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Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014
A head-nodding slice of hip-hop from Asia Minor.

An all-star line up of Turkish rappers delivers an old-school hip-hop throwback with “88 Bars”, a mid-tempo shuffle that features the talents of Rahdan, Ados, Adil and others. Recalling the days when ghettoblasters ruled and the iPOD could only have been the designs of science-fiction, “88 Bars” gives us a generous sampling of Turkey’s top MCs and features some nifty DJ cuts courtesy of Güney Uğurlu. Rahdan Vandal, whose normally meditative approach to rapping has produced some of the most haunted hip-hop to come out of Turkey, toughens up on his cameo for some terse verbal exchanges. The lone female in the bunch, Derya, is a particular standout; her cool-to-the-touch delivery brings to mind the streetwise sass of Neneh Cherry.



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Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014
French actress Isabelle Adjani's curious exploration of love and death in a pop song co-written by the legendary Serge Gainsbourg is visualized as a cold, erotic dream, courtesy of Luc Besson.

Iconic French actress Isabelle Adjani made a name for herself early on in her life, taking the lead in François Truffaut’s The Story of Adele H, a role that would earn the actress her first Academy award nomination in 1976 and bring her to the attention of cinema-goers worldwide. Adjani continued her streak in highly successful films and gained notoriety as one of the world’s most skilled actresses whose deeply nuanced and textured performances belied the impossible beauty of her icy, cool and mysterious exterior.


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Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014
Cloud Nothings' first single for their new album shows them moving forward without leaving any of their charm behind.

On Cloud Nothings’ much-heralded Attack on Memory, Dylan Baldi started facing the reality of post-adolescence in the face and he decided to fight them tooth and nail. Now, after taking a year off (presumably to stay useless), he’s back with a new album and trying to move his life forward. The first song released from the album, “I’m Not a Part of Me” is Baldi’s argument with himself. Trying to resolve his old slacker self with his newfound sense of resolve, he spends half the song declaring to his old self, “I’m not you”, to which he responds “you’re a part of me.” Although it’s clear that his desire to start taking life seriously is winning out, it’s a clearly a bitter struggle.


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Friday, Nov 8, 2013
Dreary, sweet, sci-fi and twee.

Desire Lines didn’t have the staying power of Camera Obscura‘s previous albums because of the lack of a clear-cut single (“Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken”, “French Navy”, “Sweetest Thing”). But that didn’t mean it was bad. Camera Obscura have made a video for “Troublemaker,” one of the better songs off the parent LP, beginning with a dreariness typical of 4AD stuff that immediately gives way to Tracyanne Campbell’s sweetness (lines like “We turn the TV off / It’s old, makes the sound of a saltshaker” and her mission statement, “I’m a troublemaker,” rings more like she wants to be one, rather than she actually is). On the video, Gavin Dunbar notes, “‘Troublemaker’ is a tribute to the British sci-fi of yesteryear, low budget and futuristic in an ‘80s way. It’s also a postcard from Glasgow.” On the latter, a cameo from Stuart Murdoch (of Belle and Sebastian fame) couldn’t hurt.


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Thursday, Oct 17, 2013
Downtempo maven Vanessa Daou offers a sampling from her upcoming release.

A New York Times review of Chinese writer Can Xue’s work asserted that reading the author’s fiction is like “running downhill in the dark; you’ve got momentum, but you don’t know where you’re headed.”  Such a sentiment could be said of Vanessa Daou’s newest work; much of her recent explorations with club culture incite the chancy, dangerous thrill of experiment. Daou has already made a name for herself with her astonishing mix of spoken word and electronic beats on her six previous albums. Her voice, an eerie, peculiar sigh which brings a yielding and sensual warmth to her sultry grooves, is equally noted for its unbridled femininity. 


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