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October 14, 2011 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-14

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Friday, October 14, 2011 - 5

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Beyonce's blunder

Youth Lagoon: Just one guy alone in his bedroom.
Youth Lagoon wakes up

For the Daily
Shoegaze, ambient pop, io-fi,
glitch hop, bedroom music -
it's just about everywhere these
days. That's
because most
of it is now
homemade, Youth
crafted sans
costly produc-
ers and record- The Year of
ing studios. So Hibernation
the problem
is that there's Fat Possum
now alot of just
plain bad music out there. But
lest this super-genre develop a
wholly lousy reputation, break-
out artist Youth Lagoon recently
released a gem of a debut LP: The
Year ofHibernation.
Youth Lagoon, also known as
22-year-old Trevor Powers from
Boise, Idaho, is relatively new
on the music scene. It wasn't
until mid-2011, when one of
his tracks, "Cannons," hit the
Internet, that the blogosphere
even began dropping his then'
label-less name. A few months
and two record companies later,
he has released his now-highly
anticipated debut. Meanwhile,
he's still studying at Boise Uni-
versity - how's that for an A stu-
With a collection of songs
that feels unbelievably private,

the tit
It's eas
ing do,
in com
in ord
is in th
Bon Iv
Ago. T
Year of
a fully
It's im'
laced w
ing m
sense o
of each
but itr
fine ar
just eig

le isn't hard to believe. but holds enough power to set
y to imagine Powers hav- Powers off on the right musical
ne just that - hibernated foot. It opens with "Posters,"
plete solitude for a year a brightly-tinted ballad that
er to achieve the LP's develops a soothing guitar loop
ly lonesome vibe. Auto- - a great way to start. Next is
ed albums are becoming the aforementioned "Cannons,"
ingly en vogue - proof an admirable track that sparkles
ae wild sensationalism of with echoing vocals.
'er's For Emma, Forever One particularly noteworthy
'he difference with The song, "Daydream," opens with
Hibernation is that Youth pulsing synthesizers and Pow-
" manages to construct ers's familiarly airy voice. It
desolate sound without boasts a bridge so spectacular
at blatant depression. that it seems to be the very pin-
possibly inconsolable yet nacle which encompasses the
with a sunny groove. entire album's brilliant edge:
understated poignancy.
The track "17" is the grooviest
)me-brew'edof the bunch, which is surpris-
ing since it opens with a gloomy
s finds vocal line. It takes its time to
flawlessly unfold into a funky
its place. blend of guitar, percussion and
electronics. The album closes
with "The Hunt," a chime-
kissed track that that offers a
ers's immensely promis- bout of guitar-ridden anxiety
usicianship is instantly before bursting into a rhythmic
izable. He has an obvious wash that actually sounds hope-
f the undervalued quality ful (Say it ain't so!).
song's arc, and then more It's rare for a debut record
the shape of the entire to be this put together. Pow-
The songs are full of mul- ers has already created a signa-
ed, echoing instruments, ture sound, but it's specific and
never feels cramped - a admittedly not for everyone.
I in the bedroom music In order to fully appreciate the
album, it's better to be familiar
album isn't too dense. At with the reverb-drenched style
ht tracks, it is well edited that Youth Lagoon does so well.

When is borrowed
art OK, and when
is it plagiarism?
Daily Arts Writer
Beyonc6's latest music video
"Countdown" dominates pro-
fusely on almost every level.
Numerous close-ups of her chic-
but-sassy facial expressions
(Queen Blink, anybody?), fierce
shimmies, pop art-style editing,
killer wardrobe, Audrey Hep-
burn bangs and the product as
a whole proves itself impressive
and as punchy as it gets, but the
video flounders in one, big way -
one much bigger than her belly
- and ladies and gentlemen, the
name of the game is plagiarism.
As an aficionado of both
Beyonce Knowles and Anne
Teresa De Keersmaeker, I find
it difficult to not linger in what
could have been. How excit-
ing it is to imagine a blissful
matrimony of pop culture and
modern dance with two females
of knockout talent, bringing
together two far away worlds,
yet the situation is more like
theft than marriage.
The line between referencing
the work of others and steal-
ing has been walked frequently
in the past and, as long as art
exists, will continue to be tip-
toed forever. But the reality of
"Countdown" is that portions of
the movement and scene struc-
ture are direct quotes from the
work that De Keersmaeker cho-
reographed for her own modern
dance company, Rosas. The most
exact imitation was taken from
the window scene of a female
trio and soloist in "Rosas danst
Rosas," which had been made
into a dance film by Thierry De
Mey in 1983Beyonce and video
director Adria Petty also maneu-
vered in brief excerpts from De
Keersmaeker's "Achterland."
I realize there are people who
think it's kosher that Beyonce
didn't ask for permission and
give proper acknowledgement
because of the viewpoint that art
can't be copied; nothing can be

"All the unoriginal ladies/ All the unoriginal ladies..."

