Adventures in Netflix

I’ve been watching a buttload of 40s movies over the past few months, and I was thinking about watching something really modern next.

And then it occurred to me: How about if I watch all “Netflix Original” movies released in 2019? Sizzling fresh movies!

And if you’ve ever read this blog before, you’ll know there’ll be complications, right? Prepare to scroll for days!

According to Wikipedia, there were about 70? 80s? of these movies in 2018, so presumably there’ll be a similar amount this year.

What counts as a “Netflix Original” varies a bit, apparently. Some of these are produced (i.e., financed) by Netflix directly, and others are picked up for exclusive distribution by Netflix after it’s already been made, apparently. So perhaps I’ll be adjusting the criteria after having watched a few of the movies… or not? We’ll see.

But how to watch these movies? I have an Apple laptop now, so I could plug the laptop into the TV and watch it that way, but it turns out that Netflix limits the resolution on real computers to 1.4K (or, as some people quaintly call it, “720p”). That’s annoying, because the majority of Netflix Originals are available in 4K. I’d be getting, what, 15% of the pixels I could be getting?

(/ (* 4000 2000) (* 1400 720))
=> 7

Sad.

My TV is “smart”, but I’m not insane enough to ever let it go on the interwebs. I don’t want to 30kg brick in my TV room after an update or virus has had its fun with it.

But! I have a Chromecast Ultra! And Netflix allows 4K media on the Chromecast!

And I mean, I have to blog this thing, so I have to screenshot, right?

Right.

And you’re not supposed to be allowed to do that because that’s the whole point of Netflix limiting the resolution to devices that they control, and the HDCP 2.2 line to the TV is supposed to be unhackable OOOH DRM WOO WOO.

But of course people have been making devices to defeat all this nonsense.

First of all, I got an Ezcoo 4K HDMI splitter. It promises to be able to take a 4K input source and pass the HDCP 2.2 woo from a 4K TV to the device, thereby fooling it into thinking that it has a secure line.

Meanwhile, there’s another output on the splitter (that can either be 4K or 2K (some people quaintly call this “1080p”)) and you can put an HDMI recording device there.

I got an HDML Cloner Box Evolve, which promises to take a 2K input and has a remote that you can screenshot with. It can also record the entire video, but that’s not really what I’m interested in… And it’s probably called “HDML” to avoid having the HDMI people sue them? I’m just guessing.

Let’s plug all this in!

So pretty.

And the Chromecast is apparently satisfied: It allows 4K to pass to the TV, according to the TV.

But!

When looking at the output from the HDML Cloner Box Evolve, all the screenshots just said “INVALID FORMAT”.

And so the passthrough HDMI output on the Cloner Box says.

Is that coming from… the Cloner Box, the Ezcoo HDMI splitter, or from the Chromecast? And what’s invalid? The format on the SD card it’s writing to? The … HDMI format? What!??!!

But then I noticed this dip switch on the Ezcoo splitter. Downscaling to 2K is apparently not the default setting. The Cloner Box claims to be able to take a 4K signal (even if it only records in 2K), but perhaps this is the problem anyway?

Yes! Now it’s screenshotting!

OK, now I have a 4K path from the Chromecast to the TV, while being able to screenshot in 2K. Let’s see what the Netflix app thinks about all this!

As the control device, I’m using an Android tablet, and as the test movie, let’s go with Okja, because it’s in 4K and I’ve already seen it.

Let’s see… there it is…

I tap the Chromecast icon, and it offers to connect to it and stream from it.

Yes! On the TV!

Aha! Once I tapped the screencast logo, the “Ultra HD” (code word for 4K) popped up in the Netflix app.

And there’s Okja! Well, that’s not actually Okja but it’s Jake Gyllenhaal and that’s close enough.

And there’s Okja! On the screenshot from the Cloner Box. The image looks quite nice… The screenshot is 2K, of course, but whatevs.

And the TV says that whatever it’s getting from the Chromecast is still in 4K. But… is it?

Apparently, there’s no way to make the Netflix app say what resolution it’s streaming in, or what the bitrate is. Both are important for the video quality, of course: If you have a 4K video with a bitrate of nothing, you’ll get a really ugly picture. (I’m looking at you, Amazon Prime Video!) This looks pretty fine, I think? No obvious issues? And it’s at least 2K, I think.

Telling the difference between 2K and 4K can be pretty difficult. It’s just that when you’re watching in 4K you go “whoa” a lot more, but a lack of “whoa” doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not 4K: It might just be the director not going for “whoa”.

(Cue Dear Reader going “if you can’t tell the difference, whyyyy!” and to you I just have to say: Phooey.)

What does the firewall say?

