Upon playing Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker, it became extremely evident Kaz has issues containing himself.
….and now we know why.
…Sailor Saturn’s got your back.
Simple copic illustration from one of those lazy, late night summer evenings. Pantsu anyone? Here’s hoping the new Sailormoon revival series isn’t total, over-the-top moe insanity.
….I hate drawing hands.
Going forward I still have plenty of music and reviews to post however I may also start uploading my art for kicks & giggles.
Consisting of several members from Hawaii, Coconuts Musume originally aimed to become the English speaking equivalent of Morning Musume. While the unit remained active for nearly ten years from 1999 to 2008, the member roaster frequently changed and they unfortunately, never released a full length album. After the 2002 departure of Lehua Sandbo, Mika (of Minimoni fame) & Ayaka continued to perform together during concerts until Mika’s graduation in 2004. Ayaka kept the group name, although solo, until she also departed Hello! Project in 2008.
While the certain members (ahem, Ayaka) had more than questionable vocals, I always enjoyed their antics on their Asayan specials and Surprise English lessons. Personally, despite her lack of Japanese knowledge, Danielle was my absolute favourite and always made me laugh. Somehow over the years I’ve kept ahold of their singles and recalled how awesome Jonetsu Yuki Miraisen really was.
So, in honor of Halfu and Musume fans alike, I’ve made up a small compilation of a handful of their live performances (that I was able to find). The first track, HALATION SUMMER, is an extremely rare performance by the entire, original member line up, specifically, Ayaka, Chelsea, Mika, Danielle and April. Their vocals at times can be a little rough but it’s fun to listen to their energy and catchy tunes!
256kbps, rar, 16.4 mb
02 Summer Night Town (English Version)
03 私も「I Love You」
04 情熱行き 未来船
Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know!
As controversial as it is ground breaking, Melvin Van Peebles’ 1971 picture, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song is arguably one of the most important African American movies in film. While its’ radical subject matter became popular among militant groups such as the Black Panthers, it also flourished in attracting casual viewers and became a box office hit. This ultimately led to the creation of Blaxploitation films, despite displaying a much deeper reflection of African American identity than its later predecessors. Most importantly however, is the manner in which the project materialized. Directed, produced, starring and written by Van Peebles himself, Sweetback was a pioneer in that it showed its viewers that creating a movie from the ground up without a costly production crew or elaborate studio sets, is not only possible, but can actually be successful. Despite not having a musical background nor being able to actually read or write music, Van Peebles composed and wrote the score himself, specifically directing scenes around each track. Using various atmospheric samples, chants and melodies performed by Earth, Wind & Fire, he perfectly expresses the film’s dark, chaotic and often disconcerted moodiness. From this technique grew a dramatic, finished product pieced together by hazy, intangible sequences conceivable only by the mind of the film’s often silent hero.
Sweetback presents the story of Leroy (nicknamed Sweetback), a velour clad entertainer at a whore house, accused of murdering a black man in the community. With no suspects the police devise a plan to arrest and blame Sweetback in order to appease the increasingly anxious black public. Their scheme however goes awry after picking up and attempting to beat a young member of the Black Panthers, Mu-Mu. Using his handcuffs as a weapon, Sweetback kills the officers and escapes, fleeing for Mexico. The duration of the film is spent recounting his frenzied journey to the Mexican border evading riots, bikers and police in hot pursuit climaxing to its final scene, a warning to all that he’ll be back to “collect his dues.”
Despite the heavy, serious overtones, Sweetback is like a wisp of smoke, briefly appearing and quickly dissipating however leaving a substantial, lasting impression. With less emphasis on dialogue and particular interest given to sound, Van Peebles not only paints the strikingly bleak and harsh lower class life so many African Americans were subjected to, but recreates the mayhem the main character is trapped in. Political indications aside, the concept of the ‘man on the run’ certainly brings to mind a plateau of emotions. He captures this not only with numerous jump cuts, montage sequences, oversaturated film and fidgety camera movements but with the use of explosive, sudden noises overlapping both dialogue and music. An exceptional scene depicting this would be upon the arrest of Mu-Mu. A jazzy funk rhythm accompanies a realistic, oversaturated montage of city life and reduces volume only when the police driving exchange a few words of small talk. This is abruptly interjected by the blazing, intimidating noise of what appears to be an oil derrick and is followed by Mu-Mu being lead out of the vehicle. Several times throughout the scene, the sounds in the background are amplified with each physical strike, finally coming to a momentous roar as Sweetback attacks the two men. After a few words, the sound is heard again and drowns out to the same music we heard moments ago as the two men run. While it appears clear that the music isn’t heard by the characters, the lines are blurred by the interrupting thunder of the derrick and one may begin to question if the sounds are a direct manifestation of Sweetback’s thoughts and emotions.
