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)

Monday, December 10, 2007

My Favourite Movies of 2007

Few people seem to like Lou Ye's SUMMER PALACE. Personally I think it's the most beautiful movie of the year. Even a second screening yesterday didn't change my mind. Here are my favourite movies of 2007:


I also enjoyed Control, La Marea, Les Anges Exterminateurs, Tuya's Marriage, Le Papier Ne Peut Pas Envelopper La Braise, Hamaca Paraguaya, Time, Walking on the Wild Side, Prendre Femme, Koorogi, The Journey (Yatra), The Optimists, Jardins en automne, Ca brule, Bamako, Half Moon, Bes Vakit, Weed, Scream of the Ants, Rain Dogs, Nue Propriété, Our Daily Bread, Letters from Iwo Jima, Body Rice, Yumurta, La Influencia, Pas Douce, Persepolis, Desert Dream, Familia Tortuga, Auf Der Anderen Seite, Woman on the Beach, Nacido y Criado, El Baño del Papa, El Otro, Riza, Las Vidas Possibles, Takva, La Leon, Rome Plutôt Que Vous, We Own The Night, Elle s'apelle Sabine, Nos Vies Privées, Paranoid Park, Les Témoins, Manufacturing Landscapes, Election 2, You the living

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Mission accomplished!

Thanks to all the people who came to the Dan Sartain/Nathaniel Mayer double bill in my hometown! I am very glad my intense publicity campaign has paid off well since the house was packed! Muchas gracias amigos!

I really like the Dan Sartain Vs. The Serpientes CD from 2003 but on stage in Eeklo, Dan didn't really live up to my expectations as he looked rather indifferent and tired. The set was OK but OK isn't enough in my book. A missed opportunity!

Top of the bill was Nathaniel Mayer who turned out to be a very funny but sex-obsessed old man. "As long as the pussy smells, I take it" was his favourite one-liner during the short talks I had with this Detroit legend. Nathaniel also told me that he finally receives royalties for his brilliant Fortune recordings now that the Vampisoul label has issued a wonderful and legitimate 2LP/CD compilation. So please get yourself a copy of 'I Want Love and Affection (Not the House of Correction)' which is an absolute must for any serious 60s soul/R&B fan! The show itself was really great. Some people got annoyed by the sloppy backing band but since I am a big King Uszniewicz fan, I really loved the sound: garage soul, taken literally! Mr. Mayer was at his best during the deep soul ballads. "You give it to him, why don't you give it to me?" for example was mind-blowingly good since he passionately sang the song to a middle-aged fan in the audience who was dancing sensually with his partner. I heard different opinions afterwards, some liked the set while others didn't, but I myself, was impressed by this raw and sincere performance. Afterwards, I played some of my favourite records for all of my longtime friends and we had one hell of a good time (not in the least because of the delicious draft Blonde Grimbergen!). A terrific Saturday night for sure!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Journey by Moonlight - ANTAL SZERB

After having read almost every translated novel by Hungarian writer Sándor Márai (1900-1989), I wanted to check out some other Hungarian novelists from the last century so I bought a recently translated novel written in 1937 by Antal Szerb called "Journey by Moonlight". It is an unforgettable book and one of the best I have read in ages!

Pursued by nostalgia for his bohemian youth, Mihály seeks escape in marriage to Erzsi, not realizing that she has chosen him as a means to her own rebellion. On their honeymoon in Italy, Mihály "loses" his bride at a provincial station and embarks on a chaotic and bizarre journey that leads him finally to Rome. There all the death-haunted and erotic elements of his past converge, and he, like Erzsi, has finally to choose.

The novel had a very fascinating, strange effect on me. I was intrigued by Mihály's wandering mind and spell bounded by Szerb's magnificent prose and brilliant storytelling. Wikipedia tells me that Szerb was deported to a concentration camp during World War II and beaten to death there in January 1945, he was 43. "Journey by Moonlight" was his second and best-known work.

I am eager now to read more Hungarian novels from the last century and my next choice is Kornél Esti by Dezso Kosztolanyi (1885-1936) who Péter Esterházy calls the big master of Márai and the most elegant of all Hungarian writers.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Looking Back At Anger : A Retrospective Programme on KENNETH ANGER's Work

Now this is something that I am really looking forward to!

I haven't seen any of his movies and this seems like the perfect occasion to check out the work of this cult avant-garde pioneer!

Friday, October 26, 2007

A terrific selection of great YouTube videos

Here’s a link to some great YouTube videos selected by members of the editorial staff of Belgium’s best newspaper De Standaard.


