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Hank Napkin RSS Feed (Makawao, Hawaii United States)

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The Kingdom - Series One and Two
The Kingdom - Series One and Two
DVD ~ Udo Kier
Price: $40.48
7 used & new from $40.48

3.0 out of 5 stars WRITE THE THEME TUNE; SING THE THEME TUNE, July 28, 2014
This is a middling sort of program -- at times sarcastic, at times cloyingly sentimental, at times funny but sadly and persistently off stride. As an experiment in jamming a number of genre clichés into a single series, it almost works. But for each moment of amusement there are many, many minutes to slog through. To his credit, Lars seems upfront about the whole thing: the tell happens in the titles when, during the ponderous theme music, the lyrics simply run out and the singers are left to laboriously chuff out the bland 4/4 chant "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 KINGDOM!!!". As that last syllable echoes in our ears we're forced to wonder if -- maybe -- a countdown would have been even funnier?


Boccherini: La Musica Notturna Di Madrid
Boccherini: La Musica Notturna Di Madrid
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $15.83
18 used & new from $11.09

5.0 out of 5 stars BY AND FOR THE LIVING, March 16, 2014
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this release features incredibly animated and smart interpretations, presented by flawless and highly informed play. and none better than the rendering of boccherini's "la music notturna delle strade di madrid". there's clearly a trend to more intuitive, expressive interpretations of this and earlier periods in music -- listen no further than lislevand's incredible ECM releases. the often staid and "courtly" politeness in performing music from this period -- recall the sterile, clockwork arpeggiated interpretations of pachebel's canon as a prime example of such incurious approaches -- is replaced by an engaging and involving playfulness that manages to simultaneously epitomize the fluid ability and virtuosic understanding of these artists share about the composers, the works and their milieu. my personal thanks, at every play, to the carmine quartet and mr. lislevand.


Tavener: Sacred Music
Tavener: Sacred Music
Price: $10.93
27 used & new from $5.02

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars SCARED OF MUSIC?, February 3, 2014
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This review is from: Tavener: Sacred Music (Audio CD)
this is perhaps one of the most curious approaches to the recording of scared music that i have yet heard. unlike the nearly perfect balance struck between close-mic clarity and ambient mics to capture the spatial characteristics of the location -- i'm thinking of ECM releases in particular, and their range from near-studio levels of control found on the recordings of many works by arvo pärt to the splendid sense of place captured on rolf lislevand's releases -- this recording offers essentially no delineation between the performers and the acoustic space, resulting in blurry and hazy reproduction that features a persistent hump (clot?) hovering around 400Hz. the effort would have been better served by recording the performers dry and then running the results through a convolution reverb.


Pan Tone
Pan Tone

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS IS HOW LONG IT TAKES, November 23, 2011
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This review is from: Pan Tone (Audio CD)
Since John Cage applied the prepared piano to composition and performance (with proper acknowledgement of Henry Cowell) the resulting works could often seem deliriously clangorous, seductively atonal and easily mistaken by the uniformed as Gamelan. (Is that a mean thing to write?). Anyway, the technique may have found its maturation and ideal expression, some sixty years on, right here. By combining this remarkably difficult piano technique with the fluidity and expressive range of Hildur Gudnadottir's expansive cello, we listeners now have access to a peerless, moving and profoundly beautiful and disturbing music, slipping with confidence and grace along the once clearly defined boundaries that appeared to separate conventional and experimental musics, and doing so to the deep enrichment of both. The Pantone Matching System aside -- and while nobody is asking me -- this gets my vote for the top accomplishment in recorded music for the clearly unsettling, disturbing and near-the-end hopeful-in-uprisings year we'll just call 2011.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 2, 2012 9:42 PM PDT


