Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Wesley Willis - The Greatest Hits

Wesley Willis (May 31, 1963 – August 21, 2003) was an African-American musician and artist from Chicago, Illinois as well as a diagnosed schizophrenic.

He gained a sizeable cult following in the 1990s after releasing several hundred songs of unique and simple music which became an internet phenomenon during the early days of P2P file sharing.

In 1989, Willis began hearing what he called "demon voices" and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He often mentioned that his demons were named "Heartbreaker," "Nervewrecker," and "Meansucker". He called his psychotic episodes "hell rides". Alternatively, he declared rock and roll to be "the joy ride music" and Willis often indicated that listening to and performing music helped him battle the voices.

In the early 1990s, Willis became creatively active, selling magic marker drawings of the Chicago cityscape on the street. Some of the drawings would later appear on the covers of his albums.
Some of his drawings you can find here.

As a solo artist, Willis created more than 50 albums, each with nearly 30 tracks, full of bizarre, excited, and often obscene rants about crime, fast food, cultural trends, bus routes, violent confrontations with superheroes, commands for his "demons" to engage in bestiality, and praise for his favorite actors, best friends, politicians, and hip-hop and rock artists.

Willis's songs have a very specific form and style which is virtually always followed, leading most listeners to complain that it all sounds the same. Wesley never actually played the notes on his keyboard; he simply used the one-note autochord feature, with preprogrammed rhythms and harmonies. Typically one chord is used for the verses, and a pattern for the choruses and "solo" sections.

On August 21, 2003, at the age of 40, Willis died due to complications from chronic myelogenous leukemia. At the time of his death, he had recorded over 1,000 songs but his total life savings were less than $300.

If you are still interesting in his music, even after reading this post, then you can download his Greatest Hits album.
download from RapidShare (~68,5 Mb [*.zip])
P.S. The Dust Brothers have up a small page devoted to their time spent with Wesley. They even include a scan of Wesley's lyrics. "Both of you are on my side at last."

Monday, August 28, 2006

The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies

Alternate Titles: Diabolical Dr. Voodoo, The Incredibly Mixed Up Zombie, The Teenage Psycho Meets

Directed by:
Ray Dennis Steckler

Writing credits:
E.M. Kevke
Gene Pollock
Robert Silliphant

I'm not going to bother referring to this film by either the name or the acronym in this review, but make sure to take a good look at the title so you know to avoid it like the plague. Brought to you by the mind of director Ray Dennis Steckler, who stars in his own films with stage names like Cash Flagg and Cindy Lou Sutters (really), this film is bad in whole new ways in the genre of bad zombie films.

It took me three tries to watch it. The first two times I tried, I fell asleep, probably in the middle of a dance number. Yes, there are dance numbers. And songs. And dream sequences about dance numbers and songs. Apparently it billed itself as the first monster movie musical. I've discovered that one thing perhaps more painful to watch than low-budget acting is low-budget dancing and singing. The film is set mostly in a carnival, so a large portion of it is of the various shows, which do nothing to further the plot except to establish that certain characters are, in fact, in a show. (To be fair, I guess this is true of most musicals.)

The zombies are the creations of a fortune teller at the carnival, who makes them that way by throwing some kind of acid in their face. Their existence is implied for most of the movie, but you don't actually see any until almost the very end. The fortune teller also has the power to hypnotize and control people with a big, spinning spiral, which I guess makes another kind of zombie, but they don't stop living. It's not clear that the other zombies ever stopped living either, but they at least look sort of like normal zombies.

I'm trying to judge how this movie would have been without the music. I think not quite as bad. The acting was bad, but not horrible. I think the plot would still have dragged in spots, which is saying a lot for the 40 minutes or so that would have been left. Still, with the music, the only way to watch this movie is with a finger on the fast-forward button.
A review by Zombierama
p.s. you can watch a trailer on the

Sunday, August 27, 2006

John John Jesse

Jesse is my favourite.
His amount of energy, precision, idol worship and ceremony, alongside sub conscience delight and fear, gives us an imagery with all it's beauty and defiance. What innocence should be, and what it tragically often becomes, with conviction that can visually speak to generations. He does this with such obsessive detail and flair for originality. To show us that the only hope beyond the tragedy of life, is the fact that he has survived it with his art.
Visit his official website.
p.s. the picture above is caleed "The All Nighter". Looks familiar. Agha.

Robyn Archer - "Dicks Don't Grow on Trees"

Robyn Archer has been a cabaret and pop artist for over thirty years, performing in an eclectic variety of genres, and in more recent years distinguishing herself as an artistic director or board member of various Australian arts festivals.

The Ladies Choice is an album famous for two things, it was the first Australian record album produced by women ( Robyn Archer and Diana Manson) and it contained outrageous lyrics for the time. Released in 1977 and featuring the feminist and fighting classics
Dicks Don't Grow on Trees, The Old Soft Screw and Menstruation Blues (sic!), (the last one can be listened and downloaded on Robyn Archer's official site) the band features Adelaide session musicians led by piano man Peter Head.

but my favourite is "Dicks Don't Grow on Trees" [2,12 Mb *.mp3]

Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Ensemble - Dreams

Artist: Otomo Yoshihide's New Jazz Ensemble
Album: Dreams
Label: Tzadik
Catalogue#: 7238
Released: Mar 2002
Bit Rate: 128 kbps

One of my favourite recordings.

