Category Archives: Music

High Fidelity

game_musicAs a teen and college student I prided myself on having the most enlightened taste in music. I had to know everything about who I considered the most profound and original artists. Much like the John Cusack character in the film High Fidelity, I was a music snob. I knew people and small specialty shops where I could hear and obtain the latest, coolest music from all over the world. And then I got old apparently. I have a large music collection collected over the years that makes it all too easy to not actively look for new music.

I have found that video games are an excellent way of experiencing new music whether it be right up your alley or a surprising departure from your usual tastes. Certain games have stood out as having especially well-chosen soundtracks in my opinion. Some of my favorites include Forza 2 where I learned of artists including LCD Soundsystem and The Pinker Tones, both new to me at the time I admit with some embarrassment. Since then I have become enormous fans of both of those artists. Both bands had a few tracks in the game and both had one that stood out. LCD Soundsystem’s “Daft Punk is Playing in my House” and The Pinker Tones’ “Karma Hunters” encouraged me to look into those bands discology and quickly load up on their albums.

The Dirt series has had some great music selections as well. Dirt 3 includes a track from the band Atmosphere called “The Waitress“. I strongly recommend that you give it a listen. The games that are grabbing my music attention these days include Forza Horizon and Far Cry 3. Forza Horizon includes some of my favorite bands including The Arctic Monkeys, The Hives and reprises with LCD Soundsystem. Far Cry 3 turned me on to Skrillex and Damian “Junior Gong” Marley whose “Make it Bun Dem” requires being turned up to 11.

Requiem for Piano

In this companion piece to always a pleasure, Americo Carrasco performs a somber piece befitting the putting down of a childhood gift from his father. Years of neglect end in two minutes with a sledgehammer and old ghosts are laid to rest.

Featuring Americo Carrasco. Produced and edited by Charles Kliment. Produced by Jeff Sokolowski

Please see www.kajacircle.com for additional info.

Always a Pleasure (Complete Short Film)

americo_flagI recall discussing the various members of our families with my wife when we first started dating. Americo, the man dating her older sister immediately stood out. A jazz musician with a flair for standing out, her description of him intrigued me. When we met I must say that he did not disappoint.  He wore his hair in dreadlocks and sported Lycra bicycle shorts and a cat collar. Some people mistakenly call it a dog collar, but just ask him and he’ll tell you that it’s a cat collar, “cause I’m a Jazz cat.” He wore sweat bands and wrist watches on both arms and heavy black boots.

Americo is not just about visual style.  His character runs deep. The character he plays hails from another planet and owes much to Sun Ra (of whom he is a big fan).  It is often difficult to tell where the act stops and Americo begins.

productionshot_hoboken

This film was shot back in 2000 and much has changed. Much has not. If you look closely, you may notice the World Trade Center buildings. Hoboken has changed even more, has become even more gentrified that when we shot the scenes there.  Americo and his wife Susan have been busy raising a family and continue to live in Connecticut. He continues to play and over the last few years has concentrated on reggae, playing with bands made up of many of the same characters from the film along with a few new players. Over the years he has mellowed a bit as we all have but in some ways has become a more concentrated version of himself.  His style, both visual and personal, has remained largely consistent and he has continued to branch out into other music genres. This film highlights his experiences up to the year 2000. Perhaps a Seven-Up style revisiting may be required soon.

There is one more short film in this series.  Although not really a sequel, Requiem for Piano was shot shortly after Always a Pleasure and will the subject of my next post.

Please see www.kajacircle.com for additional info.

Always a Pleasure Trailer

always a pleasure posterIn my professional career I design and build websites and apps as well as creating corporate and cause-related films.  When I have a chance to pursue a personal project, I tend to gravitate towards music and photography.  I have shot a few short films and music videos the first of which, Always a Pleasure, featured my brother-in-law, Americo Carrasco.  It therefore seems the perfect video to share first.

A little background about the film:

Shot entirely on miniDV and without a budget, always a pleasure follows Americo Carrasco, a part-time musician and full-time character on his quest to spread his message of intergalactic unity and understanding.  Filmed on location in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut between July 2001 and April 2002, the film is a combination of archival footage, interviews, live performances and time-lapse sequences that reveal the many sides of Americo: the history, the music, the hair.

This is a newly uploaded version of the trailer.  The quality of the original trailer was not up to today’s standards.

For full information about the film, please see my website at http://www.kajacircle.com/always.htm. I will post the full 17-minute version of the film as well as its mini-sequel Requiem For Piano next.

%d bloggers like this: