Sonntag, 26. August 2012

The Heptones - Same (aka Fattie Fattie, 1967)

the heptones

One of the definitive rocksteady vocal groups, the Heptones were also one of the few to successfully make the transition to the reggae era.

The group was fronted by Leroy Sibbles, who was not only an exquisite singer but also a talented songwriter, arranger, and session bassist at the legendary Studio One. Penning much of its own material, the group boasted one of the deepest catalogs of its time, full of high-quality numbers that were widely imitated for their close-harmony vocals, and widely recycled for their loose, liquid, melodic instrumental grooves.

The Heptones were formed in Kingston in 1965, with a lineup of Sibbles, Barry Llewellyn, and Earl Morgan. At first they called themselves the Hep Ones, but a one-word name seemed to make more sense to fans, and the change was made accordingly. They made their first recording for Ken Lack's Caltone label that year, a strange ska adaptation of "The William Tell Overture" titled "Gun Men Coming to Town."

heptones 2
Things started to take off for the group in 1966 when they caught on at Clement "Coxsone" Dodd´s Studio One, the pre-eminent hit factory of the rocksteady era. Dodd helped train the group in the art of harmony singing, and also guided budding songwriter Sibbles, who developed a sly, sarcastic sense of humor to underpin his tales of broken-hearted lovers.

The Heptones had their first hit later that year with "Fattie Fattie," a ribald paean to large women that was banned from Jamaican radio but sold briskly nonetheless. They went on to record vast amounts of material for Dodd over the next five years. As the hits piled up, Sibbles became a staff songwriter and arranger, played bass with the Studio One house band on a multitude of recordings, and worked as an assistant producer and talent scout as well. However, by 1971, a Rastafarian social consciousness was emerging in his writing, and he had grown tired of the boundaries of working in Dodd's studio system; that sense of confinement led to an acrimonious split with Dodd.

This is an album with sweet slow rocksteady from 1967, lead by Leroy Sibbles with backing vocals by Barry Llewellyn and Earl Morgan. “Fattie Fatti” was The Heptones first single and first hit even though it was banned from Jamaican radio due to inappropriate lyrics. They also cover Sam Cooke’s “Only Sixteen” on this their debut LP and the R&B influence is apparent throughout (even in the album’s cover photos) albeit driven by a rocksteady, and what will soon become reggae beat.

01 - Fattie Fattie
02 - Why Must I
03 - Only Sixteen
04 - Mama
05 - The Best Things In Life
06 - Gee Wee
07 - I've Got A Feeling
08 - Tripe Girl
09 - Baby
10 - Let's Fall In Love
11 - Take A Tip From Me
12 - Cry Baby Cry
13 - Why Did You Leave
14 - Get In The Groove

The Heptones - Same (aka Fattie Fattie, 1967)
(192 kbps, front cover included)

Mittwoch, 15. August 2012

Carl Andersen - Rest in Peace!

The underground film maker Carl Andersen died on August, 3, at the age of 54 in Berlin. Thanks a lot for bringing so much strange films to us via the great Negativland video library.  Rest in peace, Carl!

Die Sehnsucht nach dem Mehr (2000)
The Films Of Carl Andersen.

 by Anneliese Holles, London, 2008.

The Austrian born Carl Andersen is perhaps one of the few contemporary Auteurs to have devoted his films almost entirely to the subject of women. How they tick and how they relate to each other, and to men, is almost an obsession, a fetish only capable of being exorcised by the likes of his unlikely muse, Malga Kubiak. His films, which chiefly address the weighty issue of why relationships (especially sexual ones,) dont

Andersens Märchen von der Liebe (2001)
function, often have dark beginnings; for example „Eiszeit“, whose ice cold opening sequence depicts one woman vigourously masturbating another, fully clothed, or the desperate beginning sequence of „Chien Fuck“, with its bitch director figure, who demands so much from her lover that he can no longer „perform.“

Cult films from the 60s and 70s by obscure directors such as Vilgot Sjöman, José Benazeraf, Jesus Franco, Lothar Lambert and Jean Rollin are the chief influences of Andersen’s films. However, unlike so many films from the 60s and 70s, ie: Cassavetes, and Bergmann (whose female darkness is at times overwhelming), Andersen’s films have an extraordinary quotient, which makes them highly original and very uncommercial; in recent times he has evolved a hybrid; a mock documentary look and feel that can really confuse the viewer; in „Chien Fuck“ I was so convinced that the „director“ character was really the director that I asked myself what were her feelings about being filmed; only to find out in the end credits that she is essentially a fictional character; just as the rest of the „interviewed“ ex lovers are. This is an astounding technique, and one which is rarely talked about by other reviewers of Andersen’s films. The sex, which is full on and often explicit, is always the thing that gets talked about. Which, actually is Andersen’s point! Why do we have such a „thing“ about sex when it is such a normal, daily activity, why should it be censored, or artificially portrayed, as it is in 90 percent of the films we see? Indeed, the sex in his films can get in the way of seeing the real issue, as illustrated so humourously in „Lick An Apple Like A Pussy“, which deals with the fascinating subject of how actors avoid doing the real thing; how much energy is wasted in talking and thinking about why they shouldnt have sex, rather than just getting on and seeing it as part of their job.

This essential Narcissism is also a part of Andersen’s oeuvre. „Mondo Weirdo“, his second film, has none of the documentary aspects of the later films, but it is a surreal fantasyland of voyeurism and bisexual acts. „Sehnsucht Nach Dem Mehr“ is a very Nouvelle Vague pondering on what the actors think about the director, which I personally found insufferable and claustrophically narcissistic, almost approaching „Big Brother“!

If there is anyone who can claim to make film for women, about women, and on the side of women, then it’s Andersen, even with his sometimes highly unsympathetic female characters. He is trying to represent the world as it is; often using non actors, normal looking people as opposed to models, and showing every malfunctional and destructive aspect of relationships, because that’s what is real to him. The „ugliness“ in women can also be their strength, and vice versa. It takes an actress as strong as Kubiak to cope with the uglier side of Andersen’s anima.

The lightness in his films is, however, just as omnipresent, and comes most often through the medium of music. Music inspires and lightens every dark corner in his work, and makes those films highly enjoyable. Music features heavily in „Mondo Weirdo“, where the erotic and sexual sequences are like fantasies without dialogue; and in „Chien Fuck“, which is heavy on dialogue, and uses the music to divert and uplift in the form of a small documentary montage about a Berlin band.

Andersen’s films are life affirming in a „Dogma“ sense; if you can run fast enough behind the shaky camera, and not turn away during the unflinchingly upclose sex, you will see the reflection of the flawed but beautiful fragility that all humans possess; and that is Andersen’s charm; a very modern, honest and unconventional cinema, for those that are ready.