mon 16/09/2019

2017

Best of 2017: Classical concerts

Did Simon Rattle's return to the UK as Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra live up to the hype? Mostly, and when it did, the music-making was superbly alive. But it's vital to observe that another orchestra and chief conductor have...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Offa Rex - Queen of Hearts

I’ve only seen Olivia Chaney perform live a handful of times – once at a Copper Family celebration at Cecil Sharp House, 10,000 Times Adieu, singing unaccompanied with Lisa Knapp and Nancy Wallace, and at the nestcollective’s Unamplifire festival at...

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Best of 2017: Opera

It may not have been the best year for eye-popping productions; even visionary director Richard Jones fell a bit short with a tame-ish Royal Opera Bohème, though his non-operatic The Twilight Zone is something else. Instead there's been time to...

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Best of 2017: Games

While perhaps not a vintage, 2017 was certainly an interesting and entertaining year in the world of videogames. A clutch of fresh ideas, combined with a few beautifully crafted sequels and franchise follow-ups made sure the quality still floated to...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Yusuf/Cat Stevens - The Laughing Apple

2017 was the year I began to feel my age. It started with mild fatigue and soon progressed to general world-weariness. I wasn't the only one feeling worn-out. This year everyone seemed tired and angsty. From Brexit to Harvey Weinstein,...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Bob Dylan - Trouble No More

“Passion! You gotta have passion!” I still feel the full force of Tricky’s conviction, as I was filming him in 1997, for my film Naked and Famous. He’s right: music works better than words when expressing the deepest emotions.This year has been a...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Susanne Sundfør - Music For People in Trouble

At two minutes and 39 seconds, Music For People in Trouble’s “Good Luck Bad Luck” executes an abrupt shift. An examination of whether a liaison would end up as “an empty cup” suddenly stops and the sound of a smoky jazz combo takes over with a...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Rising Appalachia - Alive

2017 has been a time of change if not turmoil, on both personal and political stratospheres. So the music of two sisters whose jam is made up primarily of protest and healing songs, is the perfect antidote.When chaos abounds, the relentless...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Arcade Fire - Everything Now

I’ve long thought there should be an arts website called ‘On Second Thoughts’ where critics post their reconsidered opinions of albums, books, films or whatever, once they’ve been properly digested. After all, it’s often the case that either first-...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Tom Russell - Folk Hotel

A regular reviewing gig inevitably opens the ears to lots of “stuff”, what with the CDs (and downloads, so irritating to review from) dispatched by hopeful PRs and Spotify (great for browsing, crap for artists) offering the opportunity to dip in and...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Nick Mulvey - Wake Up Now

For the past few years my Album of the Year has leapt out at me, craved attention, stood out from the competition. With no disrespect to Nick Mulvey’s fine second album, that wasn’t the case in 2017. Many albums this year had vital, enjoyable music...

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Albums of the Year 2017: Idles - Brutalism

In March, Bristol’s Idles drove up and down the country, leaving painfully small quantities of their debut album Brutalism in each independent record shop they went into. The lucky among us who managed to get a first-pressing copy of the beautifully...

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