SWAN of the Week, Number 172

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Happy Friday! 

I’m learning many people are just now tuning into the election for the first time. It’s the standard two-week run up to voting day where normal people start paying attention to advertising, issues, and politicians. But since I voted weeks ago, I spent time away from the political churn each night reading books with my AirPods in. 

This week I revisted Simon Stålenhag’s hardcover art books “Tales From the Loop” and “Things From the Flood.” Stålenhag’s paintings and stories take place in an alternate version of Sweden in the ’80s and ’90s and include all kinds of fantastical technology, science, and the human consequences of our relationship with technology. It’s calming to transport oneself into this parallel universe where down is sometimes up, and there’s no logical conclusion… since that’s a normal feeling these days.

And the absolutely perfect soundtrack for hours spent paging though sci-fi art books during a pandemic is Deftone’s new album, Ohms

For fans of Deftone’s White Pony, this is going to be the the sequel for which you’ve been waiting 20 years. The album is so heavy, so deep, and it’s more than evident Chino Moreno recorded his vocals and the band mixed and mastered the album while separated in lockdown. Especially in songs like ‘Pompeji,’ where Moreno sings about our stay-at-home lifestyle with lyrics like “Locked in the core of the tower, I’m patient, In no hurry to leave, Life has been lonely, it might be forever.” 

Ohms is ferocious, and upon repeated listens, punches you in the stomach and asks you to come back for more. We’re accustomed to that feeling at the seven month mark of the pandemic, and I have to admit I’ve listened to this album at least 4x/day for two weeks. It’s bruising, and my Spotify algorithm may never recover. Stream it here

I’m also now about 100 pages into The Age of Surveillance Capitalism by Harvard professor Shoshana Zuboff, so if any of you want to read it in the next week or so and do a book club Zoom, let me know. 

Meanwhile, you can back Stålenhag’s latest Kickstarter here, and Tales from the Loop Season 1 is streaming Amazon Prime – complete with a beautiful and haunting Philip Glass soundtrack. And I highly recommend it. Watch here

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