I have probably picked up the most interesting records in my collection on a whim. One of the greatest joys is to find an artist you know nothing about, buy one of their records, and discover something you can’t get anywhere else. This is part of the reason my tastes still run strongly towards experimental and underground music, because while there’s no guarantee you’ll get something good by breaking the rules, you are almost certainly guaranteed something different.
I found CM von Hausswolff’s single-sided LP Life and Death of PBOC back when I was first dating the woman I’d eventually marry — in fact, I think I bought the record the first time we went out together. Single-sided records always held a weird kind of fascination for me — on the one side, grooves, on the other, a totally blank, glossy, unplayable surface. I kept wondering when someone (as a joke) would release a disc that was blank on both sides like that — something like the ultimate possible version of John Cage’s 4’33”. The music in PBOC’s grooves, though, was about as close as you could get to something like 4’33” without actually pressing a blank CD. The entire 23-minute side was one long rumble, like a distant storm brewing, with the faintest sounds of what I suspected was an animal deep in the mix. The cover featured a photo of a beheaded chicken; that and the title clinched my suspicions about what might have been squawking away in there. I played it incessantly, making discoveries with it each time I did, although the rustling of the LP grooves got in the way a great deal. Read more
When Loaded Weapon 1 came out, I read a review that criticized the movie on the following grounds: The Lethal Weapon movies are already parodies of themselves, so why make fun of something that's already self-lampooning? You can't kid a kidder. And I agree, not just when it comes to Lethal Weapon but just about the whole over-the-top action genre that everyone from Jackie Chan to Chow Yun-Fat rub shoulders in. Unless there is a larger theme at work (as with a movie like Gojoe or even the John Woo loyalty/violence epics), the violence is largely a joke.
I wonder if many people got the joke with Zipang, which sends up and mocks chanbara and Japanese samurai-movie conventions at the same time it invokes them. This is almost the Airplane! of samurai movies — in fact, if you're not familiar with figures like Zatoichi or the Lone Wolf and Cub, you may want to hold off on this one... or at least come back to it again at some other point in time, when you may get more of the gags. Me, I laughed myself silly with Zipang, since there is a point above and beyond just lampooning samurai movies.Read more