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Reviews Written by
Gavin B. (St. Louis MO)

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Fragments Of A Rainy Season
Fragments Of A Rainy Season
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 93.95
12 used & new from CDN$ 19.98

5.0 out of 5 stars "Rainy Seasons" Showcases Cale, the Minimalist, June 30 2004
Fragments of A Rainy Season" has graced my CD player more than any other album in the twelve years since it's release. This is the after-hours incarnation of John Cale, not the menacing sabatouer personna that Cale created for himself in the Seventies. This live album focuses on all of Cale's strengths, his lyrical song craft, his tender and anguished voice, his instumental wizardry and his larger-than-life stage presence.
"Rainy Seasons" is ample evidence that Cale's post-Velvet career has outlasted those of his bandmates, even Lou Reed. Cale has always maintained his avant gardist sensibility while Lou Reed, for better or worse, has stuck with his original black leather, NYC street hustler image that marked his Velvet Underground years. Cale's back catalog is a wealth of undiscovered treasures. What is most striking about this live performance is the passion and immediacy Cale brings to all of his classics. It's a revelation that Cale's music is better suited to this accoustic format, because his strikingly original classically influenced piano is not drowned out in a wall of guitar noise. In performances with a band, Cale generally sticks with a guitar, which he doesn't play with nearly as much conviction as piano.Cale's expressive voice simply works better with a piano.
I own most of Cale's albums and the three career retrospectives of his work. I like "Rainy Seasons" better than all of them because this live recording proves that Cale's music stands on the strength of his songwritting and doesn't need a lot of orchestration or post-production "enchancement" to work. The additional tracks that have been piggy-backed onto the original 1992 release make this CD a real dollar value.

The Narrows
The Narrows
by Michael Connelly
Edition: Hardcover
90 used & new from CDN$ 0.41

5.0 out of 5 stars In the Best Tradition of Classic Noir, June 25 2004
This review is from: The Narrows (Hardcover)
Any character named after the great surrealist painter Hieronoymous Bosch will automatically get my attention. The fact that Harry Bosch has exquisite taste in music, leaning toward 1950s bebop jazz, almost gets me liking the guy. What wins me over is that Harry Bosch is an anti-cop, anti-hero in the best tradition of the hard-boiled noir mysteries. He is a post-modern version of Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe or Dash Hamiett's Sam Spade, the tough guy exsisitential detective in a corrupt world where there is little difference between ethics of the cops and the killers. Los Angeles with it's phony glitz and glamour amid sqaulor and depravity is the setting of choice for many of the classic noir novels of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Los Angeles with kitschy pizazz, movie moguls, noveau riche, and fatal beauties is all things American.
Michael Connelly has done a fantastic job of developing Harry Bosch's character in the 12 years of the police procedurals he's written for this series. From the first Bosch novel, "Black Echo" where we met Bosch, Vietnam vet tunnel rat turned LAPD dectective who's bumped from the L.A. homicide to the lowly Beverly Hill precinct. Bosch was created in the LAPD world of police chief Darryl Gates...a world where corruption, brutality and incompetence puts a cop on the fast track to career stardom. Harry is the "loser" who retains his ethics and is branded the malcontent by his commanders, internal affairs and public relations. Each of Connelly's Bosch novels in addition to a well plotted mystery with red herrings and endless crime scene intrepetations, inevitably presents Bosch's endless career dilemmas which have become a subplot unto themselves. It's hard being an ethical detective in the mold of Phillip Marlowe, when you're working with a bunch of Mark Fuhrmans, the infamous O.J. Simpson detective with "racial issues." In 2003's "City of Bones" Harry Bosch walked away from LAPD after a 20 year career of fighting off the jackals of the LAPD bureaucracy.
"The Narrows: A Novel" not only finds Bosch retired but also is the return of Rachel Walling, FBI agent and her arch-enemy the Poet, a serial killer obessed with the works of Edgar Allan Poe. What brings Bosch out of retirement and back in the homicide game is the death of his associate and friend retired F.B.I. special agent extrodinare Terry McCaleb, who following "Blood Work" was living in bliss on his sailboat. In Michael Connelly's world all of characters interact in supporting roles, so a connection with any of Connelly's primary character means you will enventually run into serial characters in overlapping or interlocking roles. Rachel Walling is the primary character in "The Narrows" and Bosch is relegated a critical but supporting role. Walling the hunter of killers has now become prey for the Poet. A recommended prerequsite to reading "The Narrows" is reading "The Poet" which is Connelly's most expansive mystery, in which the Poet, former F.B.I. agent Bob Backus is introduced. Much of Connelly's lore involving the worlds of Harry Bosch, Rachel Walling and Terry McCaleb is set forth in this pivotal novel. "The Narrows" does just fine as a stand alone novel but reading "The Poet" makes it more enjoyable. "The Narrows", despite a supporting role by Bosch, will delight Connelly fans and newcomers alike.
I'm hoping, that Connelly doesn't make the mistake of ending the Harry Bosch series, because Bosch is such an intriguing and complex character. I've read a lot of mysteries with recurring characters, but Harry Bosch with all of his internal conflicts and contradictions has a special place in my heart. Perhaps he could write some "prequel" novels which cover Bosch's early cases, prior to 1992's "Black Echo." I'm certain fans of Connelly wouldn't object.

