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Film Review

Iron Maiden – “Flight 666” [DVD Review]

How many bands tour the world via their own customized plane these days? Less than you can count on two hands? Well, legendary English metallers Iron Maiden did just that in 2008. Flight 666 is the film which documents the band’s “Somewhere Back In Time Tour” which totaled 50,000 miles and five continents in 45 days doing 23 shows. The means of transport for this trek was Bruce Dickinson’s very own customized Boeing 757, Ed Force One. This plane carried the band, crew and 12 tons of stage equipment while being piloted by none other than its owner and the band’s vocalist, Bruce Dickinson.

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How many bands tour the world via their own customized plane these days? Less than you can count on two hands? Well, legendary English metallers Iron Maiden did just that in 2008. Flight 666 is the film which documents the band’s “Somewhere Back In Time Tour” which totaled 50,000 miles and five continents in 45 days doing 23 shows. The means of transport for this trek was Bruce Dickinson’s very own customized Boeing 757, Ed Force One. This plane carried the band, crew and 12 tons of stage equipment while being piloted by none other than its owner and the band’s vocalist, Bruce Dickinson.

Flight 666 is divided into two distinct parts. The first half is a documentary of the tour giving a look at the offstage experience of Iron Maiden. This part of the film is managed and produced by Sam Dunn (‘Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey’, ‘Global Metal’ and ex-bassist of Burn To Black). It begins with an inside look at Ed Force One which is the ‘tour vehicle’ of this amazing voyage where the road is none other than the sky. As they soar the skies they perform in different countries documenting the fans and their various cultures. A grand part of the film is an insight into the importance of their concert to the people of each country. It features fans showing off their Eddie tattoos and shouting how much they love Iron Maiden. One particular part which was neat was a pastor who founded a church based on the band. The pastor, who had copious tattoos dedicated to the band, claimed he relates his sermons to the band and their song messages. Now that’s dedication!

The second half of the film is a demonstration of Iron Maiden’s well deserved success. 16 great songs that the band performed throughout the tour such as “Fear Of The Dark”, “The Trooper” and my all time favorite, “2 Minutes To Midnight”, come to life. Each song is performed in a different city, Sydney, Tokyo, San Jose and Toronto to name a few. The camera work is excellent, capturing the band from all angles. There is even a view of the roadies rocking out to the music behind the scenes and helping Bruce Dickinson get into his ‘The Trooper’ outfit. Sound quality for the film is in Hi Def with a magnificent 5.1 soundtrack which was mixed by Kevin Shirley (Dream Theater, Rush, Led Zepplin, etc).

Flight 666 is probably the best film I have seen for any band with a great documentary piece and an awesome live performance. The DVD version comes as a 2 disc set while the Blue-ray is a single disc. All Iron Maiden fans should definitely pick up this release for their collection. Iron Maiden will live on and never die.

Run Time: 216 minutes
Release Date: May 25, 2009

Check out the song: “Wasted Years”

Classical

MIZU Releases Hypnotic Video for “Pavane” Single [Video Review]

MIZU (fka Issie Herr), the breathtakingly talented cellist, has released a stunning video for her new single “Pavane” (NNA Tapes).

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MIZU, photo by Chong Gu
MIZU, photo by Chong Gu

MIZU (fka Issie Herr), the breathtakingly talented cellist, is releasing her second album, Forest Scenes, on March 22. Now, she has released a stunning video for the lead single “Pavane.”

These four minutes of mesmerizing imagery would work as effectively as an art installation in a gallery as it does a music video. Shots of the artist in a deep forest setting, dressed in angelic white rags, are juxtaposed with a narrative sequence of the androgynous movement artist Lili (Luyan Li) emerging from a mysterious mirrored casing and crawling across the forest floor.

The film, directed by Dan Silver, is almost hypnotic as strings soar across the claustrophobic landscape and the lone figure of Li seemingly attempts to escape her surroundings. A preview of the album reveals a set of equally immersive soundscapes that, even through the most rudimentary equipment (a battered laptop), swirl around the listener’s head like a soft aural tornado.

Those who found pleasure in MIZU’s relatively recent 2023  debut release, Distant Intervals, will find much to treasure in this new release and accompanying promo.

MIZU ‘Forest Scenes’ album artwork

MIZU ‘Forest Scenes’ album artwork

Director: Dan Silver
Starring: MIZU and Lili
Distributed by: NNA Tapes
Release Date: January 8, 2024
Run Time: 4:20

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Film

Why We Come Back? (Punk Rock Raduno) [Documentary Review]

The mini-doc, ‘Why We Come Back?,’ feels like it is something for those already familiar with the event to use as a tool for nostalgia and reminiscence.

