Butterfly Decal ‘Morning Lotus’

16th January 2022

A demo version of the song ‘Morning Lotus’ by the band Butterfly Decal.

The track, as you can tell, is a home recording using an iPhone only, so that explains the background noise and hissing.

The film is from a trip to Udon Thani, in beautiful Thailand.

If you know anyone you think may like the song, please share the link. I know the band will be extremely grateful.

Thank you for viewing this blog

So what is Math Rock ?

16th January 2022

Covers of some essential Math Rock releases

I recently had some friends ask what I meant by Math Rock, and I must admit it is a type of guitar music about which I am still learning.

A very brief summary is that Math Rock is a sub-genre that emerged from the Hardcore scene of the mid 1980s. Some bands moved away from the distorted loud guitars and steady 4/4 beat of Rock ‘n’ Roll, to incorporate different time signatures and tempos, stopping and starting songs mid-way through, or changing the rhythm entirely. I also notice that a lot of bands use similar chords as Jazz musicians.

The term Math Rock was coined due to the musicians having to count the beat, for example,

“1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 1, 2, 3, 4 …” etc

Instead of the conventional,

“1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4 …”

However, as the adage states, ‘show, don’t tell,’ so here are but a few examples.

To kick off, a band I did know, Slint, formed in Kentucky, USA in the late 1980s. This track, ‘Breadcrumb Trail’ is from their seminal second album, ‘Spiderland’ (1991).

In the same year, Don Caballero were formed, in Pittsburg, USA, and are purely instrumental. Their third album, ‘What Burns Never Returns’ (1998) is highly regarded, and I’ve chosen one track from that LP.

At the end of the 1990s, a band from Illinois called American Football formed, released a self-titled debut album, then split up. This song, ‘Never meant’ is much praised among fans.

Now let’s move over to my neck of the woods, Asia, because Math Rock is global.

Tricot is a band that I mentioned in an IELTS blog. They were formed in Kyoto back in 2010, and have so far released six LPs including ‘Jodeki’ from December 2021. This video is for the song ‘Setsuyakuka’. They play music with stronger lead lines, pop-music hooks, and make a perfect introduction to Math Rock.

Also from Japan are Paranoid Void. The following video is a track from their LP ‘Literary Math’ (2017). This album may require a few plays to be fully appreciated. A lot of reviewers feel it lacks a certain punch, but try it for that laid-back feel, or if you need to study.

The video also show the guitarist’s pedal board, a collection of effects to create different guitar sounds.

Finally, let’s go to Taiwan and listen to ‘Elephant Gym’, a band blending bass lead lines and irregular, angular guitars. This is a live video and you can see how the bassist uses a technique called tapping, sometimes playing the strings on the neck of her bass with her right hand.

For more information, just look online … there are countless YouTube videos, websites and blog pages. One person has even posted a flow chart of bands, though this will be very daunting for new listeners. https://www.reddit.com/r/Emo/comments/9rx5ps/ive_created_a_large_flowchart_of_math_rock_and/

Brisbane's Hanoi Traffic create chaotic math rock with debut EP, 'kids with  no style' — The Point Music News
A Complete Guide to Japanese Math Rock | Tokyo Weekender
Math Rock Band Wife Biscuit Release EP and Live Video [Malaysia] - Unite  Asia

Be sure to let me know what you think. Are you in a Math Rock band, or are you interested in starting one ? Or is it simply not your cup of tea ? Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.

Happy Year of the Tiger

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Introducing: Butterfly Decal Ambient Blues, Jazzy Jingle-Jangle

7th January 2022

Monet’s painting of his garden at Giverny

I recently discovered this band serendipitously on YouTube, but I know very little about them.

The clip ‘Waterlilies’ I believe is from a future project, based on Mussorgsky’s ‘Pictures From An Exhibition’. The video text states that this is merely a demo, and implies that a new video will uploaded at some point.

You may recognise elements of minimalism, shoegaze, ambient and even math rock. I think I can even hear a faint tambourine half-way through the track.

