Category Archives: Music

Things to Come

Things to Come is a 1936 British black-and-white science fiction film from United Artists, produced by Alexander Korda, directed by William Cameron Menzies, and written by H. G. Wells.

The film stars Raymond Massey, Edward Chapman, Ralph Richardson, Margaretta Scott, Cedric Hardwicke, Maurice Braddell, Derrick De Marney, and Ann Todd.

I’m sure I saw this around 1980-1981 in the Ngaio Marsh Theatre as a student. Only the final speech remains as a memory. And I couldn’t remember what was said.

The film is based on his 1933 story ‘The Shape of Things to Come’ a work he considered less a novel than a “discussion” in fictional form that presented itself as the notes of a 22nd-century diplomat.

The film story is told in distinct parts:

In the city of Everytown, businessman John Cabal (Raymond Massey) cannot enjoy Christmas Day, 1940, with the news everywhere of possible war. His guest, Harding (Maurice Braddell), shares his worries, while another friend, the over-optimistic Pippa Passworthy (Edward Chapman), believes it will not come to pass. An aerial bombing raid on the city that night results in general mobilisation and then global war.

Months later, Cabal, now a Royal Air Force airman piloting a Hawker Fury, shoots down an enemy aircraft dropping gas on the British countryside. He lands and pulls the badly injured enemy pilot (John Clements) from the wreckage. The pilot dwells on the irony that he may have gassed the child’s family and yet he has sacrificed his own life in order to save her. A gun shot is then heard.

The war continues through the 1960s and into the 1970s. The warlord Rudolf (Ralph Richardson), known as the “Boss”, has become the chieftain of Everytown and eradicated the pestilence by shooting the infected. He has started yet another war, this time against the “hill people” of the Floss Valley. On May Day 1970, a sleek new aeroplane lands in Everytown, startling the inhabitants who have not seen a new machine in many years. The pilot, John Cabal, emerges and proclaims that the last surviving band of engineers and mechanics known as “World Communications” have formed a civilisation of airmen called “Wings Over the World”, based in Basra, Iraq.

They have outlawed war and are rebuilding civilisation throughout the Near East and the Mediterranean. Cabal considers the Boss and his band of warlords to be brigands, but offers them the opportunity to join them in rebuilding the world. The Boss immediately rejects the offer and takes Cabal prisoner. He is forced to work for mechanic Gordon, who struggles to keep the Boss’s biplanes airworthy. Gordon takes an Avro 504K up for a test flight and heads for Iraq to alert World Communications.

Gigantic flying wing aircraft arrive over Everytown and saturate its population with sleeping gas globes. The Boss orders his air force to attack, but the obsolete fighters lose.

The people awaken shortly thereafter to find themselves under the control of Wings Over the World and the Boss deads. Cabal observes, “Dead, and his old world dead with him … and with a new world beginning … And now for the rule of the Airmen and a new life for mankind”.

A montage follows, showing decades of technological progress, beginning with Cabal explaining plans for global consolidation by Wings Over the World. By 2036, mankind lives in modern underground cities, including the new Everytown. Civilisation is at last devoted to peace and scientific progress.

In 2036 fashion resorts to Roman Times

All is not well, however. The sculptor Theotocopulos (Cedric Hardwicke) incites the populace to demand a “rest” from all the rush of progress, symbolised by the coming first manned flight around the Moon. When a mob later forms and rushes to destroy the launch, Cabal launches it ahead of schedule.

Later, after the projectile is just a tiny light in the immense night sky, Oswald Cabal delivers a stirring philosophical monologue about what is to come for mankind to his troubled and questioning friend, Raymond Passworthy (Chapman), the father of Maurice. He speaks passionately for progress and humanity’s unending quest for knowledge and advancement as it journeys out into immensity of space to conquer the stars and beyond. He concludes with the rhetorical questions, “All the universe or nothing? Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?

This movie is huge in scope and ambition. It does succeed, although the political solution offered is rather authoritarian.

