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#3010 - Tue, 06 Jun 2006 18:37:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
feline1 Offline
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Registered: Thu, 31 Oct 2002 20:00:00
Posts: 389
It did cross my mind that the sleevenotes were completely and utterly made up smile

But surely all the more fun for it?

They are not at all dissimilar from the strange list-based paragraphs you'd find in experimental JG Ballard novels (most typically "The Atrocity Exhibition"), and we all know Dennis Leigh is a fan of JG Ballard. (He got *me* reading him too! Thanks Dennis! smile

The music on "Tiny Colour Movies" is indeed so "clean" sounding that I wondered if it was all softsynths. The point is, all the sounds John has choosen are all recreations of classic analogue voltage-controlled subtractive synthesis (with the odd bit of analogue FM or additive stuff for those "steely" timbres). It's like a perfect gleaming felt tip and chrome picture.

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#3011 - Mon, 12 Jun 2006 07:28:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
birdsong Offline
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Registered: Fri, 08 Oct 2004 19:00:00
Posts: 640
Loc: southampton
I've had a few goes at this album now, so thought I'd throw my keys into the ring. I tend to scribble down a few ideas as I listen, so what follows isn't particularly coherent...

Stray Sinatra Syndrome
Massive droning synths to set the scene. Technically very crisp, perfectly defined sonic architecture. Beams of sound like notes from an electric violin notes pass between the headphones over the background, like searchlight beams traversing the starlit night sky, passing over the occasional helicopter
My loves have come, my loves have gone...
Most of what follows is in here somewhere.

Lost New York
A more melodic piece, with achingly deep bass notes. Hints of familair, unfulfilled melodies and partially glimpsed memories from an earlier period. Melancholic, fractals of heart-breaking sadness.

Kurfursturdamm
?? A tune. What?? How cool. The first 'danceable' rhythmic piece. Starts well and has cheerful upbeat presence, but the melody is too JMJ and Vangelis for my taste. Most unFoxxlike track on the album and its immediate catchiness quickly becomes annoying. Nods appreciatively to the Man Machine, while bearing more than a passing resemblance to Equinox
Though a clever attempt to be both retrospective and futuristic, this long piece ends up being not quite one or the other. As one becomes more familiar with TCM as a whole, Kurfursterdamm starts to feel uncomfortably out of place.

Skyscraper
A calming antidote. Majestic. This is a beautiful piece. Best so far.
Sweeping, oceanic. Represents the story very well, about floating above a sea of cloud.

The Projectionist
Immediately interesting change of pitch and shift of emphasis.
This is digital birdsong. Foxx at his most experimental. Does this come from Cathedral Oceans?
Tiny drops of water on a deep, silent pool. Piercing high notes. Described by Foxx as moving, grotesque and unsettling - none the worse for that. One of the most challenging pieces - a montage of beautiful, surprising and agonising sequences.

Looped Los Angeles
Again Kraftwerk, with hints of Vangelis. Immediately more accessible and there is much here to comfort the listener still reeling from the previous shocker. Unrealised though, and lacking in conviction. Weak and doesn't seem to go anywhere.
Looped, of course. Perhaps I have missed the point...

Points of departure
The first of two 'interludes' which break up the album
St Paul speaks of the tongues of angels.
Chanting obscure choral harmonies.
Strangely beautiful. Is that what Enter The Angel 2 was meant to do?

Part two begins with the epic
X-Ray Vision, a score to accompany extraordinary candid footage of public and political figures engaged in secretly filmed moments of banality. This piece is hugely melodramatic, persistant and quite disturbing in its complexity.

Smokescreen
A few melodic piano chords wander across a hazy background of drifting synths. Glimpses and echoes of fragmented sounds break the flow and the whole unnerving piece is strangely disjointed.
Stray Sinatra Syndrome, Part 2?

In Underwater Automobiles, Foxx immediately steps up the tempo and introduces a haunting piece in a higher key than all except The Projectionist. A very complex sequence of aural images to accompany grainy super 8mm film of abandoned cars on the bed of a lake. This is classic Ballardesque imagery, and classic John Foxx.

A Peripheral Character is another rhythmic piece akin to Kurfursterdamm but without the cheesy melody, and stands out as one of the albums highlights. Foxx is magnificently restrained throughout, hinting that he is about to launch into a flambouyant ARP solo from the Mysterious Ways outtakes, then cutting himself short with bursts of the spraycan sounds from Crash and Burn. Fragments, fractions. Pure Gestalt genius.

