Making a montage of movie clips for the Morricone night last night, I watched some very nasty and very weird films. Autopsy was particularly unpleasant. Cold Eyes of Fear was also kind of nasty, but had that lovely ‘Belinda May’ song in it. I think if you psychoanalyzed me based on the video montage that I put together, you would come away with an impression of me as a strange person. Almost all the clips involved murder, fighting, car chases or sex. There was a 60s pot party (from Danger: Diabolik) thrown in for good measure.

Compilation: 'Mojo Club: Dancefloor Jazz Volume 7' (CD; Motor; 1965-1978)
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I discovered the 'Mojo club' series of compilations, named after a club in Hamburg, via online music sharing services. Searching for various Brasilian and soul songs, I noticed many of the filenames were prefaced by 'Mojo club'. So I splashed out and bought this volume from Dusty Groove.

Unfortunately for me, by coincidence, this volume has three (admittedly great) tracks that I already had. There's a whole Brasilian progression, featuring Elis Regina's 'Mundo deserto', Walter Wanderley's 'sambao', and Astrud Gilberto's 'nao bate o coracao'.

Still, there are some nuggets on the rest of the compilation. The general theme is danceable, soulful pop. As you might have figured, this isn't in the mainstream of my taste, so needless to say, there are some tracks that I like a lot more than others. Perhaps the real revelation for me on this compilation is just how good the Love Unlimited Orchestra are. The track included here, 'strange games & things,' may be familiar to many, but it was new to me, and I couldn't believe how great those thick strings sound with a disco beat behind them! Fantastic stuff.

There's quite a bit of 'beaty' material on here. 'El soul condor' by Certain Lions and Tigers is great, as is Manu Dibango's 'wouri'.

I can live without Marvin Gaye's 'calypso blues', but Mary Lou Williams's 'Praise the lord' is a lot of fun, with a jerky, jivey beat and a superb gospel voiceover, with the refrain' come on and clap your hands now.'

The compilation closes with Michel Legrand's 'Maracaibo,' a superb and upbeat 60s big band soul number, very much in the vein of Quincy Jones's 'Soul bossa nova'.

This is a fun compilation; slightly too soul-oriented for my taste, but very enjoyable all the same. There are 10+ volumes in the series, and I suspect all are well worth picking up.

Interpol: 'Turn on the bright lights' (CD; Matador; 2002)
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Jonny in buying new release shocker! I bought this because these guys are apparently into some of the same 80s music as me.

'Untitled' is quite good. Very clean sounding. Slightly Joy Division, but with wimpy vocals. It also hints of Echo and the Bunnymen. It's pretty solid, and I think it will grow on me.

'Obstacle 1' (hmm, sounds like Joy Division again). His vocals sound more like Psychedelic Furs here. The guitar playing gives it a nice frenetic early New Order feel though. 'NYC' again has slightly wimpy vocals that really don't appeal to me. The guitar line is softer and gentler. 'PDA' doesn't sound like a promising name for a song. The music is quite good - dark, engergetic and rocky, actually reminding me slightly of My Dad is Dead. Here, the vocals remind me of The Wedding Present.

'Say Hello to the Angels' is a Smiths pastiche, sounding quite convincingly like an outtake from the first album (perhaps with a bit of Orange Juice thrown in). The vocal melody even sounds a bit like the verse of 'this charming man'. 'Hands Away' is slow to get going, but eventually sounds great, with a nice droney sound, augmented by strings.

'Stella was a diver and she was always down' is a simple, repetitive pop song, with nice 80s guitar sounds. It goes on too long though. I've run out of energy to list out and discuss the songs, which I guess is a signal that this isn't a classic album.

Overall, this is a nice enough album, but I can't help feeling that the band have nothing to say, and not quite enough to offer musically. They're capable of some quite cool sounds, and are really quite good. But I have a suspicion that they're not quite good enough to stick around that long. It feels unkind and unreasonable to be writing this, especially since I'm so completely out of the current music scene (in fact, this is the first 2002 release I've bought!). So I wouldn't take my comments too seriously. But as a big Smiths/Joy Division fan, this didn't completely light my fire, although bits of it are great. The first half is definitely easier to get into. The disc is playing for the second time now on my headphones, and already it sounds better. So you never know, maybe this is just a grower.

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