Hm…

It seems to vary between 3MB/s and 60MB/s? Oh, yeah, it’s buffering and then playing, so it’ll vary a lot… And I’m usually used to thinking about this a bitrates, not byte rates…

OK, let’s write a simple script:

#!/bin/bash

duration=$1
device=enp1s0
direction=TX
times=0

start=$(ifconfig $device | grep "$direction packets" | awk '{ print $5; }')
while [ $times -lt $duration ]; do
    sleep 1
    times=$(( $times + 1 ))
    end=$(ifconfig $device | grep "$direction packets" | awk '{ print $5; }')
    echo $(( (($end - $start) / 1000 / $times) * 8 ))
done

And then compare a “HD” thing to a “Ultra HD” thing. As the “HD” thing I chose the Teen Titans TV show.

Ermagerd. I’ve never used the Chromecast before… why is everything so washed out? The blacks are supposed to be black, not totally gray.

Oh, well, I’ll have to investigate that too, but not while doing the bitrate thing.

Ok, I got 778… er… so that’s less than 1MB/s?

Let’s try it again but multiply by 8 to get bitrate.

OK, now it says 24560, which means that it’s a bitrate of 24Mbps? Hm. Perhaps one minute is just too short a time to measure, what with all the buffering. Let’s give it ten minutes.

And while I’m waiting I can try to investigate the washed out/low saturation thing going on. Apparently there’s a lot of people on Google having the problem… Hm… One internet says that it’s a problem with TVs and Chromecast not managing to convey to each other what HDR format to use. OK, on my Sony A1E OLED TV I switched HDR from “auto” to “HDR10”, aaaand…

Yowza! That’s some black blackness and some super-saturated colours. But… is it right? The colours are way crazy…

Aaand… it says “5088”, so I guess 5Mbps. That sounds about like what I expected.

Let’s try with some “Ultra HD”. Like the Punisher TV series.

HDR10 seems to do the right thing there too. But is that 4K grain?

The script says that it’s streaming in 9064, i.e., 9Mbps. That’s not a lot for 4K media: A 4K bluray is about 35-50Mbps.

Let’s try to reproduce our findings!

  • Okja (UHD): 9.5Mbps
  • Men in Tights (HD): 7.6Mbps
  • Police Academy (HD): 7.6Mbps
  • Ready Player One (HD): 5.7Mbps
  • Bird Box (UHD): 6.6Mbps
  • Okja (again) (UHD): 6.1Mbps

Well… that was… inconclusive? When the bitrate varies by 50% on the same movie when playing at different times, that’s not very… helpful.

Perhaps I should have a device other than a Chromecast to do this. Or… perhaps the Chromecast should use ethernet and not wifi? The wifi network should do 30Mbps easily (and does when I test with a laptop), but who knows what the Chromecast is able to do?

Unfortunately the Chromecast can’t be on ethernet and wifi at the same time, and the wifi is on a separate “secure” network.

Everything is so complicated!

OK… what I should do is something I’ve wanted to do for years: Get some VLAN switches and create two separate wired networks, too.

I’ve had these dumb HP Procurve 1400-8G switches for more than a decade (as you can tell by the dust), and they’ve worked flawlessly. And I’ve had some flaky ones before that…

So what to buy? I’m extremely satisfied with the Procurve switches, so getting similar ones, but managed (i.e., with VLAN) instead would be an idea.

My additional requirements: The absolutely have to be fanless, and it would be nice if the power supply was internal, or at least small. I’ve had some HP switches where the power adapter is a huge monster, bigger than the switch, and that’s… just so… cumbersome? I mean, my network isn’t physically star-shaped, and involves three switches in series, and they’re all placed in pretty small spaces, so small and uncomplicated is better than big and complicated.

The first requirement should be a no-brainer: Virtually all of these small switches are fanless. But! HPE has this weird tendency to create lineups of switches with the same model name, and then there’s 8 port, 24 port, 48 port versions (in different form factors). And the larger ones have fans. So just going through all the spec sheets (because HPE helpfully just does one per series) is a hassle. And some of the models don’t explicitly say “no fan”, while other says “fan”, so…

And determining whether they have internal power supplies is impossible. There’s no pictures of the backs of the switches, and absolutely no pictures of the (possible) adapters.

But then I stumbled on this Netgear 8-Port Gigabit Web Managed Click Switch With 4-Port PoE+ (phew). The specs say that it has an internal power supply! The specs say “fanless”! *click* *buy*

See what doing proper specs do for sales, HP? SEE?!?!?!

So now I have three of these Netgears. I’m not sure whether Netgear makes good net gear or not, but I guess we’ll see.

Look! I’m being all proper and stuff and labelling the ports!

Setting up the VLAN stuff is really nice and trivial:

Couldn’t be simpler: The switch responds to a static IP address, so it’s easy to find, and has a built-in web server (which is nice and fast). Setting up a VLAN has never been this easy. Perfect.

The only thing that seems a bit janky here are the actual power connectors. They feel rubbery and don’t “click” in place, so it feels like they could, like, slide out without wanting to. It’s probably not a problem in practice, but that could have an improved feel to it.

