My Stories

Gravity. Tearing Down My Perceptions

So I managed to watch a few movies recently. The most recent one was “Gravity”. Suspenseful sums it up. I didn’t see the 3D version, however after seeing the 2D version, I wish I had. Apart from James Cameron’s “Avatar” all of the other so-called 3D movies were not really 3D movies. After getting burned on a few, I stopped paying the extra dollars to watch a normal movie with pretty crappy ‘3D’. Going back to “Gravity” I reckon the 3D version would have been unbelievable. People would have vomiting at some of the scenes. The story line was nothing spectacular however the CINEMATOGROPHY; top notch.

The movie is up there as a contender for movie of the year for me. And who is the star of the movie?

If you said Sandra Bullock or George Clooney, you are wrong. The real stars are Alfonso Cuarón the director, Emmanuel Lubezki’s the cinematographer and Steven Price for the musical score. Of course, Sandra Bullock’s performance was also top notch and you put all of that together, you get a great picture.

I became a fan of Cuaron’s movies after “Children of Men”. Some of the scenes in the “Children of Men” movie were revolutionary. So my interest in “Gravity” was purely because of the director. Ask anyone to name you the director of the “Top Gun” movie or the producer of “Pump” the 1989 album from Aerosmith?

When I first heard about the film and that it was about two astronauts in space, I thought to myself, “how can that keep me entertained for 2 hours.” However Cuaron did exactly that; by taking such a simple storyline and making it an “edge of my seat” journey throughout the whole movie. This is a hit album without any filler. This is a slow burner. Each person that watches it, becomes a fan.

“Gravity” is definitely special. It is a “cinematic experience”. Much like before when albums and music in general was a “sound experience” and that “sound experience” was even different to the “live experience”. Then came high levels of compression, the loudness wars and ear fatigue. I would love to hear some of the more newer albums, mixed and mastered with a 1970’s mindset.

The movie studios can scream piracy all they want. When a movie is made great, the audience will flock to it. Look at movies like “The Conjuring” and “Now You See It”. They beat out all of the blockbusters they where up against in the summer.

What “Gravity” accomplished is totally opposite to what Marvel and DC Comics are trying to achieve with their universes. You know, movies that rely heavily on the plot / story line that interconnect over a vast timeline. It seems these days that’s been the pivotal factor for me in order to consider if a movie is a hit. “Gravity” tore down that perception. It is simply a visual and audio masterpiece without the need to spend $250 million. It wont have a toy range like all the other top 10 grossing movies of 2013 however it will have a place in the minds of viewers.

Even when the big scenes happen in the movie, the viewer doesn’t get any sound effects with the explosions cause there’s no sound in space. All the viewer hears is the score building up in the background and then things start to happen. My eight year old and seven year old watched it with me and I could see them lying down and slouching. Then the music starts softly. The music starts to get a touch louder and they start to get up. As the music builds with the action sequence they are off the couch and I am thinking, WOW, the kids are full on feeling the suspense as well. Cuaron and “Gravity” have connected with us.

Alfonso Cuaron has cemented his place as one of my favourites.

So the next time you get that rare chance to actually be alone and watch a movie, without the slightest possibility of any interruptions, so you are able to engross yourself in the movie, the movie I want you to put on when that opportunity arises is: Gravity

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Music

Under The Flood

This is one band that has been doing the hard roads since forming in 2005 by bothers Matt (guitars) and Dave (vocals) Nadolski in Charlottesville, Virginia.   The band is rounded out by Brandon Sidebottom on guitar, Ken Davis on bass and Russell Lee on drums.   Fun fact here, Ken Davis shared the stage with American Idol’s own Chris Daughtry in the popular band Cadence.

Before their first album The Witness was released in May 2008 the band had been out on the road paying their dues and building a fan base for the past 3 years.  It was released on Koch Records.  You can hear the Red, Breaking Benjamin, Daughtry and Shinedown influence on this album.

The anticipated sophomore album Alive In The Fire was released in June 2010 on Join Or Die Records.  It followed in the same musical style as the debut album with a little bit of Deftones thrown into the mix.  Wake Up and Believe are good examples of the Deftones influence and the opening single Gravity also merges these influences.

‘I found another one who’s infected by greed,
Such a lazy one, i think i know what we need’

Do you reckon they are pissed at the rich fat cats who get bailed out while the world and its workers pay for their mistakes.  Or the fat cats who make billions from exploiting the artists.

The third album A Different Light was released in February 2012 on Join Or Die Records.  It continues the tradition of the previous efforts before it, focusing on radio friendly formula driven rock songs.  That is not a bad thing if it is done with substance and integrity.  As the songs are written within the band, you will get a touch of humanity to the songs, that songs written by committees cannot never offer.  A heavier version of Daughtry.

Under The Flood - A Different Light - album cover

Stand out tracks are the heavy Fly

‘These complicated times
We’re facing painful realities
But underneath the blame you’ll find
You’re another casualty of your hypocrisy’

The thing i like about lyrics is the interpretation.  The You can be a loved one,  a political institution, an enemy that used to be a friend.

‘I never wanted this design
I hope you open your eyes’.

Isn’t it funny how we call certain situations in life a design.

The title track, A Different Light

‘Fragile and hollow
Leaving the things you want the most
On top of the world
But you still know you didn’t want it’

I remember that i wanted to travel, tour the world and playing music i created.  But i also  wanted the family, the wife and the kids.  I got the family first, and in the end that is what i wanted the most and the one thing i will never leave behind.

Wait follows next and to me that is three in a row of good rock songs.

‘If you could only wait
Another moment with me
Because I only ever wanted you to stay
And I can’t imagine you leaving
And watching you walk away
I was never enough for you to lean on
I’d give anything up if you could hold on
Wait another moment with me’

Drive makes it four in a row, which in this day and age is rare.

‘ Because tonight we’re coming alive again
Open your eyes
It’s do or die
Will you toe the line or take the wheel and drive
You got once in a lifetime
To stand up and shine
You won’t be denied
Will you fall behind or take the wheel and drive
We’ll tear down the walls
We’re unstoppable’

7 years into their journey and three albums deep.  A few things are clear here;

  1. Vocalist Matt Nadolski has the pipes to lead the band into the stratosphere.
  2. The band still hasn’t written their classic album.
  3. They tour like crazy
  4. They have active radio campaigns (which too me is not what they should be focusing on)
  5. The band still hasn’t written their classic album.
  6. Remember, the internet is breaking the old models apart, Under The Flood need to embrace what it can offer them.
  7. Get the fans involved and make them super fans.

Peace…

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