BY TRACE REDDELLUniversity of Denver One of the challenges I faced while researching and writing The Sound of Things to Come: An Audible History of the Science Fiction Film concerned the terminology of the “new” and the role of “futurity.” Early drafts of the project emphasized thematic clusters that brought together films from very different … More Sonic Science Fiction: Programming the Thought Synthesizer
BY JIM WALSH The New Power Generation was on the second encore of its first-ever appearance at First Avenue on September 14, when lead singer MacKenzie and rapper Tony Mosley (a.k.a. Tony M) implored the crowd to pay respects to their fallen leader, Prince. As the crowd and band cheered at the night’s first mention … More “Wherever he is! Wherever he is!”: Jim Walsh on the world’s rediscovery of “The Gold Experience” and the funky powerhouse joy that is the New Power Generation
Image by Toby Thompson. Image by Echo Helstrom. BY TOBY THOMPSON Echo Star Helmstrom, widely thought to have been the inspiration for Bob Dylan’s song “Girl from the North Country,” died on January 15th. She was 75 and had been my friend for nearly 50 years. She had a combination of vulnerability and toughness that … More Lookin’ to get silly in Hibbing: Toby Thompson on Echo Star Helstrom, the "Girl from the North Country."
BY JIM WALSH On Valentine’s Day 1996, Prince married Mayte Garcia at Park Avenue Methodist Church in South Minneapolis. In honor of the funky nuptials that day, I took the opportunity to compile a list of Prince’s greatest love songs for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, reprinted in Gold Experience: Following Prince in the ‘90s … More Throwback Valentine’s Day: A bittersweet collection of Prince’s finest love songs
BY JIM WALSHExcerpt from the Introduction to Bar Yarns and Manic-Depressive Mixtapes My earliest memory of scribbling in a notebook while listening to music is New Year’s Eve, 1974. I was fourteen and then as now not a big fan of mean girls and boys, so that night I intentionally stayed away from the junior … More Going Underground: Jim Walsh on his earliest memory of music writing.
Looking ahead to this weekend’s Nobel prize ceremony, in which Bob Dylan, the 2016 laureate in literature, will likely not attend but will provide a speech.BY COLLEEN SHEEHYPresident and executive director, Public Art St. Paul When I looked at my phone in the early morning of Thursday, October 13, I was stunned to discover that … More A quiet life, a remarkable influence: On Bob Dylan’s English teacher, B.J. Rolfzen
BY RICK SHEFCHIK We knew Alzheimer’s would take Bobby Vee from us eventually, but it still seems too soon, too much, too unfair. Wasn’t he just 15? Didn’t he just step confidently onto that stage in Moorhead and make his first public appearance in place of Buddy Holly? Didn’t he just reel off a string … More On Bobby Vee, a great man to the core.
BY TOBY THOMPSON My reaction to Bob Dylan’s being awarded the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature is, oddly, less public than private. It’s public in that in 1971 I published the first serious book about Dylan’s life, and since 1969 have written of his work fairly regularly. It’s personal in that Dylan’s lyrics, poetry, and … More Cutting Class Nobly: Toby Thompson on Bob Dylan
Albert Murray (1916–2013), renowned jazz historian, critic, writer, social and cultural theorist, and cofounder (with Wynton Marsalis) of Jazz at Lincoln Center, would have turned 100 years old today. We remember him with an edited excerpt from Murray Talks Music: Albert Murray on Jazz and Blues (May 2016).——-“In order to know what the statement is, … More Remembering the fierce thinker and jazz historian Albert Murray, who would have turned 100 today.
BY PAUL ROQUETPostdoctoral fellow in global media and film studies at Brown University 2016 marks the 150th birth anniversary of the French composer Erik Satie (1866–1925). As far as musical ideas go, Satie is best known for his notion of “furniture music” (musique d’ameublement), first introduced nearly 100 years ago in 1917 and later popularized … More The boombox on the bus: Erik Satie’s furniture music in 2016