Sunday, September 19, 2021

Bo diddley Flies Beyond The Black Rainbow - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Tomato"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM you heard Bo Diddley play his song Aztec and I spoke a little about Diddley's love for strange guitars. When Diddley first started playing guitar he didn't have the funds to buy a real guitar so, as the famous story goes, Diddley made his first electric guitar by scrounging together parts including a pickup designed from an old Victrola record player's electronics. As time went on, Bo's early guitar building continued to inspire the designs of his many custom guitars with the most popular designs being produced by Gretsch

Bo Diddley live and on the covers of Have Guitar, Will Travel and Bo Diddley Is A... Lover
 

Some of Diddley's stranger guitars included built in effects, equalizers, synths, and featured wild shapes that, if we are being honest, looked like chopped up coffee tables. All that being said, Diddley was a great showman and his guitars reflected his innovative personality.

Later in the show you heard this week's far out movie recommendation; the 2010 psychological horror film Beyond the Black Rainbow! The film follows Dr. Barry Nyle, the lead researcher of an experimental new age facility which melds science and spirituality, and his mysterious captive test subject Elena. As the film progresses you are given short glimpses into the history of the facility and the roles Dr. Nyle and Elena play in the motivations behind its creation. Beyond the Black Rainbow is a fairly slow burn that bombards your senses with deep saturated colors and an ever-present droning soundtrack, however, the film lacks the usual hand-holding exposition dumps found in other science fiction horror films which leads the viewer to constantly question what will happen next. 

Red and Moody
 

Firstly, what I like about the movie is the sensory overload and claustrophobic closeups which are contrasted with the sprawling facility. The most obvious visual comparisons are to 2001: A Space Odyssey and THX-1138 but there are also scenes that remind me of the experimental horror film Begotten and during the later sections in the film, 80s slasher films such as the original Friday the 13th. Because the film had a fairly lean budget for its high cinematic aspirations, there are times that the abundance of tight shots and highly saturated lighting choices feel as though they aren't simply aesthetic choices but also practical ones. As you may know, the use of closeups and darkness can help conceal the lack of big budget set pieces. I wouldn't necessarily say that it negatively affects the film but I know there are probably people out there that would be turned off by such things.

Secondly, the soundtrack and ambient soundscapes in the film are relentless. There's hardly ever a moment of silence throughout the entire movie which is reminiscent of films like Eraserhead, or once again, Begotten, except with there's more synthesizer droning à la 80s John Carpenter. Some may find the soundtrack distracting but I really dug the way it built tension and if you are willing to watch this movie at a fairly decent volume, I feel that the soundtrack becomes an integral part of the setting. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that at times the soundtrack made me feel as though I should've been watching this film on VHS through an old CRT. 

However, and to me it's a big however, Beyond the Black Rainbow drops the ball at its conclusion. With a movie that's such a slow burn you need some sort of payoff at the end and instead the film subverts this expectation with a fairly abrupt and underwhelming ending. I could say that it was a fairly brave move but it comes off as hasty and rushed. I've seen other internet dweebs (besides myself) complain that the slasher-esque sequences felt out of place but my ultimate gripe would be that the film's ending doesn't follow the same pace as the rest of the film. I am completely okay with unexpected endings, in fact I usually find them refreshing, but I feel that the movie needed to give more attention towards what became of the telekinetically powered Elena. I'd rather not spoil the film for you so sorry if that's all a little vague.

  

If you like trippy movies like Altered States or heady 80s low budget horror then you'll probably find the movie worth your time, especially if you have a passing interest or appreciation of the dark side of New Age aesthetics. 

That's it for this episode! You can catch the next episode by tuning your radio into KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org! If you'd like you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In. As always, you also listen to this episode's playlist below:


 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Checking Out Some Washington Bands on The Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Celery"

Hey there buddy, did you happen to catch this week's episode of Hippie Love Turbo, on KUCR 88.3 FM? Well, here's a bit of a summary of some of the things I talked about.

Sometimes these patterns form when you are putting a show together and you don't even realize it and this week, I ended up played a few bands from Washington. First you heard The Dimensions song Knock You Flat and I said that the band was from South Seattle. While researching the band I came upon a website that briefly mentioned that the band often played at a roller rink named the Lake Hills Roller Rink. As it turns out, the Lake Hills Roller Rink was somewhat of a cultural hub in the Bellevue's Crossroads area and maintained an active music scene well into the 80s where the musical focus shifted from garage rock, to psychedelic, and eventually heavy metal. The scene was started by KJR-AM (sadly a sports talk station now) DJ Pat O'Day who spoke a bit about the roller rink in 2018.

The next Washington band you heard was The Bandits, who came from Mercer Island, Washington, which is a short distance southwest from Bellevue. Mercer Island is known for being a more affluent region of the Seattle metropolitan area and, as is the case with most "well off" neighborhoods, it's a bit harder to find anything interesting culturally beyond real estate, shopping centers, or country clubs. However, for fans of public art, the island has a bunch of outdoor sculptures such as: the punny named Handsome Bollards at Luther Burbank Park which are aluminum hands that act as bollards, an oversized bronze rabbit which has a child leaned against it while reading a book named Between Two Worlds, and Kenton’s Dragon, a giant steel and concrete playground equipment dragon that replaced a similarly shaped sculpture that was also designed by Kenton Pies in 1965. 

Wrapping up the Washington bands, you also heard I'm Walkin' Babe by the Bellingham band The Unusuals. Bellingham has had a diverse music scene throughout the years but, without a doubt, the most famous band to come from Bellingham is Death Cab for Cutie which you may recognize from a cover of their song I Will Follow You into the Dark that you heard at your local coffee shop's open mic. If Death Cab isn't quite your musical style of choice and you dig bands like Pavement, Sebadoh, or Built To Spill you should check out a short-lived band from Bellingham named Crayon and more specifically their only full-length album Brick Factory. However, if you'd like to stick with a garage rock sound then I suggest listening to Mono Men's 1994 album Sin & Tonic. It's definitely more a product of the 90s than the bands you usually hear on the show but I feel like those types of bands also have their time and place. You can hear Mono Men briefly talk about hazardous bubbles which floated through Bellingham in the definitive documentary about grunge music, HYPE! (1996).

Thanks for reading the blog and be sure to listen to the show on KUCR 88.3FM on Sundays at midnight or through KUCR.org! If you'd like you can also listen to KUCR through Radio Garden or Tune-In.


The Many Boots That Are Made For Walkin' - Hippie Love Turbo Radio Show - Code Word "Soursop"

On this episode of Hippie Love Turbo , on KUCR 88.3 FM we started the show off with a Spanish cover of These Boots Are Made for Walkin'...