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Thread: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

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    Audacia's Avatar Give Life Back to Music
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    Default Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

    Hi there! I welcome you to my music and film reviews, where I hope you will find my work helpful in exploring new releases you might find intriguing. I will warn viewers that my reviews may contain minor spoilers. I hope you enjoy reading, and I always appreciate comments and suggestions!

    Film Reviews The Matrix


    Music Reviews Daft Punk - Random Access Memories


    All work is the sole property of Audacia, is protected under United States Copyright Law, and cannot be sold or distributed.
    Last edited by Audacia; June 06, 2013 at 10:10 PM.

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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews


    There is no spoon.

    It is really quite a silly line. No spoon? That is the best the writers could come up with? The line that becomes the focal point of an entire film, an entire series for that matter, is a simple line delivered with a degree of seriousness that makes you want to laugh. And yet this pointed remark made by a child during one of The Matrix’s most crucial sequences, holds incredible truth. Our perceptions of what is real make up how we, as humans, see the world. Behind the bombastic action sequences and characters dodging bullets in slow-motion, The Matrix explores the deeply profound and troubling question of what is actually real.

    The line delivered by the spoon-bending child perfectly summarizes what this film is all about. Despite the cornball one liners and seemingly empty dialogue, a thought provoking plot emerges from an otherwise ordinary science fiction thriller. The story is cleverly crafted, with enough twists and turns to keep audiences intrigued without utterly confusing them all together. Sentient robots enslaving humans is certainly not a revolutionary science fiction idea, but the addition of the Matrix as a prison for the cultivated human population provides for a captivating over-arching conflict. The gradual transformation of Thomas Anderson, a curious computer hacker of mild intellect and dynamism, to Neo, the savior of the world with complete control over his environment in the Matrix, is compelling and reflects the capable writing of Andy and Larry Wachowski.

    The other characters are generally less interesting and predictable. The unique relationship between Trinity and Neo is transparent from the get go. By and large, Morpheus remains static throughout the course of the film, and Cipher’s turn to the dark side is less than surprising. The agents, however, add a unique dimension to the film and their role in the Matrix is a work of genius on behalf of the writers. Agent Smith is a particularly fascinating character driven by his search to escape the intolerable simulated world his fellow machines created. The other uninspired agents provide a perfect backdrop for Agent Smith’s rebellious individuality.

    It is impossible to ignore the stunning cinematography and visual effects in praising The Matrix. The film popularized modern slow motion fight sequences as well as a ground-breaking new effect dubbed “bullet time.” “Bullet time” allows for gripping action that slows to a crawl when a shot is fired, then rapidly returns to normal speed that reveals characters literally dodging bullets. The lifelike computer generated images in The Matrix add to the complex and imaginative character of the film’s cinematography as well.

    Ultimately, watching The Matrix helps audiences realize what other “matrices” exist in our own lives. Our social culture dictates how we should act, feel, and look like in order to be perceived as “acceptable” or “normal.” Music, television, film, advertising, and other elements of society often attempt to manipulate our behavior, similar to the sentient machines of death portrayed in The Matrix. The Matrix teaches its audiences to never stop asking questions, to never stop wondering what lies beneath the surface of perceived messages, and to understand the importance of what is real and what matters in our lives. For this, The Matrix should be remembered. Try and think, what is the spoon in your life?
    Last edited by Audacia; January 18, 2013 at 10:24 PM.

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    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

    Audacia, you must enter the ROTM.

    A good review, and by the thread title I am looking forward to more.
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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post
    Audacia, you must enter the ROTM.

    A good review, and by the thread title I am looking forward to more.
    Thank you! I'll certainly consider it, though perhaps I'll write another review before the end of the month and wish to submit that, we'll see.

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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

    Glad to hear it, and best of luck.
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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

    Good! Looking forward to seeing more film reviews, and I'm especially interested in seeing what you do with music reviews.

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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews



    9.1

    “If you lose your way tonight that’s how you know the magic’s right,” Panda Bear chants throughout ‘Doin’ It Right.,’ the penultimate track from Daft Punk’s highly anticipated, immensely ambitious, and slightly indulgent album, Random Access Memories. And – based on initial reactions to the album – many electronic dance music fans found themselves confused and slightly perturbed by what Daft Punk delivered after a long, eight year hiatus. Of course, that’s exactly how the French duo had hoped many people would react to their glittery disco album peppered with live drums and groovy guitars. Daft Punk were validated in attempting to record an album that allowed listeners to experience the magic of dance music filled with life, with soul, the same kind of soul many artists of the seventies brought to disco. The reactions effectively proved that the magic was, in fact, right.

