Wentworth, The National, Berlin Syndrome, golden TV

What we’re reading

The golden age of modernist art sprung into life in Paris between the years of 1870 and 1930. Audacious movements such as Impressionism, Cubism, Fauvism and Futurism arose from the ashes of a burnt-out academic culture that had long sought to suppress creative innovation. In this article on the business and culture of our new golden age of TV, Ian Leslie argues that the superb dramas now dominating  cable and streaming services have similarly supplanted the crumbling system of big network broadcasters.  The only question is — how long can it last?

Who better to interview a legendary indie chanteuse about her upcoming studio album than another legendary indie chanteuse? The editor of the Neighbourhood Paper had the bright idea of asking Gyan to lead the chat, muso a muso, with Ricky Lee Jones about The Other Side of Desire. And her lively, sympathetic questions prompt some fascinating insights into Ricky Lee’s musical practice.

Dave Pell spends most of his waking hours finding and sharing a clutch of fascinating links for his daily newsletter, NextDraft. He provides an idiosyncratic, intelligent and frequently droll perspective on the major events of the moment. Free to subscribe and highly recommended.

What we’re viewing

Janis: Little Girl Blue is a documentary about the incomparable Janis Joplin. It was directed by Amy J Berg  and narrated by Chan Marshall (Cat Power). The combination of stunning archival footage with Marshall’s thoughtful reading of letters that Joplin wrote to friends, family and collaborators over the years makes for fascinating and intimate viewing.

Available to rent on iTunes now.

There are a couple of great local TV series now back on air.

Wentworth season 5 screens on Foxtel’s Showcase at 8:30pm on Tuesdays. inSync’s Richard Pleasance is the series composer. Wentworth’s unsettling theme song  by Pleasantville has become a surprise underground hit. Give it a listen!

Love Child season 4 screens on Nine, also at 8:30pm (or thereabouts, given we’re talking FTA here) on Tuesdays. inSync’s Norman Parkhill handles the music supervision for the series. Listen out for the brilliant 1971 hit Resurrection Shuffle by Ashton, Gardner & Dyke in ep 5, synced to a superbly directed ‘fight’ montage by Jennifer Perrott.

Nothing to see yet, but lots of anticipation for this one. The Jacobson brothers (Kenny) finally reunite to make the blackest of comedies in Sibling Rivalry. Richard Pleasance is the film’s composer.

What We’re Listening To

The National have just dropped their new single, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,  from their forthcoming 7th studio album, Sleep Well Beast. As you’d expect, it’s another irresistible slab of intelligent alt-rock. Have a listen, while you’re at it, check out the suitably odd video by Casey Reas.

Cate Shortland’s chilling feature film Berlin Syndrome is in select cinemas now. inSync’s Bryony Marks provides the extraordinary soundtrack. It’s a terrifying aural delight. Check it out.

Strange Loops is a blog that celebrates the mysterious power of words, music, dance and the moving image. Each month or so we present a roundup of the best of what we're reading, what we're viewing and what we're listening to right now.