Sat. April 30
(Le Grand Mix, Tourcoing)

Sun. May 1
(The Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 5
Awesome Tapes From Africa dj set
(Treehou5e Open Air, Ghent)

Fri. May 6
Invisible Hands / Neil Michael Hagerty & The Howling Hex / DSR Lines
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Sat. May 7
(De Ruimte, Ghent)

Tue. May 10
(De Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 12
(DOK, Ghent)

Fri. May 13
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Sun. May 15
THRONEFEST (Taake, Inquisition, Mgla, Batushka, Inferno, Dysangellium, Wiegedood & The Commitee)
(Kubox, Kuurne)

Thu. May 26
(Den Trap, Kortrijk)

Fri. May 27
(Trix, Antwerp)

Wed. June 1
(Botanique, Brussels)

Wed. June 8
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Wed. June 22
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Cheap! The girl fell in love with King Kong. Period. We really don't need that pathetic Adrian Brody love affair! Alternative end : Naomi jumps after King Kong from the Empire State Building! Now that would have been true love!!

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Sándor Márai

I have just finished another great work by the Hungarian author Sándor Márai. This largely forgotten writer has only recently been "rediscovered" when his wonderful book "Embers" from 1942 was republished in English and German in 2000 and became an international best-seller. Nothing much happens in this two hundred page novel but the duel of words and silences between two close friends who haven't seen each other for forty-one years provokes an inarticulate tension that is hard to beat. Márai is a true master in analysing the smouldering "embers" of feelings of lust, love, revenge and hate and this quality can be found throughout his complete works.

"Conversations in Bolzano" is a book set in 1758 and written in 1940 that was first translated in 2004, only the second of Márai's works to be brought to a wider audience. It tells the story of ten days or so in the life of a Venetian libertine, whom one might recognize as Giacomo Casanova. It's another fascinating tale of suppressed love & humiliation.

Profoundly antifascist, Márai survived World War II, but persecution by the Communists drove him from the country in 1948, first to Italy and then to the United States. "Memoir of Hungary, 1944-1948" provides one of the most poignant and human portraits of life in Hungary between the German occupation in 1944 and the solidification of communist power in 1948. Both a fervent anti-fascist and anti-communist, Márai draws a vivid portrait of these turbulent times, while delivering a telling indictment of the communist system from which he fled.

It is almost unbelievable that one of Márai's best works "Az Igazi/Judit" has not been translated into English or French yet. Fortunately, the Dutch translation "Kentering van een huwelijk" has just been issued and the book, originally published in 1978, confirms Márai's position as one of the most important authors of the twentieth-century. It tells the story of the deconstruction of a marriage, seen from 3 different points of view : a bourgeois man, his wife and the housemaid he later marries and divorces. The philosophical reflections on human nature, loneliness & betrayal are riveting personal reflections; pieces of wisdom from a true master that ask to be re-read. Somewhere in the book, the bourgeois man talks about the right to die in loneliness. After Sándor Márai's wife died, he himself retreated more and more into isolation and finally committed suicide in San Diego in 1989, completely ignored by the world. Not unlike Cesare Pavese's suicide, it makes the sincerity of his work even more heartfelt.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

kazoo + jazz = no fun

I have just bought the THELONIOUS MONK QUARTET with JOHN COLTRANE at Carnegie Hall CD reissue on Blue Note Records and the kazoo-like humming, omnipresent on the last tracks, irritates me terribly. I have absolutely no clue where this disturbing background drone comes from. I first thought I had bought a defect copy but when I listen very closely, I realise it comes from one of the musicians. I tried to find info on the internet because no review mentions the annoying humming but the only relating thing I found was a sentence in a review of an old Art Tatum CD : "...and Slam Stewart turns in some of his patented bowed bass work with accompanying humming, creating the illusion of a low-pitched kazoo". Is Ahmed Abdul-Malik spoiling the fun?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Total Destruction

When I started this blog a couple of months ago, I intented to frequently post pictures of shows I attended. Yesterday however, I went to the ANGRY ANGLES/TOKYO ELECTRON/REATARDS triple bill at the fabulous Pit's and I shot all-in-all 1 picture. I could have made many more though 'cuz when TOKYO ELECTRON kicked off their excellent show, my forehead got busted open with a guitar and I decided to follow the gig from behind the bar. It was the ideal place to shoot pics but hell... shooting pics at live shows really bores the living shit out of me! You simply can not enjoy a show while shooting pictures and vice versa! So I'm afraid that this lousy live shot will be one of the very few that will ever be posted on this blog.

