Nilsson: The Life of a Singer-Songwriter (Bookforum, Nov 2013)
A review of a biography on one of the strangest, greatest rock stars of all time: the inimitable Harry Nilsson.
"Patronage in the Pot Pie" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2013) [PDF]
A report from the Dia Art Foundation's "Fall Night" benefit, with an earthy dinner and the musical duo Matmos plumbing the depths of New York -- literally.
" Afrofuturism' on Display in Harlem" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2013) [PDF]
A museum survey on Afrofuturism ranges from the intergalactic pioneer Sun Ra to contemporary artists working in different media to tap the future and the past.
"Sound Affects" (The National, Nov 2013) [PDF]
A cover essay on an enlightened current age for ambient music, with a focus on an all-night "Sleep Concert," a book about Brian Eno, music by Tim Hecker, and more.
"A Proust Marathon Kicks Off" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2013) [PDF]
A preview of a seven-night marathon reading of Proust's Swann's Way, to finish on the 100th anniversary of its first publication.
"Dinner in the Clouds" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2013) [PDF]
A report from a surrealist dinner party at MoMA in tribute to Rene Magritte.
"A Different Kind of Vocal Virtuoso" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2013) [PDF]
The story of vocal legend Joan La Barbara, touching on John Cage, Sesame Street, and singing for minutes at a time without breaking for breath.
"Art Not Moved By the Color of Money" (Wall Street Journal, Oct 2013) [PDF]
A story about painter Dale Henry, who fled the New York art scene of the '70s only to return, after death, on his own terms.
"Lincoln Center Installation 'Like Magnets'" (Wall Street Journal, Oct 2013) [PDF]
The story of sculptor Aaron Curry and a public art project to make the plaza of Lincoln Center a strange stage.
"Vinyl Heritage" (The National, Sep 2013) [PDF]
An essay on a superb set of vintage music from Southeast Asia, with recordings from 1906 to 1966 and lots of evocative stories to tell.
"Comedy Kingpin" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2013) [PDF]
News on the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, with input from Kristen Schaal, Ira Glass, Wyatt Cenac, Jim Gaffigan, and Mr. Mirman himself.
"Suggestive States of Disarray" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2013) [PDF]
A feature on a gallery show in progress by Raymond Pettibon, a storied illustrator, collagist, and underground raconteur.
"Kinetic Sculpture Comes Full Circle" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2013) [PDF]
The story of "Ventilator," a beguiling industrial fan installed in the grand atrium at MoMA by the artist Olafur Eliasson.
"The Message in the Medium" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2013) [PDF]
A report on a MoMA show devoted to experimental movies and works of "structuralist film."
"A Death Staged Over and Over" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2013) [PDF]
The story of a playful, macabre, ritualistic series by artist Matthew Day Jackson, on the occasion of a big gallery show in Chelsea.
"Singer Shoots for the Moon" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2013) [PDF]
An article on emerging R&B star Laura Mvula, musing on her dalliances between England and New York.
"The Ghost Army" (Red Bull Music Academy, Aug 2013)
An essay on a covert division of the U.S. Army that during WWII waged war with weird sounds and illusions of numerous kinds.
"The Sound of History" (The National, Aug 2013) [PDF]
An essay on sound-artist Chris Watson, whose latest field-recording project summons sounds sourced from the seventh century.
"Aural Tradition" (Wall Street Journal, Aug 2013) [PDF]
A sidebar of five sound-artists to know, on the occasion of a momentous sound show opening at MoMA.
"In 'Joke in the Hole,' Eric Copeland Explores Basic Complex Ideas" (Wall Street Journal, Aug 2013) [PDF]
A story about a musician, solo and in his guise with Black Dice, who makes electronic music by rudimentary means.
"Carol Bove Brings Her Balancing Act to MoMA" (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2013) [PDF]
A conversation with sculptor Carol Bove about her work on the High Line and in exhibition at MoMA.
"Teutonic Training" (The National, Jul 2013) [PDF]
The sporting story, seemingly too good to be true, of a secret soundtrack made for East German Olympians in the 1970s.
