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Archive for July 11th, 2012

Review: Jimi Hendrix, “Jimi Plays Berkeley” and “Live at Berkeley”

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When Jimi Hendrix asked from the stage of the Berkeley Community Theatre on May 30, 1970 that his audience of approximately 3,500 patrons “forget about yesterday or tomorrow…this is our own little world tonight,” he wasn’t making such a request idly.  Just outside the walls of the intimate theatre, fans were trying to crash the gates, scale the walls and even gain entry via the roof.  For many, the pure, unfiltered and raw music created by Hendrix and his Experience was much-needed escapism, as the shadow of the Vietnam War loomed large. Berkeley had become a focal point of protest activity, and in fact, Hendrix was dispatched to perform there by his manager Michael Jeffery precisely because of the electric atmosphere.  (The Jimi Hendrix Experience followed James Taylor and Pentangle, who had shared a bill at the theatre the evening before!)  Hendrix’s two performances that Saturday night in Berkeley were captured for posterity by Jeffery’s film crew led by Peter Pilafian and Hendrix’s road sound engineer, Abe Jacob.  Now, both the audio and video documents of that night are available once again courtesy of Experience Hendrix and Legacy Recordings.  Both the film Jimi Plays Berkeley and the compact disc Live at Berkeley had previously been released by Experience Hendrix under its agreement with Universal Music Group.  While the new Live at Berkeley (preserving Hendrix’s second set in full) replicates the previous CD edition, the documentary has been remastered and expanded for its Legacy debut.

Jimi Plays Berkeley, originally released in 1971, draws on footage from both the early and late sets.  For its Blu-ray debut (88691 992689 7) and upgraded DVD (88691 992559 3), it has been remastered from the original 16mm film negative.  Even more notably, 15-plus minutes of previously unseen footage have been seamlessly edited into the film which now runs roughly 65 minutes in length.  This new material includes performance footage of “Hear My Train A-Comin’,” “Purple Haze,” “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and “Machine Gun.”  “Hear My Train A-Comin’,” in particular, has been greatly improved, now clocking in at over nine minutes.  It’s still three minutes short of the actual performance length, however. Though the documentary contains performances from both sets, the film crew reportedly didn’t even have enough film to capture each and every song.  As a result, most are truncated.  The inclusion of the additional footage, then, is not only historically important but also makes the film more substantial.  Still, it can’t wholly redeem it.

We’ll meet you back after the jump, okay? Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 11, 2012 at 13:02

Posted in Blu-Ray, DVD, Jimi Hendrix, Reissues, Reviews

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When Worlds Collide! John Barry and Matt Monro Spy Thriller Joins George Pal Sci-Fi Flicks

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His name is Barry…John Barry.  And the famed film composer’s score to the 1966 spy thriller The Quiller Memorandum is one of the two latest soundtrack reissues from Intrada.  The film score specialists have also just released a 2-CD set of four scores drawn from the legendary films of George Pal.  War of the Worlds/When Worlds Collide includes, as bonuses, The Naked Jungle and Conquest of Space.  These four soundtracks are the work of Leith Stevens (War of the Worlds, When Worlds Collide), Daniele Amfitheatrof (Naked Jungle) and Nathan Van Cleave (Conquest).

The name of George Pal is still one of the most beloved today in science fiction.  The Hungarian-born producer/director was nominated for multiple Academy Awards and even received an honorary statue for his pioneering Puppetoon series, applying animation techniques to puppetry.   He soon switched to live-action films and although his science-fiction efforts are among his most enduring, he also tackled fantasies like Tom Thumb and The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm.  Pal’s 1953 War of the Worlds, directed by Byron Haskin and based on the H.G. Wells novel, was scored by Leith Stevens (The Wild One, Pal’s Destination Moon).  All of Stevens’ surviving cues are presented in mono from original elements stored in Paramount vaults. It’s joined by Stevens’ score to 1951’s When Worlds Collide, presented from Paramount’s mono masters with choral overlays intact.

Two more Pal films round out the set.  The 40-minute soundtrack for The Naked Jungle (1954) was written by Daniele Amfitheatrof (Lassie Come Home, Disney’s Song of the South) has been mastered from the three-channel stereo scoring session elements.  Finally, the 2-CD set includes the score to 1955’s Conquest of Space, from Nathan Van Cleave (The Twilight Zone).  Van Cleave’s work will be heard in mono from the original Paramount master elements.  Jeff Bond contributes liner notes to this Intrada Special Collection release.

Hit the jump for a plunge into the sixties spy game with The Quiller Memorandum, plus track listings and order links for both titles! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Joe Marchese

July 11, 2012 at 10:39

Shadow of the Bat: Dark Knight Joins Myriad of Superheroes for La-La Land’s Comic-Con Soundtrack Lineup

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This evening, Preview Night kicks off 2012’s Comic-Con International: San Diego, or as most of us know it, just Comic-Con!  As the years have passed since the very first event in 1970, Comic-Con has broadened its scope from the world of comic books to every possible corner of pop culture, including music.  A number of our friends have set up shop in San Diego, including La-La Land Records at Booth 429 and Shout! Factory at Booth 3849!  Mike’s checking in with a report on some of the special releases premiering this year at Comic-Con!

The figure of Batman, Gotham City’s silent guardian and watchful protector and one of the greatest comic book characters of all time, looms large over pop culture this summer. On July 20, director Christopher Nolan’s final film in his complex Batman trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, hits theatres, with Christian Bale donning the black suit one last time to fight the nefarious Bane (Tom Hardy) eight years after exiling himself after the events of the stunning 2008 film The Dark Knight.

One week prior, the San Diego Convention Center will hold easily the biggest annual event for pop-culture enthusiasts: the San Diego Comic-Con, held from July 12-15, with a Preview Night set for July 11. Not only do fans and collectors descend on the convention grounds to dress in costume, purchase collectibles and unite in film, television and comic geekery, but the creators of said content are out in full force. Artists, writers, actors, directors and other celebrities are on hand to preview the latest and greatest events in the business, and toymakers are hard at work selling exclusive action figures and dolls to an enthusiastic public. With a new Batman film weeks away from release, the Caped Crusader will be on the minds of almost everyone there.

La-La Land Records, arguably the most “geek-friendly” soundtrack label in the business, have been a visible presence at past Comic-Cons, often debuting stellar new titles for sale at the con before unveiling them to the general public. Prior years have seen expansions of Danny Elfman’s iconic score to the 1989 film version of Batman, as well as a mini-box set of scores from Star Trek: The Next Generation, debut on the convention floor. This year, The Dark Knight – and a few other comic-book contemporaries – will figure heavily into the label’s just-announced release plan.

After the jump, have a look at the four recently-announced titles for Comic-Con – as well as a look at some other titles you can expect from the label in the coming months.

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Written by Mike Duquette

July 11, 2012 at 09:49