JAY REATARD by the way was devastating. It was the last show of the tour and apparantly Jay had been enjoying our excellent but strong Westmalle Trappist beers since the afternoon. THE REATARDS show was fierce as usual but during the last 10 minutes, it seemed like Jay transformed into a manic beast : he smashed bottles to the wall, wrecked microphones, ruined micro stands, jumped on the bar and spewed his psychotric hatred in our faces. He is definately food for a psychologist or should I say an anthropologist? The question remains however, how come this furious wave of all things negative feels so good???

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Day Ten : Fri Oct 21, 2005



** MANDERLAY (LARS VON TRIER - 2005 – Denmark)

*½ THE CITY OF THE SUN (MARTIN SULÍK - 2005 - Czech Republic/Slovakia)

Day Nine : Thu Oct 20, 2005

**** ANGEL'S FALL (SEMIH KAPLANOGLU - 2004 - Turkey)


***½ BE WITH ME (ERIC KHOO - 2005 – Singapore)

Day Eight : Wed Oct 19, 2005

**½ 2 GIRLS (KUTLUG ATAMAN - 2005 – Turkey)

**** APRIL SNOW (HUR JIN-HO – 2005 - South-Korea)



Day Seven : Tue Oct 18, 2005


*** BIPEDALISM (YEVGENI YUFIT - 2004 – Russia)



Day Six : Mon Oct 17, 2005

**½ GARPASTUM (ALEKSEY GERMAN JR. - 2005 – Russia)
Garpastum is a Latin word meaning a ball game, and contests were played as far back as ancient China and Sparta. Set in 1914 in St. Petersburg, the capital of the collapsing Russian Empire, World War I has already begun. The handsome brothers Andrey and Nikolai are passionate about the amateur matches they play on the streets of St. Petersburg. With their friends Shoust and Fatso, they hatch a scheme to buy a playing field. In order to finance it, they start playing for money with workmen, seminarians and anyone else they encounter. Andrey engages in an affair with a wealthy actress from Belgrade, Nikolai, an aspiring doctor, becomes infatuated with her sister Vita. Soon all of their lives and their world will be shattered and ruined by the Revolution of 1917. But there is still some time left for them to cherish their dreams and indulge in their passion for soccer. The film, which tells about tragic events, has a light breath and relaxed cinematic language and I liked it although most of my companions didn’t. Beautiful cinematography and stylish anti-drama nonetheless.

***** A WORKINGMAN'S DEATH (MICHAEL GLAWOGGER - 2005 – Germany/Austria)

This stunning five-part documentary is about heavy labour, about the most gruelling physical labour imaginable as it is carried out in different places and under different social and economic conditions. Men who work life-threatening jobs—and as the settings jump from Java to China, Nigeria to the Ukraine, so does the subtle music by John Zorn. Steaming sulphur mines, the bloodbaths of a brutal slaughterhouse… Glawogger's spellbounding visuals leave you breathless. The unique soundtrack by John Zorn is an added bonus. A monumental film!

A surprisingly conventional film from the normally more adventurous David Cronenberg about a prototypically normal Middle American family put to the test by crime and a disruption of its very identity. In the beginning, Cronenberg tries too hard to portray a perfect family, including the most ridiculous bed scene I have seen in ages. Ridiculous! The tale of a top mob gangster who turns into a local diner employee isn’t very convincing too. Although most of the action scenes are fun to watch, I couldn't stop thinking : "Is this all there is Mr. Cronenberg?"

**½ NEWS FROM AFAR (RICARDO BENET - 2005 – Mexico) Mexican director Ricardo Benet's first feature film, is a a gloomy picture about a teenager who lives with his troubled mother, resentful stepfather, and reverential younger brother on a homestead in a deserted, waterless area that doesn't even has a name – the settlement is simply known as No. 17. The first half of the film is about their futile attempts to make a go of it. In the second part, Martin moves to the capital for work, living in a flophouse and getting involved with a psychologically disturbed woman. He returns to his family, only to find that the neighbours have all moved away, his mother is catatonic, and his stepdad is inflexible about her fate. Tragedy ensues when Martin ultimately asserts himself. An interesting debut.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Day Five : Sun Oct 16, 2005

0 LOST CHILDREN (OLIVER STOLTZ & ALI SAMADI AHADI - 2005 – Germany). This documentary about child soldiers in the civil war in Northern Unganda is a complete disaster. Not only does it look very messy but the tragic dialogues are dubbed in English. So you get to see for example a mother and child who talk about the war in a mud hut but you hear silly American voices. I left the theatre after 20 minutes, not shocked by the picture but pissed of by the retarded dubbings.

Guillermo Arriaga, the Mexican screenwriter of “Amores Perros” and “21 Grams”, is the author of the grandiose **** THE THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA (TOMMY LEE JONES - 2005 – USA).

