Artwork unrelated, anyone have any ideas who did it?
With festival season underway there are plenty of great live sets being recorded and sometimes you get the best of the best from artists like a continuous mix of their greatest hits. This Loscil set is one of the most soothing and enjoyable listens you can ask for. If you haven’t already you should pick up his classic album called First Narrows, not only is the artwork one of my top 5 favorite album covers but it also rides on most of the same tone as this live set is in.
I’m not following the World Cup (sacrilege, I know!). Partly because I’m American and not much of a sports fan to begin with, and partly because I just can’t seem to muster the strength to pretend I like a sport every four years and then watch a bunch of guys roll around on the pitch holding their knee in agony only to pop up a few moments later and sprint around like a fucking gazelle (seriously, what’s the deal with that? I swear that’s the number one thing holding me back from appreciating football, this theater of feigned injury). I’ve honestly tried to like it, my friend Jorge Calleja took me to a FC Barcelona game while I was there a few summers back. I had a blast and Ronaldhino even scored a goal (which is apparently sort of rare these days). The crowd was amazing; every movement of the ball (even movements that, to my untrained eye, didn’t seem to have any kind of significance) was met with a rush of electricity that filled the entire stadium. Sadly, this feeling has yet to carry over to the TV viewing experience for me.
But I digress, this isn’t about sports, or football, or even pretending your leg has been amputated at the hip when a stiff breeze from the guy running by ruffles your jersey. This is about the fact that despite having watched exactly zero World Cup games, I somehow have an intimate knowledge of the ball used in them. This is because no one will stop talking about it (or those plastic horns for that matter). I found it rather intriguing that it’s being roundly panned by the players — both the winners and the losers. It made me think about all the R&D that must have gone into designing this ball only to have it be put on center stage and incessantly ridiculed. Designing high performance sports equipment has to be the most difficult gig in industrial design. It’s a sort of alchemy of engineering, physics, and craftsmanship that, to fulfill it’s intended purpose, must perform equally well for an extremely diverse range of end users. Just designing a jersey probably involves a few parts rocket science, so imagine designing the central element of play for a game, the results of which can make or break the hopes of entire countries. I don’t envy these designers.
So after hearing about this ball for the better part of a month, my interest was piqued when I came across this video detailing the ball’s construction on Abitare. I’m always a sucker for manufacturing videos and this one is exceptionally well done. I really enjoy the style and tones and it’s always amazing to see these giant, purpose-built machines doing such specific tasks. It always makes me wonder how mechanized manufacturing is ever cost effective.
So I know we have a pretty internationally diverse readership (hence the fact I haven’t used the word soccer once, until now), who are you rooting for? Also be sure to remind me of what a terrible human being I am for not liking soccer (yes, after the disclaimer earlier in this paragraph, via an obscure UN sanction, I am now legally entitled to call it soccer).
Also, the first year I moved to San Francisco some guy with a bus put up a gigantic LED screen (seriously, like stadium sized) in Dolores Park and played the World Cup on it. There were like 30,000 people at the park and it was completely awesome. If that guy comes back this year I will watch soccer.
I missed seeing the Warm Ghost play the other night with School Of Seven Bells but luckily a friend turned me onto them via the magical internet. The lo-fi wobbly piano part is beautiful especially when its accompanied by the vox and it comes together like if The Doves did something with a Tom Waits that hits high notes. If you like this then you should check out their EP.
I can’t believe i’ve never shared any Ashra on here, this stuff is pretty much what i’d try to make if someone gave me a room of synths but i’d probably go even more New Age with it and obliviously i’d grow a ponytail as well.
One guy that’s holding down the Detroit sound is Black Milk, since he was like 18 people in Michigan swore he was going to be amazing, this track shows that he’s pretty damn amazing in my book, don’t miss the last 20 seconds either.
I know i’ve already post this song on the blog but here’s the video for Bicycle by Memory Tapes.
As evidenced by the various posts I’ve made on the subject, I’m quite fond of all things surrounding the World’s Fair Expositions. So when I found this gem on Ian Henry Smith’s Blog, Smallcano, I was pretty blown away. For someone who has fetishized all manner of official documentation since childhood, seeing an artifact that somehow combines the ideas of a passport and a 60’s-era World’s Fair Expo was pretty much the holy grail. The stamps send this thing over the top; it really doesn’t get any better. And check out the Habitat 67 stamp on the last image! I swear I’m going to get a tattoo of one of these.