Anyway! Chromecast now plugged into the “wifi” VLAN, so it can stream via ethernet while I control it from a WIFI tablet. Let’s see what bandwidth it uses now…

  • Okja (UHD) 17Mbps:
  • Men in Tights (HD): 7.8Mbps
  • Police Academy (HD): 8Mbps
  • Ready Player One (HD): 8.1Mbps
  • Bird Box (UHD): 16Mbps

Well, that’s better! The highest I had with WIFI was 9Mbps, so using ethernet it’s almost doubled. That’s a lot more bits to look at!

Meanwhile!

I bought an Apple TV because I just don’t trust Google not to fuck up. Especially since the Chromecast doesn’t seem to want to switch HDR on on my Sony A1E TV. Let’s see whether the Apple TV manages…

Hey, the Apple TV 4K isn’t as small at the first-generation Apple TVs used to be…

Let’s see whether it’s easy to set up…

Er… what? Uhm. *five minutes pass* Oh, you can click the top of the remote control! Apple UX discoverability is on point: Unless you know what you’re supposed to do, there’s absolutely no hint about how these devices are supposed to work…

Oh, never mind. There’s a manual included here. Oops. Yet another anti-Apple rant derailed by facts!

Uhm… it wanted to use an existing device to get the WIFI parameters etc, so I pulled out my Ipod Touch, which helpfully just said the above. Do you think “OK” takes you to the passcode setting? No? Correct.

After some googling I found out where it was hiding (in the obvious place), and we’re off!

And after getting the credentials transferred, I could switch the passcode on the Ipod Touch off again. So UX!

Hm… when it switches HDR on, the TV goes black? That’s not good…

As with the Chromecast, on “HDR Auto” everything is super-washed out, and when I switch HDR10 on, the blacks become properly black, but the colours are…. too much…

Hm… Oh! If I try to do 4K @ 60Hz HDR via the Ezcoo splitter box, it complains that the cable doesn’t have sufficient bandwidth. But if I do 4K @ 30Hz HDR, then it works fine, and the TV automatically detects the HDR and everything. Nice!

The Apple TV is certainly easier to deal with than the Chromecast which is extremely

But let’s do some benchmarking! Let’s do some of the same UHD movies and add some new ones:

  • Okja (UHD): 15Mbps:
  • Bird Box (UHD): 18Mbps
  • Alex Strangelove (UHD): 18Mbps

Well, that’s not too bad. A normal 4K Bluray usually is somewhere around 40-50Mbps, and taking into account that Netflix is probably using a slightly more efficient codec, I’m getting an acceptable product.

Well, OK, this seems to be the way to go: Apple TV 4K @ 30Hz HDR. See, it simple!

So now I just have to have a convenient way to get the screenshots onto the computer. I mean, I don’t want to have to futz around with an SD card that I have to plug into the HDML Cloner Box and then transfer to the laptop…

I mean, I’m bone lazy.

I thought I had a solution here: Use a Flashair SD card. I use them in my cameras, and I’ve set it up so that I snap a picture and then the picture is pulled down into this Emacs buffer I’m typing in now. It’s great.

But unfortunately, I can’t use that with the HDLM Cloner Box: First of all, the cards use the exfat file system, and the box only understands FAT and VFAT. And I can’t reformat the Flashair card, because then the OS on the card goes AWOL and there’s no longer any WIFI on it.

The second problem is that there’s a partition table on Flashair cards, and the Cloner Box wants to write to it partitionless (i.e., the difference between /dev/sda1 and /dev/sda).

So that’s no go.

I was momentarily excited about the Sandisk Connect Wireless Stick, but it turns out that you can’t talk to it wirelessly while it’s plugged in as a USB memory stick, so that’s a pretty useless thing.

Other WIFI SD cards exist, and I guess I could give them a go, but during my last investigation into those, I all the non-Flashair ones to suck in one way or another.

So I started thinking about whether Linux can emulate a USB mass storage device via a USB-A to USB-A cable somehow.

And the answer is… sort of? Normal USB chipsets in normal computers do not support this kind of tomfoolery, but the Raspberry Pi Zero W does via its USB on-the-go (OTG) port, which is wired directly to the CPU, so it can do whatever it wants. Or something.

So I’ve got a USB-A to USB-OTG adapter cable…

And the Zero W.

It’s so tiny! (Grapes for scale.)

And I got a case for it, and a mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter

The problem is that the case makes the mini-HDMI too recessed, so I can’t get any HDMI signals out of it. I wondered whether the Zero was broken or something, but…

So then I got HDMI and could see what I was doing. The HDMI seems to drop out whenever it’s doing something strenuous, but it’s good enough to do some setup stuff, at least.