Uniko
Uniko
Price: $17.53
29 used & new from $10.42

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEAUTY WILL BE CONVULSIVE, OR IT WILL NOT BE AT ALL, October 26, 2011
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This review is from: Uniko (Audio CD)
I had the good fortune to be assigned to review some of Pohjonen's earlier works for (now out of publication) Darren Bergstein's EI Magazine several years ago. Needless to say, the work was as remarkable then as now. Relentlessly inventive, splendid in violent and sudden contrasts, logical as well as unpredictable shifts, Pohjonen is equally at home with anything and everything sound encompasses: the exploration of timbres, time, pitches, silences and staggeringly dense walls of sound made into a seamless and terrifyingly present whole. Uniko seems a sort of culmination of controlled furies and unmentionable delicacies. The posture and often even the tonality call to mind some perhaps unexpected likenesses with the more incandescent instants from the very creamy center of the progressive rock days: flashes of Tony Hill's High Tide finding receptors between the uneven measures of Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part I. While both stand somewhere in the shadows of this monumentally complex and exhilarating recording, the defining trait is simple enough: moving from rock to art music is perhaps a less profound path than the opposite. Uniko isn't just a bridge between the profound intelligence of the classical world and the sometimes ragged emotional edges of the progressive rock aesthetic: it's a continent of unlimited horizons and, until this moment, unknowable terrain.


Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009
Claire Denis Film Scores 1996-2009
Price: $47.87
20 used & new from $28.00

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars NOTATION EXQUIS, October 7, 2011
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These five discs -- the scores for five remarkable films by Claire Denis -- encapsulate some of the most aware and deft compositional work you could ask for. Touching on many contemporary forms, carefully constructed as well as highly organic passages give shape to an approachable new music, propelled by diverse instrumentation and shaded with sounds that extend beyond the instruments. The performances are the equal to some of the finest to be heard in the works of their peers (without making comparisons Clogs and Rachel's are a few that come to mind). Distinct and original, with a complete sense of its own identity, timbral and harmonic presence, great touch and dynamics. And as well as these work as film music, finding their way into the scenes instead of simply sitting on top of or underneath a stream of images (my opinion only, no factual observation here) unlike many, many film scores this music functions as well outside of that context as it does within. Boxed with a wonderfully written and designed (English and French) 58 page + cover booklet, the presentation is classic Constellation: uncoated papers, foil-struck and opaque inked typography, high-key full color images on card weight papers. The astute packaging derives from the hand-made character and high craftsmanship of the music and of the films. Nothing lacking, everything considered, everything highly expressive.


Worcester Ladymass
Worcester Ladymass
Offered by MEGA Media
Price: $14.26
49 used & new from $5.49

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AND GAVIN BRYARS, October 6, 2011
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This review is from: Worcester Ladymass (Audio CD)
Perhaps as a result of his recasting of medieval Lauds for the 2005 "Oi Me Lasso" -- performed by Anna Maria Friman of Trio Mediaeval -- Gavin Bryars was asked to complete this Ladymass by composing two missing pieces, the 5:14 "Credo" and the 1:19 closing "Benedicamus Domino". Like his work for "Oi Me Lasso", Bryars takes the basic polyphonic material and style of the period and gently lifts it into greater harmonic complexity. The contrast this creates within the Worcester Ladymass is both subtle and profoundly moving, shading the understated beauty of 13th Century sacred music with a hovering, shimmering 21st century harmonic depth left untouched -- or simply not understood -- by these anonymous precursors. The story of where and how these pieces were found and restored is fascinating, and again gives us pause concerning the many points in history during which religious zeal lead to the destruction and often complete elimination of remarkable and rare works of art and understanding. As for the recording itself, my ears find this performance to be more spare and focused than much of the A4 catalog. The Propstei St. Gerold soundstage as presented in this recording seems much drier and consequently more specific than many other spaces. The smaller scale space seems wholly appropriate to the compositional period, offering an authentic sense of austerity and beauty that is more completely reliant on the performance itself.


Burke & Hare [HD]
Burke & Hare [HD]
DVD

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars O EALING! MY EALING!, September 6, 2011
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Very much in the tradition of classic, sly, gentle and darkly funny Ealing comedies, "Burke & Hare" takes a genuine point in history and plays with it, all the while remaining tongue in cheek, true to its premise, delightfully unpredictable and profoundly human. Anyone that still thinks fondly of the very original "The Ladykillers", "Kind Hearts and Coronets", "The Lavender Hill Mob" or others from Ealing's golden age will be more than pleased to see that style arrive refreshed, updated, carefully written -- the multiple plot lines add considerable depth, bringing this humour noir / period comedy in line with 21st century expectations -- and wonderfully produced and performed. We'll see if "Burke & Hare" manages to stand the test of time as well as those earlier films, but it easily surpasses any requirements needed to engage your interest and your humor for a near pitch-perfect 90 minutes.


