A Wayward Word's Worth

November 28, 2011

Review: Song Yuzhe’s waking nightmare

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 4:25 pm

Chinese avant folkster doles out haunting rhythms. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, Nov. 29 2011

Have you ever tried to remember a nightmare? That’s what Saturday night’s show at Zajia Lab bar felt like- haunting notes of distortion set to a background montage of stark, black and white photographs.

It was the sound and vision of folk experimentalist Song Yuzhe. He may be more known for banjo strumming, but much of his latest gig featured long drawn out drones from electronica instruments, his banjo strings only lacing the tunes at times. If they could be called tunes. Extended jamming might be a more fitting phrase. Song and three backing performers elicited chilling tones from their instruments, sitting crossed legged all the while, as if they were conducting a séance instead of playing in a rock show.


REVIEW: SONG YUZHE (second story)




Brimming waters along the Thai film scene

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 4:23 pm

Palme d’Or-winning director Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul wades into  his homeland’s troubled waters at a Beijing screening of his latest documentary. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijing Review, Nov. 22 2011

Today, Thailand is drowning.

Apichatpong “Joe” Weerasethakul, the country’s star auteur, has been documenting those brimming waters for years. But this fall the tides reached new heights and ravaged the Palme d’Or-winning director’s hometown of Bangkok, leaving its factories floundering, at least 500 citizens dead and many more homeless. As that flood fails to ebb Apichatpong dries his tears and embarks to Beijing’s UCCA art gallery for an unveiling of a multimedia documentary dubbed For Tomorrow, For Tonight. The exhibit, scheduled before the disaster, couldn’t be more timely; it tells the true story of Jenjira, a young Thai girl who nearly drowns again and again on the overflowing banks of the Mekong River, as if to foreshadow the capital’s current crisis.

“Interestingly, I was into the water issue before this massive flooding arose,” Apichatpong said, in an exclusive with Beijing Review, about the regularly overflowing rural Thai rivers that inspired his latest project. “The current situation opens my eyes about details in our coexistence with water. It is like our blood gone awry, like a disaster movie with a lesson.”





Review: New Pants or no pants?

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 4:17 pm

Chinese punk luminaries rock Beijing with legacy spanning show. By Kyle Mullin for the Beijinger, Nov. 21 2011

Few concerts boast a bathrobe-clad keyboardist who, just moments before stripping down, proposed to a skeleton bride and then humped it across the stage. Even less feature synth riffs played in sync with the Star Wars-style claymation videos of the musicians’ own creation. Fewer still begin with the band mates donning vintage communist tunics and marching toward their microphones, while a projector flickers rotating 3D Mao statues on transparent foreground screens.

But all of the above were highlights of New Pants’ Beijing Exhibition Theatre gig last Friday. The power punk-disco synth stars celebrated their fifteenth anniversary in rollicking style, playing hits that spanned the vast eclectic genres they’ve dabbled in over those years. The show also launched their latest album, Sex Drugs Internet.





Big Sugar show relevance with Revolution Per Minute

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 4:08 pm

From drowning cities to double neck guitars, Toronto bred blues rockers return with a deeper social conscious. By Kyle Mullin for Newfoundland’s The Telegram, Nov. 19 2011

There was nothing left for Gordie Johnson to do but literally empty his pockets. The frontman for Canadian blues rockers Big Sugar had been ambling about the freshly flood stained streets of New Orleans, when suddenly he was made to feel like the charity case.

“I was walking in the French Quarter and some dudes came up and asked for money,” Johnson said of his rough welcome to the storm addled jazz and blues haven just a few short weeks after hurricane Katrina struck.

“They wanted $10. I only had a $20, and I didn’t figure they would give me change.”

The muggers made off with the crumpled bill. Johnson was left there – sweat soaked, livid and weighing whether or not to retreat back to his adopted Texan abode. But his Big Easy adventure was far from over. In fact it had barely even begun.





November 17, 2011

A world of wonderment

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 9:59 am

Feist’s subconscious pop. By Kyle Mullin for Calgary’s FFWD Magazine, Nov. 17 2011

The synchronized dancers. The soaring rhythms. The disco-ball dazzle of her blue-sequined jumpsuit. It’s all more than familiar for the millions of fans who saw the music video and iPod commercial for Leslie Feist’s smash hit “1234” from her 2007 record The Reminder. But Feist essentially knew the steps long before they were even choreographed. She’d practically rehearsed the video’s every detail again and again at the age of 12 for her very first gig — the opening ceremonies of the Calgary Winter Olympics.

“It wasn’t until the video had been out for months that it dawned on me. I was at my mom’s house in Calgary walking up the stairs. Then, on the wall, I saw this portrait that had been taken of me when I was 12, wearing this blue sparkle suit,” she says of the 1988 costume that shared similar stitching to her music video getup. “Subconsciously, I was re-creating on my own terms the thing I had done as a kid.”





November 4, 2011

Seeding the city’s film scene

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 2:44 am

GtB film fest coordinators hope to inspire more local ecological docs with international screenings. By Kyle Mullin for The Beijinger, Nov. 3 2011

Peter Sallade is worried Beijing’s green film scene will wilt before it even has the chance to bloom.

Sallade is a coordinator for the Greening the Beige (GtB) film festival, which is backed by the local artsy ecology NGO of the same name. The event features several indie films covering a spectrum of environmental turmoil. Those entries include Renzo Zanelli’s “El Perro Del Hortelano,” which is the first movie ever written and produced by indigenous Peruvians. It focuses on natives protesting their ousting from the Amazon jungle by ravenous oil companies. The GtB roster also features “Kathmandu Troubled Water,” a Nepalese documentary detailing government mismanagement that leaves the capital’s main river stagnant and its citizens parched.

In fact, the GtB movies cover green issues in every corner of the globe- except for the very locale where the event is housed. Sallade says none of the films touch on China’s pollution problems, and not a single Beijing director submitted a film.

Liu Yusi, another coordinator for the GtB festival, says the events’ international films will hopefully seed Beijing’s documentary scene with environmentalist inspiration.





Mastodon’s beastly inspiration

Filed under: Uncategorized — kylelawrence @ 2:35 am

Metal craftsmen literally work against the grain on new album. By Kyle Mullin for The Sacramento Press, Nov. 1 2011

Amongst the buzz saw riffs lies a tale twisted as knotted lumber’s grain. It was chiselled, grinded, and chipped at until the words surrounding that deep woods howl splintered as if to catch beneath your skin.

That, at least, could be one way to look at the fresh cut tune “Curl of the Burl,” from the latest album by heavy metal craftsmen Mastodon. The song’s title refers to the bloated burr growths swelling under the bark of injured hardwood trees. Such deformities hold a special beauty to certain artisans.

“There’s a group of people in the Pacific North West… They get hopped up on meth, get in their trucks and go into the woods with their chainsaws to hunt for the burl in various trees,” Mastodon singer and bassist Troy Sanders says of the strangely gnarly prey these rabidly fiendish predators work to uproot and mow down.



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