Thursday, March 31, 2011


Breakfast with Ferran Adria (Wall Street Journal, Mar 2011)
I took the world's most revered and progressive chef, Ferran Adria from elBulli in Spain, to an old workaday diner on the Upper West Side.

G: An Avant-Garde Journal of Art, Architecture, Design, and Film 1923-1926 (The National, Feb 2011) [PDF]
An essay on a fascinating old publication from Berlin concocted by Hans Richter, Mies van der Rohe, Hans Arp, Walter Benjamin, Tristan Tzara, and more.

"Boldly Going Where No Artist Has Gone Before" (Wall Street Journal, Feb 2011)
A profile of artist Michael Benson, who makes beautiful photographs of planets and such from data sent back from space.

Destroyer's Dan Bejar, songwriter nonpareil (The National, Jan 2011) [PDF]
An essay on the best lyricist currently at work, in response to Destroyer's superb album Kaputt.

"Aglow With the Fallout Blues" (Wall Street Journal, Jan 2011)
A profile of Lauren Redniss, artist/author of a visually captivating art book about Marie Curie called Radioactive.

"Celebrating the Season in Stereo" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2010)
The story behind the majestic moving-sculpture/impromptu-parade event in New York known as "Unsilent Night."

Prince in New Jersey (Spin, Dec 2010)
A review of Prince in concert, at the start of a tour dubbed "Welcome 2 America."

"Visiting the Animal Afterlife" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2010)
A report from the front lines of a strange and surprisingly moving taxidermy contest in Brooklyn.

"Resonant Frequencies" (The National, Dec 2010) [PDF]
An essay on the early days of electronic music in the 1950s/'60s and how they affect how we think about sound, occasioned by a book on the BBC Radiophonic Workshop.

"Across Cultures, Image Is Everything" (Wall Street Journal, Dec 2010)
A visit to the mysterious Archive of Research in Archetypal Symbolism and a survey of its beautiful, beguiling Book of Symbols, published by Taschen.

"27 Winter Albums That Matter Most" (Spin, Dec 2010)
Short teaser previews of forthcoming albums by everyone from Duffy and Daft Punk to Rye Rye and T.I.

"In Brooklyn, a Chili in the Air" (Wall Street Journal, Nov 2010)
A dispatch from the Brooklyn Chili Takedown, a cook-off featuring 28 different chilis and a rich cast of characters.

"Bringing the Sounds of Eritrea to the World" (The National, Oct 2010)
For a newspaper in Abu Dhabi, I crane a curious ear to music from East Africa.

"A Room Where the Earth Stands Still" (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2010)
A visit with the caretaker of "The Earth Room," a curious space full of dirt in SoHo.

Dirt Candy on Iron Chef (Wall Street Journal, Sep 2010)
A story about vegetarian chef Amanda Cohen and her spirited stint on TV.

"25 Fall Albums That Matter Most" (Spin, Aug 2010)
A selection of teasers for the season's musical finest, including everyone from Antony to No Age to Gucci Mane.

"The Passion of Krzysztof Penderecki" (Resident Advisor, Aug 2010)
A talk with the 77-year-old composer about hopes for the avant-garde, using his music in The Shining, and growing trees at home.

"Welcome to the Jungle" - Edgard Varese at Lincoln Center (Artforum, Jul 2010)
A survey of two days spent wondering around Lincoln Center, listening to sirens, and eating olive-oil ice cream.

"Rescuing a Disco Demigod from Oblivion" - Walter Gibbons (Wall Street Journal, Jul 2010)
A piece on the life of a disco legend who pioneered the art of the DJ and the remix.

"In the Mix" - Mutek (Artforum, Jun 2010)
A review of Montreal's Mutek festival of "digital creativity and electronic music."

Kentucky Grilled Chicken (Nation's Restaurant News, May 2010)
A news story, for a special issue about "menu innovation," on KFC's latest non-fried option.

"25 Summer Albums that Matter Most (Spin, May 2010)
I wrote short previews of upcoming albums selected by Spin, including Big Boi, Christina Aguilera, M.I.A., and Arcade Fire.

Kode9, "Memories of the Present Passed..."(Resident Advisor, Apr 2010)
A feature given to thoughts and discussion with Steve Goodman, dubstep DJ and author of the book Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear.

"125 Best Albums of the Past 25 Years"(Spin, Apr 2010)
For its 25th anniversary, Spin picked 125 records and I wrote entries for half, with bits of wisdom and quips from the archives. Mine: from 1985-1994 (though not all from that period).