"Yasunao Tone Makes Beautiful Noise in Brooklyn" (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2013) [PDF]
The tale of artist, musician, and intermedia maven Yasunao Tone, a 78-year-old with roots in postwar Tokyo art, Fluxus, and the nuances of noise.
"Comedians Unite in Brooklyn to Help Young Superheroes" (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2013) [PDF]
A story about the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. and 826NYC, a tutoring center for kids with boundless imagination and ideas.
"Dia Renews Its Beacon for the Future" (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2013) [PDF]
An article on the inimitable Dia Art Foundation on the occasion of an anniversary, an acquisition, and continued plans for accession.
"Yeezus Live: 30 Albums to Try If You Like the New Kanye West" (Vulture, Jun 2013)
An survey of sounds tied to techno, rap, rave, dancehall, and Hungarian prog-rock, among other things.
"Iconic Museum Seen in a New Light" (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2013) [PDF]
An article on a project to cast the Guggenheim Museum in majestic light by the artist James Turrell.
"In Fort Greene, A New Erykah" (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2013) [PDF]
An interview with R&B star Erykah Badu, on the occasion of a special show with orchestral accompaniment.
"Music Made on the Cutting Edge" (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2013) [PDF]
A report from a musical saw festival in Queens, with cutting puns abundant.
"Random Access Accessories" (Vulture, May 2013)
A gathering of 30 albums to listen to if you love the new Daft Punk.
"Slow Fuse" (The National, May 2013) [PDF]
An essay on a lost-and-rescued classic of musical minimalism, the five-hour piano piece November.
"Always Making Noise, From DFA to the MTA" (Wall Street Journal, May 2013) [PDF]
A talk with the magnanimous DJ, producer, and former LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy.
"At Play in the Theater Lab" (Wall Street Journal, May 2013) [PDF]
An interview with theater legend Richard Foreman, founder of the Ontological-Hysteric Theater in 1968 and an absurdist-theorist without peer.
"600 Candles Aglow" (Wall Street Journal, May 2013) [PDF]
A talk with the arresting cabaret singer and transgender star Justin Vivian Bond, on the occasion of a 600th birthday blowout.
"The Original Artisanal Food" (Wall Street Journal, May 2013) [PDF]
The story of FOOD, an enterprising restaurant and conceptual art project (see: a proposal for meals served by crane) that thrived in SoHo in the 1970s.
"A Return Written in the Stars" (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2013) [PDF]
The story of Don Bikoff, a Long Island everyman who made one wowing folk-guitar album in 1968 and then tuned out—until a comeback came back around.
"Return to Form" (The National, Apr 2013) [PDF]
An essay on Elvis Presley prompted by two releases showing the King in especially regal form in the early '70s.
"Bugging Out on Insect Music" (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2013) [PDF]
A story about David Rothenberg, the author of a book called "Bug Music," with talk of cicadas and an idyllic setting in Cold Spring, N.Y.
"Reflecting on Surfaces with a Man of Steel" (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2013) [PDF]
An interview with sculptor Richard Serra, on the occasion of a superb gallery show devoted to "Early Work" from the beginning of his storied career.
"In Brooklyn, Painting a Fuller Picture of 'the Dome Guy'" (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2013) [PDF]
The story of a "live documentary" about visionary futurist Buckminster Fuller, with direction by filmmaker Sam Green and soundtrack by Yo La Tengo.
Interview: Karl Bartos (eMusic, Apr 2013)
A talk with a formative member of Kraftwerk about robotic reminiscences and the future standing of sound .
"Making an Artist's Absence Fonder" (Wall Street Journal, Mar 2013) [PDF]
The story of a gallery show on the late artist Gordon-Matta Clark, by way of a curator with a special familial bond.
"Transforming the Discourse" (Wall Street Journal, Mar 2013) [PDF]
A conversation with MoMA Poet Laureate, noted "conceptual writer," and UbuWeb art-archive kingpin Kenneth Goldsmith.
