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Recommendations January 21, 2012

Comic: The Unwritten by Peter Carey (writer) and Peter Gross (artist)
My number one recommendation for this week has to be this series. I have now read the first three volumes; the fifth was just published. The story involves a series of children’s books about a boy wizard named Tommy Taylor (and yes, the reference to Harry Potter is intentional, but more as a cultural and publishing phenomenon than in its plot) and the real-life Tom Taylor, son of the books’ author and purported inspiration for their protagonist. His father, Wilson Taylor, disappeared several years ago, leaving Tom with many unanswered questions and the world without a resolution of the Tommy Taylor story. The series begins as the Tommy Taylor books– which have always haunted Tom in various, probably predictable ways– begin to intrude in new and more troubling ways in his life. It eventually involves a secret worldwide conspiracy, the history of literature, and narrative theory. 
I’ll leave the description at that. This is the first comic series I’ve come across that seems like it might approach The Sandman. Excellent writing, really nice art, and a smart, compelling story. Good stuff.
Mixtape: FURTHR by DROPXLIFE
Yeah, I don’t know what’s going on with the names either. Apparently now it’s a thing to name yourself and your work as if those names were being communicated in text messages sent by 14 year olds. Maybe people want to make themselves impossible to Google. Anyway, this is a mix of instrumentals by a guy who did some of the production on The Weeknd’s most recent release. It’s mellow and melancholy, hazy and cloudy but without the formlessness those adjectives might be thought to imply. A good companion to Clams Casino’s instrumental tape (recently re-released in a remastered version, and also something you should check out if you haven’t yet done so: http://hulkshare.com/10nsi8mxqvzw).
Note: despite the sketchy look of the hulkshare pages those links go to, these are legitimately free downloads, released by the artists themselves. In the wake of the Megaupload controversy, I feel obligated to make this clear.
Song: “Comeback Kid” by Sleigh Bells
This album will be out on February 21. And I will buy it, because it will sound like this.
Song: “Never Change,” by Julianna Barwick
Gorgeous. Her songs are often described as “hymns” or “hymn-like”; here, at least, this seems entirely appropriate. 
Interview: The Editors of Triple Canopy interviewed by Sasha Frere Jones
This is sort of a double recommendation. Triple Canopy (http://canopycanopycanopy.com/) is a really interesting newish online publication that tries to adapt the general-interest magazine to the web through innovative design– which is to say that it has a lot of good content presented in clever and sometimes beautiful ways. The link above is to an interview on the New Yorker website with the editors, which is also interesting in itself.

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