According to Ian from Smallcano, he found this thing while “rooting around in [his] parents’ basement”. For me, this is basically the equivalent of those old stories about digging up a cigar box with a Honus Wagner in it. My only gripe is that the images are scans and not photos; scans don’t do objects like this justice. So Ian, if you’re reading this (I found the link through a comment he left here), thanks so much for posting these, but please shoot the passport on a nice wood table or something, a’la Insect54. That is, if you have the time, we’ll all thank you!
catalogtree is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Amsterdam. Their work is instantly recognizable for its complexity and exceptional clarity; a combination not easily achieved. Their ability to compress large amounts of data into these gorgeous infographics is unparalleled. Joris Maltha and Daniel Gross are the designers behind catalogtree and I had the pleasure to ask them a few questions before I left for Tokyo. Their answers and some example work after the jump.
What were your goals when you initially set up shop?
We never really set up shop and in a way this is our goal. To not have a shop and be amateurs at what we do. Right now we’re working on a 232 meter long radio antenna and are building a crystal radio to receive a local pirate station. We have never done this before and have no idea if this project will succeed.
Thomas Scholes is a digital artist out of Seattle who uses Photoshop to create painterly landscapes sort of in the vein of Roger Dean and more recently, Dan McPharlin. I love his color use and the texture; it’s really incredible that this is all being done within software.
Thomas also does a lot of process videos showing how he works with various imagery and textures to get these effects. I particularly enjoyed this one which shows him modeling a landscape from a photo of a woman (see video below). I love the idea of incorporating unrelated imagery into a composition as texture or distressing — or, in this case, as a framework.
You can check out more of Thomas’ work and videos at his blog
Edit: Cover image replaced due to “appropriation issues” (see comments for info)
I found Datahowler when his album cover above caught my eye, pretty and simple and not too emotional, just the way I like my vocals. Download his 2 song EP here for FREE.
Orchid Tapes is run by the musician Foxes In Fiction, he shares a ton of free EPs by friends and musicians alike and also keeps the cassette community having something to listen to by doing limited runs of albums on cassettes. The most recent release is by 16 year old Trans-Bedroom Sound which includes some real nice airy tones and a perfect soundtrack for an afternoon nap. Pick up the FREE EP here.
Half of Sweden’s slow disco duo Studio comes to us as D. Lissvik is back with a serious world music guitar solo that’s supported by some dark hypnotic sounds, a nice lengthy piece, pretty interested in hearing the rest of this LP.
Disco done unlike anything else these days brought to you by The Swiss.
Well this wasn’t a hard decision: Undercover is officially my favorite clothing store in Tokyo. The SS/10 collection is based on the work of Dieter Rams, using the motto “Less but Better” to guide the design. Need I say more? I walked in and saw rows of Vitsoe shelving and was sold immediately. Then I saw Snow White’s coffin, an old Braun catalog, and basically every object Dieter Rams had ever designed. Eventually I realized there were also clothes for sale and I had to take a seat to collect myself. Of course I found myself sitting on the 620 Chair.
We make noise, not clothes. – Jun Takahashi and Undercover.
So obviously I’m a fan of the overall aesthetic and ethos of the store. My one complaint was, as much as I loved the clothes (and I did), absolutely nothing fit me. Of course I became frustratingly used to this in Tokyo. Would have loved to pick something up; though I did search long and far to find their 2010 lookbook as a consolation prize. They had a display copy in-store, which I pleaded for in broken Japanese, but they wouldn’t part with it. Every book store in Tokyo was the same — it wasn’t until the last place I tried where the guy told me I could just grab one on Amazon.jp. This is true, but you need to create a new account and shipping ends up costing about double the book itself. I have one on the way and will let you know if it’s worth it. From what I remember, it is.
Cheers to the sales guys there for letting me take so many pictures. Pretty tough thing to do in Tokyo; most places will freak out and lock you down if you pull out a camera. Not sure why, free publicity as far as I’m concerned. Anyway these guys were really nice and made a special “exception” for me — I think because they felt bad that literally the entire line didn’t fit me.