Sunday Playlist – 20/4/14
· My Silver Lining // First Aid Kit
· Money // Peace
· Floyd // Kelis
· West Coast // Lana Del Rey
· I Won // Future feat. Kanye West
From the Vault:
· Denis // Blondie
· Inner Flight // Primal Scream
· Blue Velvet // Childhood
· The Youth // MGMT
· If I Ruled the World // Nas ft. Lauren Hill
Song of the Week:
· Stay // Willis Earl Beal
Nadia Hourihan reviews “Calvary”
Our duty to support Irish talent is often misconstrued. An absurd emphasis is focused on the Irish element of the obligation and an utterly inadequate sum is directed towards the most integral aspect: talent. For me, the Guard was an important exhibition of this talent. McDonagh and Gleeson interwove our “indomitable Irishry” into a comedy ready to strut on the world’s stage. This achievement draped their latest collaboration in heavy swathes of expectation. In addition, the admirable audacity of the concept had me as a bubble gum balloon, swollen and primed to burst with quasi-orgasmic glee.
Calvary pierces the murk of Ireland’s disillusionment with the Catholic Church to challenge our perception of the clergy. Hot, hot, hot mama that is B-O-L-D.
The opening scene establishes the plot hook. A man, unseen and unnamed, who has been violated by a member of the Church seeks to exact revenge upon a “good priest”. Gleeson grapples with this news with acidic hilarity “Well that’s certainly a startling opening line”. Yet, the premise is powerful; and undergoes grimly tender development.The isolation of the confessional shot harks back to the loneliness of film noir. The alienation of the Church is acutely felt.
Daft and irrelevant side note: The opening sequence was interrupted for me. An (endearingly?) technologically unversed old dear accepted a call mid-scene; loudly. I permitted a chuckle and expected her to terminate the call. This did not happen; rippling chortles were succeeded by vitriolic abuse. The elderly couple to my left led the charge. Their façade of respectability was splintered by their screeches to have the woman “shut the f**k up” and to “get the f**k out of the cinema”. Beware the wrath of cinephiles.
A return to relevant critique: Larry Smith’s cinematography is stunning. Perhaps cruelly pernickety, I don’t think that the montage was overly brave. Certain cuts were quite blunt. And Smith lacked the confidence to hold the long shot, diluting the metaphorical resonance of its initial employment. However, the overall brilliance is indisputable. Aerial shots (inferring the judgment of an omnipresent observer?) of the sea translate to the screen with the brutality of poetry (Pls read Matthew Arnold’s Dover Beach). Other, lingering shots of the landscape are ripe to be nabbed as artsy-sexy tourist bait for Fáilte Ireland.
The performances are equally impressive. Gleeson infuses his character with great pathos and the imperfection of humanity. Yet his comic touch is felt, and felt often. This is a funny film. Tommy (Killian Scott) from Love/Hate renders a sexually frustrated oddity hilarious. Similarly riotous is Aidan Gillen’s coke-snorting doctor, played with psychopathic flair: Eerily joyous to watch (Yes there’s coke at Sligo céilís you prude). The rest of the cast is hard to fault, except perhaps Kelly Reilly (yet I am undecided as to whether the score lays a better claim to the massacre of the emotionally drenched daddy-daughter dialogue) and Dylan Moran, whose affected dreariness dampens his comedy. The magnificence of his ultimate speech only draws greater attention to his earlier faults. Yet only a truly pedantic prick (yes that’s me) could devote any attention to such diminutive blemishes.
Eternally daft note of guidance: Bring tissues.
· Without You // Spooky Black
· My Heart is a Stone Today // Boots
· So Blonde // EMA
· Arcadia // Ramona Lisa
· Tempest // SOHN
From the Vault:
· One in a Million // Aaliyah
· Accept Yourself // The Smiths
· Household Goods // Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs
· Faces // The Yeah Yeah Yeahs
· All Falls Down // Kanye West feat. Syleena Johnson
Song of the Week:
· Here it Comes Again // The Amazing Snakeheads-this Glasgow trio have a reputation for twisted, driven, dark scuzz, which carves them a distinctive mark on the indie landscape. This track from their debut album proves no exception, with a pulsating bass under near-screaming repetition of the title.
Z is the debut label-release of SZA (Solana Rowe), who has been hailed as the future of R&B and a female counterpart to Frank Ocean following the last year’s See.SZA.Run mixtape. But this album is so sun-drenched, so effortless, no one would ever guess it was made with any sense of anticipation or pressure.
The whole thing is driven by incredible production, with spiraling, addictive synths and beats, ranging from true dancefloor pop to something altogether more sinister, from jazz –like melodies to sparing melancholy. However, the quality and enthralling atmosphere are consistent, and you never once feel in any way detached.
She opens with the slow, easy distortion of ‘Ur’, before skipping on through the chilled perfection of ‘Child’s Play’ (with a guest verse from Chance the Rapper) and ‘Julia’, her most glittery pop track. This leads into ‘Warm Winds’, arguably the defining track of the album, if only because of its variety, going from heavy thrums of synth into a gentle wind down, showing off both her vocal and lyrical prowess, as she coos “we were all 13 once, long live tramp stamps and Pepper Ann”.
She follows through with the trill of ‘Hiijack’, the dark echo and sinister lyrics of ‘Green Mile’, and the haunting ‘Babylon’, with Kendrick Lamar. The album finishes on a run of the clever, jazzy ‘Sweet november’, sparing and achingly beautiful ‘Shattered Ring’ and ‘Omega’, filled with a wistful intensity as she asks you to ‘keep your feet firmly planted in the sky’.
But despite these changes in tone, her vocals pervade every track like incense smoke, distinctive and bittersweet, making it all unmistakably hers. These are paired with often extremely dark lyrics, like a repeated cry of “crucify me”, or the image of a massacre with “bodies arriving every day”, which gives it all a sharp, sinister edge. The whole thing sounds like an overheated summer, in all its captivating dramatics.
Lydia Emily is a fine artist, muralist and street activist. As the daughter of a civil rights protester, activism runs in her blood. Her action is spurred by a life-long desire to bring awareness to the people. She creates with intention because she believes that being in the public eye comes with a profound social responsibility.
Her signature style is realistic oil portraits with political and current themes. She then translates her oil paintings into large murals in cities like New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Berlin. Lydia Emily is considered one of few prominent and prolific female street artists in a predominantly male field. In 2012 Lydia Emily founded The Karma Underground (or TKU), a not-for-profit organisation that campaigns for a free Tibet.
TKU compiled donated work from some of the biggest artists around today and projected the images at night onto the sides of San Francisco’s tallest buildings with the financial assistance of KarmaBlast and help finding locations from Wallspace SF. The roster of artists included Shepard Fairey, Saber, Eddie Colla, Sage Vaughn, Lydia Emily, Van Arno, D Young V, Paul Barron, Filth Grime, Hugh Leeman and a collab piece between Risk and Nathan Ota.
How do these artistic projections connect to their cause?
Lydia Emily explains “I believe that the work of these artists deserves to be displayed at this large scale. I also believe that art has the power to help build schools for the Tibetans.” The spontaneous and larger than life art exhibition has a shock effect on unsuspecting viewers and piques curiosity. Initially hitting Los Angeles before spreading to San Francisco, the group has been gaining momentum with artists from all over interested becoming a part of the mission.
Proceeds from these events will be donated to help build schools and facilities for Tibetans. Lydia has been asked to paint murals in Switzerland and Germany on behalf of TKU. The team will also take on New York and light up the night with the projections.