F•USIC – JULY 2017

F•usic is a section I do at the end of each month in which I pick (F)ilms and M(usic) that I’ve consumed and loved over the period and pretty much just recommend and gush about them for a little while.

DUNKIRK – CHRISTOPHER NOLAN

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It seems fitting that Chris Nolan’s latest venture is set at sea, because it works like a wave. It starts; it builds; it crashes; it ends. Every single second of “Dunkirk” is utterly breathless as Nolan strips away the bullshit and delivers complete, unadulterated craft of tension. Physicality brings horror and the intimacy that the movie focuses upon never compromises a sense of a bigger picture. A glance to another soldier, a distant scream: all reminders of a wider chaos – a tapestry of panicked subjectivity. Hoytema brought his “it’s about time I get this Oscar” game and Zimmer’s score is a masterwork, synthesising with every other element to provide a pure force of a movie.

4:44 – JAY-Z

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Talk about production. Jay Z’s newest is seated in honest struggle and absolutely dripping in soul. From the distorted vocals of Nina Simone on the ever controversial (and brilliant) “The Story of OJ” to Donny Hathaway on the closer, “Legacy”“4:44” feels like a lesson from a wise man who witnessed those same greats sing in the venues of New York. No ID has outdone himself. And Jay is brilliant: his lyrics are so refreshingly straightforward and his flows ride the beats like they were born to be together. The entire project is effortlessly good, and that’s the sign of a true master.

LA 92 – T.J. MARTIN & DANIEL LINDSAY

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A trend seems to be arising of documentaries cutting the filter: scrapping retrospective interviews, narration and talking heads and just presenting raw footage – and in my opinion, they’re all the better for it. It gave an air of destiny to an already heartbreaking tale in 2015’s incredible “Amy”; and in “LA 92” – an account of the Rodney King riots – it has the same effective, unflinching power. Dominoes fall until images of objective brutality arise: palm trees on fire, flipped cars, murder, desecration, fear, rage – the American dream ablaze.  It’s one of the best films this year and currently on youtube so you can decide for yourself how long the dominoes have been falling for, and for how long they may continue.

SCUM FUCK FLOWER BOY – TYLER, THE CREATOR

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Admittedly, I haven’t delved too deeply into Tyler’s much talked about “‘Flower Boy” but after the couple of listens I have had, I can’t wait to unpick it further. The project is, as expected, pure expression but the difference in years between earlier albums such as “Goblin” and this current one shows in swathes. Rather than an angsty, teenage outburst, “‘Flower Boy” is a maturely crafted world that boasts a consistent, reverby, synthy, bombastic soundscape and reflective bars. Just as colourful and (at times) abrasive as “Cherry Bomb” but with that inch of restraint that was so desperately needed. The production is clean, smooth and catchy and with this album, Tyler has managed to fully evade looking like an adult in kids clothes. He’s bloomed, and on “Scum Fuck Flower Boy” he certainly glows.

RAW – JULIA DUCOURNAU

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It’s almost impossible to recommend “Raw” because it’s one of those brilliant films that is a better experience, the less you know about it. I’m endlessly envious of those few who saw this knowing nothing beforehand. If you must, you should know of the rumours of audience members passing out on the festival circuit and you should know that it is one of the most thrillingly audacious and gleefully disturbing films I’ve seen in a while. If you still need convincing then watch the trailer, but I urge you not to. See this film and see it blind: your jaw will drop.

BIG FISH THEORY – VINCE STAPLES

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Whether it be Staples’ constant dismissal of traditional rap or his reference to Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” on his 2015 album art, it wouldn’t have been surprising for the Californian rapper to have departed from what many would expect a rap album to be… but maybe not this far. From the glitchy opener through to the exhilarating “Yeah Right” it’s clear that this isn’t your good ol’ poetry and beats. Vince Staples has pushed the boat out so far that he’s set sail and docked at his own twisted, apocalyptic rave where it’s unclear whether you should dance to the tales of hedonism or lament over the inner workings of his dark mind. Brave, bass-backed and actually brilliant: I’m convinced that “Big Fish Theory” is a new, weird classic, and I think that Staples is too. Turn this one up loud.

BARRY LYNDON – STANLEY KUBRICK

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“A 3 hour period piece dromedy that satirises the futility of wealth and status in a Godless world in which we all, in the end, must die?” asks Kubrick. “Sure.” It baffles me that this film in which the legendary director is seemingly taking himself least seriously can be such a masterpiece. Barry Lyndon” is a painterly romp through classic poetry and Shakespearean feuds and most of all a reminder of cinematic peak. The score; the composition of every single shot; the acting and direction; the lavish costumes and colours that drape the scenery… This is what film can be and should be.

Written by Caleb Carter
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