Tommy Lee Jones, the actor-director plays the role of Pete Perkins, foreman of a Texas ranch. His best friend, Melquiades, a "wetback," is found dead in the middle of the desert. Because the local police have no plans to pursue his murderer, Melquiades is given a summary burial. But Pete decides to investigate the crime himself. He eventually catches the culprit and forces him to dig up Melquiades's body and take it to his native village in Mexico, to give him a burial worthy of the name. This majestic contemporary western complete with chapter headings ("The First Burial," etc.) won the Grand Prix for Best Movie at the festival. Dwight Yoakam is godlike as local Sheriff Belmont and the Mexicans actually do speak Spanish which is a true relief for an American movie.

A moronic coming-of-age comedy about a teenager who hates the idea that his mother might be pregnant and fiercely resists the prospect of a new sibling. The Vivialdi score proofs that Reggiani has nothing to offer besides very boring and infantile cinema. Awful.

Although *** BRIDES (PANTELIS VOULGARIS - 2004 – Greece) is an old-fashioned film in both tone and virtues about 700 young mail order brides crossing the Atlantic from Greece to North America in 1922, I found the film charming and visually elegant. The story is captivating and dramatic and though we are talking about a very conventional film, I was moved by the very poignant end. Martin Scorsese was executive producer of this satisfying melodrama, sentimental but heartfelt.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Day Four : Sat Oct 15, 2005

***½ ODETE (JOÃO PEDRO RODRIGUES - 2005 – Portugal). João Pedro Rodrigues’ first feature, the 2000 Venice competition entry ‘O Fantasma’, was one of the most original debuts in recent years. This second feature doesn’t really life up to the first one but it is still an intriguing piece of cinema. It tells the story of a girl sinking into madness when crossing paths with a boy mourning the death of his gay lover. Another dark & twisted tale by this Portugese enfant terrible.

2005 - Germany – Turkey)
is the follow-up to Fatih Akin’s overwhelming Golden Bear-winner ‘Gegen Die Wand’ and another proof of the director’s contagious enthusiasm and efficiency. Akin takes us once again to the melting-pot Istanbul to paint a unique portrait of the city’s vibrant music scene. He follows Einstürzende Neubauten bass player Alexander Hacke who fell in love with the city sounds and seeks out its musicians. The range of Akin’s film is amazing : Hacke explores everything from classical music to noise-rock, hip-hop and street music. The changes from one musical genre to another are never abrupt and the interviews never become boring. A winner from start to finish!

Based on a popular Korean novel, but cast entirely with Japanese actors and written with predominantly Japanese dialogue, *** BLOOD AND BONES (YOICHI SAI - 2004 – Japan) covers 61 years of familial tyranny by an ultra-violent patriarch called Kim Sun-pei who, in the 1920s, attempts to build a fortune in Japan. This Korean migrant (an amazing Takeshi Kitano, under his acting moniker Beat Takeshi) literally blows everybody else off the screen. The story is told by Kim's son Masao who reveals at the beginning that he was born after his father raped his mother with his sister looking on. Treating his wife, children and fellow members of the Korean migrant community in Osaka with disdain, Kim drinks and womanizes, establishing multiple mistresses, siring several bastards and acquiring great wealth. Bullying his way, he develops a fishcake business into a loan-sharking and property empire. The stylish art direction and the smooth pace at which the movie flows makes BLOOD AND BONES a ruthless but interesting family drama.

*** ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (MIRANDA JULY - 2005 – USA), the first feature by multimedia performance artist Miranda July, is a fresh & inspired observation about love, loss and loneliness. The film opens with an act of lovelorn desperation as shoe salesman Richard (John Hawkes) responds to the news that his wife is leaving him by setting his own hand on fire. It immediately sets the absurd tone of Miranda July’s highly original script. There are some very funny moments like when 7-year-old Robby conducts a chat room flirtation with an over stimulated adult female on the Internet, seducing her with the romantic promise: "You poop into my butthole, I poop into your butthole, back and forth forever." A featherweight film, entertaining but – let’s be honest - far from unforgettable.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Day Three : Fri Oct 14, 2005

*** BEFORE THE FLOOD (YAN YU & LI YIFAN - 2005 – China)

China's Three Gorges Dam, the largest ever built on earth, is expected to be completed in 2009. Until then, millions of local residents will have to be relocated, because hundreds of towns and villages — including countless natural monuments and historically important places — will be flooded. Yan Mo documents the relocation of Fengjie, a 1,000-year-old city on the Yangtze River, a bustling centre of commerce and a community of considerable social vitality

BEFORE THE FLOOD follows the inhabitants who are chased out of their houses and feel betrayed and abandoned by the local officials. Directors Yan Yu and Li Yifan observe without comment, focusing mostly on an aging innkeeper and the staff of the parish church. Some scenes are too long and would have been more effective had they been edited down to the essentials but overall, this is an enthralling piece of cinema.


