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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Leftovers: October 2012

Leftover Movies:
        No filmmaker can be located across such a wide spectrum of popular opinion as Tim Burton. The, 'Hot Topic,' kids (as well as those who vividly remember the early 90's) revere the guy as a demi-god, while many film-buff circles ridicule the autuer as a cash-grabbing, one-trick pony. Here's something both sides can finally agree on: Frankenweenie rocks. Adapted from a short film that helped Burton make his name, the back-and-white, stop motion affair revolves around the experiments of a brilliant, socially ill-equip boy named Victor Frankenstien (evocatively voiced by Charlie Tahan). Young Victor enjoys making his own short movies, and conducting scientific research with the aid of his trusty canine, Sparky... that is, until the pooch reaches his untimely demise. Unable to let go of his best friend, Victor, in mad-scientist mode, brings his little buddy back to life, but playing god has unique ramifications. Frankenweenie is a heartfelt affair, one wherein the protagonist clearly stands as an avatar for the storyteller, and one brimming with visual and thematic clarity, and inspiration. A fun, bubbly trip to the flicks, and a sure tear-jerker for anyone whose ever loved a pet, Frankenweenie stands as a twisted, joyous reminder of what Burton is capable of concocting when he puts his back into it. Adorably dark, and oddly cozy at nearly every turn.

Leftover Music:
Good Kid M.A.A.D. City by Kendrick Lamar:
         Has more ink been spilt in the name of any single musician over the last month then Kendrick Lamar? The youthful hip-hopper, who broke out onto the scene with last year's Section.80 mixtape, finally released his much-anticiapted proper debut, and while I can't quite get as rapturous as some, there's no denying that the disc is a winner. Lamar's flow has always been positively electric, and here he gets to play with studio production and gadgets that are worthy of his immense talent. Kendrick suffers from a few known vices, like over-doing simple-minded hooks, and occasionally blunt phraseology, but none of that comes close to derailing this LPs heavy-hitters. The Hit-Boy produced Backseat Freestyle is simply undeniable, as are the seedy grind of early single Swimming Pools (Drank), and the silky swagger of Drake-featuring Poetic Justice. A potent blend of the scholarly with the badass, GKMC is doubtlessly one of 2012's finest hip-hop releases, and will have you considering gangster lyricism almost as often as it sends you bouncing down the dance floor... almost.

Jiaolong by Daphni, and Luxury Problems by Andy Stott
         Never have two trippy, dance-music-for-people-who-don't-like-dance-music albums had less in common. Jiaolong, the rug-cutting child of Caribou mastermind Dan Snaith, is all about repetition, and brightly-tinged simplicity. Many of the winners here are founded on little more than a constant, unchanging rhythm, like the über-direct Cos-Ber-Zam Ne Noya, while the celebratory Yes, I Know, builds and builds upon warm, identifiable ingredients. Luxury Problems, on the other hand, desires no such blissful satisfaction. Andy Stott's disc is built out of chilly rhythms, and evolving backdrops, opener Numb growing from misty origins to swirling dread, while the title track rumbles along in a hypnotically foreboding fashion. Neither LP is a champion through-and-through: each has its own noticeable weaknesses, and pronounced strengths. But as a couple of discs bent on creating their own worlds, in a genre that too-often plays it safe, both are efforts worth celebrating.

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