When Kanye West claimed that everyone from Chicago wanted to make soul beats just like him on his song Homecoming, he probably wasn’t expecting MC Tree. Tree is the latest rapper/producer to rise in the booming Chicago hip-hop scene. Along with other Chicago natives such as Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa, he is helping put Chicago hip-hop back on the map. While he is inspired by the soul production that both Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa follow, MC Tree stays clear of that lane and, instead, fashions his own style. He is the self-declared pioneer of soul trap (check his Twitter): trap beats with a soft touch of a soul twang. You can hear this in his songs. Classic trap trademarks such as 16th high hats and heavy drum-beats are copious, but they build upon one another to create a soulful aura. Even MC Tree’s singing adds to the soul aesthetics – but his singing voice is not as tame as R&B legends or even Drake’s. He sounds like Tom Waits trying to impersonate Lil’ Wayne after doing too many drugs. This is not something you often hear in hip-hop. Recently, Tree released his latest EP titled THE @MCTREE EP through Scion AV for free. How does this EP stand?
Father sacrifices daughter to the Gods for favourable winds. Mother is none too pleased and takes a new lover in father’s absence. Father takes a demigod priestess as his war-prize. Mother and lover kill father and war-prize on their return to Argos. How’s that for family drama?
From its inception in 1997 as the first open-world crime game to the Hot Coffee explicit mod in GTA San Andreas that caused the game to be taken off store shelves, Grand Theft Auto has always pushed the boundaries of taste. No stranger to controversy, the series has earned a somewhat deserved reputation of corrupting morals and depicting the worst of culture. GTA V, the first true continuation of the series since GTA IV 2008, doesn’t disappoint in this aspect at all; Rockstar, daring as ever, has included a torture scene filled with unspeakable acts and now allows players to smoke marijuana.
Having recently read American Buffalo, David Mamet’s ‘modern Greek tragedy,’ and having watched the under appreciated film version, starring Dustin Hoffman, I had high expectations for Upper Canada College’s production. Not only did it star three of UCC’s finest senior actors – Akash Pasricha, Will Lace and Saunder Waterman – it was also produced by Dr. Churchward and directed by Mr. Justis Danto-Clancy, who attended UCC during our ‘golden age’ of theatre.
by Jake Taber
The Ark by British author Ben Jeapes is a space narrative that many might initially assume to be remarkably generic. It’s a classic first contact story in which a future human race meets aliens of a somewhat equal level of technological advancement, after which conflict and rising tension are cued posthaste. I picked it from a secluded storage box for a quick summer read, but what I found was a depth and attention to detail that ended up surprising me.
I’ll be blatantly honest for a second: I didn’t expect much out of last week’s UCC stage adaptation of William Golding’s classic Lord Of The Flies. Call it a predisposed mistrust of all things Idiv, but I went in wondering what I was doing at a Y1/Y2 play, and whether the fact that it was tickets gratis was a bad sign. To all those involved with the production, I’m truly sorry, but that’s how I felt: wary and a little cynical, with a bit of senior-division pretension thrown in. Ms. Metalin and co. can, at least, revel in the fact that they proved me quite wrong. The boys portrayed the gruesome tale of degeneration, savagery, and primal instinct with considerable maturity and ability, each actor a great representation of his role.
Hey buddays, it’s time for what you’ve all been waiting for: the second installment of the famous Ebb and Flow of Time series. Now those not completely endeared to “brook life” may be able to remember the pilot article of the series, which concerned itself with the various hairstyles of everyone’s favorite guy, Muammar Gaddafi. Now I have the inestimable pleasure of introducing our second entry, “The Flow of Legends.” #it’sabanger
We’re looking at the heroes of Greek myth, men of chiseled features and mammoth deadlifts, men who fought terrifying monsters and held stimulating philosophical conversations with beautiful sea nymphs.
Coming in at #4 on our flow ranking is Theseus, a champion of epic proportions. Triumphing over the voracious Ancient Greek equivalent of man-bear-pig, Theseus shows in the following picture just how much time heroes spend in the SAS.
