Playlist: R. Loren

R. Loren is the mastermind behind Pyramids, Sailors With Wax Wings and White Moth. He recently launched his own record label, Handmade Birds, which features a very diverse lineup of artists. For this installment, he included a list of the last ten books he has read, films he has watched, and albums he has listened to.


1. Francis Bacon: A retrospective
Bacon has always been a fascination, but recently I have really enjoyed reading up on the psyche of the man behind such visceral imagery.

2. Stephen King: Salem’s Lot
King is right there with Cormac McCarthy in terms of living writers sure to become a part of the traditional canon. Despite his mass appeal, he is a brilliant writer and I have become enthralled with his opus The Dark Tower series. Salem's Lot contains the first appearance of Father Callahan, a character that resurfaces in The Dark Tower series, and I find it necessary to read.

3. Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
Saying that Franzen is the next Tolstoy sounded like complete blasphemy and a perfect example of elitist media hype. Then I read The Corrections, and two pages in already noticed that there was some substance behind the hype. Franzen truly holds his own and I am excited to read Freedom.

4. Nick Cave: The Death Of Bunny Munro
Cave is a musical genius, and his work with films like The Proposition affirm his reputation of working outside of rock music with his ideas. This is not his first novel, but it is his most recent, and his best.

5. Philip K. Dick: A Scanner Darkly
I recently completed this novel and have yet to read another by PKD, but I surely will. I guess you could say I came late in the game on this one. I had always heard about PKD, but never took the time to read anything by him. Refreshing, smart, and utterly unique science fiction.

6. Leo Tolstoy: The Death Of Ivan Ilyich And Other Stories
Tolstoy is legit. All coffee, cigarettes, and pseudo intellectual banter aside, he really could be the best.

7. David Mamet: Bambi Vs. Godzilla
Mamet is my favorite screen writer by far. His dialogue is striking and honest, the kind that makes me laugh out loud in that “humanity-really-is-that-filthy” kind of way. There is an honesty in the movies and plays he writes, and that voice is clear in this brutal snapshot of the world of film.

8. David V. Erdman: Blake- Prophet Against Empire
William Blake fascinates me, and I found this book at a used book shop. So far, it is the most comprehensive and reader friendly overview of his work and its context.

9. Peter Kreeft: Handbook Of Christian Apologetics
Religion has always been an area of intrigue for me, and I am constantly looking for answers to those common questions that most people raise in religious debates. Upon a recommendation from a friend, I picked this one up with the idea that it would be a straight forward reference of answers to those questions. It is quite a captivating read, honestly.

10. Novalyne Price Ellis: One Who Walked Alone: Robert E. Howard- The Final Years
I have only just started this. I have read most of Howard’s work, and bought this long ago though I am finally getting to it. The recent work with TenHornedBeast for Handmade Birds pushed me to pick it up and so far it is a good one. Howard embodies the troubled artist.


1. Andrei Tarkovsky: Stalker
I mentioned to my friend William Fowler Collins that I had just watched Solaris, to which he responded “Have you seen Stalker? The Mirror? Your mind will be blown!”. He was right. This film in particular is ridiculously innovative and visually stunning.

2. Andrei Tarkovsky: The Mirror
See above.

3. Andrei Tarkovsky: Solaris
I watched Solaris because I had been fascinated with Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist for many months, and the liner notes of the Criterion edition mention Von Trier’s affinity for Tarkovsky.

4. Danny Boyle: Sunshine
I love 28 Days Later, and when I found out the reason Boyle couldn’t do the sequel was because he was so heavily invested in making a space movie, I had to check it out. Apparently space movies are something many directors want to try, but after they do, it’s something they would not do again. It is a brutal process from what I hear, which of course, piqued my interest.

5. Tom Tykwer: Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer
See this movie. Now.

6. Wes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox
My wife is obsessed with Wes Anderson movies, and I think his treatment of this story is spot on. Everything about it is so tastefully done- the animation, the choice of voices, the adapted screenplay. A really fun time.