Hailed internationally upon its release as a masterpiece of feminist filmmaking, "Jeanne Dielman" today stands as a landmark in film history. Thanks to Jem Cohen, I finally got the chance to see this 1975 experiment in film form which minutely details the three-day routine of a widow living with her son. The endless sequences of household chores performed in silence before a static camera look somehow dated in 2005, but the importance in film history of “Jeanne Dielman” is still omnipresent when watching the movie. A resolute marathon session of 225 min. that becomes an unforgettable experience. A true piece of art.

Day Two : Thu Oct 13, 2005

*** DALLAS PASHAMENDE (ROBERT ADRIAN PEJO – 2005 – Hungary) is part of the ‘Official Competition’ that focuses as usual on the impact of music on film. It is also selected for a section called “Plus-Parcours” that presents a couple of movies to the elderly. Consequently, I was surrounded by hundreds of 80-year-old grannies and gramps in wheelchairs. Pretty funny, since the movie was nicely shot, but the “sluts” and “stupid bitches” kept on rolling out of the mouths of the gypsies who tried to make a living on a massive garbage dump by humiliating each other. On the occasion of his father’s death, Radu, a native Gypsy, returns to the shanty town of his childhood where he meets Oana, the sweetheart of his youth. What follows is an entertaining movie, somehow like a Kusturica film without the hysteria and hyperactivity. Nothing to write home about, just a decent movie..

Another film selected for the “Official Competition” is * FIRST PEOPLE ON THE MOON (ALEXEI FEDORCHENKO – 2005 – Russia). This pseudo-documentary mixes authentic b&w archival footage with newly shot full-colour footage to create some kind of history of the Soviet conquest of space. The collage however failed to hold my interest so I was rather pleased that it only lasted for about 75 minutes. File under ‘Boring’.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Day One : Wed Oct 12, 2005

This year's Flanders International Film Festival-Ghent offers over 200 films and you'll find my impressions on some of them right here the coming days. It's a hell of a job to make a selection of 32 movies (32nd edition, right?) out of 200 but the first two movies I saw turned out to be top choice.

**** WINSTANLY (KEVIN BROWNLOW - 1975- UK) is a genuine authentic historical film about Britain's great neglected revolutionary Gerard Winstanley's non-violent actions to reclaim land for the poor during the British Civil Wars in the late 1640s. The screenplay was based on Winstanley's writings which are often quoted literally without sounding too artificial. As a consequence of the low budget, there's some very inventive camera work especially during the battle in the beginning and the destruction of the forest village where a series of close-ups are mixed with fighting scenes and flashes of fire. The movie is very convincing in the way it depicts Winstanley's struggle for justice and equality. On release in 1976, WINSTANLEY demonstrated Brownlow and co director Andrew Mollo's estrangement from both Britain's mainstream and independent cinemas. The film did not fit the costume drama pigeonhole, nor did it pursue the Greenaway path towards elaborate games with form and content. Today, it was shown as a part of the section "Memory of Film - Fuse Box", a programme compiled by experimental artist Jem Cohen whose 'Instrument', a musical document from 1998 on Fugazi will also be shown at the festival.

Another highlight was ***** LITTLE FUGITIVE (RAY ASHLEY, MORRIS ENGEL & RUTH ORKIN - 1953 - USA). This unforgettable film about a seven-year-old boy's adventures in the fantasy-world refuge of Coney Island was one of the first independent films to attract a wide audience. François Truffaut even claimed it was an inspiration to the French New Wave. The b&w photography is outstanding and the story keeps the audience enthralled for the whole 80 minutes because of the perfect balance between humour and emotion. The copy we got to see came directly from LA and throughout the film, I couldn't stop thinking what a bunch of lucky devils we were that we got the chance to see this rightly honoured landmark of the early American indie movement on the big screen after all those years.

More updates this Monday...

Friday, October 14, 2005

Film Puts a New Focus on the Master of 'Ethiojazz'

In Jim Jarmusch's latest movie, "Broken Flowers", a graying former ladies' man played by Bill Murray has a strange companion with him as he searches for some old girlfriends, one of whom may have borne his son. He's gloomy but intrigued by the quest, and his mood is matched by the passenger in his rental car: a CD of brooding and mysterious music, a little funky and a little slithery, a bit like a 1970's blaxploitation soundtrack and a bit like dense modal jazz. He never seems to know what to make of it, but he clearly likes it.