"This Ring Cycle Comes with Gloves" (Wall Street Journal, Mar 2013) [PDF]
An article about an unusual union of boxing, classical music, and dance at the legendary New York institution Gleason's Gym.
"Hearing (Sexy) Voices" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 2013) [PDF]
The story of arty R&B writher Autre Ne Veut, a character with a newly minted master's degree from Columbia and a voice without peer.
"Freaky & Fried-Out" (The National, Feb 2013) [PDF]
An essay on wildly creative jazz-fusion from the 1970s by forgotten footnotes The Stark Reality and Miles Davis.
Kavinsky Q&A (Spin, Feb 2013)
An interview with French electronic-music artist Kavinsky, compatriot of Daft Punk and maker of music for the movie Drive.
"A Gallery Where Prada Gets the Picasso Treatment" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 2013) [PDF]
A talk about fashion with Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at FIT and author of the Taschen book Fashion Designers A-Z.
"40 Movie Soundtracks That Changed Alternative Music" (Spin, Feb 2013)
I contributed to this smart list of influential movie music. (Mine: Blade Runner, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Koyaanisqatsi, Escape from New York, Rushmore.)
"Committing Abstract Thoughts to Canvas" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 2013) [PDF]
A conversation with painter Jack Whitten, maker of aspirational abstract art in New York since the 1960s.
"Pasting a Page Into the Songbook" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 2013) [PDF]
A Q&A with Will Oldham, the musician/mastermind behind the inimitable folk-country character Bonnie "Prince" Billy.
"A Small Magazine Puts Itself on Trial" (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2013) [PDF]
The story of the eccentric art magazine Cabinet, publishers of fine material and tenders of a cocktail bar in a stairwell.
"Sweet Hudson Valley Reverb" (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2013) [PDF]
A visit to upstate Hudson, N.Y., to hang out with the singular, instrument-making band Buke and Gase.
"Improving with Age" (The National, Jan 2013) [PDF]
An essay on best-ever singer Bessie Smith and a choice collection of songs from the 1920s and '30s.
"Issue Project Room Withstands Its Growing Pains" (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2013) [PDF]
The story of change at a beloved performing-arts enterprise in Brooklyn.
"At WFMU, Loyal Fans Step in to Save the Day" (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2013) [PDF]
A story about the wondrously weird radio station WFMU and its recovery after Hurricane Sandy.
"A Sound from Underground" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2012) [PDF]
The story of a secret sound-installation by the artist Max Neuhaus active in Times Square for 25 years.
"House Rules" (The National, Dec 2012) [PDF]
An essay on Chicago house music and variants on its perfected form.
"Pulling No Punches at the Bell House" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2012) [PDF]
A Q&A with comedian Todd Barry about his 25 years in the biz.
"Queen of Vaudeville" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2012)
A review of a book about erstwhile vaudeville star and forthright feminist icon Eva Tanguay.
"Circuits in the Grid: The Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center in Harlem in the '50s, '60s & '70s" (Journal for Popular Music Studies, Dec 2012)
A history of a wondrously weird enterprise in upper Manhattan, presented as a paper at the EMP Pop Conference at NYU.
"Under the Toque: Justin Warner" (Nation's Restaurant News, Dec 2012) [PDF]
A chat with the chef of Brooklyn's Do or Dine about cool food and mindful time as a Food Network star.
"A Merry, Musical Hanukkah" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2012) [PDF]
The story of holiday music as siphoned through the mind of the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation.
"Shining a New Light on City's Neon" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2012) [PDF]
A talk with the author of a book about old, buzzing neon signs in New York.
"A New Angle on the Walls" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2012) [PDF]
An interview with Scott Rothkopf, an agile curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
"An Artist's River Journey into a Writer's World" (Wall Street Journal, Oct 2012) [PDF]
The story of a wild boat ride with Matthew Barney and a barge floating with a monumental model of Norman Mailer's home.
"A Comedic Room of Their Own" (Wall Street Journal, Oct 2012) [PDF]
A Q&A with Yael Kohen, author of the oral-history book We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy.
"The Great Digital Swindle" (The National, Sep 2012) [PDF]
An essay on transporting music by historical characters of mysterious provenance: Jurgen Muller and Ursula Bogner.
