Risley's Production of Hocus a Razor-Sharp Treat

True to the connotations of the production’s title, deceptiveness, shiny exteriors and kitsch were at the heart of Hocus, which was performed this past weekend at Risley Theatre. Wrapped around it all — or, perhaps, at its core — is a stab at the commercial, materialistic and altogether unnatural and exploitative tendencies of Americana, undertaken in an offbeat, darkly humorous style akin to Kurt Vonnegut in the ’70s. Playwright and director Will Cordeiro (current Risley Artist-in-Residence) targets advertising, technology and politicians — a move that, by today’s standards, is hardly considered revolutionary.

Sigur Rós: With a Buzz in Our Ears We Play Endlessly

Whereas Takk … and Ágætis Byrjun were reminiscnet of august, icy floes and glaciers, and Von and Ba Ba Ti Ki Di Do conjured images of sleek sheets of black ice, Sigur Rós’s latest album goes to great lengths to prove that Iceland is also capable of producing flora and fauna. Xylophones and a brass section replace crash cymbals and drum-and-bass interludes common in earlier singles (“Sæglópur” and “N‡ batterí”). Jónsi Birgisson & Co. suddenly sound more like Panda Bear & Co. circa Sung Tongs and less like a calmer Explosions in the Sky, a less twee Múm or other oft-compared acts.