

I'm not dead yet!

ie. The chronic illness (possibly caused by the mrna injection) continues to try to destroy me but I'm battling on!


er touché... er.. What a timeless anthem. Beautiful. The voice, the hair, the psych guitars and those drums huh those drums!. Don Fleming/Andy Wallace production/mixing. 1992 forever. 


Reminds of when sex was all important and serious and necessary. When too much sex still wasn't enough. That's a great vibe to live by. Don't let the doctors ever fuck with your libido ie. Don't go on antidepressants ever! They are a fucking gip and in fact keep you depressed, dependant, take your life-force away, make you violent and totally fuck with you your brain and body functions. You think Greg Dulli would have let anyone interfere with his manly functions? No fucking way! You need to fight depressive episodes without pharma and their gaslighting making you think you need them. I don't. I'm so embarrassed that I allowed big pharma to rule my life for so long. Don't let them trans you or let you think obesity is ok or ... There are healthy alternatives and their agenda of keeping you unwell for life so they may suck your financial blood continuously is fucking criminal and a reckoning is coming. 


Sometimes you just gotta forget that Twitter ever happened and remember when great tunes were made by people whose opinions you never needed to know. This is so great 32 years later! It's easy to forget what a great band SY were. Twitter fucked up a lot of things. So many artists have done the wrong thing by going on twitter and saying that they are better than you and that their opinion is the correct one. We as a society have been pushed to the limit with the cultural revolution nudging politics. Mark Fisher could be an insufferable Marx-ist but even he knew (as he wrote in one of his final essays) that identity nonsense, cancel culture and censorship was backwards unenlightened dark ages stuff. 
 

Oh boy I forgot about this epic! The last great grunge record. This slacker jam will take you by surprise as it goes into this amazing insistent mode where it just becomes unstoppably anthemic in the most contagiously affecting manner.

You might think "oh this is nerdy third rate slacker grunge" but Carry The Zero is undeniably sensational.

Monday 29 January 2024

Ariel Pink - Life Before Today


I've finally singled out this track from the substack digital album dump Anonymous Productions from last year. This is fucking great vintage AP. It's got all the new wave, 70s radio rock, neo-psych-glam, post-punk indie vibes he's famous for. Except now he's infamous for playing a part in the worst day in American political history by instigating a coup at the capitol with Ray Epps... oh wait he was just photographed in a DC hotel room on insurrection day... still I mean he's a deplorable so why isn't he locked up? I mean we need to consider our safety. 

Anyway is that the ghost of Mark E Smith on backing vocals with Mercury Rev's Grasshopper wailing away on his cosmic guitar? 

*Actually a quick Brave search reveals AP to have contributed to a few tunes on Sean Ryder's most recent solo record Visits From Future Technology from 2021. Ariel co-wrote three of the tracks and did guitar, bass, keyboards, background vocals and beatboxing. As far as I can tell these collaborations were recorded ten years prior to the release of this LP.

Virtual · The Black Dog


Virtual - The Black Dog (1989)
I'm sure I have this confusion every time I go back and listen to early Black Dog records: Hang on wasn't this Origin Unknown or one of Andy C's tunes? Oh what? Did he sample it though? I'm sure my first encounter with these sounds was on a hardcore tune maybe from 92 or maybe a darkside or jungle track a year or two later...something on Reinforced or Moving Shadow maybe... blah blah blah... 

Then sure enough you figure out that big chunks of Black Dog's Virtual are sampled on DJ Crystl's King Of The Beats (1994) which was on Moving Shadow, Young Head's The Way I See Things (1992) on Reinforced, DJ Junk's Monsters & Demons (1993), Jo's Imagine The Future (1993), DJ Red Alert & Mike Slammer's Heavy Duty (1992) etc. Virtual's entire vibe and atmosphere is all over these tunes which means it was massively ubiquitous and influential for the fist half of the 90s.

It doesn't need to have influenced every second hardcore IDM darkside junglist to be a great tune on its own though.

Saturday 27 January 2024

Balil - Merck: Black Dog Productions


Balil - Merck (1993)
Listening to stuff like this through your computer or phone just doesn't do it justice. Hearing a tune such as Merck through a bangin' club PA is a mystic experience. So you gotta pump this through yo headphones or sound system proper and it'll be sweet! The intangible tone of 90s ambient techno records is like no other. This mysterious wistful yearning, a sort of cosmic nostalgia blissfully connecting our eternal space-dust with each other, our ancestral heritage, the earth and the stars. Thank-you Black Dog Productions!

