Intense Pop for your Burrito (for that ass)

Occasionally a thing comes along that is so blisteringly, powerfully overdriven and flawlessly done that I sit bolt upright and feel like I’m going to shit bolts of lightning when I see it.  Yes, this is pop, but it’s also so much more than the human sensory apparatus should be able to take that I’m not apologizing.

Capsule.  Jumper.  A song whose lyrics I haven’t untangled, but which seems to suggest the mighty awesomeness of jumping.  Jumping is pretty cool, I guess, but not nearly as cool as this video.  This video just recycles all the old techno/trance video tropes around since the ’90s of computer animated 3-D objects flying through space tunnels to synthetic beats, but it does it while updating them with neat new hi-resolution effects niftily tied in with the EQ.  Shit some lightning bolts!

unitxt Short Film: Asleep Amidst Wonder

There aren’t many other places as well-matched for this very simple story to have been located in.  A tired-looking blue-collar type approaches a vending machine in a sleeping Japanese village, only to have voice and music issue instead of refreshment.  What does the fellow do?  Well, the machine intelligence suddenly at play in the bank of vending machines has nothing to do with him, does it?  He looks on, nonplussed, until he can finally get the beverage to dispense.  When it does, he walks back to his truck and drives away. It’s like a scene out of a Murakami novel- an ordinary person in an extraordinary circumstance willfully remains ordinary.

Oh, crushingly abetted modernity.

This is from glitch pioneer and sound artist Carsten Nicolai (Alva Noto) and collaborator and French sound poet Anne-James Chaton, the project issued under the name unitxt in 2008 from Raster-Noton.

Cat Shit One – Disturbingly Anthropomorphic Animals Pumping Each Other Full of Lead

Someone brought this to my attention this week:

An animated Japanese series about private military contractors, or mercenaries as they were once known, taking shit out in the fringe states of the former Soviet Union.  How about that?

Some of these scenes are more graphic than what I can recall seeing in a live action movie, and I can’t help but cringe at the racist, or at the very least unflattering, implications of the choice of animals being used to depict the citizens of different countries.  I’m probably way off base here- Japanese people aren’t ever known to be racist are they?  Cute bunnies knocking odious Mohammedan camels down in close combat and shooting them in the face?  Too adorable to be violence!  Conveniently separating citizens of different nations into easy-to-define and hard-to-deny categories of absolute difference from one another?  Too visibly true to be racism!

I’d love to see this whole series to see if there is any commentary being made as part of the story that goes against the immediate impressions I get from the trailer.  Standing on its own, though, and with my Japanese reading skills at an all-time nadir, the trailer is pretty damning.

Miniskirts, Fishnets, Sexy Mutants, and the Cleaving Swords of the Ronin Capitalist State

Shoko Nakahara stars in Yoshihiro Nishimura’s 2008 tour-de-abattoir Tokyo Gore Police (Tokyo Zankoku Keisatsu) as the hard-nosed avenger of decency without mercy Ruka.  Preternaturally calm, dangerously certain of her purpose and her use of the katana in the black and white battle between criminal indecency and the directives of the privatized Tokyo Police Corporation, Ruka is a little death fashionably decked out in a miniskirt and fishnet stockings, the call-girl of justice tossing the most hardened criminals into the icy salad of divine retribution.

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Japan’s police and self-defense forces were privatized during Ruka’s youth under the auspices of a single draconian for-profit agency whose shock troops resemble something between armored, war-ready samurai and Darth Vader, a change in course in society the initial contestation of which has been deliberately buried in the past by those powers who stood to profit most from it.

This proves to be a crucial detail in the development of Ruka’s life, for the Terry Gilliam-esque former tracheotomy patient wearing the horned helmet with the external car stereo speaker affixed to his badged armor is the man who, as chief of police, stood to gain the most power from disposing of the more socially-minded cop leading the privatization opposition- Ruka’s father.  That this was done before the impressionable eyes of this girl he then raised among the police as his daughter, that the assassin he hired to clear the field of his opposition and publicly executed was the father of a brilliant genetic engineer studying the heredity of criminality is key- it is the self-serving action that at once created a ronin state of arbitrarily unchecked police aggression in the service of order and the same moment forged that state’s arch-enemy, the Key Man.  It also birthed the one warrior who would be the undoing of the whole system.

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Key man is the creator of a parasitic virus culled from the DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers, a key-shaped tumor that causes any wound inflicted on the infected to mutate into a deadly weapon.  During the movie’s course of corpse production from conflict to resolution, Penes, pudenda, breasts, bellybuttons, really all the best stuff is transformed into a high-pressure blood-hosing instrument of gore.  These augmented augerers hosting the mutation-inducing tumors of anti-humanity are dubbed “engineers.”

When the police declare an all-out war on the population in an attempt to eliminate the engineers, the truth, that the chief hired the man who killed her father, is revealed to a virus-infected Ruka.  She single-handedly wipes out the police force and takes her revenge on the man who raised her, even as he flies about the room enhanced by drugs that cause gravity-defying jets of blood to fire from the stumps of his legs.

I should mention that, marring the progress of the movie is a scene of anti-Chinese nationalism that really doesn’t add anything to the story, leaving me with a bad taste on the iron-coated walls of my mouth.

The film is intercut with bizarre and hilarious PSAs for the new privatized police force, the reduction of workplace hara-kiri, cute accessory box-knifes for high-school aged cutter gyaru, and swords advertised for the same purpose on a “Call Now!” basis, all while this vixen of an S/M Marilyn perfectly amputated from her Norma Jean, a cross between a DJ and a police dispatcher, broadcasts whilst dancing to an amazing Japanese rock soundtrack her frenzied bloodthirsty dispatches.

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For blood or for pizza, the axes swing when she sings.

