Recommended if you like Johann Sebastian Bach and μ-Ziq
Recommended if you like Johann Sebastian Bach and μ-Ziq
So Pauly Deathwish comes out with a Sonic Youth cover.
Sounds like Sade and Yoshimi-era Lips.
Like mental illness is no big deal.
Almost bossa nova.
Like an elevator music rendition.
I dig it, though.
Bachelor pad music for hipsters.
Sounds like the chord progression is totally different.
This bloke gonna be locked up with Stravinsky in Boston.
Kinda Herbie Hancock doing Nirvana.
But then that fucking piano comes in.
Like “Time” from Aladdin Sane.
Beautiful and fucked up.
Ratchet up Conlon Nancarrow.
Something Charlie Parker about this.
Talking the Kim Gordon lines.
This is good shit.
Gets all ’80s.
Finally Thurston and Ranaldo drop in.
Shit gets real.
The harmonies on this song are insane.
Definitely fits the scordatura.
Something Brian Wilson about this progression too.
Like fuzzed-out Smile.
My fiancee dumped me 12 days ago without even telling me why.
Four year relationship gone.
Sounds a little Built to Spill.
Great harmonies again.
This dude didn’t cheat his Fux.
What will it do?
Some sad shit like Godspeed.
Silver Mt. Zion.
Hats get going.
In a Silent Way.
Bass drum drops in.
It is obvious Pauly loves “A New Career in a New Town”.
This vibe resurfaces in many of his songs.
But THIS song!
Very “Mayonaise” by Smashing Pumpkins.
Like Glenn Branca with a better childhood.
A long instrumental.
Slow, simmering fire.
Arpeggiator about to get wild again.
Fuzz bass drops in.
What a guitar tone!
Sounds like a fucking harmonica.
Great lo-fi…Devendra Banhart vibe.
But this is straight Velvet Underground.
An instrumental with ooohs and ahhhs.
Bottom drops out.
Drums chugging away like Primal Scream.
Interesting touch, there.
Little bit Mercury Rev.
See You on the Other Side.
Guitars enjoying themselves.
Ghost of Sterling Morrison.
Tune called “Catharsiss” [sic].
Must be some weird Godard reference.
And the last song of this maxi.
Similar start as track 2.
Strange flange/phase Shepard scale weirdness.
Truly chilled-out, mellow bathtub guitar.
Like Yo La Tengo.
Those fucking pricks.
Why did they block Pauly Deathwish on Twitter?
That’s uncalled for.
Bloke’s just a struggling musician.
But they are holier than thou.
Well, Pauly’s played Maxwell’s in Hoboken too.
YLT never hit a vibe this good except on “Pablo and Andrea”.
Fucking unblock Pauly Deathwish, you losers.
Cymbals Eat Guitars vibe.
Very chilled out.
A little “All Cats Are Grey” feel.
Good guitar noodling.
In a Verlaine/Lloyd way.
Why did my fiancee dump me?
She won’t even tell me why.
12 days ago.
The day before thanksgiving.
Drums kick in.
MBV would have gone for this.
Similar guitar underneath.
A little J. Mascis.
Living with my parents.
Are you in therapy?
Yes, I review my own albums.
Because no one else will review them.
And because I have put out 16 albums in one year.
I don’t have time for people to catch on.
I worked hard on this shit.
I’m the same age Alan Vega when he started.
About to be 45.
Old as fuck.
So, I have a lot in common with Pauly Deathwish.
I feel his pain.
His fiancee dumped him too.
12 days ago as well.
She also didn’t tell him why.
She just started ignoring him like he was some piece of shit.
So I feel totally justified in helping Pauly out with this review.
To help get his music a wider audience.
Young Heart Attack feedback.
Back to the Badalamenti synths.
She just turned off her heart.
Maybe she doesn’t realize how much she is hurting me.
But I think she’s just a vindictive bitch.
Jesus and Mary Chain.
A dangerous confection.
Hit to Death in the Future Head.
Summer is here.
Vacuum cleaner solo.
Boys peel out.
And again with the UPC scan.
Breaking up on reentry.
Serious audio fuckery.
