Hand-drawn picture of a reindeer by "Cora"

Best new music 2021

A couple of weeks ago, in the middle of the afternoon, someone enthusiastically rang our doorbell and then knocked several times. Unfortunately, we were both on Zoom calls so couldn’t rush to the door to see who was there. Usually … [read more]

DIVERSIONS//2021.01

Of mixtapes and playlists (DIVERSIONS//2021.01)

This year, I’ve decided to occasionally make a streamed playlist “mixtape.” I don’t have a specific listener in mind. I do this for my own amusement primarily. There might be a series of these, or only a few ultimately. My objective is to include good music, of course, but also to sequence something that’s listenable in context.

Snow on branches

Best new music 2020

It’s the morning of Boxing Day, December 26, 2020, and Ontario has been back in full lock-down since midnight. At least we are avoiding the worst possible super-spreader effect of the annual shopping melee. We are ten months into the … [read more]

Instrument of Instruments

Best new music 2019

My 2019 annual write-up of the year’s best new music. I publish this post into the ether once a year to summarize what I’ve particularly liked during the last twelve months, in the hope that you might discover something new.

Book pile September 2019 - I

Book notes (September 2019)

Book piles accumulate in my office and on my night table all the time. Books are visual signposts of where my head is at, what’s next on the thinking agenda, of the big and small topics that make up the project that is Carsten’s head.

Johnny Clegg, dancing

In memoriam Johnny Clegg

A personal reflection on the death of Johnny Clegg, giant of South African music, in July 2019. … I met him once, very briefly. In my mid-20s, when I was living in Johannesburg, a colleague and I bumped into him holding court in a café at Rosebank Mall where we had gone during our lunch break.