"Who Is...Maria Minerva?" (eMusic, Sep 2012)
An interview with an Estonian pop star with subtextual allegiances.
"Mechanizing the Musical World" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2012) [PDF]
A story about computer-music mastermind and '70s-era Bell Labs operative Laurie Spiegel, on the occasion of a reissue of The Expanding Universe.
"Music for Solaris" (Resident Advisor, Sep 2012)
A feature about an orchestral musical project made in mind of the Tarkovsky film Solaris and its initiating novel by Stanislaw Lem, with notes from Poland and Iceland appended.
Aldo Tambellini (The Wire, Sep [Oct. issue] 2012)
A feature on a restless, radical intermedia artist from the downtown NYC arts scene of the '60s and '70s. [ARTICLE NOT ONLINE; LINK TO ISSUE ORDER FORM]
"From Destruction, a Sound of New Life" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2012) [PDF]
The story of The Disintegration Loops, a magesterial musical work by the artist William Basinski that took on special resonance after 9/11.
"Long Island: A Modern Architecture Lab" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2012) [PDF]
A talk with Caroline Rob Zaleski, architectural preservationist and author of Long Island Modern, about mid-century design just outside New York City.
"Matthew Dear Q&A" (eMusic, Aug 2012)
An interview with shape-shifting electronic pop star Matthew Dear about Detroit, self-confidence, and fishing.
"When the Future was Fuzzy" (Wall Street Journal, Aug 2012)
A review of "Music, Sound, and Technology in America," an anthology of primary-source documents from the early years of the phonograph, sound-assisted cinema, and radio.
"Stepping Up for Performance Art at Whitney Museum" (Wall Street Journal, Aug 2012) [PDF]
A Q&A with Jay Sanders, newly installed curator at the Whitney Museum with a special charge to focus on performing arts.
"A Radical Adjustment" (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2012) [PDF]
A Q&A with the director of a documentary film about the revered, revolutionary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei.
"A Day in the Life Of a Day on Film" (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2012) [PDF]
An article to greet a new presentation of Christian Marclay's overwhelmingly moving 24-hour film/collage-art piece "The Clock."
"A New Chapter for the City's Punk Playhouse" (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2012) [PDF]
An interview with the three main organizers of the first CBGB Festival, with bits of history safety-pinned in.
"N.Y. Philharmonic Sees Triple" (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2012) [PDF]
A story on an ambitious setting of "spatial music" in the Park Avenue Armory, including Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Gruppen" for three orchestras.
"A Special Kind of Brew" (The National, Jun 2012) [PDF]
An essay on the stirring music and documentary film that arose from a special collaboration between Sun Araw and The Congos in Jamaica.
"For City's Maestro, Life is a Beach" (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2012) [PDF]
A Q&A with composer Philip Glass in the midst of a prolific 75th anniversary year.
"Abramovic Recalls Her Recent Past, Looks to a Future Upstate" (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2012) [PDF]
A Q&A with performance-artist Marina Abramovic on the occasion of a new documentary and new museum plans.
"Metal Beast: An Unorthodox Victor Sjostrom Remix" (Film Comment, May/Jun 2012)
An essay on the 1921 film The Phantom Carriage and a new musical score by the electronic/metal duo KTL.
"Brewing Exhibit Taps into History" (Wall Street Journal, May 2012) [PDF]
An article about a museum show surveying the past and present of beer in New York at the New-York Historical Society.
"Nurturing the New Mariachitos" (Wall Street Journal, May 2012) [PDF]
A story about a mariachi academy for kids in East Harlem, where a tradition gets tended with care.
"Invasion of the German Pop Robots" (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2012) [PDF]
A report on the upcoming Kraftwerk music & art retrospective at MoMA in New York, with insights added by Afrika Bambaataa and Marina Abramovic.
"Where No Koala Has Gone Before..." (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2012) [PDF]
A story about an art & music project called Kid Koala's Space Cadet Headphone Experience, with note of a heartrending robot.
