sat 21/09/2019

2010s

Donbass review - war stories from the Ukrainian front

The latest from the prolific Sergei Loznitsa, Donbass is a bad-dream journey into the conflict that’s been waging in Eastern Ukraine since 2014, barely noticed beyond its immediate region. The titular break-away region, also known as “Novorossiya” (...

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CD: Norah Jones - Begin Again

There's a remarkable lightness to the way Norah Jones has glid through her career. She once told theartsdesk that even in her early 20s, faced with the global hyper success of Come Away With Me, “I think I was smart enough to know at the...

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Melzer, Albion Quartet, Birmingham Town Hall review - songs without words

This was a fascinating, unexpected prospect; instantly appealing to anyone who’s ever wondered about the string quartet’s niche in the 21st-century musical ecosystem. Two practically new song cycles for soprano and quartet – Kate Whitley’s Charlotte...

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CD: You Me At Six - VI

I come to this band from the perspective of one who’s only seen the words "YOU ME AT SIX" on endless T-shirts passing in the street. I’m no connoisseur, then. From the cultural detritus that’s wended my way during their 10-year career, they just...

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CD: Hawkwind - Road to Utopia

Implausible times call for implausible music, and it doesn't come much more unlikely than this. Hawkwind, the die-hard troupers of gnarly cosmic squatter drug-rock, have re-recorded highlights from their catalogue, arranged and produced by Mike Batt...

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CD: Iggy Azalea - Survive the Summer

In basic creative terms of the ingredients that make it up, this is not a bad record. Hip hop production is in extraordinary period right now, and the six tracks on this EP have the best production that money can buy: woozy, narcotic, digitally...

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CD: Laurel Halo - Raw Silk Uncut Wood

So the ambient revival continues apace, getting deeper and wider with each passing year. From the interstices between the classical concert hall, abstract art installations, the backroom of more insalubrious little raves and festivals, the small...

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Ryuichi Sakamoto: 'Ideally I'm recording all the time, 24 hours a day' - interview

Ryuichi Sakamoto has conquered underground and mainstream with seeming ease over four decades, never dropping off in the quality of his releases. Indeed his most recent projects, following his return to public life after treatment for throat cancer...

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Syria: The World's War, BBC Two review - anatomy of a conflict, brilliantly told

This was not a film that left you with much respect for the wisdom of politicians, but perhaps its truest line came from John Kerry, when he called the ongoing – seven years, and counting – Syrian conflict “an insult to the humanity of this planet...

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CD: Sonido Gallo Negro - Mambo Cósmico

How many albums today feature a sorceress on the harp, an instrument more often played by winged angels? "La Bruja de Texcoco", a practising witch and healer, is one of several Mexican musicians who join Sonido Gallo Negro in their latest and very...

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Beginning, Ambassadors Theatre review - funny and richly moving comedy about loneliness

Awkwardness is a challenging effect in drama, and one so rewarding when it works. When the movement isn’t easy, when the dialogue doesn't flow; when, with emotional revelations broken and coming with difficulty, the pauses speak more powerfully than...

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Insyriated review - claustrophobic terror in a Damascus war zone

It doesn’t take long, I think, to work out the associations of the title of Insyriated: we are surely being presented with a variation of “incarceration”, one tinged by the very specific context of the conflict that has ravaged Syria for six years...

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