Under the Skin’s Jonathan Glazer and Mica Levi
After building a reputation for retina-rattling music videos including Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and UNKLE’s “Rabbit in Your Headlights” in the 1990s, Jonathan Glazer has charted a fascinatingly perilous career as a feature director over the last 14 years. The British filmmaker followed up 2000’s brilliantly foul-mouthed crime drama Sexy Beast  with 2004’s Birth, an unsettling meditation on loss that drew controversy for both its frustrating narrative tics as well as a notorious bathtub scene between Nicole Kidman and an 11-year-old boy.

His third film, Under the Skin, which arrives in theaters this Friday, heads into even more challenging territory. Loosely based on Michel Faber’s 2000 novel of the same name, the quasi-thriller follows an alien occupying the form of a young Scottish woman played by Scarlett Johansson in a cheap wig and heavy makeup. After capturing and grotesquely murdering a multitude of men for sustenance, the foreign body starts to sense its human self and feel the pangs of consequence. Visually intense, the film carries moments of beauty, brutality, and pure obfuscation: There’s very little dialogue uttered during Under the Skin‘s 107-minute runtime, and Glazer’s unconventional shooting methods—many of the “victims” captured by Johansson’s character were non-actors whose exchanges with the well-disguised star were shot on hidden cameras—give the film a uniquely roughshod feel.

As recently chronicled in The Guardian, the decade-long process of making Under the Skinwas arduous and mentally taxing for Glazer; there were endless plot reconfigurations, including a scrapped narrative involving aliens masquerading as Scottish farmers that at one point had Brad Pitt attached to star. “The creative process for this film was immersive and exhaustive,” Glazer tells me during a recent phone conversation. “And talking about it is weird, because when you’re making a film, part of you thinks it’s not going to see the light of day. It’s almost as if you’re making it for yourself.”

While the behind-the-scenes struggles aren’t easily sensed while taking in Under the Skin‘s chilly, inhuman atmosphere, plenty of on-screen tension is provided by Mica Levi’s mesmerizing score, which is now playing in full via Pitchfork Advance. Levi is best-known for her work heading up build-and-break avant-popsters Micachu and the Shapes, but her work for Under the Skin is something else entirely. The strings sometimes resemble nails going down a universe-sized chalkboard, screaming with a Ligeti-like sense of horror; elsewhere, they endlessly drone in a gaping vortex, like Vangelis’ iconic Blade Runner score dipped in turpentine.



Oslo, Norway, August 10th, 2008. Following their 200th gig, playing before 2000 people at the Øya festival, SUNN O))) teamed up with Norwegian legends ULVER at their Oslo studio, Crystal Canyon. They recorded three “live in improvisation” pieces, starting that evening and ending at dawn, as Northern sunlight seeped in through the windows.

“We were sitting in the console room, early in the morning, listening to the takes. Someone said, ‘ah, sunrise over Crystal Canyon,’ as if the night had been a dark one. We all laughed and Greg proposed it as a title. In that setting it sounded perfect. The boys had mentioned wanting the music to orient towards the light, like some lost pilgrim stretching before the sun. We kept that mental picture for the processing.” – Kristoffer Rygg

That take became the album’s opening piece, “Let there be light,” which builds up from silence and darkness and proceeds – ceremoniously, coruscating – O’Malley and O’Sullivan creating the backdrop for Rygg’s Basso Profondo chants. The music unfolds over eight minutes before reaching a crescendo of bass and brass, introducing both Anderson and ULVER as we know them. The Sunn has risen.

“Western horn” accelerates on a single and austere note of sustained bass and low end, evolving gradually into a haunted soundscape. Crying violins, clusters of Fender Rhodes, guitar pickups, and metal plate drones are gradually layered beneath Anderson’s augmented bass feedback.

“Eternal return” introduces Rygg singing a lyric evoking ancient Greece, Egypt and the Biblical lands. The song is palindromic, echoing the lyric, beginning and ending with the same bass line and musical pattern, though the guitars are ultimately reversed as the song implodes upon itself.

“Terrestrials”; is  three movements which are fluid like the flow of magma beneath the Earth’s crust, sonically uninhibited, unpredictably cosmic, haunting and stirring yet simultaneously ceremonious and beautiful.


Southern Lord


Stream ‘Flaming Side Of The Moon’, The Flaming Lips’ New Companion Piece To ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’ And ‘The Wizard Of Oz’.

March, 31st 2014 – (Burbank, CA.) – THE FLAMING LIPS  continue to explore the rich world of PINK FLOYD with their new digital release, FLAMING SIDE OF THE MOON.

Designed as an immersive companion piece to the original 1973 album, DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, listeners are encouraged to listen to the new LIPS album while listening to DARK SIDE at the same time. FLAMING SIDE OF THE MOON was also carefully crafted to sync up perfectly with the 1939 film, THE WIZARD OF OZ. For ideal listening conditions, fans are encouraged to seek out the original Alan Parsons’ engineered quadraphonic LP mix of DARK SIDE, but it will work with the album on any format. Available now through all participating digital outlets.

A limited edition 100 vinyl copies will be distributed to friends and family of THE FLAMING LIPS.

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