And from this right into kung fu. Peter Sellers on Bowie’s Low. Trance. But really what we have here is excellent counterpoint. Lunatic Harness. Polyrhythms. Album breaks down soon. Fast. Abruptly. Mental block regarding Wuhan origin. Harmonic outline you would never find in China. Terry Riley. A Rainbow in Curved Air. Eno. Visconti. And the others involved. A beauty that inspired Philip Glass. This is what we have. Low and heroes. Symphonies. Glass. Riley. Minimalism. Album called zenith. Track two already hits “Nadir”. What’s the arc here? Arc-en-ciel? Arkansas? Immediately pensive. Very unnerving. Pop rock track. Into existential oblivion. Abrupt modulation. Uncomfortable. Eccentric. Was there a thought process behind this? Commerce ruins everything. Imperfect masterpieces. The rules of the game. Radiohead. Joseph Arthur? Sparklehorse. The Magnetic Fields. Gay baritone. Sad sack confessional poetry in the world of Berryman’s Dream Songs. Brian Jonestown Massacre. The Verve. Strung out in heaven. J. Spaceman shooting up while praying. Don’t knock it… Drug addiction is real. Mental problems are real. Here we are. 2020 fucked us up. And now we wait for the next shoe to drop. Smashing Pumpkins. “Silver Fuck”? Into Sonny Rollins? Epstein. Gene Ammons. Hard to tell it’s (not) real. Which parts? Yes. No. Fooling the ear with Dave Fridmann. A totally schizophrenic record so far. Here we go! “Belgian Lace, Pale Black Mascara…” This is more like it. Rollerskate Skinny. Martin Rev. Lots of counterpoint here. Fux me up. Disney xylophones. Internal rhyme-sanity. Dylan puking up brilliance. Always Roger Waters with the bass. Always The Wall. Pompeii. Hail to the Thief. Again and again. Trying to break new ground. And it does. Yerself is Steam. Album starts to make sense after five tracks. 1 & 5. This is not bullshit. I don’t know about the jazz. I don’t know about the monotonous instrumentals. Absolutely “Car Wash Hair”. Suzanne Thorpe would be proud. Seems to be talking about tits. A good ride. Drum machine chugging away. Can still have a good groove. Wild Acoustic Chamber Orchestra. W.A.C.O. Woodwinds and glockenspiel. Boces. What the fuck is this shit? O.K. computer. Sounds like some QAnon stuff. I feel Carlos Santana coming on. This is what Assange jams out to. Lots of plays at Fort Meade. Salsa. James Brown. Puerto Rican funk. As AOC goes to jail. Serious national security issues for lyrics. Fictional charges? Tracers everywhere. This theory involves an actual conspiracy. Criminal conspiracy outlined. By players. Event 201. Short circuit. Johnny 5 is alive. Legalistic funk. QAnon wet dream. FISAgate. “Spy Gate”. Somebody send this to Sean Hannity. Obamagate. Where is John Durham? Ryan Dark White knows the truth about Rosenstein. How many coup attempts by the Left? Back to Billy Corgan. Ok, so we have an Alex Jones connection. Early-’90s goodness. Butch Vig. Dream pop. James Iha. Bet this guy knows the real story about the Standard Hotel(s). Great lyrics! Must be some inside jokes here. But HOLY FUCK! He nailed the “Holes” trumpet solo. Deserter’s Songs. God damn it. How did they do this? The liner notes say Pauly Deathwish has also produced all four of these albums. Kind of a Jimmy Page thing going on. Great drum sound. Yo La Tengo. “Mayonnaise”. Siamese Dream. Benjamin Britten reference? Slick! So this guy basically had a music education on par with Jack Nitzsche. And then went for scumbag rockroll like Phil Spector. Gotta respect this weird marriage. This fascination with grunge. Dinge. And the facility to clean it up like a chandelier. Very fucking impressive. No record label. Kinda sounds like no funding. No budget. The Delgados. Hate. The Great Eastern. More Spiritualized telephony. The Wall. Which is to say, Bob Erzin. And as dark as Berlin. Which is to say, Bob Ezrin. Neil Young vibe. Tonight’s the Night. Some dark-ass shit. Nick Kent, where y@t? IV Thieves. Coulda done this. What if Chris “Frenchie” Smith had