A filmmaker who's Chinese, 22, and gay talks about his work and love life with an unseen friend behind the camera. We also watch four of his short films. "Hysterio Passio" conjures images of men's passions. In "Matricide," a lawyer asks a young gay Chinese why he killed his mother on Christmas morning. In "Key in the Heart," a heroine (an Asian man in drag) pursues vampires. In "Fall, 1990," college students meet their roommates, and Jimmy, an edgy scholarship boy without a family, is slowly brought to an understanding of love by the callow Byron. "Flow" begins with a satiric look at the vectors of viruses and ends with a chat with our fictive filmmaker's hip mother.
Firecrackers: The Best of Mass Production is a comprehensive collection of the late-'70s soul band, featuring the majority of their R&B hits, including "Welcome to Our World (Of Merry Music)," "Turn Up the Music," and the Top Ten R&B hit "Firecracker." The compilation spans from their first album in 1977 to their farewell 1983 record, hitting every peak along the way. Though the material isn't always consistent – some of the lesser-known songs have dated rather badly – Firecrackers remains the definitive retrospective of Mass Production.
Vulgar Unicorn are made up of Bruce Soord and Neil Randall. Bruce main group now is The Pineapple Thief. They boast of being one of the few truly progressive bands left in the UK, and they certainly sound very different to the norm. This British duo used the help from trumpet, saxophone and violin in some ambitious instrumental developments. Vulgar Unicorn is song oriented melodic prog. The compositions move in and of these influences creating variety and interest but not any wasted time. Also included in their sound is some space prog influences. This combination creates interesting changes in texture and mood. The melodious and refined themes, the sound effects, the simplicity of the moods evoke Pink Floyd, Camel or Coda. Vulgar Unicorn has their own niche, which is very easy to listen to.
Monkey is a two-part recording of baritone saxophonist Fred Ho's multimedia musical Journey Beyond the West, centered around the Chinese trickster figure of Monkey (à la Coyote in much native American lore) that combines Chinese folk music and instrumentation with jazz. Acts I and III (composed in 1990/1989, respectively) are featured here, with Acts II and IV (both written in 1994) on the companion Monkey, Pt. 2 disc.
Hermann Scherchen's performances of these Brandenburg Concerts avoids the normally expected exaltation of opening and closing movements conferred by most performances. Instead, he opts for a beautifully serene approach to the score, making it more reflective, thoughtful and expansive, hightlighting the lyrical flow that emanates from it.
Cyrus Chestnut covers a wide range of hymns, carols and spirituals on this outstanding solo piano CD. A very dramatic "Holy, Holy, Holy" would inspire any congregation, while the rich voicings in "We Three Kings" are subtle yet moving. "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" is the most compelling track, with a thought-provoking arrangement that makes great use of space.