Perfect Sound Forever- June/July 07 edition

Yes, it's summer time here in the Western hemisphere so another edition of PSF is out including...


Finnish secrets no more

"Forget inanities like Eurovision goofs Lordi and action rawkers like The Flaming Sideburns. Finland’s best kept secret is a chick band that couldn't even play their instruments back in 2000. Branded Women's story and evolution is a testament to the divine powers of rock 'n' roll. By 2004, they'd signed to a major label and issued a mysterious debut album..."


Her switched-on world

"Much contributes to Wendy Carlos' current near-total lack of presence in the larger music world, not the least of which has been her ages-past decision to transfer out of the gender she was miscast in, a decision that appears to have, unsurprisingly, dogged her to the present moment. Expectedly, obnoxious hounds have nipped at her heels, baying at the Tiresian quandary, to which she has responded in a largely lamentable manner."


San Fran punk interview

"Like most people of 'my' generation, the band Crime probably invaded your consciousness via the Sonic Youth cover of their classic 'Hotwire My Heart,' a track whose aural and lyrical content seemed perfect for the crypto-cyberpunk vibe of SY's Sister album. But for those that weren't around when the band initially existed, finding any recorded output was akin to finding an intact Ark of the Covenant or something."


Former Blag Flag interview

"If Chuck Dukowski had only played on, say, Black Flag's first 6 releases – and he DID – he'd already be a music legend. Hell, if he'd only written Black Flag's "My War" – which, again, he did – he'd make the history books. But there's much more to the guy than that. Chuck also helped run (and co-owned) the SST label from approximately 1978-1989, the core period which saw the label make its name as the most important American independent label of the 1980's..."


Ska/rocksteady hero

"Justin Hinds began to make records with the Dominoes (Junior Dixon and Dennis Sinclair) forming a Jamaican harmony trio in the early 1960's and later gained some popularity abroad in the 1990's. Sadly, today Hinds and his comrades have remained rather unknown outside the circle of reggae cognoscenti and their music deserves much wider exposure."


Geographic compositions

"... the result of Kagel's desire not to be limited bylanguages he commonly heard around him in Europe and North America... (was a) change in compositional orientation from the electronic/theatrical to the linguistic/cultural- "Pieces of the Windrose," written between 1988 and 1994. Kagel composed these eight pieces, one for each of the major points of the compass, for a nine piece "salon orchestra."


Her feminist catalog

"It doesn't exactly require a feminism as uncompromising as Andrea Dworkin to observe any demands for female liberation issued from Yoko Ono carry with them a problematic premise. Who better than Ono illustrates the unhappy fact that "[w]omen have needed what can be gotten [only] through intercourse: [...] access to male power through access to the male who has it"? Let us remember, Ono made her mainstream debut (on the 1968 album Two Virgins) unclothed, a sexual conquest..."


A trio of tributes

A triple toast to the late great Voidoid guitarist from Jody Harris, a look at his side projects "Let It Blurt" and Dim Stars as well as an appreciation and some somewhat juicy gossip from Terry Edwards.


Queen of Portuguese fado

"Fado has always been an "inferior" type of music... Actually, nothing could be less respectable than being a Fado singer. Severa, the most famous "fadista" (fado singer) of her time (late seventeenth Century) was a prostitute. All this would change with the advent of the Amalia Rodrigues phenomenon."


Their flowing Caribbean rhythms

"The percussive ensemble of Rumba Bajura seemed to ooze out of the night and the vortex itself. Emerging as a small tribe of tropical gypsies... there is a radiance of assurance that emits from the group on their ability to deliver. The gathering audience reflects the vibes with high anticipation, knowing they will not be disappointed. They come well prepared with a vast array of percussion instruments as congas, cajons of different styles, shapes, and sounds, batá drums, shekeres, claves, a cuá and block set up, Brazilian surdos, cuicas, marching snare and large tympanis."


Their shoegazing universe

"... we need to be reminded to cleanse the soot off our doors of perception once in a blue moon. Enter Soundpool, a band in 2006 who came along with an album (On High) so delicious as to make the familiar fresh, and remind us that infinity can be liberating, rather than horrifying and that it can be exhilarating instead of exasperating. It can be joyous. For the record, Soundpool reinterpret infinity through sound."


Of Sky Explosion and Eluvium

"When he is watching a band perform, or listening to music at home, which is very often indeed, Jeremy deVine has a look of sustained, faintly devotional concentration that resembles nothing so much as a person contented and given to great depths of feeling, wonder, empathy and joy. These are the very same qualities that shine through in the albums produced by Jeremy's record label, Temporary Residence, which, as it happens, includes some of the most haunting, challenging and important music in any genre to be released in the last few years."


Her post-Helium life

"The Shapes We Make is the title of Mary Timony's newest record, and it's a fitting title for a musician whose oeuvre is ever changing. Since her first album with her band Helium, she's created a sound that draws equally on harsh, serrated musical textures and the lyrical, otherworldly aspects of—surprise!—art rock. Without, of course, songs about elves or side-long album suites."


The USB port blues

"... there's a lot to be said about doing "needle drops," as they're now calling it. There's an art to doing it correctly, and a lot of hi-fi enthusiasts are, well, enthusiastic about getting the best possible results. And what's interesting about needle drops is that in theory, the digital conversion should preserve the sound of the turntable perfectly."

So far J. J. Abrams and Rian Johnson resemble children at play, remaking the films they fell in love with. As an audience, however, we desire a fuller experience.

As recently as the lackluster episodes I-III of the Star Wars saga, the embossed gold logo followed by scrolling prologue text was cause for excitement. In the approach to the release of any of the then new prequel installments, the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare, followed by the Lucas Film logo, teased one's impulsive excitement at a glimpse into the next installment's narrative. Then sat in the movie theatre on the anticipated day of release, the sight and sound of the Twentieth Century Fox fanfare signalled the end of fevered anticipation. Whatever happened to those times? For some of us, is it a product of youth in which age now denies us the ability to lose ourselves within such adolescent pleasure? There's no answer to this question -- only the realisation that this sensation is missing and it has been since the summer of 2005. Star Wars is now a movie to tick off your to-watch list, no longer a spark in the dreary reality of the everyday. The magic has disappeared… Star Wars is spiritually dead.

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This has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it.

It hardly needs to be said that the last 12 months haven't been everyone's favorite, but it does deserve to be noted that 2017 has been a remarkable year for shoegaze. If it were only for the re-raising of two central pillars of the initial scene it would still have been enough, but that wasn't even the half of it. Other longtime dreamers either reappeared or kept up their recent hot streaks, and a number of relative newcomers established their place in what has become one of the more robust rock subgenre subcultures out there.

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​'The Ferryman': Ephemeral Ideas, Eternal Tragedies

The current cast of The Ferryman in London's West End. Photo by Johan Persson. (Courtesy of The Corner Shop)

Staggeringly multi-layered, dangerously fast-paced and rich in characterizations, dialogue and context, Jez Butterworth's new hit about a family during the time of Ireland's the Troubles leaves the audience breathless, sweaty and tearful, in a nightmarish, dry-heaving haze.

"Vanishing. It's a powerful word, that"

Northern Ireland, Rural Derry, 1981, nighttime. The local ringleader of the Irish Republican Army gun-toting comrades ambushes a priest and tells him that the body of one Seamus Carney has been recovered. It is said that the man had spent a full ten years rotting in a bog. The IRA gunslinger, Muldoon, orders the priest to arrange for the Carney family not to utter a word of what had happened to the wretched man.

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Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

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There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

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