I have just created a myspace account which I think is a fine tool to get in touch with great bands and especially to buck up/thank them after a great gig. Initially, I wanted to upload the song that lead to the “batarang” name but it turns out that uploading music is only for artists and not for ordinary fools like me so instead I added a Jessie Mae Hemphill song to my account which I suppose visitors will like too.

Anyway, here’s that sudden song by some sixties outfit from Memphis called THE AVENGERS (no, the other ones!); a very moody, tremolo-soaked instrumental that I must have played a thousand times and never ceases to amaze me. The track can be found on Volume One of a great compilation on Upstart Records called “It Came From Memphis”. I suppose some more info about The Avengers can be found in Robert Gordon’s excellent companion book but I can’t find that one right now so I leave you here with "Batarang". Enjoy!

Thursday, October 25, 2007


One of the most intriguing films I've seen at the recent International Film Festival in Ghent was a Chinese low-key production on digital beta cam video called Little Moth. This heartbreaking, fascinating story shows how poverty can lead to immoral decisions by portraying the exploitation of orphaned kids by adult scumbags. Little Moth, whose mother has died and whose father is an unemployed drunk, is unable to walk due to toxic blood poisoning. When she gets adopted by a country bumpkin and his wife, it soon turns out that her new parents aren't acting out of love but want to make big bucks by using her to beg with the mother on city streets. A growing gap subtly develops between husband and wife, however, as the wife’s maternal instincts kick in, and she begins to care for Little Moth as if she were her own. The husband, meanwhile, is intent on saving cash, even if it means not buying meds for the sick girl. Soon, the situation escalates into a tragedy.

Tao Peng not only directed this intense movie, but also wrote the script and handled the production. It's fascinating to see how young Chinese directors have the courage to release films against the Chinese laws and reveal the darker side of the Chinese society.

Just after the premiere of Little Moth at the Film Festival in Locarno last August, Tao Peng got into conflict with the Chinese authorities who made it practically impossible for him to send a copy outside of his homeland. Fortunately, the film copy from the Locarno festival had been sent to Vancouver and the Canadians were willing to sent the digital video for a little while to Belgium. Lucky us! Let's hope more people get to see this little gem…

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Life's A Bitch

I just found out that MOSE ALLISON played a show in Antwerp yesterday. This fuckin' ruins my day!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Friday Night Out

Can you imagine a band that sounds like an amazing mix between The Fall-Outs and the Cheaters Slicks? Look no further: THE WEAKENDS from Bordeaux, France deliver the goods! This trio played a mighty fine half hour set at the Pit’s last Friday and I can hardly wait for their upcoming debut 7-inch on Rob’s House Records. The Weakends rule!

Next was Piero from The Fatals’ new band JACK OF HEART in which he teams up with the singer of The Creteens and two other fellows. Bleeding guitars & noisy roots rock from a band that sounds like a drugged-out version of The Gun Club or like a more rootsy version of early Monster Magnet. A real nice show, although I wonder how long Piero will continue his self destructive lifestyle. En tout cas: un grand merci messieurs!

Top of the bill was HUMAN EYE who played a manic half hour set that set the house on fire. Reminiscent of The Wipers & drugged-out again, Timmy Vulgar & C° blew our minds!

A great night out and just what I needed after a rather mediocre Film Festival in Ghent. More details soon…

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Yesterday saw the premiere of SAND AND SORROW, a documentary about the grueling conflict between rebels and government forces in Darfur. The film itself wasn't anything special as it looked like an ordinary TV documentary and often used ugly rock beats as background music. But it did work as a clear record of the ongoing genocide in Southern Sudan and it definitely depicted the rotten world of politics as China for example had used its U.N. veto power to protect the Sudanese government from sanctions against the genocide because of Chinese oil interests in Sudan. After the film, a Unicef spokeswoman gave some info about the current Darfur projects and she was followed by RASHA, a Sudanese refugee who currently lives in Madrid and was scheduled to play a gig with her band after the film. When Rasha was called on stage however, she was clearly upset by what she had just seen and could only stumble the words "I really don't know what to say, I don't know who I am any longer". Subsequently, she left the stage in tears. Later in the evening, Rasha came back with her band, played a very nice set but was clearly still disconcerted.

I had read about the Darfur conflict in Dave Egger's heartrending and astonishing book “What is the What” but the raw images of mutilated children and swollen corpses had a much brutal effect on me.