"A Gadabout's Homecoming" (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2012) [PDF]
The story of Dickie Landry, an artist who tends pecan trees, makes prescient video art, and plays sax in a manner sufficient to suffuse the Guggenheim.
"SPIN's 25 Albums That You Gotta Hear" (Spin, Apr 2012)
I wrote previews for SPIN's list of musical picks for the season, including Jack White, Death Grips, Regina Spektor, and more.
"Subway Salsa: Fantastic Compilation Bubbles Up from Under New York" (The National, Mar 2012)
An essay on spirited sounds sourced from a record store hidden within the subway station in Times Square.
"Solo on the Piano" (The National, Mar 2012) [PDF]
A consideration of a profoundly contemplative, contained, and intrepid means for self-expression: music for solo piano.
"A Restless Artist Saves His Sonic Mnemonic" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 2012) [PDF]
The story of Stuart Argabright and Black Rain, makers of sci-fi soundscapes for the ill-fated '90s movie Johnny Mnemonic and more.
"Throbbing Gristle's Reputation as Wreckers of Civilization Still Intact" (The National, Feb 2012) [PDF]
A revisitation of a notorious band on the occasion of a reissue campaign liable to jilt still.
"A Frame-by-Frame Show-and-Tell" (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2012) [PDF]
A report from a strange and stirring night of slideshows at Anthology Film Archives.
"Experiments with the Solstice in a SoHo Loft" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2011) [PDF]
The story of Phill Niblock, an artist who has lived in the same storied downtown loft since the '60s.
"Meat Is Music" (Slate, Dec 2011)
A story about a project involving the sounds of a particular pig, from birth to death and beyond.
James Ferraro & Ryan Trecartin: 21st-Century Creatures (The National, Dec 2011) [PDF]
An essay on a musician and an artist making the most of the simultaneously glorious and grotesque now.
"Singing Saw's Christmastime Tour" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2011) [PDF]
A nightlong travelogue from the Music Tapes' Holiday Caroling Tour, with appearances by mechanical mice and floating oatmeal.
Morton Subotnick "Electronic Works 3" (Mode Records, Dec 2011) [PDF]
I wrote a liner-notes essay on the history and evolution of electronic music for a CD/DVD by one of the medium's pioneering greats.
"Stepping Into A New Sound" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2011) [PDF]
The story of Sepalcure, a dubstep and "bass music" duo from New York but making headway into the heady electronic-music scene of the U.K.
"Ben Frost, In Bloom" (Village Voice, Nov 2011)
An article about an unlikely event at the New York Public Library, pitting musician Ben Frost against the stately, stentorian Rose Reading Room.
Q&A: Ben Frost on a Year with Brian Eno (Village Voice, Nov 2011)
An addendum to the article above, in which Ben Frost speaks at length about working with Brian Eno as part of a Rolex mentor/protege program.
"Sound Wisdom" (The National, Oct 2011) [PDF]
An essay on a repurposing project by Ricardo Villalobos and Max Loderbauer, with additional musings on the sound-world of ECM.
"The Rapture's Second Coming" (Spin, Oct 2011)
A magazine feature about a beloved New York band that re-found its faith and reified its sense of purpose.
Six Degrees of The Rapture's In The Grace of Your Love (eMusic, Sep 2011)
A survey of influences and allies for a new album full of both, with appearances by Larry Levan, Scorpions, LCD Soundsystem, !!!, and Trax Records.
"Inflating Some Peace and Quiet" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2011) [PDF]
A story about an ambitious installation project involving the architecture firm Snøhetta and music by composer Arvo Pärt.
"Who Is...HTRK?" (eMusic, Sep 2011)
An interview with a smart and searching band, with talk of David Lynch, Robert Bresson, minimalism, and more.
"26 Fall Albums That Matter Most" (Spin, Sep 2011)
Previews of the season's most scintillating releases as selected by Spin, including St. Vincet, Neon Indian, Mastodon, Drake, Mary J. Blige, and more.
"Wandering in the 'Desert'" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2011) [PDF]
A short take, with a numeric metric focus, on Michelangelo Antonioni's film Red Desert.
