1. “Strange Visitor.” Pitchfork’s Philip Sherburne has a conversation with Aphex Twin.
“To be honest, I had my doubts that an interview would transpire at all—or at least, a traditional sort of interview. Given the surveillance trickery involved in the album’s campaign—visitors to a Syro website were shown a virtual profile of their own computer—maybe I’d be speaking into a one-way mirror. Maybe he would interview me. Maybe, if I was really lucky, I’d get to go up in that blimp. But no: As I’m ushered to the rear of the hotel dining room and sit down at a cluttered table, there he is—ponytailed, bearded, looking pretty much exactly as you’d expect—pulling his drum machine out of a duffel bag and rhapsodizing about the benefits of analog sound.”
2. “New York’s subway is so hellish, I’m homesick for London’s underground.” Everyone hates this Londoners take on the hells of the MTA.
“The signs—a mess of fonts and colours—lack the sweet primness of London Underground’s Johnston font. The inconsistency is startling. The stations are filthy, with peeling paintwork and pockets of such urine-stench that my eyes water, like a rheumy dog’s. The air-conditioning makes the trains a movable icy tundra, furnished with hard, uncomfortable seats. The MTA has forced me to become one of those Brits abroad—the kind that sighs and, with a condescending chuckle, compares everything with ’back home’.”
3. “Thinking About Triggers, Thumbs, Sex, and Death.” B. Ruby Rich, for Film Quarterly, on the phenomenon of trigger warnings, eroticism on film, and more.
“This slew of trigger warning articles has reminded me of nothing so much as the anti-pornography fights of the 1980s, which similarly pitted free speech against personal harm in a free-for-all of media attention. Back then, sides were severely drawn for and against, with pornography denounced or defended according to gender, sexual history, and a varied set of personal fears. No middle ground was permitted. Hopefully, those mistakes won’t be repeated: emotionally resonant issues tend not to produce reasoned debate even though it’s precisely what is needed. This time around, the focus is on college campuses and demands by some students that trigger warnings be included on course syllabi to ensure that the classroom is a safe space for those with PTSD and histories of abuse. In turn, numerous professors and the typical media posse of pundits cry censorship and ridicule the very idea. I think trigger warnings are a terrible idea, skirting too close to policing the classroom for my comfort; furthermore, I doubt they would work.”
4. “First Listen: Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, Gone Girl (Motion Picture Soundtrack).” Over at NPR, you can now stream the entirety of the soundtrack for David Fincher’s new film.
“As Fincher recently told The Wall Street Journal, he found himself getting his back adjusted at a spa and had a revelation: ’I was listening to that calming, placating music and thought, ’We need to tap into this.’ The movie is about the facade of the good neighbor, the good Christian, the good wife.’ So the Reznor/Ross score skates across that placid surface with its gorgeous opening theme. For the early part of the soundtrack, gentle, New Age-esque themes like ’Sugar Storm’ seem to drift past unperturbed. But no matter how relaxing these motifs might sound, there’s always a shadow just beneath the bright surface. What can start off sounding like a picnic in the park quickly reveals a black sky. With the carefully crafted tones of Reznor and Ross, sparse and quiet themes soon deteriorate, turning barren and desolate in ’Background Noise.’”
5. “Peter von Bagh R.I.P.” Ignatiy Vishnevetsky remembers the movie buff’s movie buff.
“In addition to championing and preserving films, von Bagh also made them, producing dozens of short and multi-part works, mostly for Finnish television. His 2008 essay film Helsinki, Forever was something of an international breakthrough; his latest, Socialism—a subject von Bagh described as ’the 20th century’s greatest dream and source of some of its darkest nightmares’—premiered this summer. Von Bagh’s career was defined by continual work and discovery. A book of essays about him, Citizen Peter, was published last year. Film archivist Antti Alanen, who initially broke the news of von Bagh’s death on his blog, writes, ’He died with his boots on. New films and books were in the making. Retrospectives and trips had been booked.’”
Video of the Day: Richard Brody on All About Eve:
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