French saxophonist and composer Sylvain Rifflet has his finger firmly set on the pulse of modern times. Working with his group Alphabet, he has masterminded an innovative and spell-binding brand of music in which the modernity of his jazz sound combines with the world of New York minimalism. Poets and writers of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century often described the then-nascent ''industrial world'' and its machines as ''enemies of art.'' However some did not see progress as dehumanizing. Science fiction imagined a futuristic world, which inspired artists and writers such as Jules Verne and HG Wells. Rifflet's album Mechanics, with a cover illustration by Belgian comic book artist Francois Schuiten, journeys through forward looking and fantastical worlds.
Why do the ancient Greeks occupy such a prominent place in conceptions of Western culture and identity? What about them made generations of influential scholars and writers view Hellenic culture as the uniquely essential starting point for understanding the art and reflection that define the West? Does this view tell the whole story?