F•usic is a section I do at the end of each month in which I pick (F)ilms and M(usic) that I’ve consumed and loved over the period and pretty much just recommend and gush about them for a little while.
I watched/heard too many great things this month.
Things that are deserved of a shout-out that didn’t make it on to this list:
“bcos u will never b free” – Rex Orange County
“A Field In England” – Ben Wheatley
Roger Deakins for tricking everyone into thinking that “Blade Runner 2049” is a masterpiece.
The Long Day Closes – Terrence Davies
We’ve all experienced that memory-associated phenomena of returning to a childhood place and it seeming far smaller than we thought, or watching an old favourite and it’s more tacky than transporting. Though a clever man on the internet could account for places seeming huge with the way our brains accommodate memory, it makes sense to me that films seemed better when we were young because our imaginations could do more of the work back then. “The Long Day Closes” follows Bud, a young, working-class boy in 1950’s Liverpool – he loves cinema and Davies uses every tool in the film-making toolbox to let us view his life through his lens. This means that, like ours did back then, imagination fills in the gaps: golden-age movie scores herald the rain-beaten streets of the bully-beaten kid and so the tragedy comes from what everything isn’t, and everything not mentioned. Momentary glimpses of pain echo hard but they’re largely blocked out by Bud because there’s nothing quite like wonder to keep you going. This a quiet, quick (80 minutes!) and effective British masterwork and I don’t have a clue why it isn’t talked about as much.
The OOZ – King Krule
A pink trail rockets across the blue sky. Pink? Is that real? It doesn’t matter. That’s not where we are.
The OOZ walks the sewers, slumps through alleyways and drowns in bars with the rats and the lice and the castaways, flicked below the ground like dirt on a finger.
You’re however many drinks down and your colleagues in intoxication are a sore sight. How dare they. There’s a world out there for fuck sake, it’s all for them and they’re in here. You could scream.
What song is this?
The saxophonist blurts out a solo that rattles and wails it’s way into your brain before you can realise your own irony.
Was the bar always this empty?
Somewhere, far away, above this, above everything: a pink trail rockets across a blue sky. Was it real? Can we get there?
King Krule makes those obscure albums you find deep into the morning on the internet. Listen to this.
Mindhunter – David Fincher (and others)
Remember when everyone was worried? “Netflix will release entire series of TV episodes for you to binge and it will ruin art.” “What about the anticipation?” “What about the build up?” “What about living with these characters?” Fincher has cracked it (of course he has) and whilst “Nerdwriter” has beaten everyone (of course he has) in talking about “Mindhunter” before we could get off the block with his scorching video, he didn’t touch on what Fincher has done with the form of the show. If it could be plotted on a graph, the 10 episode series would be a straight x=y incline, starting slow and simple and building and building until it’s in your head and you’re hooked right to the subtly shattering finale. Learn about what makes a serial killer and then notice little hints at every shot, not just in the terrifyingly good Ed Kempers and Richard Specks but in everyone on the screen. It comes from the precision and craft of everything Fincher does but tailored and adapted to the modern streaming market. Forget “anticipation”, this thing is made to be binged.
22, A Million – Bon Iver
I’d be lying if I said I listened to this for the first time this month, I’ve had it on repeat for about a year now and on some distant, past blog I claimed it was one of my favourite albums of 2016. I remember this album was released to a fairly mixed bag of reception, though some took to it immediately, others rejected it like a splinter to the thumb: the lyrics were hollow, the soundscape pretentious and it was all wrapped up in an even more elusive package of cryptic iconography, numbers and titles. I originally sat between the two, sometimes the album infuriated me, sometimes it stuck. But my tastes and attitudes have changed and I can safely say that I think Bon Iver’s newest album is something else entirely; to me, this album breathes. And at first glance that statement makes no sense, I mean every song on this album seems birthed from any glitch, stutter and crackle that your speaker can make, but once you can see past the novelty, the thing is so, so human. No wonder “22, A Million” seems so eye-rollingly opaque, built from lost memories, stray thoughts and completed journeys in retrospect; Vernon attempts to deconstruct and reassemble the past years of his life and I’m not sure that that is possible to decipher. Just don’t think about it too hard – when the singer announces in a 2 word line through cracked vocals and white noise that he is “Hallucinating Claire”, don’t ask, feel.
Possession – Andrzej Żuławski
Total insanity-fuelled abstraction: “Possession” is made on another planet. Once or twice a year, I’ll see a film and claim that “this is the furthest it can go.” “2001‘” was the first, then I watched “Eraserhead” and claimed it again, then “Gummo“‘s punk sludge and grime knocked everything off the podium, then I watched “Antichrist“… And although von Trier’s controversial shock-fest still gives me shudders and I know that it is a mere ticking time-bomb until my morbid curiosity submits to “Salò“, Żuławski‘s UK-banned curiosity might just be the grandmother to all those modern movies that ostensibly “push boundaries”. I’m not saying you’ll like it, I’m not really sure that I do. But the simple fact of the matter is that you have eyes, and this thing exists. Don’t die before you see it.
Rejovich – Rejjie Snow
I don’t think that any song off of “Rejovich” hasn’t been played on any day since I listened to it for the first time mid-October. The Irish rapper’s mellow, tongue-in-cheek approach to sinister and shallow topics that usually litter rap is so addictive. Every beat is full and bass-y and jazzy and although a couple of the tracks from his more recent, more poppy escapade “The Moon & You” carry the same individuality and charm, there’s not a single dull moment throughout this 5-song EP, and I can’t help but keep returning to it. It’s honestly just cool in such a unique, inventive and playful way. “1992” is a guaranteed new favourite.
Call Me By Your Name – Luca Guadadigno
“Call Me By Your Name” is one of the most quietly intelligent and least patronising films that I have seen in a long time. It’s as if Guadadigno operates on a tacit acknowledgement that we’ve all seen a gay romance or a coming of age film, so we don’t need to hash over how he’s feeling, you’re not dumb. This then allows for full focus to be placed on the exploration of a relationship in the underlying context of the usual themes of growth, shame and desire. Warmer, kinder and braver than a whole lot of modern coming of age stories (nobody is dying from fucking cancer), the film features extraordinary cinematography that will make you dream of Italy, a tender, pitch-perfect score and humble performances. By that I mean that everyone involved compliments one another in order to serve a story that deserves to be told. No one steals the show – and that is so refreshing – but if someone did it would have to be Michael Stuhlbarg who wins the finale with one of the most soul-reaching and personally affecting speeches I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing political or angry or satirical here, there’s just a promotion of openness and the acceptance that the good comes with the bad, which is perhaps a more important reminder for our modern climate than any loud-mouth “activist” could manage.
“Her” OST – Arcade Fire
Music has always and always will be talked about in relation to environment, Eno (who created the best song ever) was obsessed with this relation. The classic scenario is looking out the window of a vehicle to your own personalised cinema of mundanity, made spectacular with whatever is being projected into your ears. I don’t often listen to movie scores, it always felt odd to me to remove them from what they were intended to be paired with but after listening to this by itself and letting it paint my environment like I do with other music, I’m certain that this stands tall alone. Tonal yearnings hum and rise and fall and it’s initial context falls away to allow you to provide your own, and it all works so well.
Written by Caleb Carter