owned nor can it be completely
original. I agree with the idea
at large, and I'm sure De Keers-
maeker was inspired by some-
thing - there's no blank slate for
creation - but the viewpoint is
flawed when applied to the cir-
cumstance in conversation.
It's been mentioned that
Beyonc6 has relied a little too
heavily on other people's works
in past music videos. For exam-
ple, Bob Fosse's steps from
"Mexican Breakfast" make a
solid appearance in "Single
Ladies," but this time around,
the sampling is astonishingly
more straightforward and not
specifically acknowledged.
There are instances in the art
world when it's acceptable to
borrow movement - the moon-
walk being an example of this.
It can be used, and no one needs
to ask permission because the
step is iconic, and the universe
is aware of the man who created
it. As raw and gorgeous as De
Keersmaeker's moves are, she is
not Michael Jackson, and not yet
timeless - she is a working art-

ist who deserves recognition for
her material.
"What's rude about it is that
they don't even bother about
hiding it," said De Keersmaeker,
in a statement on a Belgian blog.
"They seem to think they could
do it because it's a famous work
... Am I honored? Look, I've seen
local school kids doing this.
That's a lot more beautiful."
Although Beyonce's sexy
flair added to De Keersmaker's
excerpts worked into the appeal
of "Countdown," there was no
homage paid in return. In grade
school and in gradschool, if a ref-
erence is not footnoted, you fail.
Well, De Keersmaeker was not
only not credited for her original
work but was as surprised as you
'and 'Itosee her own choreogra-
phy when watching the video for
the first time. Iam curious about
the consequences - what's the
equivalent of an F for Queen
B? My guess is a loss of respect
from some of her fans and a law-
suit that won't make a dent in
her treasure chestwon'tbeginto
touch her platinum career.

Instability proves captivating in 'Homeland'

For the Daily
When watching "Homeland,"
Showtime's new "24"-esque
political thriller, it's easy to for-
get this is an
episode of tele-
vision and not
a full-length Homland
action movie.
The cinematic Pilot
quality of the
camerawork Sundays at10 a.m.
and the mas- Showtime
terfully crafted
story come together to form a
style similar to that of director
Paul Greengrass ("The Bourne
Ultimatum"). However, "Home-
land" is no standalone work - it
is the beginning of what could
easily become the best new
drama this fall.
Like '24,' if
Jack Bauer was
a crazy chick.
The show follows Carrie
Matheson (Claire Danes, "Tem-
ple Grandin"), an unstable CIA
operative who starts pursuing
her latest bold theory when an
American POW named Nicho-
las Brody (Damian Lewis,
"Band of Brothers") is suddenly
rescued. Less than a year earli-
er, an Iraqi prisoner whispered
in Carrie's ear that a captured
American soldier had switched
sides. Brody, having survived
brutal captivity for eight years,
returns home as an American
hero. Unconvinced and already
dismissed by her superiors at
the CIA for her impulsive ten-

dencies, Carrie takes it upon
herself to investigate whether
Brody really is a living miracle or
a sleeper cell agent working for
the enemy.
The entire pilot would fall
apart if it were not for the excel-
lent performances from its cast.
Carrie has moments of complete
vulnerability immediately fol-
lowed by showcases of powerful
resolution, and Danes delivers
on both fronts. Lewis gives an
equally compelling perfor-
mance. With very few lines, he
still manages to fully embody his
character, whose discomforting
transition back into life at home
after years of torture is unnerv-
ing to watch.
Fans of FOX's seven-sea-
son political thriller "24" will
certainly find similarities in

"Homeland" - after all, creators
Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa
are "24" alumni. But to say that
"Homeland" is the new "24"
would be a mistake. While Jack
Bauer and Carrie Matheson have
a few things in common (both
are considered reckless by their
coworkers and prefer to work
alone), they are inherently dif-
ferent. Bauer knew how to take
charge, and even when those
around him found his theories to
be a bit of a stretch, they usually
listened to him. Carrie, on the
other hand, seems perpetually
on the edge of being fired. Her
lack of balance and control stems
not from a thirst for risk, but
from a psychological disorder
that both the audience and those
close to Carrie are left mostly in
the dark about.

Another aspectof "Homeland"
that sets it apart from "24" and
most serialized action programs
is that it does not focus entirely
on the urgency of the political
conflict. "24" succeeded in its
storytelling - keeping viewers
on their toes at all times - exe-
cuting grand action sequences
and throwing in just the right
amount of twists and turns. But
its "real-time" pacing does not
allow much room for stories out-
side Bauer's mission to save the
world. "Homeland" provides us
with many interconnecting sto-
ries: Brody's reintegration with
his family, his wife Jessica's
(Morena Baccarin, "V") attempts
to piece her broken family back
together and Carrie's internal
struggles and fragile relation-
ships. "Homeland" also has the

obvious advantage of airing on
Showtime and is therefore not
constricted by the level of cen-
sorship that plagues network
Striking a balance between a
thrilling, topical plot and explor-
ing complex relationships is
something few dramas manage
to accomplish, especially so early
on. "Homeland" is essentially
everything AMC's cancelled
"Rubicon" wanted to be: a com-
pelling, well-written story that
explores the moral ambiguities
associated with America's cur-
rent wars. The premiere of this
show marks the return of the
smart serial action drama and
successfully intertwines beau-
tiful cinematography with raw
human emotions captured by the
subtle excellence of its cast.

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