One thing that really struck me, is a certain scene where a woman who helps the violated women at a refugee camp responds to an elderly woman who wants to thank her with the words: “It’s not me, it’s God”. I can simply not understand how you can still believe in a God, when you are living in hell.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Not Mine - Czeslaw Milosz

All my life to pretend this world of theirs is mine
And to know such pretending is disgraceful.
But what can I do? Suppose I suddenly screamed
And started to prophesy. No one would hear me.
Their screens and microphones are not for that.
Others like me wander the streets
And talk to themselves. Sleep on benches in parks,
Or on pavements in alleys. For there aren't enough prisons
To lock up all the poor. I smile and keep quiet.
They won't get me now.
To feast with the chosen—that I do well.

Translated by Robert Hass

Friday, October 05, 2007

Wonderful Internet Radio: Boogie Nights!

For many Wednesday nights, I was glued to my radio listening to De Stompin' Velden with Stoffer & Bentz. In this legendary radio program, you could listen to all kinds of exciting roots music (r&b, soul, blues, country, cajun etc.) with Roel Bentz van den Berg as the most devoted & captivating radio host you can imagine. There also used to be a section where some guy from Groningen called in weekly to recommend a cult movie on TV and introduce some exciting punk rock 7" (aka "het betere gooi- en smijtwerk"). After many amazing years however, the national Dutch radio station suddenly changed its policy and simply abolished the program. Never again did I listen to the radio.

Now the good news is that for quite some time now, Stoffer & Bentz have a new program that can be listened to day and night here by clicking on the dates. You can even download every program (over 250 until now!), burn them on a stick and enjoy them wherever you are.

Many thanks to Dejan den Hertog for making this possible. Internet radio rules!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

34th Flanders International Film Festival Ghent

Time for another film festival, time for another mindfuck. Here's my personal selection:

Sand and Sorrow
Le Papier ne peut pas Envelopper la Braise
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Desert Dream
Familia Tortuga
Un Homme Perdu
Auf der Anderen Seite
Las Vidas Possibles
My Name is Albert Ayler
Woman on the Beach
Born And Bred
El Desierto Negro
El Baña del Papa
Buddha Collapsed Out of Shame
In Memoria di Me
Blind Mountain
Wild Tigers I Have Known
El Otro
La Leon
Rome Plutôt que Vous
Little Moth
We Own The Night
Elle s'appelle Sabine
Nos Vies Privées
Paranoid Park





This Friday, one of my favourite contemporary bands at the Pit's: BLACK TIME => the ultimate clash/crash between The Cramps and Pussy Galore...

Monday, September 24, 2007


Last Saturday turned out to be another memorable night at the Pit's club! I simply cannot imagine a more powerful live band than Toronto's BRUTAL KNIGHTS. During the gig, I was thinking to myself that this must've been how BLACK FLAG sounded on stage during their heyday. With two guitar players, one bass player, one drummer and one singer, Canada's hardcore kings almost blew the roof off the fuckin' Pit's! With blasting intensity, the band's earth-shattering punk rock turned the place into a ruthless moshpit once again. What a band! Concert of the year? You bet!

Yesterday, I went to see ALEMAYEHU ESHETE aka the Ethiopian James Brown! Before the show, I talked to Francis Falceto whom I once interviewed about his fabulous Ethiopiques reissue program and he told me that Mr. Eshete's backing band consisted of young Bretons. I don't know if he saw the disappointment on my face in the vein of “What? No Ethiopians but a bunch of French conservatory musicians??”, but as soon as the band hit the stage, I knew that my prejudiced point of view was totally misplaced since the band played a terrific set. Alemayehu was in top form too and he really enjoyed himself on stage. Many classic Ethiopian songs were being played and when Alemayehu Eshete came back for an encore, the band played “Addis Ababa” and everybody was dancing! A mighty fine gig indeed!! After the show, I went to congratulate Alemayehu for his wonderful performance and he said "thank you brother" and gave me a hug! What a wonderful human being!!

I promise to bring my camera next time so I can shoot some pics for this blog.

Friday, September 21, 2007

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

If you like your cinema pure & honest, you really need to check out this year's winner of the Palme d'Or at the Cannes film festival. It's a delight to see how Romanian director Cristian Mungiu discreetly observes his main character Otilia while the real action is taking place off screen. In long takes, he reveals her inner struggles in silence, creating a maelstrom of emotions. This tale about an illegal abortion during the Ceausescu years can be spoken of with the same regard as 'The Death of Mr. Lazarescu'. I cannot imagine a higher recommendation.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Yesterday, I really enjoyed Anton Corbijn's compelling film about Ian Curtis (1956-1980), the tormented singer of Joy Division who hanged himself in 1980 at the age of 23. Sam Riley is really brilliant as the depressive lead singer and the live fragments are very convincing. The black-and-white film is visually arresting while the formal mise-en-scene is perfectly appropriate and fits the subject perfectly. A heartfelt film you cannot afford to miss!


