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Just Arrived!
January – February 2010.

Just Arrived!
January – February 2010.


The Image of The City (Kevin Lynch, 1960)
What does the city’s form actually mean to the people who live there? What can the city planner do to make the city’s image more vivid and memorable to the city dweller? To answer these questions, Mr. Lynch, supported by studies of Los Angeles, Boston, and Jersey City, formulates a new criterion—imageability—and shows its potential value as a guide for the building and rebuilding of cities. The wide scope of this study leads to an original and vital method for the evaluation of city form. The architect, the planner, and certainly the city dweller will all want to read this book. []

House of Leaves (Mark Z. Danielewski, 2000)
House of Leaves actually gave me nightmares: I had to stop reading it before bedtime. I’m sure klaxons will be set blaring around it and klieg lights will be trained on it, and so they should. Its secrets are rich and obscure. Danielewski’s textured novel is about apprehensions, in all senses of the word: to anticipate with dread, to seize, to understand. If you can imagine that Peter Pan’s enemy is not Captain Hook but Neverland itself, or that the whale that swallows Jonah is Moby-Dick, you’ll begin to appreciate what this book is about. Anticipate it with dread, seize, and understand. A riveting reading experience.” [Gregory Maguire]

9 dari Nadira (Leila S. Chudori, 2009)
Baca review di sini.


Sejarah Dunia dalam 10 1/2 Bab (Julian Barnes, 2009)
Barnes dalam novelnya memperlakukan apa yang menjadi keyakinan umum atas sejarah dunia dengan cara memberi komentar ironis. Itu meliputi berbagai peristiwa, mulai kisah Bahtera Nuh, Nabi Yunus ditelan Paus, misionaris pertama di Suku Indian abad ke-16, lukisan karamnya Kapal Medusa di abad ke-19, teroris, kisah cinta, dan surga. Sikap ironis dalam novel itu pada dasarnya ketidakpercayaan Barnes sendiri atas semua representasi sejarah Barat laiknya sejarah besar, penuh keagungan, dan sempurna. []b

99 untuk Arsitek (Raul Renanda, 2009)
Buku ini berisi 99 tulisan pendek tentang segala hal yang kita sebagai arsitek hadapi. Ada cerita tentang hubungan dengan klien, ada cerita tentang pemasaran. Ada juga cerita tentang style, tentang pengembangan diri kita. 99 cerita, 99 sudut pandang, 99 opini, 99 pemikiran, 99 ‘bullshit’. Ditulis dengan bahasa sederhana, tidak berurutan, dan bisa bebas dibuka di halaman apa saja. []

How to Make Trouble and Influence People: Pranks, Hoaxes, Graffiti & Political Mischief-Making from Across Australia (Iain McIntyre, 2009)
Written and researched by Iain McIntyre, the collection reveals the vital history of creative resistance in Australia through tales of Indigenous resistance, convict revolts and escapes, picket line hi-jinks, student occupations, creative direct action, media pranks, urban interventions, squatting, blockades, banner drops, street theatre and billboard liberation; including stories and anecdotes, interviews with pranksters and troublemakers, and over 300 spectacular photos. []

Living in Harmony (Fariz RM, 2009)
Buku ini bukan sekedar obrolan. Fariz punya sikap yang jelas. Seperti komposisi dan harmoni karya musik yang membuka hati, tulisan-tulisan Fariz membuka cakrawala pemikiran tentang banyak hal, tak hanya soal musik. Blak-blakan, ringan tanpa beban, jenaka, dan to the point, serta berisi hal-hal yang selama ini sering kali tidak diungkapkan banyak orang.

