Public Radio Market presents the best of the products featured on your favorite public radio programs.
Sparks by Imogen Heap
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NPR First Listen: Imogen Heap, ‘Sparks’
Weekend Edition: Painting Her Songs In The Air, Imogen Heap Keeps Innovating
Grammy and Ivor Novello award winning recording artist Imogen Heap will release her highly anticipated 4th solo album “Sparks” on August 19th, 2014 through RCA Records.
Sparks has been on a well traveled journey, one which Heap began at 6am 14 March 2011, with a live stream from her home studio in a small village on the outskirts of London, gathering ‘sound seeds’ from fans and weaving them together to form the first song (Lifeline). Fast forward, 4 continents later, a dozen related projects and 14 tracks, the album cover artwork was then completed by those who pre-ordered the limited edition, super deluxe box set by sending in their footprints! The stunning piece of artwork and packaging, designed and developed over the past three years by Imogen and her creative team with CSV (the company behind Radiohead’s special packaging) it is the very first time that Imogen has released such a super deluxe package.
Says Heap, “The album began with someone sending in the sound of striking a match for what became Lifeline in March 2011. I then dived into the most immense, intense creative 2 and a half years of my life that took me all over the planet, collaborating on so many projects with so many people and often totally spontaneously. The album is then in some ways for me grounded with fans’ footprints bringing the finishing touch for the album art, as so many of them came along for the ride.”
While working on “Sparks,” Heap turned songs into projects and projects into songs, to bring her out of her studio and ‘let life in’ rather than postponing things until her album was done. This fresh approach found Imogen collaborating with everyone from her fans to unsuspecting passers-by, gardeners to filmmakers, scientists to newspaper journalists and brings us her most diverse and daring body of work to date. From the River Thames (You Know Where To Find Me) to 5000 feet up in the Himalayas (Climb to Sakteng, Cycle Song), from her local community garden (Neglected Space) to 6 weeks in the Chinese metropolis of Hangzhou (Xizi She Knows), Heap was soaking it up, writing, developing, recording and producing. Sounds of a dishwasher door to a Bhutanese dranyen, the voice of a crumbling wall to 700 fans’ becoming a spoken word chorus. Some of Heap’s projects include her brilliant Mi.Mu Gloves, developed over this album period with an incredible team of scientists, engineers and artists (Me The Machine) and dabbled in generative and reactive music with music app developers RJDJ (Run-Time) connected to a jogging app. From the deeply personal love songs Propeller Seeds and Entanglement to the crowd sourced response to the Sendai earthquake (Lifeline), her trademark honesty runs through the album.
Robin Williams - 1951 - 2014
Robin Williams passed away yesterday of an apparent suicide. He was a comedic genius who first rose to fame on television in the series “Mork and Mindy.” The success of this show led to a diversified carreer in television, feature films, stand-up and regular appearances on the USO tour. Among his many feature films are “Mrs. Doubtfire,” “Dead Poet’s Society,” “Good Morning Vietnam,” and his Oscar winning performance in “Good Will Hunting.”
One of my favorite stand up routines if Robin Williams’ riff on how the game of golf was created. Watch
As Heard on Public Radio:
Press Play with Madeleine Brand: Remembering Robin Williams
Fresh Air: Robin Williams: In Looking For Laughs, ‘You Have To Be Deeply Honest’
NPR’s Monkey See: Robin Williams: A Supreme Talent Who Was Always On
NPR’s Monkey See: Remembering The Big-Hearted Comedy Of Robin Williams
NPR ED: What Robin Williams Taught Us About Teaching
All Things Considered: 'An Evening With Robin Williams,' Circa 1982
All Things Considered: Robin Williams, A Stand-up Act — On Stage, On Set And In Life
Morning Edition: Robin Williams’ Death Leaves Fans Reminiscing
Here & Now: After Robin Williams’ Death, A Look At Depression
Here & Now: Celebrating The Work Of Robin Williams
PRI’s The World: Many veterans remember Robin Williams’ morale-boosting performances for the troops
MPR Newscut: Robin Williams and his black dog
MPR Newscut: Why Robin Williams’ death has hit us so hard
NPR: Actor-Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63
All Things Considered: Robin Williams, Comedic Master And Oscar Winner, Dies At 63
Morning Edition: Versatile Comedian Robin Williams Dies At 63
Below, we highlight a few of his best performances.
