Day: June 21, 2005

Juana Molina

A friend recently turned me on to Juana Molina, a contemporary singer from Argentina. She just had a solo show at the Parish (formerly Mercury Lounge, and completely unchanged apart from the name). Now that we are supposed to have more free time, Gwen and I have resolved to go out for more live music, so we caught the show.

It was a solo show, with her laying down vocal, keyboard, and guitar loops live, and then playing and singing over them (I saw Warren Zevon use the same format a long time ago). Her style is very distinctive. She has a breathy voice that I think of as characteristic of Brazil’s female singers, and the sounds she makes with her instruments remind me a little of Robert Fripp. Very nice. Funny repartee with the crowd and the sound guy. She asked “how many of you speak Spanish?” Something like 10-15% of the audience raised their hand. She then explained that when she was growing up, she was listening to music in English, which she did not understand at the time–she liked the music anyhow. And that for the rest of us, listening to her singing in Spanish was a parallel experience.

Batman Begins

Saw Batman Begins a few days ago. Although previous movies in the Batman franchise have certainly had their good points (anything with Tim Burton visuals can’t be all bad), this is the first of the lot that I’d say is actually good. This was also the least cartoonish of the lot, by a longshot–very gritty, with an attempt to make the subject seem real.

Lots of action, very energetic and chaotic fight scenes. Very loud. I suspect a sound engineer spent a solid week coming up with the sound of the tank-like batmobile’s engines, which sound more like a lion’s roar than a mechanism. The movie’s also noteworthy in that both Christian Bale and Gary Oldman play good guys for a change.