Soe Hok Gie… Sekali Lagi (editor Rudy Badil, dkk, 2009)
Hidup Soe Hok Gie yang pendek itu memang bergumul dengan tiga hal: Buku, Pesta dan Cinta. Buku ini melengkapi pustaka ihwal sosok Hok Gie terdahulu semacam Catatan Seorang Demonstran, Di Bawah Lentera Merah, Orang-orang di Persimpangan Jalan atau Pergulatan Intelektual Muda (John Maxwell). Dari Hok Gie kita semua belajar tentang satu hal yang lamat-lamat ditinggalkan: integritaslah yang membedakan manusia satu sama lain. []

Sejarah Film 1900-1950: Bikin Film di Jawa (Misbach Yusa Biran, 2009)
Ditulis dengan detil dan rasa sayang tingkat tinggi terhadap perfilman dan kearsipan, buku ini adalah harta karun, sebuah kitab yang padat dengan berbagai jurus dan layak “diperebutkan”! Kita lihat saja majalah, koran, poster film, still photo yang dipakai, begitu kaya raya. Ternyata, tak harus ke KITLV Leiden untuk mengakses Filmland atau Doenia Film. Tengok pula wawancara langsung dengan Tan Tjeng Bok, The Teng Chun, Tan Tjoei Hock, T.D. Tio, Bachtiar Effendi, hingga Asrul Sani dan Djajakusuma. (Ekky Imanjaya)

Yasmin Ahmad’s Films (Amir Muhammad, 2009)
Yasmin Ahmad left a vibrant legacy, and it is still strange to talk about her in the past tense. In order to deal with his grief, Amir Muhammad, fellow Malaysian filmmaker and friend, watched anew her six feature-length films (Rabun, Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin, Muallaf and Talentime), as well as several of her most popular commercials. Neither an obituary nor a conventional work of film criticism, this book was written just a month after her funeral and is Amir’s personal look at the stories, but with quite a few tangents of his own. Chatty and informative, this book can be devoured not only by established fans but newcomers to her work. It is also a tribute to one of Malaysia’s most amazing daughters. Includes 24 pages of color photographs. []


Last Year In Marienbad (Alan Resnais, French, 1960)
This radical experiment in film form by director Alain Resnais and screenwriter Alain Robbe-Grillet was a surprising commercial success in 1961, even in the U.S., and it’s been a rallying point for the possibilities of formal filmmaking ever since. A highly seductive parable about seduction, it’s set in and around a baroque European chateau/hotel, where the nameless hero (Giorgio Albertazzi) tries to persuade the nameless heroine (Delphine Seyrig) that they met the previous year. Shot by Sacha Vierny in otherworldly black-and-white ‘Scope, it oscillates ambiguously between past, present, and various conditional tenses, mixing memory and fantasy, fear and desire. The overall tone is poker-faced parody of lush Hollywood melodrama, yet the film’s dreamlike cadences, frozen tableaux, and distilled surrealist poetry are too eerie, too terrifying even, to be shaken off as camp. For all its notoriety, this masterpiece among masterpieces has never really received its due. In French with subtitles. 93 min. [Jonathan Rosenbaum]

Syndromes And A Century (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)
Weerasethakul has called Syndromes “an experiment in re-creation of my parents’ lives before I was born.” Like his two previous films—Blissfully Yours (2002) and Tropical Malady (2004)—Syndromes and a Century is a two-part brain tickler. The first part is set in the period of the filmmaker’s childhood, the second in the present day. Midway through, Weerasethakul begins the movie again, repeating the first interview with slight differences in tone and camera placement. This time the hospital is urban, with high-rise buildings visible beyond the tended grounds. The old monk has a different doctor and another diagnosis—namely, panic disorder. []

Mukhsin (Yasmin Ahmad, 2006)
Geared toward the adolescent set (think Judy Blume), Mukhsin is a charmer displaying all the strengths and weaknesses of fast-rising helmer Yasmin Ahmad. Few filmmakers rep close-knit families better than she does, and with her usual core of thesps, she’s a master at breezy, warm-hearted and sexually open repartee. Integrating sideplots is still a challenge, but there’s little doubt that Ahmad will one day soon have a crossover hit on her hands. Until then, Mukhsin‘s story of first love should do bang-up biz at home with a respectable showing at tween fests. []

L’Avventura (Michelangelo Antonioni, 1960)
L’Avventura was trashed by the crowd at Cannes, rejected as an overlong (145 minutes), soporific, pretentious work about shallow people and their trivial lives. Fortunately, a small band of critics recognized the film’s ravishing pictorialism in the service of a vision of modern life as a quiet hell of ennui. They managed to get Antonioni the festival’s Grand Jury Prize, the first step in rehabilitating L’Avventura and securing its place in the upper tier of postwar cinema classics. Surprisingly, it was also a box-office success. []b