produced this? This kid like a protege. I hear the moniker (stage name) was bestowed by Frenchie Smith. Strings good. Eastern European orchestra. Must have cost a small fortune. Arcade Fire. French cinema. Romantic-era harmony. But pierced. Sophisticated. Absolutely Floyd. “In The Flesh”. Last track on Harvest. Words between the lines. The promise of the ’60s went to shit in the ’70s. Where’s QAnon? Where’s Nakasone? Where’s CYBERCOM? Keith Alexander on Amazon board. Velvet Underground feeding back. Les Rallizes Denudes. Primal Scream. “Swastika Eyes”. ADAT. DAT machine. Sampling. Stereolab. Back to another standout track. “Chaconne”. Will Smith in the summertime. Some slick shit. Messiaen. Jonny Greenwood. Lyrics world-class. All those sand paintings. Write and destroy. Suicide girls. Thom Yorke’s brain doesn’t have this facility. He’s a great stylist. Definitely an homage. And to Godard. Snow white and psycho. Heavy shit for Laetitia Sadier and Tim Gane to check out. Not far from Faust IV. So sweet. John Paul Jones. Ramble on. Charlotte Gainsbourg. Keren Ann. Last track noisy as fuck. Lo-fi. Tom Waits. Sticks together. Some sad shit. Music from Big Pink. Mournful trombone(s). John Simon. “Bird on a Wire”. They don’t make records like this anymore. David Bowie not dead. Great phrasing. Sinatra. Mark Linkous. It’s a Wonderful Life. Believable bass. Upright citizen. Bayou curious. Noise floor drops out. Some perverse humor here. An “album”. It is. Ten songs. Ten different directions. Some tracks stick together. Like a deck of cards shuffled. Lots of variety. Circus peanuts. The orange ones. Pure sugar. Chewy. Strange texture. Lots of melancholy here. What’s this bloke so sad about? Tell Thurston Moore. You gotta hear this shit. Pauly Deathwish’s 4th album (this summer!). Is this guy trying to set a Guinness record or something? And he already has a 5th one out. Christ!
It starts just like Charlotte Gainsbourg.
But there is something different.
A shruti box?
A little distorto guitar.
A little Yo La Tengo.
Built to Spill.
Guitar carries it for a second.
And then into an Amon Düül II warble.
Like Marc Bolan.
Most annoying sound in the world.
Into Pink Floyd.
Circa The Wall.
Almost a premonition of impending doom.
Calm before the storm.
J. Spaceman telephony.
Floating with no highs and no lows.
Strong opening track.
Immediate Delgados shift.
Great counterpoint for a pop musician.
But if you check this bloke’s CV…
You’ll know he went through Fux.
Gonna have to say Elliott Smith.
Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci.
Megan Childs violin.
Around the warm fire.
Strings open up.
Orchestral bass that Lou loved.
This guy’s a bastard.
Is this a breakup album?
I thought the last one was a breakup album?
Into Gorwel Owen.
The last GZM album.
Money never runs out.
Cheap air organ.
A very apropos album title.
Spring water Scotch.
And then the Great Reset arrives.
Like a fucking spaceship.
What is this glitch business?
Thom Yorke blasts upon the scene.
Drums James Brown.
Caught by Lee “Scratch”.
Guitar all mangled.
Bert Jansch out of fucking nowhere.
Track rejected by Bond franchise.
Acoustic to electric.
Now it’s Serge.
More Brian Wilson.
Van Dyke Parks.
Still a sadness.
That the old world is passing away.
Right into some Leonard Cohen shit!
How the FUCK was this recorded?
Sounds like 2″ tape.
how has this Pauly Deathwish released three albums in two months?
I can’t even keep up with this guy.
Like a Christmas album.
See You on the Other Side.
A review in the liner notes.
Record pillaging wizard.
Lots of fucking glockenspiel on this record.
But it’s nice.
Like Ennio Morricone.
Again with sugar plum.
Fresher than the sweetness in water.
Light, British, airy.
Is this the single?
A little neo-psych Hendrix moment.
It’s definitely GZM.
Repetition until transcend.
Stereolab first album.
Definitely some breakup here.
Lots of drum machine.
Drum and bass.
Definitely holds up with Radiohead.
How the fuck was this made?