See what you think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cy5VPZpUGIw&t=5s&ab_channel=Chadav

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Paul Ritter: R.I.P.

2nd January 2022

Paul Ritter, 'James Bond' and 'Harry Potter' Actor, Dies at 54

Living overseas, I sometimes miss news from the UK, one such example being the passing of British actor Paul Ritter back in April of 2021.

People in the UK will know him from the sitcom ‘Friday Night Dinner’ which ran for six series starting in 2011.

Friday Night Dinner creator calls Paul Ritter 'greatest actor' in touching  tribute | JOE.co.uk
‘Friday Night Dinner’, a sitcom on Channel 4 in the UK

International viewers may recognise him from the HBO miniseries ‘Chernobyl’ from 2019.

‘Chernobyl’ miniseries on HBO

Mr Ritter also appeared in the 2008 Bond film ‘Quantum of Solace’ and a film in the Harry Potter franchise, ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’ from 2009.

Paul also performed in Shakespeare demonstrating his versatility, from comedy to drama, excelling in both.

I was very sad to hear of his death, and I’m not alone. Apparently some fans posted how they were in tears watching the sitcom after he died.

Tasmin Greig, his co-star in ‘Friday Night Dinner’, wrote “We all miss him terribly, an incredible actor, a true friend and a lovely human being.”

Actor Paul Ritter has died at the age of 54 | WhatsOnStage

Paul Ritter 20th December 1966 – 5th April 2021

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Alice Sara Ott ‘Nightfall’: French piano music

30th December 2021

One of the joys of the past few years has been discovering the work of Ms Alice Sara Ott, a pianist born in 1988 of a German father and Japanese mother.

I have introduced her to some professional musicians of my acquaintance, including pianists, and they unanimously praise her playing, her tone and sensitivity.

Alice Sara Ott's Deeply Considered Approach to a Concept Wigmore Hall  Recital – Seen and Heard International
Alice Sara Ott: Wonderland CD review – Grieg recital lacks magic |  Classical music | The Guardian

Ms Ott, who has been recording since 2009, interprets some quintessential French classics of the late C19th and early C20th on the 2018 CD ‘Nightfall’. Debussy, Ravel & Satie are all represented.

I’d like to share this promotion film, shot in Paris, to accompany the Erik Satie piece ‘Gnossiennes No 1: Lent’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUFxAxTZJZg&list=RDqUFxAxTZJZg&start_radio=1&ab_channel=DeutscheGrammophon-DG

A Happy New Year to you all

CSO Sounds & Stories » Pianist Alice Sara Ott 'still in the process of  discovering'

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Phil Ochs – Happy Birthday

21st December 2021

A tribute to singer-songwriter Phil Ochs, born on December 19th 1940. Phil wrote many political and protest songs against events of the 1960s and 70s such as the war in Vietnam, racial segregation and capital punishment.

Here’s a list of my top 5 Phil Ochs songs:

1 No More Songs

2 Santo Domingo

3 The Iron Lady

4 Men Behind the Guns

5 The Crucifixion

1

2

3

4

5

Phil Ochs December 19th 1940 – April 9th 1976

Mike Nesmith R.I.P

12th December 2021

What Was Michael Nesmith's Net Worth When He Died?

Throughout the 70s and early 80s, British viewers were able to watch ‘The Monkees’ TV show, laugh at the zany adventures, sing along with the catchy pop songs.

The members were distinct: the charismatic and diminutive singer (Davy), the wacky drummer (Micky), the innocent, slightly simple blonde (Pete) and the serious, beanie-wearing musician, Mike.

Mike Nesmith of 'Monkees' passes away at age of 78

The show was a success but short-lived lasting just two seasons, September 1966 – March 1968.

The guys were actors, they had auditioned for a TV comedy about musicians yet when the public learnt they didn’t play their instruments on recordings, there was a violent backlash.

