The Rambler :: blog

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Links for the week 

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Thanks to Zoilus for the pointer: the whole of the infamous Van Morrison Contractual Obligation Album, first brought to my attention and possibly yours by Ubuweb's 365 Days Project, is now online at WFMU. Ooooooo, you've got ringworm.

But this aside, Dr Atomic is absolutely
everywhere. The 'sphere isn't really talking about much else. Unfortunately I haven't time to read through all the press. No doubt, as is traditional with Adams' operas in the UK, it will probably not be performed here this decade in any case. But, I do like Alex's Atomic photojournal and Greg's comments on the irrelevance of opera. Years ago, when doing some student work on Nixon in China I came to the conclusion that Adams is completely barking up the wrong tree with his 'news' operas. Part of the whole artistic premise of that opera, as he, Peter Sellars and librettist Alice Goodman frequently repeated in interviews, was that audiences would all be familiar with the newsreels and speeches that were being set on stage. But less than 20 years after the opera's completion that's not the case; I don't even think it can be the case for a majority of the present audience (how many people recognise that great chunks of the libretto are basically transcripts of what was actually said, just set in couplets?). With the end of the cold war, the story of an American president visiting Communist China simply isn't much of a story to many people, at least from a 'news' angle. Political battles are ultimately too transient, too straightforward. Now, Nixon has its own merits of course, as no doubt does Dr Atomic, but these aren't the merits that Adams puts about: I'm sort of puzzled as to why he thinks like this, rather than letting people make up their own minds on what the work is about.

Further afield, this highschool band performance of tracks from DJ Shadow's Endtroducing. Exactly the kind of meticulous silliness I love.

The Guardian has a bunch of good-looking articles to read (but too busy, busy, busy): a rare interview with Brad Mehldau; a probably not-so-rare interview with Sway; Alex Petridis discovers a thing called marketing; another Kim Gordon interview (hottest girl in town right now?); and Ian Bostridge writes on the joys of the lieder.

The Independent asks the question can dance music and politics mix; the answer being: rather better than politics and derivative guitar bands, so yes.

And the Telegraph, at the moment probably the country's best newspaper for music coverage, takes on the tricky task of puffing Xenakis, and the less tricky task of asking 'why do critics hate Coldplay'.

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