Until the Light Takes Us interview (A.V. Club, Dec 2009)
An interview with the directors of a documentary film about Norwegian black-metal music, in which talk turns to corpse paint and postmodern history.

Unsound Festival, Poland (A.V. Club, Nov 2009)
Report from an electronic/experimental music festival in Krakow. Acts covered include Sunn O))), Kode9, Grouper, Omar-S, and some cool keytar-playing Jews from France.

Jim O'Rourke interview (A.V. Club, Nov 2009)
A talk with a true musical polymath about Alfred Hitchock’s Stage Fright and gaming himself with solvable problems.

Yoko Ono interview (A.V. Club, Oct 2009)
A resilient artist talks about John playing piano at home and renewing herself at 76.

Future-shock music syllabus (Bookforum, Aug 2009)
I pick eight essential books about future-shock music, with titles by Simon Reynolds, David Toop, Kodwo Eshun, Paul Morley, and more.

Mutek in Montreal (A.V. Club, Jun 2009)
A trip up to Canada for a premiere electronic music & arts festival, with notable balloons and birds.

David Foster Wallace, "Gateway to Geekery" (A.V. Club, May 2009)
I take up the task of coaxing the prospective newbie into the world of DFW, with special attention to A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again and Infinite Jest.

Animal Collective, "The Scientists" (Spin, Jan 2009)
A profile of the band with some thinking over their history, on the occasion of Merriweather Post Pavilion. Highlights include a trip to the Dream House and talk about scuba diving.

Of Montreal, "Welcome to Normal Town" (Spin, Oct 2008)
A profile of the merry pranksters that includes a trip to Athens, Georgia, where we play bad volleyball and move a giant trampoline.

Remembering David Foster Wallace (A.V. Club, Sep 2008)
A tribute obit to a writer who changed the way I read, just a few days after his death.

Melchior Productions, "Let's Go Deep" (Resident Advisor, Aug 2008)
Talk with a magical and meticulous house producer turns toward drum sounds and spirituality in music.

Back to Iceland: the Nattura Environmental Concert (A.V. Club, Jul 2008)
In Iceland, I spy clouds that look like whales and watch Bjork and Sigur Ros play outside -- plus meet the author of Dreamland.

Fine Dining Hall of Fame: Tribeca Grill (Nation's Restaurant News, May 2008)
A history of an iconic downtown New York restaurant, with a guest appearance by Bill Murray.

Food for It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (A.V. Club, Oct 2007)
Tips for what to set out for snacks during the greatest Halloween special ever. Red Baron pizza! Rocks! And so on.

Panda Bear, "Random Rules" (A.V. Club, Oct 2007)
A member of Animal Collective hits shuffle on his iPod and we talk about Basement Jaxx, Phil Collins, and the shifty art of drumming.

Animal Collective, "Revenge of the Weirdos?" (New York, Aug 2007)
A short profile of the band, after a triumph at South Street Seaport and near the release of Strawberry Jam.

Justice (Spin, Jun 2007)
A short profile of the French house-music duo on their way up.

James Murphy, "Shut Up and Dance" (New York, Mar 2007)
A personal profile of the LCD Soundsystem star, who opens up about cocaine birthday cakes and training to learn Brazilian jujitsu.

David Lynch interview (A.V. Club, Jan 2007)
I have a cup of coffee with David Lynch, talk about movies and transcendental meditation, and leave a little bit wiser.

"Weird Rock: New York's New Avant-Garde" (Slate, Nov 2005)
I write about five strange new bands, and invoke an experimental dancer who "writhes like an arthritic snake."

Brian Wilson interview (A.V. Club, Aug 2005)
The Beach Boys legend talks about doing too many drugs in the '60s and thinking he's not as good as Phil Spector.

Lil Jon, "Hip-Hop's Dirty Martini" (Washington Post, Nov 2004)
I consider the King of Crunk in a paper delivered widely within the Pentagon.

Arthur Russell, "Disco Fever" (Slate, Mar 2004)
A survey of the avant-garde disco genius who made dance beats speak and sang songs to the whitecaps.

The sound of UK garage, "The Biggest Beat of All" (Salon, Jun 2001)
I run through the wondrous, whizzing sound of 2-step garage and scream about how it just might reconcile all that's wrong in the musical world.

Harry Smith, "Uncertain, Unfair and Bloodthirsty" (Salon, Jun 2000)
A back-and-forth dialogue between me and Rennie Sparks about the recently exhumed volume 4 of Harry Smith's fabled Anthology of American Folk Music.

Scanner, "The Sounds of Science" (Salon, Aug 1999)
A profile of an electronic musician who makes music with found radio sounds and ghostly voices mined from the air.

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