Friday, November 30, 2012

Music | Le Petit Soldat under Mao’s Moon

“The Gift” illustration and design by 
“Le Petit Soldat” posters by … let me know
I am OK with Jean-Luc Godard, but I like the music on John Zorn’s “The Gift” better. Still, “Mao’s Moon” from “The Gift” has the cinematic wistfulness that suits a B&W French movie from early 1960s and certain notions a movie like that can arouse if not actually watched – that is why a mash up of the two strikes the right note of around-five-minute-cool – cool jazz and snippets of La Nouvelle Vague. Except that “Le Petit Soldat” was not nostalgic. It was very current. It was, and still is, idealistically rebellious and young and willing to stand up for its convictions. After all, it dealt with darker themes – Algerian War and torture.
     Ah, the duality of art! Sean Westergaard wrote at allmusic by rovì about John Zorn’s “The Gift” that “despite the undeniable beauty of the music, underneath the pretty pink wrapping and bows of the outer slipcase, Zorn has included several paintings of young girls in the cover art that some people might find slightly disturbing, as if to underscore the idea that beauty itself is highly subjective” (and the girl with a gun is not the worst of it; sadly). So it’s a match! Both packages, the movie and the album, mess with us! Poke at us!
     Since I find the artwork for “The Gift” more than “slightly disturbing”, having part of its music enveloped in Godard’s – albeit dissociated – cool works for the times when one feels pragmatically compliant.
     Hear the album. See the movie.

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