School of Seven Bells’ full-length debut, Alpinisms, is best introduced with a little etymology: Mercurial French author Rene Daumal defined “alpinism” as “the art of climbing mountains.” Art, of course, means many things: the perfection of craft, the transcendence of spirit, the physical world and the truth found beyond it. Alpinists, then, are both athletes and mystics. They practice “pure” climbing, hands gripping the cragged incline sans rope or guide, forcing their bodies ever-upward in the name of earthly enlightenment. “Alpinisms,” says Daumal enthusiast and guitarist Alejandra Deheza, “are mountain-climbing songs.”
Alpinism is an electronically enhanced pop record of dizzying highs and claustrophobic lows, whose painstaking conception shows in its detail-laden crevices. On the album’s best tracks – the polyrhythmic dream-pop of “Face to Face in High Places,” the nervous shimmer of “My Cabal,” the menacing lilt of “Iamundernodisguise” – Benjamin Curtis constructs layers of shoegazing, moire-patterned guitars, while sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza intertwine their near-identical voices like the fingers of praying hands. Throughout, the whole heavenly affair is tethered to the ground with a glitchy, tribal thwomp.
In Alpinisms, technology collides with cryptic religious imagery and airtight songcraft; knowledge begets action; and School of Seven Bells master an alien climate with effortless artistry.
I picked up the new copy of Dwell earlier this month, there is a great article about rethinking the trailer park style living that is pretty interesting for prefab home buyers(some of you probably just had chills going down your back just thinking about). The reason I picked up a copy initially was this article on Jamie Darnell’s home, I love everything about the outside of it even down the address numbers on the side of the house(which for some reason i can’t find anywhere, you’ll just have to see it for yourself).
Finally we have a new Broker/Dealer release, in my opinion if these guys were constantly making music they would be as large as Lindstrom or Metro Area. This track is like a night drive on the curvy coasts with the top down, it’s so driving yet at a pretty slow tempo. I hope this release will get these guys on the road playing live shows, i’ve only seem them once live and they have the best setup with both of them wearing brown leisure suits and all this 70′s footage of planes taking off on the hottest day. As for the D. Gookin track it’s my favorite to watch live especially the synth breakdowns, he is playing tonight in Brooklyn if you get a chance to come out. A Setting Sun is definitely a change up from the last 2 tracks, there is tons detail here very similar to older Mum without the vocals, every time it comes onto my iTunes it sounds like you’re about to go snowshoeing with the Leno character from the Royksopp video. I should of probably put this Le Technique track first since its more upbeat then the rest, do you remember Wipeout XL for the original Playstation? well this track should of been on the soundtrack if they made a sleeker and more visually beautiful version of the game where you would drive cola brown Maserati’s and wear caramel perforated leather aviator gloves.
I happened on this article a while back and its message has always stuck with me (although I still obsess over new camera gear). But even a self-confessed gear addict can admit there are some pretty interesting points in there. The article by Ken Rockwell details his theory that you can achieve the results you want with a $150 camera or a $5000 camera, it’s just about understanding and working with the equipment. I don’t agree with everything he has to say, but it’s a good read for anyone lusting after some of the new, and ridiculously expensive, DSLRs popping up. And if you need proof of Rockwell’s claim that “a great photographer can take great pictures with a disposable”, look no further than Flickr where a simple search will yield some really amazing shots, all taken with disposables. A couple of my favorites are here and here. Also worth a read is Rockwell’s “$150 Camera vs. $5000 Camera” article.
I guess at the end of the day you’re really just paying for features when you buy a high end camera body. Easy access to settings, quicker focus, faster shots: it all adds up to an easier to use camera that allows you to get the shots when they present themselves. I remember my old Nikon CP 8800 fondly, it took great photos, but it was a total pain to use and I can’t even count the number of great shots I missed waiting for that thing to focus or write to the memory card (it took forever to do both).
Since the CMJ festival has taken over most of the venues here in New York, it’s a bit overwhelming to plan out your day since your favorite musician could be playing right at this moment since most shows start at noon and end at 4 am. Last night I went to see Trus’me who was in that Tom Croose mix from yesterday and couldn’t even stay because i was so beat from the last 2 shows before. Today i’m off to see Hatchback, School of Seven Bells, Tobacco, Praveen and i think Madlib, i hope to have a full report to you all of new findings and free mp3 downloads.
Tom Croose is one half of the Brooklyn DJ duo Worst Friends who recently put this mix together that is debuting here on ISO50. I thought I should share it here since it’s a really diverse sounding mix and most of the songs picked for the mix are pretty new to me. If you want more from Tom Croose he just released a 7 inch vinyl limited to 300 or download it here from us. The partial photo above is courtesy of Alex/HeadUp (who you may see once in a while on the blog) shot with his Holga.
1 – Nelson Angelo E Joyce – Comunhao
2 – Flying Lotus – Auntie’s Lock
3 – Slum Village – Fall n Love
4 – Slum Village – Fall n Love (Dilla remix)
5 – Max Berlin – Elle & Moi (Cicada remix)
6 – Trus’me – Drilling
7 – Ost & Kjex – Have You Seen The Moon In Dallas?
8 – Mark E & Dragon – Good Times (Prins Thomas remix)
9 – Jorge Ben – Oe Oe
10 – Dolle Jolle – Balearic Incarnation
11 – Wally Badarou – Endless Race
12 – Todd Terje – Glittertind
13 – Osborne – Wait A Minute
14 – k.i.d. – Hupendi Muziki Wangu?!
15 – Magnus International – Kosmetisk
16 – John Tejada – Turning Point
17 – Bostro Pesopeo – Falls (Hercules & Love Affair remix)
18 – Robag Wruhme – k.t.b. (Ruhig Brauner remix)
19 – Matias Aguayo – Minimal (Dj Koze remix)
20 – Spoon – Don’t You Evah (Matthew Dear remix)
21 – Beach House – Gila
Anthony Kurtz is a San Francisco based photographer who’s work I just recently stumbled upon. The second I saw his essay on India by train I was hooked. Anthony’s images manage to tread lightly into the world of HDR without stepping over that razor thin line into the overdone, hypersaturated cheeziness that plagues so many other high dynamic range photographer’s work. I love his palette and sense of atmosphere, the images feel modern and nostalgic at the same time. The simplicity and practicality of digital photography has led me astray from film so it’s nice to see someone like Anthony making digital feel so warm and vibrant (I am assuming these are digital, they have that processed digital vibe, but they could very well be film). There’s plenty more to see at his portfolio.