Loop Special : The Best Albums Of 2015 1st Quartet

to pimp a butterfly

As we take some well deserved holidays, this is a perfect time to recap what the first quarter of the year has delivered with a special edition of our loop comprised by lesser known tracks from our favorite albums so far.

Good news are music-wise 2015 is shaping up as one of the best years in recent memory. Two very different male artists, Kendrick Lamar and Sufjan Stevens, lead the pack with extraordinary recent works, immediately ranking among the best achievements from their respective careers. The Long awaited comebacks of D’Angelo and Sleater-Kinney also fared extremely well; so did the heart-melting return to form by our favourite Icelander, Björk plus debut records by Natalie Prass; Courtney Barnett; Tobias Jesso, Jr.; Viet Cong and Father John Misty of Fleet Foxes fame.

Even better news, records by PJ Harvey; Frank Ocean; Kanye West; Chromatics; Raekwon; Brian Wilson; James Blake; Django Django; Tame Impala and the first Blur studio album in decades are also up for release. Keep yourself up to date by following Roberawards’ Spotify playlists with the best Albums; Tracks; Compilations and Reissues of 2015.

And our favourite records of the first quarter are: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Loop Gets Hungry With Gepe & Wendy Sulca

gepe wendy sulca

Chilean indie songwriter Gepe teams up with internet viral sensation Wendy Sulca in ‘Hambre’(Hunger). A marriage made in aestival heaven which delivers the perfect soundtrack for the end of the austral summer.

Two standout cuts from our favourite albums of the year so far Sujan Stevens and Kendrick Lamar are the highest entries of an edition in which we tried to fit as many new releases as possible before going on holidays for two weeks. Among them the latest tracks by Waxahatchee; La Bien Querida; Janelle Monáe With Jidenna; Cakes Da Killa; Blur; Du Blonde and the first taster from the collaboration of the year, Frank Ferdinand teaming up with legendary duo Sparks in F.F.S.

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Sufjan Stevens’ Childhood Memories Are #1

sufjan stevens

Sufjan Stevens did it again. His seven studio album ‘Carrie & Lowell’ has impressed critics so much there are claiming it may be his best. Dedicated to his mother and stepfather, the record is a moving and personal look at his childhood and the troubles of growing up within a dysfunctional family. ‘Should Have Known Better’ is this week’s number one.

The two highest entries in this edition, Jupiter and Jamie XX Feat. Romy anticipate what this year’s summer vibes may sound like. Other notable entries are the latest offerings by FKA Twigs; Björk; µ-ziq; Mas Ysa; Prurient; Avey Tare and Geologist from Animal Collective; Florence + The Machine and Spanish chanteuse Cristina Quesada with a lovely,sugar coated cover of Jesus & Mary Chain’s ‘Just Like Honey’.

Check the new loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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All Hail King Kendrick Lamar

KENDRICK LAMAR

As a sign of things to come, Kendrick Lamar stormed straight into our loop’s #1 taking over Kanye West with ‘King Kunta’, a P-funk infused highlight from his winning new album, currently doing the same in every chart across the globe. Kendrick has deliver a politically charged, musically astonishing work with ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’, the best album we have heard since his former classic ‘Good Kid, M.A.A.d City’ and one that establishes the Compton rapper as the best hip-hop artist in the planet. Kanye is going to need a truly ace new record to be able to match Lamar’s indisputable brilliance.

Apart from ‘King Kunta’, Django Django lead the new entries contingent, which also features the latest tracks by Blur; Jill Scott; Sheer Mag; Grimes & Bleachers; Nils Frahm and a catchy new single by Chilean alt pop star Gepe, joining forces with former Peruvian novelty act,Wendy Sulca who seems to be leaving behind her little countryside girl tacky antics and having a go at artist respectability.

Check the new loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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God Helps Kanye To Top Our Loop Again

kanye so help me

Kanye West has done it again. After storming the Brits with his incendiary and heavily censored rendition of ‘All Day’, the third taster from his long awaited eight album ‘So Help Me God’ is the brand new #1 in our chart.

