Europe In 8 Bits


A film about reusing out­dated tech­nol­ogy in cre­ative ways to revamp the music scene.

Europe in 8 bits is a doc­u­men­tary that explores the world of chip music, a  musi­cal trend that is grow­ing expo­nen­tially through­out Europe. The stars of this musi­cal move­ment reveal to us how to reuse old videogames hard­ware like Nintendo’s Game­Boy, NES, Atari ST, Amiga and the Com­modore 64 to turn them into a tool capa­ble of cre­at­ing a new sound, a mod­ern tempo and an inno­v­a­tive musi­cal style.

This is a new way of inter­pret­ing music per­formed by a great many artists who show their skills in turn­ing these “lim­ited” machines designed for leisure in the 80’s into sur­pris­ing musi­cal instru­ments and graph­i­cal tools.


Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks


Angelo Badala­mente and David Lynch found the per­fect syn­the­sis of Hol­ly­weird meets bohemian Euro-jazz set against an Amer­i­can North west­ern every town that could never exist out­side of a fever dream! With sickly cool blues-scapes dron­ing under snap­ping fin­gers and sleep­ily brushed snares, Badalem­nte and Lynch paint a dis­turb­ing por­trait of small town America.


The Greatest Theremin Player, Clara Rockmore


Clara Rock­more (March 9, 1911 – May 10, 1998) was a pio­neer in elec­tronic music. Her artistry and tech­nique on the theremin put her in the same league as some of the other leg­endary women instru­men­tal­ists of 20th cen­tury — musi­cians like pianist Dame Myra Hess, the great Pol­ish harp­si­chordist Wanda Landowska.

From a very early age, Clara was an accom­plished young vio­lin­ist but as it turned out, she even­tu­ally had to aban­don the instru­ment because of chronic phys­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties due to child­hood mal­nu­tri­tion and she took up the theremin. Later in her life she said that Leon Theremin saved her “musi­cal san­ity” by intro­duc­ing her to the theremin. She had extremely pre­cise, rapid con­trol of her move­ments, impor­tant in play­ing an instru­ment that depends on the performer’s motion and prox­im­ity rather than touch. She also had the advan­tage of work­ing directly with Léon Theremin from the early days of the instrument’s com­mer­cial devel­op­ment in the United States.

It is easy to under­stand why Leon Theremin, the inven­tor of the instru­ment that bears his name, was deeply in love with Clara. Apart from being bril­liantly tal­ented as a musi­cian and therem­i­nist, she was strik­ingly beautiful.

Clara Rock­more died in the spring of 1998 leav­ing a small but impor­tant legacy of her record­ings which include The Art of Theremin (pro­duced by Robert Moog in 1977) and a stun­ning, live, 1945 per­for­mance of the Con­certo for Theremin and Orches­tra by the Amer­i­can com­poser Anis Fulei­han (with the orches­tra under the direc­tion of the great Leopold Stokowski). Both these record­ings have been reis­sued on CD.

As a com­ment posted here says: Woah, a theremin sounds like a cross between a ghost woman hum­ming to her­self, and a vio­lin made out of jelly…

The Music Of Black Orpheus


Win­ner of both the Acad­emy Award for best foreign-language film and the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme d’Or, Mar­cel Camus’ Black Orpheus (Orfeu negro) brings the ancient Greek myth of Orpheus and Eury­dice to the twentieth-century mad­ness of Car­ni­val in Rio de Janeiro. With its eye-popping pho­tog­ra­phy and rav­ish­ing, epochal sound­track, Black Orpheus was an inter­na­tional cul­tural event.

The fes­tive and haunt­ing sound­track to the film intro­duced Brazil­ian bossa nova to an entire world who quickly fell in love with its roman­tic themes of melan­choly, and, to this day, it remains one of the most pop­u­lar forms of world music. The sound­track fea­tures the three main fig­ure­heads behind bossa nova, those being Anto­nio Car­los Jobim, Luiz Bonfá and João Gilberto.


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Brian Butler’s Magick Act


For the Los Ange­les artist Brian But­ler, magic (or “mag­ick,” as the case may be) is as mod­ern as tech­nol­ogy. Cer­tain teach­ings may be ancient, he notes, but that doesn’t make them any less rel­e­vant. “In the mod­ern world of com­put­ers, the same ener­gies are still oper­at­ing,” he says.

But­ler was pre­mier­ing his film, “The Dove and the Ser­pent,” at the LAXART Annex in Hol­ly­wood last year, and a gritty, glam­orous crowd had gath­ered to watch a live musi­cal per­for­mance fea­tur­ing the leg­endary under­ground film­maker Ken­neth Anger.

