MUSIC HISTORY | When someone mentions ska music, you might think of the silly and mostly horrible incarnation of the genre that could be heard blasting from radios and the headphones of confused teenagers during the late 1990s. But if you trace the genre's origins back to 1960s Jamaica, you'll find music that's deeply soulful, upbeat and eminently listenable. In particular, give a listen to PRINCE BUSTER, a Jamaican performer and producer who passed away earlier this month at age 78. During the 1960s, Buster released a string of classics including "Al Capone," "Madness" and "One Step Beyond." The genre he helped pioneer incorporated traditional Rastafarian drumming that emphasized the song's afterbeat rather than downbeat.
TV | The promotional materials for WESTWORLD, a new TV series that premieres on HBO on Oct. 2, describes the show as a "dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the evolution of sin." The 10-episode run is a remake of a Michael Crichton movie of the same name that's about an Old West-style theme park inhabited by androids. The park's androids allow tourists to have shootouts, brawls in saloons and encounters with prostitutes, all without any moral messinesses. The androids inevitably malfunction and turn on the tourists, but the show sidesteps a monster-run-amok storyline by focusing on the perspective of the artificially intelligent machines.
PODCAST | Malcolm Gladwell is a guy who spends a lot of time having deep, counterintuitive, academically informed thoughts and then communicating them in an accessible way. If you don't have time to read one of his books or long articles in the New Yorker, try his highly bingeable podcast REVISIONIST HISTORY, which seeks to take a second look at "something overlooked" or "something misunderstood" from history. Gladwell accomplishes this by asking simple questions, such as "Why aren't good ideas more widely adopted?" Or "Why don't philanthropists give big money to obscure state schools?" ♦