I am, of course, aware that very little of what happens in an average week of mine is of fundamental significance to life, the universe and everything. Which takes a great load of responsibility of my shoulder – well, more precisely that load was never placed there to begin with. Either way, for the practicalities of writing these weekly (ahem) blog posts, it means that there is little to no need to fret a lot if a week does not get featured here. As for that recent week that wasn’t (In case you even noticed) – let’s blame the heatwave. And work. And now, let’s get on with things. After all, the weather finally cooled down a bit.
Nonetheless, the highlight of the days so recently bygone was hot and sweaty: Anaal Nathrakh, probably the most extreme metal band played a gig at The Black Heart in Camden on Saturday. Quite an intimate venue for a band of that fame. I mean, they’re probably unlikely to sell out the O2 Arena for two nights in a row, as Iron Maiden (almost – I hear) did on the same weekend. But the last time I saw them – almost 2 years ago now – they played next door at the considerably larger Underworld which also seemed pretty packed. But no complaining, because it was an amazing gig! I started out in second row, quite at the middle, but had to move somewhat to the side after holding out for 3-4 songs (and taking some pics) as the moshpit just behind me gained in intensity. And I’m too old for that sh*t. Nonetheless the energy in the room was amazing and Anaal Nathrakh delivered as, or beyond, expected! I guess they may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are into the more extreme forms of metal and haven’t checked them out yet, you haven’t lived.
Their name, in case anyone’s wondering, is taken from the classic movie Excalibur, an opulent costume drama about the Arthurian Legend directed by John Boorman and definitely worth watching.
And thus we’ve made the jump from live music to cinema. Here I shall hark back a bit further in time, all the way to the Saturday of the week that fell between the cracks – as far as posts about it go, at least – because of the film I saw that day I do wish to speak. But first, a cliffhanger if you wish, let’s get some context:
The Japan Foundation London is currently running a series of screenings of a bunch of Japanese movies and all you have to do to get to see them is sign up for a ticket early enough. They’re free and are being shown across a number of locations in SoHo, mostly cinemas housed in Hotels. Something I was, until very recently, not aware existed to that extend. I should probably get rich and try that whole lifestyle at some point. For now, though, I’m happy to be able to attend free movie screenings.
Last Saturday I saw “Only Yesterday” a Studio Ghibli anime movie which, tbh, I didn’t find too exciting. A lot of melodrama and, apart from a few laughs, somewhat boring. On the upside there were a couple of words, and two or three times even sentences I understood… which means that, however slowly, my attempts at learning the language seem to start having an effect. Speaking of learning Japanese (not yet “Turning Japanese“. Not even Kiki Dunst’s version…): after the movie I had a chance to take part in a short language learning taster session where we were told how to introduce ourselves as a character in an anime would. A fun little exercise and a great bit of insight into how actually spoke Japanese differs from textbook language.
The Saturday before that I went to see another film: House, a horror comedy from 1977. A great movie. Somewhat silly in parts, slightly surreal in others this is definitely one I would recommend. At least if you are into B movies (or C-F movies). The story of a high school student who, with a bunch of friends, visits her aunt in her house in the countryside where, soon, things begin to happen is presented in a mixed media style which clearly belies the director, Nobuhiko Obayashi’s background in advertising. Add to that some psychedelic music and we’re talking prime example of cult cinema. But best you go and see for yourselves. Here’s the trailer!
Meanwhile, when in Soho it’s always fun to have a little walk around, and so you’ll find a picture or two, besides a number of shots from the above mentioned Anaal Nathrakh gig at the bottom of this post. And some are from Camden/Archway.
As I still haven’t had much time to sort through my various pics I’m still keeping taking pics to a minimum for the time being. Well, until further notice at least.
Instead I’ve (re-)uploaded a couple of videos I’ve created for some of my tracks to youtube, and you can watch them here. Most of the music therein can be found on my bandcamp page and, for a few days more until the 23rd of August you can get my full discography on Bandcamp for 50% off.
Meanwhile, talking of music videos, one of the highlights of last week (apart from those vids of Aina the End doing BiSH songs solo in an acoustic set, and this live feature of BiSH where they are doing my favourite BiS song, Nerve) was of course the release of the new Video by IDM grandmaster Aphex Twin. T69 Collapse is Aphex Twin in close to top form and so much better than Syro which he released a while ago. The video is trippy and the music is very entertaining and complex at the same time. Personally I can’t help it though and always end up having this feeling that electronic music has, quite a while ago already, hit a brickwall and is no longer developing. I can remember how in the 90s and into the very early 2000s there were all these releases that had a clear wow factor, that were innovative in a sense that things were happening, sonically, that hadn’t happened before (not completely true, as I was to find out when researching more of the music done by some of the early pioneers like Morton Subotnick, Todd Dockstader, Piere Henry or Delia Derbyshire to name just a very few), or at least not on that scale. Pioneers like Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, Richard Devine and others were, at that time, conjuring up sonic worlds which have since been revisited and recreated in variations, but nothing quite as innovative. Now I’m well aware that music (and art) does consist more than of novelty factors (I actually would demand that it does), but for some reason I just can’t seem to completely shake of that habit that when something like a new Aphex or Autechre releases happens I tend to expect some major breakthrough and am, invariably, somewhat disappointed that this isn’t happening. It is then, however, somewhat of a trap to judge a piece of music by that. All that considered the Richard D James’s latest jam holds up pretty well. I’ve listened a couple of times now and the tune has certainly grown on me…
Give it a listen. Or, if that isn’t so much your thing, I also really recommend this tune by Gang Parade…
Well then. That’s it for now. Stay tuned for next week (or whenever I’ll get around to do the next post,… maybe then with even more content and people, places, things…)
edits 15.08. – orthography.