Getting the thing to speak wifi took me hours and hours. I followed all of the how-tos on the net, but no matter how I tweaked the wpa_supplicant.conf file, iwconfig said that it hadn’t tried to connect to the access point.

Finally, I tried to do the simplest thing possible:

# wpa_supplicant -i wlan0 -c <(wpa_passphrase Beige PASSWORD)

And then it paired and got DHCP and everything!

So I just

# wpa_passphrase Beige PASSWORD > /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf

and then it works after reboot.

This is with Debian Jessie Raspbian, because one of the million discussion threads about wifi not working on Raspberry Pis said that it was marginally less non-working.

So, after all that wasted time, it’s time to get USB gadget mode working! Should be a breeze!

I’m using this guide.

Let’s see… this isn’t, like, working…

But then a wise person on irc asked me “why are you using an OTG adapter if the Pi has an OTG port?” That was a very good question. I switched to a normal USB-A to Micro-USB cable, and immediately:

Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.095533] usb 1-2: New USB device found, i
dVendor=0525, idProduct=a4a5
Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.095540] usb 1-2: New USB device strings:
 Mfr=3, Product=4, SerialNumber=5
Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.095545] usb 1-2: Product: Mass Storage G
adget
Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.095549] usb 1-2: Manufacturer: Linux 4.9
.35+ with 20980000.usb
Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.095553] usb 1-2: SerialNumber: deadbeef
Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.096757] usb-storage 1-2:1.0: USB Mass St
orage device detected
Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.097256] usb-storage 1-2:1.0: Quirks matc
h for vid 0525 pid a4a5: 10000
Feb 14 14:26:25 marnie kernel: [1271626.097412] scsi host1: usb-storage 1-2:1.0
Feb 14 14:26:26 marnie kernel: [1271627.123226] scsi 1:0:0:0: Direct-Access     
Linux    File-Stor Gadget 0409 PQ: 0 ANSI: 2
Feb 14 14:26:26 marnie kernel: [1271627.124775] sd 1:0:0:0: Attached scsi generi
c sg1 type 0
Feb 14 14:26:26 marnie kernel: [1271627.125370] sd 1:0:0:0: [sdb] 4194304 512-byte logical blocks: (2.15 GB/2.00 GiB)

Success! The Pi shows up as a mass storage device.

But having the file system open on the Pi while the other host is writing to the backing file isn’t a good idea: Things get very confused. So only one thing that writes should have it open at a time.

So let’s try it with the HDML Cloner Box:

You can clearly see the USB-A cable from the Cloner Box going to the Pi Zero, right? Right.

And… it works! I got two screenshots over!

Uhm… I hope that status line goes away…

So my script is basically:

ssh $host mount /mnt/usb
rsync -av $host:/mnt/usb/ ~/films/"$film"/
ssh $host umount /mnt/usb

And that seems to work pretty reliably? At least during the ten minutes I’ve been testing.

Let’s see… Click on the remote, run the script and then this is here:

But… that looks really, really washed-out? Hm… Oh, yeah. It’s HDR? So I should probably run it through something to get to a better colour space?

Perhaps if I do

convert -contrast-stretch 0.20x0.10% IMG_53.JPG norm.jpg

Well, that’s better! But is that the right transform for HDR-screenshot-to-8bit? Probably not? I tried googling this pressing, universal problem, but didn’t find any ready-made solutions…

Excuse me?

Well, that went well! See how easy it is to watch 4K content from Netflix?

I mean, if you’re me?

Anyway, in conclusion:

I’m looking forward to watching some new movies, and I think it’s annoying that Netflix makes it so difficult to see if you’re getting what you pay for.

I realise that this makes things much easier for customer support: They don’t have to field calls from customers saying “I’m on the 4K plan, and I’m watching a Star Wars movie, but the bitrate says 6Mbps”. Understandable! But if you sold a product in a different arena, and made it virtually impossible for any normal customers to check whether you get what you’re paying for, then there’s be consequences. Perhaps?

Perhaps not.

4AD 1992

1992 was another year of change for 4AD. Ivo Watts-Russell wanted to be able to pick more freely among things to release without getting in a serious relationship with bands, so he started the Guernica imprint which released three things at a rapid pace at the end of the year (and couple more the next year) before petering out. While it might be nice for the label not to commit to an artist, the artists may feel a bit… slighted? Because the audience is going “so these are the bands not good enough to be on 4AD?”

Which is a shame, because they’re better than some of the albums released on 4AD “proper” this year.

4AD released a buttload of things in 1992, and few of them have become well-loved classics. Down Colourful Hill by Red House Painters was a revelation and launched Mark Kozelek’s long-running career (still going now); Lush released Spooky, probably their best album (and it’s really good, but it was a let-down after the initial series of EPs, because Robin Guthrie’s production is somewhat sterile and claustrophobic); The Breeders did their first post-Pod EP that points to future stardom; and Belly release their first two EPs.

