Monday March 28 2022
S/FJ 2.0—what you are reading—is now three years old. Revisit our meager first post to see how far we’ve come and reward yourself for sticking with us.
Starting today, you get more bang for your buck. (Do subscribe for money.) Every Monday, a new issue will arrive at 9 AM EST. If you use the app, it will show up there. Don’t panic and think you’ve unsubscribed when the newsletter doesn’t show up in your inbox, as I have.
Monday issues are tied to the moment, so what you receive is a tiny newspaper faithful to nothing but the whims of those making it. It has actually been this way all along—we just didn’t know it. Joe Levy and Heidi DeRuiter edit every single post, so there is a “we” here. I take every single photograph and if you like them, take a look at the 1.0 version of this, which is now an archive of everything I posted between 2003 and 2010.
This newsletter is often categorized as “music,” which is fine, but that word describes only part of what we care about. The wider intention here is to create a community and tie together people who are doing roughly consonant things. I determine that consonance, so my community may be slightly out of alignment with yours. Or maybe this will change your alignment.
In addition to the Monday issues, reassuring in their constancy, there will be irregular extras which include but are not limited to interviews (like this one with Taja Cheek of L’Rain), essays (like this piece about The Empty Seventies), and my mixes.
I love doing this. I did not know I would feel that way three years ago. The bits we can promise are now promised and the bits that cannot be guaranteed are not. Accountability is soothing.
Here’s my Observer bit about the new Rosalía album, and here’s her TikTok performance in full. This half hour video is better than most Criterion titles, filmed with an iPhone and created for one: the aspect switches from portrait to landscape fairly often. All of the action was shot in a photo studio with a white backdrop, making it seem as if the action all happens in real time. With just herself and a few dancers, Rosalía turns roughly half of Motomami into a high res jam session. She seems to be having an exceptionally good time and is making remarkable use of the tools afforded to a pop star, better use than anyone else out there now.
Andrei Tarkovsky: A Cinema Prayer was made in 2019 by his son, also named Andrei. It functions as a documentary, since it moves chronologically and contains biographical information. That doesn’t describe it particularly well, though. This is dense stuff, and is best understood as an illustrated diary. Tarkovsky kept different journals, several of which have been published. The passages his son selected form a new combination of filmmaking workbook and philosophical tract. Tarkovsky didn’t seem to do anything in a light or trivial way. His comfort with both silence and seriousness is a lesson.
Do we have the exact opposite of Tarkovsky here? Yes and no—Adrian Rew’s Slot Machine Music is a collection of “field recordings from middle American casinos.” Is there a less sacred place than a casino, a location of less chill? Probably not, though the collision of sounds Rew captures is sort of pleasant, almost reflective. All of the various machines abutting each other and chiming and ringing make a kind of tuned rumble, possibly because they have been engineered to put you in the mood to lose money. Is that, in itself, a sort of holy proposition?
I like this Tobias For Now post about Mistki and performance and mood music and selling sad or, rather, being sold by sad.
If you live in New York, please go see Bronco Bullfrog at Film Forum. Here is my Observer piece on the movie. It’s such a blend of awkwardness and tactile beauty.
Someone just posted this 1990 cassette by Caracol de Fuego to YouTube. OP wrote that Caracol de Fuego were “a collective based in Mexico City and released this in 1990. Closely related to Tribu, not much information about them has been found.” My very scientific take on this music is that advanced beings landed on earth, busted into a day care center, and recorded this album in the dawn before anybody showed up. Though there is some singing, only half of it is in Spanish. Maybe the recorder should only be played by revolutionaries.