By 1978, Shin Sang-ok, South Korea’s most celebrated filmmaker, was 51 years old and washed up. He had bankrupted his studio, run afoul of the censor board, and been divorced by his wife and collaborator, actress Choi Eun-hee. And then he and Choi were kidnapped by North Korea. The story of how the couple’s careers were forcibly revived, as told in Paul Fischer’s book, A Kim Jong-Il Production, provides not only a riveting look inside a murky state, but a glimpse into North Korea’s movie obsession, and a lens through which to see the current regime’s outrage at the Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy The Interview. The book’s titular “production” is North Korea itself, which Fischer depicts as “a theatre state” propped up by symbols and spectacles, its ideological cornerstone a film treatise: Kim’s 1973 book, On the Art of Cinema.
Fifty years since Ben E. King left the Drifters to start his solo career, his hits are still being covered by everyone from American Idol hopefuls to Michael Bublé to U2. And yet, throughout the past decade, the soul legend with the rough-but-tender voice has kept a low profile, singing in supper clubs and […]
Bruce Lundvall keeps ’em lookin’ as good as they sound When German emigrés Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff founded the Blue Note record label 70 years ago in New York City, jazz held most of the market for recorded music. Nowadays, it’s decidedly a niche genre. So why do so many artists with mainstream success, […]
Thirty-eight years ago this month, the members of the Flower Travellin’ Band moved from Tokyo to Toronto, poised to take on the world. A little over a year later, they returned to Japan, broke and somewhat disillusioned. But from the Land of the Rising Sun to the land of the ice and snow, rock ‘n’ roll dreams die hard, and now, FTB have returned to take care of some long-unfinished business.
With the advent of inexpensive software, just about anyone can make decent-sounding music on a computer. Performing one’s electronic opus, however, is another matter. Watching producers working laptops or triggering samplers on stage is as exciting as staring at an electronic simulation of paint drying.
Until recently, computer wizards have had two ways to shake up their performances: video projection (which works best if you have a huge budget like Kraftwerk) or hiring people to play “real” instruments and/or sing. Tomorrow night, at Montreal’s Society for Arts and Technology, a group of electronic music producers will be presenting a third alternative: the use of new musical instruments which look as appealing as they sound.
In 1988, Mitsou’s “Bye-Bye Mon Cowboy” raised more than a few eyebrows in English Canada. But since the pouting starlet herself started singing in English, little of Quebec’s Francophone pop – apart from a smattering of Roch Voisine and a few throwaway lines from Bran Van 3000 – has crossed the province’s border.
Inkstain archives journalism by Mike Doherty.