Matt’s Art Journal – January 2, 2021

I once heard a man much wiser than me say that nobody is going to love you as work does. I’ve also formed the personal opinion that you have to try to love your work back because if you won’t, nobody else will. That’s kind of the reason why I’ve started downloading all the interviews I have ever recorded for FRED Film Radio, which I started collaborating with late in 2013.

During this time, I have traveled to several different film festivals in different parts of the world and have recorded interviews with hundreds of film personalities of all kinds. Some of these interviews were good, others were bad. No matter, I need to make sure that all this time and all this work doesn’t just disappear. That’s why I’ve decided to keep copies of all my interviews in a personal external hard drive.

Today, I watched a Christmas staple, the original version of Miracle on 34th Street, directed by George Seaton and originally released in 1934. It’s quite good and charming, especially as far as your typical sugary holiday classic movies are concerned. However, another thing that’s hard not to notice is its profoundly pro-capitalist message, which I guess is to be expected of a mainstream feature produced in the midst of an increasingly intense pre-World War II atmosphere.

I’ve almost reached the end of Away With Penguins, which is really starting to do my head in. Meanwhile, I’ve been looking for ebooks on the concept of dissonance and consonance in music and the arts. I didn’t think it would be that difficult but I didn’t manage to find any. That’s the frustrating thing about the digital age. One may be forgiven for presuming that just about everything is on it but what you actually get is a prominence of a certain type of content, often negative or dull-brained in nature. But when you try to get some legitimate insight on most topics, that’s when you are confronted with its limitations.

Last year, I bought an ebook reader, after being almost ideologically against them for the longest time. Interestingly, I found myself reading much more than I had in years after I started using it. However, the selection of ebooks is still rather disappointingly lackluster. 

MF Doom recently passed away, so I listened to Madvillainy from 2004 in his honor. This was his legendary collaboration with producer Madlib. The tracks are brief but each is intense and collectively, they compose a full-length that recalls noirish graphic novels and B-movie blaxploitation. MF Doom’s lyrics feel like a brand new type of poetry and it’s no wonder this record ended up being one of the most influential of its time, really bringing underground hip-hop to the fore and making the fortunes of the Stones Throw label. 

I also checked out Rejoice, the 2020 collaborative record by Hugh Masekela and Tony Allen, two giants of South African jazz and Afrobeat. Hugh Masekela passed in 2018 and I remember being at an airport when I found that out. Tony Allen actually ended up passing away a handful of weeks after the release of this record, in the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic.

As far as I understand it, Rejoice was recorded in two sections. The first part of the process saw Allen and Masekela getting together in London to perform a few concepts and ideas together. After Masekela died, the World Circuit label finished off the tracks with other musicians but still kept these two jazz giants front and center. This is not the best album they have ever released but you catch a glimpse of their genius in there.

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