Akatre : Three of Them, One of You Chris Natrop : In Depth and Painstaking Artwork
Opening Doors We Previously Believed To Be Locked
Featuring: CLAYTON COTTERELL More Than A Casual Memory
Table Of Contents
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Featuredâ€Ś 112 Lucky Dragons 66
Long live experimentation and interaction!
Clayton Cotterell 34
Intimate yet casual photography.
Three men working in the altelier, with you of course.
Dances while cutting paper.
Fashion… 10 Future 14
Collaborating vintage finds with modern day brands.
Encourages you to just be yourself.
What’s the connection with Ricki Lake and Foot Ox? Time to find out!
Bobby Birdman Let’s get positive.
106 Former Ghosts
Ghostin’ all day, everyday.
Doesn’t take this art for granted.
Art… 20 Meyoko
Trust us, she is not your average illustrator.
So what if he works “too much”. This is what he loves doing.
122 Album Reviews
Lang / Baumann
These partners aren’t afraid of using a lot of colors.
Design… 90 My Amenity 92
Seating that lights up? How neat is that!
Works with wood in a very innovative way.
• Welcome Hunters : Project White T-Shirt • Fmly Fest
Cover No1 / Luke Fischbeck Photography : Brian Vu
Cover No2 / Sarah Anderson Photography : Brian Vu
Cover No3 Photography : Clayton Cotterell
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Creative Director Writer At Large
Music Editor Lisa Bielsik Fashion Editor Lindsay Peters Publication Director
Joseph Oâ€™ Brien
Writers Douglas Sweeney Emily Hsiao Elizabeth Field Katherine Rodgers Josh McDermott Mark Dodds Shirley Vilca Niek Lohmann Liam Crocker Lauren Sproul
Amir Razmjou Marc Ramirez Damanjit Lamba Evan Adams Jack Heffron Scott Mackie Dimitriy Marchenko Alex Reddock Scot Bowman
Photographers David De Ridder Nate Miller Stuart Pillinger Sebastian Neeb
All Content 2010 Rebel No Part of Rebel May be reproduced by any means without consent.
Text : Lisa Bielsik Photography : Brian Vu
combining the past with the
William Brinkerhoff’s vision started off with an open space and simple ideas. The spot he had sought out was right on Sunset Boulevard in Echo Park, a pretty tight-knit community to begin with. Although it seemed perfect to him, Brinkerhoff didn’t act on the idea quickly enough and the space had been filled by someone else. Since Brinkerhoff lives in the area, he was in Echo Park frequently. Not too long after his spot had been snagged from him, he saw the for rent sign back in it’s rightful place. Brinkerhoff had let it slip once, but didn’t allow it to again, and made it his own. With the new ownership of an ideal spot to let his ideas unfold, FUTURE was able to come together pretty quickly. Brinkerhoff decided to collaborate vintage finds with modern-day brands, such as Cheap Monday and Corpus. With the help of his partners, they were able to put together a satisfying stock for the store. In addition to clothing, FUTURE holds records, VHS tapes, and other awesome vintage knick-knacks.
FUTURE currently holds movie nights, concerts, and other get-togethers to stay in touch with customers. The team is currently working towards putting a hands-on, DIY clothing area in the back of the store. Here, customers will be able to do whatever they’d like with their clothing. To keep up with what’s going on in the store, visit their blog at www.futurelovesyou. blogspot.com.
Text : Brian Vu M
IROQUOIS be yourself
Fashion Fall â€˘ Winter 09 / 10
‘Natural’ and ‘free’ are the first words that come to mind when coming across the latest collection from Iroquois, the creation of Japanese men’s wear designer Makoto Yoshida. The inspiration behind the latest Fall / Winter collection are vintage clothes, journeys, racial characteristics, and music. The one theme that Yoshida wants you to remember from this collection is to be natural and to be yourself!
Text : Katherine Rodgers
ALL IN THE DETAILS Meyoko is a young artist based in Berlin. Using only ink and paper, she creates delicately involved drawings dazzling in their meticulous intricacy. Her artwork is heavily influenced by the surreal, dream-like, organic lushness of nature. We caught up with her for a chat. So you live in Germany, what are the conditions like? Berlin is a city that offers many advantages, these advantages make it a magical place where the people can have fun, and unfortunately that’s not what I’m here for.
“I try to make it as difficult as possible. No matter what time of day I finish.”
How did you get started in drawing? I am not sure when I started but I think after I moved to France! In Paris I went to art high school and that was when I started taking art seriously, but I never really enjoyed their methods of teaching. We all know that details are important, but you take it to a whole new level. Can you tell us why? I don’t develop great principles, what I like my drawings to do is to entertain and let people have a good time, come inside the character’s universe and follow their destiny.
What inspires the characters that you draw? I have always been absolutely fascinated by Nature. I love to use emotions that I am going through, inspiration hides in strange and wonderful places. Are your drawings more planned out, or are they made organically? I think what inspires my work is usually a combination of things I’ve absorbed on a daily basis that suddenly become an idea. When I start an illustration I start with a simple image then build around it. Then I figure out what goes next, what shape or line, and I try to complicate things in a controlled manner. I never know what exactly I’m going to draw! I don’t know where I’m going - To me it’s like solving a puzzle. I love not knowing what the end result will be. Name your favorite materials to use, and why? I prefer pen and ink due to the discipline it instills, its permanence, spontaneity and its ability to produce fine lines. On average, how long do you usually spend on a piece? Several days - The first instinct is usually the right one but sometimes working on an illustration is more complex. I pay attention to details; I try to make it as difficult as possible. No matter what time of day I finish.
