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Double-REVIEW: Beck @ Les Schwab (Bend, OR – 5/27/12) and Jack White @ the Hult (Eugene, OR – 5/28/12)

30th May 12 (Wed) 7 comments

It was a long Memorial Day weekend.  But it was a musically fruitful weekend.  I could have made it more fruitful by adding The Shins / Blind Pilot / Head and the Heart as well as the Tenacious D shows on Friday and Saturday in Bend, respectively; alas, I needed to save some time and energy for Beck in Bend on Sunday and Jack White in Eugene on Monday.  It was still quite a great full weekend for my ears!

 

I had never seen either Beck or Jack White in concert.  I was familiar with Beck’s music fairly well… having all of his stuff.  I was completely unfamiliar with Jack White’s music – outside of some of the White Stripes and Raconteurs that I’d heard.  Needless to say, I was equally excited about both shows.

Beck in Bend was the tail-end of a nice “Bend Ale Trail” weekend for me… sampling some new places for me: 10 Barrel Brewing & Good Life Brewing.  Both highly recommended for their beer and their food!  Bend also had some lovely weather and some odd rainbows in the clouds…

(not photoshopped… photo taken near Deschutes Brewery in Bend, OR)

Metric was Beck’s opener… the Toronto indie rock quartet ripped through a dancey hour-long set.  Their fifth album, Synthetica, comes out on June 12, 2012.  If the way they had the Bend audience going is any indication, the new album should be a crowd pleaser as well.

Beck went on after a short set break… kicking the show off right with some Odelay goodness by way of “Devil’s Haircut.”

Among his two-hour long set, he bounced around his back and “recent” catalog (2008’s Modern Guilt) fairly well.  Every era got some great representation.  As mentioned, I had never seen him live before.  I was pleasantly surprised with the great mix, especially the songs off of Sea Change

Beck’s Setlist: about 2 hours

  • Devil’s Haircut
  • Loser
  • Black Tambourine
  • Soul of a Man
  • Hotwax
  • Sissyneck
  • The Golden Age
  • Lost Cause
  • Sunday Sun
  • Think I’m In Love
  • The New Pollution
  • Modern Guilt
  • Paper Tiger
  • “Song for Bend” [Improv]
  • End of the Day
  • Tropicalia [partial]
  • Jack-Ass
  • Gamma Ray
  • Minus
  • Girl
  • Where It’s At
  • Encore: Soldier Jane
  • Looking Back
  • Mutherfuker
  • E-Pro

Next, on to Eugene…

I missed Jack White’s opener, Quasi.  I’d heard of them before, and would have liked to have seen the show (I like Sam Coomes work with Elliott Smith).  Alas, driving back from Bend and personal commitments made it so we skated into the venue right as Quasi was ending their set… d’oh!

Jack White’s show… what to say, what to say?  Professional, yet muddy.  Loud, yet not necessary.  Thoroughly energetic, yet confusing.  Quite enjoyable, yet painful.

The man writes hooky songs, and plays guitar and piano very well… yet, the sound was cranked through the roof.  It lost so many of the lushness and subtlety that I think would have been suited for this show at the Hult Center.

Another thing that can’t go without mentioning, the “III” imagery abounding.  Sure, rockstars should have iconic imagery.  But a suffix namesake seems like an odd thing to so vehemently brand… unless you’re branding your ego or something.

Several times it seemed as if Eugene wasn’t stroking his ego enough… he quipped that if we didn’t want, they didn’t have to come back out (after their 45 minute initial set).  He tried to get the crowd to do a sing-a-long on one song, but it seemed as if the song had ended already, and it was more of a confusing thing (or so it seemed to me).

The loudness, was, again… unnecessary.  Fantastic musicianship and seemingly intricate things going on with fantastic players… completely lost in the brash, feedback-induced sound cloud.  So many subtleties lost.  So many subtleties lost.