Price: CDN$ 22.52
30 used & new from CDN$ 2.08

5.0 out of 5 stars Escondida: One of the Best Releases of 2004, June 17 2004
This review is from: Escondida (Audio CD)
"Escondida" has become to me what Nora Jones' debut album was a couple years ago...a constant visitor to my CD player in the after hours of on the right side of midnight. Jolie Holland sings in sleepy Texas drawl that often understates her command of blues and jazz singing. Some have compared her languorous phrasing to that of jazz great Billie Holiday. Jolie's talent is common to most great interpreters of jazz, she knows how to savor precisely the right syllables and words to craft her own distinctive style. Like Ma Rainey or Billie Holliday, she understands that style is as much about what you don't sing, as what you sing.
Jolie Holland was a co-founder of the Vancouver based female performing group, The Be Good Tanyas. As talented as her colleagues in the Tanyas are, I always found myself eagerly awaiting the 3 or 4 songs Jolie sang when I listened to the group. Both of Ms. Holland's solo albums, like the Tanyas, are rootsy statements without the clutter of post-production enhancements. The CD almost sounds like a lost relic from a well recorded Library of Congress field session from the 1950s or 1960s.
All twelve of the songs on "Escondida" have deep roots in the blues, jazz and traditional folkways of American and European music. One song, "Mad Tom of Bedlam" is as reworking of old British Isle folk tune about the 15th century Bethlehem Insane Asylum (popularly nicknamed Bedlam)in London. Jolie reworks the lyrics and the ancient Celtic music to shape "Bedlam" into bluesy ballad. "Faded Coat of Blue" is a civil war tune and an ironic comment on the patriotism of "Rally Round the Flag Boys." All of the songs written by Ms. Holland have the evoke the front porch familiarly of public domain songs. "Old Fashioned Morphine" is clever reworking of Blind Willie Johnson's "Wade In the Water", an ancient gospel tune she subverts into praise for the joys of opiated living (with a disclaimer for taking her metaphor too seriously). The lyrical elegance of "Sascha" and "Poor Girl's Blues" reveal Jolie Holland's considerable gift for poetry. There timeless quality of her songwriting that invites comparisons to fellow roots music composers like Lucinda or Gillian. "Escondida" is one of those rare CDs that will improve with age like a fine vintage wine. It's one of the best releases in 2004, and a vintage to savor for many years to come.

