Posts Tagged ‘music’

Exclusive Dame Shirley Bassey track free to download

November 6, 2009

Dame Shirley Bassey, in association with Times Online, offers an exclusive track from her new album, “The Performance”, free to download.

Enter your details below to receive your exclusive free track by Dame Shirley Bassey ‘I Love You Now’. You will also be added to The Dame’s official mailing list and be the first to receive updates about new releases, ticket pre-sales, PA’s and more exclusive music downloads.

This free download is only available to new members of the Dame Shirley Bassey mailing list.

Remember to reply to the confirmation e-mail we send you to ensure you receive the updates. (* required fields)

Here’s the link:
http://zaphod.uk.vvhp.net/reg/reg.pl?id=4171-112049

 

Enjoy!

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Review of Dame Shirley Bassey’s “The Performance”

November 2, 2009

Today, The Scotsman has released a review of Dame Shirley Bassey’s latest album, titled “The Performance”.

By Fiona Shepherd

DAME SHIRLEY BASSEY: THE PERFORMANCE
****
GEFFEN, £12.72

IT’S Dame Shirley Bassey these days, if you don’t mind – as if anyone needed reminding that we are in the presence of musical royalty. Elegant, commanding, playful, sophisticated, vulnerable – or, in the words of Manic Street Preachers’ frontman James Dean Bradfield, “this beautiful, glamorous singing beast” – Bassey is everything you could want from a diva and now she’s back to show yer Leonas how it should be done.

As was evident from her lauded appearance two years ago at the Glastonbury festival, she effortlessly musters the level of respect and regard afforded her fellow Welsh warbler Tom Jones, an old pro who just about manages to pull off the balancing act of moving with the times while remaining true to himself. Bassey, for her part, is about to show exactly how that is done on her first full studio album in more than 20 years. The Performance is dignified, heartfelt and timeless.

A good deal of the credit must go to Bond composer David Arnold in the role of producer. Given Bassey’s indelible association with the James Bond series – she is the only artist to have sung three Bond film themes – it must have taken all of five seconds to matchmake those two, and another ten to persuade John Barry and lyricist Don Black to compose a new song for their muse, the first they have written for her since Diamonds Are Forever. Our Time Is Now is a good, grown-up meditation on romance but it is far from the best this album has to offer.

More intriguing than the rekindling of old creative partnerships is the host of bright young things who have also queued up to write songs for Bassey. Some of the album’s contributors are no-brainers – the Pet Shop Boys, David McAlmont and Rufus Wainwright would probably have had diva strops of their own if they had not been invited to the party. Others, such as KT Tunstall and Kaiser Chiefs’ Nick Hodgson, are more unexpected choices, and some – we’re looking at Richard Hawley here – are downright inspired.

Most are understandably in thrall to the Bassey persona, writing songs to fit their conception of the veteran diva. And so Bassey comes out contemplative rather than shaking her stuff on opening number Almost There, written by Tom Baxter. You can see right away where he is going with the line “I’m not quite so young, I’m not quite so foolish in my defence”, but Bassey makes subtle work of its rather mournful tone before soaring on the big orchestral finish.

Her countrymen, the Manic Street Preachers, take the sentimental, pseudo-autobiograpical route with The Girl From Tiger Bay. It’s a lovely song from a band who are more than capable of whipping up some heart-tugging romance when they have a mind to and, unlike other tracks, it is strong enough to retain something of the Manics’ stamp even as it is submitted to the traditional Bassey takeover.

Apparently, we have Rufus Wainwright to thank for the impetus of the album, and won’t he love that. His contribution, Apartment, was the first track to fall into place and he dares to take Bassey somewhere different. Despite the Latino arrangement, there is more than a hint of the European cabaret tradition about its protagonist’s irreverent rejection of the fairytale lifestyle (“I’m running away from Cinderella, don’t want to go to Rapunzel’s hairdresser”) in favour of becoming a girl of independent means.

KT Tunstall also has fun with brassy Bassey without crossing over into kitsch on the bluesy strut of Nice Men, a good bad girl song on which Bassey demands to know “where have all the nice men, where have all the good men, where have all the bad men gone?”

Gary Barlow’s This Time is an old school Bacharachian ballad which is infinitely more dynamic than anything on the most recent Take That album, while Nick Hodgson’s classy composition I Love You Now also evokes old-school pop glamour without being a slavish pastiche of the sequined 1960s.

Best of the lot is Bassey’s beautifully controlled rendering of the tremulous, melancholic After The Rain, written by Richard Hawley, who is on formidable form right now.

