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Top Picks: Hunter Davies' book 'The Beatles Lyrics,' an app to help you pack, and more

Kat Edmondson's new album 'The Big Picture' has original songcraft and inventive arrangements, a multimedia project gives insight into East German refugees' journey to West Germany, and more top picks.

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Modern muses

Brooklyn Rider, an innovative string quartet, sought out rock musicians, jazz artists, classical instrumentalists, and others to compose music inspired by a creative muse of the composers’ choice from the past 50 years. The result is Brooklyn Rider Almanac, a lively album of modern music, moody and evocative. The group plans to roll out videos of other artistic collaborations on its website, brooklynrider.com. 

From scribble to song

As the first and only authorized biographer of the Beatles, Hunter Davies was often present when the boys swapped lines and rhymes, and he’s collected their original lyrics scrawled on everything from a half-century-old phone bill to a fish-and-chips bag to create The Beatles Lyrics. It’s a fascinating, intimate glimpse into the creative process behind some of the greatest pop songs ever written. 

Freedom train

To mark the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, a multimedia project re-creates the journey to West Germany taken by East German refugees after they occupied the West German Embassy in Prague, the capital of what was then Czechoslovakia. A website accompanying the docudrama “Liberty Train, Next Stop Freedom,” directed by Sebastian Dehnhardt and Matthias Schmidt, features fictional diary entries based on the memories of passenger Christian Bürger. Go to blog.deutschland.de/en.

Packing helper

Did you pack enough for that upcoming trip? The free phone app PackPoint creates a quick checklist of essentials. It asks for a few details: Where to? How long? Any formal dinners? It then checks weather reports, suggests activities, and compiles a full packing list. The Apple and Android app often lists more than we think is really necessary, but PackPoint’s clean, clear design makes it easy to ignore some items and include others.  

Big talent, small package

The Big Picture, the third album by diminutive Brooklyn-based singer Kat Edmonson is a giant step forward in original songcraft and inventive arrangements, all designed to frame her beguiling Billie Holiday-meets-Blossom Dearie voice. Known for her quirky and winning takes on jazz standards, Edmonson penned most of these new tracks herself, in a style simultaneously modern and timeless.

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