A PERSONAL REVIEW FOR “PINK FLOYD LIVE AT POMPEII, The Director’s Cut”

Hello everyone!

PinkFloydPompei-0011This time I would like to talk about a band that I’ve listened since I was a young kid.

My first approach to Pink Floyd was more than 20 years ago, because my father bought a Laser-disc (vinyl type, 2 sized audio and video, previous to the DVD) of Pink Floyd’s live concert “Pulse”. From that time to now, I have become a big fan of Pink Floyd’s music and spirit.

Regardless the fact that I recommend everyone to see Pink Floyd’s “Pulse”, this time I want to talk about another epic masterpiece of the band.

“Pink Floyd live at Pompeii” is a concert documentary film directed by Adrian Maben, which features the band playing in the ancient Roman Amphitheatre in Pompeii, Italy. The concert was shot in 1971 and released in 1972. Years later, in 2003, Maben (director) released a DVD version of the footage re-mastered with additional audio/video material.

The DVD starts with space shoots from the Apollo space program and visual space effects which slowly start fading combining with the intro of the song “Echoes” being played by the band live in the ancient Amphitheatre. As the band perform, we can see images of nature surrounding the place, perfectly placed with the music.

A perfect combination of nostalgia, colors and a deep journey about how music was understand and created more than 40 years ago.

The director’s cut version includes recorded interviews of the band, explaining their creative process during the recordings sessions for the big seller album “The Dark Side of the Moon” (1973) on Abbey Road Studios.

We could see the band talking about their music, drugs (regarding their good friend Syd Barret, former Pink Floyd musician) and even a funny reflection about oysters.

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“It’s all extensions of what’s coming out of our heads”, as David Gilmour (guitar and vocals) said, is one of the many phrases the band said in their interviews, regarding the use of the analogue synths and guitar FX for their compositions.

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One of the special moments is the trance moment in the song “A Saucerful of Secrets”. It’s a chaotic song, full of anger colors, with a repetitive and accelerating drum beat, in perfect combination of the screaming guitar FX and the aggressive piano. Roger Waters (bass, vocals) is doing percussion in this song, and experimenting the peak moment when he goes and hits the gong (which the director makes the analogy with the sun). This epic shot is the cover art for the material. The song then continues with a beautifully contrasting peaceful melody, which breaks all the chaos.

“ (…) There was this silence (…) this is the place where the Pink Floyd would have to be, because Pompeii has a lot going for it. It has death, it has sex, ah… and it has something that is still living there, and pink Floyd in that Amphitheatre could bring the hole thing back to life”, words from the director Adrian Maben speaking about developing his idea for the film.

pink-floyd-live-at-pompeiiI still feel that sometimes I need to listen this masterpiece to feed my soul with all this colors and feelings. I recommend all of you to get comfortable, and watch this movie with high volume and let go your feelings.

Feel free to share here your opinion of the movie and/or suggesting me to review about any conceptual musical concert-film that you like.

Until next time!

Felipe

Finding an artist to develop their career “by the face*”

*idiomatic expression (literally “by the face”),

doesn’t exist in English and it means “for free”.

When I was asked to find an artist or music band based in Valencia to manage for free, I leapt into my FB searching for information.

Before then, I had never thought about the number/amount of bands that I could have added to my account, and certainly it would have been very useful to have a tool to order all by location and genre. (This is a call to all you App Developers!!)

The fact is, that after a thorough analysis of almost all my contacts and likes regarding music bands from Valencia, I had a total number of around 30 bands (including solo artists). This, in addition to the fact that -I am an organizing junkie and I don’t like to mix football and politics-, I have two FB accounts, one professional and one private, it’s been a big challenge to conclude this investigation.

So, from my personal view, most local bands play indie or rock; you can also find a growing number of punk, experimental and new wave bands, and let’s not forget electronic music: Valencia in the nineties was for a few years the most important place for electronic music in Europe.(If you haven’t heard about the legendary Ruta del Bacalao – the techno movement of the 90s – just wait for my next post!)

Going on with my research, I realized that finding an artist with talent, knowledge of the industry and willingness to take advice and work with a team of Music Business students was not as hard as I could have imagined. Or maybe we were just lucky! We talked with 8 different artists and all of them were really keen on collaborating. The hardest part of this story was to choose one of them.

From this experience I could know better the local music scene and the compelling need of almost all artists that play music in this city, that no matter if they are interested in making a career in music or just want to play for fun, to have:

more exposure

promotion and

a press kit

And I guess, this experience can be extrapolated to other cities, since LOCAL is the new GLOBAL.