PD tells us that it was all made on an iPhone with only a Telecaster.
That is some serious trickery.
This is COMPLEX music.
Mixes sound polished.
Some Chinese stuff.
Noise floor fucked for the first time ever.
It’s THAT good.
How was this made?
This heralds a new talent.
But this bloke is 44.
Tour sponsored by Ensure.
Not hearing a sophomore slump here.
Two albums in two months.
Review third forthcoming.
This dude is emo as fuck.
I dig it.
This guy is a mystery.
What is his deal?
This sounds more like a cohesive album that Introversion.
Introversion sounds like a debut album…in all the best ways.
Songs saved up.
A greatest hits.
Go big or go home.
This album deals much more in subtlety.
Not every song here is a home run.
This album breathes.
More Beach Boys vibes.
But mentally sharp.
A spark of genius.
A little bluegrass.
The old world is passing away.
Incredible String Band.
Back and forth.
And across to Ireland.
There’s the single.
“Makes Me Wanna Stay in Bed”.
Hate is all you need.
Coming in from the cold.
Delayed bass from The Wall.
Good fucking song!
All Is Dream.
Hard following up.
Emma Pollock solo.
With Alun Woodward singing.
The Great Eastern.
Let It Come Down.
A Rush of Blood to the Head.
This bloke is serious as fuck.
I’m sensing a Jandek promotional strategy.
Final track Richter.
Big symphony night.
Excitement of New York Phil.
The fucking french horns!
A story in dynamics.
A folk album.
That glow in The World’s End.
But a sadness.
My Bloody Valentine.
Sloshy grunge hats.
I Am the Cosmos.
Yerself Is Steam.
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
You don’t know how it feels.
I can only give you everything.
Black magic warded off by honesty.
Serge on the way.
Lenny Bruce, even.
Hit to Death in the Future Head.
Wait at least until track three to break it down.
Southern Harmony and Musical Companion.
The confusion of ridiculous counterpoint.
Tonal, yet dissonant.
Thick Billy Corgan.
Definitely a sadness here.
All you need is hate.
The Inflated Tear.
Columbus, Ohio with duct tape.
Posing with a bass clarinet.
Did I ever write one?
Yes, I did.
Or is it contrabassoon?
Nadia Boulanger can tell you.
My teacher’s teacher (twice over).
The Left Banke.
Transient Random-Noise Bursts with Announcements.
A little lo-fi.
Changes that pull at your heartstrings.
A fucking marimba solo?!?
Are you kidding me???
Pauly Deathwish collaboration with Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes.
Lost Bayou Ramblers.
Gordon knew him as Death.
I have become death.
Tim Gane tone.
Back to J. Spaceman.
Dirty ass rock and roll with pristine horns.
Is this the artist we’ve been waiting for?
R. Stevie Moore?
Sounds like Jack Nitzsche.
Major Velvet vibes.
Dylan with P-bass.
Too much attitude.
Let it Come Down.
Fucker kicked the bucket.
First to be vaxxed.
First Suicide album.
The Soft Bulletin.
Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.
Gimme some lovin’?
La Monte Young.
First rehearsal tapes.
New York City heroin.
Warhol Factory torn down.
Across from YMCA.
Great throwaway lyrics.
Sound of universe.
Direct into mixing console.
Blood pressure rising.
I think I’m in love.
Will the circle remain unbroken?
When I had dinner with Roky.
First Velvets album.
But you gotta buy it.
Cop shoot cop.
On the jukebox.
Eat at the gas station.
First time in Texas.
It’s definitely Bowie.
Old is new again.
A fuck ton of flutes.
Flute loops literally.
Little fluffy clouds.
Gay glam chorus.
Boys peel out.
Gives me pants.
A Shot in the Dark.
Under the Western Freeway.
With Sean Mackowiak.
Comes back loud.
One song mastered soft.
The main influence of Pauly Deathwish’s debut album.
Chariots of fire.
Such a groove.
By the side of a freeway.
Under an underpass.
Not like RHCP.
How did a Trump supporter make this album?!?
I thought all Trump supporters were redneck morons???
This is way fucking better than Ariel Pink’s dabblings.
This sounds like a debut album.
Songs saved up.
Like The Strokes.