Neon Ink on paper, 20 x 25 cm
Conspiration a la Reine III Ink on paper, 42x33 cm
Conspiration a la Reine II Ink on paper, 42x33 cm
Text : Shirley Vilca
WELL-ROUNDED Artist jean jullien isnâ€™t limited to one specific medium
“ I always say that if I was doing another job I’d do what I do now to relax and have fun. People just don’t get it, they think I’m a workaholic but I just have fun doing it.” Like most artists today, Jean Jullien has dipped his hands in a number of projects throughout the past couple of years. No longer does an artist solely work and specialize in one medium but instead dabbles in a number of them, working and perfecting themselves in as many different mediums that they can. We see this in Jean’s work where it has ranged from creating wooden toys out of his cartoon drawings, to 3D art installations where his work pops right out of the frame into the viewers world, and even into a series of books where his illustrations are the base for words on the page. Jean has been able to harness his work as a graphic designer and create a series of art that consistently builds a world of magic and wonder that brings the viewer back for a second taste. We sat down to talk with Jean about this background in art and what inspires him to create. We also touch on the process he undertakes in making his pieces, what inspires him to use color, and the current projects he is working on and has planned in 2010. Tell us a little bit about yourself, and your background. My name’s Jean Jullien, I’m a 26-year-old French graphic designer living and working in London. I originally come from Nantes, where all of my family lives. My Mom’s an architect and my Dad’s a town planner. I was brought up in a really great set up. My parents are very open minded and fun, so really there’s no “interesting” anecdote about my upbringing apart from the fact that it was very happy. Is there a reason why you work in London rather than your native
France? I moved to London in 2005 to start my BA in Graphic design in Central Saint Martins and then got in the RCA in 2008, straight after my graduation to start a Master at the Royal College of Art. So I’ve always been there for curriculum reasons, but obviously I like it very much here. It’s a very cosmopolitan society, culturally very rich and stimulates creativity on a daily basis. I like the freedom and impunity that I have here. I love France to bits but it seems a bit dense at this stage in my personal and professional life. I hope to go back to France someday but I’ve got time and so far, London’s really doing it for me. What led you to pursue a career in art? Nothing in particular. It’s always been there in a way. I was brought up by an architect and curator Mother and with a Dad that was keen on french Bandedessinée (comics). And like most kids I liked to draw. So I carried on, reading my Dad’s comics and listening to my Mom talk about Matisse and Le Corbusier. And when I got my baccalauréat I couldn’t imagine studying anything like math, law or anything like that (pew!). Doing something that’d involved drawing seemed like a fun way to live my life so I tried a few schools. I didn’t know much about graphic design at that time and thought of animation or Beaux-Arts (these french schools where you do anything artistic). I ended up in a sort of foundation course where I met great people, got to know about design and, gradually, went into it. And I’ve carried on since then. When starting a project, do you always have an end result in mind? I’m quite quick to decide. I don’t like to
spend too much time on something, I usually do a few sketches, pick the one that makes the most sense, is the most fun and the most direct and just tweak it up a bit, crop the unnecessary bits and go for it. Of course sometime it’s trickier when a client thinks we should change this or that. But that’s part of the game of course so that’s ok. And when doing photography, there are always differences between the original sketch, the set and the final result, which often creates interesting things and gets me surprised. Sometime in a good way, sometime in a not so good way but that’s cool too. It’s good to get challenged anyway or else you just become self-indulgent. That’s why I like balancing commercial work and personal practice. Colour is a huge part in your artwork. What does colour mean to you? When I did my first degree in France, about 6 years ago, I was only doing black and white. I was obsessed with what I considered to be visual purity and minimalism. It was good in a way because back then I was only concentrating on the shape of things, the line and formal aspect of the visual elements. It was like learning how to read, one step at a time. Then my tutor, Fanch Le Hénaff, a great typographer and designer from the Polish school of graphic design, told me that I was missing about 50% of the deal because of that chromatic denial. So I started trying and realised how much colour can enhance things. And as for the minimal aspect of the image, it also helped it greatly. Spot of colours allowed a fantastic reduction of signs and a much more direct identification of the elements on the image. The spectrum of possibilities just became endless in a way. You also have a vast knowledge and understanding of all sorts of mediums: illustration, photography, installations, videos, clothing etc. Why do you think that it is important to be able to do different things rather than stick to one sub-
ject? Do you easily get bored of one medium? I would get bored if I was to stick to one discipline or medium. That’s why I often get annoyed when people try to put me in cases (“illustrator”, “paper artist”, etc...). I don’t really see the fun in doing the same thing all the time, plus I’d run out of ideas! I like the dynamic that it creates also. It’s like saying one thing, in a variety of languages, it’s fun to see the similarities and differences of the end result. I’m quite picky about the tools I use to work so for example I’ve got favourite colours, papers, inks, brushes and pen and never change. I might try other things from time to time but I definitively have my favourites. So it’s cool to see that paper being used on a tiny model or on a humongous installation, the same line being deformed by photography or being perfectly faithful to the original scan, etc. I like to think of my body of work as a sort of network, with different routes, connecting at some point, parting ways, meeting again, etc... What is the worst part about doing something that you love? Doing it so much and not minding it at all. I always end up with people asking me why I work so much, etc... And I always say that if I was doing an other job I’d do what I do now to relax and have fun. People just don’t get it, they think I’m a workaholic but I just have fun doing it.
Images : TOYS Series of Wooden Figures (In Progress)
Images : Limited edition pack of 5 screenprinted characters. edited by : Michel Lagarde
What is your relationship with Niwouinwouin? Ah! Niwouinwouin’s my brother and best friend (sounds cheesy, I know). We grew up together, watch the same lame things on TV, listen to the same music and he’s now living with me (and other friends) in London. Our relation is a truly amazing thing, it’s very fusional and we really complement each other in our work. In my opinion, his music is the perfect audio illustration of my work and I like to think that the images I produce for him are doing the job quite alright! It’s incredibly relaxed and easy to work together as well. When we were younger we used to wonder what it’d be like to live from having fun together and do all sort of weird projects and now it’s happening. Travelling to Barcelona or Paris for his gigs or to
Edinburgh for one of my shows, it’s really cool. Plus it gets me out of my ways a bit as we like to discuss things so for Catastrophe, for example, we talked about doing something about japanese tv shows, then video games, manga, and so on and at some point the idea came up to do a sort of Godzilla-esque rampage of monsters in the city and there it was. I just made it graphically happen but the idea came from the both of us. What are you currently working on, and what do you have planned down the line? Well I just “signed” with PARTIZAN and BIG ACTIVE, which I’m really thrilled by! A great way to start 2010. And here’s a non exhaustive of the things in the pipeline: A collection for Korean clothing brand PLACID WAVE, a new collection for PALMER CASH, a wine series (labels & posters) for MAS AMIEL, two big projects with LE CENTRE POMPIDOU, the new season of CLICHÉ, A custom bag for Swiss brand AUF BLANK, a project with PAUL SMITH, some illustrations for French TV channel CANAL+, an animated website for BBC, a bag and tshirts for French charity ABANA, through American project PART OF IT, a collection/ a book and
a weird live performance with Niwouinwouin for french brand SIXPACK, Niwouinwouin and I are gonna start a tour at the end of 2010 for a project called ADVENTURE IN FRONT OF THE TV SET, I’ve got a show in Paris planned for december 2010 and another one with French publisher EUGENE & PAULINE during the year and we’ll be producing a cool object for it (don’t know what it’s gonna be though), I’m also gonna do a show with the people of TOY in Berlin and some ceramic sculptures in Italia. hmm, there’s other stuff but I think that’s good enough for a non exhaustive list Name three things that is essential to being a designer. Oula, wouldn’t like to sound like I’m wise enough to give advice but, from my experience: • Being consistent and yet eclectic is quite important. That’s what I’m trying to do, in order not to bore the viewer or myself. Juggle between medium and visual languages in order to create a coherent and ever changing body of work. • Try to be insightful on what’s happening around you, in the media, the magazines.
If you create for the people around you, to communicate ideas or to convey any message, you need to know what world you and these people live in, 24/7. That really is a key I think. Otherwise you just create things that some people won’t get and that are gonna’ alienate them and might even end up labelling you as pretentious for not making the effort to speak the same language as the greater number. • And, finally, I think an economy of means is often a good thing. I strive for minimalism as I like to think it’s a key to universality, in image making at least. When I do a poster, a t-shirt or a cover, I have something to communicate. There is a practical aspect to it, the image is a vehicle in a way. The more visual luggage you put in it, the heavier it’s gonna be, hence the slower it’s gonna be, etc... I want my vehicle to be a speed racer and to do the job the best way I can. So keep it simple, keep it efficient. A narrative project is a whole different story though, there you can take time to develop things, be as opulent and rich as you want, it’s more of a playground.
Left Page : Reflet Installation “Poster installation at the Manystuff exhibition Reflet, held in Toulouse. To see more of the exhibition: www.manystuff.org” Photos : Julien Lelievre Right Page : Knock Knock Solo show at Analogue Books, in Edinburgh. The show had a horror movie theme, with a Pop twist and a really cool soundtrack by Niwouinwouin.”
Yann Narrative exercise based on my friend Yann Le Bec
Text : Katherine Rodgers
reflection and reappraisal
Akatre is a French art collective consisting of Valentin Abad, Julien Dhivert and Sebastien “We try to live…We seriously Riveron. The three met in art school – after bewant to make good designs ing continually paired together for numerous and for them to last. ” class projects and assignments. From this, they understood they were destined to work together, and thus ‘Akatre’ was formed. Ceaselessly experimental, Akatre’s work is a roar of defiance against the boundaries of traditional art, and manages to strike a perfect balance between both artistic resonance and a tangible sense of fun. Where did you get the name Akatre? Akatre in French means “we are four” and it also means the paper size. We are three people working in the atelier, so the fourth person is the one we collaborate with; client, artist, you. How did you three meet, and who does what? We met during our Art Studies from 2002 to 2006. The Idea of Akatre was already in our heads. We were used to working together for school and some outdoor projects. Since we graduated, we had our own personal and different experiences in studios and companies, such as Philippe Apeloig, Integral Ruedi Baur, Pyramyd editions, Michel Bouvet and Aer ‘studio.
After about a year of internship and freelance, we realized that we had the same point of view. We didn’t want to work for a name, in a style or the way of thinking of somebody else - so we created our atelier (workshop). We create together, with three heads and six hands. Concepts and projects. After that, one of us carries the project to the end with four eyes behind him. How would you describe your style? We don’t really like talking about style because we really don’t want to be locked up. Every client has its own problem and we try to find a better way to answer it - although, we usually design typography for every project, and create visuals. What are you trying to accomplish through Akatre? We try to live…We seriously want to make good designs and for them to last. Akatre is so familiar with many mediums of art, why do you think this is important to have? It’s important for us to be polyvalent, so we don’t get bored. It’s always exciting for us to discover a new technical way to answer things. It’s a challenge, we don’t know if we’ll be able to obtain what we want so it’s really a discovery. We don’t want to do what we know all the time. Please describe your design process. We talk, we talk, we respond, we talk; we define one step at a time, how it’s going to be, and what the concept is. After that, one of us carries it out. What do you feel is the most important task as designers? Reflection and reappraisal.
