The new French Kicks album Swimming has been out for a couple months now and I’ve had a chance to give it some proper listening time. I thought Songs From 2000 set the bar pretty high so anything coming after that would need to be pretty good to surpass it. While Swimming is a great collection of songs, I don’t think it really lives up to the previous release. Although being subdued is sort of the Kicks’ hallmark, this offering just seems a bit overly subdued for my taste.
The band apparently recorded and mixed this record themselves, which is a pretty commendable feat; it really does sound great and the overall vibe is pretty unique. From a technical perspective the record is interesting, most of the parts sound like they are room recordings, big and airy with a lot of ambience. The album opens with what I think is the strongest track, you can really hear the recording style shine here with the big boomy bass, it almost sounds like a really good live take.
I am not sure what’s going on with this album cover. I’m definitely not a fan of the style or execution; just seems rather boring. Looks like some stock art from an Ikea wall hanging or something.
In case you haven’t heard, the long rumored full-frame 12.1MP Nikon D700 is now official. It’s sports it’s older brother the D3’s vaunted CMOS FX/DX sensor but in a smaller form factor and with a smaller price tag. In regards to the price, however, the word "smaller" is a relative term. In the case of the D700 it equates to roughly $3000 USD (as opposed to $5000 for a D3). As a hobbyist that’s a pretty had price point to justify so I don’t think I’ll be ditching my D80 just yet (as much as I’d like to).
When I was in Bangkok I had the chance to try out a D3 with a fixed focus 50mm lens and it was pure bliss. The thing had almost no noise even at ridiculously high ISO’s and it could acquire focus and blast off frames faster than I could comprehend; it sounded like a silenced machine gun when you held down the shutter release. The knowledge that I can have that kind of performance for $2000 less and won’t have to lug around the nearly 3lb. weight of the D3 body makes the 700 pretty hard to resist. It’s supposedly available but none of the usual online outlets have it in stock. Has anyone managed to use / buy one? If so, what do you think?
If you’ve been following any of the slowed down disco that’s been in alot of peoples ear you usually hear about talented Europeans like Prins Thomas, Todd Terje, and Lindstrom. Well, California has its own trio in my eyes Hatchback and Sorcerer who make up Windsurf and Rollmottle who is part of Project Sandro with Tony Watson. Alot of their music comes out on the wonderful “California Soul” imprint Sentrall Records where it feels like windsurfing and collecting original vintage synthesizers have become 2 hobbies that are inseparable. I first heard about all this music thru my favorite group Broker/Dealer which have been doing music similar to this for awhile now, they were making these kind of tracks in the early 2000’s. I hope you can enjoy these spaced out jams while you go about your day today. As for the art above i grabbed it from Sorcerer’s myspace and there is plenty more where that came from on Dream Chimney’s Sleevery section which Scott loves to grab from.
There’s a new print now available at The ISO50 Shop. This is the poster I created for the 2007 OFFF Festival in Barcelona. A small number of full size posters were originally printed to support the event (the rest were handbills) so there aren’t many floating around (if any).
If you’ve ever been to the after party for OFFF you’ll know it’s always a pretty amazing event; lots of audio visual input going on. I tried to capture that vibe with this poster, making a foray into a color spectrum I rarely use. Given that the event was more of a party than a live show I felt a little more free to pursue a different vibe than usual. If you’re wondering, the fonts are mostly from the Chalet Family with some Trade Gothic thrown in for good measure. Get one at the shop for a closer look.
I posted on the new Wolf Parade album a while back so after letting that sink in I thought I’d post some tracks from their first album, Apologies To The Queen Mary. I do love the Queen Mary album, although I have to say I am partial to the new one, At Mount Zoomer. I ran into the guys from Better Propaganda last weekend and we got to talking about bands we’re currently listening to. No matter how hard I tried I couldn’t convince them that Mt. Zoomer was a better record than Apologies. They actually seemed indignant at the mere suggestion that this new one could be better. I then ran that same crazy idea by another friend who knows a lot about music and got the same response. So apparently I’m crazy, but I feel like Zoomer has a decidedly darker tone, it sounds like the product of a maturing band finding their way out of the somewhat crowded category that I felt Apologies placed them squarely in. Apologies is a brighter, more energetic album to be certain, but I guess I’m not really looking for bright or energetic from this band.
At any rate, they are both classic albums in my book with a razor thin margin separating the two in regards to their relative quality. The beauty of the set is that they make such good companions to each other; play them back to back and you have a very fulfilling listening session.
Alex Cornell is a student at the Academy of Art Graduate Design MFA program here in San Francisco and he also helps me out around the studio with various design and music related things (in addition to being a designer he’s also a ridiculously talented guitarist and a knowledgeable sound engineer).
Recently he brought over a project he was working on to get some critique. Since I never went to school for design it was great to get a glimpse inside the classroom through his project and also very interesting to hear what his professor thought of my input. I had a great time working with him trying to refine the project so I thought it would be nice to have him do a process piece for the blog. I think this serves an apt companion to the Making of Obama post; a good counterpoint written from the student perspective. I am sure many of you were/are design students yourselves so you can relate, seems to me like the professor does a pretty good job of impersonating a client. The following article is his account of the process of creating the piece and working with his professor to complete the project.
Just djed in Kentucky last night and now i’m winding down with some old favorites. Ulrich Schnauss‘ “Stars” off his latest LP from last year was a great listen always on roadtrips. He recently just collaborated with A Shoreline Dream on a track called “Neverchanger” but I posted one of their older tracks that first caught my ear. They have a very nice old Verve sound to them, with all the shoegaze essentials like swirling guitars and wall-after-wall of sound.
As for Farben(aka Jan Jelinek) and Mujuice, I don’t think these could be any different from the other two tracks. The cover above is from a Farben 4x vinyl boxset called Starbox which included 4 photos of different bank robbers from the 70’s, i think they were all German but I may be wrong. I loved the layout of the whole package, if you get a chance to ever see one at the record store, pick it up and open it.
As for Mujuice i having nothing else by him but this track, I found it on a Russian internet radio station called deepmix.ru which I highly recommend if you like this track.