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October 29, 1992 - Image 12

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-10-29

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Page 4-The Michigan Daily - Weekend etc. - October 29,1992

His Purpleness
Prince gives a boon with his new
unpronounceable album

by Scott Sterling

World In A Day"

Prince opens this disc with an ass- song into a grov
kicking self-introduction, and there's before riding it ou
a reason for it. After a handful of vamp. "The Mon
releases that were less than spectacu- soulful power-ch
lar, the little big man is back with a melodic refrain th
m R EE,
Prince And The New
Power Generation
Paisley Park/Warner Bros.
vengeance. His name is Prince, and has obviously hadt
he is funky. lately, and it hasd
The Purple Wonder hasn't kicked His forays into rap
out anything close to the brilliance of M.) work like craz
this album since 1987's "Sign O' The ing embarrassingl
Times." Song after song, the record "Diamonds And P
holds up to the most meticulous scru- truly harnessed th
tiny. New Power Gen
The album charges out of the gate pushing them to n
with four songs that rank among some of falling back on
of his best: The hardcore radio free plagued some of
Minneapolis funk of "My Name Is Pearls."
Prince," the horn-powered groove No such trouble
monster "Sexy M.F.," are followed into overdrive and
by the jazzy "Love 2 The 9's." This it's over. He tosse
flippy ode to love features one of ("Blue Light") an
those quirky little choruses that you'd Melt With U") with
find on the b-side of an "Around The the seducer is alsoi

single. He rips mid-
acious breakdown
t with a funky little
ning Papers" is a
hord romp with a
hat'll have arms up
like the end
of "Purple
Rain" -
the man is
his ear to the streets
definitely paid off.
(courtesy of Tony
y, instead of sound-
y out of place, a la
Pearls." Prince has
he virtuosity of the
eration in general,
ew heights instead
nthem, which also
"Diamonds And
es here; Prince shifts
doesn't let up until
es out light reggae
id house ("I Wanna
h casual ease. Prince
in full effect, most

notably on the sexy "Damn U." He
continues in the mid-tempo tradition
of last year's brilliant "Money Don't
Matter Tonight" with the silky smooth
"Sweet Baby."
Lyrically, there are also some new
things on Prince's mind. All over this
record you find references to age. It's
quite possible the sex machine him-
self is facing mortality, or even worse,
a mid-life (career?) crisis. Consider-
ing the idea that his legendary libido
might not be eternal must be quite
Of course, we do have to allow the
man some indulgences, such as the
overblown "3 Chains O' Gold" ("Bo-
hemian Rhapsody," anyone?) and
Kirstie Alley as an inquisitive reporter
throughout the disc. But as he says on
"The Flow," "I go places you never
go." Literally as well as figuratively,
Prince has done things we could never
imagine. He's produced a prolific
body of work that has changed the
face of pop music. Sure, it would be
nice if he'd pump out another "Purple
Rain" or "Dirty Mind," but he's al-
ready done those. And as long as he
can surprise us with albums like this
one, I'll just shut up and listen.


Oh my gawd! It's Prince. His purpleness (he is still purple, isn't he?) his erotic citiness, we swoon, yea, we swoon.

A hit
Coppola s
by Michael Thompson
Very soon director Francis Ford
Coppola will give us "Bram Stoker's
Dracula." If the previews are any in-
dication, the film will be great, which
would be a nice change for Coppola,
considering the last few years. "The
Godfather Part III" wasn't bad, but
did anyone see "New York Stories"?

7 Violins for violence and vim

by John R. Rybock
With his trademark fedora, whip,
and scarred chin, Indy leaps from his
galloping horse onto a truck full of
Nazi soldiers. One by one, he battles
each of them. And in the background
... Ba-de-da-dum La-de-dum.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to
separate John Williams' "Raider's
March" from the character of Indiana
Jones. See the image in silence, the
theme pops up in the back of one's
mind. Hear the music, one pictures
Indy jumping and fighting. The two
go hand in hand.

Motion picture scores have come
of age. While the score once served as
mere accompaniment to the picture,
orchestral music now adds a depth to
the film experience which images
alone cannot achieve. Darth Vader
walking down the corridor without
the "Imperial March?" It's justnot the
Original scores were born back in
1906, when Romolo Bacchini wrote
pieces for two silent Italian films. But
at the time this was the exception.
Whether the music was played by a
piano or a 100-piece orchestra, the


spiraling mystery that leaves both
Harry and the audience confused, fas-
cinated, and terrified.
Like Antonioni's "Blow Up," "The
Conversation" focuses on a hero who
is lost in his life. The mystery acts
more as a metaphor for the hero look-
ing into himself than anything else.
Don't panic, this film isn't silly or
pretentious, although it might have
been ifCoppola had made the mistake
of making any of these characters
government officials or politicians.
The company Harry does the job
for has no name. Harry and the com-
pany are two private parties intruding
on each other. Harry himself isn't
comfortable with all of the results of
his work, even though invading
people's privacy is his job. Harry's
conscience is his biggest and almost
fatal flaw.
Hackman, as always, is wonderful
as a man who hates questions and
never gives out his phone number.
However, in terms of acting, the real
treat is watching Harrison Ford play a
bad guy.
Coppola has a great time playing
with sound. Don't bother rewinding
the tape to hear what a person

