CineSavant Column

Tuesday March 31, 2020



A curious page signed by ‘Crysknife007’ at bandcamp has since 2015 been providing something he calls Forbidden Planet: The Great Krell Machine Ambient Noise. If you remember, the alien race The Krell constructed a giant computer as massive as a steel mill, but with twenty square miles of giant mechanical relays… I guess the Krell never got the hang of microelectronics?  Everything worked just swell until The Krell stumbled into Facebook-style social networking. This audio link is a fair description:

“This is twenty or so minutes of the core ambient sound from inside the Great Krell Machine from Forbidden Planet. Set your favorite music player to play this track on repeat as you go to sleep and you should have no trouble drifting off. Set your player to loop seamlessly to avoid turbulence. This is perfect for imagining some of your deepest secrets, fears, and joys as you drift off to sleep. Also perfect for studying, focusing at work, or just having on where you live as you go about your day.”

Fudge. I was counting on using the audio track to project physical manifestations of my subconscious id to any part of the planet they wanted to go. But this is still very cool. If you listen hard enough, you can hear those millions of mechanical relays kicking over.

This next item is pretty far off base, maybe. Getting tired of my playlist during lockdown, I went searching for some web radio to shake things up, and found a stream called Sweet 16 Oldies. A disco track just snuck in but the majority of records are from the 1960s. The selection is halfway creative — I hear ‘hits’ I haven’t heard in a long time… even the losers are amusing.

I guess (sigh) this is comfort music for listeners around my age group. But I’m never ashamed of Rock ‘n’ Roll in any guise. Look at it this way… we’re still listening to music that is now all over fifty years old. What radio stations in 1965 still played songs from 1925?

I like the homemade radio ads from Elizabethtown, with positive little remarks about our current health crisis. This will certainly keep me sedated entertained for a while. (note, Monday afternoon: The Oldies radio stream just now (3:30 pm) switched over to a fundamentalist preacher. I’m retreating to my playlist for a while. If the feed doesn’t soon revert to safe ‘n’ sane oldies, I’ll know that the whole thing is a boomer trap!)

Finally, we’ve got some sad news that finally came through on FB a couple of days ago. Career film critic and blogger Joe Baltake has passed away. I frequently linked to his thoughtful articles on his The Passionate Moviegoer page. We corresponded frequently too. Joe was quick with welcome corrections — his emails began more than once with “I’m impossible. Whenever I spot a gaffe, I can’t control myself.” I didn’t learn about Joe’s impressive journalistic background until I had already known him several years. A good obit for him is up at the Philadelphia Inquirer.

‘The Passionate Moviegoer’ went quiet last summer, leaving a scary note about Joe’s health that was the last word we heard from him for almost three months. When he came back online in October we celebrated — ‘Hooray for Joe Baltake’ (10.15.19). Joe continued with his blog updates until February 3. His last blog entry is about his favorite film, The Apartment. He will be greatly missed by all of us that enjoyed the enthusiasm and good will of his writing.

Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson