intraspace: the review lounge

Sunday, April 27, 2008

M83 - Saturdays=Youth

First couple of songs - I’m asking ‘why cross the line into making synthy 80’s pop?’. M83 has always used epic keys with an 80’s feel to underscore much of his work, but on this new album, well he really gets carried away. I guess the cover should have warned me. Kim and Jessie’ and ‘skin of the night’ really are terrible - two stars, which means they’ll be deleted shortly from my collection.

But then, I get to ‘graveyard girl’ and ‘couleurs’ and I start to dig it. Maybe I was just getting used to it, but these tracks were getting better - more instrumental and epic electronica without any particular decade-obsession.

Unfortunately, the next track ‘up’ douses this enthusiasm, though the slight Coctau Twins resemblance is something. The nicely titled ‘we own the sky’ is ok, and amps up towards the end, but again has too much chorus-ized singing. I’ll spare you too much more of my up and down review, but suffice to say its been quite a first-listen journey.

Late album is mostly 3 out of 5 star territory, until the final track, ‘midnight souls still remain’ - its nearly worth the price of the album itself. Just leave it on repeat for around 40 mins to make up for some of the others, something that sounds crazy, but please, try it.

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Speed-the-plow at the Old Vic

On Wednesday, Mim (my wife) and I went to see a David Mamet play called Speed-the-Plow at the Old Vic theatre in London. We'd never been to see a "serious" modern play before, and so we were a bit apprehensive especially as it only features three actors. Part of the draw was definitely the fact that Kevin Spacey (who's the artistic director at the Old Vic) and Jeff Goldblum were the two leads, giving us a chance to see a couple of brilliant (and famous) actors working on stage.

On the whole we were really impressed. The play is driven by snappy dialogue, and watching those two guys acting live made me realise just how good they are at acting. The sets were fairly minimal, and our seats had a slightly restricted view which sadly coincided with the exact spot where at least one character sat for much of the play! What really surprised me was how much I enjoyed the story (which I won't spoil for you - you can find a precis on Wikipedia).

I'd always been worried that I would find modern plays incomprehensible or boring, I guess in a parallel to the way in which I find a great deal of modern classical music impossible to engage with. But as it happens the play did such an enjoyable job of skewering the moral bankruptcy of modern film-making, that I am now keen to go and see some other modern plays. There were downsides - despite being a comment on Hollywood's corruption of art in the pursuit of making money, the play features some fairly offensive language and a liberal sexual morality, but I guess you could argue that the playwright was attempting to reflect the culture he was portraying - it would be ironic if he had included populist material in order to entice people to pay to see the play.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

three for free

when the internet is functioning at its best, stuff is free. here's a little round-up of three websites that made me say, "wow, i can't believe they are giving that away for free." - i can't remember where i first came across this site, but i think it's great. on you can watch political / social documentaries for free, streamed through google video. there is a good helping of not so well known docos but also stuff by the likes of micheal moore. i'm not trying to endorse (or otherwise) these documentaries, but here's a little list of world-recognised films that you can watch for free on the site:

- an inconvenient truth
- bowling for columbine
- the road to guantanamo (recommended)
- super size me
- born into brothels (recommended)
- enron: the smartest guys in the room - ReadyMade is apparently a pretty well known magazine in north america - it offers all sorts of design projects that you can do at home. it's all class. and now they are offering their new issues in digital form for free. check out the latest version here. brilliant stuff. - here's a christian resource for you. is a uk-based website that offers loads of mp3s of various academics etc talking about social and religious issues from a christian point of view. also preserved here are talks by the likes of schaeffer and rookmaaker. i'd spend a lot more time of this site if i had more time.

on the headphones: 'how can i be sure?' by dusty springfield, from the album 'the very best of dusty springfield'.

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