Just because you've hit your 30s doesn't mean your angst and desire to tell everyone to kiss off has to have died. Albeit the track eventually manifests with more ferocity and fervent, Inter Arma produce it quietly and with conviction, a feat they've been perfecting more and more over time. We have one song I wrote when I was 18 that we still play. Ian Curtis makes an unassuming and paradoxical entrance on the Manchester music scene at around the same time. The back cover would have us believe that this is the tale of a mad architect inspired, I assume, by Fior's own degree in architecture and his girlfriend Silvia's attempt to save him. Media representations of such communities play a particularly important role in bolstering the ways in which state resources are administered or deprived, policing is imposed, political power consolidates itself or is challenged, and neighborhoods become integrated as part of the American fabric or ostracized as a sleeper cell waiting to strike.
Sigrid, as is so often the case on these songs, goes for something scrappier and harder to nail - it's both more and less joyous than it could have been. The orderly structure offsets the more anarchic panel interiors. Richard Flanagan, in his foreword to the book, compares Boochani's work to the prison writings of Oscar Wilde, Antonio Gramsci, and Martin Luther King Jr. He relates the antics of an Iranian prisoner called Maysam the Whore who, along with his friends, puts on elaborate performances of comedy and dance to entertain the other prisoners. That was a huge aid to us, to approach it in that way. The truth is, likely, a combination of the two. The title of the current record comes from a line in a song Quinlan wrote in 2013 but never got to use until now.
After staring at it for several seconds, it evaporated. Chaplin understood the importance of this during troubled times as his career spanned two World Wars, a Great Depression, McCarthyism, and more. He and everyone else are perfectly willing to admit that all of the red flags were there in hindsight, but they just couldn't bring them into focus at the time. Australia needs to think very seriously about the value of life and what constitutes a democratic and humane society. For over six years, Agbabian has sung with Hamasyan, collaborating with him on several albums and many more live tours. But to put your personal stamp on anything isn't always seamless. Both were captured exactly as performed in the studio, an analog recording that further adds to the group's emphasis on connecting to the past.
On all of the album's tracks, Tiersen shows off his chops as a major league composer. Furthermore, why should we care? Having epilepsy certainly wasn't his fault. The album's massive ambition, which announces itself immediately, continues unabated until the dying fall about 50 minutes later. Music reviewers are not immune to this; we all begin as fans and then try to go beyond that to provide deeper insight into the works that engage us, but that pure joy in discovery can't be lost, even if it must be occasionally muted. As far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly okay if there's now nothing left to tell. Yet the practice of 'offshore processing' and the prison-like conditions it produces, continues, with hundreds of refugees still trapped on the island and unable to leave.
And there is this sort of reconciling. Often overlooked, however, has been Chaplin's talent as a musical composer. It's a cleverly layered piece with percussive clashes and collisions cushioned by smooth synths. It recounts Boochani's underground escape from Indonesia and the two dangerous ocean journeys he made in an attempt to reach Australia. I mention that I'm conducting interviews with Muslim-American youth of different backgrounds. She plays slowly, using sustained chords as the primary vehicle for her songs. The field recordings are those birds.
I'd heard of them, but there's just so much good or interesting stuff to wade through that I hadn't yet had the opportunity to check them out. While lots of electronic instrumental music seems hell-bent on simulating gleaming perfection, Tobin's universe is a cracked one, and an oddly human one at that. These sections, at least, should be required reading for schoolchildren in any country that receives ocean-going refugees. Not only do historical relationships of colonialism manifest themselves in the form of prisoner-captor relations Iranians, Sri Lankans, Iraqis, on one side; Australians on the other , but also in the relationships between Australian prison officers and the Indigenous Manusian inhabitants. I ask her how she feels about performing highly personal material that's now two to three years old. It was pretty directly based on a trauma. Instead, in the uncertain geopolitics of the contemporary era, he was plucked out of the sea, tossed into a prison camp, and tortured for his efforts to stand up for human rights and democratic dignity.
It's an obvious weakness to the series, especially considering that most episodes are around 50-minutes, but the reboot shows promise in other areas. He is truly at the top of his game, and one can only stand in awe of this accomplishment. It's a sad coincidence that Boochani is a journalist who has been subjected to the brutality of refugee prison camps, but he reminds us that it's the voices of those who are suffering through these experiences that ought to be centralized in dialogue about the crisis. That we end with this suite of immaculate Zimmerman pastiche replete with echoes of Morrison, and a final flourish toward Leonard Cohen's backing singers in the last moments ties a beautiful bow on the whole experience. The reader even gets the impression that Curtis's previous attempt at suicide didn't ring the alarm bells loud enough.
Lathan is tremendous in the role, pushing Nina in and out of a frenzied melodrama while she and Dorian slowly come to terms with what's going on. Not only is Manus Island the result and consequence of a particular societal tendency that allows horrific treatment of refugees but its presence in turn affects and strengthens the very xenophobia which permits it. Anyway, more than half of the album is pretty amazing, both lyrically and musically. Anyway, for the album itself - I've got mixed feelings about it. But upon reflection, this set of songs from the latter part of the album seems to mark a shift as well as punctuation, both of which are much needed after the frenetic sequence that was the first seven songs.
For them, this pretend celebration is a good opportunity to get on the officers' nerves, to mess with those who hold them captive, a kind of childish spite that expresses a desire for revenge. The pair stop talking, at least for a while. Moreover, it serves as a reminder that the simplest songs are often the best, the most relatable and reachable. But that works to Tobin's advantage; it allows him the opportunity to partake in a type of world-building, where there are no standards and no expectations. Chaplin engages in dramatic flourishes and humorous asides in a way that resembles a Marx Brothers' parody. Luckily Rooney is that force. Boochani can only hope and dream that she escaped to a more hopeful future.
It's unlikely that Boochani will one day emerge from Manus Island to take the reins of Australia's government, as Mandela did in South Africa, but it's undeniable that the world will judge Australia's racist refugee policies with as fierce a disgust one day. Destined to become of the most-discussed and revered duos of its kind, Little Mazarn is only just starting. The few who manage to surpass the forgotten have an innate quality to mix the solution and offer their interpretation. But they also kind of startle off in unpredictable ways. In many ways an autobiographical novel, it also combines poetry and deeply lyrical passages, drawing on Kurdish and other mythologies. As a single piece of art, the concert experience probably offered something exceptional, as each of these tracks on their own has surprise and depth.