New York Times Review

Geoffrey O’Brien Essay (JUN 20, 2013)

 

Dig

The Dig is a 2021 British film directed by Simon Stone, based on the 2007 novel of the same name by John Preston. It reimagines the events of the 1939 excavation of Sutton Hoo.

It stars Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James, Johnny Flynn, Ben Chaplin, Ken Stott, Archie Barnes, and Monica Dolan.

An old fashioned BBC drama. By now there must be parts of the UK still in pre-war times just to shoot these films. Fiennes does a fine job as the old codger who started the dig. There is an ample supporting cast to fill the gaps.

However the most disappointing part was that we didn’t get to see the extent of the treasure uncovered.

There is a full scale replica of the burial ship being made.

But the most famous piece, the mask was not shown. Perhaps it was uncovered later.

Nicholas Bros

Thanks to Gyles Brandreth, of the ‘Something Rhymes with Purple’ podcast I can identify these dancers from numerous dance compilation videos as brothers, Fayard (1914–2006) and Harold (1921–2000) Nicholas, who excelled in a dance routines in movies, stage and television .

Their routine from ‘Stormy Weather’ (1943) is their most famous and can be seen in many dance videos:

 

Dep

Dep is a music act (Danny E. Peck) that exists in a strange region between ambient and orchestral. The songs (sometimes with vocals) have a very muted chill out vibe, but utilize orchestral musical languages. Very intriguing and draws you into the musical landscape.

The project has ceased and the artist now goes under the moniker of “A Defiant Heart”

 

Scott Lawlor

Scott Lawlor is an electronic musician that dabbles in everything from  dark and light ambient, solo piano, cosmic drone and avant-garde. He is also a collaborator, notably with ‘Wings of an Angel’ from Israel.

His albums must number in the hundreds, mainly on Bandcamp and a few on Spotify.  There are also some on the internet archive.

Of  particular interest is his re-interpretation of Pink Floyd Albums:

And a series of (so far) 14 ‘Isolation Concerts’ done mainly in 2020

OHRTROMPETE

OHRTROMPETE by Leitnerjoe

Here is a rare find from Munich, Germany by Johannes Leitner recorded from March to May 2020.

Instruments include Fretless WAL MK1 Basses, Clarinet, E-Bow and MIDI Keyboard. It ranges from funky to rocking and experimental. This reminds me a lot of Bill Laswell in the tone of the bass. I had Bill’s ‘Baselines’ on LP for a long time.

Wal Mk1 Bass Guitar

Quassi

Mareas by Qüassi

Qüassi is an instrumental music band from Mendoza, Argentina that ranges from Jazz-Fusion to progressive rock and experimental electronics. There is a similarity to el tuno elastico from Jerez, Spain and a little of Agent 22.

Collect Music

My Music Collection  is a software database that can catalog a music collection. I have been looking for one for a while, but never found one I like. With a few exceptions, it’s very good.

I tested the demo with the 50 albums I could add. The interface works well and is nicely intuitive. There are lots of customizations you can do to get things just right. The danger is trying to put too much in, with over 2,000 albums and half a dozen fields for each that’s a lot of data.

The first problem I detected was that the searching algorithm seemed to grab any art for a particular album. This resulted in some large files in .BMP and .PNG format that if left unchecked could result in a very large database. I found eventually solution.

The other problem is that there is no way to import a .csv into the database. I solved this by finding another music cataloguing program that would import spreadsheets, that ‘My Music Collection’ could read. So after a lot of work, I managed to import over 2,000 albums with just the artist, album name and year.

For the album art I am doing this manually. Most of the albums are mp3 and the artwork is readily available. It’s just a matter of resizing it down to 250×250 and importing.

Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a way to alter a single field of multiple albums in one operation.

Otherwise it works well.

 

 

Smooth

Smooth is a musical project by Marco Rockstroh, dedicated to Dubtechno and Deep House. It’s marvelously funky, fun and upbeat. Taken in small doses it can alleviate stress and anxiety.

There are a dozen albums at bandcamp.

RemixSample

RemixSample from Sweden has no information about who they are and what instruments they use. From the sound and visuals, it’s clear they are using Moog synthesizers. And they do it very well….