Showing posts with label music. Show all posts
Showing posts with label music. Show all posts

Thursday, December 25, 2008

This My Heart: How to Blend Native American and Zen Buddhist Wisdom with Modern Painting and Video-Art



It blends Native American and Zen Buddhist wisdom with modern painting and video-art in a most fantastic mix. It illustrates a thrilling song - written and performed by Joy Harjo - with the modern paintings of an intriguing artist Tim Williams. Since today, This My Heart of Harjo's latest album Winding Through the Milky Way is also a video-art by founder of independent music community Project Bluebird as well as a song writer and singer Nancy Pontius. We really think you should check this one out:



Joy Harjo, shown in the above photo montage, is a Tulsa-born American poet, musician, and author of Native American ancestry. She has edited literary journals, written poems, authored screenplays and performed tenor saxophone with the band Poetic Justice and has recently been named by the United States Artists Rasmuson Fellows to receive a (nice!) $50K grant in recognition of her cultural contributions. Winding Through the Milky Way is, in Harjo's words "a little road music to accompany us as we make the timeless journey between Earth and Skyis" and available for listening here. Check on this recent video Interview with Harjo about Winding Through the Milky Way.



Tim Williams is an American artist and bookseller from Missouri, USA. Also known as 'shitao' on social media platforms Stumbleupon and Flickr, and similar to Pontius and Harjo, Williams has made the Internet his gallery and uses it to extensively share his paintings and river photography with all of us. We just love it when an artist does that. The original Shitao, in case you wonder, was an (important) late 17th century Chinese painter. Shown above: Self-portrait 2006 by Shitao (the living one).

For more about Joy Harjo see her official website here and MySpace here. For more amazing art by Tim Williams including paintings, photographs and what he refers to as "digital constructions" see shitao on Flickr and StumbleUpon. For more about Project Bluebird and Nancy Pontius see MyIndiRadio and ProjectBluebird on YouTube.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Live Fast, Die Young: 20 Great Artists that Never Reached 30

Live Fast, Die Young: 20 Great Artists that Never Reached 30

The phrase Live fast, die young and leave a good-looking corpse, originally spoken by actor John Derek in Nicholas Ray's Knock on Any Door (1949), emphasizes how unfulfilled promises have always been fascinating and intriguing for many of us. While some great artists lived up to their full potential, sometimes through decades of fruitful careers, others have passed away long before that, leaving many of us wondering which masterpieces might have lost along with their elder years. Following are 20 great artists that enlightened our souls with their art for a short time, but signed-off to rest in peace before reaching the age of 30.

1) Jean Vigo



French film maker Jean Vigo contributed to poetic realism in film in the 1930s and influenced the French New Wave of the late 1950s and early 1960s. He died of Tuberculosis on October 5, 1934 when he was 29.
More about Jean Vigo
Picture: lucidscreening

2) Egon Schiele



Austrian painter Egon Schiele is well known for his twisted body shapes repeating in many of his paintings and drawings. Schiele became one of the notable exponents of Expressionism but died of Influenza on October 31, 1918 when he was 28.
More about Egon Schiele
Picture: myspace

3) Janis Joplin



In 2004 American singer and songwriter Janis Joplin was ranked by the Rolling Stone magazine #46 on a list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. She was a heroin addict and died of heroin overdose on October 4, 1970 when she was 27.
More about Janis Joplin
Picture: herbgreenefoto

4) Kurt Cobain



American musician, singer, guitarist and songwriter Kurt Cobain was co-founder of the Seattle based rock band Nirvana and their leading singer. Even though there are many different versions for what really happened with that shotgun on April 5, 1994 the official version is that Cobain shot himself to death when he was 27.
More about Kurt Cobain
Picture: justnevermind

5) Brian Jones



British musician Brian Jones was a founding member, guitarist and multi-instrumentalist of British rock band The Rolling Stones. Jones drowned in his own private swimming pool in Sussex, England on 3 July 1969 when he was 27.
More about Brian Jones
Picture: preciousstones

6) Jim Morrison



American singer, poet, songwriter, writer and (frustrated) film director Jim Morrison, also known as The Lizard King and Mr. Mojo Risin', was the founder, leading singer and lyricist of the legendary rock band The Doors. Considered by many as the greatest, most charismatic and influential figure in rock history, Morrison ended up with very few friends and a heart attack while bathing in a Paris hotel room on July 3, 1971. He was 27.
More about Jim Morrison
Picture: dailymail.co.uk