Mike Nesmith actually was a musician, and The Monkees demanded to be allowed to prove that they could play, and wanted to be taken seriously.

From 1969 Mike began planning a solo career which including writing, performing, producing and pioneering early music videos.

Here’s my favourite Monkees song, ‘Daydream Believer’ with Mike on acoustic guitar.

Mike Nesmith December 30th 1942 – December 10th 2021

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Jazz Music

29th October 2021

Charlie Parker (sax) with Miles Davis (trumpet)

JAZZ MUSIC

I love all types of music, but one of my favourites is Jazz. It can be exciting, or thought-provoking, upbeat or mellow, but it’s always different.

Unlike other types of music, Jazz is spontaneous. This means that you never hear the same song the same way; each performance is different. 

Jazz started in New Orleans but moved up to Chicago, New York and even west to California. The first records were made in 1917 and the first true Jazz genius was Louis Armstrong. If you want to hear jazz, you should listen to his records from the 1920s.

You may know some famous Jazz artists such as Miles Davis, John Coltrane or Charlie Parker. I can recommend these musicians to you as first-rate examples of Jazz.

I hope this has made you curious about Jazz, and that you go online to listen for yourself. Who knows, maybe you too will learn to love Jazz.

Duke Ellington's Far East Suite by Duke Ellington (Album, Big Band):  Reviews, Ratings, Credits, Song list - Rate Your Music

Please Note: All photos are taken from Google Images or free photo sites, and are used for educational purposes only. No copyright infringement or offense is intended. If I have used your photo or image, and you wish me to remove it, just ask. This site is not monetized, I run it on my own dollar. Thank you.

Jean-Paul Belmondo R.I.P.

8th September 2021

On Monday 6th September Jean-Paul Belmondo, icon of French Cinema, passed away. Jean-Paul, who was 88, worked with many of the top names in French Cinema: Jean-Pierre Melville, with Francois Truffaut, Alain Resnais, Claude Chabrol, Claude Lelouche, with Agnes Varda and Louis Malle. With Jean-Luc Godard, the director with whom he will always be associated.

Noir City International
Le Doulos 1962

Belmondo was much more than an actor; he was a star. His charisma and screen presence was inimitable. In the three films he made with Godard, he portrayed a petty criminal being hunted by the police (‘A Bout de Souffle’), a lovable rogue with a flair for comedy and dance (‘Une Femme est une Femme’) and an existential adventurer on the road to freedom (‘Pierrot le Feu’). With these three film alone, Belmondo became a part of Cinema history.

Une femme est une femme: the places documented - The Cine-Tourist
Une Femme est une Femme 1961

What are their plans for the evening ? Belmondo wants to watch a film on TV “With my friend Burt Lancaster.” He turns to the camera and smiles.

Such a scene is typical of the Nouvelle Vague, the French New Wave of Cinema that wanted to move away from studio sets and unrealistic dialogue. It was youth, energy, charm in abundance, and it was referential and respectful to Cinema and filmmaking. We hear projectors whirl, clapperboards clapping, calls for “Lights, cameras, action.” Characters were named after directors (in the above scene, Belmondo is named after the German director Ernst Lubitsch), they would turn to the camera and address the audience. Cinema was fun, it was life, “In a word ’emotion’,” and we were all invited. Fifty years later, the films retain this exuberance, this spirit, this joie de vivre.

Stavisky - Film d'Alain Resnais - Critique
Stavisky 1974

Belomondo’s performances contribute to this magic because, for me, that is exactly what Cinema is, what it should be – pure magic.

Jean-Paul died aged 88, so at that age, death is not a tragedy. The tragedy is that he is irreplaceable. His persona was unique. So unique. For many cineastes, he is part of our cultural DNA, his work is ineffably part of our lives, which he enriched.