The music is a particularly obscure vintage made in Ethiopia in the late 1960's and early 70's by a jazz innovator named Mulatu Astatke, and thanks to "Broken Flowers" and an acclaimed series of CD's, his music has enjoyed a little renaissance lately. A prominent figure in Ethiopia but barely known to Western listeners, Mr. Astatke makes a rare United States appearance tonight at Joe's Pub with the Either/Orchestra, an avant-garde jazz group that has championed him.

From the moment Mr. Jarmusch first heard it, about six years ago, the music got under his skin, he said, and he began seeking it out wherever he could find it. "When I was writing 'Broken Flowers,' " he said by phone from his home in the Catskills, "I was listening to a lot of his music, and I was thinking, 'How do I get this music into a film that's set in suburban America?' It even led me to make the character of Jeffrey Wright of Ethiopian descent." In the film, Mr. Wright's character, Mr. Murray's next-door neighbor, gets him started on his journey and hands him the disc. Several songs by Mr. Astatke are used prominently in the film, and are on the soundtrack album, released by Decca.

Mr. Astatke, a vibraphonist and bandleader, had a suitably cosmopolitan upbringing for a music that blends jazz with funk, Latin music and traditional Ethiopian five-tone scales. Born in 1943 in the western Ethiopian city of Jimma, he was one of the few musicians of his generation to be educated abroad. He went to the Trinity College of Music in London, where he studied clarinet, harmony and theory, and in the early 60's attended the Schillinger House of Music in Boston, now the Berklee College of Music.

"My whole idea," he said by phone the other day from his home in Addis Ababa, "was sort of fusion with Ethiopian and jazz and modern music. I started at Berklee this idea of the 'Ethiojazz' business. From there I came to New York and I had this group, and what I wanted to do, I did it there."

His group in New York, the Ethiopian Quintet, was mostly Puerto Rican. He recorded two albums in the 60's on a small New York label, Worthy. He jammed with Dave Pike, who was Herbie Mann's vibraphonist at the time, and remembers his time here fondly.

"We had all these big bands," he said. "And the Village Gate, the Village Vanguard, the Palladium - there were all these clubs around at that time." He was surprised and delighted to learn that the Vanguard is still in business. "It's still around?" he said. "Fantastic! Wow!"

Mr. Astatke returned to Ethiopia in the late 60's and took part in a fertile musical scene there in the waning years of Emperor Haile Selassie, who was deposed in 1974. Establishing himself as a jazz ambassador, he brought the Hammond organ and vibraphone to Ethiopia. "I changed the whole Ethiopian music," he said without shyness, "combining jazz and fusion with the Ethiopian five-tone scales. Since then my name has been on the very, very top of the Ethiopian musical scene."

The music of that period, influenced by American funk and soul, is being collected in "�thiopiques," a series of albums on the French label Buda Musique, which since the late 90's has run to 20 volumes. Mr. Astatke's disc, Vol. 4, is its best seller and has seen a bump in sales since "Broken Flowers" was released in August. It is now selling about 1,800 copies a week, said a spokeswoman for Allegro, the albums' American distributor; that is equivalent to the sales of a new album by a world music star like Youssou N'Dour.

Last year the Either/Orchestra, led by the saxophonist and composer Russ Gershon, performed in Addis Ababa and met Mr. Astatke. The group has since brought him to the United States for concerts twice, the first times Mr. Astatke had performed in New York in many years. After performing at Joe's Pub tonight, they will go on a brief Northeastern tour, traveling to Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and Colgate University in Hamilton, N.Y.

Mr. Astatke said he had been following news of "Broken Flowers" by e-mail ("I'm very far away") but had not yet seen them film in its entirety. He added, with a laugh, "I'm going to see it in New York."

By BEN SISARIO - The New York Times - Published: October 13, 2005



Sunday, October 09, 2005

"In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."

Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

Monday, September 19, 2005

Saturday was a night that won't be forgotten very easily! In the afternoon, I had about 11 brats in my house, celebrating my oldest son's 5th anniversary. The loose & wild atmosphere turned out to be the ideal introduction to THE GHETTO WAYS/RIVER CITY TANLINES/BLACK LIPS triple bill at the Lintfabriek in the evening. A couple of weeks ago, I had seen THE GHETTO WAYS at the mighty Pit's where they couldn't fulfil expectations after a devastating FATALS show. In Kontich however, their high-energy full throttle punkrock totally blew me away. The final gig of a European tour always delivers that little extra more so we got to see this New York trio at their very best. Awesome! Alicja Trout was next with THE RIVER CITY TANLINES. I hadn't heard any of the band's 3 singles so I was pretty anxious to witness this Memphis outfit on stage. Again, the show was a blast! Their adrenaline-driven punkwave made me dance like a fool and Alicja's vocals sounded real vicious. Check out The River City Tanlines' singles compilation on Dirtnap 'cuz it's a winner! So normally, we're used to 2 bands a night here in bloody Belgium and The Ghetto Ways/River City Tanlines bill would already have been a favourite of the year. Only, THE BLACK LIPS were scheduled too!! The first Black Lips show I attended sounded like a bad rehearsal but the second - only a couple of months later - was total garage punk insanity. Saturday, it was primal wreck and roll time again! Beers flew through the air, people went crazy, all for the sake of that goddamn rock 'n roll!! I can only say that The Black Lips are the contemporary gods of sixties punk!! Oh what a night!!!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Belgian directors Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, whose brilliant brotherly teamwork has been awarded two times with a Palme d'Or at the Cannes Filmfestival ('Rosetta' in 1999 and 'L'Enfant' in 2005), have been given carte blanche at the Brussels Filmmuseum in September. The Dardenne brothers have chosen some thirty movies that can be divided into two main categories. The first is a collection of movies that moulded the brothers as directors, such as the documentaries by Dutch director Johan Van Der Keuken. The other category consists of movies that evoke feelings of solidarity and identification with the brothers. The result is a diverse, original list of wonderful movies that hopefully will win the hearts of the attendant filmlovers in Brussels. Here's the complete list. For scheduling details, visit the site of the Brussels Filmmuseum.

Leo McCarey, USA 1929
Oliver Hardy / b&w / 19'

Charles Chaplin, USA 1931
Charles Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill / b&w / 85'

Claude Lanzmann, France 1973 / colour / 190'

Fritz Lang, USA 1943
Brian Donlevy, Walter Brennan / b&w / 134'

Roberto Rossellini, Italy 1949
Ingrid Bergman / b&w / 107'

[Akasen chitai] Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan 1956
Machiko Kyo / b&w / 84'

[Nora-inu] Akira Kurosawa, Japan 1949
Toshiro Mifune / b&w / 122'

Armand Gatti, France - Yugoslavia 1960
b&w / 103'

Douglas Sirk, USA 1958
John Gavin, Liselotte Pulver, Klaus Kinski / scope / colour / 132'

Yasujiro Ozu, Japan 1959
Ganjiro Nakamura, Mashiko Kyo / colour / 119'

Pier Paolo Pasolini, Italy 1961
Franco Citti / b&w / 116'

Constantin Costa-Gavras, France 1965
Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Michel Piccoli, Jacques Perrin / scope / b&w / 91'

Akira Kurosawa, Japan 1970
colour / 140'

Robert Bresson, France - Italy 1971
Isabelle Weingarten, Guillaume De Forêts / colour / 82'

François Truffaut, France 1975
Isabelle Adjani / colour / 97'

Francis Ford Coppola, USA 1974
Gene Hackman / colour / 112'

Jean Renoir, USA 1946
Paulette Goddard, Burgess Meredith / b&w / 86'

Rainer Werner Fassbinder, DDR 1975
Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kurt Raab / colour / 123'

Maurice Pialat, France 1979
Sabine Haudepin / colour / 84'

Nanni Moretti, Italy 1984
Nanni Moretti, Laura Morante / colour / 97'

John Cassavetes, USA 1976
Ben Gazzara, Seymour Cassel / colour / 108'

Alfred Hitchcock, UK 1935
Madeleine Carroll, Robert Donat / b&w / 84'

Louis Skorecki, France 1988
no subt. / 75'

Louis Skorecki, France 1988
no subt./ 56'

Johan Der Keuken, The Netherlands 1982
colour / 150'

Agnès Varda, France - UK 1985
Sandrine Bonnaire, Macha Méril, Stéphane Freiss / colour / 106'

[Tulitikkutehtaan tyttö] Aki Kaurismäki, Finland - Sweden 1990
colour / 68'

André Téchiné, France 1994
Elodie Bouchez, Gaël Morel, Stéphane Rideau / colour / 113'

Woody Allen, USA 1989
Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, Martin Landau, Anjelica Huston, Claire Bloom / colour / 103'

[Aiqing Wansui] Tsai Ming-Liang, Taiwan 1994
Yang Kuei-Mei / colour / 118'

Chantal Akerman, France 1994
colour / 61'

[Moe no suzaku] Naomi Kawase, Japan 1997
Jun Kunimura, Machiko Ono / colour / 95'

Rithy Panh, Cambodja - France 2002
colour / 101'

Robert Guédiguian, France 1993
Jean-Pierre Darroussin, Ariane Ascaride / colour / 92'

Martin Scorsese, USA - France 1995
Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone / scope / colour / 178'

Sunday, August 21, 2005

If I had to guide a foreigner round Belgium in 3 days, 'THE ROYAL MUSEUM FOR CENTRAL AFRICA' near Brussels would be on top of my list. This grand p(a)lace came into being following the World Fair of 1897. Its collection of ethnographic objects from Central Africa is in fact the only one of its kind in the world.