Before any of these mistakes and
near misses, however, Coppola wrote
and directed a picture called "The
Conversation." The film was nomi-
nated for Best Picture, but lost to "The
Godfather Part II." Tough break for
"The Conversation" stars Gene
Hackman (another hit-and-miss per-
son in Hollywood), as Harry Caul, an
overly paranoid, self-absorbed sur-
veillance operator. Harry tapes an
apparently meaningless conversation
for the director of a company. As the
film progresses, the job becomes a

score was often the same from film to
film. Musicians had stock music; one
piece for chase scenes, one for roman-
tic scenes, etc. Even films which did
not use stock material, simply took a
favorite classical piece-notintended
for a specific movie - and played
Back in the "silent" era, music was
a secondary being whose only func-r
tion was to highlight sections of the
film. Changing the music or remov-
ing it entirely seemed to have little
effect on the film in any significant
But those days are gone. Today
film scores have a symbiotic relation-
ship with the image. They no longer
are intended to highlight the image,
but rather to build on what is not seen.
Music can cause the audience to feel
emotions which even the best direc-
tors cannot create by visuals alone.
The score completes the experience
and fuses the film together.
"Music in a film must not add
emphasis but must give more body
and depth to the story, to the charac-
ters, to the language which the direc-
tor has chosen. It must, therefore, say
all that the dialogue, images, effects,
etc. cannot say," said composer Ennio
Morricone ("The Mission", "The
Untouchables") in an "American
Film" interview.
The job is not an easy one. Com-
posers are brought in near the end of
production. The rough cut is done,
every previous step has taken longer
than planned, and the release date for
the film is fast approaching. The pres-
sures on the composer are great. But
formany, itis difficult to come in at an
earlier stage. Danny Elfman, com-
poser of "Batman" and "The
Simpsons," is one who finds it impos-
sible to start without the rough cut. As
he told Penelope Sheeris (director,
"Wayne's World"), " A script is pri-
marily the dialogue. All of the
composer's best moments are between
that dialogue, when the character is
acting without words."
So with limited time and an aver-
age of 70 minutes of music to write,
arrange and record, the composer has
to be not only good, but fast. As music
has become more integral and the
composer is under more pressure, the
relationship with the director has be-
come crucial. Elfman's best known
association is with director Tim Bur-

ton, who gave Elfman his first film
assignment with "Pee Wee's Big
Adventure." (Also, Elfman's living
room contains the entombed remains
of his late dog, which sounds very
Tim Burton-esque.)
The director has to be able to tell
the composer what he wants. Direc-
tors speak the language of images
while composers speak in musical
terms. The best relationships are ones
in which the two know each other and
can speak to each other in normal
English, communicating what they
feel needs to be done. They need to be
able to compromise and be sure they
share the same ideas.
One director who did not always
appreciate the power of music was
Alfred Hitchcock. Can you imagine
Janet Leigh getting. hacked in the
shower without that screeching E-e-
e-e? Probably not, but that is almost
what we got. Hitchcock simply wanted
the sound of running water and
screaming. Composer Bernard
Herrmann went off on his own and
wrote and recorded that infamous
piece. When played for Hitchcock,
the director had to admit that it added
to the scene enormously, and it was
included. The music did not highlight
the visual action, but sent a shiver
down the spine which the image alone
could not do.
Many directors do, however, look
for input from the composer. For a
final, very emotional scene in "E.T.,"
John Williams did not record while
watching the scene, a practice used to
ensure the timing of the music with
the image. Instead, he left the projec-
tor off, trying to bring the emotion out
of the piece, not the strict timing. The
end result was a minute longer than
the scene. Steven Speilberg then ran
off to the editing room in order to
make the scene long enough for the
music. The music brought emotions
out of the director which he knew the
image, as was, could not do.
The future of music in film is un-
certain. It has come a long way, from
accompaniment to being an integral
part of the film puzzle. Someday, the
director and composer may become
so close that they become the same
person (Elfman is interested in direct-
ing one film and scoring it). And with
young talent such as Elfman entering
the field, it is bound to find some new
way to grow.
- 0u4b s~f


Was it DeVito's acting, or the musical score that ruined "Batman Returns."
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