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Burn Movie Review

Sizzlingly Odd
In his debut feature, writer/director Mike Gan has created a small film that, if there's justice, will attain a cult-like status. "Burn" takes place in the course of one evening and entirely within the confines of a rural, out-of-the-way gas station shop.
It's the kind of place that loners might wander into for a hot cup of coffee at 3am. Obviously this is not a big budget film, but Gan squeezes an awful lot of goodness out of it. Maybe we should call it badness.

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Fever Ray - Live at Troxy Music Album Reviews

The live album captures a night of the exuberant collaboration Karin Dreijer fostered with the Plunge stage production, adding volume and dimensionality to old and new songs alike.

For their 2014 Shaking the Habitual Tour, Karin Dreijer and their brother Olaf expanded their synthpop duo the Knife from a twosome to a troupe. The siblings wore the same jewel-toned jumpsuits and glittery makeup as the nine other performers they invited into the group, visually diminishing any sense that they were bandleaders. The symbolic collectivism of the stage show accentuated the themes running through the album of the same name: freedom, communalism, and the urgent need to dismantle social hegemony to clear space for a better world.


While touring behind their second album as Fever Ray, Dreijer applied a similar conceptual bent to a rather different show. The performers on the Plunge tour each wore distinct costumes—a fur coat and thigh-high boots, an orange polyester muscle suit, facepaint and velvet opera gloves—creating characters from the messy, ad-hoc getups. Hoping to challenge the music industry’s pervasive gender disparity, Dreijer hired as few men as possible for the tour. Five out of the six stage performers were about 40 years old, and four were parents—Dreijer's effort to counteract the ageism and sexism that often freezes mothers and women past their 20s out of performing creative work.

Fever Ray’s live album, Live at Troxy, captures a night of the exuberant collaboration Dreijer fostered with the Plunge stage production. While the Shaking the Habitual Tour made extensive use of pre-recorded backing tracks, allowing the performers to dance freely and lip-sync to the music, Dreijer opted on the Plunge tour to have everything played live. Physical percussion bolsters live-triggered drum machines on the record, adding volume and dimensionality to old and new Fever Ray songs.

Dreijer’s 2009 self-titled debut as Fever Ray sprung from a place of isolation and deep introspection. A few songs from that album appear on Live at Troxy, but they are newly reinvigorated: They sound like memories of isolation now dispelled by having found community. “When I Grow Up” and “I’m Not Done” were both significantly revamped for the Plunge tour, spiked with higher tempos, gulping vocal samples, and newly colorful percussion. These new incarnations fit right in alongside the playful offerings from Plunge, but even Fever Ray’s iciest cuts fill with new warmth here. The drumbeats tower on “Keep the Streets Empty for Me,” while synthesizer figures twirl irreverently. It’s as though the speaker has finished a long nighttime walk home only to find their apartment filled with friends. And the powerfully chilling “If I Had a Heart” sounds like Dreijer making peace with past selves: They sing live and unaffected over a recording of their pitch-shifted performance from 10 years ago, voice cracking and rasping in ways the processed vocal didn’t allow.

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Even in their studio versions, most songs from Plunge sound like they were written to be played in a club full of people—it’s an album about fucking your way out of your shell, and it lends itself to joyful, gay celebration. Live, tracks like “To the Moon and Back” and “Wanna Sip” flare with life and color, animated by the urgency and risk of live performance. When the drums crash in at the beginning of “IDK About You,” and the synths peal and squiggle, you can almost see the band members grinning at each other.

On Plunge, Dreijer openly celebrated their queerness for the first time, never losing sight of the fact that even romantic relationships don’t transpire in a vacuum. To grow close to another person is to open yourself to the world in which they’re enmeshed, to participate in the broader social fabric. Plunge expertly traces the threads connecting the sexual and the political, the bond between two people in a couple and the bonds that link a community. On Live at Troxy, we get the chance to hear Fever Ray—a band, now—exalt all of that good human love as a collective, a chosen family thrilled to share their music and their play.


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