Ini­tially drawn together by a shared inter­est in Aleis­ter Crow­ley and the occult, But­ler and Anger have worked together for more than a decade, But­ler pro­duc­ing Anger’s last few films and act­ing as cre­ative direc­tor of the trippy short he made for Missoni’s fall 2010 cam­paign. Anger appears with Vin­cent Gallo in Butler’s film “Night of Pan,” and the two also formed the band Tech­ni­color Skull.



The Dove and the Ser­pent is a med­i­ta­tion on alchemy; the title ref­er­ences the Her­metic prin­ci­ple “as above, so below.” Filmed at a cas­tle in Nor­mandy, France, with some friends he rounded up dur­ing Paris fash­ion week last fall, includ­ing Dash Snow’s sis­ter Car­o­line and the cin­e­matog­ra­pher Edouard Plon­geon, whose fam­ily pro­vided the locale, the two-and-a-half minute piece is beau­ti­ful, hyp­notic and vaguely sinister.

Shad­owy fig­ures shape-shift and meld with the ele­ments, occult sym­bols flash and fade, and there is some cov­etable fash­ion on dis­play, includ­ing a Masonic robe and an ivory silk gown by the Lon­don designer Qasimi.

The Bartz­abel Work­ing is a per­for­mance based on a cer­e­mo­nial evo­ca­tion of the spirit of Mars, first writ­ten and per­formed in Lon­don in 1910 by Crow­ley, the rit­ual later became part of Los Ange­les his­tory in 1946 when Jack Par­sons con­ducted his own ver­sion of this rite with the inten­tion of plac­ing a Mar­tial curse on a pre-scientology L. Ron Hubbard.

For his rein­ter­pre­ta­tion of this his­tor­i­cal per­for­mance, But­ler con­jures Bartz­abel, the spirit of Mars, evok­ing on the site that was once home to late sci-fi author Ray Brad­bury and cur­rently com­prises L&M Gallery. And bel­low is also a lit­tle gem of a video by Mr. But­ler for The Black Lips

Sigur Rós – Brennisteinn

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From the upcom­ing Sigur Rós album Kveikur, released world­wide June 17/18 on XL Record­ings, here’s a look at their lat­est visual show­cas­ing some dark psy­che­delic imagery to fit­tingly par­al­lel their lat­est audio “Brennisteinn.”

Those want­ing to see them live, Sigur Rós will launch their North Amer­i­can tour on March 24 at Madi­son Square Gar­den March. Pre-orders for the project is avail­able here, while the video directed by Andrew Huang.


Ken Russell’s Dance of the Seven Veils


Ken Russell’s long-suppressed Omnibus film Dance of the Seven Veils (1970), a “comic strip” biog­ra­phy of “Also Sprach Zarathus­tra” com­poser Richard Strauss, has turned up on YouTube in six parts.

If Song of Sum­mer reached for the sub­lime, Dance of the Seven Veils, aims straight for the ridicu­lous — and ridicule was Ken Russell’s inten­tion, as the programme’s sub­ti­tle ‘A comic strip in 7 episodes on the life of Richard Strauss 1864–1949′ makes clear. Com­fort­ably his most extreme tele­vi­sion film, its broad­cast was pre­ceded by a warn­ing about its vio­lent con­tent, though it still caused wide­spread outrage.

Russell’s com­poser biopics were usu­ally labours of love. This was the oppo­site: he regarded Strauss’s music as “bom­bas­tic, sham and hol­low”, and despised the com­poser for claim­ing to be apo­lit­i­cal while cosy­ing up to the Nazi regime. The film depicts Strauss in a vari­ety of grotesquely car­i­ca­tured sit­u­a­tions: attacked by nuns after adopt­ing Nietzsche’s phi­los­o­phy, he fights duels with jeal­ous hus­bands, lit­er­ally bat­ters his crit­ics into sub­mis­sion with his music and glo­ri­fies the women in his life and fantasies.

Later, his asso­ci­a­tion with Hitler leads to a graphically-depicted will­ing­ness to turn a blind eye to Nazi excesses, respond­ing to SS thugs carv­ing a Star of David in an elderly Jew­ish man’s chest by urg­ing his orches­tra to play louder, drown­ing out the screams. Unex­pect­edly, Strauss is cred­ited as co-writer, which was Russell’s way of indi­cat­ing that every word he uttered on screen was sourced directly from real-life statements.


This faded copy with bleary sound was smug­gled on VHS from the BBC archives and illic­itly uploaded online as an AVI, because the Strauss estate took excep­tion to Russell’s comic strip, which deals, among other things, with the composer’s rela­tion­ship with the Nazi party in the 30s. When Rus­sell looked back on his career in a 1990s TV doc­u­men­tary, the only way he could even show a clip from this film is by chang­ing the music.

Here, before it dis­ap­pears, is a link to Part 1 that should also pro­vide you with links to the other five parts. The print is time­coded and has turned mostly pink, but mind you, it was shown in B&W dur­ing its only BBC broad­cast. Don’t let these minor annoy­ances deter you.