The permanent exhibition still reflects the way Europe regarded Africa in the nineteen-sixties with all its exotica and colonial propaganda. It's a wonderful place for kids since there are many rooms with huge stuffed animals, African masks and instruments. Here, I can still feel the excitement I felt as a teenager when looking to old Johnny Weismuller Tarzan movies at my grandfather's place on Sunday afternoons.

Because of a radically altered social context not only in Africa but in Europe as well, the museum is now undergoing a metamorphosis that will be complete in 2010. For the occasion of the 175th Anniversary of Belgium's Independence, a temporary exhibit called 'Memory of Congo - The Colonial Era' offers a new look at the colonial past in which not only the European, but also the African players take their part. The exhibition is flawless; intriguing and revealing.

In the museum's cafeteria 'Simba', I always go for a Congolese Mongozo beer (alright, brewed in Belgium but what the heck). Yesterday, I bumped into Nick Cave at the bar. He was scheduled to headline a big rock festival that night. If he was searching for inspiration, he sure did come to the right place! After all these years, 'The Royal Museum for Central Africa' is still a stupendous place that keeps on enchanting its visitors.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


So when did the band start?

In 1994!

Only 1994?

OK, 1993.


Our original drummer quit the band last year. He used to be in a band called Satanic Hell Slaughter which was a grindcore band. In Japan they were some kind of cult because they are from the northern part of Japan and people in Tokyo couldn't see 'em often. Since he had moved to Tokyo, we found his phonenumber and we asked him to join us.

How would you describe your music to outsiders?

The easiest way would be to say punk but we prefer to describe our music as GAGAGAGA-KIUNE-GAGAGAGA-KIUNE-KIUNE-NJHE-NJHE-NJHE-NJHA!!!

? ? ? ? ?

It's just a sound. Usually this expression is used for comic cartoons like Masinga.

Your music sounds like weird & fucked up cartoons. Can you tell us some more about the band's main influence?

We don't try to make music like watching a picture and trying to write a little change. Not like that! We just mix different influences in the brain.

Do you get influences from exhibitions?

Sometimes, we like going to exhibitions and watching Japanese animation.

Was the Japanese director Tsukamoto an influence?

It's not really a big thing for us. We're more into animation by Katsuhiro Otomo who did Akira and Spraygun. Spraygun is very good. It's a very fast and violent animation movie.

Do you sometimes get strange reactions to your music at live shows?

In the States sometimes but not in Japan. When we play shows in Japan usually young people come to the show. In the United States not only young people attend our shows but also old hillbillies who happen to be at the club. But it seems like they enjoy our music too so that's good!

What about the underground scene in Japan?

These days, there are many fastcore bands like Slight Slappers or Fuck On The Beach and grindcore bands like 324. Those bands are very active and many people go to check 'em out. Before - like 5 years ago - Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth and Steve Albini raved about the Japanese noise scene so many people started to pay attention. Although nowadays this kind of attention has been decreased, in Japan the hardcore stuff is very active.

How did you meet John Zorn?

We met him in Japan a long time ago. The reason why he put out an album of ours was when we played in San Francisco, Mike Patton saw our show and he's a very close friend to John Zorn. He knew us for a long time, but because of Mike Patton's phone call, he decided to put out our album which was recorded live in the studio.

Can you tell me about the A-Zap label?

It's our own label. Revolver USA helps us to manufacture and distribute. They have a good distribution in USA maybe not as good here. So far we released two albums on the label.

Can you make a living from the band?

Not really. I work at home as a free lance. I edit on a computer for other companies but it doesn't come constantly so sometimes I have money and sometimes not. But I can have time to do what I want to do, like writing music, so it's a good job for me. Once I had a 9 to 5 job but it was very hard to find the time to write music or to write lyrics so I quit it.

Well Done!

Melt Banana website

Friday, August 12, 2005

"If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest – in all its ardour and paradoxes – than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and the struggle for survival."