Jack White’s Setlist: two sets, ~45 mins & ~35 mins

  • Set 1: Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground [The White Stripes]
  • Missing Pieces
  • Sixteen Saltines
  • Love Interruption
  • Cannon/300 Pounds of Joy [Howlin’ Wolf]
  • You Know That I Know [Hank Williams]
  • Hotel Yorba [The White Stripes]
  • Weep Themselves to Sleep
  • We’re Going to Be Friends [The White Stripes]
  • Blunderbuss
  • I Cut Like A Buffalo [The Dead Weather]
  • Steady as She Goes [The Raconteurs]
  • Set 2: Freedom At 21
  • Trash Tongue Talker
  • I’m Slowly Turning Into You [The White Stripes]
  • Carolina Drama [The Raconteurs]
  • Seven Nation Army [The White Stripes]
  • Goodnight, Irene [Lead Belly]

(pro photos from Eugene will be posted at jwiii.com)

The bottom line… I really enjoyed the Jack White show.  The flaws that I saw in the show are totally fixable.  Who am I to say what he should do anyhow? :)  I’m just thinking that something that shows off his musical chops, his writing prowess, his voice, his players, and his songs at the forefront – not clouded by sheer volume – could have been far, far, FAR more enjoyable… and probably far, far, far more enjoyable to more to others (not just me).

The Appropriate Linkage:

Next show for me… Emily Wells @ WOW Hall on 6/3.

~Dan – np: Sigur RósValtari

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2010 mix

18th Dec 10 (Sat) 2 comments

Time for this years mix CD… check out 2009’s over here.  No major theme this time like prior mixes… the only rule I placed before myself was that everything is current (i.e.- released in 2010).

The following songs were put on the mix CD from lossless sources where possible and for promotional purposes only (read: free direct market advertising to people who decidedly love music). Most of the artists on this compilation are independent (put out the music themselves) or signed to smaller, independent labels. If you like what you hear, check out their music / support them with your wallet if you are able. The artists’ Webpage, MyFace & Spacebook (whether official or not), and Amazon links are available for each song below. I’ve also included concert review links if I’ve seen the artist recently.

If you want one of these mix CDs, message me (see my “About” page).

PDF front liner is available HERE (designed to print double-sided).

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01 Mike PattonIl Cielo In Una Stanza” from Mondo Cane

Mike Patton of Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Tomahawk, Fantômas, et cetera is known for more boisterous, left of center fare.  With Mondo Cane, he classes up the joint that is Ipecac Records.  Mondo Cane, named after the film, is Mike’s homage to 50s Italian pop songs.  He croons some classic Italian songs with the backing of the Orchestra Filarmonica Arturo Toscanini conducted by Aldo Sisillo.  The artwork, in both CD digipack and vinyl, is stupendous.  This is a magnificent record – both aurally and visually.  It’ll rank near the top of my upcoming year-end lists…

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02 Charlotte Gainsbourg & BeckIRM” from IRM

IRM came out in late November 2009 – which was after I had done last year’s mix; so I’m sneaking it into this year’s mix.  Beck collaborated with singer/actress Charlotte on the whole album (outside of one song).  It’s a nice poppy-electronic mix… some French tunes as well (her father is French musical legend Serge Gainsbourg).  The album and track were inspired by her head trauma in 2007 (“IRM” is the French acronym synonymous with what we call an “MRI machine” in the US).  My favorite part may be that the IRM delivers rhythmic support to the track.

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03 ElleryPieces (live)” original from This Isn’t Over Yet

This version is from Ellery’s live album that preceded their wonderful 2nd studio album that hit this year.  Ellery is one of my favorite things in Cincinnati… I miss being able to see them multiple times a year (sad face).  Husband/wife duo of Justin & Tasha Golden craft singer-songwriter pop songs… usually layered nicely on their albums with the help of producer, knob-twiddler Ric Hordinski (of Over the Rhine fame).  This album is with Malcolm Burn at the helm (Daniel Lanois / Bob Dylan / Iggy Pop / Kaki King / Emmylou Harris / etc).