Offered by Music-Shop-US
Price: CDN$ 21.89
40 used & new from CDN$ 0.49

4.0 out of 5 stars High Expectations For Ambulance Ltd, June 10 2004
This review is from: Lp (Audio CD)
The Brooklyn based Ambulance Ltd. is the current band of the moment in the Big Apple and I caught their act at Rothko's on Suffolk St. recently. Like their NYC predecessors, Ambulance plays well crafted pop music with the studied cool and irony that has defined quintessential New York rock and roll, since the rise of the Velvets in the mid-1960s. Their swirling, shimmering guitar dialog recalls that of Kevin Shields whose exquisite use of guitar distortion became the trademark sound of My Bloody Valentine in the 1990s. It would not be accurate, however, to place Ambulance in the legion of shoegazing bands that My Bloody Valentine spawned in the mid 1990s. The drum and bass section of Ambulance is far too muscular to allow the guitars to drift into the transcendental figure eight circular guitar crossfire patterns that My Bloody Valentine used so effectively to mezmerize their audiences.
There is a motherlode of well calculated hooks that draw the listener in, but Ambulance, like their hometown peers the Strokes, stay far enough left of center on the artistic Bell Curve to avoid sell-out backlash from bohemian critics. What Ambulance lacks is the well defined line-of-sight that bands, like the Strokes have crafted into an artistic vision. This will emerge as Ambulance Ltd. gains experience as a performing unit. Ambulance will have the inevitable rendezvous with destiny and this talented band will soon be under contract to a major record label, barring any number of unforseen disasters that confront an embryonic rock band. Ambulance has all the earmarks of the rare pedigree of a great rock bands, but greater bands have stumbled for lack of artistic direction. It's...uh, like...the vision thing, ya know?
In all fairness to Ambulance, I confess that their CD is among my favorite releases, in an otherwise moribund year (2004) for "alternative" or independent music releases. I struggled mightly over giving "Ambulance Ltd" a 4 or 5 star rating and when I realized this band is probably capable of eclipsing the music of this first release with their next album, I gave it 4 stars. My illogical logic is based upon my unreasonably high expectations Ambulance Ltd's future, and in the best of all worlds, I could give it the 4.8 stars it deserves.
Finally I notice a couple of negative reviewers insinuated that those who write a positive review of this album are probably associated with the band. For them, here's my personal statement of disclosure (Journalism 101): I have am not and have never been associated with Ambulance or their record label, either in a business or personal relationship.

70th Birthday Concert (2CD)
70th Birthday Concert (2CD)
Price: CDN$ 23.79
25 used & new from CDN$ 13.70

5.0 out of 5 stars 70th Birthday Concert Brings Back the Mayall Magic, June 8 2004
John Mayall was already the elder statesman of the British blues revival when Eric Clapton, a refugee from the Yardbirds, joined Mayall's Bluesbreakers in 1965. Mayall celebrated his 70th birthday in 2003 and this two disc, 19 song compliation is a persuasive reminder that Mayall still can righfully claim his royalty as leader of the most enduring British blues band and a singular performer in his own right.
Mayall performs a set of music with his current line-up, a short set with Mick Taylor, and final set with Eric Clapton and Chris Barber. Tribute concerts, like this, look good on paper but frequently are mediocre because the guest musicians usually play on autopilot and sleep walk their way through a set-list of songs they hoped to never play again, or, worse, had just plain forgotten the chops. This is not the case with Mayall and this Bluesbreaker 70th Birthday Tribute. These highly esteemed musicians pull out all the stops for the man who, in most cases, mentored them, offered his guidance and showcased each of these great musicians at the threshold of their lifelong devotion to playing American blues.
When Clapton launches into his early blues signature song,"Hideaway", a Freddy King instumental, it's elementary observation that Clapton is nearly incapable of playing anything without using his searing slow-handed tension/release style he prefected as a Bluesbreaker. I always thought Mick Taylor should have never played second guitar to Keith Richards in the Rolling Stones. Taylor was just too good a guitarist to play second fiddle to anyone. Mick has stayed under the radar since leaving the Stones in 1975. It's great to reappreciate Mick Taylor's enternally lingering single note sustains and expressive tonality of his Fender slide guitar, as he plays with as much conviction as he did at 19 years old in his debut on John Mayall's Bluesbreaker Crusade album. You will not hear any better sixties British blues revival music than the 19 live-wired perfomances on "70th Birthday Concert".
The band plays so many encores that a gaggle of cops show up to cite the band for breaking curfew law. The Bluesbreaker crew plays on in defiance of the constabulary, and Mayall wryly remarks to the crowd, "It's okay we'll pay all the fines latter." That's what the blues is all about, folks. It's John Mayall's best album in thirty years and is highly recommended as one of the best live music performance CDs of the new millenium.

Rock 'n' Roll
Rock 'n' Roll
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 60.95
5 used & new from CDN$ 48.05

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World's Greatest Rock and Roll Band, June 6 2004
This review is from: Rock 'n' Roll (Audio CD)
It defies conventional wisdom that the Mekons are among the sole survivors of the post-punk revolution of the early 1980s. (Well, maybe not... Manchester's New Order is still around) The Mekons' first album in 1979 "Quality of Mercy Is Not Strnen" sounded like an amateurish imitation of their heroes and mates in Leeds UK, the Gang of Four. Yet, when the incendiary Gang of Four, whose explosive performances are stuff of legends, abruptly imploded in the mid-Eighties, the Mekons endured. Jon Langford, major Mekon brainiac, never appeared to be dug in for a multi-decade marathon run for the Mekons. It just sorta happened that way.
In the early Eighties, Langford and the Mekons began to develop carefully crafted but ramshackle live signature sound, and devoted cult of followers formed on the basis their rowdy and often drunken live performances. The Mekons made the unlikely decision to relocate from England to Chicago Illinois and to embrace American roots music, most notably country and western. The Mekons introduced new and highly engaging performers, like vocalist Sally Timms and fiddler Suzie Honeyman, into their freewheeling collective which added definition and musical muscle to their sound. At the time when this album, "Rock and Roll" was released the Mekons were 10 years old which probably be around the age of 40 calculated in rockstar years, given the 2 year life expectancy of most rock and roll bands.
The Mekons, at ten years, were still so hopelessly obscure that I had to "special order" this album in 1989 when it was a new release. I didn't live in Podunk either, this was in Boston Massachusetts, folks! The only notoriety the Mekons has achieved in ten years was that they were the darlings of a handful of New York music critics, which is frequently the kiss of death, rather than the springboard to a successful career. The Mekons should have been dead and buried by 1989, according to conventional wisdom....but the Mekons have always defied conventional wisdom and have become the rare rock and roll band that has refused to; either, crash and burn, or, age into a irrelevant, laughable parody of themselves. For this reason the Mekons are arguably the world's greatest rock and roll band and "Rock and Roll" may well be their most artistic album.
"Rock and Roll" is interesting because we see the Mekons at a juncture in their career that defines their musical direction for the next 15 years. No band that is ten years old is supposed to make an album this good. "Empire of the Senseless" is an angry anthem aimed at the apathy of the Reagan/Elder Bush years. The Mekons steadfastly refused to amend their passionate anti-capitalist stance, even as leftist politics had long been declared DOA by a generation of cynics who viewed political engagement as just another target for fashionably ironic humor. "Amnesia" with it's "I forgot to forget to remember" chorus, uses irony to attack irony, that is, if you forget historical context, you are simply a vacuous apologist for all the misdeeds that you are cynical about. The Mekons are almost too clever for their own good, because few listeners fully connect all the dots to appreciate the sophistication of Jon Langford's political/cultural musings. Sally Timms' plaintive vocal on "Club Mekon" makes it appear, at first, to be a lament about the growing decadence of music club culture, but a closer listening reveals "Club Mekon" to be, not only a thinly veiled attack on consumerism, but on a deeper level, "Club Mekon" is a meditation on America's refusal to "grow-up" and accept the fact that aging is inevitable and no one can stay young forever. "Darkness Has The Power" celebrates William Blake's path of excess to wisdom, but Langford takes it one step further: maybe darkness and light are the same thing, because light does not exist without darkness. Perhaps the Faustian deal with the devil, is actually a transaction with an angel that will save your soul instead of dooming it.
"Rock and Roll" with all of it's musical and philosophical nuances remains, song per song, the Mekon's most cohesive statement as a band. The Mekons still remain well below the radar of the musical mainstream after 25 years of brilliance. I stopped proselytizing and trying to convince my friends to listen to the Mekons, about 10 years ago. Clearly the message of Mekons is lost to most people. I will say it here, where it's most likely that I'm preaching to the choir.....The Mekons are the world's greatest rock and roll band and if you don't "get it" by now, you probably never will.

