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Links for the Day: Mark Bell: 10 Essential Tracks, Iggy Pop Takes Aim at YouTube and U2, What Whiplash Gets Wrong, Ben Rivers’s Tribute to Horror, & More

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Links for the Day: Mark Bell: 10 Essential Tracks, Iggy Pop Takes Aim at YouTube and U2, What Whiplash Gets Wrong, Ben Rivers’s Tribute to Horror, & More

1. “LFO’s Mark Bell: 10 essential tracks.” The electronic-music producer, who died last week, was an innovator of electronic sound, from his huge influence on the early club scene to Radiohead remixes and groundbreaking collaborations with Björk.

“Mark Bell was an electronic-music innovator throughout his career, which was tragically cut short last week. Riding the wave of the early-90s dance-music revolution, the Leeds-born Bell and longtime friend and partner Gez Varley defined the northern English ’bleep’ techno sound found in LFO’s music—especially on the group’s bass-heavy self-titled hit. Along the way they helped put Sheffield’s Warp Records (home to Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada and countless others) on the map, and remixed Radiohead, Sabres of Paradise and their hip-hop heroes Afrika Baambaataa & Soulsonic Force. When Varley left the group in 1996, Bell maintained a solo career as a respected underground techno producer. In 1997, his transformative work on Björk’s epochal Homogenic album brought him into the pop sphere and established a long-running and fruitful partnership. Other collaborations followed, most notably with Depeche Mode, as well as movie soundtracks and more acclaimed productions under the LFO guise. The shock of Bell’s death casts a sudden light on a considerable discography, which was marked by adventurism and a consistently recognisable approach to funk-infused, melodic, wonderfully bleepy electronica. His best productions put him in a league with better-known peers like Andrew Weatherall and Aphex Twin. Here are 10 of them.”

2. “Iggy Pop takes aim at YouTube and U2 in John Peel Lecture.” Rock legend Iggy Pop has given his backing to independent record labels in a royalties dispute with YouTube.

“In June, YouTube threatened to block videos by acts signed to indie labels after they refused to sign a new deal. Pop, delivering BBC 6 Music’s John Peel Lecture at the Radio Festival in Salford, said YouTube was ’trying to put the squeeze’ on indies. In a wide-ranging speech, he also took aim at U2, BitTorrent, Megaupload and fans who do not pay for music. The annual speech, named after the former BBC Radio 1 DJ, has previously been delivered by The Who’s Pete Townshend, Billy Bragg and Charlotte Church. Iggy Pop, who is known as ’the Godfather of punk’ for his raw rock songs and raucous live shows, praised independent labels as some of the music industry’s ’good guys’. Indie labels look after acts including Adele, Arctic Monkeys and Radiohead, but have not yet signed a new agreement with YouTube over payment for their music. The three major record labels have all agreed terms with the site. In July, more than 750 independent music labels worldwide formed a pact to seek fair treatment from streaming services.”

3. “What Whiplash Gets Wrong About Genius, Work, and the Charlie Parker Myth.” Slate’s Forrest Wickman is one of few people calling bullshit on Damien Chazelle’s film.

“The real story of the cymbal, at least as it’s been told over and over again in biographies and in the press—most famously in Ross Russell’s 1973 Bird Lives!—reveals how Whiplash distorts the Parker legend to fit its twisted premise. Jones didn’t throw the cymbal at Parker’s head. He threw it at the floor around his feet, ’gonging’ him off. In other words, it was not an episode of physical abuse. Perhaps more importantly, according to the usual Parker lore, he wasn’t so much following the charts as flying off them, modulating into unusual keys, and demonstrating the kind of daring improvisation that would revolutionize the art form (though many versions of the story do say that he eventually lost his key). The humiliation of Jones’ gesture did help motivate Parker to keep practicing, but creative genius is more than discipline and how-fast-can-you-play athleticism. There would always be older players, like Louis Armstrong, who wished he would stick to more traditional playing.”

4. “If the 1% stifles New York’s creative talent, I’m out of here.” Rampant inequality is squeezing out the artistic genius that made New York such a vibrant cultural capital. We can’t let that happen, says David Byrne.

“Some folks believe that hardship breeds artistic creativity. I don’t buy it. One can put up with poverty for a while when one is young, but it will inevitably wear a person down. I don’t romanticize the bad old days. I find the drop in crime over the last couple of decades refreshing. Manhattan and Brooklyn, those vibrant playgrounds, are way less scary than they were when I moved here. I have no illusions that there was a connection between that city on its knees and a flourishing of creativity; I don’t believe that crime, danger and poverty make for good art. That’s bullshit. But I also don’t believe that the drop in crime means the city has to be more exclusively for those who have money. Increases in the quality of life should be for all, not just a few.”

