Welcome to the home of the post-post modern artist, writer, and video maker the Obscure.
Wipe your shoes, clear your mind, and play nice with the other children.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Music of the "Black Rainbow" Review

In case you haven't seen my review of "Beyond the Black Rainbow" you can see it on my Blip channel. It's about 15 minutes long which is how long I watched that movie before I gave up on watching anything ever again.

Trivia Time... the music of BtBR was composed by Jeremy Schmidt of relevant prog-rock band "Black Mountain." Here's "The Hair Song" from their latest album "Wilderness Heart."
I give the music of BtBR a tough time, but that's just because of guilt through association. Sure it sounds like dubstep in slow-motion and gets as grating as free-basing Clorox, but synthesizer magician Schmidt composes the perfect mood for the film that really makes it bearable. Listen to the sounds of this scene.
Makes you want to go to the arcade and spend all your quarters on Galaga, doesn't it? You know, plenty of critics have been giving this movie a hard time, and you'd think I'd agree with them, but the more the critics knock this movie, the more I want to like it. It's as though I have to be contrary... but changing my opinion means I would have to re-shoot the episode, and I'm not doing that.

In my actual review, there are two copyrighted songs I have sampled (Fair-Use, parody, Bill of Rights, and all that). One of these is Cream's SWLABR which I'm sure you've all heard me reference on plenty of occasions. The other is "Rainbow Man" from The Orange Alabaster Mushroom. At the time, I selected the song because it fit the mood and contained the word rainbow ("Somewhere Over the Rainbow" was too obvious). But I'm just now realizing how suiting it is. The Orange Alabaster Mushroom is a musical project from Canadian musician Greg Watson that sprang up in the early 1990s and recreated the textured sound of the late 60s. Seems similar to what Panos Cosmatos was doing with BtBR, eh? So here is "Rainbow Man" in full (pending Youtube take-down, blah-blah).

Monday, August 20, 2012

"Fear Her": A Testament to Doctor Who

You wouldn't think that I, the Obscure, would like something as Lame-stream as Doctor Who, but I've been addicted since 2006. Me, addicted to something? Never.

Before I became a regular viewer, I had some misconceptions about the long-running program. Here's a synopsis of what I thought the show was about: "A professor in a magic phone booth leaps through time and space, each leap taking him closer to home while also ensuring that his parents meet so he doesn't get wiped from existence. With help from Jerry O'Connell and John Rhys Davis, Mr Who (his first name is probably something like Bertrand or Wellington) constantly does battle with the evil Ransik (played by the villain from Commando), set to the music of Rockapella (and later that annoying musical trio that plays all the other characters). Based on the story by HG Wells."

Yeah, not even close. So one afternoon in 2006, I decided to finally watch an episode of Doctor Who. That episode was "Fear Her," one of the most universally-panned episodes of the new series. As someone new to the program, what did I think? I thought "Holy-Camolie, this show is AWESOME!" I then found season one on Netflix and began from the beginning... of the new series. Then, while I awaited the release of Season Two, I watched a lot of the old series and discovered decades worth of campy, crazy fun. Then I made my way through Season 2 and, when I watched this particular episode for the second time, I realized it was rather weak and ridiculous in comparison to everything else I had seen so far.

But I like to hold this episode as a testament to the greatness of the series: even one of its weakest stories is enjoyable and miles beyond a lot of other crap on TV. An outsider can really be drawn-in by the amazing character that is Wellington Who and the concept of time/space travel. Truly, one of the greatest story vehicles of all time.

On the other hand, if I had seen the episode "Love and Monsters" first, I probably would have reacted by saying: "this show sucks. You Who-vians are a bunch of freaks!"

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Beyond the Black Rainbow: An Obscure Review

Oh my God, this is the best movie ever!
OK, no it's not. In fact, it's rather unbearable. But don't take my word for it. Take my spoken word for it. Check out my first ever straight-up film review of "Beyond the Black Rainbow," a Canadian sci-fi homage to the films of the late 60s, early 70s, and a bit of the 80s for good measure.


Trust me, I really wanted to like this film...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Media Mixtape Meltdown: Vol.1

Welcome to yet another series, Media Mixtape Meltdown. Basically, this is an experiment in my style but also a cheap excuse to show off a bunch of stuff I like. Consider it a living "You Might Also Like" section where I give a brief background and insights into the chosen media. This first mixtape's theme is 2-D animation and features four items: a movie, a series, and two shorts. Take a look if you want to discover something new or rediscover something you may have already seen.


Saturday, August 11, 2012

Non-Anime From the Godfather of Anime

One thing I often forget is that not every artist is restricted to their medium or style. Recently I began research on the Godfather of anime Osamu Tezuka and found that, while I have only an average amount of interest in his famed titles (Astroboy, Kimba the White Lion, etc), I can't get enough of his early work. Take a look at Tezuka's mixed-media piece "Memory" from 1964. At first glance, you might think this is some Max Fleischer fringe work, but it is the work of Tezuka who offers not only a fun and unique animation style, but also an insightful narrative about the mechanics of the human memory. Seeing as how "memory" is 50% of the title of my most popular series, I thought it appropriate to steal be inspired by this piece. So enjoy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Aggressive 80s Ad

I'm really digging this old ad for Zayre, a now defunct department store. They had everything I needed. Everything I wanted. This has got to be one of the most aggressive commercials selling such normal things.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Pick of the Now: Django Django

The other day, weevils got into my music collection. They laid their eggs all over my Mp3s, so I had throw it all out along with a bag of flour infested with millipedes. Now I'm starting over and finding new music. I'm feel like I'm off to a good start.

I've literally just now, this second, as I write this, discovered a new band that goes by the name DJANGO DJANGO.  Their debut, self-titled album premiered in January in the UK, but won't hit American shores to steal hard-working American jobs until later this month. So technically, this is new music. I may retain my hip-card.

"Django Django" album cover
The music reminds me of... well not a lot really, as it attains a level of originality not often found in debut albums, but my thoughts turn to the psychedelia of Tame Impala or Pond as well as the rocky-bluesy twang of the Black Keys. Both comparisons are a bit of a stretch, but the whole album manifests the spirit and musical aesthetic of David Byrne. We hear that steely guitar work of the American west (hence the dounble-Django all the way across the title), African-style beats, and a buzzy synthesizer that recalls old days spent in front of the Calicovision.

The layers on these tracks are thick as a triple layer quesadilla, so have fun listening again an again. The music is still fresh in my mind, so only time will tell if this collection of songs will last or become dull with their novelty. Take a listen to their single "Default" which features a music video that just shouts "ART STUDENTS, ART STUDENTS, ART STUDENTS!"