Month: August 2018

Fuck Work: On the Disappearance of Work

This is Paul Jorion’s preface to Fuck work! Pour une vie sans travail (Flammarion), translated by Matthew Barlow and Bruce Robbins. The text you are about to read will energize you. I took great pleasure in reading Livingston’s book, and I hope you will not deny yourself that pleasure. I first came across his ideas in the journal Aeon in November 2016. I read his article, laughed a lot, and looked for someone who could, despite its length, translate it for my Blog de Paul Jorion. Its publication in September 2017, followed by a response by Madeleine Théodore in December, brought over two hundred comments. But what is Livingston’s argument? Does he say that work is an abomination and if we had an ounce of reason, we would never have learned to love it? Or does he say that there is no more work and that we should mourn it? These are, of course, different conclusions and their assumptions are different. In the first case, if we should never have learned to love work, then our present era doesn’t differ at all from those that preceded it, and our own stupidity – of which our love of work would be the confirmation – is a constant. Why did we love work? Because, according to Paul Lafargue (1842-1911), Karl Marx’s son-in-law (and mischievous critic of his father-in-law), in his Right...

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Deafhaven — Ordinary Corrupt Human Love

Deafhaven Ordinary Corrupt Human Love Anti- Deafhaven ain’t your average metal band.  They’re also hard to pin down, their albums all sound divergent from each other, which is unusual, really.  Bands usually find a sound and stick with it, or at the least, their evolutions are more predictable.  And even across albums, the sound evolves and changes, incorporating elements from everything from metal to post-rock and everything in between.  Ordinary Corrupt Human Love, despite its cynical title, is both a beautiful and heavy album. It starts with a spoken word story read by Nadia Kury over a beautiful piano riff and soaring guitars on ‘You Without End.’ Vocalist George Clarke’s howling madman vocals get buried in the mix on this track and it generally remains so throughout the album.  So, in a way, Clarke’s voice becomes another instrument, and one that remains at odds with the shimmery guitars and steady rhythms of the band on Corrupt Love.  On ‘Honeycomb,’ the second track, a heavy Black Sabbath by way of Faith No More riff holds sway and Clarke’s voice shimmies over the guitars and beat before a lulling ending punctuated by a hypnotizing bit of guitar.  And this is what seems the biggest difference in this album from earlier ones, the two guitarists, Kerry McCoy and Shiv Mehra, play melodic, shimmery bits more than gut-slamming riffs and shredding metal guitars, though the...

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Art of #MeToo: Cara Cole’s “Illuminated Manuscript”

“Illuminated Manuscript” by Cara Cole High Noon Gallery, NYC Cara Cole’s installation, Illuminated Manuscript, opened on July 6, 2018 at the High Noon Gallery in Lower Manhattan and remains on view until August 26. Some might be tempted to interpret Cole’s project as a personal narrative emerging out of the #MeToo movement, since its subject matter is a student’s reported sexual harassment and sexual assaults at the hands of an unnamed professor. Yet despite the life material that clearly informs this piece, it is also crucial to acknowledge Illuminated Manuscript as art, which is always linked to an artist’s aesthetic...

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Angélique Kidjo — Remain in the Light

Angélique Kidjo Remain in the Light Kravenworks In 1980, Talking Heads released their landmark Remain in the Light.  Working, as usual, with Brian Eno, the band was attempting to prove it was a band and not just one talking head in front of a group.  So they retreated to the Bahamas, listening to a lot of Fela Kuti and getting into African polyrhythms, as well as electronics and loops.  Meanwhile, frontman David Byrne conquered writer’s block by looking to early hip hop to come up with his patented stream of consciousness lyrical style.  It was, to that point, their first Top 20 album in the US, and it set them on a long road of exploring African grooves and sounds in their music, culminating in their swansong album, 1988’s Naked.  Since then, Byrne, America’s beloved eccentric, has been all over the place musically. So when Beninese singer, and legend in her own right, Angélique Kidjo announced her plans to re-record the album, it all made perfect sense.  As she tells it, she first heard ‘Once in a Lifetime’ in a café in Paris after fleeing war-torn Benin in the early 80s, and she was studying jazz at the Centre d’informations musicales, and she was hooked.  She says she thought it was African music. So she takes Remain in the Light and makes it a right, proper Afrobeat album, down to Fela Kuti’s...

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