Saturday, March 21, 2009

Them! and Then!

The 1954 Oscar nominated film Them! delves into atomic weapons testing in the American southwest and its mutating effects on ants. When giant, aggressive ants threaten people and property, law enforcement, the FBI, and the military fight back. Them! is one of the best works of the nuclear fiction genre and is made even more wonderful by the contrast between the primness of 50's lifestyle and the deadly seriousness of nuclear weapons. Fictional portrayals of nuclear war, whether literary or cinematic, are a great glimpse into the collective social psyche of those who lived during the Cold War. If you're interested, give these a try: On The Beach, Dr. Strangelove, The Day After, Arc Light, Threads, Seven Days to Noon, and Strategic Air Command. There are more, many more.

The release in 2004 of guitarist Allan Holdsworth's Then! represents 14 years of waiting for this live recording from 1990 in Tokyo to see the light of day. Holdsworth's classic lineup is here: Jimmy Johnson (bass), Gary Husband (drums), and Steve Hunt (keyboards). Most importantly, the recording and mastering is fantastic, far exceeding the poorly mixed 2002 effort, All Night Wrong. If you want to experience jazz rock fusion by the guitarist that Musician Magazine rates near the top of their 100 greatest guitarists, now is the time for Then!

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