All posts filed under: VIDEO

Album Review: “Semper Femina”, Laura Marling

On Semper Femina, Laura Marling explores the lives of the exceptional women in her orbit as protagonists of their own stories, separate from the Male Gaze. It is tempting – perhaps even unavoidable – to decipher works of art based on title tracks. After all, why would the artist name their work after a single line or lyric? It must be meaningful – it’s the musical equivalent of when an actor will break the 4th wall, look straight into the camera, and say the name of a film. It drops like a hammer-blow, when we pick up on it. On Semper Femina’s second-to-last and standout track “Nouel”, British folksinger Laura Marling sings, “Semper Femina, so am I,” paraphrasing a line from a Virgil poem, translating roughly to “always a woman”. For her sixth LP, Marling initially sought to explore the lives of exceptional women from the vantage point of a man, but had to abandon the quest. She simply couldn’t get out of herself, and didn’t think it would be wise to do so. Instead, …

Brian Eno - The Ship - Album Cover Art

Brian Eno – “The Ship” —A vessel lost at sea

Brian Eno‘s The Ship (Warp Records) is like a libretti for Snowpiercer, or J. G. Ballard/Ben Wheatley’s High Rise – imagining society as a vessel lost at sea, forever drifting through endless, featureless landscapes. Trying to conceptualize or visualize society is a tricky business, especially in these uncertain mercurial times. Society changes in a nanosecond, never resting, always refreshing. With so many pieces and moving parts, it can seem like an impossibility to comment on even one tiny aspect of the world we’re living in, let alone the entire monolithic machine. Brian Eno likely needs no introduction for fans of atmospheric, imaginative electronic music, as the modern progenitor of Ambient music, via his ambient series in the ’70s. Eno’s always been concerned with removing the human from the scene, in an effort to truly free music from egotism and repetition, to create something truly futuristic. Eno’s ambient works are particularly adept at evoking landscapes/settings, like the austere, minimalism of an airport in Ambient 1: Music For Airports or a vast, menacing alien planet, on Apollo: …

andy-stott-too-many-voices-album-cover

Andy Stott – “Too Many Voices” — Beats From The Crossroads (Modern Love)

Enigmatic Mancunian producer Andy Stott‘s output, these past few years, have been an exquisite portrait of what’s been going on in the post-dubstep electronic world. Dubstep’s ferocious bassweight is tempered with intricate, precise grime beats; weightless, ethereal, dreamy synthpop – all polished and poised, seemingly, by the human hand. This particular phase of Stott’s career started with 2011’s essential twin releases, We Stay Together and Passed Me By, when Modern Love label head Shlom Sviri suggested to Stott that he start incorporating found sounds, field recordings, and real world textures into his hardware-infatuated Detroit Techno emulations. Stott’s previously pristine Techno became slavered in hiss and static, seemingly emerging from some nightmarish late night radio program, tuned between stations. Stott further abandoned the cleanroom confines of the digital with the following two LPs, 2012’s Luxury Problems and 2014’s Faith In Strangers, which incorporated vocals from Alison Skidmore, Stott’s teenage piano teacher. Together, the pair dished out a kind of slo-mo post-industrial New Wave, somewhere between the graceful pop deconstructions of Arthur Russell, the existentialism of the …

album cover Tim Hecker Love Streams

Digital Cathedrals: Tim Hecker – Love Streams (4AD)

Historically, towns and city centers were organized around a sacred building, all roads leading to some chapel, church, or cathedral, which were the orbit around which Medieval life orbited. These buildings were designed to evoke a sense of awe & rapture – vaulted ceilings and flying buttresses, as sacred choirs filled the monolithic space with their cries to God. Love Streams, the excellent new LP from influential ambient composer Tim Hecker, begins with the simple, but convoluted, question: “What might liturgical music sound like, in the Modern Age?” Or, as he cheekily phrased it during the promo cycle “liturgical aesthetics after Yeezus” or “the transcendental voice in the age of auto-tune.” The human voice is at the center piece of Love Streams, with Oscar-nominated soundtrack composer Johann Johannsson composing chorales in Latin for an Icelandic choir. Not content to approximate some modern Renaissance forgery, Johannsson reversed the Latin script, before giving it to the Icelandic Choir Ensemble, which were further re-arranged and edited in post-production. These vocal compositions were then fleshed out with flutes, woodwinds, …

