March 16, 2004
fi m f m 0 RTS
A E 9 5
Courtesy of IFC Films
I'm sorry man, but I am going to have to eat you.
'Touching' story of
living on the edge
By Hussain Rahim
Daily Arts Writer
MOVI E REVI EW * **
The thrill of life is, for many, in the
challenge of the unattainable - in
accomplishing those rare feats that dis-
tinguish one person from the herd.
Although mountain climbing would cer-
tainly not be the choice of many for sen-
sational living, "Touching the Void"
makes this world p
logical and real.
summer of 1985,
friends in their
early 20s, Joe
At the Michigan
mountain climbing without the jargon.
Through the use of close-up shots detail-
ing the mechanical aspects of the sport
and descriptive narration of the charac-
ters' thoughts, "Void" captures the emo-
tion of the duo's peril.
The elemental brutality is crystalline,
as tales of -80 degree weather and
images of frozen and tattered faces
make a warm fireplace look a little
friendlier. Confronted with every chal-
lenge imaginable, these two men, and
their sheer perseverance, are nothing
less than inspiring.
The symmetrical retelling of the
events gives the film additional reso-
nance. Although there is no mystery,
since the two survivors dictate their
tale to the camera, the impossibility of
their predicament keeps the admiration
With the prominence of documen-
taries over the last two years, this style of
storytelling is more accessible to main-
stream audiences. The account is a truth-
ful and identical recapitulation of one
event by everyone involved.
As an atheist, Joe wondered if he
would turn to God at his most des-
perate moment. Trapped in a cave
with no supplies, water, heat or hope,
he found himself resolute in his dis-
belief. Through Joe's drive for sur-
vival, "Touching the Void" boasts a
deep humanism that forces you to
contemplate that maybe life's pur-
pose is to live.
Simon Yates, attempted to climb the
Suila Grande in the Peruvian Andes to
legendary acclaim in the moun-
After a relatively easy ascent, the
story takes hold once the climbers
attempt their nightmarish descent. On
the way down, Joe lands awkwardly; his
leg pushes up into his knee, which effec-
tively makes him dead weight for his
partner. After risking his safety to carry
Joe, Simon cuts their connection and
leaves Joe to his own fate. Once apart,
their struggle continues - their unique
paths establishing the heart of the movie.
Part documentary and part re-enact-
ment, the film captures the minutiae of
By Alexandra Jones
Daily Arts Writer
CONCE R PREVIEW
It's not often that an innovator of underground
music appears in Ann Arbor. Tonight, Tom Shimura,
also known as Lyrics Born, brings his funk-infused
brand of hip-hop to the Blind Pig.
Later That Day, Shimura's solo debut as Lyrics
Born, features lightning-quick rhymes, explosive
beats and a funk levity that distinguishes him as one
of the most dynamic forces in
the underground hip-hop scene. " "
"When I was real little, (I Lyrics Born
liked) Sugar Hill Gang, 2 Live, Tonight at9:30 p.m.
Crew ... as I got older it was all At the Blind Pig
about Eric B. & Rakim, KRS-
One," Shimura says. After exploring the genre as a
listener, producer and artist, the Northern California
hip-hop pioneer has expanded his tastes. "Maybe 10
years ago, (hip-hop) was like 75 percent of what I
listened to, but now it's 10 percent or 15 percent.
Now I listen to mostly old soul and reggae."
All the genres show their influence on Later That
Day. Blistering-hot backing vocals (provided by
Constance Lopez and Shimura's special lady Joyo
Velarde) shimmer within the texture of Shimura's
gravelly rhymes and infectious beats. Velarde also
brings her seductive style to the slinky, reggae-
inspired duet "Love Me So Bad."
Attending the University of California, at Davis,
Shimura and friends Chief Xcel, Gift of Gab of
Blackalicious and DJ Shadow found themselves
without an outlet to spread their music. "When we
started (Solesides) up, it was out of necessity. We
were all trying to go the conventional route. We had
demos and we were all trying to get deals with
major labels, but where we were, and at that point in
music history, it wasn't really feasible for a label to
sign us. We were very left of center, we were from
California, it just wasn't that way back then." So the
creators of Solesides (a group that Lyrics Born
helped found) laid the foundation for their own hip-
hop collective. "It wasn't because we wanted to be
big business moguls or anything like that. We felt
like if we could make our own records then our
music wouldn't have gotten heard in the early days."
Solesides has come a long way since its inception
in 1992. After success with Blackalicious's album
Nia and DJ Shadow's Entroducing..., the label
became Quannum Projects. With Quannum, Shimu-
ra established himself as a producer as Latyrx with
Lateef the Truthspeaker on the legendary under-
ground full-length The Album.
Shimura began creating his solo debut with many
different ideas, but soon hit on the idea that would
create a cohesive album. Later That Day begins
with a sound montage that includes snippets of
human voices, birds singing, TV news and song
clips, spaced-out percussion and a recurring clock
radio buzzer. The sounds build up to the heavy
beats of social-dissatisfaction anthem "Bad
Dreams." "(Later That Day) is supposed to start
late last night and finish late tonight. I wanted to
make an album that had a lot of different styles and
I think the only way I felt I could tie that together
cohesively was to tie in the concept of the day and
how things change ... Four or five songs into the
album, it was clear that I had songs going in a lot of
Shimura hasn't forgotten his Solesides roots. He
trades banter with Gift of Gab on "Cold Call," a
telephone conversation lined up with a laid-back
beat and galvanized by a blistering funk guitar intro;
Lateef appears on the hypnotic post-9/11 polemic
"The Last Trumpet." Another collaborator, Cut
Chemist, adds music to Shimura's lyrics on the
high-energy "Do That There." Rappers The Altered
Egos guest on "One Session."
Shimura's career has put him in front of the mic
and behind mixing boards; he's seen hip-hop grow
and change for more than a decade. "I like the fact
that we're getting much more diverse. Underground
hip-hop is so widespread now - it's really hard to
define because there are so many different styles at
this point in history."
"Having said that, I think the rap community
needs to be more accepting of those groups having
success outside of the underground. I'd like to see
us get a little more tolerant of artists gaining larg-
er audiences outside of that core underground