SWAN | Ithaca and Its Natural Waves

Last year I took an elective that touched on the study of sound design, or the ways in which sound is organized — or unintentionally disorganized — in various settings. A big philosophical topic of interest in this field is the use of headphones by individuals in personal transit. By using headphones, are we effectively silencing the natural soundscape of a place? This initially seems like a rather pedantic point, one best mulled over in a musicology elective. Yet, shouldn’t we be worried about so many people dismantling the collective identity of a place, just as we are worried about climate change or the tearing down of the Nines?

GUEST ROOM | The San Francisco Sound

Walking down Haight Street in San Francisco, it is hard to see that this place was once the heart of the “hippie scene” in the 1960s. The sidewalks of modern-day San Francisco are littered with boutiques, internet cafés and modern restaurants. Nevertheless, there are a few image-evoking shops and buildings hidden away behind the high-end clothing stores. These smoke shops, novelty emporiums and record stores are the best modern-day glimpses into the times of tie-dye and LSD. During the ’60s, new fashion and new ways of thinking emerged in the Bay area.


SWAN | Slope Day: A Zero-Sum Game

Slope Day 2018 will be my third experience with the famous Cornellian festival, and so, I feel as though I am now entitled to make a few observations about it. While the artists who play Slope Day change from year to year, most things about it stay the same: a concert will be given,  on the slope during a relatively mild spring day, alcohol will be consumed, free breakfasts will (hopefully) be eaten and merchandise that boasts all of Cornell’s factions and houses will be worn. Yet, the most invariable aspect of Slope Day occurs well before the sun rises on that fateful May day: everyone, every one of you, will complain about the artists chosen to headline it. Alright, maybe not everyone. It seems as though two groups form in response to the headline announcement.

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JONES | A Long, Long Febegans Break

A few weeks ago, former Arts editor Troy Sherman ‘18 and I decided to ruin our February break. Instead of going on a trip with friends, catching up on sleep and work or just spending time thinking and relaxing, we chose to spend a good portion of the break in close quarters, reading pages and pages of near-nonsense. When others asked us what we planned to do over break, we’d respond, with a mix of self-conscious amusement and embarrassment, “We’re going to read Finnegans Wake aloud.”

Why? I’m not entirely sure, looking back, how the seed of this idea was first planted. I’m an avid fan of the Irish writer James Joyce, and I think at some point last semester I realized that if I didn’t read Finnegans Wake — his final and by far most difficult work — now, while I’m in college and have friends like Troy that will do ridiculous, simultaneously self-flagellating and self-indulgent things like this with me, then I might never read it.

Courtesy of ABC

COLLINS | The Oscars Matter. They May Suck, but They Matter

With the Oscars approaching, I’ve committed myself to watch every Best Picture nominee. I’ve already watched six. I’ll happily make it through the next two on my list — The Shape of Water and Phantom Thread — and force myself through The Post. No knock on Steven Spielberg and his cast. I just tend to have a hard time getting into historical films.

Many viewers seem to regard awards shows with something between amusement and derision, and with good reason.

Dug and Hognob in Early Man

GOULDTHORPE | Eating My Words: Early Man vs. Peter Rabbit

A couple weeks ago, I delivered an early rebuke of Peter Rabbit and talked about the prevalence of Shrek-style humor in modern family movies. I had dreaded Peter Rabbit, and looked forward to Feb 16 — the release of Early Man. Early Man is the work of Aardman Animations, the studio famous for Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run and Shaun the Sheep. Directed by Nick Park, the film centers around Dug (Eddie Redmayne) and his Stone Age tribe of rabbit hunters. They live in a peaceful valley, until one day the evil Lord Nooth (Tom Hiddleston) takes over the area to strip for metals.


SWAN | The Collective Anxiety on Little Dark Age

Last week, MGMT released Little Dark Age, the duo’s fourth studio album. Admittedly, I haven’t listened to much of MGMT beyond their hits from last decade like “Kids” or “Electric Feel,” but nevertheless I really enjoyed listening to Little Dark Age. The album appears to have received generally positive reviews, with most critics asserting that Little Dark Age is a welcome return to MGMT’s commercial-pop sound after their foray into a more experimental quality during the early 2010s. Little Dark Age is rather quick to convey a retro vibe, made apparent from the breach by songs like “She Works Out Too Much,” “Little Dark Age,” and “When You Die.” MGMT seems to have pulled from the vernacular of 1980s pop music, with warm, analog synthesizer tracks on essentially every piece of the album. “Little Dark Age” the lead sample from the album which was actually released back in October, contains a machinated drum beat and near monotonic vocal track, both of which bring “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats to mind.


COLLINS | A Playlist for Valentine’s Day Destruction

It’s Valentine’s Day and you’re all by your lonesome. What’s your plan? You’re going to cuddle up in your sweatpants with a pint of ice cream and re-watch Bridget Jones’s Diary? Scooch over, I’m taking the wheel. Here’s what going to happen.


GOULDTHORPE | Peter Rabbit, the Latest Victim of Shrek Humor

Later this week, I will be going to see Sony Animation’s take on Peter Rabbit, the beloved children’s series by Beatrix Potter. What are my expectations? Considering that the promotions are filled with Animal House-style parties, and that our titular hero shoves a carrot up Domhnall Gleeson’s derrière, I’m not particularly looking forward to it. That still looks masterful, though, compared to the upcoming Sherlock Gnomes, which features truly hilarious lines like “‘We need a ship.’ ‘No ship, Sherlock.’” and an old man dancing around in a thong. How did we get here?


GUEST ROOM | On the Polarizing Nature of XXXTentacion

A new era has dawned in rap music, one fueled by the angst commonly associated with grunge acts such as Nirvana. And the 19-year-old Florida native XXXTentacion, along with the likes of Lil Uzi Vert, finds himself at the forefront of this new culture. What separates these young anti-label artists from rappers of the past is their unwillingness to be forced into taking on the label rapper, making music that at times sounds more like the metal, and simply not giving a damn about being well liked. X, born Jahseh Onfroy rose to prominence with his single “Look at me!,” a club-turnup song based off a distorted Mala sample and a gnarled 808 which has garnered nearly 93 million streams since its release in 2016. Since then there has been no turning back for X, who even landed a set at Rolling Loud this year.