29 December 2004

music is the color - 2004 playlist

As unmeaningful as it may seem, i want to share the tracks that have lived with me during this ending year. My 2004 playlist is around 2300 titles long, sorted in a very weird way... That's around 7 or 8 new songs for each day, which i find to be a pretty fair average.

This is quasi-raw data, so the few gems (if any) are well hidden !
The "Best Winter Blues Fighter" award goes to "Little Jazz Bird" by Blossom Dearie, a song recorded in NYC in 1958 or 1959, which can be found on the Jazz Masters 51: Blossom Dearie - Verve Records compilation.

Needless to say, this has nothing to do with P2P or other barbarians abbreviations..

-raphael.

28 December 2004

When I live my dream

Wes Anderson has accomplished in "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" one of my cinematographic fantasies. A dozen of Bowie's songs punctuate the story along its course, each time with a mixture of evidence and caricature. The effect is brilliant and thrilling. Because the soundtrack is made almost entirely from one single artist and from very popular songs. But the songs are never catching the attention away from the story. They blend in the movie, yet they are outsanding, because they are performed as if they would act as a chorus in a play. Few are Bowie's originals. Most of them are performed beautifully in brazilian by Seu Jorge.
One scene of the movie confirms another thing: Bowie's music is perfect for trackshots. It has already been demonstrated by Leos Carax in "Mauvais Sang" in the best scene of the movie with Denis Lavant running on the beats of "Modern Love".
"The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" is also just a great movie, full of lights and colors. Check out the official website to grab some cool AIM icons or watch few excerpts.

--Joëlle

26 December 2004

De la frivolité

Last week, I was in front of the French TV, as I usually do when I come to Paris on holidays and treat myself to some couch potato days. The mid-day show was "Arrêt sur images" ("Pause on images") that analyses and comments on a weekly basis the TV images produced on a specific subject, usually a piece of news or recent media focus. I usually like to watch the show because I like to watch TV eat itself.
That week's subject took me by surprise: "Friends", yes, the sitcom. I had dreamt of Arrêt sur images making a subject on Friends since the beginning of the show because I always thought there was a lot to say about it. And there it was, 10 years after. But the result was rather disappointing. Because maybe they didn't try to go beyond what has been said already 100 times, a mixture of clichés and old information. Yes, the sociological model of Friends is based on friendship (!!) and on recomposing a tolerant family with the help of which you always overcome problems, ya-di-ya-di-ya...
If they'd actually shown the excerpts of Friends they were talking about in English, I would have just passed the time pleasantly and forget about the whole thing. But one columnist (would you say columnist for a TV show?) obviously thinking that she was very intelligent dismissed the show with contempt, on the argument (!) that this was just entertainment and that its humour was making people laugh gratuitously when humour used to have a serious function of reflection.
Hum... First, I'm tired of "used-to-have" or "used-to-be" arguments because they state more than anything their weakness and vacuity. Second, I'm sorry that the editorial team of the show isn't more demanding about the quality of argumentation exchanged on the set. But more importantly, it strikes me still that entertainment is so dispised for what it is and that it's not acknowledged "profound" qualities. When I praise or criticize entertainment, and in this case a TV show, I do it from the perspective of the text and the performance, and Friends has been over 10 years more or less well written, more or less well played, but globally quite cleverly.
In the evening, "Bandwagon" was shown. The whole movie is basically about what I just said - although it tells the intelligence of entertainment and the depth of frivolity in a much better way. It's by far my favorite musical - when each scene and each song tell the stories of solitude or anger, hope or love in a very very nonchalent way. The Fred Astaire way.

--Joëlle.

22 December 2004

Between Brasil, France and Japan...

Pierre Barouh is a french composer that started to write in the 60s; he went from pop to samba, has many fans in Japan, and wrote the famous Françoise Hardy song "Des ronds dans l'eau", which can be heard of the soundtrack of Gabriele Muccino's movie Ricordati di me (2003).
I wasn't born in the sixties, though.

-Raphael.

10 December 2004

Safi, safi

Idrissa Soumaoro that I was listening to all the time while I was in Mali just won the prestigious RFI World Music Awards. I'm really happy because his folk music is really beautiful. Mady who drove us all over Bamako is also the producer of the album and he had the tape playing in his car as we were going from one place to the other.
When I came back to Dublin, I looked for the CD but it wasn't released before another six months or so.
I finally found it on the website of Wrasse Records who distributes albums of great artists from all over the world. And it's always a good thing to support independant distributers!

--Joëlle

06 December 2004

23, going on 30

The Karamasov Brothers is one of my favorite book. I was about to turn 23 when I read it and a passage in the text particularly stroke me: in a very intense and intimate scene, Ivan, who's 23, is telling his younger brother Alyosha about youth and his love of life. It felt right and I decided to read the excerpt at my following birthday party:

"(…) I have thought of nothing else but my youthful greenness (…) Do you know I've been sitting here thinking to myself: that if I didn't believe in life, if I lost faith in the woman I love, lost faith in the order of things, were convinced, in fact, that everything is a disorderly, damnable, and perhaps devil-ridden chaos, if I were struck by every horror of man's disillusionment - still I should want to live and, having once tasted of the cup, I would not turn away from it till I had drained it! At thirty, though, I shall be sure to leave the cup, even if I've not emptied it, and turn away - where I don't know. But till I am thirty, I know that my youth will triumph over everything - every disillusionment, every disgust with life. I've asked myself many times whether there is in the world any despair that would overcome this frantic and perhaps unseemly thirst for life in me, and I've come to the conclusion that there isn't, that is till I am thirty, and then I shall lose it of myself, I fancy. (…) I have a longing for life, and I go on living in spite of logic. Though I may not believe in the order of the universe, yet I love the sticky little leaves as they open in spring. I love the blue sky, I love some people, whom one loves you know sometimes without knowing why. I love some great deeds done by men, though I've long ceased perhaps to have faith in them, yet from old habit one's heart prizes them (…)"

In two weeks, I'll be 30. So then what? Well, time flies. That's one cliché. It seemed to me that I was 23 not so long ago. Many, many memories jump at me, in the morning in particular. It's not nostalgia as much as it is a bewilderment at my past. I keep on being surprised and curious when looking back.
And then what? Well, life goes on and most surprisingly, I still have the same love of life. I just begin to understand though why people cannot stay in one's daily life forever. I wish all the people I love would carry on with me. The same people I met ten years ago or the ones I met when I came to live in Dublin two years ago. But it's not the way it goes. Adventures call everyone in all kind of directions.

-- Joëlle