The Very Best Of
The Very Best Of
Price: CDN$ 19.35
45 used & new from CDN$ 5.87

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Marvin Gaye Retrospective, June 5 2004
This review is from: The Very Best Of (Audio CD)
It took Motown nearly 20 years to finally get it right, and release the first career spanning collection of Marvin Gaye's music. It begs the question one question, however: what took them so long? Marvin Gaye was arguably the most influential rhythm and blues artist of his generation and this moderately priced 29 track double C.D. is the best retrospective of Gaye's work. It is the only "Best of" CD that will aquaint the casual fan with the scope of Marvin's career. There are some unreleased treats for the collector, but the avid fan will want it because it's the first comprehensive set of Marvin's hits since the refinement of digital technology. Many of Marvin's early hits were actually mixed through car radio speakers, so they would sound good on an AM car radio, which was the primary method of marketing music in the early sixties. The muddy mixes of many of Marvin's early hits are cleaned up, and the upper and lower registers of don't "bleed" into mid range sounds.
Marvin Gaye acquired and lost three monetary fortunes during his 23 year musical career. Each time Marvin was confronted with failure, he successfully reinvented himself and gained an even wider following. He became the first black popular music performer to gain complete artistic control over his work, which laid a blueprint for independence to guide other black artists, most notably fellow Motown musician, Stevie Wonder. Marvin Gaye introduced topical and political commentary into his music with his transcendental 1971 album, "What's Going On." Curtis Mayfield may have predated Gaye in the use of social commentary, but no album produced, before or since, has carried the stunning immediacy of "What's Going On." It has become an artistic benchmark by which all other musical accomplishments have been measured.
"The Very Best of Marvin Gaye" doesn't overlook any aspect of Marvin's multifaceted career. The dapper young star of the Motown stable with a string of AM radio hits, his successful pairing with Tami Terrell and Kim Weston for duet albums, his stellar 1970s career as both a protest artist and singer of jazz infused love ballads and his final incarnation as the sleek singer of "Sexual Healing" in his trademark smoking jacket. Marvin Gaye lived in an era that produced the most talented rhythm and blues singers in history. In the ten year span from 1963 until 1973 artists like Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, and Al Green were either emerging or established performers.
Despite all of his personal demons, Marvin Gaye's career spanned well into the 1980s, when most of his peers from the golden age of soul had either died prematurely or had developed a formulatic approach by using the same production template for every album. Marvin refused to use a cookie cutter approach. Marvin Gaye wasn't afraid of taking chances, reinventing himself and redefining his artistry.

Irish Heartbeat
Irish Heartbeat
Offered by @ ALLBRIGHT SALES @
Price: CDN$ 122.99
10 used & new from CDN$ 42.71

