"Our Spilt Milk" features our favorite things this week, which include "Satanic Panic," "Anjunabeats Worldwide," and the HBO mini-series "The Night Of."
Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s seems quaint at first as it recalls the days when Dungeons & Dragons, rock ’n’ roll, and most pop culture manifestations seemed to be spiritually benign but in fact were soul traps set by the Devil. The book walks through the ginned up anxiety of how technology, cartoons, drugs, MTV and even 1-900 numbers could imperil the souls of those less vigilant, and each chapter is a deep dive that revels in the specific details, psychologies, and paranoias examined. We get play-by-play accounts of Satan and/or possession-themed shows by Oprah and Geraldo Rivera, as well as the creepy exploration of one of the lesser-known manifestations of Satan in the marketplace: Playboy’s series of horror/porn paperback novels.
Not surprisingly, a lot of the fear is built on unlikely anecdotes—“You say some have even yelled out in parking lots ‘He-Man is more powerful than Jesus Christ!’” —and require valiant Christians to be either mind-numbingly literal or extra sensitive to symbols, depending on the threat. Based on the fears, those of you who were born in the ‘80s were all Tommy Boys in the making, easily talked into putting your souls at risk because heavy metal singers told you to. Your gullibility seems to have been epic as you said spells and played with toys too casually, unwittingly inviting Satan to make you his plaything.
It’s easy to feel smarter than almost everybody described or depicted in Satanic Panic, and the writers of the chapters often do. But then I remembered that we live in Louisiana, where schools teach Creationism along with actual science, so the people and mindsets that seem so distant on the page may be as close as the other side of Lake Pontchartrain. And where Satan’s opponents lay out a battlefield, can he resist the challenge? (Alex Rawls)
Founded by trio Above & Beyond, the London-based Anjunabeats label is a powerhouse among the trance and progressive house subgenres of electronic music. Most every spring or summer, the label releases a new edition of Anjunabeats Worldwide. This album is a compilation of all of the latest tracks from various producers in what they call their "Anjuna Kitchen,” and the compilations are mixed by a different DJ under the Anjunabeats label each time. Minnesota native Jason Ross took the decks this year, and mixed Anjunabeats Worldwide 06. Since signing to the label, he has developed a sound that is known for its distinctively rhythmic basslines. He also wanted this compilation to convey his own "harder hitting" style, according to an interview with EarMilk. As one of Anjunabeats' newest signees, his productions have been some of the most popular amongst the label in the past two years.
Anjunabeats Worldwide 06 features producers such as Grum, Kyau & Albert Genix, as well as Above & Beyond. Ross's selections for this album harmonize well and collectively adhere to his own style while also representing the label. "Me Tonight" was number one on Beatport's Top 100 Trance Chart and is Jason Ross's first vocal single. Andrew Bayer and Arty collaborated for the first time and created "Follow the Light," a trance single released in July which has a soft ghostly vocal clip right before the drop. This track, like many Jason Ross tracks, juxtaposes the tranquil melodies and calm vocals with intense synth and kick drum work. "Another Chance" (Above and Beyond Club Mix) features Oceanlab, an Above & Beyond side project known for its dreamy female vocals from Justine Suissa.
Anjunabeats Worldwide 06 also serves as a promotion for ABGT 200, a live celebration of every 50th episode of the weekly Above and Beyond Group Therapy podcast. Jason Ross will be performing at the event in Amsterdam on September 24 at Ziggo Dome, along with other label artists. The tracks featured on the latest compilation are uplifting and adequately represent what Jason Ross brings to the Anjuna table. (Ryan Knight)
In the wake of Netflix’s riveting retro horror series Stranger Things, many may have overlooked a more seemingly traditional crime drama released by HBO this summer. The Night Of tells the story of Nasir “Nas” Khan (Riz Ahmed), the son of Pakistani immigrants living in Jackson Heights, Queens, charged with the murder of Andrea Cornish (Sofia Black D’Elia), a white girl from the Upper West Side. A major player in the action is Nas’ lawyer, John Stone (John Turturro). In the role of the sleazy ambulance chaser with a heart of gold, Turturro is pitch-perfect, although the role was originally meant for James Gandolfini. His performance, heartbreaking and darkly funny all at once, is what makes the show tick.
What starts off as an intense murder mystery soon becomes a dark, methodical study of criminal justice. As Nas moves through the system, from the police station to the courts to Rykers Island, we watch his transformation, from a wide-eyed college kid to a hardened criminal. The final episode last Sunday brought the eight-part “teleplay” to a spellbinding finish. Without giving anything away, it managed to be both satisfying and devastating, the way any good ending should be. The Night Of can be heavy-handed at times, particularly in its depiction of Nas’ night with the murder victim and its portrayal of racial tensions. Overall, though, the show manages to stand out from the pack as an unflinching portrayal of law enforcement. (Raphael Helfand)