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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Back to main page

And The Beat Goes On: IbizaAnd The Beat Goes On: Ibiza
(Wienerworld)

Not perhaps a name that immediately springs to mind for presenting a documentary about dance music’s premier destination but Jimi Mistry (star of such films as East Is East, The Guru, Blood Diamond and of course Dr Fred Fonseca in EastEnders), but long before he was a film star Jimi was a music fan and in the late '80s he discovered rave music (and can now regularly be found dj-ing at house nights) so not such a strange choice after all. Teaming up with director Steve Jaggi Mistry goes in search of the heart of Ibiza from the huge super clubs like Pacha to the more hippy dippy, dreadlocked side of the island and if this viewer remains convinced that well heeled people experiencing the deep spiritual side of life at a drum party on the beach or paying £50.00 plus to get into Space, Manumission or Pacha in the hope of glimpsing Kate Moss is about as far removed from dancing all night under the stars with a bottle of water as it's possible to get, it is nonetheless an engaging, enjoyable film which has the occasional flash of clarity (producer Lenny Ibizarre talks the most sense here) and re-unites the four DJs credited with exporting the Balearic sound to England - Paul Oakenfold, Nicky Holloway, Danny Rampling and Johnnie Walker.
The Oracle

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The Australian Pink Floyd ShowThe Australian Pink Floyd Show
Exposed In The Light (Townsend Music Limited)

Funny old palaver the tribute act, obviously all things being right with the world any self respecting fan will plump for seeing their pop star of choice in person, but I’d hazard a guess there’s few T Rex fans who would enjoy seeing Marc Bolan in person nowadays. Dig a little deeper and you will find numerous Jimi Hendrix fans who adored Stevie Ray Vaughan’s take on 'Voodoo Child', and didn’t The Beatles do Buddy Holly songs? Simply put what matters here is the execution, and make no mistake Aussies Steve Mac, Jason Sawford and Colin Wilson (with a revolving cast of many, many others), do this very, very well indeed – so well in fact that Dave Gilmour invited them to play at the after-show party for The Division Bell tour and his 50th birthday party. Not only is the music pretty much spot on the staging is also, given the obviously more limited budget, very impressive indeed - and how could you not love a huge inflatable Kangaroo? Let’s be honest this is the closest you will ever get to seeing Pink Floyd nowadays, so swallow your preconceptions and dive in, you won’t be disappointed.
Ray Harper

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OddsacAnimal Collective
Oddsac
(Plexi Film)

How do you follow an album that more or less swept the board in last year’s best of 2009 roundups (more here) – although to be fair this is actually the culmination of four years’ work between the quartet and director Danny Perez? How about a film, because we all know how well that worked out for Neil Young and The Flaming Lips don’t we? Described recently by the bands Panda Bear as 'an attempt to capture what the listener might see if they close their eyes while listening to Animal Collective' the results do leave you fearing for the sanity of the Collective’s audience but then surely no-one really expected any sort of narrative flow, plot or perspective from these guys. That said, and unlike the efforts mentioned above, this film actually works very well (although little of the soundtrack would be suitable listening shorn of the visuals), and ranges from the hypnotic to the downright disturbing (remind me never to go camping in a dark forest and toast marshmallows), in fact it’s not at all dissimilar to much of the Residents better output. Lord only knows what the deuce it all means but it’s an entertaining, if occasionally disconcerting, way to spend an hour.
The Oracle

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Afghan StarAfghan Star
(Dogwoof Pictures)

Just so we’re all on the same page here Pop Idol and X Factor, soul-less, conveyor belt drivel right? Without doubt the lowest common denominator approach to making music right? Not, in any way, a major leap forward for democracy and personal liberties right? Actually no, wrong. Of course we’re not talking about the hideous, never ending tide of wannabe dunces we watch parading across our screens in the US/UK, what we have here are people that are still in the midst of a war zone, people desperate for change and an end to the constant round of death that surrounds them, people (in particular female people), who could very easily find themselves in mortal danger. Welcome to Pop Idol Afghanistan style, a truly frightening, and enthralling documentary about the brave individuals who choose to sing in a world where singing has only recently been once again allowed, a world where a female contestant breaking into a spontaneous dance on television prompts immediate violent condemnations from religious leaders (and we’re not talking hip grinding sex dancing here, just an innocent single rotation and gentle hand wave), a world where mutant wrong-brained funda-mentalists interviewed in the street call for said dancers death. Intrigued? You should be, because this is truly astonishing stuff.
Josh Marks

