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.
Fiat (Italian Automobile Factory of Turin) released the 131 to little fanfare in 1974. It was aimed at the family demographic, offering sedan, avant, and coupe layout. They were modestly powered and featured nothing truly ground breaking. So why bother featuring it? In all honesty, I think the 131 was one of the better looking economy cars of the day. It nearly stole the 3-series’ thunder, with a very evolved and elegant design for a mid-seventies car. Its proportions are pleasing, it has geometric, minimal shapes between the pillars, and anything with fog lights framed in a boxy fascia, I’m a fanb0i of.
While a lot of the cars I feature in my posts have some sort of tie-in with rally racing, I’m more a fan of european car design from the 70′s and 80′s in general, and in those days the WRC was a cost effective way for carmakers to achieve a global presence in motorsport. BMW has M Sport, Mercedes-Daimlers has AMG, Nissan has NISMO; Fiat’s tuning division was called Abarth. And in 1976, Abarth turned this mellow grocery-getter into one of the last great carbureted, rear-wheel driven rally cars. It took the World Rally Championship 3 times in ’77, ’78, and after a 2 year drought again in 1980, with a total of 18 victories over 5 years.
As good as the road-going model was, the Abarth 131 is truly a work of purpose-built art, everything from the bespoke brake ducts and flared wheel wells to the subtle spoiler lip added to the boot lid puts this particular variant in my top 10 list of best looking cars ever produced. Whenever I look at an E30 M3, I can’t help but think it looks a little sterile compared to the Abarth.
Really beautiful pixelated looking vases from Phil Cuttance. Now based in London, the New Zealander’s FACETURE series consists of vases, side tables and lightshades, all handmade using his custom FACETURE machine and molds. The reusable molds are made from an extremely thin polypropylene sheet, which when handled, allow him to reshape the form due to the malleability created by his “live hinge” system. The results are that no two objects cast are the same.
In the era of stereo lithography and other 3D printing methods, Phil’s analog workflow is inspiring, and the process seems just as important as the results, which are impressive to say the least. Head over to his site for a more in depth look at the process.
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I’ve been an ISO50 reader for a long time—long before Jakub and I put on Ghostly International Roller Hockey Team jerseys and took to a rink in rural New Jersey to embarrass the label—and so when Jakub invited me to take a whack at a guest post, I naturally jumped at the chance. (Meanwhile, does anyone want my (priceless) jersey?)
I’ve since moved to California, where I work out of the Los Angeles “Vitsoe apartment,” which is both the home I share with my wife, and a unique space where we show Dieter Rams’ 606 Universal Shelving system deployed in all ways. From straightforward bookshelves, to workstations, to room dividers, kitchen shelving, and closets, it’s pretty much all represented here (we specifically chose an apartment without any built-in storage).. As a former dj and avid collector of music, my favorite use of the system is for media storage. After all these years of collecting vinyl, I’m finally able to put it all on shelves that will not bow under the weight. Vinyl collectors: contact me, it’s more affordable than you’d think!
I thought it might make sense to do a first post about some of the songs that have been keeping me going while working out of the apartment—and since it’s a Vitsoe apartment, share some images of the shelving put to use for various media, plus the beautiful Dieter Rams equipment we listen to it all on.
Lorn – Weigh Me Down (Illum SphereRemix).
Unbelievably beautiful reworking of one of my favorite tracks on Lorn’s new album “Ask the Dust.” I’m huge fan of his heavy hitting beats, but this is a nice change of pace, skillfully re-tooled by Illum Sphere. For a taste of Lorn’s own softer side, check out ‘Pause’ from his ‘Self Confidence Vol.2′ unfinished / unreleased / demo tracks over at the Brainfeeder site. A strange anomaly in a very dark oeuvre.
Yppah – Blue Schwinn.
I’m a huge fan of Joe Corrales’ work as Yppah, it’s sort of a shoegazy version of Bonobo, a combo that is pure win in my book. This track is from his third and most recent release on Ninja Tune, “Eighty One.” Anomie Belle’s vocals are a great addition in an instrumental sense, I love how she’s just swirling around in the background and I’m unable to make out the words.
Lost Twin – Soothing Words.
There’s no shortage of great producers in Brighton these days. I can’t remember exactly how, but I found him via Bandcamp, and to my pleasant surprise, he’s offering the whole ‘Birds’ album for free. I would have no problem paying full price (and then some) for his work. Although obviously entirely different in tone, there’s something a little Burialesque about the auto-tuned quick vocal snippets.
Dextro – Ring Cycle.
I’m not sure exactly why Dextro has stayed off most people’s radars for so long: He deserves far more exposure in my opinion. His first release was on Border Community, then the subsequent releases were through his own imprint, 16K Records. Maybe that’s why. I don’t know. What I do know is that his sound manages to successfully bring together elements of Ulrich Schnauss, Slowdive, and dare I say it, BOC. His last album, Winded, from 2009, is a real gem. I’m hoping he follows it up soon, it’s been too long.
A Sol Mechanic – [Almst(Touching)].
I’ll never tire of a good “Everything in Its Right Place” sample. In his own words “it’s less of a remix and more of a branch off. N E Ways.” That’s a good way of describing it, because after that amazing initial drop, the sample gets filtered into the background and the minimal stutter beat takes over.
Geskia! – Melamine.
Geskia’s sound is unabashedly Scoott Herren influenced, and most of his work occupies a space dead center between Prefuse and the long gone DeLarosa & Asora projects. This is a compliment, as he pulls off what so many other fail to do successfully.
Jai Paul – BTSTU.
There’s been a lot of buzz about this kid from London, and deservedly so. I saw a tweet from Four Tet that said simply: “that Jai Paul track,” which of course sent me into a Google frenzy. What I discovered is that there are literally only two tracks under his belt to date. It sounds like he’s in good hands over at XL, in a recent NPR spot I heard them describe how they are giving him loads of space and time to do what he needs to do, because that’s just how he rolls. He really has a grasp on the “Less, but better” approach.
Autechre – See On See (PixelordRemix).
The thing I like about this unofficial Pixelord remix of ‘See on See’ from 2010′s Oversteps is that it brings me back to the Tri-Repetae days, when the tracks were grounded in dark emotion, and they would hit you in the gut with crisp, hard beats. They lost me long ago, but it’s nice to be brought back if even for a few minutes.