What are you currently working on and what do you have planned down the line? We have many projects right now, a few visual identities in the cultural field. One theme is a visual identity of a contemporary art exhibition about sound and music. It’s going to take place in 14 cities in France and last for a year with different artists in every city. We also work for the Gallery of Galleries which is a art contemporary place based in the “Galerie Lafayette” – it’s a really popular place in Paris where we designed the visual identity of a show. We also have some projects for brands such as Kenzo and Jean-Paul Gaultier but we are not allowed to talk about it. What do you think art / design needs more or less of nowadays? And what do you predict will be popular in 2010? Art / design needs… We need to be respected, creation needs to be respected. We have no clue what is going to be popular. Lastly, what was your first impression of Rebel magazine? Clean, good layout, great pictures, good writing and subjects. Good mag. It should be printed.
Picture Series for Annual Communication
Text : Elizabeth Field
CHRIS NATROP persistEnt impulse to create
“I would describe my work to a stranger as the contents of my cranium expanded into a micro-universe that welcomes visitors.” said Chris Natrop, an artist who uses his handcut, large-scale paper art to create his own ecosystem “ I want to combine my emotional of nature and landscape imagery. Usstate with my direct environment ing elements of coland reformat that into a new world or, light, shadows, organic shapes, in which others can participate. and Natrop creates a I’m inspired by the universe.” unified world within his installations. Originally from Milwaukee, Natrop now bases his art exhibitions out of Los Angeles. He uses a style of stream-of-consciousness as a method to create his paper designs to eliminate any possible form of correction. “Very little is pre-designed. My process is very spontaneous. The work emerges through the repetitive processes of cutting paper.”, said Natrop. The stream-of-conscious method used in his paper designs seems to transcend from art into his own life. He explains, “I have no clue [where I’ll be 10 years from now]. Art-wise, I do not even know where I will be 6-months from now.” However, when
designing space for an installation, Natrop does have some sort of plan. “When it comes to my installations, I usually have a predefined project in mind. The main reason is that the work has to occupy space, which is at a premium in my studio so I need to search out of places to mount my installations. Manipulating space is integral to my process. I always get precise photographs and dimensions of a particular space before starting a project. I refer to the photos regularly during a production. In fact, sometimes I even get a 3D computer rendering made so that I can virtually refer to the space as needed on a three-dimensional level”, said Natrop. Although Natrop has begun integrating a variety of other material into his work such as transparent plastics, video projection, and multi-channel audio, his main focus is still paper. “Using paper is directly related to drawing”, said Natrop, “I’ve always used paper to make art even before cutting it. But as an installation artist, paper also allows me to make hugely inflated installations with the greatest economy. Its not just monetarily beneficial, but also spatially. The largest multi-room installation can be shipped and stored
nicely within a 12” diameter tube. It’s pretty amazing.” It’s amazing that Natrop can transform a room into fully immersive environments of entwined design with simple Lenox 100 paper. Color also plays an integral role in the transformation of a room. “Color creates a type of sub-structure to contain all the white. It can be very subtle or excessively bold”, said Natrop. As his elaborate and garden-like organic shapes interact and reflect against light, they create and cast shadows that add dimension and space into a room and dramatically convey the emotional message Natrop includes in his work. “When I work in the studio, the world kind of spills out of me, or at least my particular take on the world. I want to combine my emotional state with my direct environment and reformat that into a new world in which others can participate. I’m inspired by the universe. I love making new worlds but the process can be trying. Cutting all that paper is murder on my arm but I can’t stop…I guess it’s a compulsion.” Who are your favorite artists/ musicians? I really like artists Tara Donovan, Sarah Sze, Tam Van Tran.
And I love dance music. I listen to it a lot while working. Dancing while cutting paper is the best. I’ve been listening to the live Justice album as of late. Also, more on the dl is This Mortal Coil and Radiohead. How often do you receive paper cuts from your art? I never receive paper cuts from the actual work, but I do regularly get cut from the seamless backdrop paper I use to protect the pieces. I also seem to accidentally stab myself with my knife at least once during every project. How would you describe your work to a stranger? I would describe my work to a stranger as the contents of my cranium expanded into a micro-universe that welcomes visitors.
Portrait of Chris Natrop Photography : Patrick Grandaw
BIG EDDY SWELL 27 x 19 x 12 feet watercolor, irredescent medium, paper tape on hand cut paper with painted walls and cast shadows and wire 2005 site-specific installation from â€œ11-1/2â€? OVERTONES, Los Angeles, CA
WHITE WHITE MAYDAY IN MUSTARD AND GOLD 24 x 16x 12 feet watercolor and white tape on cut white paper with thread and nylon netting 2006 site-specific installation RAID Projects, Los Angeles, CA
FERN SPACE BURST 10 x 8 x 8 feet hand cut paper, colored ink, watercolor, irredescent medium, thread, pushpins, cast shadows 2004 site-specific studio installation Headlands Center for the Arts
BLACK BLACK BUTTERFLY SPARKLE BOMB sizes vary glitter nail polish and black tape on hand-cut black somerset velvet printmaking paper 2006 solo and group shows 2006 - 2007
Spielfeld # 2 pontoon, soccer goals, paint Speicherstadt, Hamburg 2008 Curator : Ulrich Gerster
Text : Lauren Sproul
L/B Lang / Baumann form and color driven
Lang / Baumann...
