Al Spx was studying English Literature at the University of Toronto when she came across a line from James Joyce's Ulysses: "Born all in the dark wormy earth, cold specks of fire, evil lights shining in the darkness." The phrase "cold specks" sparked a fire of inspiration, and Spx knew immediately that she had found the perfect name for the songs she was writing on the side.
Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 10:20 am
Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the new album by the English space-rock band Spiritualized, was recorded while frontman Jason Pierce was undergoing chemotherapy for liver disease. Pierce set out to craft the recordas a clear-cut pop record in between hospital stays, and though he says he isn't convinced he succeeded, most of the album is composed of could-be Top 10 radio hits from the early '70s.
In March, indie-folk band The David Wax Museum spent a week bringing enthusiastic performances, infectious joy and butchered Mandarin phrases to China. This compelling mini-documentary chronicles the band's trip as "cultural ambassadors" at the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology. In an email, band-member Suz Slezak explains how the trip came about:
The Philadelphia Orchestra has just wrapped up a 10-day visit to China, its seventh trip to the country over the past four decades.
But this trip was different.
The orchestra is preparing to come out of bankruptcy, and this tour was about its survival. It hopes to balance its books by building new audiences and new revenues in the world's second-largest economy.
Cheb i Sabbah's life traces an almost fairy-tale perfect path through the evolution of what's now called world music. Born in Algeria in 1947, he absorbed the Judeo-Arabic Andalusian music of his local culture before he joined the '60s rebellion and became a 17-year-old DJ playing soul 45s in Paris. By the end of the decade, he'd moved to New York and become friends with trumpeter Don Cherry, famous for his association with Ornette Coleman and a pioneer in the concept of multicultural music.