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by Gem Wheeler

1 Dec 2011


Scott of the Antarctic and his doomed expedition may have disappeared into the pristine, icy wastes, never to return, but their last despairing notes were not the only record of their attempt to reach the South Pole. A beautifully restored new version of official cameraman Herbert G Ponting’s film of the expedition is currently touring cinemas around the UK, and is available on DVD from the British Film Institute.

A magnificently atmospheric soundtrack from composer Simon Fisher Turner lends the incredible imagery added mystery. Ponting’s masterful deployment of colour and tone give the Antarctic the air of an alien planet, as indeed it must have seemed to the members of the British Antarctic Survey. The smiles and enthusiasm of the team only serve to heighten the sense of creeping dread: this is a horror movie, in the truest sense. Ponting edited the film together some ten years after the expedition foundered, and that hindsight informs every frame. A mesmerising, evocative glimpse of a lost world.

by Allison Taich

1 Dec 2011


Yellowbirds from Brooklyn, NY recently released a new music video for “Beneath the Reach of Light” from their 2011 debut The Color. “Beneath the Reach of Light” is the third song off The Color interpreted into a video, and the first to feature Yellowbirds frontman/innovator Sam Cohen. The video follows Cohen through a dreamscape of original psychedelic pop paired with an Americana croon, ship wrecked in a ‘70s inspired variety show.

by Jane Jansen Seymour

1 Dec 2011


KEXP has posted “Te Amo” from an Atlas Sound set at the Ace Hotel, during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City last month. It was the final performance sponsored by the Seattle radio station, and I luckily snagged a place on the tile floor as the crowd gathered around the musical equipment before the show. Bradford Cox was been creating music under the name Atlas Sound since he was ten, when not busy with his band mates in Deerhunter. (Living with the genetic disorder Marfan syndrome manifested a solitary existence growing up so music was a refuge, supposedly there are boxes of cassettes to support this.) He was there overseeing the set up, concerned about the levels and the subdued nature of the setting. Cox likened it to playing at the New York University library with all the people busy on laptops.

“Is there anybody listening to me talk right now?” He asked in a southern drawl referencing his hometown of Atlanta adding,  “It’s so quiet!” This comment elicited some cheers and clapping, to which he scolded the audience, saying how he hadn’t done anything but perhaps everyone just liked his outfit?  Cox stood ready to play in windowpane fabric pajamas festooned with geese and Topsiders with no socks. His wispy honey colored hair framed an angular face and on top a very slight build. Yet he implored those in control until there was a distinctly louder feedback, explaining how “it’s not a folk project. “ There was also a nice shout out to the staff at the Ace Hotel, since he considers it a home away from home filled with friends – happy to be there since it was such an easy gig to get right downstairs to the lobby. Cox has a favorite room to stay in and has even recorded two songs there recently, when booked time at the studio had run out.

by PopMatters Staff

1 Dec 2011


POPMATTERS SPONSOR - Our friends at MOG have teamed with HTC to offer up readers a free month of the MOG Primo Service just for watching a short video. This service offers you access to 13 million tunes virtually anywhere… at home, on your smartphone and in your car. That’s a sizable music catalogue, larger than most other players in the industry. Just head on over to this minisite, watch the video and then sign up for a month free to test drive the MOG Primo Service.

by Cynthia Fuchs

1 Dec 2011


“She’s territorial. She doesn’t want people in her territory. She’s a teenager too, she likes to go in her room and close the door.” David Balding is talking about an African elephant. Her name is Flora, and they’ve been together for 16 years. “We just spent so much time together that we’re very close,” Balding says, as Flora appears behind him, playing with his hair and jacket. This closeness proves a blessing and a curse as Balding recounts their lives together in One Lucky Elephant, premiering on OWN Documentary Club on 1 December. As much as Balding and Flora appear to share an understanding, they also face a fundamental difference. She’s a wild animal, brought into his domestic (circus) world as a baby. As she grows older, the film recounts, Balding realizes she can’t be happy in this world, and he devotes himself to finding an alternative. As he comes to terms with his own needs and blind spots, Lisa Leeman’s film follows his efforts to understand Flora’s needs as well. elephant in his life. And, as Flora’s story illustrates the problems of buying and selling and using wild animals in circuses and zoos, it also never keeps focused on an essential insight. Elephants, lucky or not, have minds.

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