Friday, January 23, 2009

Thatness, Thereness

Some of my favorite songs...

I wanted to link more, but I've already linked too many...

Sakamoto Ryuichi - Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (theme)

I saw Oshima Nagisa's Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence some time in high school because I was in love with David Bowie on film since The Hunger. As a result of watching this movie, I was introduced to Sakamoto Ryuichi and became an avid collector of his 1980s-90s works. Based on what I knew of his music, I was surprised when I saw him perform live at UC Berkeley ~20 years ago. It was a loud, lively, and jazzy show with a lot of singing.

The screenplay is based on Laurens van der Post's "The Seed and the Sower," mostly taking place in a Japanese POW camp in Java during World War II, concluding with the outcome of a war crimes trial. The film is a brutal, humorous, and sentimental character-driven story about people unable to or not wanting to look past their cultural bubble as they collide during a tempestuous time.

Kitajima Saburo - Django Sasurai (from Sukiyaki Western Django)

I hated enka when I grudgingly listened to it as my mother watched Kohaku Utagassen on tv. I find myself frequently listening to this song after hearing it for the first time last August while watching the Miike Takashi and Quentin Tarantino film, Sukiyaki Western Django.

Dead Can Dance - Rakim

I've been fan of Dead Can Dance since 1986 and bought every LP, then switched over to imported CDs, as soon as they became available. To date, Dead Can Dance is the best group performance I have ever experienced and my most favorite band. They actually sounded better live than in studio! I saw them during their Spiritchaser tour in 1996. Lisa Gerrard's range, Brendan Perry's timbre, and musical arrangements varying through dark, lyrical, medieval, and tribal make them a timeless and unmatchable group.

The Gorillaz - El Manana

I love the video of this song and "Demon Days" is an awesome album!

The Gorillaz are an interesting marketing concept, a band made up of fictional characters -- a virtual band. Each band member has a history. The video for "El Manana" focuses on Noodle, a mysterious girl from Osaka.

Gogol Bordello - Start Wearing Purple

Bug caught Gogol Bordello 4 years ago on NPR when they came out with the album "Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike." We've been fans since, and have seen them live whenever they've swung by. I would have linked up "60 Revolutions," my FAVORITE song from them, but I am unable to link up a studio version of that song. Oh well.

Their live shows are really entertaining and you feel that everyone is having FUN. They're spunky, captivating, with a lot going on the stage. The downside is that time slips by so quickly that the end of the show (2 hour set) sneaks up on you, and you're left wanting more...

Eugene Hütz, the lead singer, co-starred with Elijah Wood in the movie, "Everything is Illuminated," based on the book by Jonathan Safran Foer. Wood plays Jonathan, who is in search of a Ukrainian woman who hid his grandfather during the Holocaust. Hütz plays Alex, who, along with his grandfather, guide Jonathan around the Ukrainian countryside looking for the village, which was decimated by the Nazis. It is an excellent film with quirky characters scribed into a beautiful diorama of humor, solemnity, and illumination.

Lacuna Coil - Swamped

I used to watch Bug play Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines because it was an interesting game and the music was pretty solid. It introduced us to "Swamped," by Lacuna Coil, which is off of their third album, "Comalies." Too bad Troika, the gaming company, went belly up, and Lacuna Coil's subsequent album isn't as good. "Closer," from their fifth album, is used in Guitar Hero III and "Swamped" is available for download.

KMFDM - A Drug Against War

My mother introduced me to KMFDM years ago when the band came out with their new video "Vogue" (?early 1990s) and have been one of my all-time favorite bands; thus I've collected everything they've put out since Naive.

I love all of KMFDM's videos and album covers done in block print by Aidan "Brute!" Hughes.

Sakamoto Ryuichi - Fade (from Aile de Honneamise)

A good friend of mine back in college showed me a 5th generation videotape copy of Aile de Honneamise (Wings of Honneamise), or as many affectionately call it, Wings of Mayonnaise.

The anime was released in 1987 so the artwork is obviously older looking. It is classified as a military-sci-fi drama, note that "action" isn't included. The movie takes place in a territory on a parallel Earth trying to get a struggling, doomed-to-fail space program to launch their first space orbit amidst depressive circumstances -- war, poverty, as well as dealing with faith and sacrifice.

Of course, being a Sakamoto Ryuichi fanatic at the (one and only) time I watched this, I had to get the CD to the movie right away. "Fade" is my favorite track off the CD.

- Cassaendra

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