Dan Kok: After taking on the voice of a founding father, Daveed Diggs is back to laying his super technical flow on top of industrial, noisy beats. Clipping’s catchiest and most popularly appealing tracks from their previous album sounded like this one: A complex beat made in what sounds like a hardware store, an aggressive hook, and a series of jabs at society and/or hip-hop culture that everyone can agree aren’t too polarizing. But even on tracks like this where what he’s saying is perhaps a bit shallow, the way he says it makes it so engaging. Diggs’ writing can be very meaningful and resonant, but it can also just be fire. The latter is the case here. It’s a track you turn up and roll the windows down for and everyone needs that sometimes. [8/10]
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Andrew Paschal: “Signal” starts out promisingly enough, with warm washes of analog synths combining with a sparse yet commanding beat and forlorn vocals. It remains in this state for a while, but as the song progresses SOHN chooses to give in to some of the more unfortunate impulses of electronic music, gradually layering distorted synthetic squeals that remind me of what James Blake once referred to as the “pissing competition” of EDM. While not quite approaching that level of grotesque, and at least abstaining from total excess, “Signal” nonetheless leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth, like the feeling of waking up having smoked too many cigarettes the night before (or perhaps kissing someone who had). [5/10]
All good things must come to an end. After 26 films over the past week, my time in Toronto is over. Generally, thunderstorm apart, the weather has been lovely, the films good, and the TIFF volunteers spectacularly helpful and efficient. On the plus side, it will be nice to get back to a diet that doesn’t consist of grabbing junk food in-between screenings, and I should probably see a bit more of the outdoors again.
Before we close, there are three final films to discuss. First up, in a quiet screen, we have LBJ. Rob Reiner’s biopic puts an initially unrecognizable Woody Harrelson into the shoes of Lyndon Baines Johnson, America’s 36th President, the man sandwiched between JFK and Nixon. Using a certain day in Dallas in 1963 ,and a certain motorcade as a base, LBJ ranges back and forth in time to show Johnson the Senator, Johnson the Vice President, and eventually Johnson the Commander-in-Chief.
Adriane Pontecorvo: Like so many of the best stories, Sampha’s new single begins in medias res: he’s a man on the run, full of breathless desperation and a need to keep moving. Suspense fills the track, and the track sounds like it could fill a theater; simple as sparse keys, repetitive drums, and a small choir of voices are, they come together in a cinematic masterpiece, with Sampha’s vocal performance taking top billing. The fear and adrenaline in his voice sit against a hint of melancholy, an added depth that leaves me wanting to know the narrator’s whole story. Regardless of whether or not there ends up being any more to know, “Blood on Me” offers a thrilling slice of aural tension and gives yet another reason to keep a close eye on Sampha’s solo career. [9/10]
Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of The Counter of Death and Tap Hero, two mobile action games. They’re relatively simple games, especially within the action genre. Both use only two “buttons”. The Counter of Death actually has two virtual buttons, and Tap Hero splits the screen in two with each side becoming an invisible “button.” In each case, the simplicity of the controls belies surprisingly difficult games, but they’re not difficult because of their mechanics. They’re difficult because of my natural human limitations.
// Moving Pixels
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