Goldsmith Cats

It’s no secret that I love soundtracks. I have many in my collection, some of movies I have never seen :-). One of the first I bought was as a result of seeing the movie Papillon was by Jerry Goldsmith. I loved that lp & eventually replaced with a downloaded mp3 version. Goldsmith was a prolific soundtrack composer with an amazing grasp of many musical genres.

I also have his earlier work in the music for Our Man Flint and In Like Flint. These were spy parodies (forerunners of Austin Powers) starring James Coburn. The music captures 60s instrumental pop perfectly in that it embraces the sound rather than makes fun of it. Bouncy & sweet I love this type of movie work. Papillon on the other hand is lush, romantic, sweeping & at times meditative. It is one of my all-time favourites.

Another major film composer is Max Steiner – is this collection his King Kong score (rerecorded) & it is amazing, fun & evocative. Here too, is Elmer Bernstein’s score for The Man With The Golden Arm – brassy, jazzy & sometimes romantic. A film about a junkie trumpet player I have never seen. Listening to this I can sense where tension for the next fix is probably happening 🙂  

More modern & even more obscure is Bill Nelson’s music for the silent movie La Belle et la Bete. Nelson is best know as guitarist for BeBop Deluxe. The music here is a mix of sound effects, moody mellotron & percussion. It is excellent mood music & I’m sure works well with the movie – which I have seen but not with Nelson’s music. 

I’ve interspersed these soundtracks with various Scott Joplin rags. Many of which have shown up as  occasional moments in many movies. Finally a non-movie lp: Cats: London Cast highlights. I figured let’s go from film to stage for a break. I have seen a stage production of Cats & enjoyed it as much for the costumes as for the songs. There’s been talk of a film version for decades but I think it’s time as a film property has passed.

Last word: search out Papillon.

Eye Contact

‘Did you hear that?’

‘What?’ Janes was fed up with Frank’s constant questions. ‘What ?’

‘I though …shh…’

They stood in silence for a few moments, their breath visible in the icy air. 

‘I don’t hear anything.’

‘Shh.’ Frank was also impatient. Janes was too fast to move, to jump to conclusions while he was more methodical. Taking time made things more secure.

There was a faint crackle in the air. A small electronic sound, a discharge of static. At the same time both of them saw a thin blue aura at the periphery of their vision.

‘What as that?’ Janes reached to rub his eye. 

Frank stopped him. ‘Don’t.’

‘Don’t what?’ He pushed Frank’s hand away and began to rub his eyebrow. As he did the blue become brighter within his eye and he began to shake.

‘Shit shit shit. Why don’t you listen.’ Frank looked for something to move Janes’ hand away from his face. He knew that to make contact would pull him to the Connection. Once linked neither of them would be functional for the rest of the day.

The wooded area was barren. Tall trees whose nearest branch was several feet towered above them. There was no fallen twigs or even leaves. The broken shale of the ground held no other plant life. He’d need something though. The bark of the trees was thin like onion skin and peeled haphazardly but perhaps he could cut a piece of that if he moved quickly when he pulled.

‘Gr.. gl…’ Janes began to sputter.

‘Save your breath. I know you can hear me. You’ll be fine. In a day or so. Why don’t you listen.’

‘Gl… gr…’ 

‘Yeah I know … radio the captain. When we have a chance. But for now …’ The noon sun sent sparks of light through the leaves of the trees overhead.  ‘We have to keep moving. Follow me and I’ll see what can bed done.’

Frank had an idea. If he could get Janes to the trees and brush him against one, perhaps his hand would come loose. If they broke the Connection now there would be little damage to worry about. Just a fierce headache and the loss of an eyebrow. 

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August 2-13: getting back to my roots in Cape Breton
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Land of 1000 Dances 

Here I have a more recent addition filed under ‘c’ for Don Covey. It’s one of my favourite types of mp3 compilations that sprawls over genres, decades & performers. It starts with Helen Merrill: a fine well-produced nightclub singer from the 50’s. She covers standards  such as The Masquerade Is Over. This is high-class easy listening. The cd ends with a recent iteration of this style with the Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga ’s Cheek To Cheek. 08.Fabric01In between I have Chris Kenner’s lp: Land of 1,000 Dances – Cannibal and The Headhunters lp Land of 1000 Dances. The title song was a hit for both groups & the lps are sweet, sort of rockabilly, Beach Boys garage band fun. This is how I sometimes find new old music – hunting down a song that I loved as a kid. I remember that title song so clearly but I don’t know whose version I am remembering. 08.Fabric02My Tumblr feed includes posts of lps covers which is how I found Jon & Robin: a mild version of Sonny & Cher: harmless hippy romantics. Another feed introduced me to Don Covay: a nice rocking tenor who had some regional hits (a national hit with Pony Time) & sweet falsetto.08.Fabric031000 Dances made me long for The Gentrys Keep On Dancing which I found as a single & also did discover their self titlde lp of sunny country tinged pop. Here for contrast is Elephants Memory’s Psychedelic Essentials. They appear in the film Midnight Cowboy & on that soundtrack. I did a search this is their only lp which lives up to the title & was well worth finding it.08.Fabric04While I was this on psychedelic bend I added After The Satellite Sings a 1995 release by Bill Nelson – best known, if at all, for his work with BeBop Deluxe. An amazing guitarist, studio engineer, who has maintained a steady career for decades. http://www.billnelson.com/html/salon/metal.php Similar to David Bowie but with less pr & usually more complex music.

sample

Reason

‘Follow me.’ the El’r Ft’hr headed away from the door.

