Archive for the ‘number seventeen’ Category

Keith Martel’s Podcast Playlist

February 21, 2007


Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity (2007)

February 21, 2007
Deerhoof is an experimental pop band whose albums are full of interesting arrangements and out-of-the-way rhythms. Ultimately, though, this album’s downfall is the overabundance of this sort of interesting ideas. Deerhoof has all sorts of good ideas – I’m convinced of that – the problem is that they can’t cut them. Any given song on this album will move between seven or eight different melodic hooks, along with the odd rhythmic qualities for which Deerhoof is known. Any one of these hooks would make for a good song – but eight of them strung end to end make for a frustrating experience.
While Deerhoof might often seem inaccessible, this album gives off the impression that the band is trying to be intentionally so – trying to be inaccessible, pretentious, and obscure merely for the sake of inaccessibility, pretentiousness, and obscurantism. The album does sound like Deerhoof, if Deerhoof drank a couple of French presses full of Yerba Mate and recorded an album in twenty-second spurts of caffeine-fueled composition. If you already like Deerhoof, and have no attention span, pick up this album; if not, try The Runners Four or Apple O’ for a better and much more accessible introduction to one of the more interesting contemporary experimental pop bands.

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Some Loud Thunder (2007)

February 21, 2007
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s latest album Some Loud Thunder is a sonic depiction of the dissolution of modern society. The album opens with the title track which presents a fairly normal rock song with a slight twist: the song sounds like it was improperly recorded to the disc. But this is not a mistake, it was an intentional production choice on the part of the band. It shows how modern structures–while still standing–are no longer paragons of vitality and relevance. The album then descends into darkness and nihilism, only occasionally punctuated by rays of hope and normalcy.
Much of the songs are equivalent to modernist poetry, using verbal dissonance to convey the brokenness and alienation that is part of daily life in the world. “Things are not as you would have them, I’m no man and you’re no woman.” These lyrics are a moment of despairing lucidity in “Mama, Won’t You Keep Them Castles in the Air and Burning?” before the singer plunges into several minutes of fragmented lyrics. And though the record is punctuated throughout with similar expressions of hopelessness and disjointed-ness, the sun pokes through occasionally. On “Emily Jean Stock” the song closes with the almost whispered chant, “Some day we’re going to make it all right.”

But ultimately, the album ends in the same darkness that it opened, chanting disillusionment, and spilling fragmented verbiage into the airwaves. Over all, an interesting but chilling listen.


Third Places

February 21, 2007

For competitive individuals, coming in third place just isn’t acceptable. But I am not writing this to talk about the third place in a negative light but probably the most positive light that the third place has been talked about, ever.

What I am talking about is the term “The Third Place” coined by Ray Oldenburg (Oldenburg is an urban sociologist and author of Celebrating the Third Place and The Great Good Place and a contributor to Parallel Utopias: The Quest for Community). There are three places in our lives. The First Place is home. The Second Place is work. I couldn’t define The Third Place in one word and neither could Oldenburg. To quote, he says that Third Places “host the regular, voluntary, informal, and happily anticipated gatherings of individuals beyond the realms of home and work.” Third Places become a neutral ground for meeting and provide a no pressure atmosphere.

Third Places are typically thought of as coffee shops. While coffee shops definitely attract a Third Place atmosphere we are not limited to that. Other Third Places could be parks, bars, even sidewalks or hardware stores like Kelly’s in Beaver Falls.

To some frequenters, the Beaver Falls Coffee & Tea Company may already be a Third Place. That is exactly what owners Russell and Bethany Warren desired for their business; they understood the need for a comfortable, relaxed place where you don’t necessarily have to be, but rather choose to be.

The need of association is the main point to draw from this concept. Home is where you live and work, you have to go there but do you have a place that you are compelled to be? Sorry to bust your Geneva bubble, but if you don’t have a third place then you are depriving yourself of the essential necessity of association. If you don’t have one then you’re depriving yourself of the essential necessity of association.

Interested in reading more? Celebrating The Third Place and The Great Good Place can both be found on the bookshelves at BFC&T and the McCartney Library.


Catch a Fire (2006)

February 21, 2007
Attempting to depict the oppression and the turmoil endured in South Africa during the 1980s, Catch a Fire illustrates the unfair treatment that blacks faced during apartheid.