Since 1991, The Lang/Baumann Collaboration has been together for what may seem like your typical designer duo, but have created far more than that. They push limits making a design feel more like an amazing work of art in front of you. This Swiss duo have created unrealistic and beautiful pieces that’ll boggle your mind. Their methods are seen as the realm of modernism architecture.
A major factor in every Lang/ Baumann piece is color as they consider themselves to be extremely color driven. ‘The color scheme of a place can always leave a huge impact behind’, a motto of Lang/ Baumann. Using many strong colors is not al- “Personal responsibility ways seen as an intel- is the best and the most ligent move, but Lang/ Baumann disagree with difficult part of our jobs.” this one hundred percent. They believe the combination of form and color is one What was the longest time of the most important factors. Their you’ve spent on a project and furthering plans for the rest of 2009 which project was it? It was proband 2010 consist of a show in Confort ably Hotel Everland. We created this Moderne Poitiers, France, another project in 2002 and it was exhibited show in Magasin Grenoble, France, for 4 months in Switzerland. in 2006 a group show called “Portrait of the it continued by traveling to the muArtist as a Biker”, and several other seum of contemporary art in Leipzig, smaller projects planned in Switzer- Germany. Also in 2007 - 2009 it was land and Europe. on the roof of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, France.
Their design progress is not your typical everyday activity as it is initiated with an invitation to participate in a show or to create a new piece. Exploring the area is a crucial step in the process, but Lang/Baumann have learned to feel the social environment and grasp an understanding of the space. This step is usually the most time consuming, for this is where the creative bug begins to stir. Most of the time either Lang or Baumann will work on the project and then discuss it together, though sometimes the ideas are hard to execute. They are never sure if an idea will turn out as they would have hoped in the end, so to help with this problem they come up with several different concepts at once. Sometimes they run into times when two or more of their interesting concepts are going to work out. If this incident is realized we then must involve the curator into the discussion. The deciding factor always is that they must agree together on a project, or everything is started a new from starch.
What are the highs and the lows of this job? The personal responsibility is the best and the most difficult part of our jobs. Where do you draw inspiration? We get inspiration from many things that surround us in our lives and we think it is interesting to exchange our thoughts while working together.
Since 1991,The Lang/Baumann Collaboration has been occurring now for 19 years. They may seem like your typical designers, but they are far more than just that. They push limits making a design feel more like an amazing work of art in front of you. This Swiss artist duo have created unrealistic structures that’ll boggle your mind. Their methods are seen as the realm of modernism architecture. Their design progress is not your typical everyday activity. The process is initiated with an invitation to participate in a show or to come up with a new work of art. Exploring the area is a crucial step, Lang/Baumann learn to feel the social environment and grasp an understanding of the space. This step is usually the most time consuming, for this is where the creative bug begins to stir. Most of the time either Lang or Baumann will work on the project and then discuss it together, though sometimes ideas are hard to execute. They are never sure if an idea will turn out as they would have hoped in the end, so to help with this problem they come up with several different concepts at once. Sometimes they run into times when two or more of their interesting concepts are going to work out. If this incident is realized we then must involve the curator into the discussion. The deciding factor always is that they must agree together on a project, or everything is started a new from starch. ‘
A major factor in every Lang/ Baumann piece is color, they considered themselves to be extremely color driven. The color scheme of a place Beautiful Entrance can always leave #a 5huge impact bewood construction, paint “Trabsit Chur”, Chur 2003 Curator : Patrik Huber
Lang / Baumann...
wood, color Le Confort Moderne, Poitiers, France
plywood, aluminium, brass Artfair Berlin 2002
aluminium tubes, anodized Galerie Loevenbruck, Volta Basel 2008
plastic modules, metal construction Galerie Loevenbruck, Paris 2008
Text : Niek Lohmann Photography : Brian Vu
Clayton Cotterell More than just a casual memory
What attracted you to photography? What steps did you take to learn the art? The cameras ability to freeze a moment and capture more detail than our eyes can see originally attracted me to photography. Also the fact that you need to be at a certain place, in a certain moment to take the photograph always interested me. I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a photographer, but in order to be a bit more rounded I took drawing, painting, and sculpture classes.
Noé is an 18-year-old living in New Haven, Connecticut. He doesn’t act like a typical child, not like a teen, nor like an adult. He has ambitious plans for the future as his interests and activities go beyond his age. Then sudden moments come when true age is revealed and small physical gestures and naive comments throw him back in insecure times of puberty. Photographer Clayton Cotterell (b. 1983) based in Brooklyn, captures those moments beautifully. He photographs a ‘duality between maturity and adolescence’. A process that we all have been in, will be in, or are in, making his pictures look casual and simple, recognizable and genuine. Has living in Brooklyn, New York inspired your work in any way? I’m inspired by the people around me in Brooklyn and New York City. There’s such a concentration of ambitious and creative people here that it really keeps me motivated to continue making new work. What do you currently teach? Right now I teach black and white 1 and 2.
Describe your photographic style. I’m not sure how to describe my photographic style, but I can say that my approach when photographing is almost always very casual. When working on projects, I take a very documentary position in that I spend a lot of time with my subjects, photographing them in their day to day routines and environments. Other times I just photograph as I see things. How often do you take photos? It varies. I try to shoot at least a few rolls a month. If I leave the city for any extended amount of time, I’m basically in photo mode and shooting a lot. What do you prefer... Film or digital? Why? I prefer shooting film, scanning negatives, and outputting on inkjet printers. So a bit of both. I prefer film because I like that I’m forced to wait and see what I shot. I think it’s good to look at negatives or contact sheets with fresh eyes, once you’re removed from the shooting situation. What camera do you currently use, and what equipment are you dying to have? I mostly use a Mamiya 7 and Leica M6. If I can get my hands on a Mamiya RZ, I use that too. I wouldn’t mind having a few
more lenses for the cameras that I have and a really good scanner would be nice too. Name three things that are essential to being a photographer. Three things essential to being a photographer for me are: seeing first and thinking later, careful attention and consideration when editing, patience. Tell us about your All in the Family and Noe Series... These series are meant to look at young adults in America transitioning out of adolescence in what feels to me to be a critical time period. Each individual represents a larger population of their generation. These works are part of a long term project which will eventually come together as a composite portrait of a young American. How did doing these series effect you as an individual? Each series is very personal to me in its own way. They have put me in some great and challenging situations in which I learned a lot about my own perceptions. Lastly, what was your first impression of rebel? I enjoy that you feel like you’re looking through an actual magazine when you view it. It comes across as professional, young and slick.
“Noé” is an experimental documentary project concentrated on Noé Jimenez, an eighteen year old living in New Haven, Connecticut. When I met him in a painter’s open studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 2006, we quickly struck up a conversation. He explained that he was an artist and shared his incredibly tenuous plans for his immediate future. When I asked his age, I was shocked to learn that he was only sixteen at the time as his demeanor and interests had led me to believe that he was at least in his twenties and much closer to my own age. Despite his maturity, there were times where his true age was exposed through his physical gestures and naïve comments. This duality between maturity and adolescence are what initially interested me in starting this project. As I continued to photograph him, my perception of him and the world in which he exists in would dramatically shift.
At a certain point in this project, I realized that when I was photographing Noé, I was actually searching for an escape from my own adult reality. I was looking for an idealized world that I placed upon Noé and his surroundings. This is where the work departs from a traditional documentary approach and begins to converge with my own subjective experience. While photographing Noé, I concentrated on key aspects of his life such as romantic relationships, father/son relationships and coming of age issues. Throughout the project, I began also heavily imposing my own perceptions of what those aspects mean to me. I idolized my subject and the period of life he was going through as a means to understand where I have come from and where I am now. I see Noé in an indeterminate state that is common to all of us at some point in our lives and I created this project to capture this extended “in between” moment in photographs.
â€œAll in the Familyâ€? is an ongoing project in which I am primarily photographing my younger brother, Ian Cotterell, before and after he has joined the U.S. Army. This work explores the military presence within my non-military family, and investigates my personal struggle to fulfill the role as older brother. I hope to form/find a connection to my brother through these photographs while also exploring and projecting my own views of young men in the U.S. military. Although the work stems from a very personal place and is almost therapeutic in practice, it also speaks largely about the current generation of young Americans crossing the gap between childhood and adulthood in this historical period of US history.
Text : Lauren Sproul
Nicholas Hance McElroy Photography as an endless cycle
Nicholas Hance McElroy...
Nicholas Hance McElroy first started taking pictures at the mere age of 16. He wasn’t seriously into photography at that time, only trying to capture the times he was spending with his friends. He loved the idea of having a captured memory for an easy keep-sake. McElroy slowly and surely began developing a “ There’s something to be said for love for photography, doing things with intensity, but if you which grew from his maintain that pitch and frequency for curiosity with imagination and memory. too long it distorts you.” Photography gives him wide variety to see how the two of them play with each other. McElroy feels that photography is more objective compared to other fine arts. Even though it will always be present in his life, photography isn’t necessarily what he would like to do for a career. McElroy has some interesting theories of life, feeling that if you do anything for too long and with too much intensity, it can begin to distort you. McElroy has no intention of reaching or straining to obtain a creative perspective on a photograph and he loves to live in the moment and let photos come to him incidentally. In no shape or form is McElroy ever going to be canning his life for a photograph. Literature and music are influences for McElroy, creating an internal which allows his creativity to flow naturally. Currently McElroy has put the “brakes” on photography for a while to preserve the originality of his work. For the moment McElroy prefers to capture photographs with a Mamiya 645. McElroy stepped into a medium format, which attempted to slow
things down and also to help move some of the editing process up front. It just made sense to him because it’s very portable as far as a medium format goes. In an era where film is slowly dying out, McElroy continues his preference of film over digital. He prefers things to be a little bit more tactile, and hates the idea of obsessing over photography as digital definitely gives plenty of room for obsession. Film is a basic mode kept with all the mystery and mistakes, which McElroy is absolutely fond of. McElroy currently resides in Seattle after just recently leaving Alaska in mid-November of 2009, but cannot decide whether or not to nest or continue to move. McElroy has decided to return to his home state, for he has received his fill of remoteness and scale for the time being. “Seattle is a good place to balance my draw to scenery with my draw to community.” McElroy said. For 2010 McElroy plans to make a small trip back to Alaska. Other than that, he just plans of taking things east for a while. There is a lot to be taught from Nicholas McElroy. Don’t obsess over your own artwork and let things fall naturally into place. What was your most greatest memory while shooting? I had a pretty wonderful camping experience on Woss Lake in B.C. a couple summers ago. A friend and I built a little sweat-lodge, swam around, made dinner and a fire. We had the whole lake to ourselves until a pick-up truck pulled up and two big, burly dudes got out. They were both carrying axes and we figured that this was the scene in the movie where we get murdered, hacked to bits, etc. It turns out both