7) Jimi Hendrix



American guitarist, singer and songwriter Jimi Hendrix is considered as one of the greatest and most influential guitar artists in rock music history. According to Dr. Bannister who attended the star at the time of his death Hendrix was drowned in his own vomit, almost entirely red wine served at an earlier party. The full circumstances which led to his death, however, have never been fully uncovered. Hendrix was 27.
More about Jimi Hendrix
Picture: guitarch

8) Jean Harlow



American film actress Jean Harlow was one of the most prominent sex symbols of the 1930s. Also known as the Platinum Blonde and The Blonde Bombshell, Harlow starred in several films, mainly designed to showcase her magnetic sex appeal. She died of uremic poisoning and kidney failure on June 7, 1937 when she was 26.
More about Jean Harlow
Picture: doctormacro

9) Sharon Tate



American film actress and Golden Globe-nominated Sharon Tate was one of Hollywood's most promising upcoming stars even before her marriage to genius film director Roman Polański. She was murdered on August 9, 1969 by the Charles Manson gang. Tate was 26 years old and two weeks from giving birth at the time of her horrific death. This famous photo (from John Gilmore and Ron Kramer's Manson: The Unholy Trail of Charlie and the Family) shows Tate on the murder day.
More about Sharon Tate
Picture: lehigh

10) Georg Heym



German poet Georg Heym is known for his outstanding groundbreaking expressionist poetry. He drowned in a frozen lake during a skating trip while trying to save his friend Ernst Balcke. It was January 16, 1912 and the genius poet was just 25.
More about Georg Heym
Picture: wikimedia

11) James Dean



Double Oscar-nominated American film actor James Dean became a cultural icon following his roll as Jim Stark in Nicholas Ray's monumental film Rebel Without a Cause. He played two more pantheon rolls (Cal Trask in East of Eden and as the Jett Rink in Stevens' Giant) but was killed in a car crash accident at the age of 24. Dean was one of the most talented and original style actors Hollywood has ever seen. He was the first actor to receive an "after death" Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Actually, Dean the only actor ever received two such nominations.
More about James Dean
Picture: smu

12) Judy Tyler



American film actress Judy Tyler appeared in the 1957 film Bop Girl Goes Calypso but is mostly remembered for her co-starring with Elvis Presley in the movie Jailhouse Rock. After completing her part of the Presley movie filming Tyler and her husband Greg Lafayette went on a vacation. They were killed July 4, 1957 in a car accident north of Rock River, Wyoming. Tyler was only 24 when she died. She was so young she never got to watch any of her only two films.
More about Judy Tyler
Picture: elviswomen.greggers.net

13) River Phoenix



American film actor River Phoenix was an Academy Award and Golden Globe nominated and was listed on John Willis's Screen World, Vol. 38 as one of twelve "promising new actors of 1986". On the Halloween morning of October 31, 1993 Phoenix died of speedball (mix of heroin and cocaine) overdose outside a Hollywood night club named the Viper Room. He was 23.
More about River Phoenix
Picture: freewebz

14) Ian Curtis



British vocalist and lyricist Ian Curtis joined the new wave band Joy Division in 1976 and quickly became their undisputed leader. Years after his death Curtis is still a major source of inspiration and a subject for many other artists. Curtis hanged himself in his own kitchen on May 18, 1980 after watching Werner Herzog's Stroszek and listening to Iggy Pop's The Idiot. Amongst suggested reasons for his suicide are epilepsy related problems and failure of his marriage. He was 23 years old.
More about Ian Curtis
Picture: liverpool.com

15) Dominique Dunne



American actress Dominique Dunne appeared in several made for television movies, television series, and films but was most known for her role as Dana (the oldest daughter) in Poltergeist (1982). Dunne was strangled into coma on November 4, 1982 by her ex-boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney after she refused to reconcile with him. Sweeney, then a popular Los Angeles chef, strangled Dunne in the driveway of her home. She died a few days later, at the age of 22.
More about Dominique Dunne
Picture: nndb

16) Buddy Holly



American singer-songwriter and rock and roll inventor Charles Hardin Holley aka "Buddy Holly" is considered one of the most influential artists in pop music history but only lived to see about one and a half years of success. He was described as "the single most influential creative force in early rock and roll" and in 2004 ranked #13 on a list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time by the Rolling Stone magazine. He died in an airplane crash on February 3, 1959 on his way to Fargo, North Dakota. The plane took off in light snow and gusty winds at around 12:55 A.M., but crashed after only a few minutes.
More about Buddy Holly
Picture: buddy-holly.com

