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by Michael Barrett

23 May 2017

Mystery writer Arthur  B. Reeve's influence in this film doesn't follow convention -- it follows his invention.

? as Pilot X

Arriving out of the wild blue yonder for silent film buffs is this serial from the tail end of the silent era, running just over three hours in ten chapters.

The setting is a flying company owned by an elderly gentleman (C.H. Allen) who has invented a few handy devices like a radio-controlled Flying Torpedo and something called an aerometer for flying through fog. Alas, a masked Pilot X (the actor continually identified as “?” in the title cards) keeps raiding the joint and causing all their planes to crash, which at a certain point puts a crimp in the business. Ace pilot Jack Baker (Walter Miller) and the owner’s daughter Shirley (Eugenia Gilbert), a crack pilot herself, investigate while carrying on their implicit romance.

by Sarah Zupko

23 May 2017

Swedish electropunk artist  REIN calls into question whether the Western world is really living in actual democracies in her powerful new video.

Sweden’s REIN (known in “real” life as Joanna Reinikainen) worries a lot about society’s largest problems, including the return of fascism in the Western world, the continual denigration of women’s rights, and income inequality. We should all be worried about these issues and REIN brings them front and center in her righteous brand of electropunk. REIN’s latest single is “Democracy” and it’s a banger that hits the nail right on the head, calling out those billionaire business figures that control 85% of the world’s wealth. Accompanied by footage of protests from around the world, the video for “Democracy” is powerful and moving as REIN questions whether those of us in so-called First World democracies are actually experiencing anything like real democracy.

by Jedd Beaudoin

23 May 2017

Minnesota progressive band  returns with sophomore release that combines melodic and mathematical ecstasy.

Photo: Mike Ross

Bubblemath releases its first album in 15 years, Edit Peptide Friday, 26 May via Cuneiform Records. A little history seems in order: The Minnesota unit’s debut LP, Such Fine Particles of the Universe (2002), was remarkable for its wide-ranging aesthetic, blending elements of pop and prog, then bending back into territories of the experimental and mathematical. The record garnered the band major respect among critics and listeners whose imaginations were matched only by their musical appetites. The prolonged silence that followed came down to a series of personal and professional setbacks that did little to quell Bubblemath’s artistic impulses.

by Jedd Beaudoin

22 May 2017

Swarming Branch returns  with a tuneful meditation on the nature of authenticity, contemporary life.

Photo: Ryan Miller

With the observational skills of Ray Davies, the freak folk interests of early Beck and a conceptual bent that places the outfit in line with fellow Ohioan Robert Pollard, Swarming Branch’s music is as accessible as it is intellectually rewarding. The real pleasure of listening to this collection comes not in peeling away the layers or finding new nomenclature to describe the dizzying array of sounds contained in these tracks. Instead, it’s in letting the music work its charms in these brief and brilliant bursts of both sincerity and hilarity.

by Sarah Zupko

22 May 2017

French singer Tess  impresses with some electropop island vibes in her latest video, "Love Gun".

Photo: Fabien Dumas

Tess Océane Joffroy hails from Saint Denis on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and that stunningly gorgeous location is the setting for Tess’ new video for the single “Love Gun”. The island vibes imbue “Love Gun” with warmth and mellowness as the sound of waves lapping the shore intertwine with the instrumentation. Meanwhile, Tess’ electropop aesthetic embraces minimalist textures and quiet space within the confines of a traditional pop song. That allows Tess’ music to both feel vast and intimate at the same time. Tess’ voice recalls Björk and the Knife at moments, but she’s more resolutely pop like an Ellie Goulding or Hannah Reid (London Grammar), and her music draws more from R&B than those aforementioned northern artists.

//Mixed media

Pilot X Puts a Crimp on the Business in 'The Mysterious Airman'

// Short Ends and Leader

"Mystery writer Arthur B. Reeve's influence in this film doesn't follow convention -- it follows his invention.

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