No Ifs Ands Or Dogs
No Ifs Ands Or Dogs
Offered by Fulfillment Express US
Price: $16.87
25 used & new from $6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars JUST SUPPOSE WE JUXTAPOSE, September 6, 2011
This review is from: No Ifs Ands Or Dogs (Audio CD)
This takes some nerve: A few frothy and immaculate pop songs in exquisitely detailed settings find themselves surrounded by remarkably dense instrumental constructs that unfailingly transform in unpredictable but perfectly sane ways at just the point of collapse, placing giggly and uncomfortable contrasts between the two styles in plain sight. The pop tunes are so perfectly constructed and executed that it seems impossible to consider them as parody. Free of even the hint of a wink, they arrive and proceed without irony. Their seeming simplicity is incapable of acting as ballast for the complexities of some stunningly evolved instrumental pieces that achieve an incredible mass while springing easily from idea to idea. Depending on your preferences, a few things that seemed impossible become possible. The light as air pop parts may begin to feel like curiosities in a cultural history museum, isolated and naked in their innocence, suspended in time and formaldehyde. Or the heavily sinewed instrumental stretches -- cracking work, that -- might simply drown of their own tremendous weight. The distance between the two styles allows you to consider either from a new perspective and finally recognize that these disparate styes are connected by their perfection in structure and in execution, and held apart by your habits. And with that sleight-of-hand, Cheer-Accident has pulled off something so uncanny here that we can finally declare genre to be gone, forever.


Ironclad [Blu-ray]
Ironclad [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Paul Giamatti
Offered by MILA TECHNOLOGIES
Price: $5.19
88 used & new from $0.68

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FITS FOR A KING, August 23, 2011
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This review is from: Ironclad [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
I'm a bit of a sucker for Medieval period films: always excited by the prospect of seeing something that might hew a little closer to history while exploring the origin of some of today's more persistent cultural tropes; often disappointed by the repeated turns to violence and rather cartoonish proclamations. Ironclad lands somewhere in between by managing to find a few moments which straddle these extremes.

Fellini had once made a very compelling point about the way in which we would view peoples and cultures of the distant past. While discussing "Satyricon" he pointed out that such peoples and cultures would seem very alien to contemporary perception: their behavior, beliefs and motivations becoming border-line incomprehensible to us. Ironclad does not come anywhere near such a portrayal of the Medieval mind, allowing itself instead to make a rather broad number of interpretations vastly more at home in the present day than would have been likely or even possible during the period in question. But even though the film exhibits many of the usual tendencies, it avoids the pronounced sense of romanticizing either the valor or violence surrounding the aftermath of the signing of the Magna Carta and gives a greater dimension to the ideas behind the events with an unexpected and beautifully executed apologia by one of its principal characters.

And that occurs in the performance Giamatti turns in as King John. In his display of profoundly brutal violence against his enemy -- here portrayed by Brian Cox -- and the breathtakingly belligerent tirade he delivers as his justification, this nearly pro-forma action flick momentarily becomes something that begins to provide us with a credible glimpse into the deep-seated societal conflicts of that time -- some still present today. As King John rails about the royalty's ideas centered on divine rights of inheritance while, in a brilliant directorial turn, seemingly standing on water, the lights begin to come on about how utterly ignorant, self-absorbed, cruel and narcissistic the god-chosen rulers of the Middle Ages could routinely be. Such rulers postponed modernity as long as possible by ignoring human rights while clinging to ideas that consistently stunted the well-being and progress of their citizens in favor of brutality, ignorance and suffering. And all in the name of their personal, greater glory.

Giamatti's walk on the water makes this vile worldview palpable and terrifying in a manner that no historical text can. Had Brian Cox been provided with a counter monologue as eloquent and moving in support of the rights of man -- something more substantial than merely repeating "Magna Carta" -- as Giamatti delivered in favor of suppression, birth right and the arrogance of privilege, Ironclad would have made a profoundly long leap forward for the genre, perhaps even becoming capable of a theoretical joust with Bresson's "Lancelot du Lac".


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