(The Art of Travel – Alain De Botton)

Monday, July 04, 2005

I will be travelling around WESTERN TURKEY for the rest of the month. A report of my journey will be published on my site in August.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

I always thought of FATS DOMINO as a bit of a corny singer. My parents used to have this dreary 5LP box set in their rather dull record collection (which also featured uhm... 'incredible masterpieces' by Neil Diamond, John Denver & Barbara Streisand). It must've been some kinda cheap reissue as I don't think they would've spent a lot of money on a box set. I gave it a few spins as a teenager but didn't understand what all the fuss was about. After all, Fats Domino was a household name, being one of the few black artists to continually make the pop charts, altogether selling over 65-million records, including 23 gold singles! A couple of weeks ago however, I ordered a couple of CD's at RED LICK and I really couldn't resist a £2,00 Fats Domino collection on Ace Records. The other day, I received the CD in my mailbox and I am totally hooked! 'The Imperial Singles Volume 2 : 1953-1956' is shockfull of spectacular New Orleans R&B tunes pushed towards rock and roll. This is what I call 'Goodtime Music' : rollicking R&B of the highest order. The lyrics are a true revelation : "Oooohooohooooo, you're so fine, I'm glad you're mine, lalala, lalalalalaa...". Simplicity in complicated times is all you need. The picture above features Herbert Hardesty from the Fats Domino rhythm section, lying on the floor of the 54 Ballroom in Los Angeles while honking out a sax solo of "Don't You Know". The fans loved it and so will you. The CD lasts for 71 minutes and I still keep pushing the repeat button. Woo Woo Woo, Woo Woo Woo Woo!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2005


If the new documentary by Austrian filmmaker Hupert Sauper was pure fiction, people would left the theatre with a feeling of disbelief. Sadly, the tale of DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE is harsh reality. It tells about the struggle for survival of the fishermen around Lake Victoria in Tanzania where 'a little experiment' in the 1960s turned out into a complete disaster for the local people.

Some 40 years ago, the enormous Nile perch (which reaches up to two metres in length) was experimentally introduced into the lake but soon the voracious predator wiped out practically all other life. The fishermen who used to make a living by going out fishing the various species soon became obliged to work for the Nile Perch filet factories, which are called 'models of economic development' by EU-commissioners.

The reality however is that the fish factories sell the filets directly to Europe, making them too expensive for the locals to buy. So once the filets have been removed, the population is left with the decayed, discarded fish carcasses which they dry and use as food. Sauper's film turns into apocalyptic horror when he shows us how toddlers walk among the rotting fish whilst the maggots wriggle around the bare feet and the toxic ammonia gas blinds the impoverished people. This is the real truth behind the nice Nile Perch filet from Tanzania which is sold at your first world supermarket and eaten by two million Europeans every day.

So while so much fish is exported abroad, Tanzania itself is struggling to avoid famine. Fishermen spend their free time with prositutes who also serve Western businessmen and sinister Russian cargo plane pilots at the bars. H.I.V. infection rages through the region. Street children burn scraps of Styrofoam fish packing material so they can inhale the fumes, and fight with one another over meager portions of donated food. Globalization feeds the lucrative foreign markets while the locals starve to death.

To make things worse, the huge ex-Soviet cargo planes who come daily to collect the filets bring Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in the dark center of the continent. That's where the real money lies. This booming multiniational industry of fish and weapons is a haunting reminder of the consequences of capitalism and a deeply disturbing portrait of ordinary people who become the victim of the endless pursuit of profit from the Western world. Hupert Sauper has made a devastating, fascinating and very imaginative film.

You owe it to yourself to go watch DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Just a quick post to tell you about the crazy spring sale at BLOOD & FIRE (thank you Tom!). This English label is together with Pressure Sounds the ultimate reggae reissue label, noteworthy for its splendid releases, both in music & packaging. Half of the current catalogue has been temporarily dropped in prices from £11,06 to £4,25 and that my dear friends is money for jam(aica) so do yourself a favour and get them while you can!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Last Friday, I got the ultimate chance to book a last minute gig by SOUTH FILTHY, one of my favourite contemporary bands featuring Monsieur Jeffrey Evans (Gibson Bros, '68 Comeback), Jack Yarber (Oblivians) and Walter Daniels (Jack O' Fire). The concert, which took place at a great club surrounded by a peaceful & pastoral stretch of land, was a full blast : a terrific party, full of atmosphere and cold beers. Some people told me that the combination of rural America & the Flemish countryside contributed to the majesty of the gig and I can only agree. All of the six musicians, including Ron Franklin on drums and two other musicians of whom I forgot the name but were nevertheless amazing, turned out to be extremely nice people and we all had a wonderful time. Thanks to Robert from Kiss n Run Booking for making it happen! Here's a picture of Walter Daniels having a beer with the locals...


This web log is a complementary outlet for my site http://www.batarang.be. Here you will find random notes on music, film, travel, etc.

I hope it will become an interactive kind of blog where we can learn from each other and forget all about the obvious.

Let's get it on!

Luke Batarang