Oct 172008

I saw Matt Dillon in black and white there ain’t no colour in memories

Rumble Fish is a story about alienated youth, told as straight and emotionally as possibly. The subjects of this kingdom are turned back and forth, the world runs through them. They scratch and claw against what they have been placed in, stretching the limiting situations that society and family has put them in.

He’s merely miscast in a play. He was born in the wrong era, on the wrong side of the river… With the ability to be able to do anything that he wants to do and… finding nothing that he wants to do. I mean nothing.

Luckily, Rumble Fish is not realistic. The gang violence is choreographed, like in A Clockwork Orange. For every single scene, Coppola has sought far and wide for that one camera angle and light-setup that drenches the dialogue with as much as fatal, foreboding meaning as is possible. The focus is often from the side or from below, or from far above. Smoke is always seeping out from the sewers and coming out from the brick walls, swimming over the asfalt, turning to thick fog in the back alleys. Firesteps, bars, filthy apartments are framed by damp lights, dust, shadows where darkness, the unknown, the undefined is eagerly waiting to take the upper hand.

“California’s like a beautiful, wild… beautiful, wild girl on heroin… who’s high as a kite, thinkin’ she’s on top of the world, not knowing she’s dying even if you show her the marks.”

The soundtrack has a distinct eighties feel, while at the same time referring nostalgically to the fifties and exotic American places like New Orleans. Where does the movie take place? Fastforwarded images of the sun reflecting in the big city skyline have been edited into between scenes, while the kids drift aimlessly on deserted smalltown streets. All the production team’s technlogical know-how – sound editing, camera control, lightning, musical composition, actor instruction – has been employed to give us the feeling of timelessness and mythological accessibility. The exact geographical location is actually Tulsa, Oklohama, that is a mythological nowhere, teenage wasteland, kingdom of dead-end youth.

With The Outsiders and Rumble Fish, teenage author S.E Hinton created some of the most memorable characters of modern popular culture. She also wrote the script for Rumble Fish in less than two weeks “on one of the first personal computers“.

If you gonna lead people, you have to have somewhere to go

They are strangely indifferent, and for this very reason are in the right frame of mind. They have stopped being demanding and narcissistic, but they know perfectly well that nothing today corresponds to their subjectivity, to their potential of energy. They even know that all current reforms are rather directed against them. They are determined to mind to their own business as much as they can. They hold it open, hang on to something possible.

(Deleuze och Guattari, ’68 Did Not Take Place)

Oct 072008

Warren G introduces his second CD, Take A Look Over Your Shoulder, in traditional Clintonian fashion, taking over the controls of the Mothership and announcing the familiar destination of Chocolate Cityloosen your seat belts and keep your flashlights at hand and your ears to the stereo, we’re in for a funky landing.

This is beyond P-Funk, though…

It would take over a decade… from the decline of the George Clinton dynasty’s mighty reign, with Computer Games as the very fitting finishing piece (passing the torch to electro warriors Afrika Bambaataa, through Planet Rock, and Egyptian Lover, through Uncle Jam’s Army)… throughout the eighties, when Prince and Rick James did a good job at administrating the kingdom stipulated by Brown, Sly and Clinton, but without anything ever coming out of their studios that was revolutionary enough to demand another letter before the Funk… we would have to wait all the way until 1992, when Dre dropped The Chronic… until 1993, when Snoop Doggy Dogg introduced us to the G-Funk era… and until 1994, the year that saw the release of Regulate…G Funk Era, and with that record, the instant success of a young artist representing G-Funk in its purest form.

The public consensus that The Chronic and Doggystyle are the only good records coming out of the mighty G-Funk movement needs revision. Regulate…G Funk Era was way bigger than the monster hit that overshadowed it. We get polished arrangements, thick, rubbery bass lines, and hard but laidback, understated raps throughout the album (and a guest spot by Lil Malik, Snoop’s little cousin (which I guess would make it Warren G’s cousin too, perhaps brother… these rappers all seem to be related in one way or other) known from Pump Pump) – just like the second album, Take A Look Over Your Shoulder (even though it is a small thing calling the debut superior).

Dr Dre is usually viewed as G-funk’s chief architect, with The Chronic as the city hall, but the work laid down by Warren G ought not to be disregarded. He purified the style, and gave us some of its most memorable moments, with I Want It All probably being the smoothest shit ever.

Just like the single Regulate overshadowed the album, Nate Dogg’s solo output has been overshadowed by how hard his freelance hooks have been hitting. His talent is meant for more, as evident by classic solo cuts such as Me & My Homies, Concrete Streets, I Got Love, and I Pledge Allegiance.

Having suffered two strokes, he is now in critical condition, unable to breath by himself. Let us pray for his recovery, and a soon return to music, recording more classic material for us to play in the car.

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