Friday, December 24, 2010

Episode 823: The Carpet Makers

Have acquired some new music over the past couple of days, including Enrique Iglesias's new single 'Tonight (I'm Fuckin' You)', off the French limited edition of Euphoria. (The clean version released to radio replaces the offending word throughout with 'lovin'' instead.) Beginning with his previos album, Insomniac, Iglesias has been cannily reinventing his sound to be more compatible with what's dominating te airwaves. This single is pretty much your standard radio-friendly fare, sustained by an infectious beat and Iglesias's Spanish-inflected intoning of banal lyrics, i.e. I really like it but I know there's nothing special about it. On a related note, this French limited edition features a Cahill remix of 'I Like It', which I think has cemented them as one of my favourite remixers. Even more than Dave Audé! I'm not usually into remixes because I find them quite unlistenable outside of the dancefloor, but Audé and Cahill produce stuff that doesn't wind up sounding too aggressive and punishing on the ears. It's practically aural candy. In any case, I'm of the opinion that a lot of pop music these days (but not the ballads) is essentially designed to be remix-friendly, and producers like Audé and Cahill are just giving the original tracks more of an edge.

Have also finished Andreas Eschbach's The Carpet Makers. I really, really enjoyed it, which is kind of weird in a way because I first came across this book a couple of years ago when I began trawling the science fiction shelves at the National Library, but I never got around to borrowing it because I figured I wouldn't like it that much based on the blurb. Then a couple of days ago, I decided, what the heck, I'd give it a chance. So glad that I did! It's apparently the only of Eschbach's novels to be translated into English so far (let's not get into the whole issue of how translating into English seems to be on the decline as far as introducing new literary works is concerned), which is a shame because Eschbach's writing is beautiful. The Carpet Makers is really a series of interconnected stories, the effect of which is to evoke an entire universe without needing to go overboard on details to flesh it out. There's just enough material to hint at more stories that could be told in the same cosmic setting, but not to the point where it detracts from the main narrative thread. The denouement is understated, and some people might object to it and how it was achieved, but I think it really humanised a story that could have been in danger of being mystifying to the point where it alienated. It's not a terribly long novel, so I recommend getting a copy and reading it if you want some science fiction that's more character-focused as opposed to being about futuristic stuff.

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