i found most people extremely boring

should i seek for more interesting people or has my mind been troubled by watching too many movies?

a combination of domestic happiness and joyful escapism through the arts (movies, books, music)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Trappist Westvleteren

Hooray!!! Last Tuesday, I bought my first 2 crates of Westvleteren Trappist beer!! Although stocks have always been low and supplies have always been limited and uncertain, even for Belgians it has become very hard these days to obtain a crate of the world-renowned Trappist beer. Ever since the Westvleteren 12 was chosen best beer in the world on RateBeer.com in June 2005, each car is rationed to two 24-bottle crates and the beer has to be reserved through a beer phone beforehand. This means that the monks will not sell you any beer if you just drive up to the abbey hoping to get some. Aside from the brewery itself, the only other official sale point for the beer is the abbey-owned meeting center 'In de Vrede', just in front of the abbey. All beers can still be bought there for immediate consumption only. The monks themselves are charmingly stubborn: they have repeatedly stated that they only brew enough beer to run the monastery, and will make no more than they need to sell, regardless of demand.

Before I went to collect my two wooden crates of Trappist Westvleteren 8, I tasted the Westvleteren 12 and I must admit that it is truly an exceptional beer! I won't try to describe its flavour as I terribly suck at describing beer, but believe me - its reputation as the world's greatest beer is totally justified! A profound beer drinking experience!

At the end of the month, the Westvleteren 12 will be available too. I can hardly wait... again.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

African pearls on sale at Mélodie !!!

There’s a very interesting sale going on at Mélodie until September 16th (hurry up!). The 6 CD series SENEGAL FLASH for example, is a wonderful collection of Senegalese and Gambian bands from the seventies. Other collections from the Syliphone catalog, like the DISCOTHEQUE series, are no less essential. The 2CD collections MUSIQUE DU MALI VOL.1 & 2 have recently been upgraded by Syllart as African Pearls 3: One Day On Radio Mali but the current price of the original collection is really ridiculously low. You can find a link to the overstock offer by clicking here. I have marked the recommended items in yellow. Ask your local retailer NOW because there’s some truly unique music to be heard! This majestic track by Super Diamono for example, can be found on Sénégal Flash: Banjul.

You can find more info on the original releases by clicking here

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Silversun Pickups

At work, I am surrounded by women who are keen on radio stations with slogans like “The Fun! The Hits!” or “Q-Music Is Good For You!”. Because I treat my female colleagues very kindly most of the time (serving coffee, telling them they look terrific today etc.) every now and then they allow me to listen to some national college radio station that plays a lot of ‘guitar-oriented’ songs. Sure, they play All Saints or The Spin Doctors too, but it’s always nice to hear Iggy Pop or Violent Femmes while tapping the keyboard. Now there’s this one song that they constantly play by a band called Silversun Pickups that I really started to like a lot. It is called Lazy Eye and it reminds me a lot of The Breeders although I never bought a Breeders record in my life so I might be wrong at that point. Anyway, I searched some info about this L.A. quartet and it seems like they’re rather famous since they play big festivals and sell a lot of records. Wait! You MUST have heard of this band?! They’re probably one of those dreadful indie bands that want to become the next Foo Fighters and do have their own PR-manager! But whatever, I really like this song and although there’s a fat chance that I will probably hate it next month, I simply have to admit that – RIGHT NOW – I am very fond of it. The fascinating thing is that this shameless personal revelation gives me a good feeling. It feels great to admit that I really like a song that is cherished by thousands of teenagers worldwide although after reading this, you will probably never ever trust me again music wise.

Play or download Lazy Eye

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Brötzmann & Hitchens

It's good to have several sources for buying books & music so you can compare prices and save money. I have just ordered the following 2 items at Proxis, both very reasonably priced:

The Complete Machine Gun Sessions - The Peter Brötzmann Octet (Atavistic 2CD)

The original BRO Records LP restored to its 1968 format, with two alternate takes, new liner notes by Brötzmann and John Corbett, plus the only live version of MACHINE GUN ever recorded- in a deluxe package! This is a 2 CD edition and even cheaper than the former FMP edition. I am renovating the house and pretty sure that this will be the perfect companion while removing wall paper. Here's what the others say: "mind-blasting... a smashing, clanging wonderland of noise." - Thurston Moore, "Jaw-dropping, face-peeling, DNA-changing music." - Mats Gustafsson.