24 Hour Party People (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)
24 Hour Party People could have been a cautionary fable about demon rock. But director Michael Winterbottom and screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce – Manchester lads just like Wilson and Coogan—make bloody sure it isn’t. Winterbottom —free of the grim literary constraints of Jude and The Claim—seems to enjoy running fast and loose. Shot on digital video by brilliant cinematographer Robby Muller, the movie really is a blast, mixing newsreel footage with the made-up stuff, throwing in celebrity cameos (including one by Wilson himself), and skewering whatever bull gets in its way. Like the music, the film is outspoken, roaringly funny, defiantly sexual and relentlessly in your face. I couldn’t have liked it more. []

Tokyo! (Michel Gondry, Leos Carax, Bong Joon-ho, 2008)
the reality is that Tokyo! is a defiantly odd picture — its middle portion, in particular, directed by the always strange Carax, isn’t out to win any friends. But the refusal of Tokyo! to proffer even the most perfunctory air kiss is what makes it so intriguing. There’s nothing here that makes the city seem beautiful, warm or welcoming. Talk about damning a city, and its people, with faint praise. []


Pintu Terlarang (Joko Anwar, 2009)
Ketika kita memutuskan bergabung dengan dunia Joko Anwar, kita harus siap dengan risikonya. Kita akan memasuki sebuah kepala yang penuh dengan lapisan imajinasi kelam yang tak berkesudahan. Memasuki batok kepala Joko Anwar bak memasuki labirin yang bersulur-sulur ke sana-kemari. Liar dan gelap. Ada satu pertanyaan penting dalam setiap karya saya,” kata Joko serius. “Yaitu, apakah para orang tua sudah memikirkan betul mereka menginginkan anak.” [Leila S. Chudori]

Pertaruhan (At Stake) (Various Directors, 2008)
Ide mengangkat sebuah wacana tentang perempuan dan hak atas tubuhnya adalah sesuatu yang berani dan jujur. Keempat film ini mengutarakan persoalan politik dan wacana tubuh perempuan di Indonesia: buruh migran Indonesia di Hong Kong (plus cerita mengenai keperawanan dan lesbianisme), pro-kontra khitan perempuan, diskriminasi perempuan urban berstatus nona/nyonya perihal akses pemeriksaan kesehatan reproduksinya, dan perempuan miskin yang harus memecah batu pada siang hari dan melacur pada malam hari demi sedikit rupiah untuk buah hatinya. []

Dongeng dari Dirah (Sardono W. Kusumo dan Robert Chappel, 1991)
The Sorceress of Dirah is an experimental performance event of Balinese dances and legends, developed by the Javanese performance artist and choreographer, Sardono W. Kusuma, and restaged over many years, working with a group in the village of Teges in Bali. Presented widely in Europe and the USA in the mid-1970s, a film version of The Sorceress of Dirah was filmed in 35mm colour by Sardono working in Bali in 1992 with American cinematographer/ director Bob Chappell. [Arts Faculty, Monash University]

Meta Ekologi (Sardono W. Kusumo dan Gotot Prakosa, 1979)
Meta Ekologi (Originally shot on 16mm film at the Jakarta Institute of the Arts, B.& W., 14 min., 1979). Directed by Gotot Prakosa and based on a performance event developed by Sardono W. Kusuma. “This film is a response to an attempt to enter into dialogue with the ecology of earth and water. Humanity expresses its feelings through its body by striving to become one with the universe. It is like farming peasants who work on the land, covered with mud. A process of poeticisation.” One of the most remarkable films ever made in Indonesia. [Arts Faculty, Monash University]