Friday 26 January 2024

Pot Noddle · The Black Dog


Black Dog - Pot Noodle (1994)
It's unbelievable just how many great electronica cds came out of the UK in the 90s. So it's easy for a track like Pot Noodle to get lost but it's well worth your attention. Aphex Twin, Autechre and Boards Of Canada get all the kudos for 90s British tech by the now people but innovative originators Black Dog were also exceptional. Not only that they're essential. While the early Black Dog EPs get all the praise and credit the Spanners cd released five years into their career is a lost treasure in their catalogue. 

This here track could almost be a blueprint for a tune from Boarrds Of Canada's Campfire Headcase or something off Pluramon's Pick Up Canyon album with its gentle guitar, tranquil ambience and playful minute detail. Black Dog's tones were just more pure than everybody else's. I don't know how they did it but they were just impeccable and serene and understated yet insidious and emotional. Pot Noodle's nimble breaks are otherworldly begging the question why do i ever leave such luxurious sonic zones? It must have been incredibly flattering for this trio to have been so vastly influential. Electronic acts were releasing Black Dog facsimiles while Black Dog were still issuing their own peak material.  

Thursday 25 January 2024

Tony Conrad, Arnold Dreyblatt, Jim O’Rourke – Tonic 19-01-2001


I'm really not up with release schedules in the reissue/archive world anymore but I came across this terrific bit of Drone-y ambience the other day. It was released last year by Black Truffle. Tonic 19/01/2001 is an exceptional ever evolving myriad of tones and drones. A trio of premier drone-ologists create some top shelf whirring vibrations to subtly mesmerize your mind... perhaps at a higher volume it might overwhelm your mind. 

Saturday 20 January 2024

The Wimple Winch - Save My Soul


Wimple Winch - Save My Soul (1966)
I mean as far as 7 inch moments go the electric whip-crack crazy of Save My Soul is as good as it gets innit. 

It's all about that bass, those crisp-a-tonic snare hits and the pent up tension of it all. The push and pull of the quiet-loud dynamics. The ominousness and the pandemonium.  

Sunday 14 January 2024

More On Movies...The Return II



The Tale Of Two Sisters (2003)
A grim folkloric tale from South Korea. I can't believe this is twenty one years old. That means Oldboy and Memories Of A Murder must be as well. 2003 was a hell of a year for the resurgence of South Korean cinema. South Korea's all new, exotic yet often familiar and spectacularly audacious film-making had been creating film festival hubbub and underground interest for five or six years. Then in 2003, the last great film movement in history was hitting an early peak and unexpected mainstream crossover.  

Twenty one years later I wonder if perhaps The Tale Of Two Sisters would have benefitted by just telling the story straight instead of in the trendy convoluted flashback flashbetween flashsideways style. The intention is supposed to add mystery and add flash but makes you realise they're just trying too hard while also unnecessarily obfuscating some of the finer points of the tale. Still this is quite THE piece of work with stellar performances and impeccable flashy film-making. Nitpicking at one of the few great films made this millennium is a pretty fucking futile endeavour though innit. 

A cautionary tale of a family torn apart with horrific consequences as a result morally repugnant shenanigans. Transgress and be damned in unexpected ways.

The Tale Of Two Sisters was Kim jee-woon's first big film to make a splash on western audiences. He would go on to direct a handful of flix including two other bona fide brilliant films, the action packed neo-noir A Bittersweet Life (2005) and one of the most demented of all Korean revenge movies I Saw The Devil (2010). However The Tale Of Two Sisters is still the most beloved of all his pictures.

Shack Out On 101 (1955)
Good fun el cheapo OTT noir with added espionage, cold war paranoia, disillusioned returned soldiers and romance. While there are comic tones here, there's also a great dark seaside atmosphere captured in beautiful black and white by cinematographer Floyd Crosby of High Noon (1952) fame. 