God is Not Great (How religion poisens everything) - Christopher Hitchens

The dutch translation is scheduled for november but I've read a couple of interesting things about this book so I ordered the American hardcover edition. Although I wouldn't describe myself as a hardcore atheist (I highly regard people like the 13th century sufi poet and mystic Rumi or Tarkovsky's religious consciousness), I do agree with Karl Marx' famous statement that religion is the opium of the people. I don't think that this book will drastically change my thinking about religion but I am anxious to read it.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The Scene of the Crime - BETTYE LAVETTE

Whoah!!! Look at this one! Soul goddess BETTYE LAVETTE teaming up with the fabulous DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS!!! A couple of years ago, I saw a devastatingly powerful performance by soul goddess Lavette at the Blues Estafette in Utrecht. During “Let Me Down Easy”, you could hear a pin drop even though the hall was packed with some 3,000 blues/soul music lovers! Drive-by Truckers on the other hand is one of the most exciting roots rock bands today. Once you’ve seen them on stage, you become a lifelong fan! “The Scene of the Crime” will be released on September 24 on Anti- records. Man, I really can’t wait to hear this record!!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Fuck. I had to reduce my travel time by one week because of permanent rainfall in the mountains. I also was on a musical diet of 2 Spring CD’s and 1 Samson & Gert CD a day but I must admit that I rather enjoyed the total abstinence of exciting music. Right now, I am listening to Music of Central Asia Vol.1 : TENGIR-TOO – Mountain Music of Kyrgyzstan on Smithsonian Folkways and it just sounds perfect to my newborn ears. As far as the camping goes, man, I’ve really had it! In the upcoming years, I’ll be flying to the sun – Morocco or Greece, whatever. I’m sure you’ll understand when watching the pictures beneath…

Campsite in Gmünd, Austria

View from our room at 1.500 m (5.000 ft)

Friday, July 27, 2007

I hope to review the following records on my site before I take a walk into the mountains…

  • Free Your Mind – AMNESTY (Stones Throw 2LP)

  • Time and Place – LEE MOSES (Sanctuary CD)

  • Little Animals – BEASTS OF BOURBON (Albert Productions CD)

  • Introducing KENGE KENGE (World Music Network)

  • Vol1. Soundiata – THE RAIL BAND (Belle Epoque/Stern’s 2CD)

  • The Early Year – TRACTOR SEX FATALITY (Scatological Liberation Front 2CD)

  • Hot Box c/w Hoochie Poochie – BLACK ROSE BAND (Contaminated Records 7”)

  • BLACK TIME/HUSBANDS (Show and Tell Recordings split 7”)

  • We Love the Blowtops – VARIOUS (Big Neck 2x7”)

  • She Just Don’t Care – LUXURY RIDES (Goodbye Boozy Records 7”)

  • Coltrane – BOSTON CHINKS (Goner Records 7”)

  • Turn Back Time – SNAKE FLOWER II (Shake Your Ass Records 7”)

  • The George Mitchell Collection – ROSA LEE HILL AND FRIENDS (Fat Possum CD)


  • Singles Collection II – BRAINBOMBS (Pollymaggoo Records CD)


  • Ca$h Flow – WESLEY COLEMAN (Cadc° Records CD)


  • Feast of Shame – BRUTAL KNIGHTS (P-trash LP)

  • Forget About Never – THE TERMINALS (Dead Beat Records LP)

  • Chandrasekhar Limit – KAZALOK (Shake Your Ass MLP)

  • The Hex Dispensers – THE HEX DISPENSERS (Alien Snatch Records LP)

  • Night Of Broken Glass – JAY REATARD (In The Red Records 12”)

  • Mary Ellen Claims – TYVEK (X! Records 7”)

  • THE STRAITCOATS (Hook or Crook 7”)

  • Spoiled Brat – CHEAP TIME (Sweet Rod Records 7”)

  • Round Like An Apple – SMOKEY WILSON (Ace Records CD)



  • Blues de Musicien – PINE LEAF BOYS (Arhoolie CD)

  • She’s So Out + 3 – BARE WIRES (Solid Sex Lovie Doll 7”)

  • Walk My Walk + 3 – THE COCK ROACHES (Solid Sex Lovie Doll 7”)

  • 4-track Recording Session – GREEN ARROWS (Open House Records CD)

  • Cold Hands b/w My Struggle – BLACK LIPS (Vice Records 7”)

  • Ape-ology – LEE PERRY AND THE UPSETTERS (Trojan 2CD)

