Murmur 80 : Frankie Poullain of The Darkness "Better Than Francis"

The Rockstar.  Certain ideas need to be revisited; surprisingly, this is one.  It is our p.c. culture that's taken it from us?  Is it our long-overdue examination of what allowances artistic professionals are granted?  Or, is it that everyone now is called a "Rockstar" except Rockstars?  Only one occupant of interplanetary craft can untie this knot - Frankie Poullain of The Darkness - offering-up his own definition of the word; who's "in", who's "out", and who should be scared.

Murmur 78 : U-GOD of Wu-Tang Clan "Put The Flag In My Hand"

Legacy.  A maddening topic, typically deflected.  Perhaps, as with cats, there are far too many variables to manage; rather, as with Rashomon, no two people see their legacies, let alone those of others, similarly.  To make matters more vexing, when one's legacy is connected to nine other Killa Beez (aka The Wu) straight from the slums of Shaolin, why even bother?  We trouble U-GOD with our complexes; he, in turn, picks-up the flag and holds it high and, as always, raw.

Murmur 77 : Paul Auster "An Omelette About Me"

Art as Autobiography.  Consider the source of all painting, cinema, music, performance, and literature.  Genre notwithstanding.  The source is Self.  Life.  Details, echos, remembrances and references of our "real" life, midwifed into creation.  Conscious or not, narrative or not -- art is always about what we're going through at the time.  Acclaimed writer Paul Auster probably disagrees.  And he should.  As this author of iconic literature - including five memoirs (!) - has always been in the eye of the self-reflexive storm of creating, he would only feel its calm.  Assuming there is one.

Murmur 76 : Guy Maddin "The Stupidest Man At Harvard (In Praise of Beloved Aunt Li'l)"

Teaching Film.  A subject uniquely-near to us.  Can film be taught?  Yes.  Should film be taught?  That's up to the instructor.  An instructor we'd never let down is filmmaker Guy Maddin who has made teaching a subtle advocation for the past several years.  The film students at Harvard were exposed to this genius artist, begging the questions -- do advanced degrees make the film teacher?  Is teaching an art?  And what are film students truly signing on for when they study a craft and history that's concise and finite-enough to learn autodidactically?  In the hands of Professor Maddin, learning film is merely an excuse to go to class.

Murmur 75 : José González "They Choose Where We Live"

The Artist-as-Parent.  Singer/songwriter/musician José González provides us an exclusive, beyond-rare opportunity to share his (and Mom's) navigation of the early months, hours, days, and seconds of their baby Laura's life.  Do artist/parents read "how-to" books or are they uniquely intuitive?  To wit, does parenting make artists of us all, or fools?  It's also humbling which decisions are made pre-birth, pre-sound, pre-geography, pre-art.  Laura, naturally, will have the final say.

Murmur 74 : Efrim Menuck "A Gift That Grows Quickly"

Faith.  In all forms.  Secular, religious; man-made and ephemeral.  What gets you out of bed, everyday?  Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Thee Silver Mount Zion) reviews his own journey in-and-out-of Faith.  Totems useful and elusive.  Is religious-faith the only kind possess-able?  In the absence of faith is meaning even possible?  And, are artists priests of a sort?  Light topics for a complex mind.  

Murmur 73 : Hamed Sinno "The Fear Quotidian"

Fear.  A baseline for many.  That timeless of motivators; back and forth.  Such thins line, though, as fear continually masquerades as hate (and "phobia").  Hamed Sinno of Mashrou' Leila has been banned, labeled, censored, cursed, followed, chased, reviled, revered, applauded, lauded, targeted and blamed; yet, never silenced.  Fearless.  Well, maybe a fear or two has crept (and crawled) in along the way.  No one is immune, entirely.

Murmur 72 : Ben Bruce "It Takes An Expat"

We're all from somewhere else, no?  If one were, however, to sketch-out the concept of  "The Outsider", know that those who make-home in a country/community/culture outside of their birthplace, can potentially reflect, contribute, protect, nurture, extol, farm, and touch a world in ways no "insider" ever could.  Asking Alexandra's Ben Bruce has no fear of the Expat.  Here, he explores both the currency and privilege of living a life somewhere else; and why he's continually drawn to a life naturally impervious to homesickness.

Murmur 71 : Joshua Oppenheimer "The Scarecrow's Dilemma"

The two edges of "Intelligence" -- one, steeped in curiosity, humility, and understanding; the other, in fear, judgement, and power.  Which will you choose and how will you apply it?  Here, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer carves us a path; including the taxonomy of "genius", "master", "masterpiece"; and whether or not art can in fact increase one's "Intelligence".

Murmur 70 : Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie) "Our Own Bag Of Hammers"

Don't be a tourist, be a traveller... or, so they say.  But do they also say that to musicians?  If so, then why do most musicians continue to "tour"?  Is it a means of rebooting?  Surviving?  Seeking?  Erasing?  Healing?  Communing?  Curing?  Phil Elverum (Mount Eerie) has utilized movement as a agent for all of the above; as well as a conduit for lessons he continues to pass on.  Lessons co-promised both in art and in love.