Fricatives, Sibilance and Sonorance; singing without words

Legend has it that it all started with Louis Armstrong in 1926. In the late 30’s the BBC banned its use on air, believing it lacked respectability. But in fact, scat singing had been around long before Louis Armstrong forgot the words. In the New Orlean’s jazz scene it was said, ‘if you can’t sing it- you can’t play…

The Horror

For me, the most powerful moment of a horror film is when the action goes beyond sensorial experience. It’s the moment when the thing you are seeing is unleashed from the image and runs rampant in your imagination, taking on a life of its own. This moment where the horror comes alive is undoubtedly the aim…

The Spirited Music of Britain

Before you settle in to read this post, hit play on this track called The Hidden Door by Belbury Poly, otherwise known as Eric Zann, otherwise known as Jim Jupp. It won’t surprise you that Jupp’s alias Eric Zann is an homage to an HP Lovecraft and that Jupp’s various incarnations often reference “crows,church bells, magic spells and other horror…

Insensatez

I first heard this song in David Lynch’s Lost Highway; I heard it again recently when I bought Paul Smith’s Brazilian Detour LP and was surprised to discover that it was based on Frédéric Chopin‘s Prelude No.4. I’d always loved this tune but never really looked it up until now since my interest in Bossa Nova has peaked. Since reading an…

Falling in and breaking out

What is it about this clip that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up? What is it about a song with a great beat that makes you want to tap your foot? Daniel Levitin thinks it’s all about the falling in and the breaking out of the beat. He calls that…

Lalo Schifrin, nightly news and vampires

Lalo Schifrin was not a name I grew up knowing. In fact it’s only recently that I started paying attention when I heard this name, and ever since, I’ve noticed that unusual name cropping up in the most unusual places. Cool Hand Luke is undoubtedly one of Paul Newman’s best films and I love it,…

The Language of Listening

The Baker St Irregulars, were a rag-tag network of homeless people used by Sherlocks Holmes in the famous detective stories to “to go everywhere, see everything and overhear everyone”. His street network, with their all-seeing eyes and keen ears would help Holmes solve mysteries by passing on valuable information. The Baker St Irregulars was also…

Opera in the hands of film makers

There are many lists available online that count the top ten ways in which opera is best used in film. Some good examples that appear on most people’s lists are Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries in Apocalypse Now, Maria Callas’s rendition of La Mamma Morta from Andrea Chénier in Philadelphia or my favourite, Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana…

Doom and Gore

This post started out as a profile on Sunn O))) – Stephen O’Malley, Greg Anderson and sometimes Hungarian vocalist Attila Csihar. They play doom metal and picked up where Earth left off during their hiatus in the nineties. The unusual name comes from the logo of the Sunn brand of bass amplifiers that were designed…

The Pay Off

You know those songs that are long and winding and take their time getting to the best part? I love those songs. There’s something about having to wait for that moment that makes it all the sweeter when it arrives. I first started thinking about this when I had Deerhunter’s Microcastle on high rotation. I…