In an edition loaded with entries from some of the most anticipated albums of the springtime, Skepta is the highest debut, followed by the latest from Tame Impala; Holly Herndon; Björk; Grimes; Jay Electronica Feat. JAY Z; Sufjan Stevens; Sun Kil Moon; Death Grips and a curious collaboration between Devonte Hynes and Neneh Cherry to promote “gender fluidity”.

Check the new loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Loop Taken Over By A Blanck Mass

blanck mass

Benjamin John Power, one half of the celebrated experimental electronica band Fuck Buttons, takes the loop by storm with ‘Dead Format’. The excellent new single from his side project Blanck Mass‘s third album is our chart’s new #1.

Highest entry is the latest by LoneLady, followed by new offerings from Westkust; Chromatics; Levon Vincent; Kanye West; Courtney Barnett and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Furman going solo.

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It Follows: A Modern Indie Horror Classic

IT FOLLOWS

Few genres are as widely appreciated and beloved as horror. The immense pleasure most of us obtain by getting frightened is amply rewarded at the box office and has traditionally been an entry level gate for a lot of talent that went and forge ground-breaking careers. On the flip side, horror films are an over saturated market prone to cliche and repetition to exhaustion, spawning lots of B, C and even D movie productions with no further ambition than a quick cashing up. That’s why whoever brings an original idea or a new angle on existing ones is almost guaranteed a sometimes exaggerated acclaim coming from all sides of the industry.

The latest of those rare original occurrences is ‘It Follows’, in which US director David Robert Mitchell surprised us all with an unexpected shift from his debut ‘The Myth of the American Sleepover”, a typical low-key indie affair shaped through the intimate conversations and everyday experiences of a group of teens. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rober Awards 2014 Film Poll: Full List Of Winners

grand budapest hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel has swept the board at the 2014 Rober Awards Film Poll. Wes Anderson’s celebrated masterpiece won in seven of the eight categories it was nominated for; including best picture, director and screenplay, leaving its main rivals ‘Birdman’ with a single trophy for Michael Keaton and ‘Boyhood’ sadly empty handed.

Other multiple winners as chosen by our readers were The Dardenne Brothers’ social drama ‘Two Days, One Night’, scooping the foreign language gong as well as best actress’ for Marion Cotillard’s remarkable performance – her fans chose James Gray’s ‘The Immigrant’ as the most under appreciated film of the year too; “Whiplash” earned awards for its two leads, JK Simmons (supporting) and Miles Teller (rising star); British favorite ‘Pride’ also won in the two categories it was shortlisted for, best comedy and best British film; whereas Mexican newcomer Diego Quemada-Díz received the honors for best first feature and best Hispanic movie.

One more year thanks to everyone who cast their votes. The full list of winners goes as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

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Kendrick Lamar Makes Our Loop Blacker

KENDRICK LAMAR

Kendrick Lamar‘s incendiary new track ‘The Blacker The Berry’, referencing the events that caused Ferguson’s recent racial unrest, is the week’s new #1.

Nadine Shah leadS the new entries contingent, with Godspeed You! Black Emperor; The Tallest Man On Earth; Dej Loaf and Leon Bridges also debuting new songs, as well as the first taster from the supergroup formed by Scarlett Johansson and Este Haim, The Singles.

Check the new loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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Top 50 Best Films Of 2014

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1- BOYHOOD
(Richard Linklater)

The year’s most remarkable achievement was Richard Linklater’s filming during twelve years the growth of a kid from child to adult, which has turned out to be a piece of film history as much as a true slice of life.
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2- MR. TURNER
(Mike Leigh)

For the second time on his career, Leigh put on hold his superbly observed everyday stories to depict the work of an artist from the Victorian-era, wisely avoiding the traps of conventional biopics with extraordinary results.
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3- LEVIATHAN
(Andrey Zvyagintsev)