And I think the Gepetto EP made it clear to everybody that they’d soon have a hit on their hands: It (and Throwing Muses’ Firepile) were the first singles that would be “formatted”; i.e., released in as many formats as the UK indie chart rules would allow. From now on we get a bunch of remixes and more B-sides than anybody really wanted for every single single 4AD releases.

4AD is now becoming a commercial juggernaut with huge name recognition, particularly with the lucrative US college market, and other people than Ivo Watts-Russell would also have a say in what groups were signed. A US office is also opened around this time. *insert spooky music here*

(The first Belly EP, Slow Dust, isn’t available on Spotify, but all the songs show up in different versions on subsequent releases. Perhaps Tanya Donnelly didn’t want those early versions out there? Or did 4AD just forget to upload it? And none of the songs from the limited edition 7″ singles included with the Guernica albums are on Spotify, either.)

1992

 BAD2001
Lush — For Love

For Love, Starlust, Outdoor Miner, Astronaut

 CAD2002
Lush — Spooky

Stray, Nothing Natural (remix), Tiny Smiles, Covert, Ocean, For Love, Superblast!, Untogether, Fantasy, Take, Laura, Monochrome

 BAD2003
The Breeders — Safari

Do You Love Me Now?, Don’t Call Home, Safari, So Sad About Us

 CAD2004
Pale Saints — In Ribbons

Throwing Back the Apple, Ordeal, Thread of Light, Shell, There is No Day, Hunted, Hair Shoes (remix), Babymaker (remix), Liquid, Neverending Night, Featherframe, A Thousand Stars Burst Open

 rib1
Pale Saints — untitled

A Thousand Stars Burst Open (brass)*, A Revelation (rerecorded)*

 BAD2006
The Wolfgang Press — A Girl Like You

A Girl Like You (7″ mix), Angel, A Girl Like You (1000 Times), A Girl Like You (Born To Be Kissed)

 CAD2007
Michael Brook — Cobalt Blue

Shona Bridge, Breakdown, Red Shift, Skip Wave, Slipstream, Andean, Slow Breakdown, Ultramarine, Urbana, Lakbossa, Ten, Hawaii

 BAD2008
Pale Saints — Throwing Back The Apple

Throwing Back The Apple, Blue Flower, Half-Life Remembered (remix), Reflections From A Watery World

 BAD2009
Belly — Slow Dust

Dusted*, Slow Dog*, Dancing Gold*, Low Red Moon*, Dusted (remix)*

 cdLilliput 1 & 2
Various — Lilliput

Dark Entries, Controversial Subject, Nick the Stripper, I Melt With You, Song To The Siren, Incubus Succubus II, The Spangle Maker, Stranger, Baby I Love You So, Hate My Way, No Motion, Pump Up The Volume, Mercy Seat, The Host Of Seraphim, Monkey Gone To Heaven, De-Luxe, Throwing Back The Apple, Featherframe, A Girl Like You (7″ mix), Birmingham, Breakdown, Urbana, Chlorine Dream, Signed D. C., Gloria, Are We Still Married?, Tastes Like Honey, Follow Me Down, A Thousand Stars Burst Open (brass)

 CAD2010
Swallow — Blow

Lovesleep, Tastes Like Honey, Sugar Your Mind, Mensurral, Peekaboo, Lacuna, Oceans and Blue Skies, Follow Me Down, Halo, Cherry Stars Collide, Head In a Cave

 TAD 2011 CD
Michael Brook — Live at The Aquarium

Shona Bridge (live), After Image / Urbana (live), Andean (live), Ultramarine (live), Lakbossa (live), Cascade (live), Red Shift (live)

 BAD2012
Throwing Muses — Firepile

Firepile, Manic Depression, Snailhead (remix), City of the Dead

 BAD D2012
Throwing Muses — Firepile

Firepile (ep2), Jak, Ride into the Sun, Handsome Woman

 CAD2013
Throwing Muses — Red Heaven

Furious, Firepile, Dio, Dirty Water, Stroll, Pearl, Summer St, Vic, Backroad, The Visit, Dovey, Rosetta Stone, Carnival Wig

 KH1
Kristin Hersh — Live at Maxwell’s, Hoboken

Juno (live), Marriage Tree (live), Pearl (live), Stand Up / Dovey / Mexican Women (live), Run Letter (live), Soap & Water (live), Rabbits Dying (live), Cry Baby Cry (live), Counting Backwards / Handsome Woman (live), Take (live), Soul Soldier (live), Bea (live), Delicate Cutters (live)

 GU1 CD
Unrest — Imperial f. f. r. r.

