Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The 12 days of Zeppelin: New Jimmy Page material now on iTunes

On the second day of Zeppelin, my true love gave to me:

'It Might Get Loud' as a digital download, available in this format for two weeks only and exclusively from It Might Get Loud

Have you been hoping for some new music from Jimmy Page? There has been some, and you can get your best glimpse of it starting today, with the first home release of the documentary "It Might Get Loud."

Shortly after Jimmy filmed his parts for the movie, he promised during an interview conducted in March 2008 that his first new material to be released this decade was forthcoming. Those who were able to catch theatrical showings earlier this year have heard Jimmy's skeletal compositions, "Embryo No. 1" and "Embryo No. 2."

The film is now available from iTunes, but you have to get your digital download of it within the next two weeks. After that, iTunes will cease to offer it for purchase, but beginning Dec. 22 it will be available through other vendors on physical media, in both the DVD and Blu-Ray formats.

What separates Page's work from that of his two "It Might Get Loud" costars, The Edge and Jack White, is that both of Page's compositions are essentially unique to the movie release. So far, he hasn't expanded them for inclusion on any other work.

In the movie, The Edge can be seen and heard while he is recording his parts to a new U2 song titled "Get On Your Boots"; this became the first single to emerge from U2's album No Line on the Horizon, released this past February. Jack White, meanwhile, was filmed while writing and improvising an impromptu recording that was released this August as a single called "Fly Farm Blues".

Page's "Embryo No. 1" plays over the opening title sequence of "It Might Get Loud," almost as a surprise to viewers. It was previously unheard by the vast public prior to screenings of this film.

"Embryo No. 2" is likewise a rarity of the Jimmy Page songbook, performed live only once and under the title of "Domino" and never having had any lyrics. It is believed Page first recorded this instrumental during recording sessions in May 1999 with now-deceased drummer Michael Lee. Demo recordings from this time have not been heard by the public, but the sessions are thought to have taken place with the hopes of enjoining Robert Plant to take part and work on what would have been his third collaborative album with Page outside of Led Zeppelin. Page's single live performance of the instrumental, then titled "Domino," took place at a charity concert in October 1999, with Lee on drums, Guy Pratt on bass and no vocalist in sight.

While promoting the theatrical release of "It Might Get Loud" in North America only four months ago, Page told Billboard magazine he'd played both of these "Embryo" pieces "with other musicians relatively recently, in the last year or so." While he did not name the musicians, he was probably talking about John Paul Jones and Jason Bonham, who were hoping to form a new band in 2008 once they could agree on their choice of singers and a new band name.

That band didn't come to fruition, but Page also hinted that he would be morphing these, and other new tracks, into fully developed studio compositions for an upcoming project. Until that happens, "It Might Get Loud" remains the only place they can be heard -- or, remarkably, seen.

Aside from that, the movie captures great interaction among the three, each of whom adds new depth to a run-through of "In My Time of Dying." Watching them follow Jack White through "Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground" is another treasure. See Page become a skeptical student of The Edge while the three jam on "I Will Follow." Witness as both The Edge and White's demeanor turns reverent while Page schools them both with the riff of "Whole Lotta Love."

The movie also has the ability to depict intimate moments and stories from all three of its subjects. For Page's part, he retells his own life story, from his own background and influences as a budding musician (including the scene shown above in which he plays air guitar along with a 45 rpm single in his home collection), through his early successes, on to his desires and goals in forming Led Zeppelin, through some of that band's achievements and downfalls, to where he stands today as a musician. While the Led Zeppelin story has been told many times, it is rare to hear it told as fluidly and succinctly as Page does within this documentary.

Because of the movie's ability to capture such elements for each guitarist's own development, while offering new and worthwhile moments, this movie is perfect viewing for not just hardcore fans of any one of the performers but for anyone who likes to have music in their lives, or for anyone who can relate to the passion involved in doing something he or she likes.

Also available for gift giving now are an 11×17-inch movie poster for "It Might Get Loud" and a German movie poster highlighting the film's selection at the 2009 Berlin Film Festival.

Don't forget the film is slated to premiere in U.K. theaters beginning Jan. 8. Movie tickets can make a good gift too!

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