Carpenters – 40/40 (A&M Records, 2009)
Celebrating forty years since the Carpenters first signed to A&M Records 40/40 brings together some of their finest moments. Spread across two CD’s, these forty tracks serve as the perfect introduction to one of the best loved duo’s in popular music. From the Bacharach penned “(They Long To Be) Close To You” through to Richard and Karen’s cover of the Klaatu song “Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft”, all of the songs here showcase Karen Carpenter’s unique vocals and her brother Richard’s incredible arrangements. []

Siouxsie and the Banshees – The Best of Siouxsie and The Banshees (Polydor, 2002)
The Best of Siouxsie and the Banshees is a decent look into the eclectic world of Siouxsie Sioux. The band, however, really didn’t need to release another hits collection. Once Upon a Time: The Singles (1981) and Twice Upon a Time: The Singles (1992) are comprehensive enough to stand alone. Universal aimed to make this a stylish set with glossy favorites such as “Dear Prudence”, “Peek-a-Boo”, and “Spellbound”, but lesser-known classics like “Candy Man” and “Dazzle” are missing. It would have made more sense to release a live collection from the band’s 2002 reunion tour, or show highlights from the early days, but a second disc of rare remixes makes up for a less-than-impressive first disc. “Song From the Edge of the World (Columbus Mix)” rumbles with dark, lush percussion, as does “The Killing Jar (Lepidopteristic Mix)” and “Dazzle (The Glamour Mix),” all of which make for a divine, intoxicating collection. Longtime fans should be impressed by the remix portion of the album. So add it to the Siouxsie discography. []

Arcade Fire – Miroir Noir: Neon Bible Archives (DVD, 2008, documentary)
Miroir Noir is a strange, beautiful, slightly frustrating work that would have seemed more timely had it surfaced when people were wondering if divine blood might not flow through Win and Régine’s veins. Shot by indie vid auteur Vincent Moon and directed by band collaborator Vincent Morisset, it’s a weird hybrid of Moon’s Take Away Shows, a tourfilm, and a making of the album doc. Sort of. There are no interviews, virtually no dialogue from the band, but a constant overdubbing of messages left by members of the public at a number set up around the time of Neon Bible‘s release. []

Nial Djuliarso – Nial Djuliarso at Juilliard (Omega Pacific Production, 2005)
An unusual treat, OPP has recently been involved with Nial Djuliarso, a young and gifted Indonesian Jazz pianist who is completing his studies at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. A student of various world renowned artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Barron, Carls Allen, and Renee Rosnes, Nial was commissioned to play popular western and Indonesian renditions, plus a couple of his own originals. The songs were recorded in New York and performed together with other musicians including Rufus Reid and David Wong on acoustic bass, Lewis Pragasam on drums, and Bruno Le Flanchec on a number of instruments. []

The Work of Director: Michel Gondry (DVD, 2003, music video)
Gondry’s clip for Daft Punk’s “Around the World” is a reminder of why the director is such an incredible visual mathematician. Gondry’s signature algebraic aesthetic is inextricably bound to the music he directs for the screen, and it’s a synthesis that’s remarkably on display throughout “Star Guitar” (The Chemical Brothers), “The Hardest Button to Button” (White Stripes) and his legendary early clip for I Am’s “Le Mia.” If Gondry is a master mathematician, consider him also the king of repetition. “Let Forever Be” (The Chemical Brothers) seemingly imagines life inside a disco ball while the more obscure “Come Into My World” (Kylie Minogue) reimagines Zbigniew’s Rybczynski’s legendary “Tango” for the club kids of the world. You’ll also find Gondry’s short films and commercial work. This is a pretty comprehensive overview of music video auteur Michel Gondry’s work, from 1987 to 2003. []

The Work of Director: Anton Corbijn (DVD, 2005, music video)
Anton Corbijn boasts arguably the most instantly recognizable visual style in music video for a simple and depressing reason: His videos tend to look and feel the same, stranding glowering, iconic figures in barren landscapes in grainy black and white or lurid, oversaturated color. Corbijn’s videos boast a one-size-fits-all gloominess that invariably reflects his personality more than the musician he’s directing. As evidenced by his Director’s Label compilation, Corbijn boasts the remarkable ability to transform any artists he works with into clones of his muses and frequent collaborators in Depeche Mode, a group whose sensibility has become indistinguishable from Corbijn’s own. []