A spunky waitress Kotty (Terry Moore) works in a shabby beachside diner where she constantly fights off lecherous blokes but little does she know soon she will be embroiled in a fight for her country. In a bid to extend the lean script stars Lee Marvin and Frank Lovejoy were encouraged to do some improv (pre-Cassavetes) and they succeed, particularly in the weight lifting scene where they critique each others physiques which will have you laughing out loud.   

Shack Out On 101 is exactly what watching these old movies is all about for me as there's nothing I love more than discovering irresistible one off artefacts like this.




He Ran All The Way (1951)
Nick Robey (John Garfield) is doomed from the start in this ultimate loser from wrong side of the tracks drama. A payroll robbery goes awry when Nick Robey kills a cop. He makes an acquaintance of Peg Dobbs (Shelly Winters) at a nearby swimming pool in the midst of fleeing the crime scene. Soon enough he takes her and her working class family hostage. The doom, apprehension, paranoia and psychological mind fuckery are masterfully rendered on celluloid here. 

Iconic final scene. 


Shockproof (1950)
Terrific atypical noir where a parole officer takes off with his parolee who just so happens to be a foxy dame. 


The Leopard Man (1943)
First time watch for me and I gotta say it was disappointing particularly after recently re-watching Jaques Tourneur masterpieces I Walked With A Zombie and The Cat People. It seemed to have all the right elements but they just didn't coalesce like they did in those aforementioned classics. Which means something was askew. It meandered too much and perhaps the story wasn't quite up to scratch. Cinematographer Robert De Grasse did all that he could with his beautifully framed scenes and crafty intricate use of shadows and light to make an incredibly distinct uber creepy atmosphere where perilousness lurks at every turn so it's not his fault. He was best on ground or what septic tanks might call MVP. I might reserve conclusive judgement until I've watched it several more times. 

The Web (1947)
Gangsters, molls, lawyers, cops, ex-cons, patsys, bodyguards, guns, embezzlement, seduction and murder all have their part to play in this web of intrigue. The Web's a nifty little crime-thriller that wouldn't be out of place if it started turning up in best 50 or 100 noir lists. Stars Ella Raines, Eddy Obrien, Billy Bendix and Vinny Price.


The Unsuspected (1947)
All the unbelievably meticulous set design, lavish costumery, brilliantly detailed lighting and sophisticated art of camerawork where each scene is framed like an art masterpiece (a highpoint in noir cinematography to be sure) can't quite save this bloated tale. It all just gets too highfalutin becoming tedious. Where say the highly stylised and conceptual vision of Nightmare Alley from the same year is pulled off with supreme conviction, creating an elevated pop culture artefact, the same can't be said for this similarly ambitious project. The lesson here is sometimes less is more and good scripts are important. However many noir fanatics will defend this flick and claim it as the most under-appreciated in the noir catalogue.


Police Story (1985)
Holy shite this classic Jackie Chan action-comedy has some of the most miraculous feats in action cinema history. Iconic scenes include a car chase down a hill that destroys an entire shanty town in the process, Jackie hanging on to a speeding double decker bus with just an umbrella, the wholesale destruction of a department store and more. So much broken glass. Breaking glass was a big deal in 80s Hong Kong action cinema and we are presented with virtuoso smash-age of glass in Police Story. Phew that's just the action side of things... 


The Fourth Victim (1971)
Bizzaro murder mystery starring Carrol Baker with great psychedelic baroque lounge score from the maestro Piero Umiliani. I guess it has just enough elements to qualify as a Spanish giallo: It's set in London, Carrol Baker, a body count, a gay priest, a bumbling detective, meaningful paintings, an amateur sleuth, many a red herring, inheritances, mansions with spiral staircases, an insane asylum, a cemetery and more. Although it lacks the stylish explicit sex and violence delirium of the greatest gialli, it's still a curiosity well worth a look. For of murder mystery, gialli and Baker fans. Look out for dubbed Spanish detective's interesting accent that's sometimes Welsh sometimes Scottish sometimes English and sometimes some kind of gumbo European god knows what.



Snake In The Eagles Shadow (1978)
Ace old school chop-socky from Yuen Woo-ping starring Jackie Chan and Pai Chang Tien. No guns or swords here just superior bare handed kung-fu fighting with an ace story too. Classic tropes of kung fu master and student training montage and battles with rival kung fu schools are somehow mysteriously fresh to this day despite probably being cliches by 1978. 

