Overrated/Underrated: ‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’ is TV with taste, and the continued onslaught of ASMR videos
‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’ on Netflix: Hosted by Samin Nosrat (who wrote the 2017 cookbook of the same name), this four-part series is a refreshing shift in perspective from the usual travel-oriented food program. Rather than replicating the Bourdain-esque model of a lone chef traveling to eat exotic fare most people will probably never taste in real life, Nosrat builds her narrative around the four keys to cooking of the show’s title and calling on a diverse roster of experts to demystify what can be done in our own kitchens. The show still travels a long way but remains most focused on what can be done at home — the most local cuisine there is.
Makaya McCraven’s ‘Universal Beings’: Specializing in an improvisation-rich brand of “organic beat music” that first broke out of a nocturnal corner of the jazz scene with the head-bobbing 2015 debut, “In the Moment,” this drummer-producer has made another step forward with a new double album recorded in New York, Chicago, London and Los Angeles. Leading four ensembles with continent-hopping talent that includes cellist Tomeka Reid, British saxophonists Shabaka Hutchings and Nubya Garcia as well as L.A. fixtures Jeff Parker and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, McCraven is building a global sound all his own.
The return of Amazon’s ‘Lore’: Originally — and still — a podcast by writer Aaron Mahnke that explores chilling real-life tales from history, the first season of this series was an engaging, subtly creepy look at the darker sides of human nature, with a mix of historical reenactments and Mahnke’s storytelling. For its second season, however, Mahnke’s narration has now been replaced by the occasional title card, and a new showrunner has switched the show’s focus to dramatizations that strip away the show’s distinctive campfire-chat charm. At least the podcast still exists, because this adaptation of “Lore” has lost its allure.
The ASMR-ification of our world: Short for autonomous sensory meridian response, this massively popular sub-genre on YouTube is built on inspiring feelings of relaxation or even tingling sensations through close-miked clips of people whispering, tapping fingers and eating. Although this sounds like a grim flourish in a sci-fi novel about a future society no longer capable of feeling anything in real time, ASMR’s profile has grown through a recent video by avowed fan Cardi B and, some have argued, the detailed eye of Jean-Marc Vallée in HBO’s “Sharp Objects.” It all seems innocent, but let’s see how this dystopian story ends.
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