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04 Comic WowNice Chaps” from Library Catalog Music Series: Music for Mysteries of Mind Space and Time

Asthmatic Kitty’s Library Catalog Music Series (LCMS) is much more hit than miss.  There have been a couple albums that didn’t interest me for multiple listens, but Comic Wow’s settled nicely from the get go.  LCMS (as a series) is made up of instrumental albums designed for possible use in films and television, background sounds for home or office.  Per the P.R., “Comic Wow are sonic illustrators, alchemists, designers, dilettantes’, poets, teachers, Socialists, and outdoorsmen whose advocacy of affordable colored cod pieces helped influence the look of thirty-third century America.”  Whatever you call it, I like it.

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05 Holy FuckRed Lights” from Latin

Despite what you think of their choice of band name, these Toronto band continue to put out great, groove-infused live electronic music that is both experimental and a poppy-force in the indie rock movement.  Latin, their third full length album, grabbed me immediately when it came out this past May… and it’s #1 with a bullet as far as instrumental albums go in 2010.  To top it off, they swung through Oregon twice this year (both excellent shows), and they put out quite possibly the cutest video for the raddest song (“Red Lights” – click the kitty to the right).  The video now has over 1,000,000 views on the YouTubes.  Only 900,000 views are from me.

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06 Damien JuradoBeacon Hill” from Saint Bartlett

I got into Damien Jurado via the Seattle-based melancholy, indie singer-songwriter scene (i.e.- Pedro the Lion / David Bazan).  While similar in general geography and friendship, Damien strikes me as more of a pure “songwriter” when compared to David’s social critique set to music.  Saint Bartlett fits well into Damien’s oeuvre.  At a show this past February (6 months before the album came out), I hardly knew any of the songs but felt as though I did.  That’s a testament to his craft.

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07 Jeanne CherhalCertains Animaux” from Charade

I first heard Jeanne Cherhal when we picked up her second album (Douze fois par an) when in Toulouse, France, for my MBA program in 2004.  Only available in France, I’ve managed to get her albums via Amazon.fr (good thing the buttons are in roughly the same spot).  I still don’t know what she’s saying, but I dig her style.

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08 Nellie McKayThe Portal” from Home Sweet Mobile Home

Nellie McKay’s move to Verve (instead of Sony) has been good for her.  They seem to give her free reign to put out Doris Day cover albums one year and an album of originals the next.  HSMH is a return to the quirky, diverse collection of songs that drove me to fall in love with her.  “The Portal” is one of the mellower tunes from the album… the rest of the album is full of Nellie’s modern piano jazz-pop, ukulele ditties, and even a pro-animal reggae tune.  The album has grown on me nicely, and I’m looking forward to more Nellie in the near future.  She seems to be in a period of prolificity as of late.  This is greatly welcomed.

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09 PusciferThe Humbling River (Duet Mix)” from C is for… EP

When Tool / A Perfect Circle frontman Maynard James Keenan isn’t rocking with those bands (both had touring activity this year), he’s usually tending to his grapes or noodling around on some mildly offensive, but well-crafted music with his other side-project Puscifer.  The C is for… EP actually came out last year, but since it was digital only at that stage and since the 2010 CD & vinyl releases contained a touch of new material – it fits the criteria for this year’s compilation.  He also put out new mixes / remixes for the Blood Into Wine documentary (about the Arizona wine scene).  That record is called Sounds Into Blood Into Wine.  As I type this, I actually got a call from my local Eugene Oregon wine/beer shop (16tons).  They have my Caduceus/Merkin order in stock… so, coincidentally, I’ll be dropping some major coin on some of Maynard’s wine very shortly… glug glug.