G’th did as he was bid. He had no idea what to expect when he had scaled the walls of the Gl’nth Monastery. No one in his memory had attempted such a thing. They would wait at the either of the shuttered gates for an opportunity to make their pleas or to bring their offerings. Rarely did they glimpse the Br’tern.

The offerings were often ignored. When the Br’tern wanted something or someone they would appear in the dead of night and take what they wanted. No one questioned this. This was the way it was and had been.

No one questioned as it was the Br’tern who produced the sustenance of their lives – the falfa that grew in such abundance within the walls of Gl’nth.

The El’r Ft’hr lead G’th towards the ruins at one end of the enclosure. G’th found the man to be unshaped, unformed, hasty and fearful. He knew his arrival would cause some consternation but all he wanted was what was promised. The reward for the surrender of his ward. The one he knew was now called Brin.

Brin! No name for a man to have. A full word that was foreign in his tongue.

That had been Brin at the window. He was sure of it. No one else would utter his name. But he knew a meeting between them was not to be nor was it what he sought. He wanted his reward. He had waited patiently for it. Sent in his reminder year after year till he knew this was the year for it to be granted.

This year. Brin was now a man that he saw in his brief glimpse. The hairlessness of the El’r Ft’hr  filled him with a curious awe. How did one do that? Shave it off. The thick hair that covered his arms and chest was his pride. How could any man live without such pride, without such warmth?

The air here smelled different too. The fragrant falfa was powerful but there something else in it. No it was something not in it. There was none of the dense moist miasma of  the dank village air. This was clean air. True sunshine played around him.

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Blazing BeBop Deluxe

On to one another of my favourite, nearly unheard of groups: BeBop Deluxe: cd1: Axe Victim, Futurama, Starburst Finish, Modern Music, Live in the Air Age. cd2: Drastic Plastic, Radioland (BBC); Bill Nelson: Sound on Sound, The Love That Whirls; Yellow Magic Orchestra. Stand alone: Raiding the Divine Archive.

tables

patio mushrooms

Prog rock was a force at one time, one that never really made it to the charts mind you. Bands like ELP, Yes, Caravan – to name a few – where pushing pop in what was supposed to be complex directions with lot of classical organ, piano & seemingly random structures.

light

shaft of light

BeBop, is a guitar based group – the genius of Bill Nelson on guitar. For me it was truly progressive. Starburst Finish & Modern Music are the two lps I know the best – stunning engineering, surreal lyrics & a scifi subtext propels their music. Always surprising and rarely dull I always enjoy re-listening to their work. Unlike, say, ELP, which can be a bit of a slog at times – slog prog: a new genre.

Many of the arrangements are astonishing – each line seems to come from a different song yet they cohere and take me with them with a consistent sonic flow that seems effortless. Some of the lyric writing now has a sense of the time: that ironic 70’s stance, but who cares.

carpet

carpet hedge

Rounding it out is a couple of Bill Nelson’s solo & other work: excellent. His Beauty & The Beast is worth tracking down. He released a new CD, After the Satellite Sings, in 2014 – every bit as good as the recent David Bowie. I also added some Yellow Magic Orchestra lps: electronica from Japan that is a delight to hear, at times a bit cheesy but without these guys there’d be no FatBoy Slim.

sample

Thought

The radio suddenly went dead. The overhead lights flickered and went off. A few seconds later the emergency power kicked in but that was only enough to keep vital monitoring machines going.

“What the fuck is going on?” Carl’s shouts echoed down the hallway. “Did I just die or what the fuck? I thought this was a … “

“Keep calm and quiet.” the nurse pushed the door to Carl’s room open. “We have enough to worry about without your shrieking.”

“Sorry to be such a bother but what am I supposed to do? It’s not as if I can just get up and get out of here.”

“Yes, well, if it came to that you’d have nothing to worry about.”

“Haven’t met you before, have I?”

“Janet Green. No you haven’t met me before I just got back from leave of absence. But I have heard all about you.”

“I’m sure you have.” Carl laughed. “Gotta keep you guys on your toes.”

She smoothed his bedding and headed out the door. “I have others to check on.”

“I’m sure you do Janet. But what the fuck is going on?”

“I don’t know. Got batteries for that radio?”

“Nope.”

“None in your vibrator?”

She let the door shut and went to the nurses station.

“So any word on what’s going on?”

Don held his hand over the receiver of the telephone. “It isn’t the end of world. Looks like a transformer blew. They should have us back on line with-in the hour.”

“Just what we needed.”

“Thought things had changed while you were gone?”

The emergency power flickered and plunged into black.

“Oh shit now what.”

“What the hell is going on here.”

“Yeah.”

Frightened complaints flowed out from the rooms on the floor.

“I gotta go down and see what’s happening.”

“You know about that sort of stuff?”

“Well, no, Janet but someone has to go down. The phones are still live anyway. You see if you can get someone. An electrician would be the best thing.”

“What about  the maintenance guy, Amos?”

“Try him at home. He might be able to help.”

Don was on his knees looking for a flashlight on a shelf under the nurses station when the lights flooded back on.

 

 

 

 

 

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