of these guys were loggers, pretty stoned and just ambling around the back roads drinking Kokanee in their pick-up. They just wanted to share our fire and drink some beer. They even cut and carted logs for us. The whole time I was waiting to ask to take their photo and the light was waning and waning and waning. One of the guys had this incredible pock-marked face that looked like a rat had chewed on it, and the other guy repeated everything that he said. They were incredible specimens of I don’t know what. I waited too long to ask about the picture and finally took a very blurry picture of them in front of the fire with their dogs. The whole day was so surreal and perfect for me. They kept inviting us back to their houses to drink more beer. In hindsight we should have gone along. Since you don’t see photography meeting all of your needs, what other things are you doing? I guess that what I want to shy away from is being too much of a photographer or too much of anything else. There’s something to be said for doing things with intensity, but if you maintain that pitch and frequency for too long it distorts you. I don’t want to bend my life to keep doing photography if I feel like I’m reaching. I think I take better photos when I let them be incidental to what I’m doing, rather than the drive for doing them. I’m not canning my life for a photograph. Literature is a big aesthetic and philosophical influence for me and I get on these kicks or sweeps where I can feel the gravity and language of what I’m reading spill over into the pictures I take. Similarly with music. I’ll get a mood in my head that shapes
my whole life and boom boom boom the photographs start falling out of that. My worry is that I’ll fall into a rut and end up walking lock-step with something that’s “worked” before. I see myself beginning to do that, so I’ve put the brakes on photography for a little while and am trying to do all of the other things that I love. Photography always comes back right as I’ve started to forget about it. What piece of photography equipment are you most dying to have? I’m curious about large format photography but not wetting my pants with excitement to buy anything. I bought a 6x7 Mamiya last winter that I haven’t really settled into yet. I maybe take 10% of my pictures with it. I’d like to get comfortable working with 6x7 before I make my set-up more complex Can you describe your photographic style? I feel like I’m developing a vocabulary of what things are significant in my life by documenting the people, places and instances that are definitive and memorable for me. It’s great that some of that translates outside of myself, and I might value it a little bit differently if it didn’t. How do you feel about the internet being a way of displaying your work to the public? It’s fine, if a little stifling sometimes. I feel like I need to make a concerted effort to print more and move more of my work into people’s living rooms or book shelves or wherever. I try pretty hard to have a life built around tangible, durable things and I feel like a jackass to print so little and scan so much.
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Text : Elisa Stroyzk Photography : Sebastian Neeb
ELISA STROYZK transforming wood into fabric
The world around us is becoming increasingly immaterial. We are now used to write emails instead of letters, to pay online, to download music and touch virtual buttons on touch screens. We live in a society of images, a visual culture full of colours, advertisements, television and the internet. There is not much left to feel. Giving importance to surfaces that are desirable to touch can reconnect us with the material world and enhance the emotional value of an object. “Wooden Textiles” convey a new tactile experience. We are used to experience wood as a hard material; we know the feeling of walking across wooden floors, to touch a wooden tabletop or to feel the bark of a tree. But we usually don’t experience a wooden surface which can be manipulated by touch. From the perspective of a textile designer, I am researching ways to provide wood with textile properties in testing methods to make wood flexible and soft, or interweave textile elements. The outcome is a material that is half wood-half textile, between hard and soft, challenging what can be expected from a material or category. It looks and smells familiar but feels strange, as it is able to move and form in unexpected ways.
The processes to design a flexible wooden surface are its deconstruction into pieces, which are then attached to a textile base. I am using different textiles like silk, Lycra or micro fibre as backings. Depending on the weight and stiffness each surface shows a different behaviour. Lycra for example is very fluid and turns the wooden textile into a highly flexible surface. The wood is cut by hand or laser cut, and all tiles are stuck by hand to compose a textile-like surface. I am working with veneer wood leftovers from wood workshops. The flexibility of the wooden textile is dependant on the geometric shape of the tiles and on the size of the gaps between them. Starting from the parquet floor and its traditional herringbone pattern, different geometric shapes were tested on their behaviour. Rectangle shapes create a textile that is able to roll and fold crosswise and lengthwise. However hexagons and other polygon shapes block each other and cause inflexibility. Obviously the triangle shape allows the best ability to move, while the isosceles triangle is the most versatile. A pattern of uneven triangles in various sizes performs a more unpredictable movement. â€œWooden Textilesâ€? is an approach to responsible thinking concerning lifecycles of products. In the future we will have to deal with more waste and less resources. Therefore it is fundamental to be aware about lifecycles of objects. For me that means to use material that is able to grow old beautifully. Another way to save resources is working with reused or recycled objects and material waste. Also it is crucial to aim for a closer relationship between subject and object. This can be achieved through more flexibility and changeability, the possibility of growth or surprising elements.
Text : Douglas Sweeney Photography : Brian Vu
INTO THE EVENING As if Portland, Oregon wasn’t cool enough, the criminally underground singer-songwriter, Teague Cullen just had to move there and increase the talent there per-capita. Known to most as Foot Ox, Teague writes some of the most endearing songs today and in an era of over-wrought electronics and insincerity; he’s most certainly a breath of fresh air. Drawing on inspiration from the now allbut-defunct Elephant 6 Recording Collective, Foot Ox creates the music that we all want to hear and the music that we all wish we could make. Hailing from Tempe, Arizona, Teague Cullen is a testament to the power of song and the strength of the present day D.I.Y. ethic. Foot Ox’s most recent incarnation as a 10-piece band, complete with a horn section, went on tour late 2009 with Splinter Cake. We were lucky enough to catch Foot Ox at the Echo Curio in Echo Park playing with Splinter Cake, Nicole Kidman, Albuquer-
que Boys Choir and Whitman. The collaborative nature of Foot Ox was made evident by the blurring of band line-ups as many members of Foot Ox played in Splinter Cake and vice-versa. The humble and always hilarious Teague Cullen was nice enough to give us an interview in the backyard of the Echo Curio. When did you start making music? I started playing guitar when I was 11 years old. I guess before that, the first music I ever made was on a computer sequencer program with my cousin. We would make this cheesy, really weird electronic music. That was when I really started making music, but I really didn’t get started with music until the last four years. When did you start Foot Ox? About three years ago, I think. I was playing some solo shows before that and then I
started Foot Ox with my girlfriend Bri [White ]and my friends John Ryan[Nelson] and Andrew[Jemsek]but the lineup has always been changing pretty constantly. How did you come up with the name Foot Ox? It was a dream I had that I was on The Ricki Lake Show [laughs], she introduced me and said I was there to promote these two books that I had just written. One book was called Bulk and the other was called Foot Ox: Into the Evening. So that’s what the project was originally called, Foot Ox: Into the Evening. It was weird because I don’t really watch Ricki Lake [laughs]. What would you say is the main inspiration behind your music, if there was one singular inspiration? It’s hard to say because, originally there were a lot of bands that inspired me to make music, but once the ball starts rolling its like when I talk to people and it seems like it means a lot to them personally and then I think about like when I was a kid listening to music and how important it was to me. When I think about that it really inspires me to keep making music.