If you’re not familiar with Jean-Paul’s work, here’s a good place to start, some clips from fifteen of his films:

Just in July, I posted a blog about a reunion Belmondo had with fellow French icon Alain Delon, a post that may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/07/12/quest-ce-que-le-cinema-belmondo-delon/

Suggested Viewing:

À bout de souffle 1960 Une femme est une femme 1961 Pierrot le Fou 1965 all directed by Jean-Luc Godard

Le Doulos 1962 directed by Jean-Pierre Melville

La Sirène du Mississippi 1969 directed by Francois Truffaut

Les Misérables 1995 directed by Claude Lelouche

Goodbye Jean-Paul. Merci pour tout

Jean-Paul Belmondo at worst? Close friend discusses rumors of alarming  health

Jean-Paul Belmondo 9th April 1933 – 6th September 2021

Lee Eun-ju: A Korean Star

3rd September 2021

As a prelude to some blogs about my favourite Korean films, I would like to post a little tribute to one of my favourite actors, Lee Eun-ju (also known as Lee Eun-joo). The actress, who was also a talented pianist, appeared in some of my favourite Korean films of the early 2000s.

Lee Eun Joo - mỹ nhân tự sát sau cảnh nóng, gây thương xót suốt 14 năm

Lee Eun-ju was born in Gunsan, south-west Korea, on December 22nd 1980, and studied piano when she was at school. At sixteen, she won a modelling contest. From there, she moved into TV dramas and then movies.

One of her earliest roles was in Hong Sang-soo’s ‘Virgin Stripped Bare by her Bachelors” (2000). This art film, shot in black & white, tells the story of how two people meet, and is told in flashbacks showing different perspectives and while some events are similar, others are very different.

The film is one of my top Korean movies. Anthony Leong writes that Lee Eun-ju “delivers the standout performance,” and her charisma is “one of the highlights,” of the film.

S. Korean Star Lee Eun Joo has Commited Suicide - Ent_Pic - Pictures -  Newsgd

The following year, Lee Eun-ju appeared in the reincarnation love-story, ‘Bungee Jumping of their Own’ (2001). She plays a shy girl who falls in love, eventually, with a young man with whom she shares an umbrella during a storm. However, after planning to meet one day, she fails to appear and is never seen again. I will not spoil the film (too much) but many years later, the young man, now a teacher, meets a boy student who shares many of his old lover’s mannerisms.

Lee Eun Joo - Tin tức mới nhất 24h qua - VnExpress

The theme of boy meets girl – falls in love – one of them dies is stepped up a notch in another one of my personal favourite Korean films, ‘Lovers’ Concerto’ (2002). I even watched it (again) last night, to prepare for this blog. Lee Eun-ju shows her acting skills, as she portrays a young lady who is by turns spoilt, unreasonable, tender, loving and so fragile. With her charm and charisma, she really lights up the screen.

Unfortunately, Lee Eun-ju found her last film, The Scarlet Letter’ (2004) a very traumatic experience, along with the subsequent poor reception and backlash. The film, her family assert, caused her to fall into a deep depression, exacerbated by insomnia. On February 22 2004, Lee Eun-ju took her own life. She was only twenty-four.

Lee Eun-joo - Photo Gallery (故 이은주) @ HanCinema

How heartbreaking that someone with so much to offer should be so unhappy. How heartbreaking to think of all the films she could have made. How amazing that an actress with just thirteen film credits should be in two of my absolute favourites.

Thank you so much … miss you so much

매우 감사합니다 ... 당신이 너무 그리워

Lee Eun-ju 1980 – 2004

Grasshopper Educational: 121 Minutes to 180 Minutes
Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (2000)
Bungee Jumping of Their Own (Region-All)
Bungee Jumping of Their Own (2001)
Lover's Concerto - AsianWiki
Lovers’ Concerto (2002)

Sources

Leong, Anthony C.Y. ‘Korean Cinema: The New Hong Kong’ (2002) Trafford

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Eun-ju#Life_and_career

https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=vi&u=https://zingnews.vn/lee-eun-joo-my-nhan-tu-sat-sau-canh-nong-gay-thuong-xot-suot-14-nam-post919445.html&prev=sear