The first release outside of Japan featuring two of Japan's quirkiest underground pop stars. From the high fragile sonorities of Togawa Jun to the velvet, sultry tones of Phew, Dreams runs the gamut from moody
love songs, driving groove to screaming noise. Otomo's exciting New Jazz Ensemble and creative arrangements perfectly set up the diverse vocal stylings of these two legendary divas out of the Tokyo indies
P.S. Sachiko M is also there ;)

Friday, August 25, 2006

Un Chien Andalou (1928)

Youtube continues surprising me.

Un Chien Andalou (1928) - Directed by Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel

American film critic Roger Ebert called Un chien andalou "the most famous short film ever made, and anyone halfway interested in the cinema sees it sooner or later, usually several times."

Describing Un chien andalou is difficult because the film has no "plot" in the strict sense of the word. In terms of its structure, it is at least as nonlinear as any film ever made. It uses dream logic that can be described in terms of Freudian free association. The film is a series of apparently unrelated, and at times potentially offensive, scenes that attempt to shock the viewer. It also features surprising camera angles and other film tricks.

Some scholars argue that Un chien andalou might be the genesis of the filmmaking style present in the modern music video. Others say it is among the first low budget independent films.

Maleonn Ma

Maleonn Ma is a photographer and a director of short films. He graduated from Fine Art College of Shanghai University in 1995 and is living and working in China at present.

Syzygys - Complete Studio Recordings

Artist: Syzygys
Album: Complete Studio Recordings
Label: Tzadik
Catalogue#: 7240
Released: Jan 2003
Bit Rate: 256 kbps

A right review by Jason Ferguson:
The idea of a Japanese "female duo who plays microtonal pop music" should justly send shivers of terror down your Pizzicato Five-battered spine. But when you notice that Syzygys' complete recorded works are released on the label that brought you post-apocalyptic Japanese treats like the Ruins and Otomo Yoshihide, you in turn steel yourself for a paint-peeling screech-fest of epic proportions. Yet the music of Hitomi Shimizu and Hiromi Nishida fits into neither of those categories. In fact, these 19 songs must be some of the most delicately uplifiting "progressive" music to emerge from Japan in quite some time. Limited neither by cuteness nor by rage, Syzygys creates music on an organ modified to avant-classical vagabond Harry Partch's 43-tone model. Shimizu plays said organ (which, apparently, is a bitch to tune), while Nishida accompanies on violin. Both ladies handle vocal duties, while other musicians are occasionally called in to flesh out the sound with percussion or other instruments. The merging of the microtonal organ's intrinsic oddness with the lush familiarity of the violin builds a base upon which the two harmonize like choir girls. The result is music that -- not unlike Partch's -- is somehow possessed of an intrinsically Arabic feel, accentuated by some lovely vocal flourishes. Definitely unique, but not in the way you expect it to be.

And don't forget to visit their website!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Salome in Low Land" by Christian Zagler

'Salome in Low Land', is a delightful concoction that joins the classic world of opera by Richard Strauss, and a play by Oscar Wilde with the contemporary world of retro 8-bit video games. I was surprised when heard about it's success at the 2006 Rotterdam Film Festival. Salome was a biblical princess with a bit of a mean streak. With her magical dance of the seven veils she had men eating out of her palm. Even great men, like King Herod, succumbed to her charms.

“It is a story about a man-eating woman, a femme fatale”, Christian explains, “Salome's innocent, passionate, self conscious and dangerous at the same time.” Tragedy strikes and blood flows red when the King unwillingly grants Salome one dark and deadly wish. It’s a classic tale of lust, power and revenge (opera buffs love that stuff). “My focus lies not just on the story itself, which comes from Oscar Wilde and the bible, but on aesthetics” says Christian, “I did it all on my private computer, spending more nights than days arranging pixel by pixel, influenced by a lot of computer games.”
You can watch "Salome in Low Land" here.

Trevor Brown

click here to visit BabyArt
TREVOR BROWN is a sick fuck. There's no doubt about that. A sick fuck with an Asian fetish, if we want to be precise. And yet we haven't even begun to scratch the surface. The toilet bowl inside this artist's brain is overflowing with blood culled from a massive fetish orgy starring a horde of underage Japanese goth sluts for whom the more freakish, unimaginable terrain of human behaviour is the norm, Bondage is a big theme here, as are wounds, lacerations, and bruises - very adult themes depicted in a childlike world of sardonic innocence lost and found. But is it art?
article by travis jeppesen for a prague city magazine / what's-on guide, 2005
He designed the cover of John Zorn's album "The Gift" and he is just awesome!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Nakazawa Hideki

Hideki Nakazawa b.1963, Japanese artist.
He started his activities as an artist producing acrylic paintings while attending the Medical School of Chiba University, and began to win prizes and held solo shows. After graduation, he continued his artistic activities while working as an ophthalmologist, but in 1990, he switched to working with computer graphics and became Japan's first Heta-Uma (Bad-Good) style computer graphics illustrator. His cheap but pop style which was produced by using a 2D bitmap painting software became popular and was called "Silly CG." He won the MMA Artist Prize in the Multimedia Grand Prix '95, and his work has appeared in high-school textbooks on art.
What is in his head?

Doom Comics Book


Doom Comic! peak of imbecility.