Category Archives: Music

Apparat (with Soap&Skin) — “Goodbye”

I’ve been watching Dark, the eerie, difficult-to-describe German TV series running on Netflix. The show delves into a number of seemingly unrelated but interlocking mysteries.

For me, the first mystery arose even before the plot kicked in:  Why did the theme song seem so familiar?

A little research revealed that the name of the song is “Goodbye”. It’s the creation of German synth musician Sascha Ring, who uses the stage name Apparat. On this song, he collaborates with Austrian musician Anja Plaschg. She uses the stage name Soap&Skin.

No help there.

And then I got it.

“Goodbye” is playing in the background of “Face Off”, the stunning final episode of the fourth season of Breaking Bad, as Gus Fring heads toward Casa Tranquila to kill Hector Salamanca. I must have watched that episode a dozen times.

Mystery solved, and a certain anxiety relieved.

But now I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole. I got so into “Goodbye”, Apparat, and Soap&Skin that I’ve just spent a couple of hours exploring dark wave and contemporary Middle European ambient music, when I should have been doing important stuff like emptying the dishwasher and reorganizing my socks by colour.


2018 New Year’s Resolution Number 3

Don’t worry about falling down rabbit holes. That’s where the good stuff is hidden and the joy can be found.

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“Merry Xmas Everybody” from Oxford University’s Out of the Blue

This will make you smile.

Out of the Blue, Oxford University’s premier all-male a cappella group, is ranked as the top a cappella group in the UK. They’ve “…performed on the West End and on Broadway, reached the semifinals of Britain’s Got Talent, and toured around the world to places including Switzerland, Canada, India, Hong Kong, and Japan.” You’ll find lots of videos, music downloads, and CD offers at their site.

“Merry Xmas Everybody” is their Charity Single for 2017.

For the last eight years, Out of the Blue has donated its profits to Helen & Douglas House, the world’s first children’s hospice. It provides end-of-life and bereavement care to children and young adults, and to their families.

David Bowie: The Last Five Years Coming to HBO

The BBC documentary, David Bowie: The Last Five Years, is coming to HBO early next year.

According to the BBC’s program notes:

“This is an intimate portrait of one of the defining artists of the 20th and early 21st centuries, told by the people who knew him best – his friends and artistic collaborators.

“This film takes a detailed look at Bowie’s last albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, and his play Lazarus. In his final five years, Bowie not only began producing music again, but returned to the core and defining themes of his career. This film explores how Bowie was a far more consistent artist than many interpretations of his career would have us believe. It traces the core themes from his final works and relates them to his incredible back catalogue. His urge to communicate feelings of spirituality, alienation and fame underpin his greatest works from the 1960s to 2016. This is what lies at the heart of his success and appeal – music that deals with what it means to be human in a way that goes far beyond the normal palette of a rock star.”

David Bowie: The Last Five Years premieres on HBO on 8 January 2018, commemorating what would have been Bowie’s 71st birthday.

“David Bowie is” Coming to the US!

This makes me very, very happy.

“David Bowie is”, an exhibition that originated at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum in 2013, will be installed at the Brooklyn Museum next year. It will be the last stop on a long journey.

After the original blockbuster show at the V&A, “David Bowie is” went on tour, visiting 10 cities on five continents. Along the way, it became the most popular exhibition in the museum’s 165-year history, attracting 1.8 million attendees so far.

I saw it in Toronto, at the Art Gallery of Ontario, on the first stop of the tour. You can read my rapturous reaction here, along with a description of some of the items on display. A quick summary: It was one of the most brilliantly staged and mounted museum exhibitions I’ve ever seen.

Here’s perhaps the highest compliment I can give to “David Bowie is”: It’s worthy of Bowie himself.

“David Bowie is” will be on display at the Brooklyn Museum from 2 March 2018 through 15 July 2018.