17) Sid Vicious



British punk musician John Simon Ritchie also known as Sid Vicious was the bass player of the Sex Pistols and one of the most prominent prophets of the punk-rock decade. He died of heroin overdose on February 2, 1979 at the age of 21.
More about Sid Vicious
Picture: dubhthachsidheag

18) Charles Sorley



Scottish war poet Charles Sorley volunteered for military service in England during World War I and arrived at the Western Front in France as a lieutenant in May 1915. He ranked Captain at the very early age of 20 but was shot in the head by a German sniper at the Battle of Loos on October 13, 1915 and died instantly.
More about Charles Sorley
Picture: thelondonseason

19) Divya Bharti



Indian film actress Divya Bharti born Divya Om Prakash Bharti was a popular Indian film actress in the early 1990s. Bharti was already a shining star in 1990 when she was just 16 years old. In 1992 she appeared in more than 14 Hindi films which was at the time a record for a newcomer to the Hindi film industry. Bharti's career was ended in April 5, 1993 when she mysteriously accidentally fell off a 5-storey apartment building in Mumbai. She was 19 when she died.
More about Divya Bharti
Picture: treklens

20) Tara Correa-McMullen



American actress Shalvah McMullen, better known with her stage name Tara Correa-McMullen, was mostly famous for her role as gang member Graciela Reyes on the CBS TV series Judging Amy. McMullen had just about enough time to co-star with Martin Lawrence in a first feature film - Rebound - but was murdered on October 21, 2005. She was just 16 when she died.

More about Tara Correa-McMullen
Picture: minorcon

Enjoyed this article? See also: 20 (More) Great Artists that Never Reached 30

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Days by Ray Davies: A Cursed Rock Masterpiece?



Almost 40 years have passed since The Kinks burst onto our souls with Days. Originally recorded on May 23 and May 27, 1968 at Pye Studios in London, this bittersweet rock ballad written and produced by Ray Davies was released as the A-side to a Kinks single in June 28. By the end of summer 1968 Days took the 12th slot in the UK Top Hits and was also included in Top 20 hit lists in several other countries. What's also known as the last recording ever made by the original lineup of the legendary Kinks was the type of rock ballad people could just not get enough of. Here is the original version preformed by Davies and the Kinks.



For Davies, things have been going pretty well since the demise of the Kinks in the mid-90s, especially when the nature of the pop industry and biological age are taken into account. His February 2006 album Other People's Lives, for example, was his first top 30 hit in UK since the Kinks days in the 1960s.



Above: Davies and the Kinks.
Below: Davies in 2006 (source bmi.com)




Yet, for other prominent artists who reproduced Davies' song things did not turn out so nicely. Actually, three of them who made their own successful cover versions for Days during the years of 1968 to 1995 have passed away after a few years. Their deaths had nothing to do with the song. Tragically and disturbingly, however, they all died during their 40s.

Luke Kelly: Death by Brain Tumor

Died: 1984
Age: 43
Cause of death: Brain tumor



Luke Kelly was one of the greatest Irish folk artist of the 20th Century, mostly famous for his membership and leadership of the The Dubliners. A CD of 9 previously unreleased tracks by Kelly was released in 1999 titled after Davies' song. With most tracks recorded prior to joining The Dubliners or when he was not a member of the group, this CD includes an extraordinary rendition of the classic ballad.



On June 30, 1980 during a concert in the Cork Opera House Kelly collapsed on the stage after suffering from headaches and forgetfulness. Later on the reason was diagnosed as a deadly brain tumor. Although Kelly kept on touring with the Dubliners after enduring an operation his health was further deteriorated. On his European tour in autumn 1983 he came off the stage in Traun, Austria and again in Mannheim, Germany. Kelly spent one more Christmas with his family but was then hospitalized again in the New Year. On 30th January 1984 the whole of Dublin grieved the early death. Following his death the Luke Kelly Memorial Fund for brain research was launched.

Kirsty MacColl: Death by Speedboat Hit

Died: 2000
Age: 41
Cause of death: Hit by speedboat



Kirsty Anna MacColl was a famed folk, pop and new wave musician, some would say of the greatest harmony singer in rock and roll history. MacColl had a busy successful year in 2000. Her latest album Tropical Brainstorm was doing very well. Five years have passed since her cover version of Days reached the Top 50 of the UK Singles Chart when MacColl decided to take some time off. She took a vacation with her partner musician James Knight and her two sons and traveled to Cozumel in Mexico.