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Ridiculous If You Don't Own This, May 26 2004
This review is from: Irish Heartbeat (Audio CD)
As funny man Jack Black once said in "High Fidelity", "It's ridiculous if you don't own this album." ....and that goes double for those who are fans of Van Morrison or Celtic music. "Irish Heartbeat" was a landmark album because it was the first attempt by Celtic traditionalists, The Chieftains, to collaborate with well known popular music singers. Contrary to the complaints of a few "critics", (aye, me friends, they are likely to be agents of the Royal Ulster Constabulary), Paddy and his lads from Dublin do some of their most inspired playing behind Van's soulful crooning. It is a snapshot of Van Morrison riding the crest of his longest wave of artistic success. Arguably the five year period between 1985 and 1990 was the most sustained upward arc of the long and frequently mercurial career of Morrison. The line-up of the Chieftains is also their most musically accomplished grouping in their long 40 plus year history. The six man Chieftain unit on "Irish Heartbeat" played together longer than all other editions of the group combined.
When I first purchased "Irish Heartbeat" in 1988, I confess I did so with a great deal of trepidation. I've never been a fan of collaborative albums by "superstar" musicians. Frequently these albums bring out the worst performance impulses of the musicians. Too often these collaborations becomes a game of musical brinkmanship where musicians play against each other for dominance; or even worse, in an attempt to accommodate each other, musicians play from a banal template, rather than risk being branded a "solo hog" or a "glory hound". I had seen both the Chieftains and Van Morrison live and had nightmarish visions of Van dropping to the floor and lurching into one of his signature stream of consciousness "soul raps" with the clueless Chieftains trying to "get funky with the rhythm." Of course, it didn't work out that way because the collaboration between Van and the Chieftains turned out to be one of those rare matches improved the performance of all the musicians. As it turned out Morrison had considerable depth in his in his renderings of these Celtic standards, but the real surprise is how readily the Chieftains can push Van into some of the most impassioned vocals he's ever done.
Almost every song on "Irish Heartbeat" is a traditional Celtic songs but Morrison's unique treatment of them, make them sound as if he wrote them. Moloney and Morrison, as co-producers, made the right decision to showcase Van's vocals, but the Chieftains sound so comfortable with Morrison's idiosyncratic vocals, it's as if they had been backing him for years. The flute and pipes with the intertwining of stings are sparse enough to give adequate space for Morrison's voice to wander. Morrison is not a traditional "pure" Irish tenor, but he brings his considerable skill at interpreting American rhythm and blues to great effect. Though the music stays traditional, Morrison's unorthodox vocals breathes a fresh perspective into the familiar classics. High points include Van's wickedly hedonistic interpretation of "Marie's Wedding" over the irresistible pulse of Kevin Conneff's Bodhran drum. The "Star of County Down" a frequent set list song for the Chieftains never dazzled as much as on "Irish Heartbeat." The real revelation is the old Irish drinking song "Carrickfergus". This ballad of the tribulations of the drinking class is sung with such searing melancholy by Morrison that it will bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. Morrison's plaintive yet passionate rendition of "Carrickfergus" is the high point of an album that is the benchmark by which great accomplishments in both pop and folk music should be measured.