Music:

Arcane Roots are a British three-piece progressive/alternative rock that sound MASSIVE. I’ve had the opportunity to see them live while I was living in the UK, and boy are they good on stage! They might only be a three-piece but they fill-up the room both sonically and energetically. This song, entitled Habibty, is a hectic number. It shows exactly how well Arcane Roots use dynamics to balance-out their tracks. From heavy polyrhythmic riffs to chime-like clean sections, and soaring hooks to murmured melodies, one sure thing is that they know how to convey guts and passion. Vocals harmonies blend and build-up perfectly into half-time beat-downs played on the crunchiest single-coil tone ever; it shouldn’t work, but somehow it does perfectly.

Video:

The music video for this song was produced by Daryl A and Arcane Roots themselves. The camera work is pure energy, it changes from angle to angle and slow-motion to standard frame-rate in a heartbeat. The desaturated tone of the picture is particularly efficient with the light work going on in the background, and adds to the dramatic and emotional message that the song conveys.

Music as a Muse: “This is Spinal Tap”

This example is notable because it is a work of art inspired not by one individual artist, but as a microcosm of the entire music industry of its time as personified through a fictitious musical group, Spinal Tap.  This is Spinal Tap is a “mockumentary”, a portmanteau of mock and documentary, a cinematographic genre dedicated to satire in the documentary format.

Released in 1984, This is Spinal Tap is regarded among the most timeless films in cinematic history, vastly applauded for its cultural, historical and aesthetic significance.  This is Spinal Tap is a notable specimen due to its harsh (though widely received as accurate) criticisms of all facets of the music industry.

The film spares no victim, lampooning every player in the music industry of the time, from the rock stars themselves, to the managers, audience, even to band girlfriends.

Movie depicting a band member’s girlfriend, Jeanine, intruding on professional band meetings and causing tension.  Yoko Ono reference, perchance?  Indeed.

The film plays upon the hagiographic tendencies of the rock music culture, the grandiose culture that surrounds it, and the larger-than-life lifestyles that the major players lived by, on stage and off.  Sometimes, it was played up to the point of absurdity, but the most notable about the film is the commentary from actual rock stars of its propinquity to reality.


A sample of the absurdity that the film parodies: “Big Bottom”, a poke at Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” performed with a band setup of… 3 bass guitars.

So much, in fact, that many rock bands of the time asserted that the film was in fact based upon themselves.  The rock band Foghat accused the producers of the film of bugging their tour van and using the transcripts of their conversations to make the script, initially with indignation, but of course as the film grew in popularity and gained its own following, the indignation turned into pride.  (theguardian.com)

Spinal Tap is not only responsible for its contribution to the culture of rock and roll, but also of idioms to the English language.  Anyone who has ever used the phrase “go to eleven” to mean something going to extremes owes this expression to a timeless scene from this very film, where Nigel of Spinal Tap displays his Marshall amp, custom made so that all the knobs go to eleven.


These go to Eleven

One of the most interesting facets of the film, is that although they are fictitious, the audience of the film upon reception was convinced that Spinal Tap was a real group.  Ozzy Osborne is documented having admitted that he thought the band was real because the happenings in the film had happened to him on his own tours.  (black-sabbath.com)

The soundtrack to the film features the songs popularized by the performances portrayed.  The fictitious group’s album “Smell the Glove”, features the same cover art as the actual soundtrack, which enjoyed considerable commercial success.

spinal tap img 3The “highly artistic” album cover of This is Spinal Tap, an parody of The Beatles’ “White Album”

Since its release in 1984, The United States Library of Congress has selected This is Spinal Tap for preservation in the United States National Film Registry, to be appreciated and transferred to future generations.  (Imdb.com)

My Favourite Chinese Band – Mayday

For my last post, I wanted to introduce my favourite Chinese rock band, Mayday!! They are not only singer but also song composer and producer and they are hugely influential in M-pop (Mandarin Pop) by using their music to inspire their audience.

It is a Taiwanese alternative rock band that was formed in the late 1990s with five members.They are popular for their student band roots, and their ability in capturing the zeitgeist of Taiwanese youth in the mid to late 1990s. They are often cited as one of the pioneers of rock music in Taiwan.Mayday has made no secret of its admiration of the Beatles whom they cite as influencing their ideals of rock music.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mayday_(Taiwanese_band) [ Introduction of Mayday]

They have been the third artist but the first Chinese artist to stage a concert at Google’s headquarters in San Francisco at 29 November 2012. The concert was streamed live on youtube for an hour and over 50,000 fans tuned in to watch their amazing performance. To date, their concert has also achieved over 300,000 hits on YouTube!

For me, their songs are meaningful, touching, sincerity, and inspiring, it seems like they’re speaking to you because we can relate the lyric and emotion of the song to personal experience. I have been inspired and encouraged by not only their songs but also their story of never easily give up their dream, keep pursuing it by putting effort and it will come true.

