Benji Taylor Wins
“Mythical musings on music and pop culture…”
Benji Taylor is a relentless traveller and music aficionado whose writings encompass film, music, art, & literature.
His mythical musings on music and pop culture are the eventuality of an anomaly inherent in the programming of the matrix which, despite his sincerest efforts, he has been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision.
As a master of words and magic, he contributes to several sites across the web.
You can follow him on Twitter: @BenjiTaylorWins
via About | Benji Taylor Wins.
Glass basks in the amorous glow of EDM connoisseurs Soft Metals…
Photo credit: Suzy Poling
In 2011, LA based electronic duo Soft Metals’ sound emerged from the hubbub of a plethora of bands riding the coat-tails of the retro-tinged synth revival, with their debut LP vastly outshining the work of their bland and vapid peers. Their debut proved one thing – that stimulating and meaningful synth-based music was more difficult to craft than many of their contemporaries realised.
Sophomore effort Lenses, released via Captured Tracks on 29th July, sees the duo refining the dense and textured soundscapes that populated their self-titled LP, and opting for sparser arrangements, and an aesthetic revolving around building tension and release. The result is an accomplished dance sound that crackles with intelligence and imagination, backlit by a marriage of vintage synths and 80s style drum beats.
As a collection of songs it’s heavily indebted to the dance floor, and to the night. Many tracks boast a feeling of audible sexual tension, no doubt owing to the fact that Ian Hicks and Patricia Hall – the miss and mister behind the duo – have been romantically involved since the band’s inception.
Ultimately Lenses reflects itself as the light of a bigger, brighter and braver Soft Metals. It’s a superb record that – since it boasts just the right mix of house-flavoured dynamics and reverential 80s sounds – should see the duo finally recline in the acclaim that their sound warrants this summer.
Photo credit: Suzy Poling
Lenses showcases a dancier sound than your self-titled debut. Who were your key influences on this record?
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THE FUTURE’S ORANGE…
My article on Amsterdam and Canal House for Glass Magazine…
“The key jewel in Amsterdam’s cultural crown, though, is the Rijksmuseum which, reopening after ten years of wide-ranging renovations, triumphantly re-positions itself as an artistic citadel of dreams..”
Published originally at WhatCulture…
“Now you’re looking for the secret. But you won’t find it because of course, you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to work it out. You want to be fooled…” – Cutter
Of late it’s sometimes easy to forget that Christopher Nolan, the genius behind the Dark Knight trilogy adrift amidst a sea of awards and accolades as a result of his labours with the franchise depicting his vision of the caped crusader, previously made a quartet of insidiously intelligent films: Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, and Inception. All of these films are amazing in their own way and worthy of separate analysis, showcasing Nolan’s developing directorial talent throughout the first decade of the new millennium. Today I’d like to discuss The Prestige, Nolan’s dark and bleak visually spectacular mind-twister of a movie, and my own personal favourite from this quartet of films, which was adapted from British writer Christopher Priest’s 1995 prize winning epistolary novel of the same name. Over the past few years I’ve discussed my interpretation of the events of the movie and its key overarching themes with so many people that I decided it was time to put my thoughts into an article.
The ingenuity of the movie arises from Nolan’s handling of the non-linear exposition of the film which, at its core, revolves around two talented magicians in the early 1900s who become engaged in a lifelong game of progressively daring one-upmanship. The movie’s narrator- Michael Caine’s Harry Cutter- is an ingénieur; he conceives then concocts the mechanisms which facilitate the magicians’ dazzling of their audiences. Cutter explains to the viewer the three key elements of any magic trick… every trick, he tells us, has three crucial stages:
The Pledge – the preliminary object or action;
The Turn– the action or the deed that misdirects and distracts the audience from the true purpose of the trick;
The Prestige- the final reveal which leaves them spellbound.
If you’re reading this article then you probably know the story which, in a nutshell to refresh you, charts via a series of flash-backs and flash-forwards the events surrounding the sentencing of Christian Bale’s Alfred Borden for the murder of Hugh Jackman’s Robert Angier. The murder seemingly occurred as the culmination of a series of escalating trade-offs between the two magicians which had their origins in the death of Angier’s wife Julia who, in tragic symmetry to the death of Angier, drowned performing a water cell act.
Next we will discuss the ending, and then seek to understand how it is representative of the key themes embodied within the movie’s narrative…
Move to ‘Page 2′ to continue…
Published originally at WhatCulture
SPOILER WARNING: Whilst the majority of this article relates to theory, speculation and deduction, it contains a few potential spoilers relating to the events of all five currently available “A Song of Ice and Fire” books, and to Season One & Season Two of the “Game of Thrones” TV Series. Where possible, I have omitted any spoiler-esque information unless I consider it essential to the article’s subject matter.
Who is Jon Snow? Our initial introduction to the 14-year old Jon Snow is in the first chapter of A Game of Thrones as he accompanies the man that we the readers are led to believe is his father, Lord Eddard (Ned) Stark, to execute a deserter of the Night’s Watch. As the apparent bastard child of the Lord of Winterfelll, Jon might well have lived a better life than 90% of the population of Westeros, but he has been made to feel something of an outsider by Ned’s wife Cateyln Stark, since his presence has proved to be a constant reminder of Ned’s supposed infidelity.
The alienation that Jon feels arising from his bastard-born status ultimately compels him to leave his half-siblings in Winterfell and join his Uncle Benjen on The Wall as a man of the Night’s Watch. Before he leaves, Ned makes a promise to Jon that, due to the interference of the Lannisters, he is ultimately unable to keep: “The next time we see each other we’ll talk about your mother, I promise…”
What I’d like to discuss in this article are the hints to Jon Snow’s true parentage that are presented within the books (and to a lesser extent the TV series). I believe that it’s quite clear from the raft of clues that the text provides us with that Jon Snow is not in fact Ned’s son – he is actually