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The Best Jazz of 2019

Our jazz critics create four quartets of great creative music, demonstrating four trends that keep "jazz" relevant in a new century.


Combustible Hope: Critics Simon Reynolds and Darren Ambrose on Mark Fisher's Works and Philosophy

Critic Mark Fisher never stooped to suckle the masses; nor did he fluff the pillows of academics. Colleagues Simon Reynolds and Darren Ambrose provide insight into Fisher's posthumous book, k-punk, and his intriguing legacy.


Bearing the Weight of Jane Brox's 'Silence'

Solitary confinement; monastic discipline; gender discrimination: In Silence, Jane Brox explores how our circumstances shape our ideals, showing how authority muffles her not so quiet subject.


The Eternal Snow of Frozen Tears: Saving Melting Landscapes

Zürich's Institute of Landscape Architecture explores the fragile connection between mankind and nature in a multimedia project that merges science with art, turning sounds and images of a changing alpine glacier into a moving call to action.


Facing Lorem's 'Adversarial Feelings'

Science fiction has it wrong. The real apocalypse, Lorem (Italian musician and visual artist Francesco D'Abbraccio) suggests, is humanity's own state of mind. Created with the aid of artificial intelligence, Adversarial Feelings' audio/video and book project provides a new way of thinking about humankind's conflicted consciousness.


The Beginning (And Ending) of KiTsuNe – Brian the Fox

An end of a career for one, a change of identity for another, Canterbury legend Robert Wyatt meets Japanese darkwave mirage the Future Eve for a suite of vaporous farewell drones.


Bearing the Weight of the World with 'An Elephant Sitting Still'

The beautiful tragedy in Hu Bo's An Elephant Sitting Still (Da xiang xi di er zuo) burns slowly yet powerfully, revealing the connections and disconnections that root our modern psyche.


Extras for an Hour, Voyagers for a Lifetime: 'Live Long and Evolve'

Biology professor Mohamed A. F. Noor voyages through deep sci-fi in Live Long and Evolve, exploring how evolutionary biology is portrayed within the television franchise, Star Trek.


How Beauty Transcends Pore Count

From stone axes to laundry detergent packages, Stefan Sagmeister and Jessica Walsh demonstrate how beauty has long guided human behavior. Their lovely book, Beauty explores the evolutionary purpose behind humanity's oldest muse.


Irony Triumphs in Theodor Kallifatides's 'Another Life'

In writing about the inability to write, Theodor Kallifatides has produced a book, Another Life, which aches with its own quiet beauties and inspires with its resilient creativity.


The 20 Best Avant-Garde and Experimental Albums of 2018

This is no scene or collective. These artists have reached their limit in all directions, back into traditions and forward into uncertain futures. 2018 presented challenges for all of us, and our artists presented challenges right back.


Vigor Is a Virtue: Pushing Beyond Boundaries with Audrey Chen

For vocal improvisor Audrey Chen, vigor is a virtue when conceiving music within the venue of the human body. Fragile yet ferocious, her uninhibited sonic rituals buzz with primal energy.


Out of the Shadows: The Ever-growing Music of Iku Sakan

Iku Sakan's background has led to a crystalline sound that is one-part club-ready beat and two-parts inflammable trance: circular rhythms twisting into luminous knots.


In and Out of Sound: Exploring 'New Bodies' with Unlikely Tangents

From the Adirondacks to clouds of cosmic dust, "post-everything" band Tangents defy genres and conventions on New Bodies. The magic relies less on what they separate than on what they unite.


Sailing the River Styx with Hip-Hop Shaman milo

milo is an art-house MC who savors the magic of the middle-class, refraining from helipads and bottle service in favor of video games and stewed tomatoes.

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