Cinematic as fuck.
Trail of Dead.
Because Pauly wrote the string arrangement on IX.
Snot on the crowd.
Lost Bayou Ramblers lost sessions.
This was all made on an iPhone?!?
Major 7ths in uppermost range of piano.
Almost indistinguishable from octaves.
Only for the sensuous ear.
Waters delayed bass.
No nonsense drums.
Humble Pie reference?!?
Predating new Bob Dylan album.
Check SoundCloud timestamp.
This is definitely the QAnon anthem.
This hook should be on a million conspiracy videos.
“10 Days of Darkness”.
Tell ’em Large Marge sent ya!
My end is my beginning is my end.
Great debut album (if I do say so myself).
In these waning hours of Christmas, I give you…
a fucking masterpiece.
Indeed, I regret that I cannot express myself at this time without resort to expletive, but this film by Miloš Forman is truly bone-chilling.
And it is especially so for me: a former composer.
Oh, there is always still time.
To set pencil to paper (or pen, if [like Mozart], you make no mistakes).
And so we shall take under consideration the director’s cut of Amadeus as our subject.
This later, R-rated version is from 2002 and adds 20 minutes to this magnum opus.
Yes, dear friends…we shall consider many things.
The uncanny embodiment of Tom Hulce.
The deft, dastardly thespian skills of F. Murray Abraham.
And even the indispensably aghast facial expressions of Richard Frank.
You might wonder why I have chosen this film to honor God on this day rather than a movie like Ernest Saves Christmas.
I will let you ponder that one for a moment.
But in the meanwhile, we shall press onwards with the young Salieri.
Please remember the pious of Western classical music.
Ok, perhaps not so much the latter.
Because he too, like Mozart, was a man of the world.
Of the earth.
A joyful sinner.
A composer with a dirty mouth.
Yes, there are miracles in this film.
Too many to count.
Salieri’s father choking on a fishbone.
But let us consider the whole city of Vienna a miracle on assumption.
A city in which one could dial the number 1507 and receive an A (435 Hz) with which to tune an instrument.
We have long appreciated this bit of trivia from scholar Norman Lloyd.
It has always endeared Vienna to our hearts.
A place where [it must] music flows through every pipe and connects the city in divine harmony.
But that time period for which we yearn…that “common practice” period is just the era in which Mozart is plopped down with his hilarious little giggle.
Jeffrey Jones is magnificent as the judicious statesman the Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II.
Which brings us back to Christmas.
A child was born. To a woman by the Holy Spirit.
Yet the child had an earthly father: Joseph II (not to be confused with the Old Testament Joseph).
Mozart was a child.
Yet I would choose him over Shakespeare and Einstein when it comes to true genius.
I had heard it.
With my own ears.
In my days of getting my bachelor’s of music in music theory and composition.
I had heard that Symphony #39. I played it.
I was inside the music.
And it is like none other.
I had discovered the ingenious counterpoint in Mozart’s Symphony #41.
What lightness! What architecture!
What a vision of the beyond…
It takes memory to succeed.
And we guard our memories.
But it takes observation to create memories.
An eye. An ear (in the case of Mozart).
Yes, Mozart’s prowess for hearing something once and then playing it back or either writing out all the parts (if a mixed ensemble) is legendary.
His fame grew with these stunts.
His novelty tours with father Leopold and sister Nannerl (not pictured).
I had at least one Harvard/Stanford-trained Dr. of music warn me about the historical inaccuracies in this film.
But this is Hollywood.
Of course there will be changes.
And yet, it is an incredibly moving picture.
To borrow a programmatic description from Richard Strauss, this film becomes (for much of it) a symphonia domestica.
Which, let me just say, happens to grace us with the presence of genius beauty: Elizabeth Berridge.
But always in life (even into the bubble of music) creeps in business.
Mozart was gifted with a once-in-humanity talent, yet he did not have the self-marketing skills to always position his talent at the best place in the market.
Meanwhile, Signor Salieri activates a little psychological warfare (captured by Forman’s camera lit by little gaslights all around…).
And so it is machinations versus manifestations of God’s glory.
The story is rich.
That a composer might write his own Requiem mass…and that the writing of that mass might just kill him.