On December 18, 2000, MacColl the group went diving in Cozumel in an area that was restricted for watercraft. As the group was surfacing from a dive, a speeding powerboat entered the restricted area. MacColl saw the boat coming for her sons with one of them - Jamie - appearing to be in the boat's path. She had enough time to push her son out of the boat's way but was hit by the boat and killed instantly. Today, more than 7 years later, no one has been made accountable for her death and her mother Jean is still seeking justice for Kirsty's tragic and untimely death. For more about this incredible story see justiceforkirsty.org



Solveig Dommartin: Death by Heart Attack

Died: 2007
Age: 46
Cause of death: Heart attack



Solveig Dommartin was a talented French-German actress who began her career with the Compagnie Timothee Laine and the Theater Labor Warschau theaters. The first chance most of us had to watch Dommartin's unique acting style was in Wim Wenders' 1987 film titled Der Himmel über Berlin, also know as Wings of Desire. Her professional association and romantic relationship with the leading german director resulted with the couple co-authoring Until the End of the World (1991, Bis ans Ende der Welt) as well as traveling around the world in search for suitable shooting locations. "We thought that we only had the right to enter into such a sacred area like a person's dreams, if we would bring something into the work that was sacred to ourselves" Wenders once noted about their collaboration on this movie.



In one of the most magical scenes of Until the End of the World, portraying a magic millennium party, Claire Tourneur (Dommartin) performs a fantastic unplugged version of Days under the light of colorful garlands. This scene is held by some of the most powerful living actors at the time such as Jeanne Moreau, Max von Sydow and Sam Neill to name a few. Death, sorrow and happiness have never been mixed better by anyone but Dommartin's performance is the overwhelming highlight here. Dommartin died of a heart attack on January 11, 2007 in Paris. Although she was "officially" born in 1958, Dommartin's mother told reporters her daughter was born in May 1961, making her 45 at the time of her death.



See also: Wenders MySpace page dedicated to Dommartin

Days

Lyrics source: lyricsfreak

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
Im thinking of the days,
I wont forget a single day, believe me.

I bless the light,
I bless the light that lights on you believe me.
And though youre gone,
Youre with me every single day, believe me.

Days Ill remember all my life,
Days when you cant see wrong from right.
You took my life,
But then I knew that very soon youd leave me,
But its all right,
Now Im not frightened of this world, believe me.

I wish today could be tomorrow,
The night is dark,
It just brings sorrow anyway.

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
Im thinking of the days,
I wont forget a single day, believe me.

Days Ill remember all my life,
Days when you cant see wrong from right.
You took my life,
But then I knew that very soon youd leave me,
But its all right,
Now Im not frightened of this world, believe me.
Days.

Thank you for the days,
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me.
Im thinking of the days,
I wont forget a single day, believe me.

I bless the light,
I bless the light that shines on you believe me.
And though youre gone,
Youre with me every single day, believe me.
Days.

See also:

An amazingly detailed list of Days releases by the Kinks
Days chord file

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Last.fm: social your music taste



And while we are on the mashup subject, here is another interesting mashup application named Last.fm - The Social Music Revolution. With more than ten million page views a day and claiming for the world's largest social music platform crown, this venture is focused in tracking what you listen to, learning what you like and giving you better music, just as I demonstrated my friends from Criticker do with movies.

Founded by Felix Miller, Martin Stiksel and Richard Jones, Last.fm are a London-based company. As all interesting and popular web 2.0ventures, Last.fm has been recently acquired by CBS, and, yes, has an official company blog. Nice.

Thanks go to my StumbleUpon friend petalthinktank, who has been using her Last.fm as her official homepage, shown in the screenshot above. Too bad I am not so much into music any more. Hardly have time for my late night movies anymore with all this blogging and stumbling and digging and twittering, not to mention being a new father.

http://www.last.fm

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Animusic: video art by computers


Can computers make art? Working from home just like your humble servant and mastering his craft for over a decade, programmer, composer and movie director Wayne Lytle think they can. As the main creative force behind Animusic LLC, a 3D animation company producing animated music content founded by Lytle in 1995, initially under the name Visual Music, that is exactly what he lets his computers do.



Animusic media is formed by a proprietary, custom-written software, branded as Animusic Studio, that generates the animation in a semi-automatic process manipulating the animated fingers, hammers and pluckers of the robots based on the data fed in the corresponding MIDI file. Thus, with both graphics and music synthesized digitally Animusic can in my opinion be considered as a new form digital media, perhaps even a new form of art.



