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Bowie’s Blackstar

bowie-blackstar-vice1,488 words

David Bowie
Blackstar
Columbia, 2016

Blackstar will inevitably serve as Bowie’s last will and testament whether he meant it to or not. Certainly the writing of much of the material would have preceded his awareness of his terminal illness and his confrontation with imminent death. Read more …

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New Order’s Music Complete

musiccomplete777 words

“What can you buy, that lifts a heavy heart up to the sky?” This question, the opening words of New Order’s Music Complete, is meant to be rhetorical. But there’s a straightforward and rather obvious answer: you can buy Music Complete itself, one of New Order’s most joyous and compelling creations.

Read more …

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Suicide & Obscurity:
A Very Brief Introduction to Oswald Kabasta & Franz Berwald

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Franz_Berwald_by_Carl_Eldh_2011

Carl Eldh, Berwald, Berwaldhallen, Stockholm, 2011

Oswald Kabasta, Conducts Mozart and Schubert, with the Munich Philharmonic and the Vienna Philharmonic, ©1996, 1940, 1941, 1942-43 Preiser Records 90303, Compact disc.

Ulf Björlin, Berwald: Overtures, Concertos & Symphonies, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, ©2007, EMI Classics, 3 CDs.

On February 6, 1946, the Austrian conductor Oswald Kabasta “wrote a poignant letter . . . to the Mayor of Munich, thanking the orchestra and audience for their great enthusiasm and loyalty, Read more …

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The New, Weird Britain:
Some Reflections on Colin Liddell’s “Sympathy for Their Satanic Majesties”

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I’m very happy to take WN’s suggestion and add a few words to Mr. Colin Liddell’s excellent article on the Rolling Stones’ classic Their Satanic Majesties Request — which I was glad to see since, for some reason, I seem to have not done Satanic Majesties justice in my own past ruminations, although on reflection, inspired by Mr. Liddell, it seems to have a large enough role.  Read more …

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Sympathy for Their Satanic Majesties

Rolling_Stones_-_Their_Satanic_Majesties_Request_-_1967_Decca_Album_cover1,908 words

Their Satanic Majesties Request is, to my mind, the most British and therefore the most authentic of all Rolling Stones albums. Their characteristic hard-driving blues is put on the back-burner and suffused through a veil of psychedelia and English whimsy with which the band were seldom associated.

Read more …

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Kate Bush’s Before the Dawn

Kate Bush, 2014

Kate Bush, 2014

2,447 words

Outside London’s Eventim Apollo the sign reads: “The KT Fellowship Presents: Before the Dawn: Sold Out” There is no mention of the name Kate Bush, but it fools nobody because news of her return to live performance has been so high profile and has often spilled over into hysteria. The conceit of anonymity is only part of the story. Before she had released a record, Bush played a series of gigs at various London pubs as part of the KT Bush band. The KT Fellowship sounds like a nostalgic throwback to such carefree times before she had even thought of the Tour of Life.  Read more …

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Death in June in New York City

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DIJwithSnejdrRecently my new nomadic, couch-surfing existence took me to New York City, where I saw Death in June on Saturday, May 31 at Webster Hall in the Village. (In case you were wondering, I was the white guy dressed in black.)  Read more …

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Laibach’s Spectre

Laibach-S-584x5841,111 words

Laibach
Spectre
Mute, 2014

There have always been doubts about just who Laibach are and what they are up to. First who are they? The band is a collective so it is never too clear where “who” ends, Read more …

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The Confession of Isobel Gowdie

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James MacMillan

1,457 words

The Confession of Isobel Gowdie is an orchestral work by the Scottish composer James MacMillan. It was premiered at the 1990 BBC Proms where it drew instant and enduring acclaim.  Read more …

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Death in June in San Francisco

DIJSFsmall1,030 words

It was one of those clubs where you go and you stand on your own, and you leave on your own, and you go home and you cry, and you want to die. But Death in June was playing there, and I had never seen them in concert. So I decided to temporarily interrupt my exile from California (roughing it in Jackson Hole) and descend again to the sinful cities of the plain.

I very much enjoyed seeing Death in June live. Read more …

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