We know how cursed the 9th symphony became after Beethoven (Bruckner, Dvořák, Mahler, Schubert…).
Musicians are subject to powerful forces which attack their necessary imaginations.
Salieri’s character proves that those closest to us are not necessarily to be trusted. His disingenuous psyop has Mozart working himself to death.
And that is a scary thing.
To push and push and push.
And yet, who will be remembered?
The expert in psychological warfare?
Or the symphonist?
Times have changed, but it is still the creator who has the benefit of creating goods.
Super-warriors aren’t even creating bads. They are creating nothing.
But, it might be argued, that they are doing the most good in this world which no longer appreciates the music of its heritage.
Yes, European classical music is on life-support.
But we return to Mozart, who is in not-much-better condition.
Part of me longs for the treatment of Ingmar Bergman in his underappreciated film version of Trollflöjten (The Magic Flute in Swedish).
But Miloš Forman does everything else right.
The scene in which Mozart and Salieri are working on the Requiem is masterful!
And still…Mozart doesn’t realize that his greatest enemy is posing as a friend to help him compose his own death from exhaustion.
It’s only when they’re throwing the lime on you that you get real perspective.
But by that point, you’re wrapped up.
It is thus a fitting Christmas story…that hatred and jealously are futile.
And that a naive genius had the keys to the musical kingdom.
For his 35 short years on Earth.
Perhaps Mozart was not a pious man, but Salieri (who burned his own crucifix in the fireplace) consistently recognized the voice of God in Mozart’s music.
I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season and that your hearts will be filled with melodies which could make the heavens weep.
I did the best I could.
We try and take the right road.
Or the left road.
But not the wrong road.
We want to be correct and offer our best service.
And we depend on our bodies. Our eyes. Our minds.
So I come back to Czech films tired.
Directed by Vojtěch Jasný.
This is All My Good Countrymen.
It rambles. It woos us from slumber.
It progresses to higher levels of sublimation.
It doesn’t make sense.
But makes just enough sense.
We appreciate, but don’t fully understand.
We do, however, recognize Radoslav Brzobohatý from the wonderful Ucho.
There is just enough contrapuntal organ to shake the foundations.
You push on tired and forget about the guns.
The land mine.
It seems (to put it lightly) not a ringing endorsement for communism.
Just like any political system.
The people get fed up.
And which system has the flexibility to survive upheaval?
Farm collectivized. A land owner is dispossessed.
Move out of your house, please. We need your land.
Tired. How did the merry widow get so?
Lehár. Her red hair.
It took me a long time to get to omega from alpha.
It would seem that Vladimír Menšík dropped acid. On his foot.
A little bit of Amarcord magic…or Zéro de conduite (depending on the weather).
Icy peacock. And the feather blossom tree pollen.
For a humorous confession.
You can’t break a law you don’t understand.
Even with a mere 10.
Refer to my previous answer.
Think of the Le déjeuner des canotiers of the Renoir we talk least about here: Pierre-Auguste.
It is a shot of vodka perched on bottom lip.
A swig. A slug. In purgatory.
Resting because the boaters must be immortalized.
In their Italian boater hats. And de Nîmes denim jeans.
Pamplona by delivery.
School districts in debt. More prodigious than the municipalities in which they are located.
This would be lived out…this rebellion…”No.”–by our good director Mr. Jasný.
The good man starts over. Like Sisyphus. Camus’s best writing.
The people of the world. They amaze me. Every day a miracle.
Finding little motivations to care for their loved ones.
It is not cowardice. It is compassion.
It is submission to love. And the God of chaos has many wonderful things for us.
A daughter on a magical mystery tour.
We will get to the animal farm. And the propaganda waiting.
But now we sing of Cardiff and Dublin.
When will the music come back?
We preserve it like a relic.
A holy repetition.
Spin that record again and make those sounds which speak to us of other planets.
This is a masterpiece of Eastern European cinema which is essential to a comprehensive understanding of the field.
I’m guessing multiple viewings are necessary.
This is a very smart installment, but also a very strange one.
The host is Louise Lasser.
It is hard to know what this was all about 40 years after the fact.
The crux is the show Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman…a parody soap opera which ran for a mere two seasons (1976-1977), yet included an astounding 325 episodes in that timespan.
