Best of 2010 (part 2)

Regular readers of this blog may remember that earlier in the year a severe virus destroyed both my computer as well as my laptop in just under ten hours. At that point the Democratische 99, my annual “best of” for music, was nearly finished.
It took over four months to get my computers working again (on Linux) and there was a non-official list (compiled by the songs that were played on Radio Kurtodrome), so this site decided that compiling a list based on all the rough material would be too much work. This makes 2010 the second year without a definite D99. Given that the first list was compiled in 1994, that’s saying something.

Anyway, had there been a list, who would have made it to the top? This weekend we look at the five tracks that would have made it to the top…

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Lady Blue Shanghai

A few months earlier this year, David Lynch directed Marion Cotillard (La vie en rose, Inception) in a new chapter of the Lady Dior series. Lynch’s contribution, a short just over 16 minutes, followed Lady Noire (Olivier Dahan‘s spy short, which actually just plays as a long commercial) and Lady Rouge, a video for “Eyes of Mars”, sung by Cotillard and backed by Franz Ferdinand. The video was directed by Annie Leibovitz. After a black and a red bag, it was now time to promote the blue bag, hence Lady Blue Shanghai being the title of Lynch’s short.

Lady Blue Shanghai is very much Lynchian. The film opens with (the unnamed) Cotillard entering a hotel in Shanghai. The images look very much like Inland Empire, a combination of digital video and high speed cameras. Cotillard goes up to her room, but is very much surprised to hear music coming from her room. As she turns the record player off, a blue bag suddenly appears in the middle of the room. Cotillard rings the lobby and two men are sent up to her room. Not being able to find an intruder, they question what she’s been up to in Shanghai. Enter flashback.

Cotillard is at her best in this Lady chapter. Seeing her perform a song and occasionally rocking to the beat in “Rouge” was nice, but her puzzled look make her a good protagonist for a Lynchian short. As for art direction and confusion, Lady Blue Shanghai is very much like Inland Empire, but another Lynch movie that springs to my mind was the 2002 short The Darkened Room. As for the story and the art direction, the short is very much David Lynch, but I couldn’t help also thinking of Wong Kar-Wai‘s nostalgia. Combine the flow of In The Mood for Love (or 2064, if you want to stretch the hotel reference) with the visual style of Chungking Express and you sort of see what I’m referring to. In fact, WKW would’ve probably made this more interesting. The least convincing bit for me was the special effects with the bag. It’s almost as if they didn’t want to make sure the bag wouldn’t be ruined.

Truth be told, I’ve seen Lynch direct better stuff than this, but it’s only 17 minutes long and if you browse the Lady Dior site you also hear Cotillard recite a poem. The site also directs you to the two earlier Lady Dior projects. A little disappointed perhaps, we move on to the next review… (though please bear in mind that this is still 20,000 times better than that Magnum ad).


Dark Night of the Soul

The dark night of the soul is the place in a person’s life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation. This metaphor is also an album title, a collaboration between Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. But not just them: the couple invited a bunch of other musicians along for the vocals to the songs. And they also asked for a contribution from director David Lynch. Lynch created a book full of Lynchian pictures to go along with the album.

It sounded great but it wasn’t to be… record company EMI didn’t give its blessing, so when the combination of Dark Night of the Soul had to be released at the end of 2009, the book was released with a blank CD-R. Scribbled on it, this message: “For Legal Reasons, enclosed CD-R contains no music. Use it as you will.” Ever since, the album may have been floating and streaming on the web (hence “Revenge”, the track with The Flaming Lips, ending up in our Best Of 2009 chart), but no actual release.

And now it’s July 2010. Tomorrow the album will finally be released as it should’ve been. The cd will include a couple of pictures by Lynch, but overall there is still a dark cloud hanging over the cd. Sparklehorse (a.k.a. Mark Linkous) committed suicide earlier in the year and one of the featured artists, Vic Chestnutt, is also dead.

Here is the cd’s tracklisting:
1. “Revenge” (featuring The Flaming Lips) – 4:52
2. “Just War” (featuring Gruff Rhys) – 3:44
3. “Jaykub” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:52
4. “Little Girl” (featuring Julian Casablancas) – 4:33
5. “Angel’s Harp” (featuring Black Francis) – 2:57
6. “Pain” (featuring Iggy Pop) – 2:49
7. “Star Eyes (I Can’t Catch It)” (featuring David Lynch) – 3:10
8. “Everytime I’m with You” (featuring Jason Lytle) – 3:09
9. “Insane Lullaby” (featuring James Mercer) – 3:12
10. “Daddy’s Gone” (featuring Nina Persson) – 3:09
11. “The Man Who Played God” (featuring Suzanne Vega) – 3:09
12. “Grim Augury” (featuring Vic Chesnutt) – 2:32
13. “Dark Night of the Soul” (featuring David Lynch) – 4:38

And here is one of the tracks, “Little Girl”, complete with some of the book’s pictures.

The cd Dark Night of the Soul is released in the UK on July 13, the rest of the world can enjoy it one day earlier. There are limited editions out there, so browse before you buy…

P.S. The Avenue takes one week off and hopes to return stronger on July 19. Au revoir!

Things you can do to an arthouse crowd

I was talking to a manager of my local cinema the other day and he told me that last year one of the projectors didn’t want to start working. The movie was INLAND EMPIRE and it took ten minutes before someone thought it may not be the director’s intention to start the movie with ten minutes of a black screen.

Ah, the things you can do to an arthouse crowd…

Another example: Who Wants To Kill Jessie? played in Brussels last year and had it not been for the fact that the subtitles were also shown upside down noone would’ve complained that the movie was projected the wrong way.