Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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4Play: Biosphere, Brendan Perry, Blondie, Broken Bells

Kristi Kates - July 18th, 2011
 Biosphere - N-Plants - Touch
At once retro in its choices of synth sounds and beats, and modern in -
well, its choices of synth sounds and beats, Biosphere’s latest sticks to
his familiar sound while striking out into new, backwards-looking
territory. It is most definitely an album of contrasts. Opener “Hendai 1,”
a bit threatening-sounding, offers an intro that feels much like the
beginnings of a thriller or mystery movie, while its successor, “Shika 1,”
warms things up out of the fear factor zones with a more approachable
composition. Brimming with intensity, these tracks push one step beyond
ambient music and into something a little more pensive.

 
Brendan Perry - Ark -101
Former Dead Can Dance member Perry’s sophomore set, recorded at Perry’s
own home studio, finds the musician on a true solo mission of sorts, as he
wrote all of the songs here and performed all of the instruments himself.
The tracklisting extends that isolated approach, as Perry thinks and
performs his way through musings on life and personal growth, translated
through instruments both typical (guitars, keyboards) and somewhat
unexpected, given his electro/pop background (dulcimer?); and the
carefully-constructed lyrics on tunes like “The Devil and the Deep Blue
Sea” and “Utopia” show off Perry’s experience and craft.

 
Blondie - Panic of Girls - AIS
The legendary Debbie Harry and bandmates are back for yet another new set,
with their latest approach attacking solid refrains and radio-friendly
hooks head-on. A blend of electro-punk and some slightly misplaced reggae,
it’s successful for the most part, although the set may have served itself
better to focus on one sound/genre instead of the two. “Le Bleu,” with its
dual-language lyrics, and “D-Day” are catchy updates of the familiar
Blondie pop-punk sound, but tunes like “Girlie Girlie” drag on way too
long, time that would’ve better been spent expanding the more catchy “The
End, The End” or instant single “What I Heard.”


Broken Bells - Meyrin Fields - Columbia
Short (only four songs) but appealingly diverse, the Shins/Danger Mouse
side project serves as follow-up to their critically and fan-acclaimed
2010 debut, opening with “The Ghost Inside” B-side “Meyrin Fields” (hence
the album’s title), and shifting directly into the more rough,
suspenseful, and funky “Windows,” the tropicalia/synthy mix of “An Easy
Life,” and the more mainstream twisted electropop of “Heartless Empire,”
all of which serve to help define why these two skilled musicians work so
well together as a musical team. It’s artsy and concise, and a good look
forward at Broken Bells’ recordable future.
 
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