Elliot Goldenthal and the sound of LA

Saturday, 27 September, 2014 0 Comments

He won an Oscar in 2002 for Best Original Score for Frida, and on Wednesday he conducted the City of Prague Philharmonic in his Alien 3 Suite at the city’s Film Music Festival. For this clip, Gavin Heffernan used another soundtrack by Elliot Goldenthal. It’s from the 1995 thriller, Heat. Very LA.

Daphne Guinness

Saturday, 16 August, 2014 0 Comments

Along with being an heir by direct descent of Arthur Guinness, the 18th-century Dublin creator of the dark beer that still bears his name, Daphne Guinness is an artist who has experimented with fashion, design and photography. Now, she’s turning her hand to music and her debut album is set to be released next month.

Malcolm Holcombe

Saturday, 9 August, 2014 0 Comments

Singer-songwriter Malcolm Holcombe is a wild natural in a world that adores the Photoshopped fraud. A native of North Carolina, he tells tales of small-town life battered by hard times. The lyrics are filtered through a sour-mash voice and the distillate is folk, blues and country in its content and colour.

Jenny Lewis: Just One of the Guys

Saturday, 2 August, 2014 0 Comments

“The voyager’s in every boy and girl / if you wanna get to heaven, get out of this world.” So sings Jenny Lewis in the title track of her first solo record in six years. The Voyager was produced by Ryan Adams and Mike Viola, with an assist from Beck. The result is, as one would expect, a pleasure. Here, Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart and Brie Larson step in as the backing band.

Acapella Ireland

Saturday, 12 July, 2014 0 Comments

Portland, Oregon songwriter Courtney Jones is the voice behind the layered acapella harmonies of “Weightless”, which is taken from her album Awake and Dreaming. The music matches the mood of this clip of Ireland as seen by Jonathan Haring.

The Gothenburg sound scene

Saturday, 21 June, 2014 0 Comments

“There’s always been a tradition of DIY and keeping things pretty rough and unpolished, that keeps it warm and alive,” says indie singer-songwriter José González. He’s talking about Gothenburg’s underground music scene. The Swedish city is famous for its Way out West festival, which takes place in early August. Until then, let’s chill with the sounds of The Embassy, Frida Sundemo and Boat Club.

Very late in the evening in Bern

Wednesday, 23 April, 2014 0 Comments

In Bern, the capital of Switzerland, the official language is the Swiss variation of Standard German, but the lingua franca is a dialect called Berndeutsch (Bernese German), and it’s tricky. Here, for example, is a Standard German sentence: “Als ich hereinkam, hatten sie bereits gegessen.” (English: “By the time I came in, they had already eaten.”) And here’s the Berndeutsch version: “Won i bi inecho, hei si scho ggässe gha.” Q.E.D.

If you’re interested, My Bärndütschi Syte offers a comprehensive introduction to the dialect, and includes a very useful dictionary and a grammar.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light

Saturday, 29 March, 2014 0 Comments

Describing his early poems, Dylan Thomas said that they were “eggs laid by tigers.” Peter Bruun, Martin Ullits Dahl and Jonas Westergaard from Copenhagen liked the Welshman’s phrase so much that it became the name of their band. Along with their name, the group get all their lyrics from the Swansea bard, who was born 100 years ago this year.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Born to run

Saturday, 22 February, 2014 0 Comments

Matan Rochlitz and Ivo Gormley of Banyak Films hire “all the kit needed to make documentaries, music videos and shorts” at their studios in Hackney in London. The results have attracted international praise. Here, they bombard runners with intimate questions and extract “funny and brutally frank confessions.”

“Someday girl I don’t know when
We’re gonna get to that place
Where we really wanna go
And we’ll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
Baby, we were born to run.”

Bruce Springsteen, Born To Run


Saturday, 15 February, 2014 0 Comments

Filmmaking as choreography, filmmaking as wordplay, filmmaking as wit. For Celia Rowlson-Hall, all three hold true. Right in time for Valentine’s Day, she created this clip, which was inspired by her “teeny tiny terribles” drawings. The result is “in tents”.

Forest Swords

Saturday, 11 January, 2014 0 Comments

Matthew Barnes, known by his stage name Forest Swords, is an English music producer and performer. His debut album, Engravings, was released in August last year to unanimously positive critical response. Interestingly, the album was mixed on Thurstaston Hill in that bastion of Liverpudlian lore, the Wirral Peninsula. Barnes credits the outdoors recording for giving the album a natural and atmospheric sound.

Geography: Thurstaston Hill is the home of Thor’s Stone, a house-sized block of red sandstone, where Viking settlers were supposed to have held sacrifices to placate their thunder god. Others say that the stone was raised by the Danes to commemorate the Battle of Brunanburh in 937. More scientific theories suggest that post-glacial erosion removed the softer surrounding rocks and produced today’s landmark.

Etymology: The Danish masculine name Thorsten comes from the Old Norse name Þórsteinn, which meant “Thor’s stone” from the name of the Norse god Þórr (Thor) combined with steinn “stone”. Variants include Thorstein (Norwegian), Torsten (German) and Torsti (Finnish).