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by Steve Jansen

12 Jul 2012

While the title filled me with immediate dread (given Michael’s serious bout of pneumonia last year), suggesting this was going to be some cloying pop star confessional (overlooking as I am, various lines about music, along with the power of his fans’ prayers, saving him) “White Light” isn’t the worst Michael effort committed to binary. 

Part Giorgio Moroder, with a hint of Pet Shop Boys, “White Light” dances in similar territory to the more electro experiments on 2004’s Patience album. There’s also fair use of Michael’s recent penchant for the Vocoder. (Few caught last year’s True Faith New Order cover, but once over the shock of an entire vocal varied through said device, Michael’s interpretation was really rather fine.)

by Alan Ranta

11 Jul 2012

Andromeda Mega Express Orchestra is as much an anomaly as it is an enigma. The 18-piece ensemble, conducted by noted Berlin composer Daniel Glatzel, crept into the underground in May of 2009 with their Danny Elfmann-esque debut Take Off!. While that album was a genre-hopping exploration of film music, jazz and classical, lush with the live-off-the-floor sounds of a complete, authentic orchestra, their new album defies even their own expectations. Bum Bum is practically a deconstruction of everything their previous album was based on, recording most of the instruments separately and reassembling them in the studio along with the odd vocal and referential pop culture sample into forms unrecognizable. The results are more manic yet familiar than ever thought imaginable. Case in point… What exactly is the opening track “Saturn Hoola Hoop?” Is it instrumental hip-hop? Is it plunderphonic bop jazz? Is it a schizophrenic cacophony? It’s up to the listener to delve in and find their place at the eye of the storm.

by Cynthia Fuchs

11 Jul 2012

“I haven’t moved past the childhood days of my life when it comes to the artwork,” observes Winfred Rembert. “Most of the things I do now are just memories from a young guy, a teenager, you know, growing up in Cuthbert, Georgia.” As he speaks, Rembert is headed back to Cuthbert. He’s bringing a film crew with him, because now, as puts it, he’s “somebody.”

That somebody, you see early in All Me: The Life and Times of Winfred Rembert, is certainly a product of his childhood days. The film—which screens at Maysles Cinema on 11 July, followed by a Q&A with Rembert and director Vivian Ducat and—traces how he has survived, by telling his stories in his art. At once harrowing and heartening, these stories are represented in particularly vivid form: Rembert’s paintings are actually not made with paint, but with bright dyes he applies to leather canvases. The images show cotton fields and chain gangs, baptisms and lynchings, images of the US South during the 1960s, a world where, he recalls his great aunt telling him, “You don’t make waves, you know, you can’t change a thing. White people do what they want to do, how they want to do, and you can’t do nothing about it.” Now, in his art, he’s doing something.

by Alan Ranta

10 Jul 2012

“I call the big one Bitey”
—Homer Simpson

The next time you’re planning the maiden voyage of your town’s new monorail, you might consider Opossom as your entertainment. With their debut album Electric Hawaii set for release by Fire Records on August 7th of 2012, this New Zealand side exploration of Unknown Mortal Orchestra brothers Kody and Ruben Nielson knows how to keep things entertaining. Their first video “Blue Meanies” exposed cult-ish weirdness in the woods, while this video for “Fly” shows the kind of mishegoss and mischief they can get up to in a semi-arid mountain range with robot women and a UFO. Their sugary drum and bass pop dynamic may seem deceptively simple at a glance, but as you watch, visible becomes the barely contained paisley explosion within, bursting at the seams. Before long, you may be uncontrollably screaming, “Awesome Opossom!”

by Steve Jansen

9 Jul 2012

With so much being made of the Stone Roses reunion, and the British media bending over backwards to heap yet more superlatives onto an already precarious profile, this unofficial but revealing reunion documentary seeks to tell the real story. Along the way, the Happy Mondays reveal the truth about duking with Tears for Fears, Bez’s name; while Noel Gallagher links in the debt Oasis owes to, well, just about everyone—and everything.

//Mixed media

U2's 'The Joshua Tree' Tour Reminds the Audience of their Politics

// Notes from the Road

"The Joshua Tree tour highlights U2's classic album with an epic and unforgettable new experience.

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