New stuff this past month or so from a handful of my favourites.
New stuff this past month or so from a handful of my favourites.
This has been getting a lot of plays on my sound-playing devices; mellow echoes and nice percussions accompanying me on my daily trips to the post office.
Heathered Pearls' Jakub Alexander has been one of the more interesting musicians I like to follow. He recently did a collaboration with Dirty Beaches lad AlexZhangHungtaibro, is tinkering away on his Moodgadget project and of course his role with Ghostly International. Oh, and his album Loyal was pretty amazing; so it's pretty sweet that there is a remix album coming out soon!
Around a month into my stay in New York, I decided to be somewhat productive and purchased an easy-to-use action video cam to document my various misadventures around town, as well as Europe and beyond. The result was almost 10 hours of footage varying from absolutely unusable to barely usable. One of the most sad things was probably not capturing 80% of the beautiful and trivial moments I wanted to capture, either due to not whipping out the camera quick enough, not having the balls or simply too enamored at the time.
Anyway, this is the first piece of rotten fruit borne from all those hours of annoying camera-pointing. Don't enjoy it.
One of the little guilty pleasures I had when I was in Tokyo was hang around Tower Records and sample some of their local talent. It's a bit challenging to scour the interwebs due to the language barrier, so it was fun doing it the old fashioned way with their listening stations in my own free time. One of the good things with their mainstream music scene is that they don't quite accept a lot of bullshit with their music; the good stuff covered a lot of estate in their stores. Fuji Rock was just around the corner, so all the high foot traffic areas were filled with some great CDs. I was even pleasantly surprised they gave Boards of Canada its own little corner, recommending Tycho, Bibio and Aphex Twin just to name a few.
Whilst in Europe, it smacked me in the face how much of an impact your environment had on your creative endeavours. It kind of made sense that the UK's gloomy weather and Berlin's post-wall vibe inspires some of the interesting stuff we're hearing today. And I guess the same can be said with Reykjavik as well considering their isolation and liberal lifestyles, and anywhere really.
So in saying that, what impression did Japan leave me with?
Neohachi's Lovecadio Hearn is a bit more upbeat but a nice departure from my usual stuff. The first track, 'Dog More Than Cat', was quite hypnotic, 'Good Music' a 12 minute joyride fitting of a slow-motion journey from space to the local circus and 'Eternal, Eternal, Eternal' ending the album on a high note with an M83-esque blare which makes you think, 'what's next?'
The soundcloud embed above is a cut-up preview; you can stream and subscribe to the full album through my Spotify playlist here.
Intext's Book belongs on the other end of the spectrum of intensity and looked after by interesting label Shrine.jp. 'Strange Onomatopoeia' starts off ominous yet holds back teasingly throughout the track, whilst the quiet space-transmissional (is that even a word) sounds amongst a backdrop of beautiful drone in "Multilingual Chant" is suspending and wondrous.
I stayed in Tokyo for 2 weeks and by the end of the trip, Tokyo left me feeling like there are still so many stones left unturned, alleys and corners still unexplored, signs I wish I could read and my sense of curiosity and wonder ablaze - what the fuck else is still out there?
Landed in the States in the morning of 8th March to be confronted by the notorious customs queue. Grilled me a bit, considering I had a June return ticket (what are you doing in the States for 3 months boy?), but got by fine eventually. Igorbro picked me up from LAX and drove me around for the day and getting some admin done i.e. sorting out my data sim for my phone. Some notes for that:
1/ Make sure your phone is unlocked; if it is locked, ask your provider to unlock beforehand or you'll end up making awkward calls back home.
2/ Keep an eye out for wifiz and use unlockit.co.nz to change your APNs.
The iPhone and data sims have an interesting relationship. I got an AT&T US$60 prepaid sim but had some problems getting it activated and couldn't really get set up until I hit New York :/ The guys I spoke to in downtown LA didn't quite know what to do and were gonna charge a fair bit to do something I did in 10 minutes after I found some solid wifi and Google. Lesson learnt, move on.
We later swung by Santa Monica Pier and lapped up the beautiful water views and caught up with monkeypuppetlad before I had to dart out.
