Music

The Best Albums of the Decade So Far: 2010-2015

Feeling only moderately provoked but more to the point inspired by Pitchfork’s list of the 100 best albums of the decade so far, I have compiled and extensively written out this list of my own. My list forgoes EPs, otherwise works by Blood Diamonds and Holy Other would have made the cut, Zola Jesus would have been placed higher, and Burial…

The World Cup in Wider Culture

While on the field, the 2014 World Cup saw the rise of new superstars, the decline of footballing philosophies, the interplay between varying formations, and appeared to demonstrate the narrowing of traditional power gaps in the international game – in the knockout stages, from the round of sixteen through to the final, only three of fifteen matches were won by a…

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Documents

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Documents

Here are a selection of documents and sources – videos, images, and text – relating to and referred to in the piece I just published, on the influence of Nicholas Roerich and Asiatic culture on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Mikhail Glinka, Ruslan and Lyudmila (1842) – Overture Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Scheherazade, Op. 35 (1888) Vladimir Soloviev, ‘Pan Mongolism’ (1894) Pan Mongolism! The…

The Scythians and The Rite of Spring: Stravinsky and Roerich

Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring (in French, Le Sacre du printemps) – the third ballet which Stravinsky composed for Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes, after The Firebird (1910) and Petrushka (1911) – was written for the 1913 Paris season, and premiered just over a hundred years ago, on 29 May, in the newly-opened Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. The centenary of this most notorious…

Laurel Halo: Behind the Green Door, and the Conflicts of Live Performance

Laurel Halo: Behind the Green Door, and the Conflicts of Live Performance

Laurel Halo is seeking to make the live performance of music and the music recording process connect. After a string of EPs which initially saw her categorised as part of a lo-fi synth movement, released first over the internet, then via Hippos in Tanks – an L.A. based record label which has worked with artists including Gatekeeper, Nguzunguzu, and d’Eon…

A$AP Rocky: Cloud Rap and Live at the Melkweg

A$AP Rocky: Cloud Rap and Live at the Melkweg

A$AP Rocky is sometimes considered as one of the most prominent of a group of young artists whose sound has come to be identified as ‘Cloud Rap’. The term – which originated around 2011, associated with Main Attrakionz and Lil B, and is still in the process of emerging – is a useful one, for it suggests the way in…

Rabindranath Tagore, E. E. Cummings; Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Björk

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was a Bengali polymath, best known as a poet. Born in Calcutta – then part of the Bengal Presidency, and the capital city of British India – Rabindranath was the youngest child of Debendranath Tagore, the first leader of the Brahmo Samaj, a religious and social reform movement prominent in the development of the Bengal Renaissance. The Brahmo…

Pierrot Through the Arts: The Cultural History of a Sad Clown

Pierrot, the sad clown, with white face and loose white blouse, expressing slowly and subtly and in the absence of and beyond words, emerged in the nineteenth century from his roots in stock comedies and pantomimes to become the embodiment of a certain artistic type, a specific strain of artistic emotion: sensitive, melancholy and solitary, and at once playful and…

Kanye West Live at the HMH, Amsterdam

Kanye West Live at the HMH, Amsterdam

One of the facets of Kanye West which most defines him as an artist and drives his popularity is his readiness to accept and juxtapose apparently dichotomous emotions and contradictory points of view. We expect and allow different things from different groups of people. Where a philosopher may endeavour to systematise his thoughts into a single comprehensive and coherent body…