Unfortunately, Theseus’s flow is rather disappointing. Though practical Minotaur-fighting purposes may have factored into his chosen coiffure, his hair is clipped back like he’s Helen of Troy, and that’s only going to net him fourth spot.
“I’ve never felt better in my life,” Mark E. Smith sneers on The Classical, the opening track on The Fall’s seminal 1982 album Hex Enduction Hour. This line couldn’t have been further from the truth. By 1982, internal fighting and problems with their label Rough Trade Records were tearing the group apart. After just four LPs (five if you include Slates), Hex was supposed to be their last. But, in what was soon to become typical Fall fashion, the band miraculously persevered; Smith fired a few members (guitarist Marc Riley was dismissed on his wedding day), ditched Rough Trade for Beggar’s Banquet, quickly found new members and carried on. This cycle of hiring-and-firing would soon become the norm over the band’s 35 years, 66 members and 29 albums. But if the band had imploded after Hex, they would have been hard-pressed to write a finer farewell.
When Andreas Antoniou came to assembly to speak about how he had left the security of a job in the private sector to work with a Michelin-starred chef in California and open a Greek restaurant in downtown Toronto, I had only one question: do you take reservations? The city has been at a loss for a trendy Mediterranean eatery ever since Buca became so exclusive that tables had to be booked two weeks in advance. And Greek, of course, is a novelty.
Steven King’s latest novel, “11/22/63” is a surprisingly rich take on the oft-explored subject of time travel. King, known popularly as a horror writer, has drawn away from the genre somewhat in this work, as he did with his last full-length novel, “Under the Dome”. This time travel story is, nonetheless, heavily steeped in the supernatural. Alternate histories cross over each other, entire cities harbor dark, secret personalities, and the past itself consciously resists unwanted change. It all makes for a book that, without doing anything revolutionary, provides an absorbing read that’s hard to tear yourself from.
Quick, what are three things Chrome and the Wipers have in common? If you guessed loud, awesome, and completely forgotten, you win! Bonus points go to the guy who guessed that I will be reviewing both bands’ seminal albums (Half Machine Lip Moves and Youth of America). As Chrome are slightly more awesome, they get to go first.
El Camino, the newest release from Ohio band Black Keys, lives up to the expectations set by their previous album, Brothers, while moving in a different creative direction. The duo, consisting of vocalist/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer/producer Patrick Carney, have become alternative music icons. Their music makes abundantly clear why this is the case. Lonely Boy, the record’s lead single, ties back to an earlier age with its heavy bass guitar line reminiscent of The Clash or T.Rex. This sets the tone for the rest of the album, which consists largely of uptempo tracks that bring about a certain timeless rock and roll feel, while maintaining a contemporary voice. Another popular track is Little Black Submarines, which starts off slowly but breaks out into two minutes of wonderful electric guitar riffs that really get your foot tapping. Gold on the Ceiling also features prominent guitar sections, with a steadier bass that resonates perfectly with Auerbach’s intentionally off pitch vocals.
Lover’s Discourse is an Asian film written and directed by the dynamic duo of Kwok Cheung Sang and Chi-Man Wan. I had the pleasure of seeing this film on Tuesday, November 8th at the opening night gala of the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. Beyond a surprising turnout and a rousing performance by choir! choir! choir!, this film really did exceed my expectations. It wound through diverging stories, while playfully inquiring about the significant relationships that we as humans have all the time. It mostly zeroed in on the idea of infidelity and the madness that love can drive us to, but also the desire we have for ignorance once a relationship has become habitual.