Volume Reference Tone, Suki, Imperial, I Do Beleive You Are Blushing, Champion Nines, Sugarshack, Isabel, Cherry Cream On, Firecracker, June, Loyola, Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl, Hydrofoil no. 1, Full Frequency (remix), Wednesday & Proud

 GU1S
Unrest — untitled

Yes She Is My Skinhead Girl (rerecorded)*, Hydrofoil no. 3 (rerecorded)*, Range Recording (remix)*

 CAD2014
Red House Painters — Down Colorful Hill

24, Medicine Bottle, Down Colorful Hill, Japanese to English, Lord Kill the Pain, Michael

 TAD 2015 CD
Swallow — Blowback

Oceans and Blue Skies (remix), Head in a Cave (remix), Tastes Like Honey (remix), Peekaboo (remix), Sugar Your Mind (remix), Follow Me Down (remix), Mensurral (remix), Cherry Stars Collide (remix)

 DAD2016
The Birthday Party — Hits

The Friend Catcher, Happy Birthday, Mr. Clarinet, Nick the Stripper, Zoo Music Girl, King Ink, Release the Bats, Blast Off, She’s Hit, 6″ Gold Blade, Hamlet (Pow, Pow, Pow), Dead Joe, Junkyard, Big-Jesus-Trash-Can, Wild World, Sonny’s Burning, Deep in the Woods, Swampland, Jennifer’s Veil, Mutiny in Heaven

 CAD2017
Ultra Vivid Scene — Rev

Candida, Cut-throat, Mirror to Mirror, The Portion of Delight, Thief’s Love Song, How Sweet, Medicating Angels, Blood and Thunder, This is the Way

 GU2
Underground Lovers — Leaves Me Blind

Eastside Stories, Promenade, I was right, Holiday, Got of on it, Daze, Waves, Your eyes, Ladies choice, Get to know, Whisper me nothing

 7″GU2S
Underground Lovers — untitled

Leaves Me Blind (demo version)*, Mumble Head (demo version)*

 BAD2018
Belly — Gepetto

Gepetto, Sexy S, Hot Burrito #1, Sweet Ride

 BAD C2018
Belly — Gepetto

Gepetto (remix), It’s Not Unusual, Star (demo), Dusted (demo)

 TAD 2019 CD
Throwing Muses — The Curse

Manic Depression (live), Counting Backwards (live), Fish (live), Hate My Way (live), Furious (live), Devil’s Roof (live), Snailhead (live), Firepile (live), Finished (live), Take (live), Say Goodbye (live), Mania (live), Two Step (live), Delicate Cutters (live), Cottonmouth (live), Pearl (live), Vic (live), Bea (live)

 GU3
Bettie Serveert — Palomine

Leg, Palomine, Kid’s Allright, Tom Boy, Under The Surface, Balentine, This Thing Nowhere, Healthy Sick, Sundazed To The Core, Palomine (small)

 GU3S
Bettie Serveert — untitled

Brain-Tag*, Get The Bird*, Smile*

This post is part of the chronological look at all 4AD releases, year by year.

*) Missing from Spotify.

New Music

Music I’ve bought (or resampled) this month.

I discovered a shelf of 12″ things this month: They were all items I’d bought in the early noughts before I started doing FLAC instead of MP3. So I had to resample them all, of course, even though I’ll probably never listen to many of them again…

But I’ve really got to stop buying so much music. Every album always seems to lead to ten more that I want to have. And with Discogs and Bandcamp existing, I can get them all like *snap*.

Like I was listening to an old Thomas Mery EP and wondering whether he’d done something else (he had; snapped two things up), and then I went to his Bandcamp, and got that one (it’s a stunning album), and then I went to his web site, and he recommends Sam Amidon, who I’m totally unaware of, so I get that album, and it’s FANTASTIC, and he’s done quite a lot, so I should get all those.

That’s all great. But!

While end-of-lifing stuff from the /music/new directory the other week, I discovered that I’d just listened to Bright Phoebus by Lal & Mike Waterson, bought in October 2017, three (3) times. And it’s such a wonderful, magnificent album. (Except the first song. Rubber Band is annoying!)

I should have been listening to that album 20 times and not listening to all the… other… music.

So! I’m cutting way back! I hope! But but but! I really want to buy all the other things that Lal Waterson has made. And Mike Waterson. And The Watersons. And that tribute album of cover versions of Lal Waterson songs. And.