Martial Arts action comedy doesn't get better than this.


Yes Madam! (1985)
More golden Hong Kong action straight from the vhs shelves. Stars our Miss Moomba 1984 Michelle Yeoh as the spunky copper Inspector Ng who is joined by Scotland Yard's inspector Carrie Morris (Cynthia Rothrock) to fight Triad gangsters, corrupt businessmen and petty thieves.

It's ladies night and two stars are born right here in the same film. Yes Madam! is Michelle Yeoh's first ever starring lead role and to top it off she did most of her own stunts. The producers loved Cynthia Rothrock so much they scrapped the male lead role and rewrote the script with Rothrock now as the the co-star  along with Yeoh.

This is where western action tropes meet far eastern action tropes to make a primo pop culture moment. Includes spectacular death defying stunts with some prime glass shattering. 

I saw Yes Madam! described as ridiculous in an attempt at a negative put down. What this reviewer left out was that it is GLORIOUSLY ridiculous. This is (over the) top echelon absurd action fun. The older I get the more meaningful a a movie like this becomes. I often think "Why was I being such a tool all into serious cinema wankery in my teens and 20s when there was so much more fun to be had watching something like this?" 

I think that maybe I think all the modern era set 80s Hong Kong action movies mentioned in this post are some of the greatest films ever made.    

*Don't get me wrong I was hardly into serious tosser things all the time. It's just the fact that I was into wanky seriousness at all that disturbs me. None of it was integral to me in the end like say Albert Camus' books were. Fun is very important for the human soul way more than any kind of "Oh yes but I like intellectual high brow stuff because it makes me so much better, more smug and smarter than you" or "Oh action comedy that's just cheap junk food entertainment. I like a film to give my brain some nourishment" The funny thing is the most nourishing thing I can think of (in regard to art) is enjoying yourself. The giddy fun to be had watching these pictures is a gift. Quite often they would spend over five or six months making these things, putting their bodies in harms way, all just so we could have a good time. So I think we need to cherish the effort and lengths these legends went to.

**Don't get me wrong I think Ingmar Bergman and Peter Greenaway are a lotta fun... what I'm trying to say is I hate snobbery directed towards films such as Corey Yuen's Yes Madam! or Righting Wrongs because they are just as worthy as whatever boring middlebrow nonsense is currently occupying the Sight And Sound top 100.


Dragons Forever (1988) 
Legendary Hong Kong trio Biao Yuen, Sammo Hung and Jackie Chan star in this primo 80s action-comedy, plenty of 80s kung fu, comedy, absurdity and romance too. The ladies are Deannie Yip, Pauline Yeaung and Crystal Kwok and among the many villains are Wah Yuen and Temple of Doom's Roy Chiao.

A bunch of baddies running a chemical plant are polluting a fish farm which is upsetting some very foxy ladies: Let the shenanigans begin. 

Entertainment.


The Victim aka Lighning Kung-Fu (1980)
Insane Sammo Hung classic. One man's virtuous cheek turning is pushed to the absolute limits. Will he finally succumb to his violent vengeful urges or remain a craven pussy? While this is supreme Sammo Hung comedy kung-fu fighting entertainment, it is also philosophically fascinating.  

Fatty (Sammo Hung) shows up and pesters Chun-yau (Bryan Leung) to teach him his superior brand of kung-fu. An adopted orphan Chun-yau is now an adult kung-fu master but he and his wife are on the run from his resentful and rape-y step brother Cho-wing so he can't be bothered with Fatty's requests. Quite an intricate and convoluted but not hard to follow story unfolds from there which will have you on the edge of your seat right up until the very last second.



Invincible Armour (1977)
Kung-fu cult classic.

Am I really going to convince somebody to watch this? If you're into 70s kung-fu you've seen it. If you're a neophyte to 70s kung-fu you will soon see it. Otherwise you probably don't care and never will.

Invincible Armour is about murder, corruption and ultimately a battle between the iron armour and iron finger kung-fu techniques. Set in the historical era with mucho white hair, moustache, beard and ultimate eyebrow action. Often surprising and innovative.

Interesting that 80s Hong Kong superstars Yuen Biao and Corey Yuen appear here in early roles as assassins.  