5. “Fighting the Nazis with Celluloid.” J. Hoberman on Fritz Lang’s Hangmen Must [sic] Die! and Man Hunt.

“[Bertolt] Brecht evidently intended to use the incident to celebrate proletarian solidarity and popular resistance to Nazi occupation. Traces remain in the scenes where members of the partisan cell responsible for dispatching [Reinhard Heydrich] Heydrich discuss their thinking, and particularly in the composition of the heroic anthem by a humble worker. Brecht also evidently wrote a scene dramatizing the specific persecution of Czech Jews that was excised by Lang (although you can glimpse a character wearing the mandated Jewish star), as was another that criticized anti-Semitism among the partisans. Lang, who had something more lurid in mind, brought on a second writer, John Wexley, also a Communist, to revise Brecht’s script (and purloin his primary credit). The openly gay actor Hans von Twardowski (another émigré, the second victim in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) was cast as the briefly seen Heydrich, mincing, smirking, wearing lipstick and screaming in both senses of the word.”

Video of the Day: Terror!, a 2007 tribute to the horror genre by Ben Rivers:

Links for the Day: A collection of links to items that we hope will spark discussion. We encourage our readers to submit candidates for consideration to ed@slantmagazine.com and to converse in the comments section.

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Let Your Sanity Go on Vacation with a Trip to the Moons of Madness

If you dare, ascend into the horrors of the Martian mind and check out the trailer for yourself.

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Moons of Madness
Photo: Rock Pocket Games

The announcement trailer for Moons of Madness opens with an empty shot of the Invictus, a research installation that’s been established on Mars. The camera lingers over well-lit but equally abandoned corridors, drifting over a picture of a family left millions of kilometers behind on Earth before finally settling on the first-person perspective of Shane Newehart, an engineer working for the Orochi Group. Fans of a different Funcom series, The Secret World, will instantly know that something’s wrong. And sure enough, in what may be the understatement of the year, Newehart is soon talking about how he “seems to have a situation here”—you know, what with all the antiquated Gothic hallways, glitching cameras, and tentacled creatures that start appearing before him.

As with Dead Space, it’s not long before the station is running on emergency power, with eerie whispers echoing through the station and bloody, cryptic symbols being scrawled on the walls. Did we mention tentacles? Though the gameplay hasn’t officially been revealed, this brief teaser suggests that players will have to find ways both to survive the physical pressures of this lifeless planet and all sorts of sanity-challenging supernatural occurrences, with at least a soupçon of H.P. Lovecraft’s cosmicism thrown in for good measure.

If you dare, ascend into the horrors of the Martian mind and check out the trailer for yourself.

Rock Pocket Games will release Moons of Madness later this year.

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Watch: Two Episode Trailers for Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone Reboot

Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes.

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The Twilight Zone
Photo: CBS All Access

Jordan Peele is sitting on top of the world—or, at least, at the top of the box office, with his sophomore film, Us, having delivered (and then some) on the promise of his Get Out. Next up for the filmmaker is the much-anticipated reboot of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, which the filmmaker executive produced and hosts. Ahead of next week’s premiere of the series, CBS All Access has released trailers for the first two episodes, “The Comedian” and “Nightmare at 30,000 Feet.” In the former, Kumail Nanjiani stars as the eponymous comedian, who agonizingly wrestles with how far he will go for a laugh. And in the other, a spin on the classic “Nightmare at 20,0000 Feet” episode of the original series starring William Shatner, Adam Scott plays a man locked in a battle with his paranoid psyche. Watch both trailers below:

The Twilight Zone premieres on April 1.

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Scott Walker Dead at 76

Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde.

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Scott Walker
Photo: 4AD

American-born British singer-songwriter, composer, and record producer Scott Walker, who began his career as a 1950s-style chanteur in an old-fashioned vocal trio, has died at 76. In a statement from his label 4AD, the musician, born Noel Scott Engel, is celebrated for having “enriched the lives of thousands, first as one third of the Walker Brothers, and later as a solo artist, producer and composer of uncompromising originality.”

Walker was born in Hamilton, Ohio on January 9, 1943 and earned his reputation very early on for his distinctive baritone. He changed his name after joining the Walker Brothers in the early 1960s, during which time the pop group enjoyed much success with such number one chart hits as “Make It Easy on Yourself” and “The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine (Anymore).”

The reclusive Walker’s solo work moved away from the pop leanings of the Walker Brothers and increasingly toward the avant-garde. Walker, who was making music until his death, received much critical acclaim with 2006’s Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch, as well as with 2014’s Soused, his collaboration with Sunn O))). He also produced the soundtrack to Leos Carax’s 1999 romantic drama Pola X and composed the scores for Brady Corbet’s first two films as a director, 2016’s The Childhood of a Leader and last year’s Vox Lux.

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