An epic battle of biblical proportions, the impossible fight of an honest man versus a corrupt state had an universal resonance that transcended the brilliantly written criticism about Russia’s current situation.
the grand budapest hotel
4- THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL
(Wes Anderson)

Wes Anderson’s refined his personal style delivering what’s arguably his first masterpiece with its old-fashioned, slapstick-infused comic strip narrative and a Russian dolls-like structure.
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5- UNDER THE SKIN
(Jonathan Glazer)

An unsettling sensorial experience, this mind blowing story of alien invader feeding off solitary men she finds in the streets of Glasgow gave Scarlett Johansson her first critically acclaim role in ages and became one of sci-fi’s most distinctive works.
Emmanuel Lubezki/ TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
6- BIRDMAN
(Alejandro G. Iñárritu)

The biggest winner of the awards season, technically impressive and with a cast on top of their game, underlined by a self-referencing lead by Michael Keaton, capturing the vibrant madness of a theatrical production 48 hours before its opening.
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7- STRANGER BY THE LAKE
(Alain Guiraudie)

One of the boldest propositions of the year was this Hitchcock-influenced French thriller whose killer on the loose in a gay cruising site subject unveiled a clever metaphor about the way gay sexuality deals with the threat of AIDS.
ida
8- IDA
(Pawel Pawlikowski)

The year’s Foreign Language Oscar winner was a sober look at recent scars in Polish history, shot in exquisite black and white, through the tale of an orphan novice putting faith to the test when allowed to visit an auntie and track her parents' fate down.
FOXCATCHER
9- FOXCATCHER
(Bennett Miller)

Based in the story of the billionaire who killed a wrestling athlete whose Olympic team he sponsored, a disturbingly bleak film about the self-destructive fear of not living up to expectations was anchored on three great performances.
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10- NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY
(Lav Diaz)

Lav Díaz confirmed himself as one of the maximum representatives of slow cinema with his four hour adaptation of Dostoevsky‘s Crime and Punishment and its ambitious showcase of the current social, political and historical situation in the Philippines.
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11- NIGHTCRAWLER
(Dan Gilroy)

The writer of The Bourne Legacy’s screenplay jumped into the director’s chair with this instant cult classic that mixed dark media satire with edge of the seat thriller, boasting a sadly snubbed, career best central performance by a creepy Jake Gyllenhaal.
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12- WINTER SLEEP
(Nuri Ceylan Bilge)

Loosely based on Chekhov short story “The Wife, this year’s Palm D’Or winner was another master work from Turkey’s most celebrated author, who reflects here about his country’s intellectual class and how distant they’ve become from real life.
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13- TWO DAYS, ONE NIGHT
(Dardenne Brothers)

Marion Cotillard was the factory worker who needs to convince her colleagues to vote for her not to be sacked, even when that means they will lose their bonuses, in another extraordinarily poignant social drama by the Dardenne brothers.
WHIPLASH
14- WHIPLASH
(Damien Chazelle)

JK Simmons delivered one of the year’s most iconic characters as a teacher of dubious methods crashing with a pupil who shared his quest for greatness. It combined the slick elegance of jazz with a vertiginous pace and a grippingly tight screenplay.
Inherent_Vice
15- INHERENT VICE
(Paul Thomas Anderson)

Successfully achieving what had been deemed impossible with this faithful adaptation of one of Thomas Pynchon’s books, PTA chose this druggy PI tale describing the moment when America’s hippy dream gave way to the troubled cold war era.
Julianne moore
16- MAPS TO THE STARS
(David Cronember)

Brilliantly obscure farce bringing back Cronenberg’s most unsettling and satisfying side. His look at the nightmare behind the glitz and glamour of the dream factory was the most disturbing vision of Hollywood since David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive.
A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
17- A MOST VIOLENT YEAR
(J.C. Chandor)

Set in the decaying NY of the early 80’s, Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain nailed their roles as the ambitious self-made businessman struggling to keep troubles at bay, reputation intact and appearances up and her controlling, less scrupulous wife.
20,000 Days on Earth
18- 20,000 DAYS ON EARTH
(Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard)