This film tells the true narrative of Patrick Chamusso, a black South African man who led a simple life with his wife and two daughters. Careful to never challenge the “bosses” (police), he repeatedly kept his head down when enduring humiliation. But, when he is charged and tortured for a crime he did not commit, and sees his battered wife after the police beat her, Patrick is pushed over the edge. As he turns towards violence and joins the rebel organization ANC, it is difficult to not empathize with his actions. Ironically, the government seems to have turned him into their enemy. The very acts they were punishing an innocent man for are the acts he now performs.

This film encourages critical thought about South African apartheid while also offering hope because this apartheid of injustice was eventually resolved in peace. Considering the violence that occurred in South Africa, the film makers carefully keep the movie from being gory, although in an attempt to accurately portray the story, it contains scenes of torture and killings. This film never appears overdone and fake, and is successful in connecting the main character in the movie to the real Patrick Chamusso.

The film has definite improvements it could make in plot development, detail, and emotion. It resembles a weakly made movie that was a slight upgrade from a documentary, though it is possible that this was an intentional effort. Certainly not a movie to relax to, this does not disregard the fact that this film brings up crucial issues regarding violence and peace worthy of consideration.


Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) and Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

February 21, 2007
In February and March of 1945 America and Japan struggled in a 35 day battle over an island in the Pacific Ocean named Iwo Jima. Clint Eastwood (director of Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River) has made two films chronicling the lives of American (Flags of our Fathers) and Japanese (Letters from Iwo Jima) soldiers.

Both of these films follow in the anti-war tradition by focusing on the human face of social conflicts. Flags tells the story of three men, John “Doc” Bradley, Ira Hayes and Rene Gagnon, who became famous for being in a photo, raising a flag on Iwo Jima (see movie poster). They are soon sent for by the government to be the spokespeople for raising money for the war effort. The story is told by the son of Bradley, one of the flag raisers. Using interviews and flashbacks, the story comes to a climax in the final scenes when Bradley tells his son about the catastrophe of war and the construction of heroes. The main theme of Flags is the way in which we define heroes and give political meaning to our actions. The film does a great job of making the viewer more reflective about the complexity of war.

Letters is a more traditional film, following the lives of Saigo, General Tadamichi Kuribayashi and Baron Nishi, as they dig in for the long and continually bleakening battle ahead. Through flashbacks you come to know these men and the tension they feel in fighting for their country and the longing for home and family. In the end, these men realize that fighting is not the purpose of their lives; rather, it is the dignity and worth they have as human beings in life and in death. Rather than killing themselves, as so many of their fellow officers do, they value the honor of their lives. Like Flags, this film also allows the viewer to critically reflect on the tragedy of war. The directing is well done and there are good performances by Ryan Phillippe, Adam Beach, Ken Watanabe and Kazunari Ninomiya.

Greg’s Blog
IMDB (Letters) (Flags)

More on The Well Fund

February 21, 2007

Ok. So, here’s where we’re at. We’ve gotten seven hundred and eighty dollars in donations. Five hundred of that was matched by The Call Office. That leaves us with over one thousand two hundred dollars in the kitty. Pretty good. Only… We’re still over four thousand dollars away from our goal of a little over five grand.

Keep those funds coming. The more the merrier.

Special thanks to those who have given since the first round of names that we printed such as: denise godwin. robert liljestrand. rachel menke. matt dodd. seth wing. jared willson. christiana dementriou. bronya clyde. The student ministries and bible departments. and a bunch of anonymous givers.

We’ve had a lot of questions about the timeline for The Well Fund, and while we’re not entirely sure when we’re going to cut off donations. The goal is to raise the entire $5390—to build a well. Please bring your donation to The Call office.

Bloc Party – A Weekend in the City (2007)

February 21, 2007
Dance like crazy, nod your head and rock out to the intoxicating sounds of Bloc Party swimming through your speakers. On the surface, the British alt. rock band sets themselves apart from most, as their sophomore album is just as good,, if not better than, their debut album.
Layered with profound yet chaotic tones about rebellion, sexuality (homo and hetero), addiction, racism, religion and terrorism, the band seeks to reveal the disjointed place one calls the city. The album, A Weekend in the City, is just that. Those unmistakable vocals of Bloc Party bring a complex dynamic to the table as they make it impossible not to feel the strains of frustration; but yet, the hopes of redemption that are found in the depths of relationships.

The feelings of discontentment are evident in their portrayal of this so called life we live in. “Drink to forget your blues on the weekend/Think about more things to buy/The TV taught me how to sulk and love nothing/And how to grow my hair long.” Mixing heavy with some mellow tones, accompanied with great drum beats, guitars and unique vocals pretty much sums it all up. The music is intense, mixing heavy and mellow tones with great drum beats, guitars and unique vocals. So, go ahead, it’s your turn to listen.