Shaken and Stirred: The James Bond Project

Webomatica posts about his best and worst James Bond songs. It’s a nice list; I threw my picks into the comments, though I left out the iconic James Bond Theme. god bless John Barry for that. We disagree about Man With The Golden Gun, but to each his own.

But, really, I’d like to call some attention to another Bond-related project. Shortly before composer David Arnold took over the scoring responsibilities of the franchise, he produced a covers album featuring the famous intro songs performed by contemporary artists. In fact, this project contributed to his getting the assignment for Tomorrow Never Dies.

The disc was titled, oddly enough: Shaken and Stirred: The David Arnold James Bond Project and honestly, overall it’s not that good.

None of the performers involved (David McAlmont, Pulp, Shara Nelson, Martin Fry, others) manage to improve upon the original versions, which leads to the question, “What the heck was the point?”

Of course, there are a couple worthwhile tracks on the album. Aimee Mann does a pretty decent rendition of Carly Simon’s Nobody Does It Better and UK progressive house outfit Leftfield submits an intriguingly up-tempo remix of Barry’s Space March theme.

But the real surprise on the album comes from none other than Iggy Pop. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but his version of Louis Armstrong’s We Have All The Time In The World is sublime. Give it a listen:


Curiously, Bjork also recorded a song for the project (Nancy Sinatra’s You Only Live Twice), but withdrew it shortly before publication. Her version is fairly faithful to the original and basically sounds, well, like Bjork singing You Only Live Twice. It surfaced on the internet a few years ago; you can listen to it below or download an mp3 here.


At the risk of turning this into a Ratatat blog…

…here’s the Ratatat remix of Shout Out Louds’ The Comeback. I actually listened to it last weekend, but didn’t hear anything half as interesting today, so consider it a retroactive song of the day.

This mix illustrates perfectly what I love about Ratatat’s remixing style. They’re not content to just throw a house beat behind the song, or chop it up until it’s unrecognizable. No, Mike and Evan take full possession of the original, reshaping it in their own image while not losing the core of the source material.

The Comeback – Big Slippa remix by Ratatat

Shout Out Louds - The Comeback - Single - The Comeback (Big Slippa Mix By Ratatat) big slippa remix by ratatat

Luis Bacalov – La Seduzione: An Italian Tentazione

the seduction 1973

Continuing the tunequest within a tunequest today, I listened to a handful of tracks by Argentine composer Luis Bacalov during the morning’s rainy commute to the office. Bacalov rose to prominence writing film music for 60s and 70s era spaghetti westerns and hard boiled Italian dramas. Prolific, he’s got more than 140 composer credits to his name and even won an Academy Award in 1996 for Il Postino. More recently, he has gained some notoriety from several of his songs being included on Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill soundtracks.

The track below, titled Nago, is from the 1973 Italian film La Seduzione, about a man who reunites with a former lover and then is seduced into an affair with her 15 year old daughter.

This thing is a swaggering waltz of funk. It gently lures you in with its sinister wah, sensuous horns and smooth smooth rhythm. But just when you think you know what it’s all about, it morphs, ever so briefly, into a deep driving piano groove. Then, as if to say that as easily as things change, they can easily change back, it returns to it former self.



Pearl Jam: I Got a Feeling [Beatles cover]

Back before all this digital music and internet mumbo jumbo, finding a live recording of a band’s performance was a tricky proposition. There were basically two ways to go about it. One, if you someone who was in a bootlegging circle, you could ask to trade a copy of their recording for a copy of one you had. These were the days before CD burners, so any copy you received was on lesser-quality cassette tape. Or two, you could stumble upon one in the racks at used music stores, finding a quasi-legal, imported recording.

Sometime in 1993, I happened upon a CD, imported from Italy, called I Got a Feeling, via that second method. It’s a high-quality recording of Pearl Jam, live at the legendary (and recently closed) CBGBs in New York City, November 8, 1991 (about 2 months after the release of Ten).

It was a surprise gig that ran about 40 minutes and was attended mostly by fan club members. That explains why the audience on the recording seems to know all the words, despite the fact that Ten wouldn’t enter the Billboard 200 (at #155) for another 2 months.

For comparisons sake, Nirvana’s Nevermind was already at #17 on the chart the week this was recorded.

Still, the show itself is an illustrative overview of that early period of the band’s history. The best part however is the final song of the set: a fantastic cover of The Beatles’ I’ve Got A Feeling with some nice ad-libbing from Eddie.

Download: I Got A Feeling (iTunes m4a file)


Pinwheel Herman: My foot in the door of the postrock scene

At pretty much the first listen, a live version of this song got me hooked on Mouse on Mars, the German team with the heart of gold that expands minds while keeping the beat. In the summer of 2000, this song was the catalyst away from my college-era exploration of club and trance style electronic music, leading me toward the so-called postrock and “intelligent dance music” of the late 90s. From there it was an all downhill run into musical hipsterdom.

Without further ado, tunequest presents Pinwheel Herman, from the incomprehensibly-titled album Niun Niggung. Go nuts.


Japan’s Greatest Natural Resource

point by cornelius

Cornelius is more than a man, more than a musician. He is an idea, the result of thousands of years of simian evolution combined with Japanese tech brilliance and flair. Fortunately for the world, he uses his powers for good, spreading grooves and good cheer from the Land of the Rising Sun to all points on this earth.

If there’s any doubt that Cornelius is Japan’s greatest natural resource, here’s the proof. The song is Smoke. The man is Cornelius. The album is Point.


Cornelius - Point - Smoke

Explore more Cornelius.

Download the song Point of View. It’s glitch-funk artistry at its finest.