Original depiction of the work and the legend behind songwriter Nick Cave, which seemed like one of those documentaries ordered to go with a deluxe edition of his latest album, but grew into something more special, managing to both reveal the man and amplify his myth.
nymphomaniac
19-NYMPHOMANIAC PT. 1
(Lars Von Trier)

Denmark’s enfant terrible freely explored the boundaries of female sexuality through witty comparisons to unrelated subjects in an unveven two-parter, the first of which is far superior.
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20- MOMMY
(Xavier Dolan)

Motherly love prevails over any life obstacle in enjoyably over the top melodrama. Anne Dorval and the rest of its cast shines in the Canadian wunderkid’s most memorable film to date.
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21- GONE GIRL
(David Fincher)

Gillian Flynn adapted her own best seller in Fincher’s slick, gripping thriller set against the backdrop of a marriage in crisis, preserving all the key elements needed to translate its big paperback success into the big screen.
snowpiercer
22- SNOWPIERCER
(Bong Joon Ho)

The Korean auteur hired a stellar international cast to tackle the metaphors of ‘Snowpiercer’, another post-apocalyptic novel in which mankind’s few survivors live in a constantly running train whose wagons replicate our social structure.
the lego movie
23- THE LEGO MOVIE
(Phil Lord & Christopher Miller)

Arguably the Oscars’ worst snub of the year, this endlessly inventive animated picture had a powerful message at his core of embracing what makes us unique in a world that tends to standardize us all.
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24- THE GOLDEN DREAM
(Diego Quemada-Díez)

Former Ken Loach collaborator debuted with the moving account of three kids’ trip from the slums of Guatemala to the US border, dreaming of a better life, and the abuse, trouble and despair in their way.
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25- CITIZENFOUR
(Laura Poitras)

Structured as an espionage thriller, whistle blower Edward Snowden contacted documentarian Laura Poitras to film his, now historical, intelligence leaks about USA’s illegal surveillance of everyone’s private communications .
frank
26- FRANK
(Lenny Abrahamson)

Depression and rock and roll lifestyle were the subjects of this enjoyable indie, inspired by the late British rock icon Frank Sidebottom and based on one of his band members’ novel ‘Oh Blimey!”
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27- LOCKE
(Steven Knight)

Tom Hardy’s breath taking one man show is the main attraction in this deceitfully simple thriller, where a man in a car tries to hold the crumbling pieces of his life together from his mobile.
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28- THE PAST
(Asghar Farhadi)

Perhaps less intricate than his former work, but almost as powerful. The Iranian auteur refined his touch for absorbing, multi-layered drama graced by Bérénice Bejo's Cannes winner turn.
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29- A TOUCH OF SIN
(Jia Zhangke)

Zhangke's most accesible work to date is comprised by multiple tales taken from news stories, forming a mosaic of violent and symbolic criticism to the loss of Chinese identity brought by the clash between traditional and capitalist values.
PRIDE
30- PRIDE
(Matthew Warchus)

Touching comedy about solidarity, set during Thatcher’s England and based on the real story of a group of Gay and Lesbian activists joining forces with Welsh miners to confront her administration’s attacks against their communities.
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31- ONLY LOVERS LEFT ALIVE
(Jim Jarmusch)

The quintessential indie filmmaker shook our vampire fatigue off with his uniquely romantic take on the Gothic myth as a metaphor for artists condemned to live forever in a hostile world.
calvary
32- CALVARY
(John Michael McDonagh)

Brendan Gleeson and Chris O’Dowd excelled in this dark tragic comedy about an Irish priest facing a death threat in confession from one of his parish’s members.
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33- WE ARE THE BEST!
(Lukas Moodysson)

Moodysson returned on top form, as shown on early works such as ‘Together’ with this charming story of a trio of teen girls forming a punk band to rebel about the senseless pains of growing up.
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34- OF HORSES AND MEN
(Benedikt Erlingsson)

