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Paul Grimstad

Paul Grimstad's songs and original scores are featured most recently in the films, Happy Christmas (2014), The Vanquishing of the Witch Baba Yaga (2014), and Stinking Heaven

Footage Fetish

William Gibson will always be remembered as the guy who coined the term "cyberspace." Like one of his own hardwired artificial intelligences epoxied into a hunk of designer plastic, Gibson’s neologism has, for better or for worse, launched itself into a kind of global sentience.

Off The Shelves

Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet’s bible is not a monolithic mirror reflecting the state of religion in America post 9/11 but more like a disco ball:

Dance Machine

The hook in Charles Joseph’s Stravinsky and Balanchine: A Journey of Invention is its deep focus upon the collaborative negotiations between Stravinsky and choreographer George Balanchine, a working partnership yielding at least two major masterpieces of the ballet of the 20th century, Apollo and Agon.

A Poseur’s Politics

Early in his self-purgative exposé/ psychodrama Blinded By The Right, David Brock confesses that for all the neo-conservative movement’s “ferocious intensity, our hatred of big government and big media, our ideology was in a way empty, more an attitude, a kind of playground politics, than a philosophy of government.”

Angular Banjos

In 1955 a piece of music premiered that briefly reconciled the warring factions of the European avant-garde.

Glam with Fangs: Bowie’s Diamond Dogs Reissued

1974 was the year Bowie got into Burroughs, dyed his hair red, and recorded Diamond Dogs. He’d initially wanted to turn George Orwell’s dystopic novel 1984 into a musical, but when Orwell’s widow refused him the rights Bowie decided to scrap the idea (thank god). Still, the theme of coercive televisual propaganda fits nicely enough into our current political climate to make this reissue’s link with Orwell queasily appropriate.


The player piano was the first multi-track recorder. Yes, the individual staves on a sheet of manuscript paper could be seen as so many “tracks,” terraced into those polyphonic layer-cakes called scores.

What is Avant-Pop?

Avant-pop does not shy away from the immediacy of the mainstream hit, and insists on hooks at their most puerile and perverse.

A Vital Pulse: The Philip Glass Ensemble and Steve Reich and Musicians at BAM

In a time when the future of the record business is up for grabs, Nonesuch continues to put out beautifully packaged CDs, and does so with as eclectic a roster as there is (Joni Mitchell, Elliott Carter, Youssou N’Dour, and George Gershwin are label-mates).


The Brooklyn Rail

JUNE 2023

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