Ken Burns’ “Country Music” gets a premiere date

Ken Burns’ “Country Music” gets a premiere date

Source:  Pitchfork

Ken Burns’ new eight-part, 16-hour documentary about country music has received a premiere date.

The first episode of “Country Music” will premiere on PBS on Sunday, September 15.  The next three episodes will air from Monday, September 16 through Wednesday, September 18.  The final four episodes will air from Sunday, September 22 through Wednesday, September 25.

Produced by Burns and his longtime collaborators Dayton Duncan and Julie Dunfey, “Country Music” will follow the history and evolution of the quintessentially American music genre — from the hills of Appalachia to the honky-tonks of Texas and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry — over the course of the eight episodes.

“Country Music” is only Burns’ second documentary to focus on music, following 2001’s “Jazz.”

Read the story at Pitchfork.

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A new “Alien” documentary reminds us that video essays are a legitimate art form

A new “Alien” documentary reminds us that video essays are a legitimate art form

Source:  Polygon

“The reek of human blood smiles out at me.”

The line, from the Greek tragedian Aeschylus’ trilogy, The Oresteia, haunted painter Francis Bacon over the course of his life. In 1944, the artist synthesized his nightmare into “Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion,” a triptych that reimagined the Furies as a set of jagged mandibles bursting through splashes of red.

Like a nightmare whispered down the lane, “Three Studies” later inspired another artist, Ridley Scott, who coated them in obsidian for his 1979 masterpiece, “Alien.”

In “Memory – The Origins of Alien,” which premiered at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, filmmaker Alexandre O. Philippe travels into the nebula of behind-the-scenes “Alien” anecdotes to break down how the voices of Scott, sci-fi writer Dan O’Bannon, and artist H.R. Giger melded to create the iconic motion picture.

Straddling the line between behind-the-scenes documentary and modern video essay, “Memory – The Origins of Alien” is a deep, deep, deep dive into the film but rarely an information dump.

The joy of Philippe’s film is that it’s a stunning work of art in its own right.

Read the story at Polygon.

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Peter Jackson signs on to direct new Beatles documentary from unseen “Let It Be” footage

Peter Jackson signs on to direct new Beatles documentary from unseen “Let It Be” footage

Source:  Variety

Sir Peter meet Sir Paul. “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker Peter Jackson has come aboard to direct a project that Paul McCartney had previously hinted was in the works: a new Beatles documentary using the 55 hours of in-studio footage that were shot in early 1969 for the 1970 feature film “Let It Be.”

The announcement is being made today — on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ rooftop concert atop the Apple Records offices in London — by Apple Corps Ltd. and WingNut Films Ltd., Jackson’s production company.

No release date or plan has been set, but sources say there’s every reason to suspect that the still-untitled film will come out in 2020 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Let It Be” album and movie.

“The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us ensure this movie will be the ultimate ‘fly on the wall’ experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about,” Jackson said in a statement. “It’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together.”

Read the story at Variety.

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The Amen break is the most sampled loop in music history

The Amen break is the most sampled loop in music history

Source:  Great Big Story

What do Skrillex, David Bowie, Salt-N-Pepa, and basically every drum and bass track have in common?

They’ve all used the Amen break, a four-bar drum solo that has become the most sampled loop in music history.

Recorded in 1969, the six-second sample originates from the song “Amen, Brother” by The Winstons, a funk and soul group from Washington, D.C.

For many years, the solo was buried deep in musical archives—that is until hip-hop pioneer Lou Flores, aka “Breakbeat Lou,” featured it on his compilation, “The Ultimate Breaks and Beats.”

Once producers caught wind of the solo, it took off, going on to change music forever.

Read the story at Great Big Story.

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R. Kelly and Sony Music agree to part ways following Lifetime docuseries furor

R. Kelly and Sony Music agree to part ways following Lifetime docuseries furor

Source:  Billboard

Sony Music and R. Kelly have agreed to part ways, sources tell Billboard.

The news comes on the heels of the Lifetime docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly,” which detailed allegations of sexual misconduct against the singer.

Kelly has already been removed from Sony’s RCA website.

After the debut of the Lifetime series, protests against Kelly began to ramp up with #MuteRKelly protests outside the Sony building in Manhattan on Wednesday, and artists such as Lady Gaga, Chance The Rapper, and Phoenix apologizing for collaborating with the singer.

Kelly’s music had also reportedly been banned from two Dallas-area radio stations, while some community organizers have begun to call on iHeartRadio and Radio One to ban his music from their playlists.

Watch “Surviving R. Kelly” on Lifetime.

Read the story at Billboard.

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The Rise of Asian Rap Culture with Rich Brian, 88rising, and $tupid Young

The Rise of Asian Rap Culture with Rich Brian, 88rising, and $tupid Young

Source:  VICE

A growing number of Asian artists have burst onto the hip-hop scene over the past few years, thanks in large part to 88rising—a multimedia company that specializes in signing and amplifying Asian talent.

Founder Sean Miyashiro has helped artists like Joji, Higher Brothers, and Rich Brian (formerly known as Rich Chigga) build massive followings and net millions of views on YouTube, where the rappers upload a steady stream of music videos.

But even as their popularity skyrockets, some in the hip-hop community take issue with their lyrics—raising questions about the line between self-expression and cultural appropriation.

For VICE’s MINORITY REPORTS episode, “Asian Rappers,” Lee Adams met up with Miyashiro and a handful of high-profile Asian rappers—including $tupid Young, an Asian Crip unaffiliated with 88rising—to hear why they got into hip-hop, and what challenges they’ve faced while creating space for themselves as hip-hop’s newest minorities.

Read the story at VICE.

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