NEW Elling (DVD)
NEW Elling (DVD)
Offered by stephensstuff
Price: CDN$ 29.95
8 used & new from CDN$ 11.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Elling" Transcends the Stereotypes, May 23 2004
This review is from: NEW Elling (DVD) (DVD)
"Elling" is the first film I've ever seen that transcends the popular film industry stereotypes and portrays people with mental illness as fully functioning three dimensional people, with both emotional and intellectual motivations as characters in a film. The prevailing "Hollywood" characterizations of mental illness seems to use three templates to portray mentally ill characters: 1) the over-the-top violent sociopath who is a dangerous predatory beast i.e...Hannibal the Cannibal; 2) the unstable visionary savant who can hardly function but is either intellectually brilliant or has or possesses some sort of supernatural power to compensate i.e...Russell Crowe in "Beautiful Mind" or Dustin Hoffman in "Rainman". or, 3) the loveable, laughable, whacky lunatic who can't fit into society and is a walking time-bomb i.e...Jack Nicholson in "Cuckoo's Nest."
This adaptation of Norwegian writer Ingvar Ambjorsen's best selling novel is a nuanced view of the lives of two mentally ill wards of the state as they struggle to adapt to living as roommates; and they try to make sense of often puzzling and arbitrary codes of "normal" social behavior. At times it is hilarious, but just as Director Peter Naess lures you into a warm and fuzzy feeling, he gives you a glimpse at the simmering rage of his main characters Elling and Kjell. Having worked as a case worker for transitional mental health patients, I can say that "Elling" is the only film I've ever seen that "gets it right" and doesn't approach the subject of mental illness in a condescending or derivative manner. Elling and Kjell aren't lovable loonies or dangerous whackos from central casting. There is a great deal of humor in "Elling" but none of it is used to demean or stereotype the principal characters. When a young punk poet, in bondage gear and Kiss whiteface screams his menacing poetry at a coffee house, it causes an anxiety attack for Elling...but it also begs the question, "Who's the crazy one, here?."
The brilliance of "Elling",however is the two actors who play Elling and Kjell. Per Christian Ellefsen (as Elling) is a fascinating and gentle soul in a constant struggle to keep his obsessions, agoraphobia and anti-social tendencies from consuming him. His sense of equilibrium is threatened by a trip to the grocery store or even picking up the phone and talking. On the other hand, Sven Nordin (as Kjell) is a hulking and affable man (think Gerard Depardieu) who is prone to wild mood swings that lead to socially inappropriate behavior. Kjell's innocence leads him to unwittingly make remarks to women which are regarded as inappropriate in polite society. Kjell is more than capable of a loving , caring sexual relationship but doesn't have the social skills to establish rapport with a female.
As the film progress the two roommates are slowly transformed into fully functional people, albeit, people who still have a lot of problems, but now have the tools to adapt to the perplexing world of social norms. Elling's friendship with elderly bohemian intellectual who shares his passion for poetry provides him with self confidence in his own tentative attempt to write poetry. Kjell's friendship as an informal caretaker for an upstairs neighbor develops into a romantic relationship, as the her pregnancy from a prior lover progresses. Kjell realizes he loves the woman and will help her care for the child as if the child was his own flesh and blood. Both Elling and Kjell anchor each other's erratic behaviors in ways that the viewer never anticipates, and they are often stunned by thier own abilty to say the right thing at the right time, to keep their roommate from spinning out of control. It's a inspiring form of peer therapy.
It is the intriguing and often quirky relationship between our two roommates, Elling and Kjell, that brings the magic to this film. Per Christian and Sven played the principal roles in the stage play of "Elling"; so if you sense that they bring a sense familiar comfort to their acting chemistry, it's because they've shared the stage for hundreds of performances as Elling and Kjell. This movie production of Elling was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2001, and is shot entirely in Oslo Norway which is a captivating and under used European film location.

Sexadelic Dance Party
Sexadelic Dance Party
Offered by Vanderbilt CA
Price: CDN$ 47.95
9 used & new from CDN$ 21.92

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 Kool 4 U, Daddy-O!, May 20 2004
This review is from: Sexadelic Dance Party (Audio CD)
Hipness has come full circle with the rise in popularity of vintage Sixties and Seventies exotica film soundracks. Some of the veteran studio musicians play on these sountracks and do so with abandon and laser-like percision. It's a rare opprotunity to hear usually staid studio hands playing with an over-the-top enthusiasm they seldom have a chance to display. Hired studio guns have a thankless task when they back well known singers. The producer usually orders them to stay in the background and cheeky solos are regarded as taboo, for fear of upstaging the "artiste" who is paying them handsomely for their time.
"The Vampyros Lesbos Sexadelic Dance Party" is an example just how good it can get when these expert musicians are allowed to rip. Beatnick hipster arrangements with plenty of tempo shifts and thematic improvisation. Blaring Stax horn sections, wild psychedelic fuzz box guitar, jazzy organ runs, strutting funkadelic drum and bass, and an occasional glockenspiel or sitar for freakout effect. Composers Manfred Hubler and Siegfred Schwab toss this melange of styles into a Cusinart blender and hit the "puree" botton. The musicans of Vampyros Lesbos play lounge jazz, funk, psychedelica, mambo, samba, europop, ethnic music, rock and roll and just plain old kitsch with equal facility. This isn't schlock however... the music here is straight from cool cat school of pop fusion as practiced by Serge Gainsboro, Lee Hazelwood, Jimmy Webb,Ennio Morricone and the great Fellini sountrack composer, Nino Rota. Granted, Hubler and Schwab's soundtracks freely borrowed from other sources, but the final product was a fascinating pastiche of the great popular music of their era.
Detractors of exotica soundtracks often berate them as background music written for go-go dance parties or sordid sex scenes. Man!...those cats just can't dig it. They should buy a one-way ticket back to Squaresville and do the funky chicken til the cows come home.

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