Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel, the duo from Versailles, France otherwise known as Air, have been delivering their ever-evolving blend of dance, electronica, prog-rock, and psychedelia since 1995, when they released their debut single, “Modular Mix,” and they’ve built a tremendous fanbase with their subsequent efforts over the course of the last two decades. If you’re one of their many fans, then this is a good week for you…so good, in fact, that the goodness actually carries over into next week as well.
Let’s start with the most awesome news first: today marks the release of The Virgin Suicides – 15th Anniversary –The Limited Edition Super Deluxe Box Set, a mammoth affair which would seem to argue that the soundtrack to Sofia Coppola’s first feature film is far more important on the pop culture landscape than the film itself...or not. (We figured we’d better throw in the “or not” just in case: Ms. Coppola is pretty well connected in the entertainment business, you know.) Either way, though, there’s no question that we’re taking this album very, very seriously, indeed, as you can see by what’s included:
June 11 has not been a good day for those who get depressed by celebrity obituaries: in the past 24 hours, word has broken about the deaths of noted movie producer Robert Chartoff (Rocky, Raging Bull), horror icon and all-around awesome actor Christopher Lee, Oscar-nominated actor Ron Moody (Oliver!), and wresting legend Dusty “The American Dream” Rhodes. For jazz fans, however, none of the aforementioned losses are likely to hit anywhere as hard as the one they’re reeling from right now: alto saxophonist Ornette Coleman has died from cardiac arrest at the age of 85.
Born March 30, 1930 in Fort Worth, Texas, Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman effectively set the stage for his entire career while he was attending I.M. Terrell High School, where he was a member of the school band until he was thrown out for improvising during a performance of John Philip Sousa’s “The Washington Post.” Fast-forward to 1960, and Coleman is earning praise for his latest album, Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation. We don’t know for sure if Coleman ever donated anything to his high school’s band department later in life, but if he did, we’d like to think that he wrote “thanks for nothing” on the check’s memo line and mailed it in with a photo of himself grinning and holding the Pulitzer Prize he won in 2007 for his album Sound Grammar.
Hear the real story of AMERICAN BEAUTY as told by Bob Weir and producer Stephen Barncard when you tune in to this month's Spotify Landmark.
If the name “Steven Wilson” doesn’t mean anything to you, then we can reasonably presume that you’re not a Porcupine Tree fan, since the gentleman in question first earned fame as a result of his work as the lead singer, songwriter, and guitarist of that particular band. More recently, however, Wilson’s greatest claim to fame, at least among classic rock fans, has been his remixing work on seminal albums by such artists as Yes. King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Emerson Lake & Palmer, and – as you might well have guessed by the title of this particular post – Jethro Tull.
In the past, Wilson has taken on Tull’s Thick as a Brick and A Passion Play, and now he’s done the same for an additional pair of their classic efforts: Aqualung and Benefit. There’s certainly no question that these albums are considered among the best ever released by Tull, but Wilson’s efforts have made them sound better than ever.