Month: September 2016

Book review: Earth Dances: Music in Search of the Primitive

Earth Dances: Music in Search of the PrimitiveEarth Dances: Music in Search of the Primitive by Andrew Ford
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Andrew Ford is a noted broadcaster, writer and composer. He’s intelligent and considered, and has authored a number of books on music, with Earth Dances being his most recent, and one which has a quartet of radio shows attached.

The book and the series examine the idea of the primitive in music. Ford is careful to describe the term as that in line with minimalism, pre-verbal or savage impulses rather than more culturally loaded definitions often applied to non-Western cultures. To this end, Ford switches between chapters of criticism and interviews with composers, including Brian Eno, Liza Lim and Pauline Oliveros. Music of all stripes is covered, lest anyone be frightened off by the prospect of a classical-only examination: equal weight is given to the primal nature of rock as is any modern classical ululation interpretation. (more…)

Book review: Slaughterhouse-Five

Slaughterhouse-Five Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The little free library by my local train station had this novel just sitting there when I went past on a regular stroll so I thought why not? and brought it home. I hoovered it up in a couple of hours and it’ll be going back tomorrow or the day after.

You see, I’d like to keep it, but I’m certain with the tottering pile of books I’ve yet to even start, I probably won’t come around to it again very quickly. And when I want to read it again, I’ll buy it again and not feel bad about it. And you know, in the space between here and there, this one copy could provide an intro to Vonnegut to a bunch of others. (more…)

Book review: Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and TomorrowTomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by M. Barnard Eldershaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can’t say that I’ve ever been too aware of Australian sci-fi, which is more my failing than that of the genre. But I’d heard Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow spoken of in reverential tones, a kind of feminist, socialist meditation on war, peace and politics, conveyed through an historical novel told within a science-fiction framework. And I must admit, I was intrigued.

Then I read that Patrick White thought the book was pretty good, and that made me even more interested, as I couldn’t really recall stories of him liking anything, so I figured it must be good.

And it is, with caveats. (more…)

Book review: Pu Pu Hot Pot

Pu Pu Hot PotPu Pu Hot Pot by Ben Brusey
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Given the length of this book, this’ll be a short review. There’s a real chance that if I rabbit on to my usual length, I’ll end up with something wiht a higher word-count than the thing I’m reviewing.

(Though it’d also probably be more enjoyable. BOOM!) (more…)