Known to millions of Dutch children as the chase music in Bassie en Adriaan, Mike Oldfield's avant garde rock classic Tubular Bells is forty years old this year. Largely a one man creation, with Mike Oldfield himself playing most of the instruments from bass guitar to tubular bells, a small army of friends was assembled for the BBC performance of the album's A side. [more inside]
Step Across the Border (previously, link now broken) "as long as I was playing in a band I didn't have to actually go out there and talk to girls and dance, I could just be on stage and watch everybody else doing it". The critically acclaimed music documentary on Fred Frith, written and directed by Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel (amazon link). It is also available in 8 parts, on youtube. [more inside]
Punkcast is a long running series of videos of live underground music in NYC shot by Joly MacFie. Each video is usually one song. The Internet Archive hosts its videos and offers downloads in a variety of formats. MacFie also has a YouTube channel with 480 videos and a video podcast [iTunes link, feedburner link]. Here are a few bands that caught my fancy: The Icicles and The Besties, The Slits (1, 2 ), Andrew W. K., Oneida (1, 2), The Long Blondes, The Gossip, Acid Mothers Temple & Cosmic Inferno, Art Brut, Be Your Own Pet, Cansei de Ser Sexy, Lesbians on Ecstasy, The Fall, Fred Frith, Rose Melberg and Jennifer O'Connor, The Horrors, The Homosexuals, Bat for Lashes, Radio 4 and Teddybears, Kimya Dawson and Tiny Masters of Today, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Nikki Sudden.
Its animated-type opening credits set the tone - and when, soon after, Jonas Mekas stumbles in, explaining his version of the butterfly-wing theory, you know this is a different kind of rock-movie. Nicolas Humbert and Werner Penzel's 1990 music film "Step Across the Border" matches 35mm black&white cinema direct to several seasons of poly-instrumentalist Fred Frith's round-the-globe improvisational jams (with the likes of Joey Baron, Iva Bitová, Arto Lindsay, John Zorn and others). A big-wig at Cahiers du Cinema has it in his top-ten - now you can watch this masterpiece of visual jazz online (or do yourself a favour and get the DVD). (Thanks to Vincent Moon for the heads-up.)