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10 Haftor Medbøe GroupPneumatic” from A Box of Monkeys EP

This is another record that came out in late 2009… but I got it in 2010 and iTunes recognized it as 2010 (plus it was too late to be stricken from the CD mix rolls, as I liked it too much).  The track faatures some nice guitar-based jazz, and the EP also features some songs with vocals that aren’t too unlike Björk or Under Byen (also known as “a-OK with me”).  It’s a delightful EP that put Haftor on my radar… for good.

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11 Sufjan StevensFutile Devices” from The Age of Adz

The first Sufjan track that made its way onto this 2010 compilation comes from his second release from 2010.  The Age of Adz is a odd musical assembly.  At first I didn’t know what to think of it, then I started to like it, and then after seeing him live – I truly loved the album.  This song is actually one of the songs that I fell in love with right away.  For those not familiar with Sufjan, this track fits better with some of his earlier work and not so much with Adz as a whole.  But I think if you have an open mind and a desire to explore, you may very well fall in love with this record as well.

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12 AutorYnoOverture Automatique” from Pastrami Bagel Social Club

I am fans of some of the other Jewish rock acts on John Zorn’s Tzadik label: like Eyal Maoz’s Edom, Jon Madof’s Rashanim, and Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom.  The description for this AutorYno debut from Tzadik was “a wild klezmer/rock fusion by this crazed band of Paris-born punk rockers… AutorYno hits with a hardedged sound and an exciting musical imagination. Full of youthful energy, massive guitar and centered by a powerful beat, they present eleven instrumentals that combine the power of rock with a taste of Jewish tradition.”  Regardless of Tzadik’s usual/expected hyperbole, I couldn’t not get it.  I’m glad I did, and I will say that it will rank high amongst my instrumental finds in 2010.

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13 Glen PhillipsThe Innocent” from Tornillo

The voice of Toad the Wet Sprocket has been putting out some fantastic albums since his first solo album (2000’s Abulum).  Tornillo was recorded in 2003 with David Garza, but was shelved / lost.  Many of the songs were re-recorded and put out on 2005’s Winter Pays For Summer (a favorite of mine).  Regardless of some of the songs making their way out to the fans, there are still some never-before-released gems on here.  Glen put it out about a month ago via his bandcamp page.  $7.  A total steal.

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14 Beats AntiqueEgyptic” from Blind Threshold

I got to see Zoe Jakes of Beats Antique twice this year… once with Beats Antique during Eugene Celebration, and once with the Indigo Bellydance troupe as part of their Le Serpent Rouge tour.  She had a knee in a brace during Eugene Celebration; so she lended her stage presence to additional percussion instead of dance – which was unfortunate.  Beats Antique is a bellydance-friendly, electronic and live instrument band from the Bay Area.  Elements of Balkan music and tribal-fusion dance music.  “Egyptic” is indicative of their infectuous sound.

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15 The WeepiesEmpty Your Hands” from Be My Thrill

Syrupy singer-songwriter pop is not my bailiwick, but I do find myself drawn to it on occasion.  I guess even my CD collection needs a “rom-com” soundtrack every now and again.  The Weepies write well-crafted songs about love and life.  It’s hard to say anything bad about them.

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16 JónsiKolniður” from Go

Sigur Rós-frontman’s debut solo album was going to be an acoustic affair, and then it turned into a lushly produced, Rós-ian opus with a multimedia firestorm of a tour (two U.S. legs with stunning stage design by 59 Productions).  Jónsi is superbly brilliant and and ambivalently hyper-sensitively shy individual (ex. his abrupt cancelation of in-store performance tour) and boisterous-acting performer (ex. his magnificent stageshow).  This album makes me excited for more solo work in the future, but I hope his day job with Sigur Rós is not on hold for too much longer.