Thug Entrancer - Arcology

The Sound Of Celestial (& Earthly) Harmony: Thug Entrancer – “Arcology”

Since the very beginning, electronic music has always been exploring alien worlds, conjuring images of whirling discs, horseshoe nebulae, and strange, alien races. Whether this is due to electronic music’s arsenal of non-acoustic sound generators – synths and drum machines – which can produce pure, mathematical tones not possible in the natural world; or because of early sci-fi’s adoption of said signal generators to soundtrack their far out fever dreams, is difficult to say for certain. But whether it’s the soundtracks for SF classics like Fantastic Planet or the original Dr. Who score from the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the shifting patterns of the “Berlin School [of electronic music]” of Tangerine Dream, or the amorphous ambiance of beat-less Aphex Twin, electronic music is particularly adept at portraying new worlds, as well as our own, at times. Electronic music took a brief detour into the mainstream, starting in the ’70s, with the dawn of rave/EDM/disco, which was all well and good, not to mention inevitable, given the laser-precision of electronic music’s tonal sculpting. It might have been inevitable, …

SAV NOIR AW16

Rocking and Rolling, Model Justin Gossman for Sav Noir

When it was first unleashed on an unsuspecting suburban populace in the 1950’s, rock ‘n’ roll was perceived as a threat. A menace to society, comparable to the Red Scare that threatened the “American way of life” with its loose hips and morals. Considering the furor, tumult, and outcry, it’s kind of disappoint r ‘n’ r  has become the most bland of lifestyle accessories – a facsimile of rebellion, but still in bed by 11. Los Angeles-based fashion label Sav Noir is doing its bit to turn that around. Influenced by the untamed life well after the sun has set. They’re making dark, chic clothes for “the matured, rebellious souls of our era. The ones whom fear nothing, or no one,” as they put it. Sav Noir AW’16 “The Moto” film tells the painful story of chasing a rock’n’roll dream following model Justin Gossman as a young rock ‘n’ roller, through his dreams of fame, fortune, and excess, through to the painful, vacuous existence of a struggling artist. Watch Gossmann go from sleek, stylish nightlife to the …

Kerry James Marshall, African American Art New Frontiers

The work of Kerry James Marshall is centered on African American life, culture and history. His body of work explores new frontiers in racial politics, socio-economical issues and the artists’ own feelings & views about social responsibility. Marshall was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1955 and later relocated to South Central, Los Angeles near the Black Panthers headquarters. Marshall grew-up in a country in which there were not many black artists to reference and “black studies” were in their early stages. Through his work, the artist has committed himself to compensating for the absence and invisibility of black culture. The artist attempts to reconcile African American art and culture with images of western ideals in his paintings by highlighting black identity within their historical context and the current socio political situation. Video courtesy of Museo Reina Sofia, Painting and Other Stuff, 2014 For Marshall there is an evident gap in the [Western] art history archive. We can define his whole body of work as a counter-archive, reading between the lines of mainstream culture during the …

Arca – Mutant — Album review

  Arca’s Mutant is less of an album than a journey through a strange country. Or of an alien biology. Electronic music has always been particularly adept at illustrating where our heads are at, as a culture. There was the urban dissolution of Burial in the first years of the new millennium, as we sought to make sense of the way-more-wired world we are living in. Then we had the queasy information overload of Oneohtrix Point Never or James Ferraro. One consistent aspect of electronic music in the 21st Century has been a sense of vastness, with monolithic bass dipped in a reverb gravity well, sounding like the forgotten remnants of some ancient civilization. Perhaps it is the sound of our awareness of our – not insignificance, but small. One of many. Not unexceptional, but not different, either. The sound of society as a living organism, of which we are one cell. This is the macro/microcosm Alejandro Ghersi explores on Mutant, his follow-up to last year’s excellent (and similarly geist-fulfilling) Xen. Arca’s career has been …