    The magic began even before the album was released. While it’s certainly important to distinguish hype from the quality of an album, Columbia’s perfectly executed marketing campaign emanated an air of mystery fused with an unprecedented degree of anticipation. Who will forget the frustratingly short advertisement aired on Saturday Night Live and then again at Coachella featuring Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, and the Robots clad in sequence tuxedos, singing and playing what would become the song of the summer? Every day saw fans meticulously searching online for artwork, the tracklist, videos featuring various collaborators, and maybe a snippet of new music. We all now know that there exists a place called Wee Waa in Australia. ‘Get Lucky’ debuted high on the charts and was endlessly played in clubs around the world. And after fans had listened to Pharrell croon about finding that special girl hundreds upon thousands of times, they were desperate for more. It was impossible not to get caught up in the massive hype. And getting lost in the wave of excitement was, quite frankly, a whole lot of fun.

    Finally, Daft Punk delivered their first studio album in eight years. And oh, did they deliver. Random Access Memories seeps of painstaking effort and attention to detail. It was recorded (to tape, suitably) flawlessly, and features a host of brilliant musicians perfectly executing the lofty instrumental requests of Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo. Additionally, the record features the brilliance of collaborators like Julian Casablancas, Paul Williams, Pharrell, Todd Edwards, and Panda Bear, among others. Human After All was created in six weeks. Random Access Memories was created over the course of five years. It shows.

    Random Access Memories really is an LP. It’s old-school, retro, and truly meant to be heard from beginning to end. Even the commercial rise of ‘Get Lucky’ reflects the record’s old-school roots. The song debuted at #19 on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 24. Over the course of a few weeks it ascended the charts, unlike so many modern singles that debut and peak at the same chart position. By May 30, ‘Get Lucky’ had reached #4.

    The record opens with ‘Give Life Back to Music,’ a powerful track that begins how you might expect given Daft Punk’s history. But then, after seventeen seconds of powerful chords and swirling synths, we realize ‘Get Lucky’ is not an anomaly. Live drums and a sparkling guitar riff from Nile Rodgers kick in and provide a dazzling dance ambience prime for some vocoded commands from Daft Punk. “Give life back to music,” they tell us, and then show us how it’s done.

    The rest of the first half of Random Access Memories is quite eclectic. ‘The Game of Love’ upholds the seventies disco vibe, albeit in a mellower manner. The track resembles a darker version of Discovery’s ‘Something About Us,’ as Daft Punk bemoan the struggle of being in love. ‘Within’ is nice enough, with a beautiful piano introduction courtesy of Chilly Gonzales. It’s most definitely a nod to the sappy, introspective ballads of the seventies and eighties, though it may be the album’s weakest track.

    ‘Instant Crush’ features Julian Casablancas, who offers more on this track than on any Strokes record in recent memory. His presence is full-fledged and conspicuous. And while the power chords and poppy hook all point toward Casablancas’ involvement, the track retains its Daft Punk identity. In fact, Daft Punk’s collaborators rarely overpower the duo on Random Access Memories. Instead, they each bring a taste of their unique brilliance to the table, offering a little bit here, more there, but they always bat second in the order.

    The same principle applies to ‘Lose Yourself to Dance,’ a track closely related to the album’s lead single. ‘Lose Yourself to Dance’ is Daft Punk’s truest attempt to revitalize disco. Rodgers delivers a classic disco riff over which Pharrell implores his audience to surrender themselves to the intoxicating lure of old-fashioned dance music. Daft Punk significantly add to the song’s push and pull dynamics with a whirl of vocoded directives.

    And then there’s the nine minute opus that is ‘Giorgio by Moroder,’ undoubtedly the strongest track on the album’s first half. On ‘Moroder,’ Daft Punk recognize one of disco’s finest producers and the impact his music had on them. The track begins with Daft Punk providing an instrumental backdrop to spoken word from the disco legend. Moroder details his story as an emerging artist and how he sought to find the sound of the future in the synthesizer. It is a compelling narrative, and far from the cheese-fest you might expect from spoken word on a Daft Punk album. Compositionally, ‘Moroder’ is downright brilliant. The progressive pop piece moves from Moroder’s tale to an arpeggiated synth line before introducing a massive, spine tingling orchestral surge. And before it all ends, a powerful guitar solo erupts that simply makes you smile.

