Fjögur Píanó: Mind-Controlled Slavery, Addiction, Drugs and Violent Sex

Fjögur Píanó: Mind-Controlled Slavery, Addiction, Drugs and Violent Sex

Fjögur Píanó is a thoughtful, haunting short film/music video created by Israeli director Alma Har’el, set to music by the acclaimed Icelandic band Sigur Rós. The band recently asked a dozen filmmakers to each choose a song from its new album, Valtari; given complete creative freedom, filmmaker Alma Har’el produced a seven-minute video that at first appears to be more of a dream sequence than a narrative. Fjögur Píanó is a wordless song comprised of four piano pieces that features actor Shia LaBeouf and actress Denna Thomsen in a stormy relationship, caught up in a destructive spiral, possibly revolving around mind-controlled drug addiction, lovesick co-dependence and sordid sexuality mixed with dominance and violence.

It is evident throughout the film that the couple is very confused, not in control of their destiny and hopelessly trapped in a state of virtual imprisonment. Much of the film’s symbolism hints at the concept of Monarch Mind Control. Monarch Mind Control is named after the Monarch butterfly, a genetically programmed insect that begins its life as a worm (representing undeveloped potential) and, after a period of cocooning (biological programming), is reborn as a beautiful butterfly (the Monarch slave).

From this perspective, Fjögur Píanó can be viewed as a dark commentary on a world of increasingly abusive totalitarian domination. Every aspect of Shia and Denna’s lives is manipulated by outside forces. Their living environment is controlled and modified by their handlers: they are drugged, blindfolded and forcibly taken on weird, dissociative trips. Attempts to break free from the cruel domination are useless. The couple is utterly powerless when confronted by the world around them, and in the end the only thing Shia can do is cut another bloody tally mark into Denna’s back.

Fjögur Píanó: Mind-Controlled Slavery, Addiction, Drugs and Violent Sex

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Amy Winehouse, Iconic British Soul Singer, Dies at 27

Amy Winehouse, Iconic British Soul Singer, Dies at 27

Amy Winehouse, the iconic British soul singer, was found dead on Saturday in her London home. She was 27. The English singer found international fame with her smoky, hip-hop take on retro-soul, but she soon became a fixture of tabloid newspapers as her problems with drugs and alcohol brought about a strikingly public career collapse. The long, pathetic spectacle brought joy only to the jackals of the British tabloids, which sneered in big headlines at each new downturn.

Ms. Winehouse became one of the most acclaimed young singers of the 2000s, selling millions of albums, winning five Grammy Awards and kicking off the British trend of retro-soul and R&B that continues today. Ms. Winehouse had a public image that seemed almost defiantly self-destructive. In her songs, Winehouse sang alcohol-soaked regrets of failed romances, and for many listeners the lyrics to the song Rehab, which won her three of the five Grammy Awards she received in 2008, crystallized her public persona: “They tried to make me go to rehab,” she sang, “I said, No, no, no.”

Ms. Winehouse had not released an album since Back to Black, but recently she appeared to be trying to revive her career. However, last month she canceled a brief European comeback tour after a last-ever disastrous performance in Belgrade, during which she appeared too intoxicated to perform properly.

Read more about Amy Winehouse in today’s New York Times here.

Amy Winehouse: Back To Black (Last-Ever Performance, Belgrade, 2011)

Amy Winehouse: Rehab

Amy Winehouse: Live at BBC Sessions (3/8/2007)

Slide Show: Amy Winehouse, Iconic British Soul Singer, Dies at 27

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Lookout, Lookout: The Heartfelt Sounds of Forgiveness

 

Lookout, Lookout: The Heartfelt Sounds of Forgiveness

Mary, Mary-belle within a bird-cage cell,
All your neighbors know what your mother sells,
But you carved out a name;
You carved out a name for yourself.
Look out, look out,
Look out, Look out,
There are murders about.

Lookout, Lookout is the heartwrenching, honest and unabashedly sad music video from the astonishing debut album by Seattle-based singer-songwriter Mike Hadreas (aka Perfume Genius).  Learning is a devastatingly lovely premiere album, a collection of songs that starkly explores the dark and melancholy world of drugs, depression, suicide and abuse.  Hadreas has described the songs as having been written in an attempt to gain some understanding of his own troubled life, and they were originally intended to be heard by only his closest friends.

When close attention is paid, the music here is gut-wrenching, sad and fearlessly honest, while at the same time maintaining a dignified sense of resigned acceptance.  Perfume Genius has managed to craft some of the finest heartfelt, new indie-music this side of the millennium, with sounds and plain-spoken lyrics that can tap into your inner emotions.  Hadreas’s voice stands out with a  soft-spoken tenderness and ethereal quality on the track Gay Angels, which switches from piano chords to minimalistic organ drones.  Lookout, Lookout can push you to the point of possibly offering empathic, compassionate forgiveness to anyone who you feel  has done wrong to you over the past few years.

Lookout, Lookout: The Heartfelt Sounds of Forgiveness

Gay Angels: Hearing and Seeing Them (Perfume Genius)

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Hooked: Trapped in Life’s Mechanistic Gears

Hooked: Trapped in Life’s Mechanistic Gears

Accro (French for addicted, or perhaps better, hooked) is a short animated film that offers a reflection on addiction.  The characters are constantly struggling, trapped in the gears of mechanisms, from which they can’t escape. The self-reinforcing mechanisms are reminiscent of the song Hotel California, where “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.”

Hooked: Trapped in Life’s Mechanistic Gears

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