Stagecoach (1939)
I just randomly pressed play on this on Prime late one night because it was too hot and I couldn't sleep. So I wasn't expecting much but ended up loving every single thing about it. For a start the film belongs to the ultimate drunk film character Doc Boone depicted by Thomas Mitchell in a virtuoso performance. 

Then out of nowhere a young and handsome John Wayne shows up. Yes I said young and handsome. Contrary to popular belief Wayne wasn't always an old fat cunt. I mean Stagecoach is twenty years prior to Rio Bravo. 

A motley crew assemble to take part in a treacherous stagecoach journey bound for New Mexico. More misfits climb aboard along the way. There will be babies, battles with Apache (In an incredible feat of action cinema), spectacular south-west scenery, romance, death, revenge and freedom.

It's all about the ensemble cast who all get a bit of a go at the limelight. Actually the focus of the film continuously switches. It's more like a bunch of vignettes patched together for ultimate crowd pleasing entertainment. 

*That's a great idea for a post: The best acted drunks in cinema and tv ever. It's a tough call but off the top of my head for best drunk ever would be the very very very drunk guy from The Fast Show played by comic genius Paul Whitehouse, Robin Weigert's phenomenal portrayal of Calamity Jane in Deadwood (TV series) or Doc Boone here. Obviously I've missed a whole lot of people maybe I'll come back to this...



Righting Wrongs aka Above The Law (1986)
More OTT 80s Hong Kong action straight from the vhs shelves. Inspector Cindy (Cynthia Rothrock) is put on prosecuting lawyer gone vigilante (Yuen Biao) case. Eventually though they both end up fighting the real criminals, the corrupt and gangster Hong Kong police force and judiciary. I dunno how many wrongs are righted but a whole lotta entertaining wrong happens. No safe spaces here, children will be killed (not in real life in the movie) in the name of entertainment. 

Look out for terrific champagne comedy turn of father & son cop duo Bad Egg (Director Corey Yuen) and Uncle Tsai (Wu Ma). They steal the show for a moment. I wish they'd made an entire spin off franchise with this hilarious duo.

SPOILER ALERT
This movie really could have been called Everybody Dies, although if you got that blu-ray 18 months back you can now choose a different ending where at least one if not two of your main protagonists live! I can't bring myself to watch those versions as it would ruin one of the most nihilistic Hong Kong's action comedies of all time. 

Late Night Movie Of The Week.


Singapore (1947)
Spectacular noir black and white cinematography with all the right moody lighting and supreme shadows. More than anything this movie is a vibe of unsettling exotic humid ambience where everything could go troppo at any given moment. So it's a shame the story can't match this wonderfully realised setting. It can never live up to the actors of the main protagonists recent previous noir highpoints ie. Ava Gardener in The Killers or Fred McMurray in Double indemnity. Casablanca is a touchstone which the entire movie seems to be trying to emulate innit. Still it's not terrible, well worth a look to soak in the meticulously created atmosphere and the charismatic charms of the cast. 

Pearl smuggler (Fred McMurray) heads back to Singapore after the war to pick up his jewellery stash only to find his fiancee (Ava Gardener) isn't even dead she just has a bad case of amnesia. Events unfold from there. 



The Lady Gambles (1949)
Starring Barbara Stanwyck: The odds are stacked in your favour!

Does it even matter about the plot?...You're watching this for Barbara Stanwyck and all that entails. The mastery in which she inhabits a character and the way she intricately projects those characteristics onto the screen. It just so happens this one is quite complex despite the simplicity of the message here that "gambling is bad bad bad!" 

Joan (Barbara Stanwyck) goes on a downward spiral, an upward spiral, rinse and repeat until a brutal beating in a back alley one dark night and that ain't no spoiler that's the end that they showed at the start (like many a noir classic). This roller coaster of the trials and tribulations of a gambler is never less than a riveting portrait of such a lifestyle. We get the yin and yang of dark glamour depicted in casinos, race tracks, The Hoover Dam, backroom gambling dens, rolling dice, Mexico, Las Vegas, swanky hotel rooms, seedy poker games, back alleys etc. Not strictly noir, is anything?, The Lady Gambles is more like a melodramatic women's message flick with noir aspects. Stanwyck's performance is prime Stanwyck. Hey the rest of the cast can't help but be elevated too. She must have had an inspirational affect on her fellow actors.