What we’re reading
Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films we’re watching, the television shows we’re hooked on or the music we’re loving.
A stellar effort from the Chicago instrumental quartet oft-hailed as inheritors of the forty-year-old legacy of Can, Faust or Neu! (Although lumping Cave together with krautrock music does them a disservice of sorts, it’s an undeniably useful reference point.) Polishing, even just slightly, some of the more scalene angles of their previous efforts pays off in spades here, as Cave show an almost supernatural ability to build tension through repetition. Their two guitars, bass and drums lock in, and proceed to pulse, sweat and vamp their way though five pieces that all display a surprising variety – due in part to some lovely flute, sax and congas which appear in a couple of the tracks.
The opening ‘Sweaty Fingers’ is certainly my pick from the album. The textural interplay possible with the most common rock line-up is astounding. When they hit that groove and sit on it, I felt like I was up close to pieces at a gallery – you can focus on the slightest shift in sync between the locked-in guitars, or marvel at the tightness of the drummer’s closed high-hat. And you definitely won’t want it to end.
Bronte is watching Richard Linklater’s ‘Before’ trilogy
After the hectic Christmas period I’m enjoying spending some time at home being anti-social and indulging in books and films I’ve had on my ‘to-read/watch’ lists for some months now. This past week I watched Richard Linklater’s Before Sunrise and Before Sunset (both are available in a box-set together) for the first time.
The trilogy follows the fleeting interactions between Jesse, a young American man played by Ethan Hawke, and Celine, a young French woman played by Julie Delpy, who first meet by chance on a train and spend a single night together in Vienna. It’s been pretty wonderful to watch films that are modest in plot and action, but big on ideas and heart. Watching the small intimacies, from awkward and hesitant to passionate and wholly exposed, unfold between Jesse and Celine is enthralling. Their conversation ranges across topics, freewheeling and seemingly completely natural, and more than the romance, what I enjoyed most about these films was how they captured a particular moment of life.
Over the coming weekend I plan to finish up with Before Midnight and am very much looking forward to it.
Fiona is reading Murder and Mendelssohn by Kerry Greenwood
A few times in my life I have had the pleasure of going to a fancy restaurant for a degustation. Hours are spent poring over the tiniest of dishes, all of which are immaculate in creation and decadent on the tongue. No expense is spared and the waitpeople will refill anything, even the bread basket, and treat you like you are royalty and not some bogan from the suburbs who is unused to thirteen courses, instead more often indulging in two (a bowl of spaghetti accompanied by only the tappiest of water.)
Reading Phryne Fisher is like a degustation menu at Melbourne’s fanciest restaurant. Everything is luxurious, delicious, and sensual. Immersing yourself in Miss Fisher’s world, full of espionage, choristers, murder, expensive wines, and lovers, is a true delight. It’s been a while since I last read a Miss Fisher book, but now I remember exactly why I loved the last one. Sure, people are murdered and Melbourne in 1929 was just as unpleasant and occasionally scungy as you imagine, but while you have Phryne swanning about the place in silk undergarments, knowing all the right people, concocting the most outrageous of plans and kicking bad guys square in the nuts, it’s difficult not to fall completely under her spell. Just like everyone else.