10 Best Media Objects of 2006 (Part 5)

The Final Episode!

Flim: simple, handmade, lovely.
Flim: simple, handmade, lovely.

Jesus, wasn’t 2006, like, last year? OK, it’s almost March, but try to think back. It’s important. Don’t worry, this is the last one of these damned things. For its hoary ancestors, see Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4.

3. Flim, Given You Nothing (2002 electronic album): On this warm, inviting collection of songs and fragments, the human element of acoustic music is used as grist for subtle electronic manipulation. I originally stumbled across Given You Nothing while Googling about artists influenced by late-period Talk Talk albums like Spirit of Eden, and indeed you can hear the homage to that sound in a few of the tracks here. It’s a clever remix of those pre-post-rock ideas but very much its own accessible, melodic, sweet creation. A great record, really. Once a special-order-only item, this album became suddenly very available this past year through both the Apple Music Store and, much more desirably, through …

2. Bleep.com (DRM-free web music store): A project of the Warp label which has now grown to encompass offerings by lots of other electronic and indie-experimental labels (4AD, Thrill Jockey, Asphodel and Kranky, for example), Bleep offers a better shopping experience and a higher-quality product than the Apple Music Store. What’s better? Lots. All downloads are high-quality MP3s or FLAC files with no lame “Digital Rights Management” so you can share and enjoy with anyone, and no special software is required (besides a decent web browser) to preview tracks and place orders. And if you’ve got some kind of goofy blog where you’d like to include playable snippets of some release you’ve reviewed, you can do that too. A very cool (and award-winning) site. Over 1,000,000 downloads and counting.

The future will be exactly like the present, only rotoscoped.
The future will be exactly like the present, only rotoscoped.

1. A Scanner Darkly (2006 film): On virtually nobody’s 10-best list, this troubled rotoscope-style animated feature provides the best speculative thrills of 2006. I’ve heard from Philip K. Dick fanatics that Richard Linklater’s script hews closely to the ultraparanoid everyone-is-watching-everyone-else spirit of the novel, including large chunks of dialogue copy-pasted straight from the original text, but I personally can’t say. What I can say is that the low-budget near-future scenario--where a cop addicted to Substance D (gotta love that name) works in an undercover police force where nobody knows what anyone else looks like because they all wear the ultimate camouflage device, the scramble suit--is druggy, funny and intentionally confusing. This film has more science fiction in its little finger than V for Vendetta has in its whole body. If you missed it (and it seems likely that you did), the time has come to queue it up now.

All done!