FSM returns to the treasures of the Warner Bros. archives (The Omega Man, The Towering Inferno) with a masterpiece by Jerry Goldsmith: The Illustrated Man. The film stars Rod Steiger and Claire Bloom in an adaptation of several short stories by Ray Bradbury, affording Goldsmith the crowning achievement of his work in the anthology format (CBS Radio Workshop, The Twilight Zone), as well as one of his most memorable and original works in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres.
The Illustrated Man is classic Bradbury, a collection of eighteen startling visions of humankind's destiny, unfolding across a canvas of decorated skin, visions as keen as the tattooist's needle and as colorful as the inks that indelibly stain the body. The images, ideas, sounds and scents that abound in this phantasmagoric sideshow are provocative and powerful: the mournful cries of celestial travelers cast out cruelly into a vast space of stars and blackness, the sight of gray dust settling over a forgotten outpost on a road that leads nowhere, the pungent odor of Jupiter on a returning father's clothing.
Set in the backroads of America, the film tells three of Bradbury's stories set in the future, with Steiger as a man named Carl telling tales of some of the tattoos he has on his body. The stories are about virtual reality (The Veldt), a mysterious planet (The Long Rain) and the end of the world (The Last Night of the World).
Professor Sakamoto gives a lesson on what is practically a different style of music with each track on Illustrated Musical Encyclopedia, beginning with a sure-fire hit: the extroverted, quintessentially Japanese synth workout "Field Work" (with Thomas Dolby). From there, Sakamoto hits riff-ready crossover jazz-fusion ("Etude"), electronic minimalism ("M.A.Y. in the Backyard"), and Oriental dub ("Paradise Lost"). There is a return to sampladelic Eastern synth-pop with "Steppin' Into Asia," but for the most part Sakamoto displays his impressive stylistic range on this solo album.
Vida Blue was an trio fronted by Page McConnell of Phish and included Oteil Burbridge of The Allman Brothers Band and Russell Batiste of The Meters. The band originated in 2001 when McConnell attended shows by both the The Allman Brothers Band and The Meters, and approached both Burbridge and Batiste about the Vida Blue project, which they were interested in. Their second album, The Illustrated Band, released a year after the first, is backed by the Spam Allstars, a Latin Grammy-nominated, Afro-Cuban sextet.