  • Walk into the Sea – CHEATER SLICKS (In The Red LP)

  • The Bad Trips – THE BAD TRIPS (Rocketshop Records LP)

  • Whiskey Flowers – GOLDEN BOYS (Hook or Crook LP)

  • Black & White in Dub - CARLTON PATTERSON & KING TUBBY (Hot Pot CD)

  • Renunciation - DAVID S. WARE (Aum Fidelity CD)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Some recent delights

(Blue Note Records Festival Ghent 16/7)

Rashied Ali (drums), Josh Evans (trumpet), Lawrence Clark (tenor sax), Greg Murphy (piano), Joris Teepe (bass)

The Rashied Ali Quintet played a terrific set in Ghent last week! Five amazing musicians who alternately gave away awesome solos, played with fierce intensity. Lawrence Clark on tenor sax reminded us all that this was the John Coltrane tribute day of the festival. Fire music!

(Blue Note Records Festival Ghent 16/7)

Archie Shepp (tenor and soprano sax, voice), Roswell Rudd (trombone), Reggie Workman (bass), Andrew Cyrille (drums)

A much more relaxed and introspective set than the one by the Rashied Ali Quintet. The Archie Shepp/Roswell Rudd Quartet played very inspirational jazz music with a wonderful flow. Roswell Rudd was brilliant on trombone while Archie Shepp showed us all why he is a living legend. Wonderful versions of “Steam”, “Ujamma” and “Bamako” too. Wow!

LADY CHATTERLEY (Pascale Ferran)

A heartbreaking story of true love and an original portrait of sexuality and its role in human relationships. The most frankly sensual movie in memory that never ceases to be gripping in spite of its 168-minute length.

BOOGIE WOOGIE PIONEERS Compiled by John Mayall (Document Records CD 2006)

An addictive compilation with some of the most exciting boogie woogie pianists to ever walk this earth. Chronologically compiled, it starts with a recording from Cow Cow Davenport that dates back from 1928 an ends in true style with an Otis Spann track from 1960. Pretty damn essential!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Nicole Willis And The Soul Investigators

One of the main reasons why I’m not keen on making personal year end lists as far as music is concerned, is that most of the time, I discover the real gems months after their initial release date. A few weeks ago for example, I finally decided to check out Nicole Willis And The Soul Investigators’ ‘Keep Reachin’ Up’ album from 2006. The record floored me immediately: I could hardly believe that I was listening to a contemporary album! The combination of an awesome northern soul groove, ace song writing and wonderful vocals make ‘Keep Reachin’ Up’ one of the best albums in recent times. The funny thing is: Willis is American-born; the Soul Investigators are Finnish! Nicole Willis used to perform with early incarnations of the Brand New Heavies and Deee-Lite before leading the NYC-based band the Repercussions in the early ‘90s. A couple of years ago, she relocated to Finland (the homeland of her husband Jimi Tenor) where ‘Keep Reachin’ Up’ was released in 2005 on a tiny Finnish label. A couple of weeks ago, the album has finally been released in Europe by Rough Trade while Lights in the Attic will release the album in the States in late-July. Get it now and get down!

Last Sunday, Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators played a damn fine show at the Gentse Feesten although I think live-wise, she would benefit much more from a soulful black backing band than from a bunch of ice-cold Finns, with all respect due.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud - France) ***1/2

Persepolis was not part of the festival but since I wanted to see the original French version rather than the dubbed English version that is scheduled for Flanders after the summer, I went to see this Cannes prize-winning animated movie in a regular Brussels theatre. Persepolis tells the autobiographical story of the director when she was growing up in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution in the 1970s. It’s a great joy to see how the powerful black-and-white comic strip images come to life in a movie that perfectly blends the historical with the personal. Witty, moving and illuminating!

Una Ballata Bianca (Stefano Odoardi - Italy/Netherlands) *1/2

Poetic and contemplative art house film in which an ageing couple looks back on love, life and approaching death. The couple is played by non-professional actors but the old man didn’t convince me at all. Too theatrical and bombastic for my taste.

