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Far Nearer
Far Nearer
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect summer sunshine goodness, 12 Aug. 2011
This review is from: Far Nearer (MP3 Download)
Jamie xx fans should already be familiar with the title track and opener "Far Nearer." Making its debut earlier this February, the leaked track was unfinished and rather unpolished-sounding but many were already attributing the tune to the late Gil Scott-Heron/Jamie xx remix project. Months later, it is finally revealed that both tracks are part of a larger project: the first official Jamie xx solo LP. Jamie xx is an unusual producer. As the xx's official percussionist/beatsmith, Jamie has pioneered the use of the MPC as a drumming tool. He has even moved on to become an accomplished and highly sought-after remix artist.

Everyone's saying it now, "Far Nearer" is going to be soundtracking the rest of their summer for this year. It's quite the unconventional track, really: steel drums, warped vocals, deep bass and a tinge of sunshine. It's no wonder Jamie xx has been receiving so much publicity. Every track he produces sounds absolutely original. Blogs and music reviewers alike have been parading the term "post dubstep" and "British" to describe the Jamie xx sound but really, it's something completely new and different.

The Beard
The Beard
by Andersen Prunty
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.16

4.0 out of 5 stars The great American novel of 2009 that never was, 12 Aug. 2011
This review is from: The Beard (Paperback)
From the quaint Ernest Hemingway nod in the first couple of pages to the final notes on the home toward the end of the novel, Andersen Prunty's THE BEARD reads like the Great American novel of 2009 that never was.

THE BEARD begins by asking the interesting question: "what happens to the authentic character when it is subject to strange situations?"

There is a moment in THE BEARD, shortly after the introduction, when the main character, David Glum, appearing to be stuck in an instance of self-actualization, quickly stops what he is doing so he can observe the people walking up and down Fifth Avenue. He asks himself "who [are] these people?" and after pondering the thought for a few seconds, decides that the real answer is insignificant to his cause and returns to his adventure-to-be.

Andersen Prunty's THE BEARD is full of moments like this--exercises in self-evaluation that explore the idea of the normal/authentic character. As the novel begins, David is a child and his grandfather, the first and only figure of fatherhood in the novel, an anchor to the home, is quickly abducted by an untraceable (and almost alien) herd of elephants. From the beginning stages of the book, Prunty is already removing all semblance of normality in David's life and subjects the reader to a bizarro tale of dramatic/epic proportions that focuses on the idea of character. This refusal to tolerate what is normal continues as David ages and later finds that his father, his whole life, was really just a man named Gary Wrench, who had been playing the role of his "real" father for the past twenty-some years. Prunty ramps up the absurdity-factor and shakes the foundations of David's origins when it is also revealed that the father-impersonator, Wrench, has also been wearing a man-suit to mimic the round shape of the old/authentic father. Oh, and David also finds that he has an imposter who follows him around.

It is only at the most crucial point of the novel, toward the end of the story (that seems to end a little too neatly and nicely and quickly) that David suddenly realizes that the idea of authenticity and the true self only matters to David, as "it is only an imposter's job to fool everyone else." It is in this moment of meta-fictional self-awareness that Prunty reveals the non-diegetic significance of THE BEARD, and it's a good one!

Since this release, Prunty has risen to the top ranks of recent forward-thinking Bizarro authors with his other texts but has still managed to single-handedly create a metaphor for identity through the imaginative character studies of THE BEARD, a novel that holds all the makings of a Great American Novel.

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