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17 George HrabHai Yookito ‘Ya” from Trebuchet

George Hrab creates one of my favorite podcasts ever… the Geologic Podcast.  It’s not about geology.  It’s about science, skepticism, and his general life as a musician from Bethlehem, PA.  He is both humorous and intelligent, and he puts out great albums as well.  Trebuchet is his 6th studio album, and it features some great instrumental songs as well as some witty numbers fitting his skeptical, atheistic viewpoint.  One of my favorite songs on it is “A Small Comfort,” which is about the death of his dog Oscar.  I’d put it on a mix CD, but it honestly makes me cry everytime I hear it.  I also give George some kudos for kicking off his album with the Christopher Hitchens’ inspired “God Is Not Great” (an atheist pop song).  Bravo!

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18 Kaki KingFalling Day” from Junior

Kaki King is a guitar phenom, and this is her second album in a row that seems to be moving more towards turning into a more vocal, indie rock songstress.  It’s still full of her amazing guitarwork, but brings in a whistful lyricism.  I’m still getting used to her “vocal legs,” but I like what I hear so far.

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19 John Zorn’s The Dreamers Hashul” from Masada Book Two: Book of Angels, Vol. 14 (Ipos)

Let’s just put this out there now… with thirteen albums and a DVD out in 2010, John Zorn might seem to have more misses than hits.  Well, I don’t think there’s been a more consistent set of songs than his Masada songs, and there hasn’t been a more consistently great series than the Masada Book Two series (Zorn’s Masada songs covered by others).  The Dreamers is a supergroup, too: Marc Ribot, Joey Baron, Cyro Baptista, Kenny Wollesen, Trevor Dunn and Jamie Saft – pillars in the adventurous, downtown NYC scene.

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20 Sufjan StevensThe Owl and the Tanager” from All Delighted People EP

This is my favorite song from Sufjan’s 50+ minute “EP” from earlier this year.  Beautiful and haunting, and again, not as characteristic of the rest of the EP, which seems more experimental and adventurous compared to “Owl” or his older material.  Originally only released online via bandcamp, the EP saw physical form (CD & vinyl) earlier this month.  I’m looking forward to spinning the vinyl when it hits my front porch.

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Let me know what you think…

unfortunately missing (due to space or flow limitations, or that I simply didn’t get them in the mail yet): Kevin Moore’s Shine, Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger (Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl)’s Acoustic Sessions, Mogwai’s Special Moves/Burning, Zero 7’s Record… and John Zorn’s Moonchild Trio Ipsissimus, because I didn’t want to scare you.  Oh well, those may make it on my “favorite albums” of 2010 list.

~Dan – np: Radiohead101010 (aka OK Computer & In Rainbows cross-fade mix)

for more on the Radiohead cross-fade mix, check out Puddlegum

there are no torrents, free mp3 or other downloads available

ha’fway 2010

4th Jul 10 (Sun) Leave a comment

Happy 234th birthday, United States!

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So, here are my faves of the first half of 2010… it’s all bound to switch around by year’s end:

Artist Album (label)

  1. Holy FuckLatin (Young Turks)
  2. JónsiGo (XL)
  3. Mike PattonMondo Cane (Ipecac)
  4. ElleryThis Isn’t Over Yet (Set Adrift)
  5. Charlie HunterGentlemen, I Neglected To Inform You You Will Not Be Getting Paid (Spire Artist Media)
  6. George HrabTrebuchet (Geologic)
  7. Damien JuradoSaint Bartlett (Secretly Canadian)
  8. AutorYnoPastrami Bagel Social Club (Tzadik)
  9. Clogs (with Shara Worden & Sufjan Stevens) – The Creatures in the Garden of Lady Walton (Brassland)
  10. Tin HatForeign Legion (BAG Production)
  11. The Dreamers play John Zorn‘s Masada Book Two: Ipos, Book of Angels, Vol. 14 (Tzadik)
  12. Charlotte Gainsbourg & BeckIRM (Elektra)
  13. Kaki KingJunior (Rounder)
  14. Jeanne CherhalCharade (Barclay)
  15. Loose GripLooking Glass (Fabrikant)

I didn’t get a few that already came out this year (yet)… the new Chali 2Na, David Cross, Hiromi, Johnny Cash, Beak>, et cetera; but they may make it to the list at the end of the year.