Compared to these gems, Arnold’s two contributions are a little Bassey-by-numbers. No Good About Goodbye boasts a great title but sounds like an inferior Mad About The Boy, while As God Is My Witness is just plain turgid.

An old-school performer like Bassey knows that you need to hold something back for the finale – and the Pet Shop Boys-penned The Performance Of My Life provides the quintessential grandstanding finish which will please those looking for some va-va-voom from the Dame. It is to the writers’ credit – and Bassey’s, and Arnold’s – that this performance, along with the rest of the album, is more about soul-baring integrity than retro camp.

 

Sounds promising. I can’t wait to hear the album for myself. Keep an eye out for it on November 9th. I’m sure it’ll be worth the money.

David Arnold conducts two “Casino Royale” tracks…

July 4, 2009

Nicholas Dodd tends to conduct most of David Arnold’s James Bond scores.

Here’s a glimpse at the Bond composer conducting his own music …

David Arnold conducts “City of Lovers”:

David Arnold conducts “The Name’s Bond … James Bond”:

Though I’m not much of a fan of his Casino Royale score, it’s still interesting to see him conducting his own work.

Behind the Scenes ::: "Quantum of Solace" – RECUT [Part I]

May 26, 2009

“Juzza”, of Juzzmeister.co.uk, recently answered some of my questions about his Quantum of Solace – RECUT fan media project…

First of all, what did you think of “Quantum of Solace”? Did you want to make a recut of the film because you disliked it? Or perhaps just wanted to fool around with the footage?

I enjoyed Quantum of Solace but in my opinion it did have one serious flaw which was the editing, something that has been highlighted by many people.  I’m all for new styles and ideas but not at the expense of losing the suspense for a scene.  The first time I saw the movie I thought M had been shot but it is only after subsequent viewings was I able to determine that Bond had dragged her to the floor and out of danger whilst at the same time throwing a chair at Mitchell.  Stand out piece for me was the car chase at the start of the movie, I love how the music plays as the camera sweeps towards the mountain side and when the action starts the music stops and all we can hear is the sounds of the cars racing.  It is only as Bond exits the tunnel does the music start playing again and really adds to the adrenaline.

There are two reasons why I re-cut the movie.  Firstly, it gave me an excuse to edit another Bond movie and secondly I was able to incorporate this into a project brief for my Degree in Graphic Design and Digital Media.

Can you explain the process that you went through in order to create a totally new gunbarrel sequence?

First thing I needed to do was rip a HD copy of the movie which I did by installing Linux on my PS3 and dumping a copy of the film over the network directly onto my PC.  This took about 12 hours and I ended up with a 45Gb iso image.  From there, I ripped the content and found the stream that contained the main movie (about 21Gb) and then converted this to a high quality HD file in the MP4 format (this also took about 12 hours).  Then I used various applications to rip frame-by-frame the gun barrel sequence and then cleaned up each individual frame in Photoshop until I had Bond walking on a pure white background.  I then reconstructed the footage using the edited images to a high quality uncompressed AVI file.  As I wanted reflection inside the gun barrel (like the Casino Royale version) the only way I knew this could be achieved would be with a 3D application.  I looked at Maya, 3DSMAX and eventually settled on Blender after watching a trailer for ‘Big Buck Bunny’.  Open Source or not, if people were able to create such high quality footage using Blender then it was good enough for me.  So I spent a few days learning Blender until I was comfortable enough to use it for what I wanted to achieve.  The gun barrel and blood sequence were all completed in 3D.

How was the brief work with Rich Douglas? He’s quite a well-known name in the Bond fan media world.

During the development stage I was using a clean version of the gun barrel from Die Another Day.  Although this worked, I was never really that keen on this version and had hoped to replace it with another at some point.  I went retro and tried some from the Connery and Moore era and although it worked it just didn’t feel right with Arnold’s score.  So I contacted a couple of people who I know had composed their own Bond music and asked if they had any gun barrel pieces I could use.  To my pleasant surprise, Rich Douglas went one better and composed a brand new piece just for my gun barrel sequence.  Not only is it unique but Rich really understands the style of the movie so it works perfectly with Arnold’s score.

What are some other bits of the film that you would like to “recut”?

There are three aspects of the movie I plan on changing.  Although I don’t have a big problem with it, the gun barrel at the end of the movie just seemed odd.  I felt the way it was incorporated into Casino Royale worked and after that we would go back to the traditional Bond of gun barrel at the start of the movie.  Therefore, I wanted to see how it looked so I created my own and added it to the start of Quantum of Solace.

