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J.G. Ballard - High-Rise

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High-Rise - J.G. Ballard (Liveright)

High-Rise is set in a 40 story self sufficient apartment complex. For about a year (preceding the actual pages of the book) the operations of the building and the community within operate harmoniously. Things then take a turn for the worst. Floors throughout the complex form fighting factions and a tribal warfare begins; pitting 3 main characters (one from each social strata) against each other. Conditions degrade quickly, as the organization devolves into factional fighting and finally guttural individual desires and needs. This book was written in 1975, but it is a timeless observation on class, and repressed human instinct. What kind of high-rise do you live in?

Grouper - Man Who Died in His Boat

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Grouper - Man Who Died in His Boat (1,2,3,4,GO!)

According to Wikipedia, grouper (the species of fish) swallow their prey whole. The same can be said for the music of Grouper. It is dark, somber, beautiful ambiance. Acoustics strum in canyons of reverb while soundscapes and whispered vocals rise and fall. Rhythm never comes into play. There is a sameness to this music from song to song, but it is safe to say that Grouper has a sound all its own.

The Feelies - Here Before

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The Feelies - Here Before (Bar None) [upcoming shows]

Crazy Rhythms is considered by many to be The Feelies' crowning achievement, but I have always preferred 1986's The Good Earth. The austere strummed acoustics, the fuzzy melodic leads and the buried murmuring vocals created an unmistakable vibe that is as visceral today as it was on its release. It's been 25 years since the Good Earth, but the music on Here Before sounds like it could have been recorded in the same sessions. There is not a hint of technology or a new style or fad. This is pure Feelies; and that makes this Feelies fan feel real good.

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