"I Listen to the Wind That Obliterates My Traces" (The National, Sep 2011) [PDF]
An essay on old music and photographs from the 1920s/'30s and beyond.
"Raising the Roof on a New Sound" (Wall Street Journal, Aug 2011) [PDF]
A trip out to New Jersey includes time with Clams Casino, maker of mystifying hip-hop and more.
"Sagging Toward the Harbor" (Wall Street Journal, Aug 2011) [PDF]
A story about Escape to New York, a new music and arts festival suited for Southampton.
First Take: Nicolas Jaar (MTV Hive, Aug 2011)
I asked some questions (off-camera) for this video featuring talk and a live performance worth seeing.
Biosphere: "Nuclear Emissions" (The National, Jul 2011) [PDF]
A consideration of ambient music and an album made in mind of Japanese nuclear plants.
Ford & Lopatin, harbingers of history (The National, Jun 2011) [PDF]
An essay on two sneaky, snaky music-makers who revisit the '80s as a time mined from the past.
Fatboy Slim Q&A (Wall Street Journal, Jun 2011)
I had a nice phone chat with Fatboy Slim about the American revolution, Detroit, and being in the biz for a long time.
"24 Summer Albums That Matter Most" (Spin, Jun 2011)
Previews of Spin's picks for the season's most notable musical fare, including Cults, Tech N9ne, Stephen Malkmus, and more.
"Techno DJ Robag Wruhme Spins a Good Yarn" (The National, May 2011)
An essay about a German musical auteur and the power of narrative in techno.
"Nicolas Jaar Writes His Own Syllabus" (Wall Street Journal, May 2011)
An article about the enormously talented Nicolas Jaar, a 21-year-old making some of the most distinctive and intriguing electronic music around.
Hammock House liner notes (Fania Records, May 2011) [PDF]
I wrote the liner notes for a Fania Records restoration project pairing Joe Claussell with a bunch of old salsa-music classics.
"Local Cellist Launches New Music Festival" (Wall Street Journal, May 2011)
An article about cellist Mike Block, a young compatriot of Yo-Yo Ma and the eclectic mind behind GALA NYC.
"Raising the Sounds of (Near) Silence" (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2011)
An interview with Norwegian sound-artist Jana Winderen about the sounds of shrimp, hearing herring, and harboring hydrophones.
"The Absurdist Genius of Ernie Kovacs" (Daily Beast, Apr 2011)
An essay, with video, on a brilliant '50s/'60s comic who helped define television as a medium in the early years.
Morton Subotnick, synthesizer wizard (Wall Street Journal, Apr 2011)
Time at home with one of the developers of the first voltage-controlled modular synthesizer in the 1960s.
Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (The Wire, Apr 2011)
An 8-page story about one of the world's premier electronic-music research centers, started in 1959. [ARTICLE NOT ONLINE; LINK TO BACK-ISSUE ORDER FORM]
"23 Spring Albums That Matter Most" (Spin, Mar 2011)
I wrote teaser previews for SPIN's list of forthcoming seasonal faves, from Britney Spears to TV on the Radio (and lots in between).
Breakfast with Ferran Adria (Wall Street Journal, Mar 2011)
I took the world's most revered and progressive chef, Ferran Adria from elBulli in Spain, to an old workaday diner on the Upper West Side.
G: An Avant-Garde Journal of Art, Architecture, Design, and Film 1923-1926 (The National, Feb 2011) [PDF]
An essay on a fascinating old publication from Berlin concocted by Hans Richter, Mies van der Rohe, Hans Arp, Walter Benjamin, Tristan Tzara, and more.
"Boldly Going Where No Artist Has Gone Before" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 2011)
A profile of artist Michael Benson, who makes beautiful photographs of planets and such from data sent back from space.
Destroyer's Dan Bejar, songwriter nonpareil (The National, Jan 2011) [PDF]
An essay on the best lyricist currently at work, in response to Destroyer's superb album Kaputt.
"Aglow With the Fallout Blues" (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2011)
A profile of Lauren Redniss, artist/author of a visually captivating art book about Marie Curie called Radioactive.
