flux 30 April 2014
30 April 2014 | flux
HELLO AGAIN FLUX PALS... For those of you unfamiliar with me, I’m Odrán de Bhaldraithe, the new editor of Flux.
Picture Credit: Musiclipse; ThisThatNew; Albumart; TV3; People.com; Mark Hogan; Nialler9; Wallpapersam.com; Freakoutmagazine; Hotel.info; Aktualitycz.cz.
First off, I’ll get to the changes that are planned for Flux: this section will no longer be used to explain what is in the issue (aside from right now of course), it will generally be used for examining things in the arts world in a societal tense. We are abandoning the archaic five-star system for reviews and going with the more comprehensive score out of ten, closest to one decimal point. The mission statement for the new version of Flux is to examine more things in a societal sense, like Emily Bodkin’s fantastic article on the media and the fear of feminism in issue ten of this year’s run, and to provide interviews with the best possible stars. With all that out of the way, I’d like to get down to this week’s issue. There has been controversy recently about the lack of racial diversity in Darren Aronofsky’s biblical epic Noah. The movie, shockingly in 2014, features an all-white cast. It almost beggars belief to say, or to write; here we are, a major film being released by a major distributor in Paramount Pictures, made by a major director and starring major actors such as Russell Crowe and Emma Watson, and every single member of the cast is white. Ari Handel, the film’s co-writer, has attempted to satiate any claims of racism he and Aronofsky may be facing in the aftermath by saying that the cast were “supposed to be stand-ins for all people”. He explained further that they were worried about the issue of “tokens”, saying they didn’t want their work to look like “a Benetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise”. In what world is the elimination of all other races better than a Benetton ad or the crew of the Starship Enterprise? In Darren Aronofsky and Ari Handel’s world presented in Noah, black people don’t exist. Asians don’t exist. Latinos don’t exist. No race other than white exists. Handel’s assertion that the movie works on a mythical plane and as such, the cast represents “everyman” is an assertion from the highest echelons of white privilege and cannot be accepted. The white-centrism of Handel’s defence is telling. In a perfect world, an all-white cast could possibly be seen as neutral, but we do not live in a perfect world. Whiteness is not neutral and anyone trying to argue otherwise clearly does not realise what whiteness represents to those of other races. Whiteness represents a special kind of privilege only achieved through generation after generation of genocides, gerrymandering and the destruction of any social norms that don’t conform to white society’s norms. Not everything is doom and gloom in relation to racial issues in the world of arts though; it is fantastic to Dreamworks’s announcement of Home, starring Rihanna. The film will be the first major animated film to feature a black lead. -Odrán
Record Store Day 2014
If you took the time to pick between the live releases it’s likely that you came away with something memorable
If you weren’t in Dublin for the long weekend, it is likely that you missed out on one of the biggest music events of the year. Record Store Day returned on 19th April and with over 600 vinyl releases for music fans to choose from, it was one of the largest celebrations to date. Record Store Day is traditionally about Independent Record Stores, communities and a fondness for vinyl, with plenty of live performances thrown into the mix. There were a multitude of events going on around the country. Tower Records on Dawson Street played host to Conor O’Brien of Villagers and Lisa Hannigan, amongst others, the two of whom ended up on stage together, much to the audience’s delight. Twisted Pepper’s Elastic Witch record store sadly closed its doors at the weekend, but not before having a rather large closing party, with the likes of Lisa O’Neill, Jape and I Am the Cosmos performing. Record Store Gay, an album of compilations by Irish musicians, was released in the lead up to the weekend. It is the third RSG release, and included covers of Lykke Li, Belle & Sebastien and Queen by Irish bands like Kate’s Party, Patrick Kelleher and others. The proceeds from the album go to Outhouse, an LGBT community resource centre on Capel Street. Outhouse itself hosted a mini-festival of sorts with many of the bands included on Record Store Gay #3 performing on the day,
both in Outhouse and Pantibar, also on Capel Street. Dublin may have been the epicentre for the day’s events but there was also plenty going on in other parts of the country. A launch party for the second edition of We Play Here was held in Cork over the weekend with bands like Carried by Waves and Croupiers taking part. We Play Here is a zine about Irish music which initially focused on rock bands in Cork, but has been expanded to shine a light on a variety of areas and interests, from rock music to record stores and photography. There has been some criticism as to the standard of records released for Record Store Day over the past few years. For some it is a chance to expand their record collection, while others are looking for good musical products. Fortunately there were some stellar releases this year, though they may have been hard to find. If you took the time to pick between the live releases it’s likely that you came away with something memorable. Conor Oberst, of Bright Eyes fame, Parquet Courts and Hamilton Leithauser all released new songs, while LCD Soundsystem’s The Last Goodbye was available. Not least amongst Irish releases was the third instalment of Record Store Gay. Some of the covers on this album are refreshing takes on old classics, some danceable, others quiet and somewhat introspective.
flux | 30 April 2014
Best of the Foreign Fests In the last Flux, we previewed what to do at home this summer. Now, Odrán de Bhaldraithe looks at what’s happening abroad...
the camping described as “the best choice for every true party hedonist”, what’s not to like?
