RE:09 Black Dynamite

While 2009 was a flourishing year for new and exciting music, it didn’t look so good for movies. Unsurprisingly, my favourite movies of last year were both “just” documentaries, Man On Wire being one of them. For music fans though, there were a few cinematic highlights I want to mention.

One of them is Soul Power, a documentary exclusively composed out of film material from the legendary music festival Zaire 74. It is already out on DVD and BluRay and is was a gift for subscribers of Shook Magazine. The second movie is Still Bill (trailer), a documentary on Bill Withers. Unfortunately, I was not yet able to watch this one, as it should be hard to find a cinema screening the film. Rumour has it, a DVD will be out in May 2010.

TV had some good stuff to offer as well, or at least I’m aware of these two great documentaries on BBC Four. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Kind of Blue album, 1959: The Year that Changed Jazz not only focuses on the most famous Miles Davis record, but also portraits jazz musicians Dave Brubeck, Charles Mingus, and Ornette Coleman. Another recommendation is Krautrock: The Rebirth of Germany. As the name suggests it tells the story of bands such as Can, Kraftwerk, Faust, Neu! and Amon Düül and how they pioneered the music in post-war Germany. You can currently watch that one on YouTube, but you should consider it could be deleted soon.

Now, what I really want to talk about today, is the movie Black Dynamite. That’s a Blaxploitation film from last year, that comes astonishingly close to the originals from the seventies. It’s quite simple to decide whether that’s your type of movie – if you like the trailer you will like the movie.

The reason it works so well, is the producer’s affection to recreate a movie as if it was shot in the peaktime of the Afro-American movie phenomenon. It’s not a bad remake like the 90’s version Shaft and it’s a more consequently adaptated than anything you have seen from Tarantino. It doesn’t try to be anything better one of these a vintage films, it’s just as trashy as the originals.

Another reason why the movie has this authentic feel is its music. Like the picture, it’s no collection of old, instead all tracks were exclusively written and arranged for the film. Wax Poetics has this video putting you in the picture of the recordings of the music.

I only got myself a copy of the score, but there is also a soundtrack available. The score was recorded by multi-instrumentalist Adrian Younge, playing the Rhodes electric piano, Hammond organ, Hohner Clavinet, harpsichord, synthesizer, vibraphone, guitar, bass, flute, sax, cello, and drums! Here are some snippets to listen to.A1. Black Dynamite Theme
A2. Cleaning Up the Streets
A3. Man with the Heat (Superbad)
A4. Shine
A5. Jimmy’s Dead
A6. Shot Me in the Heart
A7. Black They Back
B1. Gloria (Zodiac Lovers)
B2. Anaconda Malt Liquor
B3. Jimmy’s Apartment
B4. Jimmy’s Dead (Interlude)
B5. Chicago Wind
B6. Rafelli Chase
B7. Jimmy’s Dead (Instrumental)
B8. Dynomite (Suckapunch Re-edit)
The original soundtrack was recorded by multiple artists in the same fashion as the score. As I don’t own a copy of that, I can’t really say anything further about it.

Both soundtrack and movie score are available on limited vinyl pressings (2000 hand-numbered pieces). And they sell fast for a reason! If you shouldn’t be lucky to get copies (try Juno and Rush Hour), there are also digital releases available.