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1  - 1 - 2023

OK, here goes, a concerted effort to run a reasonably uptodate homepage once again. I used to quite enjoy writing these brief postings the first time round. However, my provider's irritating decision to change the software  and the resulting complications led to a severe loss of motivation. Let's see how far my burst of energy will last this time...although I must admit I'm not as familiar with the new software as I should be, so please forgive the odd glitch.

To start with, here's the list of my top 10 albums of 2022.

1) The Young Gods, «In C»
2) Pumajaw, “Scapa Foolscape”
3) Telefis, «a hAon»
4) Anna Aaron, “Gummy”
5) Wet Leg, "Wet Leg"
6) Wilco, “Cruel Country”
7) Dream Syndicate, “Ultraviolet Battle Hymns…”
8) Gwenno, “Tresor”
9) Sarathy Korwar, “Kalak”
10) The Soundcarriers, “Wilds”

1 5 - 2 - 2023

Back from a couple of weeks in Zurich. Highlights: Violinist Tobias Preisig's album launch at Moods. "Closer" (Quiet Love Records) is part two of a trilogy of solo albums, a melodic  joy, much closer in spirit to ambient or Neue Musik than  the jazz Tobias used to play in a previous life. I particularly enjoyed the pieces where he was joined on stage by Alessandro Giannelli  on drums and "label boss" James Varghese on Jah  Wobbly bass.  The picture isn't very good, I admit. At least it proves I was there. Another fun gig were the joyously  revived Austrian ska/postpunk/NDW combo Intimspray at El Lokal.

I also saw two truly astonishing art exhibitions. The first, in the Hauser & Wirth Gallery in Zürich, showed some extraordinary sculptures and "collages" by the Belgian artist,  Berlinde De Bruyckere.  Here's the gallery's introduction: "Layering religious iconography and ancient mythology with narratives of transience, carnality and sensuality, Berlinde De Bruyckere surpasses religious connotations and transfers them to the realm of the universal and profane."  Mixing materials like wax, felt, animal skins, bronze and lead,  her work is utterly original, a real discovery for me.

Next door in the same building, the Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst is showing some works from their collection, including an immersive installation consisting of a circus caravan with a large selection of videos to view in a suitably colourful  environment. Whilst I really enjoyed this, and other works, on the ground floor,  I was truly bowled over by Ragnar Kjartansson's video installatioan that filled the whole of the vast second floor. Consisting of nine large video panels, each showing one musician doing his/her thing (except one, where a number of people are hanging out on a terrace, singing), performing a mantra-like song that flows back and forth in waves of intensity, for something like 45 minutes. Lucky to have arrived pretty much at the beginning of the "film", and to find myself alone in the room, I was totally captivated, not to mention moved.