Book and Album Reviews: Weeks 13 and 14

I’m going to get back on top of this, honest – here’s the ultra-high-speed version of the last two weeks, and I’ll try and get this week’s up on Friday. The books this time are from Budgie, and Marysia, and thank you both very much.

Book: Convergence Culture by Henry Jenkins

Convergence Culture is broadly, about the impact new media is having on old – the fight to keep details of shows secret, the way corporations cope with fan-fiction (or indeed, fan film), the challenges of storytelling across multiple media. Each capter of the book takes a single media property as a leading example – Survior, American Idol, Star Wars, The Matrix, and so on. Jenkins is one of my favourite media thinkers, because he unashamedly comes at things from a background that is both academic and fan, and his work is very accessible because of it. If you’ve got the slightest interest in the future of the creative economy, he is one of the thinkers you ought to be reading.

Album: Acoustica by Alarm Will Sound

This is an album of classical music covers of the music of The Aphex Twin. It’s actually very good indeed, if a little hard to describe. The general result is a slightly softened version of Richard James’ stuff – it reminds me slightly of Squarepusher’s ep “Budakhan Mindphone”.

Book: The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter

Modern era retelling of classic fairytales, with particular emphasis on subverting the traditional role of women within those tales. Lovely, lovely prose, with a sly wit. Recommended.

Album: Weapons of Grass Destruction by Hayseed Dixie

Well, they started out doing bluegrass/rock covers of classic heavy rock. They’ve since started combining that with original material. I like ’em, but I’ve got a terrible finger-in-the-ear too-rah-lay streak that I can’t seem to do anything about, and this plays into it nicely. Anyway, this is more the same from them, with some particularly fine covers on this one: “Mein Teil” (originally by Rammstein) stands out in particular…

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