This is later expanded on after an injured Mu-Mu escapes the police by motorcycle and Sweetback, on foot. Still fleeing from authorities, the music heard during all of the previous montage sequences, changes to a fast paced, frenzied melody accompanied by paranoid, frazzled vocals begging the speaker’s feet to keep moving. As he finds his way through the city in darkness and finally toward the dessert, one can’t help but wonder if the dialogue is coming from his mind or if it’s purely non-diejetic. This is heard throughout numerous scenes including one in which an unrelated black man is assaulted and beat by police, uncaring whether or not he was the suspect. Using a similar technique, the final scene shows him disappearing into the mountains to threatening, imposing tribal drums. The words of the police are repeated several times over the music which sharply cuts to samples of “Wade in the Water.” This is particularly outstanding as it seamlessly gives the viewer a glimpse into the jumbled, crazed mind of Sweetback as he attempts to make that final run across the border. A distorted, seemingly random mess of sounds is the ultimate portrayal of a man so close to freedom knowing that should he fall or slow, there are police and hounds close behind.
While Sweetback will certainly be remembered for its revolutionary depiction of modern bigotry and realistic displays of unrestrained racism, its artistic credibility should not be overlooked. Every detail from the visible specks on the camera lens to the muddled and often unidentifiable noises heard throughout, Van Peebles leaves no detail to circumstance. From dubbing over the vocals of a club songstress with the ear piercing shrills of a flute, to the ending credits accompanied by the eerie, avant-garde sounds of horns, police cars and beating drums, every sound is carefully calculated. The dreamy, saturated effects of the night shots and erratic sounds create and mold the world that becomes Sweetback’s living nightmare, sadly one all too real for African Americans of that era. It is this realization and the execution of such that makes Sweetback culturally significant as well as timeless.
Gillo Pontecorvo’s acclaimed war film, The Battle of Algiers, takes its viewers through the events of the Algerian War between 1954 and 1957, depicting the struggle between the FLN (National Liberation Front) and the occupying French Fourth Republic. A startling bleak, realistic look at human nature’s timeless capacity for terror and violence, it’s only through these years of conflict that freedom is finally gained in 1962. Opening with guerilla leader, Ali La Pointe hidden within a wall and cornered by French soldiers, Algiers backtracks to his humble, petty criminal beginnings and moves forward to events leading. After being contacted by FLN while in jail, La Pointe is guided and molded by El-hadi Jafar (played by real life resistance leader Saadi Yacef). His involvement with the insurgents rapidly builds deeper after several infiltrations with resulting blows to both sides. Despite this, it’s the shooting of a single police officer amoung such heinous violence that causes tensions to seemingly spiral deeper out of control leading to the involvement of Lt. Colonel Mathieu.
In a powerful moment, a member of the FLN assassinates an officer and upon dumping the weapon, flees. As forces storm the streets searching for the killer, an innocent day laborer, Laknan Abdullah becomes the target of a modern day witch hunt by dozens on French socialites standing high upon balconies. Despite having naught to do with the attack, he’s arrested. Later that evening, upon finding his address and noting Abdullah has several children and a wife, police Lt. Lucien leaves a casual card game to carry out retaliation. Hidden by the darkness of curfew, explosives are set off in the Upper Casbah killing and injuring dozens. Promising retribution of their own, the FLN plans and sends three attractive, French speaking women hidden by Parisian fashion across check points to the European sector with explosives set for thirty minutes. It’s in this scene, barely an hour in, that a vastly disturbing and ominous contrast is presented to us.
Through various experimental techniques, Algiers was filmed entirely in black and white with attention to detail creating an extremely authentic documentary style throughout most of the film. In particular, however, the attack by the three female members breaks away from this pattern with extremely intense, vibrant and crisp images. Within the context of the story itself, this helps to emphasis the sudden, uncomfortable contrast between societies: just moments before, we were presented with images of the dead, dying and wounded only to cross what’s little more than a barricade into a community of seemingly wholesome restaurants, boutiques and open air cafés. The scene in the café brilliantly furthers this. Fittingly dressed as a French socialite, the first of the three FLN members enters a café surrounded by easy going patrons enjoying lively conversation. The camera pans right and is followed by several close ups of women and children socializing, laughing and simply living. In a moment of possible hesitation after coming face to face with the very people who would quickly become casualties, the camera briefly focuses on her solemn expression and down to her purse under the seats. Nestled under the darkness of the counter, highlighting is brilliantly used to give an innocent almost angelic quality contrasting its intent and grim purpose. She sweeps it further away from the aisle, a reminder of the bloodshed in the Casbah that had so easily been swept under the blanketing night sky of curfew. Unlike Lt. Lucien who candidly used cowardice to commit his crimes, even stopping nonchalantly for drinks and gambling, we behold a single, very rare moment of humanity by the woman in the café as she slowly, uncomfortably scans the room.