Oneohtrix Point Never – Garden Of Delete review

For the last 8 years, Daniel Lopatin’s work as Oneohtrix Point Never has mirrored the way we feel about our digital lives – with all of the requisite passion, excitement, anxiety, disgust, and grotesquerie. And while OPN’s earliest works may have been content in idle detournements, with Lopatin flipping through the tasteless detritus of ’90s corporate culture like an Adderall-addled CEO tearing through their rolodex in search of new business, Garden Of Delete explores the Internet as an archetypal realm, connected to the physical world, but just barely. Lopatin hangs these cerebral concepts on Ezra, a fictional teenager with a super sweet music blog, intent on creating the most epic trance chords ever, to create a loose, if bizarre, narrative. Garden Of Delete was created in the wake of Oneohtrix Point Never opening for ’90s big room rockers Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails. Lopatin wanted to recreate the vibe of angsty aggressive ’90s guitar rock. It says a lot about what a twisted genius Lopatin is that Garden Of Delete is what he came up …

Well That Was Metal: Grimes – “Art Angels” album review

Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, is the spokesperson for a certain type of sad girl/boy. They probably have a Tumblr and/or Instagram. They may or may not have non-organic colored hair. They are creative, and don’t feel like they fit in anywhere. Except, at this point, there are a lot of us. Grimes’ shot-heard-round-the-world, 2012’s Visions, trickled from the underground like a demon-possessed river of bubbling crude. You can practically hear the obsession, feel the strain of late nights half-bent over a Macbook screwing beats into corkscrews of twisted metal and regret. Visions came out of nowhere, and went everywhere. How does Claire Boucher follow-up, with 3 years absence and a million expectations to fulfill? What happens when the World’s Most Misunderstood Artist is also the world’s most popular? “California”, the first song on Art Angels with discernible lyrics, tackles this paradox head-on. “California, you only like me when I’m sad,” she sings. It’s a properly miserablist sentiment, but the music is bright, bold, powerful, and direct. art angels: album cover. music & video next week …

Around COS: Autumn/Winter Collection in the Round

At the start of the video “Around COS” we see two figures standing beneath a gray dome. The camera is everywhere and nowhere at the same time, exploring the scene in gliding 360-degree arcs. The concepts at play are broad — self-feeding cycles, fugue repetition — yet the presentation feels playful, even warm. Considering the artists are working without music, color, or dialogue, this is quite the accomplishment. Among the creative partnerships forged to celebrate launching the COS Autumn/Winter 2015 collection, artists Lernert & Sander create a particularly pleasing counterpoint to the COS brand. Both groups thrive on at the intersection of art and utility, and both bring to mind a sense of Scandinavian stoicism. “We like to strip an idea to the bone and make the idea shine. So eventually our sets always look simple and monochrome,” explain the artists on the unusual set created for the COS A/W 2015 collection shoot. The space, a self-contained dome designed to allow the cameras to capture the models from all directions, is one of many conceptual …

SKATE: BY JACOB HARMER

SKATE – by Jacob Harmer. Featuring Theo de Gultz. A grey and foggy London, serves as the perfect backdrop for Jacob Harmer’s new short film ‘Skate’. Featuring and narrated by French artist, model, and lifelong skater Theo de Gultz. Through the eyes of De Gultz, the film evokes the scenic beauty and sense of serenity felt while skating. “…IS ABOUT THE SENSE OF ESCAPE AND ADVENTURE THE SPORT CAN GIVE. THE FILM EXPLORES THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MAN AND CITY, FROM THE INTIMATE TO THE EPIC AND WITH A FOCUS ON THE TRANSCENDENTAL STATE ONE CAN REACH WHEN ROLLING.”