Monthly Archives: August 2014

Summer Sonic 2014 Thoughts And Photos

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I’ve been to many a music festival (eight Lollapaloozas, Outside Lands, Ultra and Deluna Fest, to name a few), and while I’ve always enjoyed going to them to catch as many live bands as possible, in recent years I became entirely dejected with them – thanks in large part to the horrible crowds.

In my experience, audiences at festivals have always been complete garbage, getting worse every year. People talk loudly over the music. They throw shit on stage. They have an overwhelming need to get fucked up or wasted. They start fights. They just generally suck.

But now that I live in Japan, I wondered – is it the same here? In my eight months here, I’ve noticed that Japanese people are by and large excessively polite (sometimes to a fault). Would that extreme courtesy and kindness extend itself to a festival?

Well, when it was announced that Kraftwerk was playing Summer Sonic 2014, one of the largest music festivals in the country, I decided it was time to find out.

And while I don’t want to spoil anything – yeah, Japanese audience are pretty dope.

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Vinyl Showdown – City Of The Living Dead Soundtrack

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City of the Living Dead (AKA Paura Nella Citta Dei Morti Viventi AKA Fear In The City Of The Living Dead AKA The Gates of Hell AKA That Movie with the Fucked Up Scene with the Drill) is one of Lucio Fulci’s most…let’s say memorable…films.

I mean, we should be honest here, City of the Living Dead is not a great film. Shit, I think it would be a stretch to call it a good film or even a halfway decent film. It’s an incoherent mess of a film, a film full of hilariously bad acting, horrid special effects and plot holes that a army of zombies could march through no problem.

But it’s also an oddly memorizing film filled with evocative and unforgettable imagery, with a dreamlike quality unmatched by many other horror flicks. It may not make a lick of sense and have some rather drastic problems, but that doesn’t make it any less visually stunning and captivating to this day. If a film can be so-bad-it’s-good and a legit classic at the same time, then it’s City of the Living Dead.

While much of the film’s high points can be credited to the amazing direction of Lucio Fulci, the score by Fabio Frizzi definitely deserves second billing in an explanation as to why the film transcends its cheesy nature. Many Italian horror films of the era featured spacey, prog-influenced soundtracks. Most were by Goblin, the prog-rock outfit who frequently worked with legendary film director Dario Argento on many of his greatest films, including Deep Red and Suspiria. Many consider their work on those previously mentioned films to be the best soundtracks to come out the Italian horror scene of the 70s and 80s. However, if you ask me, Fabio Frizzi’s score to City Of The Living Dead actually transcends them in many ways.

It’s the most “proggy” of the bunch, with a great bass and guitar sound that sounds highly reminiscent of Pink Floyd – if they had been big Romero fans. And it has more memorable hooks than most of those other scores. When you remember most Goblin scores you remember one key melody or theme, but the score to City Of The Living Dead has countless motifs that stick with you long after you listen to them. It’s simultaneously creepy and catchy. A rare combination.

So that’s why when I saw that Death Waltz was distributing Private Records’ limited edition re-issue of the original soundtrack on blue vinyl, I jumped at the chance to pick it up. I didn’t even think twice. Although I guess I probably should have, because I didn’t realize that, as a member of Death Waltz’s subscription service, I was already getting their own version of the film’s soundtrack as well.

Oh well, a great excuse to compare them then and help potential buyers out there figure out which one is best for them! So let’s get down to it!

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CD Review: Harald Grosskopf – Synthesist & Oceanheart

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About two weeks ago I was wandering Tower Records in Akihabara, looking for the latest Allman Brothers re-release, when I stumbled upon a feature display for someone named Harald Grosskopf. To be honest, I had never heard of him before, but the display caught my eye for two reasons. One was silver-painted portrait that graces the cover of his album Synthesist, and that’s a little hard to miss.

But what really captured my attention was giant text next to it that simply read SYNTHESIZER!!!! followed by a shitlaod of Japanese text that I couldn’t read.

I had no idea who Harald Grosskopf was at the time, but they totally had me at SYNTHESIZER!!!!

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CD Review: The Allman Brothers Band – The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings

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Let me just get this out of the way right now; I do not consider myself a “jam band” fan. I have never been to a Phish concert. I am not a Grateful Dead fan. The both times I saw Primus live I wanted to kill myself. As punk rocker/new wave aficionado, I can’t typically get into any band whose idea of a good time includes a drum solo that lasts more than one minute.

That being said, I think that The Allman Brothers’ At The Filmore East, an album known primarily for it’s lengthy “jam” sessions, is one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time.

A little Duane Allman goes a long fucking way in my book.
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CD/DVD Review: The Value Of Entertainment + IQ6 Zang Tumb Tuum Sampled

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Sampled was the first compilation issued by ZTT, first released in 1984. At the time, I was a five-year-old boy living in Toledo, Ohio. So pardon me if I missed it the first time around.

I first discovered the album about five years ago, scoring a used LP for a dirt cheap price. It quickly became one of my favorite compilation LPs, thanks to its oddball assortment of artists, and a stunningly great live version of “Born To Run” by ZTT mainstays Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Even though I don’t know much about many of the artists on the record aside from Frankie and The Art Of Noise, to this day it’s remained on high rotation on my turntable, despite the fact that the copy I had was scratched to hell and back.

Thankfully now I can retire that old, worn-out disc, with ZTT finally giving the album a proper CD release, as part of a two-pack that also includes the first DVD release of ZTT’s 1986 concert film The Value Of Entertainment as an added, um, value.

As the package treats the film as the main attraction, I’ll start with that

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