XXJFG


17th April 2008

Science Fiction Double Feature

Hands down, above all else that has been and ever will, ‘See You Later’ is by far the best Vangelis album to ever exist. In its expanded deluxe version, it has punkish electronic bleeps seething throughout with Battlestar Galactica faux tosca beats on ‘My Love’, desert sands made of small grains of disintegrated circuit boards on the slow motion ‘I Can’t Take It Anymore’, the tale of a spaceship race to a crashing emotional finale on ‘Gestation’ and then a track by Plastics if they’d of been androids replicas of the principal cast of Liquid Sky on the closer ‘It Doesn’t Matter’. All this comes complete with those mental synth wails that sound like strings on a violin that stretch from Neptune to Pluto with comet trails as the bow.

Stuck bang in the middle is this odd little instrumental piece, ‘Memories of Green’.

Vangelis – Memories of Green

A piano’s dying lament to the Moon’s reflection in the seas coupled with melting computer sounds and cardiac monitors dutifully beeping in a dark and empty warehouse that stands wind battered on a beach with Saturn rising in the moonlight. This was used in Blade Runner, but its delicacy was somewhat lost with the barrage of millenial noir imagery, imprisoned behind the stark shadows cast by LA shining through the blinds. Still, when listening to tracks like ‘Tears In Rain’, ‘Blade Runner Blues’ and ‘Rachel’s Song’ from the soundtrack you can tell that ‘Memories of Green’ was the blueprint to the whole thing.

I’m guessing a lot of people have not seen The Keep. The director himself, Michael Mann, has specifically requested that studio Paramount refrain from reissuing it on DVD because he is so embarrassed by the whole affair. Now, 20JFG in general have a blatant fetish for cheap and nasty (therefore awesome!) horror films, but while said film is a classic, its a classic for all the wrong reasons. It has that Lovecraftian cosmic horror element to it – castle keep in deepest, forgotten Europe harbours a great evil that lies hidden in a vast cavern of monoliths behind a shining silver cross embedded in the cold stone wall – but when the evil makes its presence known the resulting “effects” are akin to a dodgy film student’s movie.

Tangerine Dream – Ancient Powerplant

Good then that cosmic wizards of rhythm Tangerine Dream are on hand to provide the soundtrack, thus lending the crap dry ice and latex visuals a kind of ethereal beauty that they don’t really deserve, but get anyway.

On ‘Ancient Powerplant’ the brooding menace that heralds the energy ball of light that flies from the monolith cluster through the dark tunnel and shreds the top half of a carelessly curious nazi soldier, is steadily replaced by a classic Krautrock beat that makes Harmonia reach for the hotline to they’re lawyers. Odd then that this track, along with all but three others, do not appear in the film at all.

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May we also please draw your attention to this promotional video for the awesome cineatic masterpiece that is the new Quiet Village LP?

[youtube]http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=uQvGWQ04LfY[/youtube]

Epilogue -
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Comments

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  1. i saw the promo video today too. it hurts it’s so good.


    Yours sincerely

    sean

    17th April 2008


  2. Terrific post. I never could figure out why no one asked Vangelis to score Troy instead of Alexander. Or why Gabriel Yared’s Troy score was rejected. Or, for that matter, why Alexander was allowed to exist at all. Honestly. 2004: Year of film score blunders.


    Yours sincerely

    rahawa

    17th April 2008


  3. I think I’ve still got The Keep somewhere. It’s an EPIC FAIL as a horror film but, in the second half, manages to normalise the ‘evil’ in a very interesting and mundane way (if you ignore the lasers). Quite apt given its Nazi backdrop. Didn’t realise that Mann was blocking its release. The Laserdisc still goes for silly money and I guess that’s why.


    Yours sincerely

    Dan Nixon

    17th April 2008


  4. The VHS, complete with shoddy sound, goes for around a fiver on eBay (where I got mine from) but yes Dan, the DVD re-release is blocked. There was a website I found thats campaigning for it to be unblocked but I didn’t link to it.

    The films good if you can accept its many flaws, but there are some striking visuals in it, like the slow motion shots of the Nazi’s rushing towards the shining silver cross, but I agree with the EPIC FAIL label.


    Yours sincerely

    Steve from Dunwich

    17th April 2008


  5. Always had a soft spot for it though. There was something about the cod-philosophical meanderings and the mad as a lorry monster (which wasn’t even trying to be scary) that really appealed as a teanager. Still, it’s better than LA Takedown.


    Yours sincerely

    Dan Nixon

    17th April 2008


  6. yes, there are other Michael Mann disasters that need blocking far more than The Keep!


    Yours sincerely

    Steve from Dunwich

    17th April 2008


  7. It feels like I’m still dreaming. What a presentation of buoyant love and beauty. That was a real treat to watch.
    Let the sea breathe.


    Yours sincerely

    Jaime

    17th April 2008


  8. Upon re-listening to that Vangelis song, I now have a better understanding what set Freescha apart from Boards Of Canada, which is the romantic swooning of an out of tune piano and ER beeps, as opposed to the lingering nostalgia/creepfest that BOC aspires to.


    Yours sincerely

    rogerniner

    17th April 2008


  9. Apparently the book by F. Paul Wilson that The Keep is based on is the shizznit. Have you read it, and is that an accurate assessment?


    Yours sincerely

    Mister 1-2-3-4

    17th April 2008


  10. Are you kidding?? I LOVE The Keep! And not in an ironic/nostalgic way. Forget the plot, forget the acting, The Keep is an exercise in ambience, and an effective one at that. You can see it in almost all of Michael Mann’s films, even Miami Vice. It gets a bad wrap partly for showing the ill-conceived monster near the end. Also, not the biggest Pop Matters fan (in terms of music), but they posted a great article on it waaaaaay back in 2006, so they kinda beat you to the punch: http://www.popmatters.com/columns/lanzagorta/060504.shtml


    Yours sincerely

    Lance Romance

    18th April 2008


  11. Thanks..


    Yours sincerely

    TrWord

    19th April 2008


  12. Aahh… so that’s why I can’t buy a nice shiny DVD of The Keep! Looks like I’ll have to settle for my old mate VHS. I saw this when it was on BBC2 in their short-lived series on lost classics.

    Although I don’t think it was Mann’s intention, for me The Keep gets closest to the spirit of Nazi/monster anime in live-action form than any other film.


    Yours sincerely

    Manny Z

    19th April 2008


  13. finally got to watch the Quiet Village promo. Was expecting more initially, seeing as Joel Martin used to be a film editor, but when it gets going it’s sublime.


    Yours sincerely

    Dan Nixon

    19th April 2008


  14. What I meant to say was that 20 JazzFunkGreats is pretty much the greatest thing on the internet.


    Yours sincerely

    Lance Romance

    19th April 2008


  15. …in the history of the universe…


    Yours sincerely

    Lance Romance

    19th April 2008


  16. thanks Lance Romance!

    I think this has gone a bit weird – I don’t hate the film I actually love it, but it does have its really bad parts. In general its awesome – what’s not to love about a horror film with a cosmic beast that burns and shreds Nazi’s and looks like a demon from Urotsukidoji – plus it has a soundtrack by Tangerine Dream!


    Yours sincerely

    Steve from Dunwich

    19th April 2008


  17. I can’t read other people’s comments ’cause of the funky/busy-as-hell background – so not sure if this has been mentioned. But Memories of Green is the sample base for Theo Parrish’s Solitary Flight on Sound Signature. Recently repressed if anyone missed it a few years ago.
    This has been a public service announcement. ;)

    Keep on!

    Jez / innersounds


    Yours sincerely

    jez

    28th April 2008


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