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Anime Diary. Titles rented recently: The Wings of Honneamise, Video Girl Ai, Patlabor 1, more Blue Seed. Saw my first bloody nose (in Video Girl Ai), a "uniquely Japanese [symbol of] sexual frustration," according to Clements & McCarthy's Anime Encyclopedia (the book's example--to the right--is from Tales of Sintillation, 1990). Wings is fantastic! Slow-moving but insanely detailed depiction of an alternate, Nippon-like world. Lovely score by Ryuichi Sakamoto. The Omake Theatre segments at the end of Blue Seed are often more interesting than the show itself. One features Momiji lying around her apartment in her underwe4r on a rainy day. P4nty shots aside, it's a moving, wordless meditation on nature, and loneliness. On the big screen: Escaflowne, Metropolis, and Vampire Hunter D. Escaflowne scores highest for visual poetry: shots of the Magic Moon (Earth), partially occluded by a Luna-like moon with a giant hieroglyphic eye, looming over the film's parallel Earth; scenes in a pristine mountain village that sparkle.
Techno Diary. Geogaddi, the new Boards of Canada CD, is good, but I actually prefer their four-track release from 2002, in a beautiful place out in the country, with its herky jerky rhythms and subtle allusions to David Koresh and Waco. The standout track from the new CD is "1969," with its Stephen Sondheim-like vocoder duet, ending on the repeated phrase "1969 in the sunshine." Meaning "1969 basking in the cathode rays cast by a dreary after-school special from the Canadian Film Board, waiting for the Big One to drop." Three late ('97-'98) CDs by Larry Heard, "house music's one true bona fide genius"--an assessment from Mixmag I'm inclined to agree with. Heard processes Sly Stone, Pat Metheny, and Happy the Man's Kit Watkins through house's 4/4 thump and arpeggiated loops, pulling the warmest imaginable sounds from those machines of his in Memphis. Heard rules! Finally getting around to early '90s Alec Empire, when he was still a My Bloody Valentine-meets-ambient groove machine. Limited Editions 1990-94 is highly recommended and still available. The first third of John Tejada's Backstock is a nice self-mix of his own tracks; gets a little dull and then perks up at the end. More consistently exciting is Roni Size's mix of recent Full Cycle tracks on Through the Eyes. Yes, I still like Drum and Bass. Some stuff bought blind off Forced Exposure: Electronic Cosmetics on Salo (a nice comp of recent, tuneful Berlin techno) and Monolight's Free Music, a bit more abstract but very listenable selection of three-synths-and-an-effects-deck chittering.