Jerusalem In My Heart have just released Mo7it Al-Mo7it, and listening to the record may simply hint at the existence of a talented instrumental band. A more appropriate description, however -- known so far to only a select and lucky few in their hometown of Montreal -- is that they are an ever-changing artistic project, which also provides fascinating fodder for cultural commentary. As a true multimedia art installation, they are a sight to behold in a live setting, and also represent a modern update on traditional Arabic music and songwriting, with additional multicultural counterpoints.
AURAL DEVASTATION is a regular column about heavy music. This month, Circle Takes the Square awaken from an eight-year slumber and Sweden's gothic masters Ghost return from their spectral hideout, plus tracks from KEN Mode, Kvelertak, and Shai Hulud.
Eight years ago, the Savannah, Georgia screamo/thrash/post-hardcore outfit Circle Takes the Square dropped As the Roots Undo on this mortal world , andpopulations of head-banging enthusiasts went nuts accordingly. The dual shrieks of vocalists Drew Speziale and Kathy Coppola over guitars centered in thrash and drums focused on grind elements were enough to make CTTS the new saviours of hardcore, bringing new relevance to the ill-titled 'screamo' genre and really just delivering a critically flawless ass-kicking to the ear drums of anyone who wanted to take part.
And then it turned out that Circle Takes the Square were merely human beings, since it'd been close to eight years since the band put out any new material. They sure as hell toured in-between, but their "reported" second full-length was starting to sound more and more like Chinese Screamocracy, an oft-mentioned holy lore of music more suitable as a reference in the newest Indiana Jones film than in reality.
But weary no more, treasure seekers -- because Circle Takes the Square is finally back. They started a very successful Kickstarter campaign, and the final product, Decompositions, has finally seen the light. The entire album is up on the band's Bandcamp page at a name-your-own-price steal, and the vinyl is expected to be pressed and available in early 2013. Lets hope that doesn't turn into early 2021...
The Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is upon us again, and we have whittled down their list of 100+ international shorts and full-length films to summarize the most interesting, socially-conscious, and boundary-pushing of the bunch.
This year's festival runs from February 7th through the 23rd, beginning with an Opening Night celebration featuring Blancanieves, a silent Spanish reworking of Snow White. Purchase tickets and find out more.
Our festival preview begins below with this year's top five picks, followed by the rest in alphabetical order.
Beyond The Hills
Directed by Cristian Mungiu (Romania)
Based on the novels of Tatiana Niculescu Bran, which are real-life documents of demonic possession, Beyond The Hills is a bleak and stark religious drama set an Orthodox monastery in Moldovia. Though Alina (Cirstina Flutur) heads to the monastery to convince her friend Voichita (Cosmina Stratan) to leave and return to Germany, Alina finds herself sucked more and more into the environment and its callings. Flutur and Stratan both shared the Best Actress Prize at Cannes Film Festival for these performances.
Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 8:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 7:30 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 4)
Directed by Margarethe von Trotta (Germany)
Based on the life of German philosopher and writer Hannah Arendt, Hannah Arendt chronicles her writings for The New Yorker on the 1961 war crimes trial of Adolf Eichmann. Eichmann covered a scenario that was not black and white but veiled in greys, causing great conflict and protest amongst an American public and the publication's editing staff. Hannah Arendt is a drama about journalism, and the social duty of reporting as one sees as truthful, rather than as it is idealized or pressured to be.
Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 8:45 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 4)
Directed by Xavier Dolan (Canada)
Despite being happy and in love, high school teacher Laurence finally reveals to his girlfriend Fred his long-standing desire to become a woman. Fred agrees to support him on his quest, though once the transformations begin, social complications begin to pressure, ostracize, and place fear into the hearts of the couple. Through it all, Laurence Anyways is a tale of love and the ability to weather storms for it.
Sat, Feb 16, 2013 at 8 PM (Cinema 21)
Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 7 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 10)
Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel (United States)
Leviathan presents experimental filmmaking at its finest or its worst, depending on your opinion of macro-view, immersive documentary art. The New York Film Festival describes Leviathan as "a hallucinatory sensory experience quite unlike any other", and the trailer is seems to assert this with views of commercial fishing, as presented with only abstract sounds and imagery.
Sat, Feb 9, 2013 at 3:15 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 6 PM (Cinemagic)
Directed by Cate Shortland (Australia)
After World War II and the death of Adolf Hitler, five young children are left to fend for themselves when their Nazi SS parents are captured. In an attempt to reach their grandparents in Hamburg, they traverse 500 miles of changing landscapes, meeting unfortunate families along the way and finding a savior in a young Jewish man whose kindness goes against all of their programmed teachings.
Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 7:30 PM (Whitsell Auditorium)
Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM (Regal Lloyd Center 10)
Drawing from antiquated influences and software, directors Dawid Krepski and Jason Chiu translate the hazy pop sounds of New York musician Beca into a narrative about the understanding and acceptance of the self, whatever that may look like. Below, both directors and Beca answer a brief Q&A about the creative process and underlying message of the "Fall Into Light".
