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by Sam C. Mac

Photo: 4AD
by Sam C. Mac Music Pop Rocks

Grimes | Miss Anthropocene

Miss Anthropocene is the type of pop eccentricity that only an artist like Grimes could conceive of.  Not since Bjork’s 1997 watershed Homogenic has a weird pop artist cast a masterpiece in the mold of Miss Anthropocene: a fusion of progressive sonics, compelling song craft, and high-concept…

July 30, 2020
by Sam C. Mac Music Retrospective

Cui Jian | Frozen Light

Cui Jian’s music paints pictures: “A Piece of Red Cloth,” an anthemic song that Cui performed during the Tiananmen protests, instantly summons images of the young rocker covering his eyes with the titular cloth, a gesture representative of what had become a ‘blinding’ socialist…

September 2, 2019
by Sam C. Mac Music Retrospective

Cui Jian | Show You Colour

If there’s any one quality that defines Cui Jian, it’s that he has never been content to be any one thing. Rock ‘n’ roll didn’t start with Cui — so he had to be a Chinese rock ‘n’ roller, fusing his own national identity…

September 2, 2019
by Sam C. Mac Music Retrospective

Cui Jian | Balls Under the Red Flag

By the mid-1990s, the political ambitions of what is known as the liumang generation — literally, “hooligans” — had devolved from a battle cry into feelings of wounded dejection, crushed under the weight of an intensified Chinese censorship, and the restricted freedoms enforced by…

September 2, 2019
by Sam C. Mac Music Retrospective

Cui Jian | Solution

Cui Jian’s status as a cultural icon was largely staked on the reputation of his first breakout song, “Nothing to My Name”: its progression from televised debut at a 1986 stadium show to anthem of the 1989 student protesters in Tiananmen Square. The song’s…

September 2, 2019
Photo: Neon
by Sam C. Mac Film Horizon Line

Luce | Julius Onah

More sentient discourse than credible drama, Julius Onah’s Luce frankensteins together a collection of button-pushers: issues of race, class, privilege, elitism, tokenism, essentialism, free will, mental health, radical ideologies, sexual assault, social media’s distortions, police brutality, and on and on. One could charitably call…

August 23, 2019
Photo: A24
by Sam C. Mac Film Horizon Line

The Farewell | Lulu Wang

We may have gotten to the point where not only is A24 curating its brand with obvious aesthetic guidelines, but also, we have fresh filmmakers out there recognizing those guidelines, and choosing to craft films with the A24 demographics in mind — much like…

August 1, 2019
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