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Newer, Darker, Meanings: Exclusive Preview of "The Unwritten" Vol. 8

With a subtle themed approach to the dark side of words and ideas, The Unwritten Vol. 8: Orpheus in the Underworlds takes the award-winning series into bold new territory.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

They'll say it's the dream that drove them apart. And they'll be right, if they're talking about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung.

The thing that really did break apart one of the most profound and productive working relationships that spanned the cusp of the late 19th and 20th centuries, was a dream of Carl Jung's.

In it, Jung dreamt of being in a house (although a house entirely unfamiliar to him he immediately thought of it as "my house") with two floors. The upper, a luxurious salon outfitted in modern rococo style. Exploring the lower floor it found it styled in an older medieval vintage. Some impulse drove him even lower, into a cellar clearly recognizable from Roman times. And when he noticed a slab with an iron ring set in stone. Once moved, he entered into an underground cave bedecorate with primeval human culture, a cave where human experience just ran out.

For Jung, this dream had all the power of a breakthrough. It allowed him the radical reinterpretation of Freud's now very familiar schema of the psyche -- the Superego, Ego and Id. For Jung, this dream was the insight into the need for a fourth, deeper, more primal level -- the collective unconscious. And the birth of the notion of the collective unconscious was what would ultimately break apart the working relationship and ultimately the friendship between Jung and Freud.

In catering to their own characters' journeys into the underworld (the underworld is always pop culture, Dear Reader) creators of The Unwritten, Peter Gross and Mike Carey tap the power inherent in this crucial moment.

Thus far in the series, we've seen things go exceedingly well for Tom Taylor and his cohorts. And we've also seen the great villainy he's been up against, not least of all the mysterious Pullman whose prosthetic wooden arm seems to have the power to dissolve anything it touches into a puddle of words.

By the opening of Orpheus in the Underworlds, we see the journey from the other side. We see Detective Didge be vaporized in the same way we've seen countless others vaporized before. But this time we follow her journey, down into the murky, uncertain dark of the real live Underworld. Only to have her yanked back, in one of the finest denouement's of the series thus far, because she's dyslexic.

But this isn't the end of the story. Far from it. This is only the beginning for Tom Taylor who now realizes, from Didge's report of her time down there, that the missing Lizzie Hexam is actually bound for Hell. And who Tom will find reigning as king once he get's there…

Please enjoy our exclusive preview of The Unwritten Volume 8: Orpheus in the Underworlds.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

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Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.


20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta


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Film

Hitchcock, 'Psycho', and '78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene'

Alfred Hitchock and Janet Leigh on the set of Psycho (courtesy of Dogwoof)

"... [Psycho] broke every taboo you could possibly think of, it reinvented the language of film and revolutionised what you could do with a story on a very precise level. It also fundamentally and profoundly changed the ritual of movie going," says 78/52 director, Alexandre O. Philippe.

The title of Alexandre O. Philippe's 78/52: Hitchcock's Shower Scene (2017) denotes the 78 set-ups and the 52 cuts across a full week of shooting for Psycho's (1960) famous shower scene. Known for The People vs. George Lucas (2010), The Life and Times of Paul the Psychic Octopus (2012) and Doc of the Dead (2014), Philippe's exploration of a singular moment is a conversational one, featuring interviews with Walter Murch, Peter Bogdanovich, Guillermo del Toro, Jamie Lee Curtis, Osgood Perkins, Danny Elfman, Eli Roth, Elijah Wood, Bret Easton Ellis, Karyn Kusama, Neil Marshall, Richard Stanley and Marli Renfro, body double for Janet Leigh.

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Mary Poppins, Mrs. Gamp, Egyptian deities, a Japanese umbrella spirit, and a supporting cast of hundreds of brollies fill Marion Rankine's lively history.

"What can go up a chimney down but can't go down a chimney up?" Marion Rankine begins her wide-ranging survey of the umbrella and its significance with this riddle. It nicely establishes her theme: just as umbrellas undergo, in the everyday use of them, a transformation, so too looking at this familiar, even forgettable object from multiple perspectives transforms our view of it.

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7

Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

In a staid city like Washington, D.C., too many concert programs still stick to the basics. An endless litany of Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky concerti clog the schedules and parades of overeager virtuosi seem unwilling to vary their repertoire for blasé D.C. concertgoers. But occasionally you encounter a concert that refreshes your perspective of the familiar. The works presented at The Kennedy Center on 25 October 2017 might be stalwarts of 20th century repertoire, but guest conductor Antonio Pappano, leading the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, reminded us how galvanizing the canonical can still be. Though grandiose executions of Respighi's The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome were the main event, the sold-out crowd gathered to see Martha Argerich perform one of her showpieces, Prokofiev's Third Piano Concerto. Those who regard the reclusive Argerich as one of the world's two or three greatest living pianists—classical or otherwise—would not have left the concert hall disillusioned.

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