Mork & Mindy - The series that propelled Robin Williams to superstardom! It was his hilarious and funny portrayal of Mork from Ork as he struggled to adjust to life on Earth and report his findings back to his leader. ”Mork’s Mixed Emotions” was listed as the 94th best episode of all time by TV Guide.
Mrs. Doubtfire - A wonderful comedy about a divorced father struggling to maintain a relationship with his children who dons a wig and dress to become his ex-wife’s housekeeper and nanny.
Insomnia - This may be the performance that is most suprising (with the possible exception of One Hour Photo). Robin Williams and Al Pacino at the top of their game! Both performances are nuanced and surprising. Al Pacino plays a homicide detective with a past who comes to Alaska to solve a murder where the Midnight Sun wreaks havok on his sleep and judgement as he tries to solve the case.
Good Will Hunting - Robin Williams Oscar winning performance for Best Supporting Actor anchors this feature film as he portrays the teacher who is the last resort to reaching one of the most intelligent humans who happens to have had one too many run ins with the law.
Dead Poets Society - Another brilliant supporting turn as a teacher who inspires his students to “Sieze the Day!” Williams portrays John Keating, a teacher who inspires his students with his non-traditional approach to teaching but fails to impress other faculty at the upper class prep academy.
Good Morning Vietnam - Oscar nominated turn as a radio DJ who brings laughter to a war torn 1965 Saigon as he entertains the troops with his stories and music while upsetting the upper brass.
Aladdin - Robin Williams took the role of the genie for scale as a “thank you” to Disney for casting him in Good Morning Vietnam. And here is a case of the genie who stole the movie with some of his best ad-libbed worked mixed into the scripted animated feature thus creating a Genie for all ages! What a vocal powerhouse of a perfomance - so much so that Disney all but promoted Robin Williams’ Genie as a lead character even though he was not featured in much of the animated film.
Beefheart Vs. Zappa: When Don Met Frank
All Things Considered: Frank Zappa: A ‘Lumpy’ Legacy
Weekend Edition: Director’s Cuts: Frank Zappa’s Music Legacy
When it comes to musical eccentricity, no one has ever come close to the often strange and sometimes downright weird sonic achievements of the loosely connected Frank Vincent Zappa and Don Van Vliet. The fact that this pair of unconventional musicians and human beings ever managed to get anyone outside of their own enterprise zones to release their music in the first place is an achievement of staggering dimensions - particularly considering the conservative approach of most record companies both then and now. But it remains one that has enriched the lives of anyone who has taken the time to listen. This 2 x DVD set explores the relationship, the music and the lives of the good Captain and Uncle Frank, and in so doing it provides an unparalleled document on this oddest of couples and the anomalous art which they both produced during their fascinating lives.
The Magician’s Land: A Novel by Lev Grossman
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Weekend Edition: Lev Grossman: A ‘Magician’ Grows Up
Visiting his magical college after being cast out of the secret land of Fillory, Quentin Coldwater, accompanied by brilliant undergraduate Plum, encounters desperate practitioners of gray magic before discovering a sorcery masterwork that could dissolve the boundaries between Fillory and Earth.
How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis
NPR: A Beautiful Book, Whether Or Not It Makes You ‘Happy’
Eleanor Davis’s How to be Happy is the artist’s first collection of graphic/literary short stories. Davis is one of the finest cartoonists of her generation, and has been producing comics since the mid-2000s. Happy represents the best stories she’s drawn for such curatorial venues as Mome and No-Brow, as well as her own self-publishing and web efforts. Davis achieves a rare, subtle poignancy in her narratives that are at once compelling and elusive, pregnant with mystery and a deeply satisfying emotional resonance. Happy shows the full range of Davis’s graphic skills — sketchy drawing, polished pen and ink line work, and meticulously designed full color painted panels— which are always in the service of a narrative that builds to a quietly devastating climax. Full color with 48 black and white pages.
Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War by Helen Thorpe
Weekend Edition: Sept. 11 Changed Everything: Following 3 Women In The National Guard
Solider Girl describes the friendships, personal lives and families of three female soldiers deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A Novel by Richard Flanagan
Weekend Edition: WWII POWs Build A Deathly Railway In ‘The Narrow Road’
NPR: A Tumultuous Journey Along This ‘Narrow Road’
August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. His life is a daily struggle to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from pitiless beatings. Until he receives a letter that will change him forever.