The 2nd half of 2010 promises to bring some potential great ones, too… a few more from John Zorn, Nellie McKay (in the fall), Over the Rhine‘s new one (or maybe that’s early 2011), Zero 7‘s new one, Secret Chiefs 3 Book of Souls (maybe), a new Sufjan Stevens (just speculating, I know he’s working on one), Ani DiFranco always has something coming out, Dave Douglas’ Spark of Being (Trilogy), probably something from one of Mike Patton‘s other bands, and I’m sure another dozen or more that I’ll dig from Tzadik.

Favorite concerts of 2010 (so far):

  • Dave Douglas’ Brass Ecstasy – PDX Jazz Fest, Portland, Feb 28th
  • Tegan & Sara – Keller Auditorium, Portland, Apr 8th
  • Jónsi – Roseland Theater, Portland, Apr 13th
  • Kaki King – CD World, Eugene, May 16th
  • Holy Fuck – Mississippi Studios, Portland, June 6th
  • Zappa Plays Zappa – McDonald Theatre, Eugene, June 12th
  • Pink Martini – Oregon Bach Festival, Eugene, June 26th(click pictures below for review links)

~Dan – np: MelvinsThe Bride Screamed Murder

Michel Gondry 2 DVD

15th Apr 09 (Wed) 1 comment

SO… this is awesome…

MICHEL GONDRY 2: MORE VIDEOS contains the following videos:

MUSIC VIDEOS:
1.    Michael Andrews ft. Gary Jules “Mad World”
2.    Paul McCartney “Dance Tonight”
3.    Thomas Dolby “Close But No Cigar”
4.    Bjork “Declare Independence”
5.    Steriogram “Walkie Talkie Man”
6.    The Willowz “I Wonder”
7.    Beck “Cellphone’s Dead”
8.    The White Stripes “The Denial Twist”
9.    Donald Fagen “Snowbound”
10.  Cody ChesnuTT “King of the Game”
11.  Sinead O’Connor “Fire On Babylon”
12.  Queen with Wyclef Jean ft. Pras & Free “Another One Bites the Dust”
13.  Radiohead “Knives Out”
14.  Dick Annegarn “Soleil du Soir”
15.  Sananda Maitreya “She Kissed Me”
16.  Sheryl Crow “A Change Would Do You Good”
17.  The Black Crowes “High Head Blues”
18.  Leafbirds “It Can All Be Taken Away”
19.  The Rolling Stones “Gimme Shelter”
20.  Energy Orchard “How the West Was Won”

BEHIND-THE-SCENES:
1.    Behind-the-Scenes Of The White Stripes “The Denial Twist”
2.    Behind-the-Scenes Of Beck “Cellphone’s Dead”
3.    Behind-the-Scenes Of Paul McCartney “Dance Tonight”
4.    Behind-the-Scenes Of Radiohead “Knives Out”
5.    Behind-the-Scenes Of Steriogram “Walkie Talkie Man”
6.    Behind-the-Scenes Of Bjork “Declare Independence”

OTHER WORKS:
1.    The Simpsons Parody Of The White Stripes Video
2.    Booker T and The Michel Gondry’s
3.    Michel Gondry Solves A RUBIK’S CUBE With His Feet
4.    Michel Gondry Solves A RUBIK’S CUBE With His Nose
5.    Jack Black Beats Michel Gondry WIth His RUBIK’S CUBES
6.    Herve Di Rosa “Viva Di Rosa”
7.    Conan & The Big Head
8.    Paul Gondry’s The Willowz “Take A Look Around”
9.    How To Blow Up A Helicopter (Ayako’s Story)
10.  Forum Des Images “L’ Histoire De L’Univers”

Go get it now on Michel Gondry.com

~Dan – np: Circle of Dust / BrainchildMindwarp

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