The freaky-deaky world of wireless power is moving forward, with the new Palm Pre including a 'touchstone' power-pad - and now Wildcharge is offering a solution for the iPhone, which combines a desktop pad with a special case for the phone that includes the necessary black magic. That also has the possible advantage of letting all your devices charge of the one matt.

Wired has more details.


30th Jun 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet


The Insider

(dir. Michael Mann)


After an unfair dismissal from his scientist job at a big tobacco company, Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) intends to honor his confidentiality agreement - until the company's bullying tactics compel him to speak to 60 Minutes producer Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino).

Then: Something of a departure for shootout specialist Michael Mann, The Insider blended a great script, fantastic cinematography and superb acting. Al Pacino puts in the kind of shouting-free performance that is now a distant memory, while Russell Crowe was nominated for an Oscar for his submerged portrayal of the troubled protagonist.

Now: There might be little action in the conventional Michael Mann sense, but that doesn't mean he can't expertly draw suspense out of the smallest details - a child having a dust reaction, a conversation by fax. While it may be short on guns, this film has been described as "Mann's most fully realised work" - and it is perhaps his most flawless.

As usual with Mann's movies, the scale of this film is almost undefinable. There's never any question of sets, or repeated locations and no scene is anything short of measured and perfect. A house-bound scene where Pacino arranges the West's first interview with Hezbollah ends in him opening the curtains to reveal a wide shot of a middle eastern city. A windscreen wiper, a slow-motion golf ball. Every shot is perfectly considered, building up the intense pressure and unique atmosphere - helped in great part by the excellent music.

So, cigarettes are bad for you? No shit, but when the actual facts come out in the interview you will be shocked - as well as saddened by the tangible cost of telling the truth.


10th Apr 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Read more 5 star reviews


Mystery EP

Secretly Canadian

After a year of critical acclaim in the UK and the US, South African art-rockers BLK JKS signed to label Secretly Canadian - who now offer The Mystery EP, a re-mastered and re-sequenced re-release, which was initially produced by the Secret Machines' Brandon Curtis.

These days 'Art Rock' seems to mean slightly erratic drums and having a couple of Paul Simon or Talking Heads albums in your CD collection, but it's a term that serves a purpose and provides a reference point to where these songs might fit in to the bigger picture. Less Vampire Weekend and more Brain Eno might narrow it down further, as the band's vocals ebb and flow around the music, becoming more of a sound than a lyric (see "Mystery"), adding another strand of subtle texture.

It's multi-layered and mysterious, and while there may be nothing new as such (Animal Collective and mid-80's INXS could provide further touchstones), there's a nice subtlety and atmosphere here - and the potential is obvious as things gain some focus on "Summertime", progressing nicely with a spiraling tune rising out of the experimental chaotic sounds. While there's not all that much to write home about at this point, this is ambitious stuff - which will hopefully distill down in the future to reap many rewards for the listener.


19th Mar 2009 - Add Comment - Tweet

Read more 3 star reviews

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

Lie Down In The Light


We may be heading for a recession but our usual touchstones of gloom and melancholy seem hellbent on taking us in the opposite direction. David Berman's Silver Jews are due to release an unusually positive new record and here Will Oldham follows up 2006's The Letting Go with an album bathed in weary resolution and renewed warmth. Both these artists have produced some of their finest work while struggling through their darkness and likewise both seem to project their new work from a well fought point of resolved insight. But the ultimate success of these two records come from a genuine wisdom that was born out of experience and a deep searching for a truth behind this human experience. They haven't just decided to make an 'upbeat record' but have allowed this new dawn in their understanding to shine on every word they utter and though these words will always be tinged with sadness they display an outlook glistening with light.

Oldham gently counts in the record with the retrospective Easy Does It. The whole feel of this album is encapsulated in this first song as it lovingly rakes over past beliefs and viewpoints to compare them to a newly acquired calmness and strength. "There are other ways, I used to think, to find my way around, the wood and the caves and the bad woman's ways that were always to be found." The whole song shimmers with this new "One Way" that Oldham refers to as he looks around him and sees the light shine off everyday wonders like the moon, friends and family and "good, earthly music singing into my head."

This album explores every range of Olham's vocals from the joyous country lilt of Easy Does It to the intimate whisperings of What's Missing Is. Musically it's just as rich from the clipped fiddle on Glory Goes to For Every Field There's A Mole's wonderful clarinet. Oldham's delicate guitar playing dances eagerly throughout the record but is also joined by colourful touches of lap steel. Dawn McCarthy's sweet harmonies shadowed Oldham's every word in The Letting Go and the duet role falls to Ashley Webber here with some beautiful results. You Want That Picture sees them assume the part of two accusing lovers while on Other's Gain they rise in harmony to majestic grandeur. The sense of loneliness is passing from every record Oldham makes, not only due to the company he keeps on the songs but in his words that fall so precisely from his mouth. On Other's Gain he tells of the importance to "Keep your loved ones near, and let them know just where you be," while Easy Does It describes "the wood and the smell and the word of farewell that I always had to sound."

This new embrace of the world and the people around him is at the very heart of this records warmth. Instead of the forked-tongue critic lurking in the judgmental shadow of the world Lie Down In The Light displays a new found knowledge of the artists place in this life and on songs like So Everyone he aims to declare it to all in earshot. But while this might be a celebration, Katrina And The Waves it most certainly is not. Lie Down In The Light might be the antithesis both in title and tone to one of Oldham's finest albums, 1999's I See A Darkness, but it's joyousness is delivered with patience and humility like one who has seen the light but is in no hurry to explore, opting rather, to dwell there knowingly in its warmth. Like Berman, Oldham's ability to describe joy as well as pain is giving new strength to his work and is transforming him into a more well rounded song writer and as this joy has come from pain its profundity is more striking and long lasting.


19th May 2008 - Add Comment - Tweet

Read more 4 star reviews


not quite sure why there are two films featuring victorian magicians coming out… but there are: Christopher Nolan's the prestige has Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Scarlett Johansson; in the other corner, Neil "interview with the assassin" Burger's the illusionist stars Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel…


26th Jul 2006 - 1 comments - Add Comment - Tweet