The other two aspects are regarding the title sequence.  Firstly, I think the way it appeared in the film was weak and the titles themselves were not very interesting.

I plan on moving the title sequence to appear after Bond has shot Mitchell and then creating my own title sequence hopefully to compliment the main feature with symbolic images.

Will you be doing any Bond-related fan projects in the future?

There are a couple.  One project I started on was giving Never Say Never Again the EON vibe but for many reasons I never got to finish it.  Now that it is released on Blu-Ray I think I would like to re-visit this again.  One of the major problems I encountered last time was the ripped movie had a lot of gate weaving which meant when editing frame-by-frame not every frame matched the alignment of the previous one.  Since this movie has been re-mastered on Blu-Ray and is effectively a digital print all those previous problems will have gone.

The second project is a tribute to the work of John Barry and is a mash-up sound track of his Bond work.  All I need to do is edit in the visuals.

Click below to view Juzza’s first “Quantum of Solace” RECUT installment:

JUZZAMEISTER.CO.UK ::: “Quantum of Solace” Gunbarrel – RECUT

Special thanks to “Juzza” for taking the time to answering my quesitons. I look forward to seeing more of his Bond-related work.

"Hero… Guitar Hero."

March 8, 2009

Kotaku.com > Guitar Hero Marches on with Queen, Hendrix, and James Bond…

Activision details their downloadable content lineup for Guitar Hero World Tour this month, bringing players more Hendrix, a little Queen, a smattering of European tracks, and the James Bond theme song.

The month’s downloadable songs kick off this Thursday with the third European track pack, with Italy, Finland, and France represented by Vanilla Sky, The Rasmus, and Les Rita Mitsouko respectively. On March 19th the European invasion continues with Dutch symphonic rock band Within Temptation, German punk band Die Toten Hosen, and Spanish rock from M-Clan.

The second Jimi Hendrix Track Pack also drops on the 19th, with “Freedom”, “Angel”, and a recording of the classic “Foxey Lady” from 1969’s Woodstock festival, all complimenting Hendrix’s appearance as a playable character in the game.

The month ends on a seriously high note, with three songs from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Queen. The classic “We Are The Champions” and “C-Lebrity” from their 2008 album make up two thirds of the pack, but they could have simply released the third track – “Fat Bottomed Girls” – and I would have gladly payed full price.

Backing up Queen on March 26th will be a new original recording of the classic James Bond theme, which World Tour singers should have a complete blast with, making up their own lyrics.
Check out the full listing of tracks by date below!

March 5th
Rasmus – In the Shadows
Vanilla Sky – Break It Out
Les Rita Mitsouko – C’est Comme Ça

March 19th
Within Temptation – What Have You Done
Die Toten Hosen – Her Kommt Alex
M-Clan – Carolina
Hendrix Track Pack 2

March 26th
Queen Track Pack
James Bond Theme

Pretty interesting. I don’t play Guitar Hero, but who hasn’t wanted to play the James Bond theme on guitar? Hopefully the gamers will have fun with this.

Film Review ::: Diamonds Are Forever

March 8, 2009

Regarded as one of the worst Bond films, perhaps- or at least one of the films that isn’t as liked as much as others. Well, I’m not sure what to think of DAF; I’ve never been sure, actually. The film has a very dirty mood to it, in my opinion. The whole film seems exhausted, if you will. There’s just something about the colors, the tones, the music, the acting, and the story that reminds me of the scent you’d smell in a funeral parlor, or something- which fits well with Slumber, Inc. I suppose. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about, but I sure do! All I’m saying is that the mood and style of this film makes me rather uneasy, in some parts; however, funny bits, intentional and unintentional, clear that up throughout the film.

The locations are rather bland. The film certainly isn’t as vibrant as it’s predecessors, YOLT and OHMSS. As I mentioned, everything seems dirty. It’s got that brownish / sepia look to it in the Nevada scenes. Probably the prettiest place in this film is the pool, outside of the house they keep Whyte in. Nothing’s all that beautiful about a barren desert, I suppose. Or the 1970s’ Las Vegas, for that matter.

At first, I didn’t care for Barry’s score to this film. However, after a few more listens, I’ve realized that it’s a great score – actually, one of his best Bond scores. The music compliments the sleazy, dirty style of the film. Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd’s theme is my favorite track here. Very dark and original.

On the subject of Ernst Blofeld, I think Gray had potential.
However, with this film, that’s thrown out the window. Had this been another Bond film, where he was given a decent role, and not having to dress as a woman, I think he would’ve done a fine job. But, in DAF, Blofeld was hardly intimidating.

