Category Archives: Music

More Massive Attack

A few days back, I posted a video of Norwegian singer Aurora’s cover version of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”. It was probably inevitable that I’d follow it down the rabbit hole, which led me to another video.

Kaleidoscopic, not to mention psychedelic. You’ll want to dim the lights and go full screen on this one,

Here’s an audio-only of “Paradise Circus”, one of my favourite Massive Attack songs.

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The Breathtaking Brilliance of David Bowie is at the Brooklyn Museum

David Bowie is at the Brooklyn Museum is the most exciting, dynamic, and fascinating show you’ll see this year.

Here are some of the things you can see or hear at the exhibition:

“Highlights of the exhibition include more than 60 custom-made performance costumes…85 handwritten lyric sheets, including those from “Fame” and “Fashion”… drawings, including a sketch for the Young Americans album cover; and oil paintings, including two of musician Iggy Pop, all by Bowie…more than 40 pioneering music videos, television clips, and filmed roles as well as a multimedia presentation of international tour footage…custom audio mix made up of snippets of Bowie’s songs…”

—from the exhibition’s web page

 

The show originated at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, in 2013. Since then, it has been on a tour that took it to 10 cities on five continents. David Bowie is has been seen by more people than any other show in the V&A’s 166-year history.

These reviews, from Vogue (“Go. Just go.”) and Rolling Stone (“Stunning”), describe parts of the show, and explain why it’s the Must See exhibition of 2018.

It runs through 15 July 2018. This is the last stop of the tour, so once it’s gone, it’s gone.


Souvenirs

Even if you can’t get to the exhibition itself, you can buy the David Bowie cotton tote bag ($10) or the lavishly illustrated David Bowie is exhibition catalogue ($45 softcover, $55 hardcover). All available at the Brooklyn Museum’s shop.


(Photography wasn’t allowed, so all these pictures are from the museum’s website.)

Two Brilliant Covers: Sarah Blasko Sings Bowie and Aurora Sings Massive Attack

While prowling around the Net in search of a quick David Bowie fix, in preparation for next week’s trip to the “David Bowie is” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, I found a YouTube channel for Triple J, an alternative radio station sponsored by the Australian government. One of its features is a Friday morning segment called “Like A Version”, during which a visiting artist plays one of their own songs, and a cover of a song they love.

Sarah Blasko is an award-winning Australian singer-songwriter, with a string of highly-praised albums over the past 15 years. She performs a crystalline version of “Life on Mars”.

While on the site, I also found this beautiful cover of Massive Attack’s “Teardrop”* by Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora.

Despite the current foul political atmosphere in the US and the UK, isn’t the 21st century wonderful? Pre-internet, it’s unlikely that I’d ever have heard of either of these two amazingly talented musicians.


*A passing thought: By now, there must be millions of people who have never heard of Massive Attack, but would recognize “Teardrop” within a minute or so.

“Oh! That’s the song from House!”

Apple Makes the Most Gorgeous Commercials. For the Most Expensive Products.

Go fullscreen for this one!

The actress/dancer is British singer-songwriter FKA twigs (née Tahliah Debrett Barnett) and the director is the great Spike Jonze.

The product is the HomePod, which, according to Apple, “is a powerful speaker that sounds amazing and adapts to wherever it’s playing. It’s the ultimate music authority, bringing together Apple Music and Siri to learn your taste in music. It’s also an intelligent home assistant, capable of handling everyday tasks — and controlling your smart home. HomePod takes the listening experience to a whole new level. And that’s just the beginning.”

It sells for $349, magical apartment transformation powers and the ability to move like FKA twigs not included.

David Bowie is…in Brooklyn

Big News

I’ve been waiting for this for five years.

“David Bowie is”, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s magnificent exhibition chronicling the life of Ziggy Stardust, has returned to North America. It opened at the Brooklyn Museum last Friday, and will run through 15 July 2018.

I’ve already got my ticket.

I saw “David Bowie is” in 2013, in Toronto, the first stop of what was to be a five-year, five-continent, 10-city tour. It ran at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and it was possibly the most brilliantly staged museum exhibition I’d ever seen.

It was worthy of Bowie.

Here’s what I wrote at the time.

Thunderstorm over Africa

For the first minute or so, you’re gonna think your speakers are dead. Do not adjust your set—thunderstorms start slowly, but build fast.

The group is the Angel City Chorale,  a “multicultural ensemble of 160 men and women that truly reflects the spirit of Los Angeles, building community one song at a time.” You can find many more of their performances on their YouTube channel.

Here’s the original 1982 video for Toto’s “Africa”. It was the band’s biggest hit, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 chart in early 1983.

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.