No wonder Louise was so tired.
The airing schedule for Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was five nights a week.
In addition, Lasser was the wife of Woody Allen from 1966-1970.
Her contribution to Allen films includes Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex *(*But Were Afraid to Ask), and voiceover work on What’s Up, Tiger Lily?
So it’s no surprise that this episode of SNL has an artful (if disjointed) feeling to it.
Particularly funny is the Ingmar Bergman spoof (in Swedish) starring Lasser and Chevy Chase.
But yes: most of this episode involves the psychodrama of Ms. Lasser.
Actually, I quite enjoyed her film (in place of Gary Weis, as it were) shot in a NY diner.
One thing is apparent: Lasser has immense talent.
The opening monologue hints at the brilliant cruelty of Andy Kaufman.
It is fairly disorienting in general.
For those needing a reason to live (I’m right there with you), we will be revisiting Lasser as Alex’s ex-wife on Taxi (God willing).
Yes, Lasser has a nice skit with a dog (her dog?) named Maggie. It is a cute piece making fun of those tense talks between couples at the kitchen table (though this one is rather surreal).
Lasser would later feature in Todd Solondz’ Happiness.
Likewise, Lasser would appear in two episodes of Lena Dunham’s Girls (3rd season).
So what else is shakin’ in this tense SNL installment?
Well, Garrett Morris is pretty fantastic as Idi “VD” Amin.
John Belushi has a pitiable-yet-funny piece in which he tries to hawk all of his belongings (particularly his clothes…the shirt off his back).
The ladies (Laraine Newman, Jane Curtin, and Gilda Radner) do a strange Phil Spector-esque tribute to the history of television (the apparatus, not the programming). The doo-wop/girl-group song features lines about Cathode Ray (as if he’s a personage), electron guns, etc.
Laraine Newman also reprises her role as Squeaky Fromme (with excellent help from Jane Curtin).
Finally, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band is fantastic on their one number.
It is a bit wistful for me as I once had the pleasure to write horn charts for them. I’m not sure that they actually used them, but I did (anyhow) get to perform with the band at a particularly star-studded New Orleans Jazz Fest some years ago.
Really, this performance from 1976 is not to be missed. The crazy logic of Dixieland counterpoint is an excellent metaphor for the fugue of emotions running through this particular episode of comedy. And the stretto might just be the Preservation Hall cats themselves.
Just when you think you can’t go on anymore, and then something happens.
That is a miracle.
Right place at the right time.
Preparation meets opportunity.
If the horseshoe works…if the rabbit’s foot is effective, then you want some extra help going into the ring.
And if the luck is bad, you try to wipe off the effect as with an unwanted kiss.
It’s very hard saying anything enlightening right now.
I’ve trudged up a steep hill.
Today I hit a little plateau.
But it feels like I’m back at the bottom.
Because tomorrow is back to the salt mines.
Ah, but I am lucky.
I am not a pooper scooper in life’s parade…picking up after the animals.
At least, not literally.
But it all comes down to a rather simple concept.
We go back to where the flower girl was.
We went to jail for her.
And now is only absence.
Time has passed.
And so we wander the streets.
I am the laughing stock.
Easy to pick on.
Try to preserve some decorum.
Bring a laugh to the young people who have futures.
I will not tell you the rest.
Because it is coded in film language.
Why did Charlie act so nice?
Why did he do the right thing?
Why did he go above and beyond?
It was for love.
In real life we may fail, but we too are geniuses of love.
We have gone the extra miles.
And that lost love…as sad as Górecki’s ridiculously-dense counterpoint from his third Symphony.
Nothing can hurt that bad.
Driving. Alone. Empty.
It is all part of “life’s rich pageant,” as Peter Sellers so poignantly said.
It is the same with Chaplin, Sellers. We laugh, but we are crying.
And so “perchance to dream”…REM sleep.
Tomorrow the birds will sing.
We must keep telling ourselves that until it’s true.
This took a lot of watching. Rewatching.
Last night…so tired.
Watched half. Then rewind. Dozed off. Watch same half again.
First time I saw this (years ago) was on the big screen.
It really makes a difference.
That janitor at the beginning. His strange pause and crouch. His peering left and right. His broom and dustpan.