Mayday expressed that they would bring the glory of Chinese music around the world and I believe it because they has proved me through their past experience.

Reference:

http://www.asianpopnews.com/2012/11/maydays-live-concert-wows-50000-youtube.html

Movies: The Next Direction for Music Promotion?

I never quite understood the appeal of a “triple threat” popstar, Lindsey Lohan and Miley Cyrus were always actors in my sight. I never once considered them musicians or pop stars when they ended up releasing their auto-tuned outside-written money-milkin’ pop records solely because what they were known and (debatably) good for was acting in their movies. Then again, if you’re really enthused by Neil Patrick Harris and Hugh Jackman singing and dancing instead of starring their iconic roles as Barney Stinson and the Wolverine respectively, that’s an opinion we don’t quite share. Granted, it’s always cool to know that your favorite stars are multifaceted.

With this video I believe we’re entering a realm where not only do we promote our music through branding and products, but now we have artists that are moving their album themes to the big screen. Hollywood’s Black Veil Brides announced that their 19 track up and coming thematic concept album would have a spot in theaters.

Now, if this was something that Rihanna or Ke$ha were doing, I would not be too thrilled, solely because their music and image don’t really represent something theatrical to be put on screen. In my opinion, it’s just milking the cash cow if there was no spirit behind it. Here, however, I think there is a creativity as a force behind creating this film. The movie, titled “Legion of the Black” will apparently be based on the concept behind their album: as their new album will be focusing on rebels who are oppressed from a society called “F.E.A.R”. So no, it’s not looking to be like Justin Bieber’s “Never Say Never” or Katy Perry’s “Part of Me”; this movie is looking to be fully based on the creative material within the album.

Marilyn Manson attempted something like this a few years back, something excited a lot of people due to his shock rock theatrical image. Unfortunately for him, it just did not seem to pan out. Perhaps Black Veil Brides will have a little more luck than Manson in that they’ll be able to successfully deliver this. We’ll just have to wait for the results in 2013.

Do you think it’s a good idea? Personally I think it is. I always wanted to delve into the meaning of an album and why the music is written the way it is, what the lyrics of a song mean, and how the delivery of the overall album depicts its own story. I believe representing it in a movie is the next level from that.

Google Plus as a Marketing Tools for artist management

Mayday official on Google Plus had announced a very exciting news for their fans (included me!!!) that they are having a live performance at Google main office at California, USA and an activity ” Mayday takes you to Google”been organised for only Google Plus user will have the chance to win the flight ticket to USA through posting the creative photo. In the description of youtube, there is a good introduction for my favorite rock band- Mayday and the reason why they are famous!!!

After seeing the success of facebook platform, Google intend to create their own social network. After the failure of launching Open Social, they had launched Google Plus at 28th June 2011 and seems like they operated it pretty well by using the strong marketing strategy – collaborated with artist in different region that have huge fan base to become the spokesman of google plus by targeting their fan as potential google plus user and artist can get more benefit from managing the personal official website by interacting more potential fan from Google Plus user and increase reputation through worldwide, which creates a win-win strategy!!

For instance, in Taiwan, Mayday is the main spokesman who have an enormous fan database around the world and i am one of them that been attracted to join Google Plus. For fans, is not only about getting the latest information of the band but also the sense of achievement that we could do something for our favourite band. For instance,the official Google Plus of Mayday had announced that when the followers of Mayday Official Google Plus website had exceed 120,000, google will selected a fans and sponsor them to go USA with Mayday for their live performance in Google main office which is the activities i mentioned above; exceed 200,000 then Mayday will invited 9 fans from Google Plus and having a video chat gathering with them through Google Plus function- hangouts. This again created a win-win strategies by leads user familiar to the google plus function and also artist is building relationship with their fans.

As Vic Gundotra, the Senior Vice President of Engineering for Google, had announced a new milestone for Google+: 400 million registered users and 100 million monthly active users at 17th September 2012. Google Plus might have the potential to become the next Facebook or beyond it through their multi function and artist will do the tutorial for those function that create buzz!!! The amount of user may still increased and as the success story of artist get benefit from Google Plus such as Mayday, many artist can build their fan database might follow this marketing strategy path by building their own Google Plus Artist page. There are two website that provide good explanation that why google plus is a good marketing tools for artist and how to build the Google Plus artist page:

http://zero2illo.com/tips-on-google-for-illustrators-and-artists/

http://zero2illo.com/tips-on-google-for-illustrators-and-artists/

 

If anyone interested in Mayday, i have lots of information to provide!

Reference:

http://thenextweb.com/google/2012/09/17/as-predicted-google-passes-400m-registered-users-now-100m-monthly-active-users/

http://techorange.com/2012/04/19/google-power-up-plus-mayday-help-to-get-eyeball/