Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Benji B's "Movie Soundtrack Special" is from last year, but where else can you hear Jon Brion and RZA in the same hour (other than AFOS, of course)?

I never liked how my college radio station studios looked less like the Starship Enterprise, which is how the best and most professional radio station facilities frequently look, and more like an unclean, antiquated pig sty that reeked of Phish fan body odor.
One of my favorite hour-long mixes last year made me take notice of BBC Radio 1's Benji B, who, in January 2013, spun tracks by the likes of Flying Lotus, Kanye West and Raphael Saadiq while a 16-piece string ensemble led by conductor Grant Windsor played along. FlyLo's "Do the Astral Plane" and Drake's "Headlines" sound incredible with a full string section. I still can't get enough of the Benji B string ensemble mix.

Plus there are some really lovely-looking female violinists in the ensemble.

Jan-Michael Vincent's cello playing on Airwolf was so random and fucking weird, but I'm glad that character was into that and not karaoke like the annoying, always-singing cast of Ally McBeal.

Jan-Michael Vincent's cello scenes on Airwolf were supposed to let the viewers know that he's a sensitive soldier, much like how Jack Bauer biting into someone else's neck and ripping out his throat with his teeth denotes that he's a sensitive neck-biter.

Later in the year, Benji B put together a two-hour movie soundtrack special that I first stumbled into earlier this week. The show was part of Radio 1's July 2013 "Movie Week," which had Daniel Radcliffe dropping by the BBC for a live interview and film score music nut Edgar Wright doing a stint as a guest DJ. Benji B's mix combines classic original score cues like Jon Brion's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind themes with existing songs that were prominently featured in films, like Kanye and Rick Ross' "Devil in a New Dress," which turns up in Kanye's 2010 short film Runaway, and Ryuichi Sakamoto's 1995 instrumental "Bibo no Aozora," which was used in 2006's Babel.

I have a feeling that Jay Electronica heard Benji B play the Eternal Sunshine cues, which Jay sampled in 2007's Act I: Eternal Sunshine (The Pledge), back-to-back with "Bibo no Aozora," and that must be where he got the idea to drop verses over "Bibo no Aozora" for his recent single "Better in Tune with the Infinite." But whatever the actual reasons were for him picking "Bibo no Aozora," Jay has great taste in soundtrack albums.

I like how Benji B opens with John Barry's lesser-known secondary theme for 007 instead of the much more famous "James Bond Theme," which an uncredited Barry rearranged from material composed by Monty Norman. I also like the inclusion of both Barry's Goldfinger score cue "Golden Girl," which beatheads are familiar with from the Sneaker Pimps' "6 Underground," and Herbie Hancock's Blow-Up tune "Bring Down the Birds," which beatheads are also familiar with because Deee-Lite looped it in "Groove Is in the Heart."

Many of the rest of the cuts in Benji B's mix are tracks that can be currently heard on AFOS or were formerly in rotation on AFOS, like the instrumental "Polaroid Girl," from Massive Attack's original score to the 2005 Jet Li/Morgan Freeman/Bob Hoskins flick Unleashed (better known as Danny the Dog outside America). The inclusion of "Polaroid Girl," one of my favorite Massive Attack joints, makes me want to retrieve my copy of the Danny the Dog soundtrack, which I stupidly misplaced, and go put "Polaroid Girl" back into AFOS rotation.

Bob Hoskins' hipster-ish appreciation for antiquated Polaroid photography will sure as fuck endear him to the douchenozzles in Williamsburg.
R.I.P. Bob Hoskins.
The mix also contains the 1976 Rocky instrumental "Reflections," Bill Conti's ripoff of "Summer Madness," the Kool & the Gang tune that Rocky director John G. Avildsen clearly temp-tracked for Rocky's first scene in his apartment. Benji B erroneously ID'd "Reflections" as a Rocky III instrumental, one of a few mistakes he made while backannouncing. He also ID'd and listed the Blow-Up track as "The Naked Camera" instead of "Bring Down the Birds" and mistook For a Few Dollars More's pocket watch theme for a theme from A Fistful of Dollars, the installment that preceded For a Few Dollars More in the Man with No Name trilogy. Despite his errors, Benji B's movie soundtrack special is a worthwhile film music mix that's on a par with Paul Nice's classic Do You Pick Your Feet in Poughkeepsie? mixtape, and I wish I had heard it sooner.

Those explosions are Angelenos' asses exploding from the food truck tacos they just ate.
Blade Runner
Correct tracklist
1. John Williams, Alfred Newman's 20th Century Fox studio logo music
2. John Barry, "007 Takes the Lektor" (from From Russia with Love)
3. David Shire, "End Title" (from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three)
4. Alain Goraguer, "Maquillage de Tiwa" (from La Planète Sauvage)
5. Bernard Herrmann, "Diary of a Taxi Driver" (from Taxi Driver)
6. Lalo Schifrin, "Scorpio's View" (from Dirty Harry)
7. John Barry, "Golden Girl" (from Goldfinger)
8. Roy Budd, "The Diamond Fortress" (from Diamonds)
9. Nino Nardini, "Tropicola" (needle-dropped in Black Dynamite)
10. Geinoh Yamashirogumi, "Kaneda" (from Akira)
11. Vangelis, "End Titles" (from Blade Runner)
12. Giorgio Moroder, "Chase" (from Midnight Express)
13. HAL 9000 soundbites from 2001: A Space Odyssey
14. Chromatics, "Tick of the Clock" (needle-dropped in Drive)
15. Angelo Badalamenti, "Laura Palmer's Theme (Instrumental)" (from Twin Peaks)
16. Massive Attack, "Polaroid Girl" (from Danny the Dog)
17. Forest Whitaker, "Samurai Quote 5" (from Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)
18. Cliff Martinez, "Don't Blow It" (from Solaris)
19. Barry Forgie, "Mindbender" (from the album Mindbender)
20. Bill Conti, "Reflections" (from Rocky)
21. Roy Ayers, "Coffy Is the Color" (from Coffy)
22. Herbie Hancock, "Bring Down the Birds" (from Blow-Up)
23. Grand Wizard Theodore, "Military Cut" (from Wild Style; opening soundbite only)
24. Curtis Mayfield, "Little Child Running Wild" (from Superfly)
25. Jon Brion, "Phone Call" (from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
26. Jon Brion, "Collecting Things" (from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
27. Ryuichi Sakamoto, Jaques Morelenbaum & Yuichiro Gotoh, "Bibo no Aozora" (needle-dropped in Babel)
28. Ry Cooder, "Paris, Texas" (from Paris, Texas)
29. Ennio Morricone, "Carillon" (from For a Few Dollars More)
30. The Complexions, "I Only Have Eyes for You" (from A Bronx Tale)/The Flamingos, "I Only Have Eyes for You" (needle-dropped in A Bronx Tale)
31. Kanye West feat. Rick Ross, "Devil in a New Dress" (needle-dropped in Runaway)
32. D'Angelo, "She's Always in My Hair" (needle-dropped in Scream 2)
33. RZA, "Samurai Showdown" (from Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai)
34. Crooklyn Dodgers '95, "Return of the Crooklyn Dodgers" (from Clockers)
35. Dr. Dre, "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" (from Friday)
36. The Fearless Four, "Rockin' It" (needle-dropped in Style Wars)
37. Fab 5 Freddy, "Down by Law" (from Wild Style)
38. Public Enemy, "Fight the Power" (from Do the Right Thing)
39. Method Man & Redman, "Da Rockwilder" (needle-dropped in How High)

Forest Whitaker demonstrates his sandwich-slicing technique.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai

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