7. Darren Aronofsky: The Fountain
After Requiem For A Dream, and before The Wrestler, this movie is miles above Aronofsky’s most recent effort Black Swan. Every aspect of this film is progressive in thought and visually mindblowing. Black Swan doesn’t come close to the symphonic qualities of this movie, yet it remains the unsung hero of a great director’s portfolio.

8. Lars Von Trier: Antichrist
Von Trier has some strange angst towards women, though I can’t quite put my finger on what his grudge is. That aside, this movie is captivating and Willem Dafoe is in top form. If you like incredibly artsy, probably elitist films, or secretly consider yourself a film snob, you will enjoy this movie and its shocking surprises.

9. Lars Von Trier: Dancer In The Dark
This movie strikes every emotional thread in my body. Perfect movie.

10. M. Night Shayamalan: Signs
Shayamalan is either a joke or a visionary at this point, but one thing remains: back when he did Signs and Unbreakable, he was on to something. With the very subtle and rewarding Signs, the viewer is lured into a place with multiple dimensions to explore, and not just a cash cow ending in an AH HA! Moment.


1. Circle Of Ouroborus: Eleven Fingers
On the Handmade Birds site, I describe this forthcoming album as one of the best I have heard in twenty years. That is absolutely the case. This album has not left my stereo since I got a copy of it, and I am elated to release it this summer. The blend of styles that are represented and the sincere quality of the songs are simply inexplicable. Be ready. Putting out a record like this is exactly why I embrace going into debt to put out records.

2. TenHornedBeast: Ten Horned Moses Descended The Mountain
3XCD drone opus from Chris Walton, who is just a master of his genre. This is no ordinary drone record. The changes that span the course of three full discs execute the subtle and intricate changes of Philip Glass in slow motion. Changes that the listener realizes only after they have happened. Epic in scope and concept, this is another Handmade Birds summer release that I have in constant rotation.

3. Evan Caminiti: When California Falls Into The Sea
Evan take a minimalist approach with this album, constructing everything from just one or two tracks of guitar, and as a result, has created an incredibly emotional, stirring experience of chordal deconstruction, wavering notes, and shimmering feedback. Honest music by one of the nicest guys I have ever worked with.

4. Liturgy: Renihilation
Raw wall of sound. Just a great thing to have on in the car. I am excited for their upcoming album.

5. Key: Birch Skeletons; Skin Lanterns; Lake Of Stars
Handmade Birds is releasing these three demos in a 3x10” box set, and I am thrilled to be a part of that. Key has found a way to balance neo folk with post punk to produce a sound that is literally unlike anything else I have heard. These demos are a testament to the enormity of this band’s future.

6. Crooked Necks: Brilliant Darkness
CN has quickly become one of my all time favorite bands. Stylistically, they blend every musical ingredient that I love, and the result is a brooding, unique darkness that is impossible to classify. Though it seems that an infinite number try, almost never can a band in 2011 achieve the same honesty that bands like Joy Division were able to achieve, but CN nails that sincerity right on the head. Failed pop music…like they achieve greatness without trying, or they are trying and failing and the result is genius. Whatever it is, everything they have recorded so far completely floors me.

7. Sadness Saturn: She
Luke from Servile Sect playing raw black metal in a very intimate and interesting way. Strangely addicting.

8. Mamiffer: Mare Decendrii
One of the best from 2011 without question. This is a masterful work that feels like some recently unearthed collaboration between Cage and Ligeti, though executed in a way that only Faith Coloccia is capable of doing. The addition of A. Turner on guitar mirroring the piano lines is eerie genius, and the brief moments of vocals could not be more spot on. A perfect record.

9. Swamp Horse: Gravity
Dark soundscapes from Kentucky duo Josh Lay and Morgan Rankin that takes the aesthetic of Lay’s unique post-blackness and literally drags it through the swamp. A terrifying listening experience.

10. Pianos Become The Teeth: Old Pride
PBTT captures the real spirit of classic screamo bands like Saetia and Indian Summer, bringing credence to a movement that has nearly all gone silly.

1 comment:

a death cinematic ::: simple box construction said...

awesome list and awesome new label. can't wait to get some stuff from them.