According to Animusic "Virtual instruments are invented by building computer graphics models of objects that would appear to create the sound of the corresponding music synthesizer track. Graphical instruments range from being reminiscent of existing instruments to arbitrarily abstract." In other words, if the midi data is changed after the movie was created a new version of the movie including the changes is generated automatically by the software. If you refer to the outcome movie - rather than the input music - as the final creation it means this form of art is generated by a computer software. not by a human.



A few free Animusic clips, screen savers, desktop wallpapers and mp3 files are available for download from the company's official website. More than two dozen clips are also available on YouTube. The company's store offers DVD and CDs, along with a cool Animusic T-shirt. Thanks to Koyotie for sharing with me the Pipe Dream Animusic clip.

http://www.animusic.com

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Until the End of the World: Days

Released in 1991 by the German-born film director Wim Wenders, Until the End of the World (German: Bis ans Ende der Welt) has been a culture milestone for quite a few people I know. Wenders' career had always been distinguished by his mastery of the road movie and according to Wikpedia had intended this piece as "the Ultimate Road Movie".

I remember h
ow thrilled were everyone before it was released in Israel (well perhaps not everyone but everyone who likes good movies...) as well as finally watching it when it finally came (Haifa's Cinémathèque...). It was not even clear what this movie is all about as the plot is very hard to describe. We just knew it was about the "future" and being avid futurists at the time, a movie about "the future" sounded very promising coming from Wenders :)

About two and a half years ago before Carmel was born and we were still watching late night movies together I got a copy of the director cut DVD and we had the privilege to see it together. The following is our favorite scene in the movie - a magic millennium party with colorful garland lights and a a fantastic unplugged version preformed by Claire Tourneur (Solveig Dommartin) doing Kirsty MacColl's "Days".
Held by a squad of the most "powerful" living actors at the time, this scene mixes death, sorrow and happiness in the most Wendersed way there is.

I'd like to dedicate this song and post to my loving wife who has been sharing her moments with me for six years already.



Days by Kirsty MacColl

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I'm thinking of the days
I won't forget a single day believe me

I bless the light
I bless the light that lights on you believe me
And though you're gone
You're with me every single day believe me

Days I'll remember all my life
Days when you can't see wrong from right
You took my life
But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me
But it's alright
Now I'm not frightened of this world believe me

I wish today could be tomorrow
The night is long
It just brings sorrow let it wait

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I'm thinking of the days
I won't forget a single day believe me

Days I'll remember all my life
Days when you can't see wrong from right
You took my life
But then I knew that very soon you'd leave me
But it's alright
Now I'm not frightened of this world believe me

Days

Thank you for the days
Those endless days, those sacred days you gave me
I'm thinking of the days
I won't forget a single day believe me

I bless the light
I bless the light that lights on you believe me
And though you're gone
You're with me every single day believe me

Days

Saturday, July 28, 2007

No Woman, No Cry




Made famous by Bob Marley and the Wailers, "No Woman, No Cry" was first released in 1974, and became became Marley's first hit and one of the world most famous reggae songs ever about one year later, released as a single from his album, Live!, which was recorded at the Lyceum in London in 1975.

It is a common belief that Bob Marley wrote the song himself, yet songwriter credits were given to a close friend of Marley's named Vincent Ford ("V Ford") who ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown, the ghetto of Kingston, Jamaica where Marley grew up. The royalties received by Ford allowed the survival Ford's kitchen but the question about the authenticity of this ownership is still questioned.

No Woman, No Cry was No. 37 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This short video was improvised today soon before Nitsi and I took Carmel back home for her noon sleep. Taken with my Motorola phone the clip shows Zemah (A "Koyotie" member) in one of his magic moments, enjoying this free-style unplagued version performed with a classic guitar and harmonica. I thought it was REALLY cool.

Lyrics
No woman no cry
No woman no cry
No woman no cry
No woman no cry
Cause I remember when we used to sit
In a government yard in Trenchtown
Observing the hypocrites
Mingle with the good people we meet
Good friends we have, Oh, good friends we have lost
Along the way
In this great future,
You can't forget your past
So dry your tears, I seh
No woman no cry
No woman no cry
Little darling, don't shed no tears
No woman no cry
Said I remember when we used to sit
In the government yard in Trenchtown
And then Georgie would make the fire lights
As it was log burning through the nights
Then we would cook cornmeal porridge
Of which I'll share with you
My feet is my only carriage
And so I've got to push on through,
Oh, while I'm gone
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
Everything 's gonna be alright
So no woman no cry
No woman no cry, oh
My little sister
Don't shed no tears
No woman no cry.