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Point to the Cheek

from Wednesday, January16th of the year2008.

The Times’ Florence Fabricant has written an excellent article about pasta all’amatriciana. This is – like spaghetti alla carbonara ““ one of those age-old internecine regional Italian arguments that centers around the presence of certain ingredients (onions? olive oil?) and the necessity of others (guanciale, which is cured pork jowl, rather than bacon). Check this out:

There are also some theories that the name of the dish has nothing whatever to do with Amatrice, and that, indeed, it should be called bucatini alla matriciana, as it sometimes is in Rome. The exact meaning of matriciana is open to question, too, with one theory suggesting that it refers to a wild herb, called matricale in Italy. But except for the basil at ‘Gusto, we never had it with herbs. Another possibility that was put forth is that alla matriciana is the same as amatriciana, with the absence of the initial “a” because of a Roman dialect.

So satisfying, these arguments. I could read this stuff all day.

renfro190.jpgBrad Renfro died? Does everybody remember that completely insane movie Apt Pupil he was in in 1998 with Ian McKellen? It was really quite terrifying, and I was obsessed with it because I, like the Bowden character, was (and am) completely obsessed with Nazi hunting. Last year, during a manic week of late-night shopping, I bought several hundred dollars worth of books about the Eichmann capture alone (there are way more than you’d think).

hjaltalin.jpgMy friends in Iceland sent me a little care package over the new year, including an actual copy of a CD by this band Hjaltalín called Sleepdrunk Sessions. It is so good! It’s like amplified chamber music with a really raspy, lovely singer. I think there are about 12 of them on stage, playing (according to their MySpace) drums, guitars, bass, piano, violin, cello, bassoon, clarinet, bass clarinet, keybord, accordion, harmonium, banjo, percussion and vocals. Here is a slow jam:

[audio:10 I Lie 1.mp3]
Hjaltalín I Lie
from Sleepdrunk Sessions

If you make it onto their MySpace, be sure to listen to “Goodbye July,” which is really fun.

no4itunes.jpgIn other news, my friends’ record label, New Amsterdam, has a sexy website up HERE. From their webstore you can buy a copy of NOW Ensemble’s CD, which has a piece of mine on it, as well as a bunch of great music by Judd Greenstein, Mark Dancigers, etc., go there and buy it! The website attempts to be a central informational center for all the goings-on in the new music community that centers around the composers & performers affiliated with the label ““ for instance, Nadia and Caleb are playing in the Jonny Greenwood concert tonight and tomorrow, so that’s up on the calendar too. Nice site.


  • […] Nico Muhly wrote an interesting post today on Point to the CheekHere’s a quick excerptI think there are about 12 of them on stage, playing (according to their MySpace)…If you make it onto their MySpace, be sure to listen to “Goodbye July,” which is really fun…. […]

  • Hi Nico,
    I was just trying to find one of your blog entries from a few months ago which had some wonderful audio clips. One was Sigur Ros and another was someone Icelandic, but I don’t remember the name. Do you archive your blog? Or how else could I find those clips again? I would much appreciate some assistance…
    Thanks for the blog- always love reading it.