This extraordinary, damaged and curiously incomplete set closes with the alarmingly Shadow City. Echoes of windblown litter in alleyways, scuttiling rodents and twilight people.

After Interlude, a bizarre 40-second piece of curious doodlings, Foxx moves into the dark and threatening
Thought experiment
Deep thundrous rumbling bass notes that characteris TCM throughout are used to their best effect here, penetrated with clanging, bell-like notes linking short bursts of radio interference and single resonanting notes of extraordinary clarity.

Hand Held Skies is a natural follow-on, lightening the mood somewhat, but retaining the complexity. Or is that simplicity??
There are no edges here
(one of the most inspired titles Foxx has ever come up with)
Bass notes roll like thunder.
This beautiful piece is one of the most filmic.

Foxx is asking lots of questions on this album, hinting at all sorts of ideas.I can't make a conclusion about its standing alongside his other work, and that's what makes it such an interesting album.
I'm quite happy to say I misjudged it, based on a crappy quality low-res download of one of its weakest moments.
That's the thing with entering new ground isn't it? There is no-one telling which way to go for the best, and you often take a few wrong turnings. Depends where you want to end up of course, and how many of us know that when we step ou the front door? It can be a dangerous business.

Highlights? Tracks 4, 5, 10 and 11.

TinyColourMovies is as close as John's come yet to a musical map.
Sweeping highways and twisting untrodden footpaths connect familar, forgotten and fascinating places. Its up to you where you want to go and there's no obvious beginning or end. There's plenty of familar landmarks along whichever path, and a plethora of signs to take you off in a labyrinth of other directions. Pack some tea...

birdsong, 2006. Blah-di-blah

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#3012 - Mon, 12 Jun 2006 18:05:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
Alex S Offline
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Registered: Thu, 04 Nov 2004 20:00:00
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Loc: Sheffield, UK
Fantastic review, Birdsong - such accurate descriptions, perfect!

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#3013 - Tue, 13 Jun 2006 00:10:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
robert Offline
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Registered: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 20:00:00
Posts: 221
Loc: london
Brilliant review birdsong.

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#3014 - Tue, 13 Jun 2006 01:28:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
Mr Squiddy Offline
Pass level: Press

Registered: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 19:00:00
Posts: 66
Loc: Beverley, UK
A coupla thoughts:

As well as Kraftwerk and Vangelis, anyone else hear hints of J.M. Jarre?

I'd like to hear a vocal album based on the sorts of textures in this album. JF's stuff with Louis sometimes seems (to me) to be a little bit self-consciously hardcore and maybe something gentler is in order. I do so miss the passing of the time when all he had was a CR-78.

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#3015 - Tue, 13 Jun 2006 01:31:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
Mr Squiddy Offline
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Registered: Wed, 03 Aug 2005 19:00:00
Posts: 66
Loc: Beverley, UK
Quote:
Originally posted by feline1:
It did cross my mind that the sleevenotes were completely and utterly made up smile
The odd thing is, I remember watching a movie on Channel Four in the early/mid eighties which seemed to consist almost entirely of footage filmed from a moving car on urban freeways. I can't say whether it was Los Angeles but the memory did resonate with 'Looped Los Angeles'.

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#3016 - Tue, 13 Jun 2006 07:22:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
birdsong Offline
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Registered: Fri, 08 Oct 2004 19:00:00
Posts: 640
Loc: southampton
You mean like this kind of thing?

http://www.cbrd.co.uk/media/video/m45/m45-fast.mov

Its too fast and there are no other cars, but I LOVE it <img border="0" title="" alt="[Cool]" src="cool.gif" />

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#3017 - Thu, 13 Jul 2006 23:24:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
Dadge Offline
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Registered: Tue, 18 Jan 2005 20:00:00
Posts: 203
Loc: Birmingham, England
When I got TCM I put up a quick review on Amazon, calling TCM John's first instrumental album. Since then a couple of other reviewers have taken me to task, saying I'm talking BS. But surely Cathedral Oceans can't be classed as instrumental albums? Translucence/Drift Music _is_ instrumental, but that was a collaboration.

A

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#3018 - Thu, 13 Jul 2006 23:33:00 Re: Tiny Colour Movies - reviews (spoilers!)
birdsong Offline
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Registered: Fri, 08 Oct 2004 19:00:00
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Loc: southampton
I think you're quite right. CO is definitely NOT instrumental

And don't you go calling Cathedral Oceans 'ambient' music either!... wink (I know you didn't, but just in case)

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