In this fascinating and unconventional examination of the creative process, an artist near the end of his career finds new inspiration in a young model. Edouard Frenhofer (Michel Piccoli) is a famous and well-respected artist who lives in a comfortable estate in the French countryside. At the age of 60, Frenhofer considers his career as a painter to be over; he says he no longer feels any inspiration to create, and his last attempt at a major work, a nude study of his wife Liz (Jane Birkin) called "La Belle Noiseuse" (The Beautiful Nuisance), has sat unfinished for ten years. Just as Frenhofer has lost his enthusiasm for his art, he has also lost his passion for Liz; their relationship is polite and friendly, but without enthusiasm. When Frenhofer tells Nicolas (David Bursztein), his young protege, that he no longer feels the desire to paint, Nicolas suggests that he needs a more inspiring subject, and he offers his girlfriend Marianne (Emmanuelle Beart) as a model. Frenhofer is taken with Marianne's beauty, and, with Liz's cool approval, he and Marianne spend several arduous sessions together, exchanging ideas and opinions as Frenhofer methodically attempts to create a final masterpiece.
After a first album, Harmonic Ascendant, where the ambient and atmospheric structures were moulding to a deep romanticism, Robert Schroeder undertakes a first musical change of direction by offering a 2nd album filled of a very great wealth in eclectic tones. Here, no romantic guitars that flirt with a solitary cello or vocoders which roam in a cosmic mist, Floating Music (whose title has nothing to do with its musical structure) is an album where the rhythm at once funky and sensual thrones among suave cosmic flights. A first change of course from an artist whose versatility will be the cornerstone of his musical charms.
With their second album, Mirage, Camel begin to develop their own distinctive sound, highlighted by the group's liquid, intricate rhythms and the wonderful, unpredictable instrumental exchanges by keyboardist Pete Bardens and guitarist Andy Latimer. Camel also distinguish themselves from their prog rock peers with the multi-part suite "Lady Fantasy," which suggests the more complex directions they would take a few albums down the line. Also, Latimer's graceful flute playing distinguishes several songs on the record, including "Supertwister," and it's clear that he has a more supple technique than such contemporaries as Ian Anderson. Camel are still ironing out some quirks in their sound on Mirage, but it's evident that they are coming into their own.
Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble formed the most impressive blues act of the 1980s, which made Vaughan's death in a helicopter crash at the start of the '90s all the more tragic. He grew up in Dallas, the younger brother of Jimmie Vaughan (cofounder of the Fabulous Thunderbirds). Stevie began playing in clubs at 12, and by 17 had dropped out of high school and moved to Austin. There followed years of struggling until April 23, 1982, when Vaughan and his group, Double Trouble, played a private audition for the Rolling Stones in New York. The gig led to an invitation to appear at the Montreux Jazz Festival, at which Vaughan was seen by David Bowie, who hired him to play guitar on his Let's Dance album, and Jackson Browne, who offered the free use of his recording studio. Vaughan took up that offer after being signed by legendary talent scout John Hammond to Epic, recording his debut album, Texas Flood, in the fall of 1982…