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Acid Mothers Gong Acid Mothers Gong
LiveAt The Uncon 06
(Voiceprint)

One of the numerous side projects of Japanese psychedelic, space-rockers Acid Mothers Temple (the core members being Tsuyama Atsushi, Higashi Hiroshi and Kawabata Makoto) or, if you prefer, one of the numerous side projects of Daevid ‘nutty as a fruitcake’ Allen (Gong, University Of Errors, Guru & Zero, Spirits Burning, Big City Orchestra to name but a few) - the line up completed by Gong vocalist Gilli Smyth, UOE’s Josh Pollock and all underpinned by an astonishing barrage courtesy of Ruins drummer Tatsuya Yoshida. Easy listening this ain’t. Obviously much of this is improvised (at one point AMT main-man Kawabata Makoto tells us of playing one track for over four hours) and in consequence occasionally loses it’s way but when it gels, and it gels often, it fully justufies the use of the term ‘space-rock’. Allen is, as always, disarmingly peculiar (in full on Gong mode here) and AMT veer wildly between psychedelic wig-outs and spooked ambience, it’s the aural equivalent of the sort of acid trip you would only want to make in the company of good and trusted friends and if the set bears little resemblance to information found on the back cover so what? Anyone looking for a straightforward concert DVD is hardly going to look here are they?

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All You Need Is LoveAll You Need Is Love
(Voiceprint)

You can’t help but have noticed that nowadays our TV schedules are overflowing with half-assed, poorly researched, popular music retrospectives boasting a never-ending list of hideously uninformed talking heads and more or less nobody who was actually there at the time. Of course it’s much harder now as the days when you could easily secure interviews with, oh let’s just say John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimi Hendrix, Stephen Sondheim, Benny Goodman, Bing Crosby, The Beach Boys, Tina Turner, Sam Phillips, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Rogers, Benny Goodman, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Phil Spector, Bill Wyman, Frank Zappa or Eric Clapton are long gone, but that’s just exactly what Tony Palmer did for the BBC series All You Need Is Love - originally broadcast between 1976 and 1981. This fascinating series beginning, quite literally, at the beginning and dealing with ragtime, blues, jazz, vaudeville, folk and country and western before rock 'n' roll even gets a look in, was never repeated nor released, until now, and each of the five discs really is a total joy from beginning to end. Put simply this is the definitive story told by those that should know, because they created it.

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AmericaAmerica
Live In Central Park 1979
(Eagle Rock)

This DVD first saw the light of day some years ago and whilst it was thought to have captured the band at the height of their powers the sound didn’t deliver in quite the same way as the visuals. Which brings us to this fully re-mastered edition which goes a long way towards rectifying those initial weaknesses. Australian documentary film maker Peter Clifton (who has now included a full length commentary) couldn’t have picked a better time to film the band, capturing the final concert of their 1979 world tour – including plenty of scene-setting from Central Park which really gives you a taste of the period, and is entertaining enough on it’s own - as well as additional studio footage. Bread fans in particular will doubtless be keen to hear live recordings of several songs from Silent Letter including ‘Only Game In Town’, ‘Foolin’’ and ‘All Night’ alongside classic tracks like ‘Horse With No Name’ and ‘Ventura Highway’. Of course if you’re not keen on the bands easy going AOR style then nothing here is likely to convince you otherwise, but if you need a Bread DVD in your collection then this one is head and shoulders above later, more staid, efforts.