Very little sweeping. Just clanking.
Yes. Sounds. Sounds. Sounds. (Zounds!)
The vinyl chairs which return to their shape after you sit and dent. The strange sound. The strange quality.
Tradition of quality.
It might lead you to ask: what was Jacques Tati trying to say with this film?
Answering that is no easy task.
Sure, this seems like a simple, lightweight film. In some ways it is.
It’s enjoyable. It’s lighthearted. And yet…
There is more than a smidgen of Modern Times here. And Tati, with his pipe… More than a pipe-full of Sartre. Sartre with his publication Les Temps modernes. Even Sartre apparently thought highly enough of Chaplin to work under an homage headline.
And so, Tati…lost in the supermarket. Lost in the buildings from 2 ou 3 choses que je sais d’elle. Same year. 1967. Paris. In the banlieues.
And very few words.
As I said.
A movie of sounds.
And its reflection.
It appears that the buttons have been switched. Very nice, WordPress. Now I am “publishing” every time I intend to merely “save” (and vice versa).
That is the theme of the film.
No no no. Take your time. Uh uh uh…hold on. [click click click click] Ok, now rise.
We wait for the entire hallway to be traversed in an absurd observation of ritual.
And from above…the cubicles.
One needs must occupy higher ground to see the big picture. All of these busy bees become lost in the fray.
And so it is not farfetched to guess that Peter Sellers and Blake Edwards were influenced in their masterpiece The Party (1968) by Tati’s Playtime (1967).
But with Tati there is even more. An industrial ballet. The poise of the service industry (and its opposite). [Both]
A constant counterpoint like a comic Górecki.
Perhaps I have been hitting the wrong button all along.
Have I been saying these things out loud?
Yes, we wonder.
We grew up in a different time.
The chairs were different.
The doors were different.
And since we are quiet and meek we spend an eternity in the antechamber. In the darkened hallway.
How do we get out?
Yes, Paris…even then, perhaps? A drugstore? Yes. Too depressing for anyone to look each other in the eyes.
The hum. The constant hum. Like Alphaville. Like Oskar Sala’s Trautonium. The Birds. Bernard Herrmann as musical consultant. But those noises. Mixtur.
And several waiters will salt the troutonium…and grind pepper…and spread the sauce…and the couple has moved.
The main course has stayed behind.
Heated. Reheated. Set on fire. Jubilee.
And lobster boy just cares about his hair.
Nerval. Hugo Ball.
But that humming…like Metal Machine Music way ahead of time. But creepier. Like Raymond Scott’s music for babies crossed with Erik Satie’s musique d’ameublement.
Waiting waiting. That’s a theme. And all the illustrious portraits of CEOs past.
Is it a job interview?
And that’s Orly? It seems more like a hospital. Little hummingbird nuns and swaddled kids.
But we shall always live in Barbara Dennek’s dimples. It sounds weird to say.
But it is luck. Bad luck. And then good luck.
And random error. Entropy.
Can anyone here play the piano?
Yes. Yes I can!
And some half-rate Edith Piaf gets up to sing her long-forgotten hit.
Except no one has forgotten it. Once a hit, always a hit.
More or less.
The new religion.
The hum of neon.
All the desserts look sickly. Even to the “chef.” Must hide his mystère. An apple with some sputtery whip? An upside-down coffee mug?
William S. Burroughs would doubtless have approved. The man in the gray flannel suit (book). But taken to theatrical limits. Choreography of male primping. Like Cary Grant on hallucinogens. A surreal ritual.
This is sociology.
Paris. The modern man.
See him in his natural habitat.
See her shop. See her sell.
See him work. See him drink.
If you travel, you will see the tourist side.
On a trip.
With a group.
Like a cruise.
And God forbid you become separated from the group.
That is our little romance.
And Tati is meek enough to barely suggest to suggest (x2).
That M. Hulot might find love.
It would be a random day.
He would get pulled this way and that.
And winding up in some crazy, unplanned situation he would become sweet on dimples.
See him in his fishbowl.
Before there was Mr. Bean, there was Monsieur Hulot.
Before there was Forrest Gump.
Tell me…where are the “fancy goods”? Perhaps silk. Hermès.
Always caught at the turnstiles of life…