Niels Van Tomme (Update Contributor) / Staff Picks
Dec 21, 2016
Just as we were starting to come to terms with the fact that 2016 officially sucked, everything suddenly turned even more bleak. In the first place politically of course, but for many also existentially. "You want it darker, we killed the flame." Amidst all of this gloom, there was of course some happiness to be experienced in daily life, but this could not possibly counterbalance the relentless stream of upsetting global world events. Nevertheless, as a modest antidote to these dreary developments I'd like to highlight five cultural moments that brought joy but also opened up an opportunity to reimagine...
Jan 05, 2016
I rarely go out to see shows these days, which in turn makes my home-bound listening sessions all the more intimate and special. Throughout these sessions, I continue to discover an incredible amount of outstanding music, perhaps in a bit more focused way, without the distraction that is the search for a continuously new live high. While there were too many good releases to adequately compile into two truly substantial 2015 top 15’s, both for new and old stuff, here’s an attempt anyway. I decided to focus on those albums that truly surprised by defying all expectations of how a...
Jan 07, 2015
By far the most thought-provoking and brutal piece of audio of 2014, Farewell to Language is a hallucinatory meditation on the disentanglement of image and sound. The 84-year-old Swiss filmmaker Jean Luc Godard’s 3D-film deconstructs our (in)ability to communicate anything meaningful through language and of moving images to develop new ways of seeing. Political, humorous, philosophical, at times irritable and scatological, Godard makes the soundtrack of his film (consisting of cut-up dialogue, concrete sound, snippets of music, and occasional harsh noise) revolve dizzyingly within the stereo spectrum, making fully use of the sculptural and vector-like possibilities of sound. The effect...
Jan 10, 2014
Despite, or perhaps because of, a general malaise in the culture industry, curators Anselm Franke and Diedrich Diedrichsen mounted an exceptionally thought-provoking exhibition at Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. "The Whole Earth: California and the Disappearance of the Outside" was a critical study of the many ways in which aspects of Californian counterculture have been co-opted by global capitalism. There’s also a book published on the occasion, which, among other things, contains “a playlist with comments,” and which I hugely recommend. 2013 was the year of Terre Thaemlitz, who not only released two conceptually rich records under his...