Journal tag: review

Sunday, 1st September 2019

Sound & vision, August 2019

  1. Peaky Blinders” (TV series, S1 2013, S2 2014) So, so good. As if the characters, storyline and production value weren’t enough, the soundtrack is stellar. Nick Cave and Radiohead are ever-present.
  2. Dunkirk” (2017) Conflicted. The film is a technical marvel but I lacked connection with the charcters.
  3. Dirty Dancing” (1987) Rewatched. I’ll always have a soft-spot for this one from the days of VHS. Engrained in popular culture and still an enjoyable yarn.
  4. The Great Hack” (Documentary 2019) Chilling. Accompany this with Carole Cadwalladr’s TED talk for a concerning picture of how our democracy is manipulated by the powerful few.
  5. Toy Story 4” (2019) Masterful. I think I enjoyed this more than my 5 year old. There’s a wonderful sense of humanity at the core of these films. The quality of CGI blows my mind.
  6. Knock Down the House” (Documentary 2019) Depressing, though ultimately inspiring. Women in politics striving for change but being thwarted by the abstract concerns of party politics. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s story bucks the trend to leave a sense of hope.

The digital age finally got the better of me this month as I reluctantly parted with my entire CD collection; hundreds of albums, steadily built up since buying my first at 16yrs old. Those brittle 5.59″ x 4.92″ x 0.39″ plastic cases fast became part of my identity, each with its own memory attached as I tumbled head-first into a world of musical discovery in my late teens and beyond. Listening habits have long since moved online though, where access to anything from that dusty old collection is now a mere few keypresses away. Seductive, instant, yet ultimately lacking that tactile magic. It was a big deal to say goodbye.

  1. A Go Go” (John Scofield 1998) New to me. Scofield has an impressive ability to keep extended solos fresh and full of interesting phrasing. The kind of playing I’ve been searching for to inspire my own.
  2. Aja” (Steely Dan 1977) Relistened. Mainly for the solo in “Peg”.
  3. Peaky Blinders” (Various 2013-) The focus has mostly been on revisiting songs from Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. “Bring it on” has become a new favourite.
  4. Got Soul” (Robert Randolph & The Family Band 2017) That pedal steel playing is something else and worth the admission fee alone.
  5. Rejuvination” (The Meters 1974) Relistened. My kind of funk.
  6. i,i” (Bon Iver 2019) Yet to fully digested the album, but “Naeem” is a wonderful track that I’ve had on repeat.
  7. In Rainbows” (Radiohead 2007) One of a handful of CDs I kept for in-car aural pleasure. My favourite Radiohead album.

Two weighty reads from the book club I’m part of:

  1. Educated” (Tara Westover 2018) An incredible life.
  2. Man’s Search for Meaning” (Viktor E. Frankl 1946) A short but essential read. Incredibly thankful that we don’t have to inhabit a Nazi concentration camp to benefit from the wisdom and heart shared here.

Thursday, 1st August 2019

Sound & vision, July 2019

Some painful project deadlines made for a baron month of screentime:

  1. “Tour de France” (TV event) An epic few weeks of racing. Gutted for fellow countryman Geraint though second place is hell of an achievement. E Bernal is something else on those mountains though.
  2. After Life” (TV series 2019) I choked up every episode without fail. A genuine warmth underpins the dark humour.
  3. Surviving America’s Most Hated Family” (TV documentary 2019) L Theroux navigates his rage-enducing subjects with typical poise and intelligence.
  4. Escape from History” (2017) The Manic Street Preachers recount the recording and release of Everything Must Go. Taken back to my younger self. A magical time, especially for Welsh bands.
  5. Adventureland” (2009) Rewatched. I’m a sucker for coming-of-age films with an eighties backdrop. Job done.

My work patterns shape my listening habits. This month was all about the search for flow states which means vocals are a no-go. Looping beats and melodies are the order of the day. A charismatic Glastonbury performance from Stormzy drew me into his sphere though:

  1. Singularity” (Jon Hopkins 2018) On. Repeat. My most listened to album of 2018, according to Spotify, keeps on giving.
  2. I See You” (The xx 2017) One of my go-tos when visiting London on my lonesome for work. Feels right.
  3. Everything Must Go” (Manic Street Preachers 1996) Revisited after watching documentary above. It stands the test of time.
  4. Truth is a Beautiful Thing” (London Grammar 2017) This is a beautiful thing (with the headphones on, in particular).
  5. Seven Days Walking (Day 5)” (Ludovico Einaudi 2019) For when the ears tired of beats. You know what to expect with Einaudi but he does it so damn well.
  6. Emerald Rush – Solomun Remix” (Jon Hopkins, Solomun 2019) A remix that stands up to the original.
  7. Gang Signs & Prayer” (Stormzy 2017) This boy has chops. His talent outruns the production at times but no doubt it will all come together soon. Potential for Kendrick-esque musical heights.
  8. A Bath Full of Ecstasy” (Hot Chip 2019) My soft spot for this rabble continues.