Scotland’s premiere music festival comes back with possibly its strongest line-up ever. The festival offers a healthy range of taste, with rock gods Biffy Clyro and Arctic Monkeys, electronica giant Pretty Lights and hip-hop’s heirs to the throne, Chance the Rapper and Earl Sweatshirt. With Arctic Monkey’s set to headline the last night off the back of AM, it promises to be a special weekend in Edinburgh.
July 11th - 13th Tickets: €€199
Croatia’s Ultra Europe promises to be the biggest party in Europe this summer. The festival is in its second year and takes place over three days in Split’s Poljud Stadium. While surely lacking in the diversity offered by other festivals, the good times will certainly not be lacking for those interested in EDM and dance music with heavyweights Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, David Guetta and Example all on display. With
T in the Park
July 11th – 13th Tickets: £214.95 (€€€€261.86)
August 11th -18th Tickets: €€209 Budapest’s Sziget festival takes
place on a 108-hectare island. The weeklong festival’s nickname is the Island of Freedom, which tells you all you need to know. Line-up highlights include stonerrock royalty Queens of the Stone Age, hip-hop’s most celebrated duo in OutKast, retro-pop rockers the 1975, EDM pioneer Deadmau5 and English pop songstress Lily Allen. Even if the music’s not to your liking, why not go and partake in a game of lifesize foosball?
Reading and Leeds
Sziget’s mainstage and crowd. Left: Danny Brown
August 22nd - 24th Tickets: £213 (€€259.72) England’s festival with the alternating locations offers up another solid helping of summer fun. Their line-up also boasts Arctic Monkeys, along with Jake Bugg. The line-up also contains indie darlings Vampire Weekend and emo’s most radio
friendly band in Jimmy Eat World. Dance duo Disclosure beef up the billing along with post-hardcore kings Basement and Irish talent Hozier. An absolute can’t miss performance will be that of hip-
hop’s party-starter supreme, Danny Brown.
Albums of the Year (So Far!)
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib Piñata
Real Estate Atlas
The War on Drugs Lost in the Dream
Metronomy Love Letters
James Vincent McMorrow Post Tropical
The last real gangsta alive teams up with the most prolific producer left in hip-hop and the results are predictably top level. Gibbs finds ways to keep his well-tread subject matter interesting over Madlib’s trademark soul, jazz and funk samples mixed with dialogue from Blaxploitation films.
Real Estate’s other worldly tunes from their previous two albums still feature on Atlas, but there is a feeling they are trying to break that mould and become a proper pop rock group. Still signature Real Estate, but the experimental feeling is on the back foot.
The War on Drugs’ third album is an exercise in nostalgia, channelling shades of Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen and Don Henley. This album makes you feel like you’re driving at top speed through the desert on the trail of something undefined. A summer album if ever there was one.
Shrugging off their usual digital accoutrements, Metronomy took to analogue recording and looked to 60s sounds for inspiration after the mega success of 2011’s The English Riviera. The album is another set of complex, smartly structured pop songs about homesickness and missing the people you love.
McMorrow’s 47-month absence was justified when he returned with the unique sound of Post Tropical in February. Gentle, pensive moments mix with loud, powerful roars. Singing incoherent lyrics for an emotional sound mightn’t be new, but it’s executed here as good as over.
The Hotelier Home, Like Noplace Is There
David Crosby Croz
Wild Beasts Present Tense
EMA The Future’s Void
Bombay Bicycle Club So Long, See You Tomorrow
The Hotelier return to illuminate the spring with their best work yet. Blurring the lines between normal pop-punk and emo, the album eclipses 2011’s It Never Goes Out, had going for it. The searing emotionality never lets up; all 36 minutes will leave you feeling devastated, yet oddly validated.
Crosby is a man lucky to be alive and he knows it. This introspective album deals with the demons he has faced and the problems he sees in modern society. He pushes the “social commentator” job of a musician to its limits, but still writes some catchy songs.
The incongruity of Hayden Thorpe’s voice remains the centrepiece for Wild Beasts’ new album Present Tense. “Wanderlust”, attests to a change of direction for the band, however, as they take on a minimalist approach with more meaningful lyrics that confront subjects as diverse as boredom and spirituality.
EMA continues to avoid being pinned with any recognisable genre labels on her second solo album, as outward looking as her first was introverted and emotional. Sonically astounding social commentary considering the benefits and drawbacks of the internet on humanity, with some stinging swipes at the patriarchy along the way.
The band continues to develop with their new release, captivating the audience with a sincere electro-pop sound that could very easily have been overdone. The album is a grower, with catchy beats and convincing melodies. Female backing vocals from Lucy Rose and Rae Morris add strong layers to songs.
