1920’s Painlevé nature films on new Criterion Channel

While browsing through the oldest films available on Criterion’s new streaming service, I noticed several by Jean Painlevé.* These are from a DVD collection released in 2009 called Science Is Fiction: 23 Films by Jean Painlevé (parts also released earlier by BFI). From 1925 to 1982, Painlevé directed hundreds of short films, most around 10 minutes long.

The mesmerizing, utterly unclassifiable science films of Jean Painlevé (1902-89) have to be seen to be believed: delightful, surrealist-influenced dream works that are also serious science. The French filmmaker-scientist-inventor had a decades-spanning career in which he created hundreds of short films on subjects ranging from astronomy to pigeons to, most famously, such marine-life marvels as the sea horse and the sea urchin. This definitive three-disc collection brings together the best of these, and also includes the French television series Jean Painlevé Through His Films, rock band Yo La Tengo’s eight-film score The Sounds of Science, and an essay by film scholar Scott MacDonald.

The Criterion Collection
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Woodstock 1969 official compilation releases

UPDATE: See notes at the end of this post about the unprecedented 2019 Rhino collection. It renders some of my statements in this 2017 post obsolete.*

I’ve spent the last couple of months obsessively researching recordings from the 1969 “Woodstock Music & Art Fair.” The spreadsheet here is primarily for people wondering which compilation release(s) they can purchase to hear or watch specific Woodstock performances – and to the best of my knowledge I’ve listed individual-artist releases in the Notes column. Download Woodstock 1969 Official Compilation Releases (2017).xlsx 33 KB.


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Best Albums of 2014

My third annual list. This is mostly personal preference, but with an ear to recommend both popular and obscure (mostly alt-rock and electronic) albums to other music lovers. On this list, albums get either a 1 (best) or 2 (rest); within those two groups, most have equal ground. This may seem like a boring list with no explanations, but pick one of your favorite genres and zero in on just one album. Let loose and enjoy your SELF!

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ON VACATION: Electric Forest Festival, MI

If you’re having trouble reaching me this Wednesday until Monday, it’s because I’m in the woods. I’m driving up to Michigan for the four-day music festival, Electric Forest. This is the first time I’ll be camping at a music festival; I’m pretty excited to have this opportunity to get away with a few of my favorite people and see some great bands and DJs.

ON VACATION: Electric Forest Festival

My phone will mostly be off save once a day to check for messages and maybe upload some photos to Instagram.

Happy summer!

[Photo by Cal Millner]

A few album ratings – Spring 2014

********* 9
The War on Drugs – Lost in the Dream (March 2014, neo-psychedelia)

********* 9
Rosanne Cash – The River & the Thread (January 2014, Americana)

********* 9
Nils Frahm – Spaces (November 2013, ambient)

********* 9
Bonobo – LateNightTales (November 2013, electric)

********* 9
Warren Haynes – Live at Bonnaroo [June 15, 2003] (June 2004, acoustic rock)

********* 9
Dada – American Highway Flower (September 1994, alt rock)

******** 8
Tycho – Awake (March 2014, ambient pop)

******** 8
Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – The Lion the Beast and the Beat (June 2012, rock)

******** 8
Ali Farka Touré & Toumani Diabaté – Ali and Toumani (February 2010, Mande folk/Songhai)

******* 7
Beacon – The Way We Separate (April 2013, indietronica)

******* 7
Katharina Franck – Zeitlupenkino (2002, singer/songwriter)
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