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by Cynthia Fuchs

24 Feb 2011


Most faces in Yael Hersonski’s film belong to residents of the Warsaw ghetto, looking back at the Nazis filming them in May 1942. Preserved in a 62-minute project titled “Das Ghetto”, today they’re both haunted and haunting, their skin stretched tight and their eyes unavoidable. The Third Reich, narrates Israeli musician Rona Kenan, was “an empire infatuated with the camera, that knew so well to document its own evil, passionately, systematically, like no other nation before it.” This infatuation is visible everywhere in A Film Unfinished, which sorts through memories, traumas, and images without clear contexts, to produce a discomfort more resonant than that of “disturbing images of Holocaust atrocities including graphic nudity” that led the MPAA to give the documentary an unusual R rating.

The film screens 24 Thursday at the IFC Center, as part of Stranger Than Fiction‘s Winter Series, followed by a Q&A with guest Isaac Zablocki. See PopMattersreview.

by Alan Ranta

23 Feb 2011


“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

Phil Nisco’s video is a fine piece of visual storytelling in its own right. Set to “Jupiter” by Free the Robots (a.k.a. Chris Alfaro), from the producer’s 2010 sophomore album CTRL ALT DELETE, and starring Alfaro himself, Chris is also seen as an emotionally commanding artist in his own right. This is a win-win winner.

by Dominic Umile

23 Feb 2011


Dave “2562” Huismans marked a significant step forward for bass music in 2009 on Unbalance, where his marriage of dub techno, inventive drum programming, and hazy UK garage textures improved upon his Aerial by miles and makes for one of the few flawless dubstep-borne full-lengths to date. In fact, driven by stuttering and powerful beats that are more prominent than any other element at work, “Aquatic Family Affair” begins in the same minimal and punchy manner that Unbalance‘s “Flashback” does. It’s reportedly built only of disco samples (as is all of his forthcoming Fever LP), but there’s no semblance of source material on either side here. Instead, Huismans establishes the audio tour suggested by the A-side’s title: the course of a sleek submarine, prowling alien depths. Bubbling synths mimic the scene at 20,000 leagues before the producer peppers his enigmatic “Aquatic” with ugly, detuned vibe loops if only just for a couple of measures. It’s part of a bold evolution for this guy—from hard-edged, early-career Tectonic 12-inch singles to the disembodied breakbeat stuff he’s producing now, Huismans is confusing the hell out of anyone still trying to make sense of today’s oft-splintering, bass-heavy dance music subgenres.

Fever is out April 4 on When In Doubt (tour dates after the jump).

by Cynthia Fuchs

23 Feb 2011


Martin Scorsese’s documentary makes clear how Fran Lebowitz both lives in and embodies New York City. Not only is she repeatedly pictured on sidewalks, in her favorite West Village restaurant (the Waverly Inn), or driving her 1978 Checker cab, but she also performs an attitude associated with the city. Sardonic, impatient, and incisive, she explains here how she came to her art—writing—as this is a function of her worldview. As a cabdriver, she says, she worked just enough to “hang out.” She goes on, “It’s very important for getting ideas or thinking new things, sitting in bars, smoking cigarettes: that’s the history of art.”

See PopMattersreview.

by Sarah Zupko

22 Feb 2011


New York’s Sleepy Rebels are an über-catchy pop trio who offer a timeless formula of infectious melodies, memorable choruses, and an intriguing visual look, never something to discount the importance of in pop music. The group is Jeremy Adelman along with siblings Bruce and Erica Driscoll. Not surprising given their sound, the band has put forth “positivity” as the basis of their message and music. We could all probably use a bit of that just about now as the political wars in the US and around the world flame on and lingering recession is putting a damper on what could be happier times. “Magic Girl” perfectly encompasses this upbeat aesthetic and the video’s producer, Powerful Company, has created a lovely depiction of the group as street performers in some vaguely 19th century setting. This is the first of several planned videos for Sleepy Rebels by this production group. Stay tuned for more and for the band’s May release of their album Yellow Tree.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Moving Pixels Podcast Looks at the Scenic Vistas and Human Drama of 'Firewatch'

// Moving Pixels

"This week we consider the beautiful world that Campo Santo has built for us to explore and the way that the game explores human relationships through its protagonist's own explorations within that world.

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