Kate Koenig, Arts Editor
“801 Live” is an album that seems to have slipped through the cracks, which is why I’d like to throw a spotlight on it. Recorded in 1976 by a group of musicians who formed intending to play only three shows, the album was poorly promoted, receiving no commercial airplay but still became a cult success in many countries, especially Australia.
801 was made up of Roxy Music members Brian Eno (known for his work as a producer and innovations in electronic/experimental music) and guitarist Phil Manzanera, along with Bill MacCormick (bass), Francis Monkman (piano), Simon Phillips (drums), and Lloyd Watson (slide guitar). The music is considered experimental and progressive rock, but not in an overblown or pretentious way that can be associated with the genre. It’s weird and interesting but accessible—half of the album leans more towards new wave, and the instrumentals range from exotic and spacey to fast-paced and edgy.
Littered with bizarre lyrics and originals from Eno and mostly instrumental contributions from Manzanera, the album also includes a cover of The Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows,” which results in a complete transformation of the original, and a strange version of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” with layered harmonies and synthesizer.
On top of “801 Live’s” musical ingenuity, it was one of the first live albums to be recorded through direct input, meaning the audio being sent through the band’s microphones and amplifiers was what was directly captured for the recording, rather than using for example overhead mics which result in different or lesser quality.
All tracks from “801 Live” are available on YouTube, and a complete track list for the album can be found on Wikipedia. Hard copies are available on Amazon.com.
“Submarine” is an English film that was released in 2010 but only first screened in the U.S. this summer at the Sundance Film Festival. Starring Craig Roberts as the teenaged Oliver Tate, it tells the story of Tate’s first romance with a brusque, straight-talking girl by the name of Jordana Bevin, played by Yasmin Paige.
Oliver is intelligent, unusual and constantly trying to find logical explanations for the behavior of everyone around him. Before Jordana is even introduced, his main concern is his parents’ marriage, which seems to be deteriorating. He monitors their sex life by checking the level of the dimmer switch in their bedroom each morning, and is worried to continually find it on full brightness. His own behavior isn’t at all strange to him—it’s conscientious and methodical.
Oliver’s regularly occurring voiceover informs the audience of his blunt observations. The thought of dating Jordana is a logical deduction according to his inner monologue, but it’s easy to laugh at his innocent algebraic approach to the relationship while watching him visibly fall for her. In the meantime, the conflict unfolds as his mother becomes distracted by an old flame (a “new age guru” by the name of Graham) while his bookish father does nothing but despondently sip warm water with lemon each afternoon. His troubles grow from wanting to lose his virginity to trying to rescue his own relationship and save his parents from divorce.
The soundtrack is made up of dramatic instrumentals and original songs written by Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys. The film can be a bit heavy at times, but in the end seems like a classic portrayal of the melodrama and anxiety of adolescent inexperience, told with plenty of dry wit and quirks. “Submarine” is definitely a new personal favorite.