"The title 'Fall Into Light' is a bit of a paradox since I associate light with upward movement, and the concept of falling makes me think of darkness. So it's this juxtaposition of light and dark which can be taken literally or figuratively, and I like that it's left open for interpretation. Maybe it means opening opening up yourself enough to see your true self." - Beca
"If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"
If one were to pose this classic philosophical question to the director of Bestiaire, Denis Côté, Côté would probably respond with an emphatic yes. Bestiaire, centered around Montreal's open-air zoo, Parc Safari, seems to be a long and slow-paced response to this exact question.
The 2012 Seattle International Film Festival begins on May 17th, 2012! In the next few days, we will be providing film previews for our top SIFF picks of the year. Times and dates are subject to change, so please visit siff.net before heading to theatres, or see HERE for all film preview coverage, including film selections from other regions of the world.
JOSHUA TREE, 1951: A PORTRAIT OF JAMES DEAN
Directed by Matthew Mishory
Inspired by the facts, and perhaps some fictions, about James Dean's too-short life, this boundary-stretching film imagines the cinematic icon's bisexual pre-fame days and ruminates about the steep costs that come with being a star. Black and white and color.
May 24th @ 6:30pm, Egyptian Theatre
May 25th @ 4:00pm, Harvard Exit
"Pop music shouldn't always get a bad rap," says Top Pops!, a recurring selection of pop music highlights across a selection of styles. Getting dancey on the pop music tip today with Teen Daze, Auto Body, and Another.
Head over to the Bandcamp of solo electronic artist Another to get a free download of his 2012 album, Since June. The Chicago musician sprinkles in some Bear In Heaven vibes via the vocal stylings, though the music itself parallels much nicer to a band like KISSES. A surprising recent accidental find that starts off strong and has some truly terrific moments.
The 2012 Seattle International Film Festival begins on May 17th, 2012! In the next few days, we will be providing film previes for our top SIFF picks of the year. Times and dates are subject to change, so please visit siff.net before heading to theatres, or see the Docsfest for all documentary films presented.
AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY
Directed by Alison Klayman
A feature-length documentary about Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, an influential and ground-breaking liberal artist considered a "God of Love" or the "Beijing Andy Warhol." He controversially goes as far as giving the middle finger to the Motherland and telling it, "Fuck you."
May 18th @ 6:30pm, AMC Pacific Place 11
May 19th @ 4:00pm, AMC Pacific Place 11
A recurring series, featuring mesmerizing songs for one to lose sense of time and space, mind and body. Here, we start off a bit rowdy with Tassels and sink slowly into the enchanting mellow instrumental shores of Grapefruit and Lyonnais.
Vancouver-based producer Sean Orr will soon be releasing a new LP, the brilliantly artworked Pressure Mounts, on Dallas' Pour Le Corps. This 2:13-long track is a whirlwind of experimentation and unconventional sound bites which curiously leave one hungering for more. Pressure Mounts drops May 29th, and the full tracklisting is available at the bottom of this post.
Tassels - "Shake Them Shackles"
Analog synths and Tangerine Dream vibes combine for Portland electronic artist Grapefruit's latest record, which you can buy HERE on Field Hymns. Choosing a track to highlight was certainly a difficult task, so I've decided to take the liberty of offering you three, because... why the hell not? For download and stream is the entrancing closing track "Aleatoric Tone Tunnels", along with "End Scene" and the music video for "Phase Accidents". Expect an interview with Grapefruit soon!
Grapefruit - "Aleatoric Tone Tunnels" - DOWNLOAD MP3
Grapefruit - "End Scene"
VOLCANIC REMNANT, MAELIFELLSANDUR, ICELAND
Bright green moss has colonized a hill in the middle of Maelifellsandur, a black desert of lava and volcanic ash in Iceland. The hill is all what remains of a once active cinder cone, ground down by ice of the nearby retreating Maelifell glacier.
Bernhard Edmaier is an aerial photographer living in a small village in Germany, but his photography takes him to exquisite corners of the world, where his interest in natural phenoma thrives. There and beyond, he documents the colors and patterns of the Earth's surface that are astounding, mind-blowing, and full of grandeur. All of the images below are paired with geologic explanations from his website -- where you can see more photos.
PAINTED HILLS, OREGON, USA
There have been volcanoes in the Oregon area for 30 Million years ago, blasting huge amounts of ash into the sky. Winds and rivers carried the ash to where the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument now lies. This volcanic ash built up, layer after layer, continually burying the marshes and forests that flourished in the moist and warm tropical climate of the period. The heavy stroms that rain down here today carve gullies into the soft layers of ash and, over time, have created the striped landscape of Painted Hills. The yellow and red layers owe their colour to eroded volcanic materials, while the dark blurry flecks are the remains of dead vegetation.