Jenny Hval – Apocalypse, girl

Image: Jenny Hval

What is immediately striking about Jenny Hval’s third studio album Apocalypse, girl is the Norwegian’s fearlessness in exploiting speech and melody to convey her highly individual worldview. More:

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Not Quite Light

Photographer Simon Buckley has been capturing Manchester’s Northern Quarter in the half light of early morning for his new Not Quite Light project. Check out his blog and some intriguing images here.

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Oh Land – Earth Sick

Image: Oh Land Released this month, Earth Sick, Oh Land’s fourth album, marks a return to the roots that launched her music career; writing, recording and producing everything herself at home, with the help of her closest friends, family and talents. Lead single ‘Head Up High’ is a euphoric, enormously uplifting release, with Oh Land pouring emotion into every note. Check it out here.

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Dedwardians – Like an Animal

Image: Dedwardians

Garage surf quartet Dedwardians have released their new video for ‘Like an Animal’. Check it out here.

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The Madoc Vanguard – Freaks

The Madoc Vanguard’s latest track, ‘Freaks’, is now available at YouTube! Check out this fresh slice of autumnal synth-pop here.

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Two Skies – Stay

Image: Two Skies

Driven together by a mutual love of ethereal noises and powerful grooves, dark psych-beasts Two Skies are set to release debut album Stay on Yorkshire’s Ghostly Figures Records. Get a taste of this great record here.

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Mystique or mistaken?

As many have observed about the creative process, it is much the case that ‘writing is rewriting’. But once you’ve drafted, and redrafted, then sat on something for a while, and drafted again, and redrafted some more… well, using your own judgement to decide if something is ‘finished’ is not straightforward. This can be a particular problem in the world of social media – and certainly with blogging, where often you are serving as your own ‘editor’.

You may desire to have control over what you produce. However, even when something has been posted off, you endlessly spot things that could have been done in a different way. It’s difficult to know at what point you’ve created something worthwhile. But if you never commit, throwing out everything you ever generate, you’ll never have something on which to build next time. And yet… a bizarre sort of fear lingers that, should you ‘make it’ as a writer, your biographer will go through your rough drafts, exposing your teenage efforts. Not that there’s anything wrong as such with writing when you’re a teenager. It’s just that these developmental pieces are just that – writing for practice, writing to give yourself a marker against which to do better, writing to write out the bad ideas. Anything on the internet has the potential to last indefinitely. This can provoke anxiety about publishing, concern that a mistake might be spotted, or some other writerly embarrassment.

What then is the source of  this discomfort? It is, perhaps, the knowledge that in the modern age, it is difficult to maintain mystique. Through social media it is possible to communicate your every waking thought, if so desired. This is a greatly different experience to that of writers and artists of yesteryear, who were generally releasing into the world only fully-formed, finalised works. The audience did not encounter their creative process – and it was not necessary for them to do so. With the mess of their drafting and editing process never exposed to daylight, it only contributed to an image of writers as deliverers of perfection. The way of the future is likely to be very different, with writers engaging directly with their audiences, further blurring the line between ownership and the finality of a piece.

It is interesting to think about how the reputation of the great novels, so revered today, would ever have been established if every element of their creation had been presented and pored over. Sausages and women – if you want to enjoy the experience, never watch the preparation of either, said Oscar Wilde. There’s a strong case for adding fiction to that list!

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