I made it in to Toronto tonight, pretty easy day of travel. Unfortunately there’s a little bit of rain but I hear it will let up by tomorrow evening. I went over to Function 13 Gallery tonight to get started setting things up, I’ll be hanging all the artwork for the ISO50 show tomorrow.
The gallery show will feature a lot of new work along with some old stuff. I ended up going back and reworking everything, pulling out the text and just leaving the artwork. It was a pretty fun process stripping things down to their core elements, it’s always a nice test to see which images stand on their own without the accompanying type. A couple posters — such as 1971 and Madrone — couldn’t do without the type so I just tried stripping out some other extraneous elements. Going back through some of the older files was pretty surprising, it was interesting to see how much my technique has changed over the years. Some were just a mess, it felt like restoring an old house removing all the heavy handed distressing and randomly placed elements. It was great to see the results, I feel like the core concepts of a lot of the pieces can breathe a lot better now.
I’ve also got some new stuff in store for the live Tycho set; a few new songs, some remixes, and reworked live visuals. It’s been pretty stressful over the past week getting ready for this but it all came together over the past few days so now I’m just excited to get it all out there. Hope to see you out tonight. Click the links below for more info.
Also, if you enjoy all the music posted on this blog (which is pretty much all Jakub), then you will enjoy Jakub’s DJ set tonight. He’ll be playing as his DJ alter-ego Aarnio tonight at the show.
I was reading the New York Times this weekend and was pleasantly surprised to see the work of Cristina Couceiro as part of one of the magazine articles. I recognized her distinctive style from when Scott posted her work a little while back. In the capacity of the magazine article, it was interesting to see how the use contemporary imagery changed the overall impression of her work. I think it was successful — it brings context, and an slight twinge of humor to the work that wasn’t present in some of the earlier ‘found imagery’ pieces. Something about Steve Carrel especially just works for me…maybe it’s that ridiculous shirt he’s wearing.
This is probably the third time recently I’ve randomly stumbled upon the work of an artist I recognize in a magazine; I saw Leandro Castelao in a recent issue of GOOD, Mark Weaver in Wired, and someone else I’m forgetting now. It’s great to see how their work translates into an editorial environment. And great to see that magazines are supporting the amazing talent of all these artists!
Here are 4 bands that I think really bring something special to the indie rock table, bands that are pushing the envelope on sound and their passions reaching for something different.
Juana Molina makes me want to dig thru the world music crates and pick her brain, the drive in her voice in this song could make 101 yr old man stand up and dance, I need to see this song being played live, my jaw would probably hit the floor.
What can you say its a new Beach House single that just leaked and the indie world is fumbling over itself to get a listen and I have to say its pretty impressive, catchy and i’d like to throw out this genre idea – woodgaze [woodsy shoegaze], yes or no?
After Pitchfork’s Festival all I heard about was how outstanding Frightened Rabbit sounded live, this is my first taste of something that I like by them on CD, wow a collection of songs[this plus the other 3 songs and some shoegaze and maybe Red House Painters and thats really it, and The Police too] that actually make me want to listen to lyrics, its such a nice feeling.
I have to give it to Tom Croose, he called Real Estate being great in the spring and now look at us all, I have to go back to how I visually described it back in August: “to me its laid back feel makes me want to bust out the Yo La Tengo’s Summer Sun LP but i’m too busy chillin’ in my kids pool filled with hose water that is being warmed by the sun and I have grass blades stuck all over me that i’m trying to pick off, so lets just keep the Real Estate CD in.”
My friend Eli (who needs to do an Italo Disco installment of Synth Pioneers) put me onto this documentary, which is likely the best exploration of the English synth-pop moment. With great interviews from heroes like Daniel Miller, Vince Clark and Martin Gore, it really got my blood pumping so I wanted to write about a few other acts who were originators of the international electronic pop sound.
Kraftwerk – Computer Love
Talking about the greatness of Kraftwerk is like talking about the necessity of air, so I’ll keep it short. They just released all of their most well-known albums, remastered and with original artwork. “Computer Love” is one of my al time favorite songs. The way the lead seems to phase shift at the end always takes my breath away. Let’s get this straight: A song about loneliness and computers, made before the internet was invented which glides like classical music? Sounds like a plan.
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Technopolis
Yellow Magic Orchestra have been called the Japanese Kraftwerk, in that they were both pop innovators and an awesomely stoic synth band. Ryuichi Sakamoto has since gone on to collaborate with Fennesz and Christopher Willits amongst others. Their work may pre-date synth-pop but it’s surely in the canon of influential works. I often play their hit “Computer Games” if transitioning between sounds in a DJ set. When the beat drops at 1:50, it always lights up the room.
Japan – Gentlemen Take Polaroids
A band that is sorely overlooked is David Sylvian’s Japan project, which married glam and (some would say, invented) new romantic aesthetics to synth austerity and elegant arrangements. Their full sound was more complex than their peers and more sinister by a long shot. Recently, Sylvian has also collaborated with aritsts like Fennesz and covered acts like Blonde Redhead with stunning vocal clarity.
Simple Minds – Glittering Prize
Scotland’s Simple Minds were another band not included in this documentary, probably because they are more associated with the New Wave movement, but like labelmates the Human League, they’re example of a band moving from experimental work to pop success. Their work became increasing U2-like and less electronic, but this track captures them at the peak of a rewardingly sweeping sound, with pitch-perfect production to boot.
Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the Synth Pioneers series can be found here.
I’ve been sick in bed but that hasn’t stopped me from digging deep for music in between long naps, I found soo many nice tracks I even want to post the 4 songs for tomorrow now.
Helios is one of those bands i’ll always check out because I know they’ll have a stand out track on there album every time and this album is no exception. The song Cross The Ocean is the closest i’ve heard to something like Boards of Canada in a while but without the PBS feel, tell me if i’m wrong.
I’m loving this intro of this Cale Parks song, the whole song is really unique and forward thinking, definitely the definition of Avant Pop.
I just found Desolation Wilderness, a really low key post rock/surf-ish group and an enjoyable listen.
Yeasayer have the sound to take experimental indie pop to TOP 40, if you listen close to their instrumental its mind scrambling, how do you sit down and put that together with other band members?! they care and are super talented.
I’ve really been digging back into Midlake’s work since Sam posted the Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve remix of Roscoe in Playlist 6 (Jakub actually posted it quite a while back but I somehow missed it). This is one of the few rock remixes I actually like more than the original. In this case much more.
And here’s one of my favorite Midlake songs, Young Bride from their last album, The Trials of Vanoccupanther. The bass is incredible on this one; I love that driving style. I keep wanting it to go to this place but it never does and I think that’s what makes it perfect.