The promising first feature of this Icelandic helmer combined the beauty of his country’s wild landscapes with a rather unique attempt to tell its story from both equine and human point of views.
selma
35- SELMA
(Ava DuVernay)

David Oyelowo’s heartfelt portrait of the strengths and weaknesses of Dr. Luther King lifted this
sober but impeccable look at his era and the legacy of his history forging peaceful marches for equality.
THE BABADOOK
36- THE BABADOOK
(Jennifer Kent)

This Aussie psychological horror in which the consequences of a family tragedy materialized an evil fairytale creature through a troubled kid’s fantasies stood up as a true genre original.
-Jack O Connell playing Eric
37- STARRED UP
(David Mackenzie)

Ben Mendelsohn and Jack O'Connell impressed in this gripping drama as the violent father teaching the unspoken rules of life in jail to his young offender son when they end up in the same prison.
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38- TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM
(Morgan Neville)

Joyous tribute to the role of the female back-up singer in pop, initially shaped as an anthology of early girl bands to later delve into personal stories of amazing talents who never got their break.
THE IMMIGRANT
39- THE IMMIGRANT
(James Gray)

Sadly unreleased in the UK, the misadventures two emigrant Polish sisters arriving to Ellis Islands brought another top-notch performance by Marion Cotillard, next to fine turns by Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner.
INTERSTELLAR
40- INTERSTELLAR
(Christopher Nolan)

Every bit the grandiose space travel epic we were promised, also the most divisive film of the awards season. Many elements of its storyline struggled to pass logical scrutiny, but somehow its whole managed to be more than the sum of its parts.
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41- WILD TALES
(Damian Szifrón)

Six histrionic, corrosively hilarious stories of people taking their frustrations to extremes. A bit uneven, but refreshingly irreverent, confirming the arrival of a distinctive new voice in hispanic filmmaking.
BLUE RUIN
42- BLUE RUIN
(Jeremy Saulnier)

The story of a loner returning to his hometown to avenge the death of his parents after their killer gets released from jail shaped up this dark thriller, one of the most underrated US indies of 2014.
the dance of reality
43- THE DANCE OF REALITY
(Alejandro Jodorowsky)

The Chilean counterculture legend proved he is still a vital voice in cinema with this surreal and charming childhood memoir sadly left to trawl the festival and one-off screenings circuit, without proper distribution.
Heli-001
44- HELI
(Amat Escalante)

Escalante won best director at Cannes with this uniquely visual yet extremely brutal story of humble family accidentally involved in a drug-related crime, trapped in between corrupt police and local mafia.
la isla minima
45- LA ISLA MINIMA (Marshland)
(Alberto Rodríguez)

Branded as the Spanish “True Detective”, this intriguing thriller about teenage disappearances in a humble Andalusian village set in early post-Franco Spain was the deserved winner at this year’s Goyas.
life itself
46- LIFE ITSELF
(Steve James)

Access all areas account of Roger Ebert’s career, a life entirely dedicated to cinema, in this fine, intimate tribute to the most popular film critic of all times who sadly passed away last year.
The_Double_-002_Credit_Dean_Rogers
47- THE DOUBLE
(Richard Ayoade)

The British comedian’s sophomore work was a surreal take on a short doppelganger tale by Dostoevsky, set on a sombre dystopian future reminiscent of the best Terry Gilliam.
omar-001 - Copy
48- OMAR
(Hany Abu-Assad)

Love, friendships and freedom fighters blackmailed into betrayal were the backbone of this superbly scripted Palestinian drama, as surrounded by controversy as anything coming from that conflict stricken area.
jodorowsky's dune
49- JODOROWSKY'S DUNE
(Frank Pavich)

Fascinating documentary about Jodorowsky’s failed attempt to adapt sci-fi novel ‘Dune’ to the big screen and his extraordinary vision which included collaborations with Moebius, Dali; Mick Jagger; Pink Floyd …
a most wanted man
50- A MOST WANTED MAN
(Anton Corbjin)

The former video clip director, already on his third feature, gave the late Philip Seymour-Hoffman a worthy swansong role on a great adaptation of John Le Carre’s spionage classic ‘A Most Wanted Man'.