Ce Que Je Sais De Lola (Javier Rebollo - France/Spain) **

An entertaining but rather banal story about a loner who falls in love with his new neighbour, a vicacious Spanish woman, and begins to follow her life. Well made but of little substance…

Thursday, July 05, 2007

California Dreamin’ (Endless) (Christian Nemescu – Rumania) ****

What makes a good film festival? The number of Cannes revelations? It’s been a long time since I’ve seen so many good films on such a short period of time! CALIFORNIA DREAMIN' (ENDLESS) by Romanian director Cristian Nemescu was awarded the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes. Unfortunately, the 27 year old director was killed in an automobile accident last summer, just before the montage phase of the movie. The film however was left the way he edited and cut his work and although it’s length of 155 minutes, Nemescu’s first feature-length film doesn’t suffer at all from this rough cut. The plot is simple: during the war in Kosovo, in 1999, in a small Romanian village, the chief of the railway station, who happens to be the local gangster as well, stops a NATO train transporting military equipment. The transport, supervised by American soldiers, is crossing Romania without official documents, based only on verbal approval of the Romanian government. Their arrival changes the place into the village of all opportunities. Nemescu’s universal language is both very entertaining and compelling. A real festival hit!

Brand Upon The Brain! (Guy Maddin – Canada) **

Canadian film maverick Guy Maddin’s latest extravaganza ‘Brand Upon The Brain!’ has everything you would expect of Maddin: filmed in the style of the silent film and featuring major doses of memory loss, conflicts and romantic intrigues. This silent, semi-autobiographical tale tells the story of a young Maddin who lives with his teenage sister on a mysterious island that they are one day to inherit. They share this space with a group of orphans who have installed themselves in a lighthouse. From the top of this their every move is observed by Guy’s tyrannical mother, while his father – a scientist-cum-inventor – works away in secret day and night down in the cellar. When a series of strange wounds appears on the head of several orphans, Wendy and Chance Hale, a pair of teenage detectives, begin their investigation. A typical Maddin but far from spectacular.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Mourning Forest (Mogari No Mori) (Naomi Kawase – Japan) *****

With 'The Mourning Forest', Japan’s Naomi Kawase has made another cinematographic masterpiece. Her previous works (Suzaku, Hotaru, Shara) made it to the top 5 of my year end lists and her new one will do just the same. 'Mogari No Mari' is a stunningly beautiful film about a care-worker in a small rest-home in the Japanese hinterland who is drawn to a dementia-affected patient who is still mourning over the loss of his wife 33 years ago. Burdened by the death of her young son, the young caregiver follows the elderly patient into the depths of the Mogari forest where a mutual mourning process unfolds. 'The Mourning Forest’ feels like a serene prayer; its intense and profound feelings leave you spellbound. A well deserved winner of the Grand Prix at the most recent Cannes festival and one of the top 5 movies of the year!

Pas Douce (Jeanne Waltz – Switserland/France) ***

A film about a nurse in a remote village who decides to commit suicide but in place accidentally wounds a young boy who she nurses subsequently. I found the plot not very interesting but again, Isild Le Besco shows what a terrific talent she is by delivering an intense & gripping performance as the young adolescent looking for self confidence.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

L’Âge d’Or/Cinédécouvertes + Brussels European Film Festival

L’Âge d’Or/Cinédécouvertes - the film festival held by the Royal Film Archive in Brussels (aka the Brussels Film Museum) - is one of 4 interesting film festivals I attend every year. Together with the International Film Festival Rotterdam (January), the Flanders International Film Festival Ghent (October) and the Cinema Novo Film Festival in Bruges (March), the festival covers a broad spectrum of recent festival hits and other remarkable movies. A combination of these 4 film festivals enables me to track down every
worthwhile movie that has been released during the last year. In recent years, the l’Âge d’Or/Cinédécouvertes has joined forces with the Brussels European Film Festival and takes place at the beautiful Flagey building in the heart of Brussels. Still, both festivals are
separate and have their own jury. The l’Âge d’Or/Cinédécouvertes remains the more interesting one because it doesn't limit itself to Europe and selects its quality films mostly from the renowned Cannes and Berlin film festivals. I will spend a few words on the
12 films I selected this year...

Body Rice (Hugo Vieira da Silva - Portugal/Germany) ***1/2

An existential movie that follows young German delinquents in a desert-like part of the Alentejo in Portugal where they have been sent as part of a rehabilitation project. Their stay however is one of extreme lethargy & apathetic doom where the only highlight seems to be dancing to very loud techno in bare landscape. (besides Joy Division, X-Mal Deutschland and Einsturzende Neubauten, the soundtrack mostly consists of raw techno by Joey Beltram). Body Rice mixes the documentary-like observation of Sharunas Bartas with the desperate dramaturgy of Teresa Villaverde. A remarkable film!

Tout est pardonné (Mia Hansen-Løve – France) **

An unbalanced film about a couple with a young daughter that separates because of the good-for-nothing husband’s junkie habit. Some 11 years later, we get to see the confrontation between the father and his daughter.

