Japanese artist Yamamoto Motoi was born in Hiroshima, Japan in 1966 and worked in a dockyard until he was 22, when he decided to focus on art full-time. Six years later, in 1994, his younger sister died from complications due to brain cancer and Yamamoto immediately began to memorialize her in his labyrinthine installations of poured salt. The patterns formed from the salt are actually quite literal in that Yamamoto first created a three-dimensional brain as an exploration of his sister’s condition and subsequently wondered what would happen if the patterns and channels of the brain were then flattened.
Although he creates basic guidelines and conditions for each piece, the works are almost entirely improvised with mistakes and imperfections often left intact during hundreds of hours of meticulous pouring. After each piece has been on view for several weeks, the public is invited to communally destroy each work and help package the salt into bags and jars, after which it is thrown back into the ocean.
1996 was a pivotal year for me musically. It was the year DJ Shadow released Endtroducing and it was the year I was first properly introduced to electronic music, an experience that certainly altered the course of my life. Although Endtroducing probably ended up having more of a direct influence on my sound, the impetus for me wanting to create my own music was without a doubt LTJ Bukem’s Logical Progression, a continuous mix of what was later referred to as “Intelligent Drum And Bass”.
I was given the album by a friend (on MiniDisc of all things) and it served as the soundtrack to an entire semester of school. We ended up building a battery-powered backpack and walking around in the forests above San Francisco, blasting this sort of music through the mist and Eucalyptus trees; some of my best memories of this city. Sadly, Drum And Bass took some pretty hard turns a few years after this and I just couldn’t keep up. There were a few practitioners of this sound still releasing (most notably, perhaps, Big Bud) but in general things sort of devolved from here on out — to my ears at least. There were several more Logical Progression compilations released after this one (which was later referred to as Logical Progression: Level 1), but none managed to capture the zeitgeist quite like the first.
I think beyond the music, the associated artwork also had a big impact on me. One of my first forays into Photoshop was essentially just a bad ripoff of this cover. I did a little digging and it looks like it was designed by Phillip Wells (aka Basement Phil). Here is a quote from him (unverified of course) on the Logical Progression Discogs page:
I organised the deal for this compilation with Pete Tong at London Records on behalf of Dan aka LTJ Bukem.
When he was sent to an artist studio to do the sleeve, I got a phone call late in the afternoon from Dan saying he could not come up with a sleeve he was happy with and would I come and help. So I left my office at Vinyl Distribution in Reading and made my way up to London and when I arrived Dan was all flustered as the sleeve had to be done that day.
I looked through loads of pictures before coming across the picture used. I knew it was the one because of the ray of light shining down on the Earth, and remember saying to Dan that it was the perfect image as I saw the music that had been released on the label over the three previous years had been a shining light for the DnB scene. – Basement Phil
So enough background, on to the tracks. These are a few of the standouts for me. Photek’s Pharoah (referred to elsewhere as Rings Around Saturn) is far and away the best song on the album and would definitely make my all-time top 100 list.
This is Nemo 33, the deepest swimming pool in the world. Located in Brussels, Belgium, the 113 ft. deep diving facility was designed by diving expert John Beernaerts for instruction, recreation, and film production.
I love the layout and colors of the space; the multi-level plateaus at the top are incredible. This really has a sort of 2001 vibe with a healthy dose of spent fuel pool thrown in. Would love to have a swim in there.
The effect that Dekotora has on the senses is profound. Imagine for a moment that you’re walking home late at night through a less trafficked, industrial area. Out of nowhere a garage door springs to life and the seismic presence of a 12 cylinder diesel barks to life. The next thing you know, a 10 ton monstrosity, cobbled together with jukeboxes, arcade machines and laser guided disco lights, is quickly bearing down on you. Such was my introduction to the relatively nonexistent presence of decorative commercial trucks operating in the greater New York City area.
A rare sight in most corners of the world, Dekotora is the Japanese discipline of decorating industrial and commercial vehicles with anything that reflects, glows, or flashes. It’s inspiration is drawn heavily from Gundam & arcade culture, something that much of the neon-marinated citzens of Tokyo can relate to.
Surprisingly, these are not “art cars” – they are fully functional and go about their daily tasks just as you see them here. Alot of these vehicles can be seen during business hours, backing up to loading docks, stopping for weigh stations or filling up at diesel pumps. Granted, some of the trucks above may be for shows only but from what I’ve read a lot of drivers do it to liven up their job and set their truck apart from the rest.
I really love the amount of detail that goes into these, I hope someday I’m able to get a closer look, I feel like I could spend a whole day looking at all the little bits and pieces. Yellow Magic Orchestra never reached the audience they deserved in the US so hey guys, here’s our chance to make up for past mistakes, you know that broken Bally machine in your aunt’s rec room? Or that Wurlitzer collecting dust in your garage? Throw a copy of Solid State Survivor in there and glue that shit to your truck man.
When I’m not injured or stuck in a moving vehicle on tour, my favorite thing in the world is cycling. Unfortunately the equipment and attire associated with the sport often run counter to my taste as a designer. So I was pretty excited to see this set by Bernard; definitely the first time I’ve ever been truly impressed by the design of a jersey / shorts (of course, BMC make some very nice looking frames, but they can be very hit and miss). But, as is always the case with anything designed well, it’s sold out and you can’t have it. Hopefully Bernard gets off his ass and prints some more because summer is almost over and my knee is feeling pretty good.
Le Révélateur and Sabrina Ratté are my favorite audio and visual collaborators since we first saw them on the blog via Beamer. The proper way to see this though is live, they played in Brooklyn and I still wish I brought my camera with me to videotape it and share it with you. Data Daze is forthcoming on cassette on NNA Tapes via the Horizon Fears EP.
Michael Cina and Matthew Dear team up to show some amazing ways to introduce art and an upcoming album to their audience. You just have to watch it yourself.
TEEN on Carpark Records is a 5 piece girl band that has the outlook of bringing back where Stereolab left off with more of a pop sense.
I have no information about this video, absolutely none, and that’s completely fine with me.
If you haven’t seen any Nardwuar interviews then i’d suggest having a few hours to watch a handful, its great seeing the musician reactions to the gifts he gives them.
With the London 2012 games (along with their controversial branding) in full swing I thought I’d revisit one of my favorite — Olympic or otherwise — branding campaigns ever: that which was created for the 1968 Mexico Olympics. Graphic Ambient has some beautiful images of the work in the real world, some of which I’d never seen before. I definitely have to say that I prefer Otl Aicher’s work for the 72 Munich games; but this has it’s own thing going on and after all it did come first! Related reading: Design Magazine #237 Via Graphic Ambient
Dug thru a few sites to make this Japanese Sci-Fi poster collection bigger, anyone else a sucker for airbrush? seems like it took great concentration and a steady hand that doesn’t offer an eraser really. There’s something really romantic about most of these. I can really respect an artist that can create a terrain off the top of his head.