Patrick Watson has a lovely, flexible voice and a gift for wringing evocative sounds out of everything from vintage keyboards to bicycle chains, but his real gift lies in his ability to maximize beauty at all times; to guide every noise in such a way that it coheres into something dramatic and graceful. When the Polaris Prize winner performs, he seems almost hypnotized by the sounds around him, yet every second and every unlikely component seems plotted to maximize its impact.
A recently reconstituted Greek duo active from the late '80s to the mid-'90s, In Trance 95 specializes in a self-explanatorily named electronic subgenre called "minimal wave." Now that bare-bones synth-pop has drifted closer to the mainstream — as reflected by the Stones Throw label's well-received Minimal Wave Tapes compilations — the duo ended its nearly 15-year hiatus in 2010.
New York's historic Algonquin Hotel has been famous for a lot of things: the roundtable where some of the greatest American wits, from George S. Kaufman to Dorothy Parker, held forth in the 1920s and '30s; generations of cats — named either Hamlet or Matilda — who haunt the lobby; and, since 1980, the Oak Room, one of New York's most loved cabaret spaces.
When Marriott purchased the hotel and closed it for renovations early this year, they announced that the Oak Room would not be reopening — instead, it will be a lounge for preferred customers.