THOMAS PATTERSON talks with ADAM GREEN about Aladdin and its inspirations
Perhaps more than any other city, New York is renowned for its experimental and underground filmmaking, from the riotous celluloid outpourings of Jack Smith to the avant-garde creations of Shirley Clarke, Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage. And more often than not, where far-out filmmakers go, wild and wonderful music can be found – think Andy Warhol and his Velvet Underground, or Harry Smith, famed for his Anthologies Of American Folk Music, who spent years working on his masterwork Mahagonny from his room at The Chelsea Hotel.
The apex of this underground film and music interchange came with the No Wave scene of the late ’70s and early ’80s, when likeminded filmmakers and musicians came together on the lower East Side to spew forth a glorious alternative movement which has rarely been equaled. Celebrated filmmakers like Jim Jarmusch and Susan Seidelman emerged from the slums of NYC into the wider cinematic world, whilst notorious and outré shock merchants Nick Zedd, Richard Kern and Lydia Lunch – inspired by the works of Baltimore’s John Waters – spearheaded the Cinema of Transgression, No Wave’s snotty cousin. The soundtrack, meanwhile, was provided by the denizens of CBGBs and The Mudd Club, from Debbie Harry to James Chance and The Contortions to a fledgling Sonic Youth and beyond. Alas, rising rents and gentrification, coupled with mainstream success, sounded the death knell for the No Wave movement, and its anarchic spirit seemed forever lost.
Thankfully Adam Green, acclaimed singer-songwriter and one time member of anti-folk act The Moldy Peaches, is here to pick up the reins with his wild and wonderful new film Aladdin. A very lose reimagining of the panto tale, Aladdin is a colourful labour of love, self-financed for $250,000 in a Brooklyn warehouse, set in a papier mâché world with papier mâché props, inspired by the filmmakers like Robert Downey Sr, and Alejandro Jodorowsky. As Green says, “I guess Holy Mountain was one of my biggest influences. Jodorowsky, he’s probably my biggest inspiration of all.”
Aladdin also features a semi-all star cast that includes Natasha Lyonne, Penn Badgley, Devendra Banhart and Mr. Home Alone himself, Macaulay Culkin – according to Green, the man who acted as a satellite for other talent to jump in and help Green realise his unique vision. Read more Never Lift A Finger – Adam Green’s modern reinterpretation of No Wave
Islands In Space, the 1981 Canadian private press LP from LightDreams has just been reissued for the first time. Reviewed in the forthcoming Shindig! Issue #56 and achieving an elusive 5 star rating, the album is a hugely impressive sonic treat, all the more astonishing as it was recorded on such primitive equipment. LightDreams virtuoso, PAUL MARCANO, spoke to AUSTIN MATTHEWS about the album
Shindig!: Was there a sense of trying to “paint a picture” with Islands In Space?
Paul Marcano: I come from a long genetic line of visual artists, but perhaps psychedelics helped in the cross-talk of “synaesthesia”, where my music and lyrics do tend to provoke visual elements. This is most evident in the work I’ve recently completed on a virtual reality visualisation of the album for the Oculus Rift (a VR headset). Read more LightDreams – 1981 Canadian Press Oddness
Win one of these beauties in the forthcoming Shindig! Readers Survey 2016
Not only does DAB sound great (with 10 presets) on this small box, but podcasts and internet radio are simple to access once logged into your home network too. I don’t have Spotify Premium, so have haven’t tested that, but I can say that streaming music from iTunes via Bluetooth is easy and gives great results. Although only mono the drivers in the speaker give more than enough of a punch in the sound department. It’s powerful, punchy, loud and certainly good enough for listening whilst cooking or washing-up; more than enough, in fact. Although not possessing sound quite as decent as Bose’s Soundlink Mini – which, of course, is only a bluetooth speaker – Pure give the buyer more than enough for the cost of this great little multi-tasker.
Internet radio is certainly the way things are heading, and it’s very easy to use. The Evoke F3 has access to thousands of internet only stations and the BBC podcasts. Having another bluetooth speaker is also another major plus. If you have a Bose Soundlink in the bedroom and want to continue playing music from your iPhone in the kitchen, this little box does the job admirably.
To win one of these all you have to do will be to provide your answers to the Shindig! Readers’ Survey which will be sent out to those on our newsletter and accessible here on Monday May 16th via our Reader Survey tab.
If you aren’t subscribed to our newsletter, it’s certainly worth doing now. Not only will you receive the monthly newsletter, you’ll also get the survey directly into your mailbox. Sign up here.
PAUL OSBORNE remembers one of music’s true giants with help from The Muppets
Prince 1958 – 2016
June 1990, Wembley Arena, and the 15-year-old me has just had his mind blown by one of the greatest entertainers of our age. Having worn out my VHS tapes of the 1988 Lovesexy tour, to see Prince Rogers Nelson on stage was truly a thing of wonder for me, and given the sad news of his passing yesterday is a memory to be cherished. Although his recorded output over the latter years of his career had been patchy, the run of albums he released between ’83’s 1999 and ’88’s Lovesexy cut a unique path through the wasteland of gated drums and synthetic sheen of ’80s music, channelling The Beatles, James Brown, Hendrix and creating a sound and look all of his own.
A fiercely independent musical spirit, Prince made music that was inventive, funky and at times downright weird. For proof look no further then acid-fuelled masterpiece that was ’87’s quickly withdrawn Black Album. Hard to imagine a modern day million selling pop star even coming close to the creepy pimp narrative of ‘Bob George’ (“Prince! That skinny muthafucka with the high up voice!”) or twisted psych-party funk of ‘Superfunkycalifragisexy’ with its references to squirrel meat and masturbation. 1987’s career high point Sign Of The Times showcased the brilliance of his talent, covering social commentary (the title track), JB-esque funk (‘Housequake’), childlike psych-pop (‘Starfish & Coffee’) and dark paranoid soul (the brilliant ‘If I Was Your Girlfriend’) and veered between rich layered textures and stark guitar and drum sounds. The accompanying movie remains the concert film that all others should be judged against.
To see Prince live was to understand the true measure of his talent. Whether shredding on his guitar, running up and down scales on a grand piano or pulling off dance moves that left you blushing, he worked the stage and his instruments with an effortless ease that left you open mouthed. Like Bowie he remained an enigma right until the end, a truly individual talent the likes of which we’re never likely to see again.
One of the last great entertainers of our age has left us, and the world is a slightly duller place.