By Raph al Guul
Over the years, I have really grown to appreciate the musical album as a unit of art. I think it started with American Idiot, a record that really offered a lot more to those who sat down for consecutive and uninterrupted listening. Obviously, not every album accomplishes this, but I still like to listen to new albums from front to back without interruption, at least the first time around. And I look out for new records each year, hoping for a gripping hour or so.
Compiling a yearly top five from the results of this quest makes sense – listing is what I expect the artist to do for me. The track list is the fulcrum of listeners’ emotions during playback and what I now do is reciprocally list them like a fractal. Only this time it does not occur artfully, but at least I hope tastefully.
By Raph al Guul
Despite my own departure from the group last summer, I will always have a soft spot in my heart for The Blueprint Masquerades; this is why this review, even more so than any other, could never be at all above suspicion of personal bias. But in the past years, no one has taken the time to review the premiere of The Blueprint Masquerades’ productions and so I will take this heavy duty upon myself as I finally have some distance from the very heart of their production cycles.
Raph and Jenny ramble about university-related matters and whatever else matters to them. Please provide us with any sort of constructive feedback (use the comment section or send us an email) so that we can eliminate problems if possible. On this episode:
– Pig picture stuff
– Outlook on the upcoming semester
– Discussion of experiences with instructors
– Unexpected nudity
– Jenny earns cheers
– Raph forces metal music on you again
By Alan Mattli
Out with the old, in with the new! But where would we be in the new year when we couldn’t hold on to a few cherished relics of the past 365 days? So for everyone who is fond of lists, I have compiled my End of Year rankings for 2011 – movies and albums. But we’ll tackle those lists in two separate posts. So let’s start our 2012 by looking back at the musical highlights of the past year. And please: feel free to disagree and discuss!
Any form of culture has the ability to capture social, political and cultural issues and themes of the era it stems from. Usually, the most poignant snapshots can be found in musical expression. This is particularly striking in American folk and blues music from the 1930s and 40s, which was heavily influenced by the financial collapse of 1929, and the subsequent New Deal. With figureheads like Woody Guthrie (“Hard Travelin'”), Blind Willie Johnson (“Let Your Light Shine on Me”) or Alfred Reed (“How Can a Man Stand Such Times and Live?”), this period continues to inspire politically motivated singer-songwriters, even to this day. Last year, Loudon Wainwright III (“School Days”, “Black Uncle Remus”) released the album 10 Songs for the New Depression, his contribution to the ongoing financial crisis, which started in 2007. Another musician to be inspired by these events is Ry Cooder, one of the great names of americana. Cooder already has a history of covering Depression era songs as well as recording his own tracks in the traditional vein. A great example would be 2007’s brilliant concept album My Name Is Buddy, which tells the story of a cat’s travels through a disillusioned America. This August, he released Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down which retains a 1930s feel, but takes it a step further.