“The northern soul scene, to me, was like an eighth wonder of the world. You’re looking at the depressed north of England, where there wasn’t a great deal there apart from steelworks and coalmines. You had people doing this boring repetitive work during the week; and hard work, too. And when they went out on a weekend, they really wanted to go out. Going out until 11 o’clock to the local pub just wasn’t going to be good enough. When the whole rave thing went ballistic it felt like northern soul twenty years on. Lots of people getting off their heads, dancing to fast music and this love attitude. House is this generation’s version of northern soul…” – Ian Dewhirst, northern soul DJ ~1999 [From Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The … Read More
Here’s a documentary on the funk scene in Britain, a tale told through many talking heads, and one of them happens to be Martin Freeman, of Sherlock and The Hobbit fame. You might miss him, since it was apparently before he employed a stylist and committed to a workout routine, but he’s in there as a fanboy / collector / DJ of funk / rare groove. I was sent this next video, Martin Freeman Goes to Motown, from Marc of Meiotic Chicago featuring a star-struck Martin wandering around Detroit meeting people who were artists and studio musicians on Motown Records (city councilwoman Martha Reeves, former lead singer of Martha and the Vandellas; Duke Fakir, the last surviving member of the Four Tops; the Funk Brothers jamming out at … Read More
While recovering from a seasonal cold, I found some interesting documentaries on Chess Records and the competing labels at the same time on the near South side of Chicago. Chess Records was responsible for launching hits by Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Etta James, along with bringing blues by Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf into commercial awareness. The movies Cadillac Records (2008) and Who Do You Love (2008) are Hollywood’s version of the history, with Beyonce as Etta James in the former. Interestingly, Chess was the last name of a Polish immigrant entrepreneur, Leonard, who catered to the immigrant Southern black population and found a common outsider perspective with his clientele. More on Chess Records and the competing labels within walking distance along South Michigan Avenue is in another … Read More
Urbanized posits that city dwellers must not only forge an innovative self-reliance, they must imagine higher forms of living. The radical fluctuations of growth and decline happening in modern cities necessitate infinite innovation. Urbanized is an extraordinarily ambitious attempt to make sense of a world flowing into cities. This visually arresting film, like Hustwit’s past work, elegantly conveys the omnipresence of design in daily life. Essential viewing. www.urbanizedfilm.com
Watch for Movement 2009 coverage soon!
Here is a dark, minimal and moody compilation from the Detroit-based Blank Artist crew featuring Josh Cummings, Josh Dahlberg and Codine. Blank Artists was born in 2005 as an art/music collective focusing on visual art and music with an eclectic perspective that showcases electronic music of the down-tempo, funk, house, and techno varieties. Blank Artists: Primates Love Fun [MORE INFO]