OK, calm down. Just scaling back… not stopping… Perhaps just a couple of Waterson-related albums over the next month…

We’ll see, I guess!

jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Sluta+Leta&album=...+if+you+like+champagne+on+ice%3F jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=1-8+Split+Series jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Haggard&album=A+Bike+City+Called+Greasy jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Magnum+38&album=A+Tribute+to+Grace+Jones jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Herbert&album=Addiction
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Sam+Amidon&album=All+Is+Well jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Crack+We+Are+Rock&album=Animal+Trap jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Four+Tet&album=As+Serious+As+Your+Life jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Y+Pants&album=Beat+It+Down jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Edit+Ready&album=Breathe+Through+Your+Feet
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Buckle+Up jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Come+Back+Wicked jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(1)%3A+Love+in+Itself jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(2)%3A+Love+in+Itself%3A+3 jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(3)%3A+Everything+Counts+And+Live+Tracks
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(4)%3A+Everything+Counts jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(5)%3A+Get+The+Balance+Right+And+Live+Tracks jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Construction+Time+Again%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(6)%3A+Get+The+Balance+Right jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Pentangle&album=Cruel+Sister jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Nettle&album=Deep+Waters+Still+Run
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Dem+Nah+Like+Me jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Dem+Nuh+Know+Me jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=John+Jastszebski&album=Drone+EP jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=A.+C.+Marias&album=Drop jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Dev+Null&album=E-Z+Boys+Revenge%3A+230+BPM+Eternal
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Dani+Siciliano&album=Extra+Ordinary jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Kom%C3%ABit&album=Falling+Back+Together jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Puzzleweasel&album=Farvel+til+sl%C3%A6gt+og+venner jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Braer+Rabbit&album=Fat+Content%3A+Trace jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Laub&album=Fileshaving
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Squares+On+Both+Sides&album=Flung jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Split&album=Form+or+Function jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Rhythm+King+And+Her+Friends&album=Get+Paid+Remixed jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Static&album=Ghost+Boy jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Meg+Baird+%26+Mary+Lattimore&album=Ghost+Forests
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Luke's+Anger&album=Give+Em+Some+Freq+EP jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Gone+A+Jail jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Norbert+Stein%2C+The+NDR+Big+Band&album=Graffiti+Suite+(1) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Norbert+Stein%2C+The+NDR+Big+Band&album=Graffiti+Suite+(2) jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Bracken&album=Heathens
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=King+Seven&album=Hidden jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Barbara+Morgenstern&album=Himmel+Mixe jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Remote+Viewer&album=How+Did+We+Get+It+So+Wrong%3F jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Rhythm+King+And+Her+Friends&album=I+Am+Disco+Remixed jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Tujiko+Noriko&album=I+Forgot+The+Title
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Phranc&album=I'm+Not+Romantic jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Cylob&album=Inseminoid jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=RATN&album=J jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=RATN&album=J.E.P. jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Pete+Burns&album=Jack+and+Jill+Party
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shitmat&album=Killababylonkutz jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Thomas+Mery&album=Les+couleurs%2C+les+ombres jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Notwist&album=Lichter jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=To+Rococo+Rot&album=Lips jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Ambitious+Lovers&album=Love+Overlap
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Peaches&album=Lovertits jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Moves&album=Magneto+Single+Fire jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=13+%26+God&album=Men+of+Station jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Laub+%26+Schaffh%C3%A4user&album=Mofa jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=I+Start+Counting&album=My+Translucent+Hands
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Dictaphone&album=Nacht jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=No+Heathen jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=LCD+Soundsystem&album=Oh+Baby jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Herbert&album=On+Your+Feet jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Koushik&album=One+In+A+Day
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=A.+C.+Marias&album=One+Of+Our+Girls+Has+Gone+Missing jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=To+Rococo+Rot+and+I-Sound&album=Pantone+EP jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Laub&album=Phoneheadlastig+Remix jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Q%C3%BAemalo+Ya jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=DJ+Rupture&album=Redux
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Arto+Lindsay&album=Reentry jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Revenge+of+the+Fight+Club jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Room40+10 jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Venetian+Snares&album=Salt jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Split&album=Sarah+Dougher%2C+Kaia
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Seaya+Face+and+P.+J.+Body jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Grace+Jones&album=Sexdrive+-+Typical+Male jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=DJ+Rupture+%26+Matt+Shadetek&album=Shallows jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Four+Tet&album=Smile+Around+The+Face jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Atomizer&album=Snake
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=Solo+Swim jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(1)%3A+Blasphemous+Rumours jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(2)%3A+Blasphemous+Rumours jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(3)%3A+Master+%26+Servant jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(4)%3A+Master+%26+Servant
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(5)%3A+People+Are+People jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Depeche+Mode&album=Some+Great+Reward%3A+The+12%22+Singles+(6)%3A+People+Are+People jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Sonar+Calibrado jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=To+Rococo+Rot+%2B+D&album=Soul+Static+Sound jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Herbert&album=Suddenly
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Juana+Molina&album=S%C3%A1lvese+Quien+Pueda jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Guy+feat.+New+York+Undercover&album=Tell+Me+What+You+Like jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Various&album=The+Final+Crackdown jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Matthew+Herbert+Big+Band&album=The+Process%2C+the+Parts%2C+the+Many+and+the+Few jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Doctor+Rockit&album=The+Vinyl+Resting+Place
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=A.+C.+Marias&album=Time+Was jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Wevie+de+Crepon&album=Ton+Wah jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=The+Remote+Viewer&album=Tormile jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Chandra&album=Transportation+EPs jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Ellen+Allien&album=Trashscapes+Remixes
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Tribute+To+Tiger jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Ambitious+Lovers&album=Umbabarauma jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Lola&album=Wax+the+Van jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Fish+%26+Roses&album=We+Are+Happy+To+Serve+You jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Weed+Wid+Da+Macka
jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Fanny&album=Welcome+to+the+Machines jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Shockout&album=Whowanseekwar jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Kid606&album=Wickid jukebox.php?image=micro.png&group=Mory+Kante&album=Y%C3%A9+K%C3%A9+Y%C3%A9+K%C3%A9