John Zorn – Naked City (Elektra, 1990)
Imagine the resulting spatter as a Jackson Pollock canvas, and you’ll begin to understand how Naked City transforms everything it touches. Like, for example, jazz great Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman”. Coleman, a Zorn hero, wrote and played it as a brooding, off-balance elegy, but in this band’s hands, it comes out as a contemporary “Peter Gunn” played by Booker T. and the MG’s. “The Sicilian Clan”, by another Zorn fave, spaghetti westerner Ennio Morricone, curls up in a cocktail lounge with a cheesy Farfisa organ out of “Telstar”. Then there are Zorn’s originals—raging grungers like “Hammerhead”, mutant cartoon memories like “Snaggle-puss”, skewed beach-blanket bingos like “Batman” and infectious R&B party-downs like “Latin Quarter”—each produced to mimic its genre’s classic sound. Think of Zorn as a rapid-fire radio scanner: Part of the listening fun is hanging on for dear life whenever he hits the button. Catch your breath when you can. []

Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam (Domino, 2007)
The chaotically layered noise and primal wild-man yelps (once oddly dubbed “freak folk”) have been gradually giving way to more approachable pop textures, warped as they still may be. Strawberry Jam is the first of the band’s six studio albums to entirely omit tracks of long ambling dirge among its fractured sing-alongs. Every song features prominent and decipherable lyrics, and most flirt with a traditional verse-chorus-verse. For once, the album’s purpose is not half in overwhelming the listener with euphoric and alien noise. Strawberry Jam can still be disorienting and thrilling, but we now have to take the members of Animal Collective for the words they’ve finally decided to let us hear. To paraphrase them slightly, I think this is the best they’ve ever played. []

masaindahbangetsekalipisan (40.1.24, 1996)
Belasan tahun lalu, Richard Mutter (saat itu masih menjadi drummer Pas Band) merasa resah ketika melihat banyak band yang latihan di studio Reverse miliknya namun tak kunjung juga album band-band tersebut rilis. Berawal dari celoteh Avedis, anak sulung Richard, nama album kompilasi bernama masaindahbangetsekalipisan itu rilis dan seolah menjawab keresahan Richard, seperti dilukiskan dalam senyum Avedis di sampul muka album kompilasi itu. Rilisnya album kompilasi pertama di Indonesia ini menjadi tonggak sejarah baru dari geliat scene musik bawahtanah di Bandung pada pertengahan 90-an. Terberkatilah band yang ikut serta didalamnya, Full Of Hate, Burgerkill, Rotten To The Core, Turtles Jr., Papi, Sendal Jepit, Waiting Room, Cherry Bombshell, Puppen, Balcony, Deadly Ground, Cereal Fever, Nut 4 Eat, Plum, dan Third Parties, mereka telah menggoreskan tinta emas sejarah dan menjadi dokumentasi berharga dari kreativitas komunitas bawahtanah. [Idhar Resmadi, Napak Tilas Bandung Bawahtanah 1997-2008]

Melancholic Bitch – Balada Joni dan Susi (Dialectic Recordings/DeMajors, 2009)
Salah satu rilisan lokal terbaik di tahun 2009. Sebagai sebuah concept album, Balada Joni dan Susi juga memiliki konteks dan relevansi dengan zamannya, dengan mitosnya sendiri. Ini boleh jadi adalah kisah post-modern love story. Mereka bercerita tentang cinta dengan penuh filsafat dan wacana-wacana budaya popular. Terus terngiang-ngiang penggalan lirik lagu “Mars Penyembah Berhala”: Siapa yang membutuhkan imajinasi jika kita sudah punya televisi…, atau lagu “Akhirnya Masup Tipi”: Susi aku masup tipi/ 15 detik kerajaanku/ lebih baik/ jauh lebih baik/ daripada seumur hidup tanpa lampu/ Lihatlah, lihat segalanya nyata di tv, lihat betapa nyata cinta kita kini… Kisah Joni dan Susi yang penuh problematika Rama-Sinta kontemporer di zaman postmodern. [Idhar Resmadi,]

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