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Category Archives: Film, TV, Music

John Riley

Do You Like It?: Headroom and Jazz Drumming

* Eric McDowell *
Listening to Sonny Clark’s “Cool Struttin’” not long ago, I asked my musician friend how to know if Jackie McClean’s solo (or any saxophone solo) was good or not. He drew a slow breath—deciding how far back toward the basics of theory he’d have to meet me?—and said, “Well, do you like it?” He didn’t elaborate. When I tried to answer his question, I realized I couldn’t. Yes, I’d wanted to like jazz, wanted to be “into it” and to know how to talk about it even. But for some reason I’d passed over that simplest, most obvious and essential approach: I hadn’t been listening, not really. What I mean is, I had put the cart before the horse, wanting to know what I should like without considering what I did like.

Still, Rise and Fall

Transcending Beauty: Fiona Tan’s Rise and Fall and Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder

* Mary Camille Beckman *

One afternoon last week, on vacation in British Columbia with my family, my boyfriend and I slipped away from the boozing and card playing for a quick visit to the Vancouver Art Gallery. We arrived at the museum shortly before closing and walked into the first gallery we saw, a small dark room where we found Fiona Tan’s 21-minute, two-channel video installation Rise and Fall (2009). I loved it. I returned the next day—our last day in the city—to watch it again

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Béla Tarr’s “Sátántangó”

* Eric McDowell *

What can you do in eight hours? Work a full day’s work or log a solid night’s sleep. Run 60 eight-minute miles—that’s over two marathons—or microwave 240 Hot Pockets. Or watch Sátántangó .

Digital Music Revolution: Cacophony, Sound, and (the Bestowal and Withholding of) Pleasure

by Virginia Konchan

One must soberly ask, in light of the enthusiastic rhetoric that surrounds new forms of postmodern audience participation: are these forms of “agency” designed to empower the listener, creatively or critically, or merely offer the simulated (“technical”) illusion thereof? The mimetic replication of urban and post-industrial noises reinscribes the very determinisms that all art forms both inherit and strive to overcome, and while on a neurological level the ear enjoys assimilating unfamiliar sounds, and harsh noises generated from dissonance, punk, heavy metal or electronic music, can induce an “unpleasing” cerebral pleasure, the sustained withholding of aural pleasure from the listener may be the last insidiously lingering form of 21st century authoritarian “control” of all.

Activating Images: On Saskia Olde Wolbers’s “Pareidolia”

by Nicholas Johnson

Pareidolia refers to the tendency of human perception to discover meaning in random structures where meaning does not exist. It is the perception of an image in a cloud or a pattern on the surface of the moon. It can also refer to an experience of the spiritual. London based artist Saskia Olde Wolbers’ film Pareidolia explores this phenomena through fantastical imagery and a fable that tells of a miscommunication between a professor and a Zen master.