"Celebrating the Season in Stereo" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2010)
The story behind the majestic moving-sculpture/impromptu-parade event in New York known as "Unsilent Night."
Prince in New Jersey (Spin, Dec 2010)
A review of Prince in concert, at the start of a tour dubbed "Welcome 2 America."
"Visiting the Animal Afterlife" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2010)
A report from the front lines of a strange and surprisingly moving taxidermy contest in Brooklyn.
"Resonant Frequencies" (The National, Dec 2010) [PDF]
An essay on the early days of electronic music in the 1950s/'60s and how they affect how we think about sound, occasioned by a book on the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.
"Across Cultures, Image Is Everything" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2010)
A visit to the mysterious Archive of Research in Archetypal Symbolism and a survey of its beautiful, beguiling Book of Symbols, published by Taschen.
"27 Winter Albums That Matter Most" (Spin, Dec 2010)
Short teaser previews of forthcoming albums by everyone from Duffy and Daft Punk to Rye Rye and T.I.
"In Brooklyn, a Chili in the Air" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2010)
A dispatch from the Brooklyn Chili Takedown, a cook-off featuring 28 different chilis and a rich cast of characters.
"Bringing the Sounds of Eritrea to the World" (The National, Oct 2010)
For a newspaper in Abu Dhabi, I crane a curious ear to music from East Africa.
"A Room Where the Earth Stands Still" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2010)
A visit with the caretaker of "The Earth Room," a curious space full of dirt in SoHo.
Dirt Candy on Iron Chef (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2010)
A story about vegetarian chef Amanda Cohen and her spirited stint on TV.
"25 Fall Albums That Matter Most" (Spin, Aug 2010)
A selection of teasers for the season's musical finest, including everyone from Antony to No Age to Gucci Mane.
"The Passion of Krzysztof Penderecki" (Resident Advisor, Aug 2010)
A talk with the 77-year-old composer about hopes for the avant-garde, using his music in The Shining, and growing trees at home.
"Welcome to the Jungle" - Edgard Varese at Lincoln Center (Artforum, Jul 2010)
A survey of two days spent wondering around Lincoln Center, listening to sirens, and eating olive-oil ice cream.
"Rescuing a Disco Demigod from Oblivion" - Walter Gibbons (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2010)
A piece on the life of a disco legend who pioneered the art of the DJ and the remix.
"In the Mix" - Mutek (Artforum, Jun 2010)
A review of Montreal's Mutek festival of "digital creativity and electronic music."
Kentucky Grilled Chicken (Nation's Restaurant News, May 2010)
A news story, for a special issue about "menu innovation," on KFC's latest non-fried option.
"25 Summer Albums that Matter Most (Spin, May 2010)
I wrote short previews of upcoming albums selected by Spin, including Big Boi, Christina Aguilera, M.I.A., and Arcade Fire.
Kode9, "Memories of the Present Passed..."(Resident Advisor, Apr 2010)
A feature given to thoughts and discussion with Steve Goodman, dubstep DJ and author of the book Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear.
"125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years"(Spin, Apr 2010)
For its 25th anniversary, Spin picked 125 records and I wrote entries for half, with bits of wisdom and quips from the archives. Mine: from 1985-1994 (though not all from that period).
Until the Light Takes Us interview (A.V. Club, Dec 2009)
An interview with the directors of a documentary film about Norwegian black-metal music, in which talk turns to corpse paint and postmodern history.
Unsound Festival, Poland (A.V. Club, Nov 2009)
Report from an electronic/experimental music festival in Krakow. Acts covered include Sunn O))), Kode9, Grouper, Omar-S, and some cool keytar-playing Jews from France.
Jim O'Rourke interview (A.V. Club, Nov 2009)
A talk with a true musical polymath about Alfred Hitchock’s Stage Fright and gaming himself with solvable problems.
Yoko Ono interview (A.V. Club, Oct 2009)
A resilient artist talks about John playing piano at home and renewing herself at 76.