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Why We Come Back? (Punk Rock Raduno)
Why We Come Back? (Punk Rock Raduno)

The Punk Rock Raduno Festival is approaching its 7th year in the idyllic Italian setting of Bergamo, Lombardy.

The mini-doc, Why We Come Back?, unsurprisingly features footage from last year’s festival to tempt even more fans from around the world to attend. The film mainly comprises talking head interviews from the festival organizers, Andrea and Franz, alongside the official photographer, Ludovica, and various well-selected international regular fans. Enthusiastic contributors include a middle-class punk family from England, complete with young daughter and her friend, alongside fans from Brazil and Germany, and comments from the brilliantly named The Useless 4.

The feeling we get from the film is that the festival is a positive event that approaches punk in the most family-friendly way. The sunny nature, described by Ludovica as “colourful,” is certainly tempting for those in search of music and warmth.

Unfortunately, the film rarely moves on from extreme hagiology, as all involved travel in the same direction of delivering nothing but high praise. The lack of any substantial live footage, bar a short montage at the end with a single (not too punky) track playing, does put a strain on your attention span about halfway through.

Some context is added by the organizers as they describe the event as proof that “Rock n Roll history is connected with small towns… it’s a history of outcasts, it’s a history of the wrong place at the wrong time… it could be Bergamo, it could be any small town.”

Thankfully, the Punk Rock Raduno YouTube channel does feature a whole bunch of live performances from past festivals, which provide perhaps a greater incentive for travelling to Italy in search of fun. The documentary certainly feels like it is something for those already familiar with the event to use as a tool for nostalgia and reminiscence.

Why We Come Back? (Punk Rock Raduno) movie poster

Why We Come Back? (Punk Rock Raduno) movie poster

The festival runs from July 11-14, 2024. Get details and tickets here, punkrockraduno.com.

Director: No Elevator Studio
Producer: No Elevator studio
Starring: The Useless 4
Distributed by: Punk Rock Raduno
Release Date: December 21, 2023
Run Time: 21 minutes

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Dance/Electronic

Ki Oni – “A Leisurely Swim to Everlasting Life – Live at dublab” (AKP Recordings) [Documentary Review]

‘A Leisurely Swim to Everlasting Life’ (AKP Recordings) is a wonderfully calming mini-documentary that draws you in slowly and leaves you wanting to discover more about Ki Oni.

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Ki Oni ‘A Leisurely Swim To Everlasting Life’ album artwork
Ki Oni ‘A Leisurely Swim To Everlasting Life’ album artwork

Ki Oni released his album, A Leisurely Swim to Everlasting Life, on August 25, 2023. It is a soothing and inspirational album of ambient soundscapes that received high global praise.

The artist (real name Chuck Soo-Hoo), who hails from Virginia, has now dropped an accompanying mini-documentary that takes us through an intricate recording process and allows Ki On the opportunity to discuss the inspiration behind his work.

It is fascinating to watch as he lays out his somewhat simple tools in a small studio and begins producing the meditative sounds that emanate from this almost ceremonial process.

What is interesting is how he describes the music as something to listen to at “Indoor swimming pools, long drives at night or rambling in the forest,” which re-evaluates the experience of listening to music, not necessarily at a gig or festival, but during general living.

He discusses how his music is directly influenced by daily life, via watching a basketball game or drinking coffee, and how he includes field recordings of his bicycle ride to work or raindrops on a window. We can view this as a new, possibly post-COVID attitude to music production that takes the DIY ethic to another level. Or we can simply accept that this is just beautiful ambient music.

The passing of his grandmother inspired the album. In the doc, he reminisces about spending time with her in her garden. He uses the example of Gaspar Noe’s film Enter the Void as a way of describing how he views his grandmother’s journey to the other side. In the film, the protagonist takes a journey following his death, floating across the city and checking out with all his friends and family before moving on. Whilst Noe’s movie is jarring and explicit, Ki Oni’s journey is, in his own words, “meditative.” It brings beauty and calm to a concept/journey most of us fear.

As the film draws to a close, Ki Oni introduces a flute to the mix, which he breathes into softly. This completes the picture of an artist finding a balance between electronica and more organic instrumentation.

This is a wonderfully calming film that draws you in slowly and absolutely leaves you wanting to discover more about this intriguing artist and his work.

Director: Christian Kim
Producer: Scott Osgood
Starring:  Chuck Soo-Hoo / Ki Oni
Distributed by: AKP Recordings
Release Date: January 16th, 2024
Run Time: 8 minutes

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