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All My LovingAll My Loving
(Voiceprint)

First seen in 1968 way, way after the watershed - it was actually shown after the 'Epilogue', when the BBC used to shut down for the night - due to, what was then deemed as, ‘controversial’ content, this excellent documentary by Tony Palmer (apparently helped immeasurably by John Lennon, as revealed in the accompanying bonus interview) is certainly of it’s time touching on Vietnam, US civil rights, events in Prague and Paris and the condescending way pop stars were encouraged to act (the Beatles being asked to pat paraplegics on the head for example). Yet it retains much of it’s punch, not least due to the interview footage from a very earnest Pete Townshend to a none-more-hippy Donovan and a bemused Jimi Hendrix, still obviously unused to women throwing themselves at him. Eric Burdon talks about acid and Vietnam and an incredibly smug Anthony Burgess makes lofty pronouncements which amount to so much hot air, especially when followed by the sardonic and erudite Frank Zappa. The film also features music by the Beatles, Cream, Pink Floyd, and the Who and must have been a huge culture shock for BBC audiences more used to Cliff Richard and Tommy Steel on Juke Box Jury.

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Tori AmosTori Amos
The Video Collection: Fade To Red
(Warner Music Vision)

Right-so, sounds like Kate Bush, never learned to sit in a ladylike manner at her piano – she doesn’t so much sit on her piano stool as mount it - breast feeds pigs, bit of a (corn)flake, these will generally be the first port of call in any review of/interview with Tori Amos and whilst Ms Amos does little to head these ‘mad as a hatter’ accusations off at the pass (indeed she actively adds to ‘em), this journalistic shorthand is a long way short of the whole story. Take her approach to videos, given the constant demand and cost, most artists at some point bash out a few cheap and cheerful duffers, not so Tori A, sure there’s a few ‘film us at a live show’ efforts, but most of these mini films have serious production values. She also oozes sex appeal, but in a slightly scary way – proving you don’t need acres of bare flesh or sweat drenched heaving bosoms to make erotic videos. As is the norm nowadays all of the tracks have a voice-over commentary allowing Tori to offer fascinating insights or hippy-dippy gobbledygook, depending on how the muse takes her, all of which ensures that this is an anthology that goes some way at least to re-addressing the balance between kooky nutter and seriously underrated performer.

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AC/DCAC/DC
Family Jewels
(Epic)

Never the most photogenic of bands, especially after the sad early drink related departure of original vocalist Bon Scott, AC/DC built a career on nonsense lyrics, no-nonsense boogie-metal and the sort of utterly nonsensical touring schedules that make today’s tours look like long weekends. Displaying every rock and roll cliché in the book (hell AC/DC wrote most of the book), from tight jeans, tats, bared chests (and arses) to a revolving door drum stool policy AC/DC are about as subtle as a punch up the bracket. Never particularly au-fait with the whole video thing, the lads preferring wherever possible to stick to the sort of concert performance fans would immediately recognise – like Angus Young’s head-pounding, stuttering arrhythmic duck walk and hyperactive slack jawed gurning soloing – indeed if this, huge forty track double DVD, collection has a fault it’s that there really is no substitute to seeing the band in their natural environment, i.e. live. Devoting all of the first DVD to the Bon Scott years from ’75 to ’80 and the remaining disc to the following decade featuring Scott’s replacement ex-Geordie Brian Johnson, the formula remains simple throughout, but frankly there isn’t a band on the planet that does this better.

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A mighty windA Mighty Wind
(Castle Rock)

Can there be anyone left alive who doesn't know this is the same team that bought us the drop dead brilliance of Spinal Tap? Probably not. Does it live up to comparisons with such esteemed forbears however? Yes it does. When was the last time you actually laughed out loud at a film? Not one of those sniggers or mild chuckles that pass for comedic response nowadays, but a great big spittle spraying belly laugh that would doubtless get you forcibly removed from polite establishments - in fact if you are contemplating watching this movie don't sit in front of anyone (especially if they are drinking). Simply put three folk outfits get back together to play a tribute show for their recently deceased manager, so straightforward in fact that some reviews have bemoaned this simplicity, which is a bit like complaining that Fawlty Towers is only ever set in a hotel in Torquay. Beautifully researched and knowingly improvised A Mighty Wind does to folk music what Spinal Tap did to rock, and you know you are in the presence of real class when the additional scenes, which didn't make the film, have you laughing as hard as those that did.

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