September 1948: Sorry, Wrong Number















Oh, wow! I know this storyline!

I’ve been listening to old Norwegian radio dramas while walking the last year, and there was a 50s serial about an invalid woman overhearing a murder plot on a crossed line on the telephone, and then trying to do something about it — all over the phone.

So the story has basically one single setting: A woman, in a bed, talking on the phone. And they made this into a movie?

Me am intrigue!

I am unfamiliar with the director, Anatole Litvak, but one of the ways he solves the problems is to use a constantly roving camera that haunts the other rooms of the house, giving us background.

But the other ways they’ve making this more movie-like aren’t as interesting. They’ve added a bunch of flashbacks and expansions to the plot. Well, basically changing the entire plot, I think? Or… was the Norwegian version extremely condensed? I don’t know!

They lose most of the tension with all the flashbacks.

Barbara Stanwyck is wonderful in bed. I mean, acting wise.

Oh, wow::

Lucille Fletcher’s play originally aired on the Suspense radio program on May 25, 1943, essentially a one-woman show with Agnes Moorehead as Mrs. Stevenson. The play was reprised seven times, each starring Moorehead. The final broadcast was on February 14, 1960.

I’d love to listen to any of those versions.

Sorry, Wrong Number. Anatole Litvak. 1948.

Popular movies in September 1948 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
3323 7.8 Johnny Belinda
4868 7.6 Macbeth
7583 7.5 Sorry, Wrong Number
1608 7.3 Road House
274 7.2 Dédée d’Anvers
1439 7.2 Cry of the City
1486 7.0 Rachel and the Stranger
1207 7.0 Louisiana Story
584 6.9 The Luck of the Irish
659 6.7 Station West

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

August 1948: The Scar



















Huh! The previous movie was also an Eagle-Lion thing. How odd I’ve bought two of these in sequence.

At least this had been restored properly; the Amazing Mr. X looked horrible.

This is noir, though, and is told from the viewpoint of a bunch of small-time (wannabe) gangsters. I don’t think I’ve seen a movie quite like this before. It makes a lot of unusual (for its time) aesthetic choices, as in not using a score to tell the viewers how to feel all the time.

It feels fresh and unsettling.

Back in those days, they felt they had to make criminal protagonists somewhat more palatable by having the people who are after them be even worse people, and they use that for great effect here. We forget that he’s a ruthless killer for minutes at a time!

These days, of course, they’ll just have TV series starring the worst psychopaths and people will totally root for them anyway.

The plot is preposterous and all the more fun for that. But there’s a twist is signalled so thoroughly that when it comes to actually do the fatal mistake, it’s a bit “Paul, pleez.”

Joan Bennett is wonderfully cynical.

It’s almost a perfect little gem of a movie.

The Scar. Steve Sekely. 1948.

Popular movies in August 1948 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
427 8.1 Los tres huastecos
99735 8.0 Rope
831 7.8 The Winslow Boy
22264 7.8 Red River
5844 7.8 The Fallen Idol
4504 7.6 They Live by Night
1654 7.2 Pitfall
954 7.1 L’amore
409 7.0 Four Faces West
656 7.0 Julia Misbehaves

This blog post is part of the Decade series.

July 1948: The Amazing Mr. X











Wow, this is a bad DVD transfer. Looks like it’s been sourced from VHS via an NTSC broadcast.

But never mind. This is fun! It’s a horror movie, sort of. Or perhaps thriller? It’s kinda thrilling, anyway.

Being able to see what was going on would perhaps have been even better, but it works anyway.

That crow!

At the end of the day, it’s an entertaining piece of fluff. I’m not sure what it’s at the start of the day, though.

The Amazing Mr. X. Bernard Vorhaus. 1948.

Popular movies in July 1948 according to IMDB:

Poster Votes Rating Movie
20996 8.3 The Red Shoes
29728 7.9 Key Largo
689 7.1 Superman
646 6.8 The Velvet Touch
488 6.7 Coroner Creek
832 6.6 A Date with Judy
1007 6.5 The Amazing Mr. X
535 6.3 Return of the Bad Men
554 6.1 Blonde Ice
758 5.5 The Babe Ruth Story

This blog post is part of the Decade series.