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2014 Film Review: The Surprises

carmina-y-amen

Bubbling under our Top 50 films of the year we find a group of works that helped shaking our preconceptions off during the last twelve months. Some of them may have set new trends in the current world of cinema; some others took well established authors towards unexpected new directions.

Also surprising was the controversial return of the Biblical epic; queer cinema getting out of his niche and reaching a wider audience; the growing love for Nordic Noir; the return of the mockumentary; gorgeous travelogues; the celebration of an excellent year against all odds for Spanish movies and even a few good blockbusters which managed to defy Hollywood’s lack of interest for original ideas.

And the film surprises of 2014 were: Read the rest of this entry »

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2014 Film Review: The Disappointments

American_Sniper

The Awards season is over, which means it’s about time to wrap last year up and begin embracing what 2015 has in store. Judging by such great early releases as ‘The Duke Of Burgundy’; ‘It Follows’ and ‘White Dog’, all premiered during last year’s LFF, as well as the overall reactions to the competition in Sundance and the Berlinale, it looks like we may be up for another excellent harvest.

The way we traditionally put an end to the season is with our annual recap, looking at the year’s biggest disappointments, then the biggest surprises and finally our Top 50 best films.
We begin talking a walk on the dark side by counting down the films we had high expectations for but didn’t live up to them, which doesn’t necesarily mean the worst movies we saw last year -that dubious honor would be shared by Seth McFarlane’s profoundly unfunny ‘ A Million ways to die in the west’ and perhaps the greatest waste of talent of 2014 ‘Horrible Bosses 2’, achieving the almost impossible goal of making even a worse movie than its predecessor.

Among those less fortunate works we find many a failed, over-hyped awards contender; a few legendary auteurs going through a creative bump and some screen couples seriously lacking of chemistry… And the Disappointments of the year are: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Duke Of Burgundy: Sex Roleplay & Entomology

DUKE_OF_BURGUNDY_02

Right when the awards season came to an end and we were afraid of the usual post-Oscars lull, the first great film of 2015 was waiting in our screens, kicking a new year of cinema in style. Reaffirming the unique personality of one of Britain’s most distinctive new filmmakers, Peter Stickland’s third feature ‘The Duke Of Burgundy’, almost ironically named as the male species of one of the moths its main character studies, depicts the decadently refined world of a lady dedicated to entomological studies living in a countryside mansion with her maid, engaged in a mistress and servant role-playing relationship where things are not what they seem.

From the first scene our sense of voyeurism is teased as we are allowed to gaze into the couple’s meticulously staged intimate practices; the maid being humiliated for her “negligent services” by her perfectly groomed and dressed up mistress. A repetition of that initial scene begins shaping up a pattern of everyday routines and slowly unveils the particulars of their bizarre partnership, in which the submissive part writes a detailed list of rules to prepare her lover for each of their encounters, showing an insatiable appetite for exploring the boundaries of her fetish and S&M interests (Human toilet anyone?) and using the code word ‘Pinastri’ (another type of moth) when she reaches the limit of her pleasurable punishment. Meanwhile, her increasing demands suffocate the apparently more assertive entomologist, making her feel as framed by the constraints of their relationships as the insects pinned down to a board she collects. Read the rest of this entry »

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Björk’s Milking Stones In Remarkable Comeback

bjork

An infamous leak may have compromise its full promotional strategy, but Björk‘s new album ‘Vulnicura’ is her best in at least a decade and its opening track ‘Stonemilker’ sees our favourite Icelandic superstar back into the top of our chart.

Highest debut is by French/Brit artist Le Volume Courbe collaborating with My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields. Many more returns among the rest of new entries, including the latest tracks by Sufjan Stevens; Wire; Brian Wilson; Blur and one half of Fuck Buttons with his side project Blank Mass.

Check the new loop here: Read the rest of this entry »

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