I wasn't as proactive as I had hoped for this festival; running on a budget and knew I was going to fatigue quite quickly in the same manner that I was back in SxSW - falling asleep through a handful of films! I bought a Matinee pass which allowed me entry into 6 films with a few restrictions (daytime screenings). Couldn't get all the films that I wanted, but managed to narrow it all down to the following six plus a few extra things:
Lil Bub and Friends was streamed online and it was quite cute. The biggest take-out was the fact that a meme manager existed!
The Bombay Sapphire House of Imagination was a pretty cool experience; you can't go wrong with free drinks and popcorn, crowd-sourced transmedia projects and telling more than you should to a cute little robot. We'll need to follow up as to whether any of our rantings made it to the final cut for the robot documentary project. Kudos to Bombay Sapphire!
And my favourites as below:
Cutie & the Boxer - a look into the relationship between oddball artist Ushio Shinohara and his wife Noriko. Even in their post-screening Q & A, there is still a lot of passive-aggressive, yet, endearing bickering between the two.
Powerless - a documentary exploring a power supply and theft problem in a large city in India; looking at both sides - from the MD of the power-supply company, to the local thief-bro who specialises in hooking people up with free electricity in the neighbourhood.
Shorts: Character Witness - this was an intense 7 shorts, with the theme centralising around death and destruction. It was particularly emotionally-draining, but insightful - cryogenics, photography-recovery, post-death belongings and surfboards were all discussed at some point.
Can't get over the amazing, slow build-up. RIP Charliebro.
Some keywords to describe this to cut through the clutter: hypnotic, loopy, somewhat deep bass, dancey, mildly galactic.
It's just over a minute long, but it's intense.
Oldie but a goodie.
This was my first year @ SxSW and decided to go all in on it - Interactive, Film and Music.
I managed to catch 15 films this year; it wasn't until I was paying attention to some previews on the last day that I realised I had only scratched the surface - there were still so many more films to go through! But since I had to divide my time between all 3 things plus more, I think I did the best I could. I hope some of the ones I've missed get some proper distribution, particularly to Australia if there's the chance. I've got the guide as well so I think I'll do some catching up once the dust settles a bit.
My film list:
The topics and content for the most part was awesome, but a lot had a few challenges putting it together in a good structure or narrative to really, REALLY make them stand out.
My picks from the festival:
Punk Syndrome - a documentary about a Finnish punk band. The members are mentally handicapped. Heart-breakingly sweet.
Mr Angel - a documentary about Buck Angel, a female-to-male transgender pornstar. It was fascinating and quite an eye-opener!
Spark: A Burning Man Story - titles says it all; the cinematography in this was amazing.
Before You Know It - This one topped the list for me; it was a documentary about 3 elderly gay men getting by in today's contemporary society and their stories. Unfortunately there wasn't a trailer for this online Keep an eye out for it; if people feel the same way about it as I do, it should be making a few festival rounds this year.
Odd space funk - would that be how you'd describe it? Anyway, the vinyl's valued at around $60 and it's a catchy tune. And if you're into that Fantastic Planet shit, then that's a bonus.
Caught these pictures whilst browsing the MOMA upcoming exhibitions. There's one on everyday sound which I'll be missing since I won't be here by the time it opens. There is a Taiwanese artist Hong-Ka Wang who explores everyday ambient sounds and invited some factory workers in for some sound exploration for one of her projects; these are two captures from the mini-doco which I thought was beautiful.
Asian guys back then.
My dad was brought up on this Jet Li superhero bullshit, and I was stuck with Pokemon. No wonder there is a generational gap in attitudes. I need to like.. go forge some woks and fight an army of corrupt jerks to right wrongs or something.
Warning: Hypnotic, late-night driving music
If you are in need of a reality check or just love the musings and infinite wisdom of old people, watch this.
In my humble opinion one of the highlights and most underrated for the Sydney Festival this year. Don't think it's quite for everyone, but if you are into eerie electronic soundscapes, you will definitely be in for a treat! Pit it against a beautiful Sydney backdrop whilst the sun sets, bring some beers/ wine/ cheese and you've got yourself a perfect evening