Moving deftly from the POW camp to contemporary Australia, from the experiences of Dorrigo and his comrades to those of the Japanese guards, this savagely beautiful novel tells a story of love, death, and family, exploring the many forms of good and evil, war and truth, guilt and transcendence, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost
Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom by Lewis Buzbee
NPR: 'Blackboard' Chalks A Nostalgic Portrait Of School Days
A meditation on education by the author of The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop examines his lifetime in schools and classrooms, sharing histories of key educational ideas while exploring his own experiences as a fortunate student of California’s endangered public-school system.
Morning Edition: Kristen Wiig Gets Serious For Alice Munro Adaptation
NPR’s Monkey See: Kristen Wiig, Alice Munro And Negative Space In Fiction
The Leonard Lopate Show: Kristen Wiig on ‘Hateship Loveship’
Charlie Rose This Week: Kristen Wiig on “Hateship Loveship”
Johanna Parry (Kristen Wiig) is a profoundly shy, unadorned woman who is hired by Mr. McCauley (Nick Nolte) as a housekeeper and a primary caregiver to his granddaughter Sabitha (Hailee Steinfeld). Despite her outgoing nature, Sabitha carries wounds from the death of her mother years before, complicated by the circumstances of that death for which her grandfather still blames her father, Ken (Guy Pearce), a hapless recovering drug addict with a certain ragged charm. In an act of mean-spirited rebellion, Sabitha uses technology to foster a pseudo-relationship between Johanna and her father, never dreaming of the potential harm to either party. Sabitha doesn’t understand that Johanna is not a demure cut-out, but rather a woman for whom the phrase “still waters run deep” could have been coined. The young girl’s interference provokes Johanna to indulge in something long missing from her life: the dream of a future and a home of her own.
A Colder War by Charles Cumming
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All Things Considered: Book Review - ‘A Colder War’
The British spy writer Charles Cumming has half-a-dozen novels to his credit. And he has a growing reputation as the heir to the John le Carre tradition of British fiction. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse says Cumming’s latest novel, “A Colder War,” shows why.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol.1
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Fresh Air: Sailing Through Space With ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’? Hilarious
Morning Edition: 'Guardians' Director: This Movie Needed Me!
The Current: Cube Critic: ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’
WQXR: The Liberator, Guardians of the Galaxy, and More
Airtalk: Filmweek: Guardians of The Galaxy, Calvary, Get On Up and more
NPR’s Monkey See: Pop Culture Happy Hour: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ And So Bad It’s Good
NPR’s Monkey See: 'Guardians Of The Galaxy': Let's Hear It For F.U.N.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY AWESOME MIX VOL. 1 is the collection of songs featured in the film. Music plays a major role in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY as the 1970s songs featured in the film are part of the storyline in a unique way. Explaining how the songs come to play in the story, director James Gunn says, ‘One of the main story points in the movie is that Quill has this compilation tape (Awesome Mix #1) that he got from his mother before she died that she made for him. It was of songs that she loved, all songs from the 1970s, and that’s the only thing he has left of his mother and that’s the only thing he has left of his home on Earth. He uses that as a connection to his past and to the sadness that he feels of having left all that and lost all that.’
The Railway Man
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All Things Considered: A Story Of Torture And Forgiveness That Spans A Half-Century
NPR: After The Horror Of War, What About Forgiveness?
WHYY’s RadioTimes: The true story of war, brutality and forgiveness in the new film, “The Railway Man”
The Takeaway: Colin Firth on Torture & ‘The Railway Man’
Here & Now: New Film Tells True Story From World War II
Take Two: Colin Firth opens up about his new film ‘The Railway Man’
Academy Award® Winners Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman star in the remarkable autobiography of Eric Lomax (Colin Firth), a British Army officer who is captured by the Japanese during WWII and sent to a POW camp, where he is tormented and forced to work on the Thai-Burma Railway. Decades later, still suffering the trauma of his wartime experiences, Lomax and his wife Patti (Nicole Kidman) discover that the Japanese interpreter responsible for much of his treatment is still alive and set out to confront him, in this powerful and inspiring tale of heroism, humanity and the redeeming power of love.
