Archive for the 'Art' Category

The Da Vinci Code

Svibanj 30, 2006

Besides the concerts, I was in the cinema yesterday to see The Da Vinci Code. I've read the book a week or two after the Croatian translation was out of the press, and I have to say I'm not impressed – at all. Although the movie is better than the book (IMHO, of course), it's still far from what I'd call good. If you take away the controversial topics out of the book and the film, or simply view them as the main motivation for the whole story, I believe you have a less-than-average book and solid two and half hours of Hollywood entertainment. The ending is equally long and boring in both the book and the movie, but at least I don't have to read Brown's bad writing style in the movie.

Now, I won't deny the fact that the plot is certainly exciting (well, to one point at least), but it's a thriller – it would be even worse if it wasn't. And I'm not saying that Brown is a lousy writer (I haven't read any of his other works yet, so I can't judge him), but the book isn't really a masterpiece when it comes to the writing style. I certainly don't see any reason for the whole fuss around The Da Vinci Code. There are loads of other books and movies out there that deserve the attention of the public and have much more artistic value. Even with Tom Hanks in the lead role. :-) 


In Concert

Svibanj 30, 2006

Although it isn't the largest town of 'em all, Pula (the place where I live) isn't poor with concerts. The beautiful Amphitheatre sure has its share in that fact, but I'm rarely at concerts over there – the tickets tend to be expensive, and the artists involved aren't really the ones I'm dying to see (although Paco De Lucia will be playing in the Amphitheatre soon :)).

There is also a great deal of other, smaller concerts, but these are usually more interesting to me. In the last couple of weeks, the project Jazzbina, which is over 10 years old and is dedicated to the promotion of jazz music to the Pula audience, brought two very interesting bands to play.

The first of them was Marco Quarantotto Oddball Quartet. Marco Quarantotto is a drummer from Pula, involved in many different projects, with East Rodeo being the most important and well-known. With three great instrumentalists – Sava Miletić (piano), Elvis Penava (guitar) and Robert Jukič (bass), he played a range of interesting jazz (and even funk) pieces by artists like Thelonius Monk, Herbie Hancock and many others. The small number of people at the concert didn't discourage them and only made the overall atmosphere of the concert better.

The second, and maybe better know, was the Bojan Z Trio. Bojan Zulfikarpašić is a well-known European jazz pianist and the winner of the Hans Koller jazz award for the last year. And he sure deserved it :). With Ari Hoenig on drums and Remi Vignolo on contrabass, they played an incredible concert with many different pieces, ranging from blues to etno-jazz, without being boring for one second. Ari Hoenig is probably the best drummer I've seen live, and Remi Vignolo's solos are just amazing. Bojan's piano work is incredible and fascinating.

A few photos from the Bojan Z Trio concert can be found here.

The Stuff I’ve Been Listening To Lately…

Travanj 20, 2006

Although I listen to a lot of music every day, there are a few bands that really caught my attention in the last few weeks… They're pretty diverse, so I think there's something for everyone in here…

The first of them is Death Cab For Cutie. It's a great indie-pop band with really nice melodies, although the vocals can be irritating sometimes, especially on the first few listens. I've listened to their album "Transatlanticism" and a few other songs – I'd say the song Photobooth stands out.

A bit more conventional, but nonetheless great is Keane. Piano-oriented (alternative) pop/rock – not really something I'd usually listen to (although the last Coldplay album rocks :)), but these guys are great. A friend of mine gave me the album "Hopes and Fears" and it kicks ass :). The song This Is The Last Time has some really nice melodies, and the whole album has a bit of a theatrical sound.

Modest Mouse is an emo / indie rock band, but they do experiment a bit. Their debut, "The Moon & Antrarctica" is a bit strange and tiresome at moments, but after a few listens, everything fits in almost perfectly. The friend responsible for the introduction to Keane is responsible for this one too, and I'd like to thank him for that :). The songs The Cold Part and Gravity Rides Everything would be my reccommendations.

The last, but definitely not the least, is an Australian post rock band, Clann Zu. Combining noise, post rock, Australian native (etno) music and interesting melodies with strange vocals, they created an impressive piece of music called "Black Coats And Bandages." I consider this a must-listen for every fan of experimental and/or post rock. The songs So Complicated Was The Fall and From an Unholy Height are just beautiful.

There you go… I hope you find something for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

The Best Of 2005. in Music

Prosinac 12, 2005

Recently, on a Croatian music forum which is mainly based on metal music, someone brought up a topic on the best five albums in 2005. As a big music fan, I've decided to do something similar on my blog. And here they are, in no particular order:

System of a Down – Hypnotize
Pretty refreshing. Altough it has much in common with Mesmerize, Hypnotize is more mature and simply better sounding. It's probably their first album that made me listen to it over and over again carefully, unlike their older albums. The vocal parts are beautiful at moments, and the arrangements are great. This is their best work so far, in my opinion.

The Mars Volta – Frances The Mute
Here's a band you either love or hate – it's that simple. I love them. They've successfully managed to bring together many diverse music styles as progressive rock, psychedelia, noise, punk into an extremely hard to listen, but extraordinarily well played, complicated masterpiece of modern music. The drumming is wonderful, the Spanish fits them perfectly, and the music in general is brilliant. The only objection goes to the album being too hard to listen, especially for the first few times.

Van Der Graaf Generator – Present
It's possible to create a classic-sounding progressive rock record in a modern style that sounds fresh and new. And it's even possible to make it sound this good! It sounds like they never stopped playing together. The first disc (the studio recordings) is definitely too short (under 40 minutes). The second disc (the improvisations) is longer, but also harder to listen and more tiresome. Yup, it is too short, but it's still enough to make it in the top 5.

Dream Theater – Octavarium
Altough not a masterpiece of progressive metal, this album is here because of one song only – the 24-minute epic Octavarium. As far as I'm concerned, they could've released an EP similar to "A Change Of Seasons" with this song and a few covers, and I'd be more than satisfied. And I wouldn't have to skip 7 songs to get to this masterpiece. OK, OK, not all of the songs are that bad, but they can't be compared to Octavarium. I hope I'll hear more music like this from them in the future, because it fits them perfectly.

Koenji Hyakkei – Angherr Shisspa
And this is an odd one… The Japanese Zeuhl (Magma, anyone?) masters came up with a record which is more (avant-)jazz oriented than ever. Yoshida's drumming is great, and the new keyboard player brought the much-needed change in the band. This one is their all-time favorite of mine. Definitely a must-hear.

There you have it. The "best" five albums of the year in my humble opinion. N.B. that there were more great albums this year, it's just that these five somehow caught my attention more than the other ones. I'll be writing more about good (subjective mode on! :)) music soon.

Merry Christmas & a happy new year!