30 April 2014 | flux actually died explicitly mentioned. Of course, the children that he is telling the story to are well aware of the fact that their mother is dead, but surely, in this tale where Ted excruciatingly detailed his various sexual conquests to his children, he could spared some reflection for the death of his spouse.
, s y a d y m f o d s, n day my e of end e the h til “Un t “Until .” nd.....” eyoond nd bbey aand Last month’s How I Met Your Mother finale shocked viewers, marking it as possibly the most polarising finale a sitcom has ever aired. Odrán De Bhaldraithe examines just why it was so controversial. (Contains spoilers!) “Are we being punished or something?” “Dad, is this gonna take a while?” These are normal questions to ask when your father sits you down to tell a story about your dead mother, right? These were the words of Luke and Penny Mosby in How I Met Your Mother’s pilot nine years ago. Following the finale’s revelation of the mother’s fate, the actions of Ted Mosby’s have led to one thing, outside of any issues that may be had with other decisions, being clear: Ted Mosby’s children are terrible people. Perhaps all the more revolting than their seeming indifference to their father telling them the story of how he met their dead mother was their reaction at the end of the story. After Ted finishes the story, the children, smirk-
ing, tell their father that they see through him, and that the story was clearly not about their mother, that the story was about Ted’s love undying love for their “aunt” Robin. They smirk as if there’s nothing wrong with that. They encourage him to pursue Robin as if it’s okay that the story they thought they were being told was in all reality a selfish disguise for the narrator’s own wants.
puzzle of how Ted Mosby came to meet the woman we would later come to know as Tracy McConnell. That’s what kept us watching, through the good times and the bad. People don’t just watch terrible episodes like “Who Wants to Be a Godparent?” or “Zoo or False” for fun, they do it because they realise that these are blips in a greater tapestry, an epic love story that leads to a great pay-off.
In a way, we, the viewers, are Penny and Luke, and Ted is Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, HIMYM’s creators and main writers, but there is one big difference: most of us are not sitting here, smirking at this twist ending. For nine years, How I Met Your Mother aired, leading us all along, having us think that what we were seeing was just another piece in the
And there was a great pay-off, it just wasn’t the pay-off that Bays and Thomas expected us to appreciate the most. The undoubted star of the show’s patchy-at-best ninth season was Cristin Milioti, the actress who portrayed Tracy. Bays and Thomas clearly did not count on Milioti being the success that she was with her wit and endearing charm. Most of all, it’s safe to say they did not count on Milioti and Josh Radnor (Ted) having
the palpable chemistry that was presented onscreen, a chemistry only rivalled by that shared between Neil Patrick Harris (Barney Stinson) and Cobie Smulders (Robin Scherbatsky). Yet, in roughly forty minutes of unbelievable viewing, Bays and Thomas did away with both of those couplings to preserve an ending they concocted seven years ago. Art imitates life and life is unpredictable and cannot be set to a fixed ending. The end scene with Ted’s children was filmed during the show’s second season, meaning that Bays and Thomas always knew how the show would end. Obviously, they didn’t know at the time that the show would go onto be wildly successful in its post-Britney Spears era and that it would go on for a further seven seasons. At the time, they didn’t realise that Cristin Milioti would steal the show as the mother and that she would be fantastic with her co-star Radnor. The question has to be asked: why, when it became apparent that Milioti was a better mother than anyone could have dreamed of, did they not scrap their seven-year-old idea? If Bays and Thomas insisted on the ending they had envisioned all those years ago being stuck with, then why did we have to endure a ninth season that was set over the weekend of Barney and Robin’s wedding? Why couldn’t we have at least been given the news that the mother was sick and would ultimately die in a better way? Ted casually mentions the fact that the mother got sick, with neither her illness nor the fact that she
Had the writers not gone with the awful idea of staging the last season over a weekend, we might have been given the opportunity to accept the mother’s death, to see some sense in the writing. What makes the scenario all the more infuriating is Barney and Robin’s decision to get a divorce; a startling 14 minutes into the two-part finale, after 22 episodes of the season took place at their wedding weekend. The idea of Barney and Robin divorcing is not a terrible one; in fact it makes the most sense of the major decisions. Season five already showed us that they didn’t work as a couple, although the regression of Barney following his divorce was, again, infuriating. The problem is, again, that the marriage was treated as a massive deal, it had a whole season revolve around it, and it, like the mother,
There was a great pay-off, it just wasn’t the pay-off that Bays and Thomas expected us to appreciate the most. was killed off unceremoniously. It is hard to believe that the people who wrote the first four seasons of the show, the scene where Barney meets his daughter, the haunting end scene of “The Time Travellers” or the scene where Ted and Tracy finally meet could honestly think that this is a satisfying ending. There’s nothing wrong with twist endings, but they have to at least make sense. Are we being punished?