Building Better Teacher: How Teaching Works (and How To Teach It To Everyone) b y Elizabeth Green
All Things Considered: 'Building a Better Teacher' - Dissecting America's Education Culture
The Brian Lehrer Show: The Science and Craft of Teaching
A guide for new educators describes the qualities that make great teachers, offers a set of techniques to help children pay attention and reveals the hidden science and dynamics behind the craft through the real-life experiences of the country’s best teachers.
Aranjuez by Milos
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Weekend Edition: A Guitar Hero Draws His Own Sketches Of Spain
The classical guitar we know today is a relatively recent development: the instrument took its modern form only at the end of the 19th century, after a centuries-long evolution, the penultimate manifestation of which was the smaller, six-string guitar popular in the 19th-century salon and much favored by aristocratic ladies. With the new instrument came a new repertoire, one that established the guitar as a serious recital instrument. This album Milos Karadaglics first concerto recording traces the modern guitars emergence in the strong light of Spain, the country where, more than any other, the guitar holds sway. Indeed, it is Spains national instrument.
The program is bookended by perhaps the two most popular works ever written for guitar and orchestra: Joaquín Rodrigos Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) and his Fantasía para un gentilhombre (1954). But the story of the guitar in the 20th century starts earlier than either of those much-loved works. The first major milestone is Manuel de Fallas Homenaje, a guitar solo composed in 1920 to the memory of the French composer Claude Debussy, whom Falla revered and who had died two years earlier. This was the first work for guitar by a major composer, and as such the first signal of the instruments renaissance. Debussy had offered Falla much encouragement during his seven years in Paris, where he had gone to study in one of the most creative atmospheres of the early 20th century. A great master of musical atmosphere, Falla wrote: I am interested in the relations between colors and sounds, and often melodic ideas and harmonic combinations have been suggested by a painting or an old stained-glass window. The simple gravity of the Homenaje belies its richness: many years later Benjamin Britten, after a performance by Julian Bream, expressed amazement at how much music was in so short a space.
Like many other composers at that time notably Bartok and Kodaly in Hungary, Vaughan Williams and Grainger in Britain, Canteloube in France Falla was given to incorporating folk music as part of the essentially classical language in which he wrote. His 1919 ballet El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-cornered Hat) abounds with glorious melodies and exudes a genuine sense of Spanishness, not least because it draws on traditional Andalusian melodies. From it comes the Danza del molinero (Millers dance), which takes the form of a farruca, a Flamenco form traditionally danced only by men. Not surprisingly, it makes the transition from orchestra to solo guitar with ease.
For Now I Am Winter by Ólafur Arnalds
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World Cafe: Olafur Arnalds On World Cafe
The major label debut of Icelandic composer Olafur Arnaldss features 12 original breathtaking surreal tracks.
On this album, composer Nico Muhly provided orchestral arrangements, and for the first time Arnalds introduces vocals to his soundworld. Icelandic singer Arnor Dan can be heard on four tracks.
Fresh off lauded performances at Iceland Airwaves, including an intimate KEXP live broadcast performance, Arnalds continues to steadily build a reputation as one of the worlds most bright and able young composers. On his past outings and last studio album …And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness, the basis was almost always piano and strings with electronic embellishments. Now the dynamic has shifted, with Arnalds thinking in terms decidedly more poppy than before. I think its by far the best thing Ive done. Im really happy that I made this decision to try something different.
The concept of evolution and seasonal change is one which has been ever-present in his music. Here it continues both musically and conceptually - a personal evolution as a composer and, for the first time, as a songwriter.
Purveying a neo-classical style with an array of influences which range from electronica to minimalism, Arnalds is an artist who draws from a variety of sources whilst maintaining his own unique sound. Since the release of his 2007 debut, Eulogy for Evolution, the26-year-old, has put his name to a variety of projects. Since 2009 he has scored films and TV shows including Another Happy Day, ITVs upcoming drama Broadchurch and the Vanessa Hudgens-starring feature film Gimme Shelter, as well as having tracks featured on the soundtracks to Hollywood hits The Hunger Games and Looper. Hes also released two EPs each composed in a week; Found Songs in 2009 and Living Room Songs in 2011.