Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Jane Siberry's Symmetry (The Way Things Have To Be)

Jane Siberry's brilliant, gorgeous, but relatively obscure, geek-girl anthem, Symmetry (The Way Things Have to Be) from her 1984 album No Borders Here hasn't been represented anywhere on youtube. My video plugs that gap. Our visuals are from the title number of Dames (1934), created and arranged by Busby Berkeley.

is a 'must see' film in my view (see this blog post for terrific promotional images from the film including the ultra-classy ad. image at right), but it has recently drawn attention mainly because Michel Gondry and Matthew Barney have spent the last 15 years strip-mining it! Edgar Wright, however, has repeatedly advocated for Dames itself by screening it at various festivals. At any rate, I think the combination of Siberry and Busby Berkeley works well - two genius level items together for the first time, what could go wrong! - and hope that the relatively distinct audiences for these materials might productively cross-pollinate.
While many people nowadays associate symmetry in film with Wes Anderson or Kubrick, Busby Berkeley got there first and deepest, especially in the numbers for a remarkable string of somewhat risque, pre-Code, pictures he directed for Warner Bros in the early 1930s. Note that Dames probably isn't the best starting point if you're new to Busby B., for that I recommend the very topical (Depression-themed) Gold-diggers of 1933, e.g., here, here and here.
Berkeley influenced Escher and the wider development of Topology, and since he occasionally had his chorines dance and rearrange themselves on what look for all the world like giant folded proteins and viruses, Berkeley's influence on the sciences probably hasn't fully played out even now.

Mind-bogglingly, given that it's now a favorite, I only heard Siberry's track for the first time just over a week ago thanks to the wonderful Now you're at Songblague! blog. (Forget politics, a week is a long time in music appreciation!) Since one of my discoveries of last year was (the original mix of) Moev's Cracked Mirror - which I only heard about from a College remix 'tape' after liking their contribution to Drive (2011)'s soundtrack - I'm beginning to think I've got a thing for '80s C(anadian)-pop, as the kids might say.

Finally, a couple of other (recently-new-to-me) Siberry exceptionally-goodies from the '80s. From The Speckless Sky (1985), Taxi Ride:

and from The Walking (1987), the official video (with somewhat unfortunate poor audio quality) for The Walking (And Constantly):

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