Jazz drummer Ed Thigpen died in Copenhagen on Wednesday, January 13. His death at age 79 followed his struggles with Parkinson’s disease and a late-2009 hospitalization for other “heart and lung problems”. Widely recognized as an exceptionally tasteful and versatile drummer, Thigpen played with Oscar Peterson, Billy Taylor and Ella Fitzgerald, among others.
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Just to get it out there in the open, what you are reading is a bit of a shameless plug—yet few shameless plugs are as fun as this one.
You see, I wouldn’t be here writing for PopMatters if it wasn’t for a guy named Benjamin Durdle. Ben was the guy who got me into recording songs, which has become one of my favorite hobbies in life. Am I any good at it? To be totally honest with you: no, not really—but that’s almost beside the point. Although I had always been a fan of pop music, it was Ben—the guy with keen underground sensibilities and an infectious love for actually recording whatever musical inkling dripped into his head—who opened me up to several new bands and the very concept of how music production works, which inevitably was one of the major things that lead me to become the writer that I am today.
Moon, the critically-hailed Duncan Jones-directed film that had swept several of 2009’s film festivals is released on DVD and Blu-ray this week. At the end of his three-year rotation on the surface of the Moon, astronaut scientist Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell), joined only by his flight-deck computer GERTY, comes face-to-face with as an astounding personal discovery. Writer-director Duncan Jones crafts one of the most original screenplays in years with Moon, depicting a lonely man in an all-encompassing dark and claustrophobic environment, 25,000 miles from Earth, and from any human contact from any kind. Moon is, without a doubt, a must-see film.
The critically acclaimed Kathryn Bigelow-directed film The Hurt Locker is out on DVD and Blu-ray this week. The film depicts Staff Sergeant William James (Jeremy Renner), leader of an elite squad of specialists commissioned to disarm bombs in the midst of conflict in the war-torn Middle East. The Hurt Locker presents a new, and gritty kind of modern warfare storytelling that packs a visceral punch. A great film that should not be missed. By far, one of the best movies of 2009.
S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor
Releasing: 22 March (UK), 23 March (US)
Norway’s recorded their new album in a cave outside Oslo, appropriate for a group mightily concerned with musical atmospherics. Emil Nikolaisen says of the new work and approach, “Studio environments often get on my nerves “and I love the underworld, you can silently head down there and do as you please, leave the world behind. So we found this huge cave with stone walls, it looked like a refugee hideout from World War II, with a huge, undiscovered treasure of sound.”