2018 was another year full of outrageous distractions, the misconfigurations and abuses of the public sphere relentlessly encroaching on whatever space one tried to carve out for thinking, experiencing beauty or getting some rest. A year to test our commitments, … [read more]
This year’s best music list comes in the middle of the Great Deep Freeze of 2017, where it’s apparently colder in Canada than at the North Pole. Winter has come. This time, I have no summary words of political, cultural … [read more]
As 2016 plowed on, it revealed itself as an annus horribilis. Many of the world’s temporarily dormant or subdued evils really came alive this year, and there’s no need to enumerate them here. Music lost more than a few important … [read more]
As I write this review, it seems that the world’s burning has accelerated. It’s not that it wasn’t already burning, but this moment in time has brought us, inter alia: Syria; refugees; Brexit; a coup attempt in Turkey and the unsurprising and merciless purge that followed; incessant and systemically rooted police shootings of black citizens in the US; Donald Trump; and — literally going on right now — a mall shooting in Munich where so far at least 8 people have died.
It has become an annual tradition on this blog, a chore, and — increasingly — an unwelcome reminder of how infrequently I blog these days. Life is busy, and my writing energies are differently channeled, for example into academic assignments. But music remains important, and I continue to actively combat the overwhelming taste for nostalgia most middle-aged people apparently develop at some point, by regularly seeking out new recorded music.
Art is not a mirror to reflect the world, but a hammer with which to shape it. This statement is variously attributed to Bertolt Brecht, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Leon Trotsky and Karl Marx, and is probably apocryphal in all cases. The … [read more]