When Metallica recorded their fifth album in 1991, they found themselves at a crossroads. With four thrash classics under their belt and inches away from commercial acceptance, they could have continued producing critically acclaimed material or they could finally break into the mainstream. When The Black Album was released, it was obvious which route they took. It was a stylistic departure into a more radio-friendly hard rock sound, and it proved to be the ultimate double-edged sword. It sold millions, established Metallica as the biggest metal band in the world and the album’s hit single Enter Sandman has become engrained in the subconscious of every rock fan. On the flipside, it angered many of the band’s devoted fans that had been following them since their roots in the Bay Area thrash scene, who bombarded the band with accusations of selling out. It was apparent that Metallica were never going to create another Master of Puppets. Instead they were headed straight into the world of GQ haircuts, Oasis balladry, psychotherapy, and a disastrous but oddly hilarious experiment with nu-metal.
For those of you who don’t already know, Wallbase.cc is Google Images on speed. The entire purpose of the website is focused around the eye-catching, the high-definition, and the time-wasting art of the Background Connoisseur. Hours can be spent browsing millions of user-uploaded photos, all large enough for a background, all made in Photoshop, and sense of the spectacular parallel to that of an over-budgeted Hollywood action movie.
Mid-September can mean any number of things, but for thousands of common folk as well as art aficionados, film critics and Hollywood’s bona fide elite, it means the Toronto International Film Festival. Although I’d heard of this phenomenon since my early childhood, this year’s festival was the first I actually attend.
Watching Orfeo ed Euridice was a unique experience that will not soon be forgotten. The singing was excellent, and the incident was an interesting one, however I do not understand why people would venture out and see more than one of these per year, but maybe I will once I have a greater appreciation for culture and am living out my twilight years in a condominium in Clearwater, Florida.
This weekend, I went to the Art Gallery of Ontario to check out the Abstract Expressionist (AbEx) retrospective, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2004, the AGO underwent a massive renovation/expansion, spearheaded by renowned Canadian architect Frank Gehry, and called TransformationAGO. The finished product is absolutely beautiful, with abundant natural light and spacious galleries. However, the AGO has not seen any exhibits of the relative artistic importance of AbEx since its renovation.
Art seldom converges with insanity more intimately than it does with ‘Crave’. The penultimate work of British playwright Sarah Kane (who, after struggling with severe depression and psychosis herself, committed suicide in a mental institution), ‘Crave’ unfolds as a character study of the broken human mind – a theatrical freight train into the turbid depths of psychological agony. It’s a play that dismisses all niceties and euphemisms from the outset, and one that makes no attempt to refine or simplify the complicated (and even confusing) nature of its subject material. Accordingly, it’s also a supremely challenging play – both to understand, and to stage. Yet this fact only makes the achievement of the cast and crew of the student-directed, UCC-BSS production of ‘Crave’ even more remarkable, as their rendition of the work cannot be described as anything less than a terrific success. By embracing an unsettling and difficult work with creativity, finesse, and emotional intensity, they have delivered something both elusive and startling – a performance whose brutal power is surpassed only by its lyrical elegance and poignancy.
Much has been said about Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff this past month: the Conservatives have branded him as an inept politician and an anti-Canadian expatriate while others have lauded the intellectual prowess of the Harvard professor, award-winning historian, and UCC Old Boy. However, Ignatieff’s work as an artist has been almost entirely overlooked. In addition to writing two screenplays, Ignatieff has published three novels, Asya, Scar Tissue, and Charlie Johnson in the Flames.
It’s a shame really, when we finally realize how badly ‘Sucker Punch’ misses the mark. At first glance it certainly seems intriguing enough. Directed by Zach Snyder, the visually innovative director of ‘300’ and ‘Watchmen’, the film strikes up with a promising premise: a girl placed in an asylum by her abusive stepfather slips into a sort of ‘Alice in Wonderland with machineguns’ as she tries to escape the horror of her surroundings and achieve freedom. It’s the kind of premise that almost screams potential. Yet by the time the credits roll, the viewer is firmly out of fantasy land and fully aware of the reality that ‘Sucker Punch’ is, for all intents and purposes, a dud – an unfortunate misfire of a film whose biggest weaknesses seem to lie not in concept, but in execution.