Thursday, May 17, 2018

Comanche Peak Releases Return to Fear Mountain

"A spherical journey that leads the listener through layers of soundscapes built with effected voices, guitars, ambient percussion, and a variety of synthesizers. Dark and immersive, the story told with this music follows a character as they pass into the afterlife to confront their own demons, and concludes with them coming back to life and moving on." 

So delighted to share the latest album from Comanche Peak (John Anderson JR), Return to Fear Mountain. We've chatted with John in the past when he released Carnival Lights, a lighter, more ethereal and airy EP. Return to Fear Mountain, on the other hand, sounds like a lovechild of Vangelis and Goblin and sees Anderson honing his sound with this progressive, dark, and absolutely captivating release.  

To go with the album, Anderson has released three videos for LabyrinthWitch's Promise, and Sword and Lazer. In true Comanche Peak fashion, the supporting videos are entrancing - just like the music.

"The work for this project started right after the Carnival Lights EP.  I wanted to create something really different from that first release, both in mood and sound.  There’s more percussion, darker synths, and even vocals, though no lyrics are actually sung, I wanted to use the voices as instruments. The album Osorezan by Geinoh Yamashirogumi (Akira) provided the jumping off point and gave me something to fall back on when faced with creative decisions along the way.  Osorezan (Fear Mountain) is an actual place in Japan and is regarded as a gateway to the afterlife. ( The group that performs the music is this ever-changing collective of people from all walks of life that create music together, chances are the same performers on Osorezan are not the same you hear on the Akira soundtrack.  This inspired me to make this release a more collaborative effort which leads to 3 very talented friends being featured on some songs.  I extended that same effort to some great video artists who put together some amazing content, all their work is now available on  Return to Fear Mountain is a concept album that picks up where Carnival Lights left off.  The idea of dying and coming back to life struck me as a metaphor for confronting personal demons, realizing that your obsessions don’t have to control your life, and then moving forward. That’s what the last song, “Back on the Road,” is there for, it has lots of momentum and is this "to be continued moment."

I highly recommend checking out this concept album, it's perfect for like-minded individuals looking to create something themselves, or simply as a piece of cinematic bliss.  


Comanche Peak

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Love Witch (2016) Review : A Feminist, Technicolour Homage to 70's Sexploitation

The Love Witch is a film that's been on my radar for a couple years now, and I'm so thrilled I finally sat down to watch it. Shot and projected on 35mm film with rich and lush colours, The Love Witch pays homage to the 60s and 70s exploitation films, and Italian Gaillo. Visually, it's done so perfectly, it's hard to believe this treat came out in 2016.  Its director, Anna Biller, is a powerhouse herself, having wrote, produced, and directed the film, PLUS having made the costumes and much of what you see on screen. 

The story follows a witch, Elaine (played by newcomer Samantha Robinson), as she moves to a new city and is on the hunt for the perfect man. Along the way she entraps men through her love potions, however, things don't ever go as planned. Samantha does a phenomenal job in this role, with her sultry and often humorous performance, combined with absolutely stunning physical features and makeup. Although the film has a feminist message, in particular the seductive powers women have on males, The Love Witch doesn't shove this down your throat. In fact, Samantha's character has a lot of qualities that aren't ideal, and she too, is flawed. 

Elaine does however, have immensely quotable lines and some viewpoints that are spot-on. In a scene where she's mixing a love potion, she throws in a used tampon, commenting on the fact that women bleeding isn't something men should be grossed out about. "Women bleed and it's a beautiful thing", she says. Her finest and most powerful delivery lies near the end, however. As she's fighting to explain her rationale she states that society teaches males to be stoic and that, "a woman's intuitions and emotions are illnesses that need to be cured." In our day and age this rings a very strong bell, and it's wonderful to see a heroine challenge society's ideals. 

All in all, this film is wrapped in such a vividly beautiful technicolour package, one that never ceased to amaze me. Elaine's striking blue eye makeup, her Victorian apartment with brightly coloured walls, to the tea house where the ladies gossip all while wearing ornate and colourful flowered hats; it's all such a treat for the eyes. Sure, some reviewers have commented on the acting being at times, overdone, but to be entirely honest, stilted performances are the point and a complete throwback to the pulp genre. Another bonus? Biller takes actual soundtracks from Giallo films, and hearing the music of Morricone makes my heart skip a beat. As for the length of the movie? If you're a fan of vintage horror and exploitation genres, the 120 minute run-time will be heaven for you. 

The Love Witch is the exact sort of film I adore - blending classic horror with ultra-feminist ideals. And it's these ideals that Biller manages to drive home, or at least makes us want to talk about it. Questions about the way men deal with female sexuality and gender relations in general, are wonderful points of discussion long after the movie is over. Samantha Robinson's character on the other hand, blazes a path and teaches us that she too is "just a little girl dreaming of being carried off on a white horse" but as her life and society taught her, she has been reduced to something else, not much more than eye candy. It's because she has been denied that basic respect that Elaine has become a narcissistic monster; brainwashed by the patriarchy and obsessed with murder. 

If you want a seriously beautiful sensory overload that harks back to vintage genres, I suggest you go see The Love Witch. It's certainly not a film for everyone, but with its layers of complexity it's poignant, touching upon society's norms that are definitely worth questioning.


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