    The first half of Random Access Memories leaves listeners’ heads spinning. The second half makes their jaws drop. It starts with ‘Touch,’ the record’s focal point and perhaps Daft Punk’s finest achievement. Paul Williams, best known for his contributions as a songwriter to many acts in the seventies and the ever-famous ‘Rainbow Connection,’ brings a degree of raw humanity to the album’s second symphonic opus. The track begins with a nod to a scene featuring Williams from Phantom of the Paradise, complete with an eerie mechanized vocal and spacey bleeps and buzzes. Out of that dense, abstract sonic atmosphere flows Williams’ soft, reassuring voice, and the track’s title begin to makes sense. Primarily, ‘Touch’ is Williams’ story of fighting drug addiction and coming out the other side as a renewed, revitalized man, a man who can once again feel and breathe and live. ‘Touch’ also makes sense in relation to Daft Punk’s mission to abolish preconceived notions about dance music. And so, throughout Williams’ plea for something more, the jumpy, joyous ragtime, and the chants of a heavenly choir, ‘Touch’ holds a significant emotional impact. Appropriately, the track’s overarching theme is that love really is the answer, and if you’ve managed to experience the powerful nature of love then that’s really all you need. When listening, it’s often hard to believe ‘Touch’ was conceived by the two robot-clad futurists. Fitting, isn’t it?

    ‘Get Lucky’ follows ‘Touch,’ and it’s a wonderful juxtaposition to the emotional track that precedes it. Once again, Nile Rodgers and Pharrell share the spotlight, and once again, they deliver spectacular performances. Next comes ‘Beyond,’ a track that really exemplifies just how far Daft Punk have come when it comes to making music. In fact, on numerous occasions throughout Random Access Memories Daft Punk demonstrate how mature their music has become, compositionally, instrumentally, and lyrically. ‘Motherboard,’ with its lavish instrumental arrangements and complex compositional structure points to this maturation as well. The difference between Homework and Random Access Memories is stark. While they are both impressive records for what they are meant to be, it is clear Daft Punk approach music differently today than they did fifteen years ago.

    Daft Punk aren’t the only ones that have changed. ‘Fragments of Time,’ which features house producer Todd Edwards, an early influence of Daft Punk, reflects Edwards’ own maturation as an artist. Edwards still contributes to ‘Fragments of Time’ the same sampling style present on Discovery’s ‘Face to Face.’ His nostalgic lyrics, however, reflect the time (no pun intended) that has passed since Discovery. ‘Fragments of Time’ doesn’t particularly stand out on Random Access Memories, but its innocence and charm serve as a breath of fresh air.

    ‘Doin’ It Right’ also might be a breath of fresh air for listeners craving for some of that good ‘ole Daft Punk of yesteryear. Daft Punk’s collaboration with Panda Bear may be the best partnership on the entire record. The two artists blend perfectly on ‘Doin’ It Right,’ creating a sprightly piece of dance-pop perfection. The track is both pretty and catchy, and its lyrics, which have already been noted, fall flawlessly in line with what Daft Punk set out to achieve.

    Finally, there’s ‘Contact,’ the charged rocket ship-like last track on Random Access Memories. The track begins with a recording of Captain Eugene Cernan from the Apollo 17 mission, in which Cernan spots what sounds a lot like a UFO. Appropriately, Cernan was the last man to leave the surface of the moon. It’s an all too fitting introduction to what is most definitely a resounding conclusion to Random Access Memories. Following Cernan’s audio transmission, the track descends into an obscure sample surrounded by orchestral and synthesizer riffs. After over six minutes of heart-racing and chaotic music, the track ends with some beeps, bleeps, and buzzes. You, the listener, realize the eclectic and emotional journey you’ve just been taken on, and all you can say is, “Wow.”

    And so did Daft Punk achieve their slightly elitist, slightly indulgent, and incredibly ambitious mission to reignite the magic lost in dance music? I think so. Whether you like it, or hate it, or you’re someplace in between, it’s impossible not to concede that Daft Punk poured their hearts into creating Random Access Memories. And it’s also impossible not to concede that they took a massive risk in releasing an album so contrary to everything popular and cool in dance music today. I happen to believe that this album will stand the test of time, that it will forever be that album by Daft Punk, that album that divided fans and forever altered who Daft Punk are in the dance music realm. For now, all we can do is wait, and keep listening.
    Last edited by Audacia; June 06, 2013 at 10:07 PM.

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

    Cool! Great review!

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    Default Re: Audacia's Music and Film Reviews

    Added to the original album thread by therussian.


    And a big thank you to your activity. Keep them coming
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