XXY (Lucia Puenzo – Argentina) **

A film about a 15-year-old hermaphrodite who lives with her/his parents in an isolated corner of the Uruguayan coast. The arrival of a doctor with his wife and 16-year-old son disrupts the daily routine. A well-made and genuine (teenage) film that will please a large audience.

Yumurta (Egg) (Semih Kaplanoglu – Turkey) ***

After his wonderful "Angel's Fall" from 2005, Turkish director Semih Kaplanoglu tells the story of an Istanbul bookseller returning to his village after his mother’s death. There, he meets his brother's granddaughter who'd looked after his mom and who asks him to perform the sacrifice of a ram his mom had never been able to. “Yumurta” will be the first film in a trilogy, "Honey, Milk and Egg," which will be presented in reverse order. A good movie but Kaplanoglu is not yet on par with fellow countryman Nuri Bilge Ceylan.

La Influencia (Pedro Aguilera – Spain/Mexico) ***1/2

The story of a vulnerable woman with 2 young children that falls into a deep depression. The assistant to Carlos Reygadas for “Battle in Heaven” and Amat Escalante for “Sangre”, Pedro Aguilera presents a début feature of extreme harshness: an appalling, almost unbearable chronicle of a relentless breakdown. Very good.

Meduzot (Etgar Keret & Shira Geffen – Israel/France) ****

The winner of the Camera d’Or at Cannes (the award for best debut feature) is both a very clever and intriguing comedy about three women in Tel Aviv. A subtle film that mixes humor with intense emotions and originality.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


more great eurotouring pics here

Last Saturday was another fun night at the Pit’s: a wild beer-soaked rock ‘n roll party that ended in a messy punk jam with the audience! THE FEELERS played a wild & amazing show and gave their all. This wasn’t very surpising since the bass player’s mom and dad had especially flown over from the States to see the apple of their eye playing some fierce & reckless punk tunes. From the first song on, the hyperactive singer took a spot in the middle of the club and screamed his lungs out. The sheer energy the band radiated was irresistible so we all kept on shouting for more! The Feelers ended their intense set with a cover from fellow townsmen Cheater Slicks and although I didn’t recognize the song as such (the guy next to me told me The Spits do cover the same song), it was a great way to end a terrific high-energy show!

I don’t own any records by the CLOROX GIRLS because I thought their sound is a bit to clean & poppy for my ears but their half hour live set proofed me wrong. The singer, a young Greg Sage lookalike, poked fun at us by telling that the French fries are better in France but when he joked he actually prefered German beers, I immediately treated him on a trappist shower in order to convince him of the brewing qualities of our monks. Fortunately, he didn’t kick my ass but kept on rocking full throttle. From then on, the party broke loose and everybody had a great time, some on stage, some off stage. The grand finale was a distribution of the instruments among the audience which resulted in a wild punk jam. A great party from 2 great live bands. Thanks a lot guys!!!

Friday, May 25, 2007


It looks like Carlos Reygadas has made another masterpiece after his brilliant debut film JAPÓN. You can read all about it here, in Dutch...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Will Oldham or how the past deforms reality...

I bought Palace Brothers“There is no one what will take care of you” album around 1994. I immediately loved the record (bonjour tristesse) and went to see Will Oldham at the Lintfabriek in Kontich near Antwerp. Only a handful of people showed up and for once, the absentees were right because the show was a drag: the band played miserable country music and the self-indulgent navel-gazing made me leave the club after half an hour. On the way home, for one full hour I was stuck behind an exceptional road cargo that was transporting a huge part of a bridge and I was really pissed off: what a shitty night! Consequently, I didn’t follow Will Oldham’s career and didn’t bought any of his solo albums under the moniker of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy. But last year, I saw the critically-acclaimed low budget film “Old Joy” in which Oldham plays one of two old friends who reunite for a weekend camping trip in Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Although nothing much happens in the movie, it got stuck in my head and I still rate it as one of the most genuine movies of 2006. A definitely must see! So I become interested again in Oldham’s music and downloaded “I see a darkness” from 1999 and “Ease down the road” from 2001. On my way to the International Film Festival Rotterdam last January, I played the records for the first time in my car and it soon became clear that I missed a lot because songs so pure and honest through and through can only be made by an immensely talented singer-songwriter. I immediately bought both gems on CD and they are still in heavy rotation over here. Just last week, I stumbled upon this add in some local music magazine and it once again became clear that Will Oldham is pure gold! The only question that remains, however, is whether that sudden concert was really that bad…


It looks like Bryan Ferry's wife has just finished a Photoshop workshop...

Oh well, you can't judge a book by its cover, right?