2 Great Retrospectives Coming up at Film Forum

From June 20 to August 7, Film forum is going to be dishing out, by my count, 25 movies starring leading man Tatsuya Nakadai. Appallingly, I have seen all of none of these movies, but I have a chance to fix that now. I’m especially looking forward to seeing him play Natsume Soseki in “I Am a Cat.” As the Film Forum folks (FFF) have so elegantly put it,

With his starring roles in bona fide classics by Kurosawa and Kobayashi, and multiple leading parts for masters as disparate in style and subject matter as Naruse, Okamoto, Gosha, Teshigahara, Kinoshita, and the late Kon Ichikawa, Nakadai’s career provides a core sample right through the heart of the Golden Age of Japanese Cinema.

Details on this found here by clicking on Nakadai’s handsome mug:

Nakadai

If you were inclined to follow that link, then you would have noticed that the first page of the PDF was devoted to outlining the schedule of a retrospective of Godard’s ’60s. Having only seen Alphaville, I think, of all his films still out there circulating and churning with all those images, reproduced everywhere, of that particularly French mind-destroying femininity, I am excited to be able correct the deficit in my learning. Particularly motivating is La Chinoise, which Netflix doesn’t carry and my local, definitively non-yokel hipster video store also doesn’t have on its shelves. Starring a young future Mme. Godard, it follows a young group of ’60s hipsters who form a Maoist cell through the travails of being young and hot and boojie and forming a maoist cell, I would imagine. I’m imaging a French New-wave episode of Friends adapted for the big screen, a bunch of idealistic kids who wish they could have been Futurists but, for reasons of temporal nativity and philosophical fortitude in the end were just part of that whole exciting decade whose anticlimax paved the way for our awareness of virtuality.

W00T!11!111!

Culture! Man, we got a lot of it here. Summer is rolling out of its hibernatory grotto and the flowering mind raises its pistils.

Two Upcoming Events of Note: Carsten Nicolai at Kitchen 10/6 and Moools at Don Pedros 9/26 and Knitting Factory 9/28

Something to look forward to while murdering precious living moments.

Heretofore mentioned experimental electronic exhibitionist Carsten Nicolai will be performing at New York’s Kitchen on October 6.  Tix are $15 bucks.  A friggin’ steal.

Tokyo’s good-times absurdo-hilarious rockers Moools will be bringing their inter-song banter and poppy rock guitar ditties to New York City in late September.  They’re at Don Pedro’s 9/26 and Knitting Factory 9/28.  I don’t know how much this costs, but it’s probably worth it.  Pretend you’re important enough to be anywhere else and you’ll just have to reckon with yourself while you’re taking those last rites, won’t you?

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Sadamitsu the Destroyer: Come in Space Pajamas, or Don’t Come at All.

Ride a bikemonster or don't ride at all.

A week or so ago I Netflixed an animated series I had started watching halfway through its original TV run when I was living in Japan, “Sadamitsu: The Destroyer“. You got your basic rowdy gang of lovable Japanese teen toughs, led by the quick-tempered, never-say-die, brawling Tsubaki Sadamitsu. You got your enabling bombshell high school teacher, Chieko-sensei, who patches up the gang after their fights (most of which lead to her personal possessions, hard come-by, being destroyed somehow). You got your enigmatic new girl in school, whose deep and unfathomable bond with Sadamitsu is expressed with your basic screaming, brash manliness and arm-punching for Sadamitsu’s part, and the big-eyed blinking and gasping for new girl Kamishiro Yayoi’s part, oddly typical of boys and girls in Japan who often never seem to learn to give articulate shape to their feelings for one another. You got your basic inscrutable woman who is also a world-destroying planetary hangman robot alien. It touches on the basic fabric of male/female relations and vast, fearful gulf that gapes in the understanding between the sexes!

Sadamitsu keeps it real in space pajamas and tabi socks with a bird that eats garbage.

Sadamitsu, as you can see above, keeps it real with the Yamato spirit, communing with nature and keeping the balance between fighting monsters from outer space and tradition and all that.

The story goes that an intergalactic police officer, chasing intergalactic criminals to earth, is distracted by Sadamitsu during a battle and is consequently destroyed. Sadamitsu puts the space-cop’s head on like a helmet, and he is suddenly covered in skin-tight body armor and knobs. Utilizing skin-tight body armor and knobs, and, if you will dig the picture below, occasional extra eyeballs, he spends the rest of the series sending space criminals to space prison. And he screams a lot. And he never backs down.

Comem with extra eyes or don't come at all.

I’m not really the otaku anime type, but this guy is just too badass. Flipping the stations in my mountain valley washitsu as I sat beneath the warm, testicle-baking kotatsu drinking a couple of dai-bins of Kirin Ichiban, I very dimly recall thrilling to the exploits of this teenager in a trenchcoat riding a bikemonster to glory. I lolled on the floor amid the kerosene fumes hoping Sadamitsu could reverse the roles and get around to being a real man who could protect Kamishiro for a change, instead of relying on her unnatural space robot habit of doing the man’s job and always protecting him. How relieved I was to see he was finally able to do it- but only with the aid of Yayoi’s enigmatic new girl in school style feminine wiles. She recharges his space pajamas halfway through the series. Oh, man, that is a spoiler, but it’s just such a beautiful example of how you gotta respect that all life springs from woman and that’s why you have to keep them safe with laser swordplay. Did I mention his bike was a monster? His bike was a monster. That is far more badass than anything you would find at Sturgis. If I had a bike that was a monster, you know what I would do? I’d ride straight to hero’s promontory and stand there in the lens-flare as the wind whipped my coat around. I would also tuck my parachute pants into my tabi socks. Damn, would my loneliness have a manly meaningfulness to it.

Take the lonely, windy path to the promontory of herodom.

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