What’s with the oil rig scene, after Bond lands? Blofeld treats Bond as a drunken brother who stumbles across his hideout, and decides to let him hang out a while. He shows Bond around his little control room… lets Bond fiddle with the controls… has his guards carry Bond away… in which, Bond causes a little quarrel, and yet, nothing’s done about it. Then he’s just wandering around the rig, and Tiffany comes up to him to talk about the tape, and the guards don’t even move.

Connery made the film, in my opinion. His humor and delivery of certain lines made the film worth watching.

The funniest bits of the film have to be:

The Moonbuggy Chase
Completely cheesy and un-exciting, but made for a good laugh. And I love when the ATV rider falls off, and gets back on. He starts up the ATV, and waits about 5 seconds, followed by Bond kicking him off.

The Mouse Scene
Well, one of us smells like a tart’s handkerchief. [sniffs]
I’m afraid it’s me. Sorry, old boy.

Just the way Connery said it- made for a good laugh.

Other memorable lines from Connery:
That’s a nice little nothing you’re almost wearing.

(To Tiffany while he’s in bed with her)
Presumably I’m the condemned man and obviously you’re the hearty breakfast.

Man: I got a brother.
Bond: Small world.

Plenty: Plenty O’Toole.
Bond: Named after your father perhaps?

Certainly, this is one of the most quotable Bond films, if nothing else.

Before I wrap this review up, I’ll mention Jill St. John, and Wint and Kidd.

Jill St. John was gorgeous in this movie, but just not a good Bond girl. She had the looks, but it seemed like she was as dumb as a box of rocks. Wint and Kidd were good henchman. Very mysterious, and always kept the audience on their toes, because they were so dangerous. Too bad they were in a film like this though. Had it been a better story, I think they would have been more highly regarded.

Very humorous Bond film, that strays away from Connery’s more classic Bond… however, none-the-less, the film still holds certain Bondian traits.

This is my least favorite Connery Bond flick, but overall, not completely terrible.

5.5 / 10

5.5 / 10

Four Tet's "Crawl, End Crawl" – Now on iTunes

December 9, 2008

Four Tet and Sony/MGM/Columbia Pictures have finally released “Crawl, End Crawl” on iTunes. Here’s the link:

iTunes > Four Tet > “Crawl, End Crawl”

You could also access the track if you go to your iTunes store and simply submit “Crawl, End Crawl” in the Power Search

 

 

"Crawl, End Crawl" on iTunes

"Crawl, End Crawl" on iTunes

Enjoy!

lastfm.de offers "Quantum of Solace" music…

November 19, 2008

The original motion picture soundtrack to the 22nd James Bond film is now available on www.lastfm.de.

For a direct link to the “Quantum of Solace” page, click here:
lastfm.de – Quantum of Solace: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

You’re able to listen to a full-length track three times. After the three times, the music is restricted to 30 seconds, just like any regular music/download site. Become a member, and you’ll be able to add the soundtrack to your library, too. Sign up – it’s free. Have fun getting around the German, though. Luckily, the soundtrack/track titles are in English, so you shouldn’t have too much of a problem.

I thought I’d point this out to anyone interested in hearing the score, whether you’re a soundtrack collector or casual music listener.

[Special thanks to “zebrafish”, from Mi6 Forums, for the heads up]

The Killers for Bond 23?

November 18, 2008

Article Link: Q The Music

Bond soundtrack composer David Arnold has revealed he is keen to work with the Killers for a future film in the blockbuster series.

In an interview with Q Radio, the soundtrack maestro said the production team were “very fortunate” to get Jack White with the theme for A Quantum Of Solace – Another Way To Die – on which The Raconteurs and White Stripes stars performs with Alicia Keys.

The composer said he had made early enquiries with The Killers a couple of years ago about working on a Bond theme and he would love to revive the idea.

“We were talking around about the time of Casino Royale … at that time they were working on their second album in Las Vegas. I always feel to a certain extent that when you’re choosing an artist for a Bond movie, you’re trying to find someone that could almost be in the film & belong to that world, and I think they certainly do. They’ve done amazing records,” he told presenter Paul Rees.

It’d certainly make for an interesting Bond theme. I like the Killers and their work, so I’d welcome this with open arms… or ears, rather. Surely, after that White/Keys debacle, there are many options out there to freshen up the music of the James Bond films.

Check out one of their recent songs in the video below, titled “Human”: