Courtesy of Jennifer Johannesen via Instagram

Best new music 2017

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]

Ai Weiwei, Still from Human Flow

On Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow

Ai Weiwei’s Human Flow, at two and a half hours, is neither light entertainment nor what most would think of as a seasonal movie. It is currently in an extended run in two of Toronto’s theatres supporting more cerebral fare … [read more]

Navigation by Martin Fisch Creative Commons via Flickr

Navigating ethics

The following is an excerpt from the introduction to a forthcoming master’s thesis in anthropology which I am working on at the moment. This quasi-autoethnographic piece looks at why I am interested in ethics and ethnography in the context of … [read more]

Nathan Phillips Square, Toronto, December 2016

Best new music 2016

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]

Michelle Willis - See Us Through - Cover

Listening to: Michelle Willis, See Us Through

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.

Pirate Nutcracker by Daria Nepriakhina via Realisticshots.com

Best new music 2015

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.

Holly Herndon in Metahaven's video for 'Home'

Surveillance in song

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]