Future-shock music syllabus (Bookforum, Aug 2009)
I pick eight essential books about future-shock music, with titles by Simon Reynolds, David Toop, Kodwo Eshun, Paul Morley, and more.
Mutek in Montreal (A.V. Club, Jun 2009)
A trip up to Canada for a premiere electronic music & arts festival, with notable balloons and birds.
David Foster Wallace, "Gateway to Geekery" (A.V. Club, May 2009)
I take up the task of coaxing the prospective newbie into the world of DFW, with special attention to A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Infinite Jest.
Animal Collective, "The Scientists" (Spin, Jan 2009)
A profile of the band with some thinking over their history, on the occasion of Merriweather Post Pavilion. Highlights include a trip to the Dream House and talk about scuba diving.
Of Montreal, "Welcome to Normal Town" (Spin, Oct 2008)
A profile of the merry pranksters that includes a trip to Athens, Georgia, where we play bad volleyball and move a giant trampoline.
Remembering David Foster Wallace (A.V. Club, Sep 2008)
A tribute obit to a writer who changed the way I read, just a few days after his death.
Melchior Productions, "Let's Go Deep" (Resident Advisor, Aug 2008)
Talk with a magical and meticulous house producer turns toward drum sounds and spirituality in music.
Back to Iceland: the Nattura Environmental Concert (A.V. Club, Jul 2008)
In Iceland, I spy clouds that look like whales and watch Bjork and Sigur Ros play outside -- plus meet the author of Dreamland.
Fine Dining Hall of Fame: Tribeca Grill (Nation's Restaurant News, May 2008)
A history of an iconic downtown New York restaurant, with a guest appearance by Bill Murray.
Food for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (A.V. Club, Oct 2007)
Tips for what to set out for snacks during the greatest Halloween special ever. Red Baron pizza! Rocks! And so on.
Panda Bear, "Random Rules" (A.V. Club, Oct 2007)
A member of Animal Collective hits shuffle on his iPod and we talk about Basement Jaxx, Phil Collins, and the shifty art of drumming.
Animal Collective, "Revenge of the Weirdos?" (New York, Aug 2007)
A short profile of the band, after a triumph at South Street Seaport and near the release of Strawberry Jam.
Justice (Spin, Jun 2007)
A short profile of the French house-music duo on their way up.
James Murphy, "Shut Up and Dance" (New York, Mar 2007)
A personal profile of the LCD Soundsystem star, who opens up about cocaine birthday cakes and training to learn Brazilian jujitsu.
David Lynch interview (A.V. Club, Jan 2007)
I have a cup of coffee with David Lynch, talk about movies and transcendental meditation, and leave a little bit wiser.
"Weird Rock: New York's New Avant-Garde" (Slate, Nov 2005)
I write about five strange new bands, and invoke an experimental dancer who "writhes like an arthritic snake."
Brian Wilson interview (A.V. Club, Aug 2005)
The Beach Boys legend talks about doing too many drugs in the '60s and thinking he's not as good as Phil Spector.
Lil Jon, "Hip-Hop's Dirty Martini" (Washington Post, Nov 2004)
I consider the King of Crunk in a paper delivered widely within the Pentagon.
Arthur Russell, "Disco Fever" (Slate, Mar 2004)
A survey of the avant-garde disco genius who made dance beats speak and sang songs to the whitecaps.
The sound of UK garage, "The Biggest Beat of All" (Salon, Jun 2001)
I run through the wondrous, whizzing sound of 2-step garage and scream about how it just might reconcile all that's wrong in the musical world.
Harry Smith, "Uncertain, Unfair and Bloodthirsty" (Salon, Jun 2000)
A back-and-forth dialogue between me and Rennie Sparks about the recently exhumed volume 4 of Harry Smith's fabled Anthology of American Folk Music.
Scanner, "The Sounds of Science" (Salon, Aug 1999)
A profile of an electronic musician who makes music with found radio sounds and ghostly voices mined from the air.
"Godzilla in Delaware: Era of the Revolution" (McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Jul 1999)
A riff on alchemy and history and interrelated—or perhaps not—observations between the two.