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NTS + Rosalía
I want you to have the best possible weekend. Here are some suggestions.
Listen to NTS every morning. I use their iOS app most of the time. (There are also desktop apps for Mac and Chromebook, if you are not tied to your phone.) I’m going to highlight two shows; a bit like homework, the best kind.
Time Is Away is remarkable, the kind of thing that makes you say “How did I not know about this?” Try the new episode, featuring Sebald reading from Austerlitz two weeks before his death, or an episode from January of 2017, which uses the speaking voice of John Berger. (The voice recordings are from way before that.) I can’t possible oversell what Jack and Elaine do in Time Is Away. They gather together obscure records and bits of the human voice (talking and singing); then they make all the sources speak to each other and create narratives that aren’t entirely narrative. Time Is Away episodes are not nearly as linear as the documentary genre demands, but they’re also sort of documentaries? Except for when they’re sort of utopian dreams? I have an interview with Jack and Elaine from last year that I will refresh, with their help, and post here soon.
Suncut uses the R&B continuum as a remit to explore the emotional extremities of the genre, as well as its history. Perfect for mornings. (All of these shows can be explored through the NTS archives.)
This weekend’s NYT mag Rosalía feature, written by Marcela Valdes, is one of the best music pieces I’ve read in ages. Everything I wanted to know about Rosalía’s flamenco training is in here. This essay also does justice to her sense of mission and the thoroughness of her craft. Here is what I wrote in June about Rosalía.
If you don’t know who pianist Paul Jacobs is, mentioned in the Rosalía post, I am going to tell you to buy something. I know! But you can’t stream it anywhere, not even on YouTube, and it is worth whatever you pay for it.
The Legendary Busoni Recordings is drawn from three different Nonesuch LPs recorded in the late Seventies. I want you to hear Busoni’s “Sonatia #1,” as Paul Jacobs played it. It has the same sense of connection between notes, the physical trace of embodied energy, that goes through all of Rosalía’s singing. This was her year, without any doubt, and she is good enough to have me missing Paul Jacobs, who she has nothing to do with.