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Recommendations for June 3, 2012

My apologies to the very few people who read these for missing last week. Here’s some new stuff:
Video: “Belispeak” by Purity Ring
I linked to another song by this ban a few weeks ago (April 27), and mentioned that their album will be out in July. This is (so far) my favorite song from that record, and the one that has me as excited as I am to hear the whole thing. The video gets at what for me is the most compelling thing about the song: the sense of terror that comes sometimes with childhood, and of a desperate faith that grown ups, despite all appearances, will be enough to keep us safe (“Grandma, lend me your wispy frame…”). There is also, visually, a real Miyazaki vibe to this that I also like.
Video: “Our Sorrows” by Julia Holter
This is kind of a record I’m not yet sure what to think of. Its sound is hard to describe, built on looped vocals that build simple, chanted lyrics into dense canon-like structures; it’s always pretty, but at times tends toward a kind of vagueness or lack of direction. I’m also not totally sure how I feel about the video, but maybe that means it’s a good fit for the song. Both, in any case, are at least interesting, which is the first step.
Photo Slideshow: “South Africa Under Apartheid in the 1970s” by Steve Bloom
Some amazing photos from the point when Apartheid started to break under the strain, narrated by the photographer. If you happen to be in London, his photos are on exhibit now as part of the London Festival of Photography.
Article: “The Cosmic Menagerie” by Laura Miller
Using the movies Men In Black III and Prometheus as a jumping off point, Miller discusses two basic models through which fiction writers have envisioned aliens and a possible human encounter with them. Basically, if they don’t want to blast us out of existence, then we’ll probably end up living with them in a more complicated version of contemporary multicultural society— with the attendant tensions and discomforts and involuntary offenses. It’s interesting as much for the description of some obscure works of early sci-fi as for anything else.   
Video: Clouds: A Documentary On Code, Culture & The Future Of Visualization
This is a movie trailer. I’m not really clear on what the movie is going to be about— programming, data visualization, things in the vein, but what about them isn’t clear— but it was shot through a DSLR attached to a Kinect, and it looks utterly unique.

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