By use of prop, costume and makeup, this scene is immensely striking in a number of ways. Prior to entering the café, modern cars, sidewalk tables adorned with colourful umbrellas, decorative window displays, trees surrounded by metal work and molded outdoor trash bins are all within our field of view. Simply put, the very essence of the hustle and bustle of city life is presented in this very isolated, out of place community. Her surroundings appear with little difference from what many would expect to behold on the streets of Paris and despite being a member of FLN, the woman herself seamlessly blends in. Adorned in fashionable, modern makeup and attire, her treatment by others is vastly opposite to those identical with only clothes to deviate them. Searching for a seat, a male patron makes way for her, offering casual chitchat in French, smiling. One cannot help but immediately feel uncomfortable as only minutes prior, Algerians were faced with dehumanizing, prejudiced insults and violence while with a modest change of clothing and styling, she’s seen as an equal.
Music and sound are key to creating the compelling dynamic of this scene. After being briefed and while heading to the shopping strip, Pontecorvo ingeniously makes use of imposing and intimidating Algerian drumming. The scene cuts to the woman walking confidently toward the café where the drumming immediately ceases and shifts to the quite ordinary sounds of a city. The honking of vehicles and the roar of passing engines suddenly stop as she enters the café: scanning her surroundings, the intense percussion clearly resumes. It’s only as the camera pans and she scans around the room for the second time, as previously mentioned, that we fade out to the chatter of patrons and clanks of dishes. This brings to mind the traditional, very complex drumming of Africa used in times of war and further helps to depict the woman’s determination and fury only lessened by a fluttering instant of empathy.
Through mise-en-scene and using various points of stark contrast, Pontecorvo challenges and questions our motivations and worth as human beings. The café, albeit an abrupt and fleeting moment is a pivotal scene in the movie that forces us to ask ourselves, is murder and systematic oppression so easily and swiftly executed when blinded by greed and minor differences? Is terrorism ever an ethical or justified solution to continual abuse and brutality? From the moment the film starts and eventually upon coming to full circle to the events shown in its opening, Algiers reminds us that every depraved, evil act is not incidental, but thoughtfully calculated and thus, can and will happen again. Freedom is merely a byproduct of a people’s idiosyncratic struggle and as Pontecorvo’s film despairingly shows its audience in black and white, is not without suffering.
……poppin’ pills that is! for those unaware, sciatica is an extremely painful (if not hopelessly tiring) condition in which the sciatic nerve is either damaged or being pinched by slipped disc, inflammation, tumor, etc. this causes extreme discomfort, to say the least, as well as tingling, numbing, burning feelings in the foot, ankle, butt & leg. after the initial breakthrough pain (which typically lasts 4-6 weeks & trust me… will result in many intense, excruciating hours on the floor), symptoms and pain can linger for months, even years. unfortunately after a car accident in 2011, i’ve been in constant pain. the culprit? my sciatic nerve in my left leg is stuck twisted in a muscle. yikes. after many trial & error and about enough ibuprofen to stock a small planet, it’s flexeril to the rescue. i suppose after today we’ll see how that pans out.
despite being well over a year since the accident, you’d think i’d be used to this type of annoyance. hell to the nooooo. in particular, over the summer months the humidity only seemed to aggravate my nerves worse. and yup, i’m in ‘lil new england. but there’s nothing better than mad sweet tunes to get my heart a’pumpin. my jam of 2012? you guessed: Perfume‘s Spending All My Time!
perhaps one of the most addicting songs i’ve heard in years, this particular single is the girls’ first release on Universal and perhaps the most polished and danceable of their singles so far. it’s almost hilarious when recalling Sweet Donuts from 2003! their performance in SUMMER SONIC 2012 this past August is one of my favourites, if not one of the rare lives for this track. the energy of the audience is something spectacular:
surprisingly, i’ve noticed quite a few fans online were disappointed by this track but coming from this ‘ole gal who hasn’t 100% enjoyed any of their singles since Electro World, i give it an A+.
320 kbps, rar, 9.01mb
01 Spending All My Time (SUPER SONIC 2012)
like it, love it, hate it? questions? let me know!
Jacqueline Huskisson Printmaker, Illustrator, artist extrodinare
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