sat 21/10/2017

2016

Best of 2016: Comedy

There have been some treats on the comedy circuit in 2016, a year when we definitely needed something to laugh at. Here, in no particular order, are my comedy highlights of the past 12 months. I hope you had as much fun seeing them, or reading about...

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Albums of the Year: Blackstar - David Bowie

A year on, what can be said about Blackstar that hasn’t been said already? The answer is: what I have to say about it. That’s not to claim any special insights, it’s simply because the artist designed it that way. Even though Bowie said not a word...

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Best of 2016: Dance & Ballet

The criteria used by theartsdesk's critics in selecting pieces for this list are simple, but demanding: did a piece or a programme stir and shake us? Did it move us, and make us still - weeks or months afterwards - think, yes, I'd go see that again...

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The Best Games of 2016

It was the year of Pokémon Go, and it was the year the mainstream offered sequels. There were also some gems on console and mobile platforms. Steve O'Rourke and Steve Houghton look back on the developments in the world of gaming in 2016. ...

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Albums of the Year: Swans - The Glowing Man

2016 was the year that US underground titan Michael Gira began to wind down the current “iteration” of long-standing musical mavericks Swans and their final album, The Glowing Man, proved to be no whimpering exit. Intense and challenging sounds that...

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Reissue CD of the Year: Robert Bensick

French Pictures in London was a bolt from the blue. Issued in June, four decades after being recorded, it was a previously unknown, unreleased album better than most mid-Seventies rock offerings. It was also better than about 99 percent of albums...

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Albums of the Year: Autarkic - Can You Pass the Knife?

2016 has been a big year for Tel Aviv’s burgeoning underground scene. Acts including Red Axes, Moscoman and Naduve have produced endlessly inventive music at an impressive pace and on a range of labels. Of these, Disco Halal, run by Chen Mosco and...

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Albums of the Year: Shabaka and the Ancestors - Wisdom of Elders

The future direction of jazz has been the subject of anxious discussion for at least 50 years, and the last few have seen particular fervent speculation, usually provoked by another tedious “death of jazz” article. Fortunately, such pieces almost...

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Albums of the Year: Yves Tumor - Serpent Music

It's a cliché to say that interesting times make for interesting music – and frankly not much of a consolation. Good tunes don't really make the march of extremist, violent and delusional politics any more palatable – but 2016 really has been quite...

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Albums of the Year: Beyoncé - Lemonade

When, back in October, Donald Trump sulked that his political opponent was being a “nasty woman”, little did he realise the cultural impact it would have.Those two words – a fit of pique that was impressive even amidst an ever-lengthening line of...

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Albums of the Year: Mikko Joensuu - Amen 1

Five new albums released over the year have dominated 2016: Marissa Nadler’s Strangers (May), Mikko Joensuu’s Amen 1 (June), Jessica Sligter’s A Sense of Growth (July), Arc Iris’s Moon Saloon (August) and Wolf People’s Ruins (November). Next year,...

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Albums of the Year: Xylaroo - Sweetooth

As the late Leonard Cohen once growled, “Everybody knows that the war is over/Everybody knows that the good guys lost.” That’s how 2016 felt. Perhaps the moment that encapsulated my year was standing in a very muddy Somerset field, two days after...

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