You’ve been compared to the Elephant 6 a lot. What are some of your influences as a musician? Yeah, I really like a lot of Elephant 6 music, especially the Music Tapes. They’re one of my favorite bands and I missed them by a hair when they played this year. I really like They Might Be Giants, Half Japanese and I listened to a lot of classic rock when I was a kid like Syd Barrett and The Beatles. I like all of my friends bands in Phoenix, I feel like those bands probably influence me the most. You’re from Tempe, Arizona—what can you tell us about the music scene there and how has it affected your music? I feel like it has affected my music a lot…I mean all of my favorite bands came out of situations similar to Tempe, where you think it’s like this singular band but you come to realize it’s
a whole group of people who are all helping each other. So, I’d say that the collaborative nature of Tempe has affected my music greatly. I don’t even think I’d play music if it wasn’t for all of my friends. They make the process of making music so much more enjoyable. Your songs are seemingly very autobiographical. Would you say they are mostly inspired by your friends? Yeah, I feel like a lot of them were inspired by my friends and like dreams about them. A lot of my songs are about dreams, I think. I like to draw my dreams when I wake up so a lot of what I’ve been doing lately has been like not even questioning what it is and just making songs like dreams and collages out of dream material.
Is this the first time you’ve toured with a full band? Yeah, last time I toured I had Bri and Stephen [Steinbrink], from French Quarter, doing some stuff. Before that we were with Chase [Kamp], the drummer from French Quarter, and he was drumming for us some songs. But this “What I’ve been doing lately has on is definitely the largest been like not even questioning scale for sure.
what it is and just making songs like dreams and collages out of dream material.”
Have there been any disasters or funny anecdotes from this tour? [laughs] I think people would be kind of mad if I told a couple of them. We had a really crazy night in Las Cruces, that was really ridiculous. Then, the next morning we had like a lot of trouble with border patrol people getting into Texas and like dealing with that. I feel like I’ve gotten pulled over so many times during this tour for some reason…well maybe it’s because my tags are expired [laughs]. I don’t want to tell other people’s stories for them. We slept on the floor in a room that had no electricity in San Francisco. It was really cool, it wasn’t like super crazy or anything, but that was like the first day, so it was a drastic change from sleeping at home to sleeping in this crazy, cool room. No one thing really stands out, but it’s been a really intense emotionally and physically this tour.
Is this the biggest tour you’ve done? Well, in terms of length, French Quarter and I did a tour that was like two months long with Alas, Alak, Alaska! [now known as ALAK], so that tour was longer than this one. What is your new record called? It’s called OOO. Oh, that’s a good story. Well, one time in Athens I strayed from the group, which we rarely did on this tour, and I went off with some friends and did my own thing and when I came home to where we were staying, like 8 out of the 10 people who were on tour with us had gotten OOO and Kelly [Sheridan]’s arrows tattooed on them. We had kind of played with the idea of doing that but I didn’t really think it was going to happen. So I came home and I was kind of drunk [laughs] and everybody had it on their wrists. The name OOO comes from when I was a kid and I would make music on that computer program, one of the first songs I made was called OOO and it kind of sounded like that. So it’s like this intense symbol for me that kept coming up, so we all got it tattooed and Kelly’s arrows, it was a really emotional night. How is OOO different from your previous work and when does it come out? I think the order is going in for it in January. Instrument wise it’s different because it has a lot more going on and there are people on this one that aren’t on the other record [It’s Like Our Little Machine]. The previous record was more like a collection of songs from a really long period of time that were all kind of pulled together for this album, a lot of it was like remembering old songs and stuff. OOO was written more or less in one period of time. Where as It’s Like Our Little Machine was like a kitchen sink kind of deal, OOO was started when I just sat down one day and started making it up. How did the move to Portland affect your music? It’s definitely a different thing going on up there. There’s a lot of really awesome people in Portland and there is a lot more music happening there. I feel like music is just different there, like the house-show-thing is a lot differ-
ent there and it’s a lot more popular there. It seems like more stressful or something, because it’s harder to set up shows in Portland. It’s easy to get people to come to shows though, but there will be like five different shows happening in five different houses on the same night. It’s just not what I’m used to, but I really like it there. It’s been a really positive experience and I’ve met a lot of really good people there. The change in landscape definitely affect me, I feel like going back to Arizona on this tour has shown me just how much I’ve grown in certain ways. You have a label called Distant Colony, what can you tell me about that? Well, kinda. It was set up more in Arizona and I guess when I moved I stopped working on it. Kelly still wants to put out some tapes on it but it’s not really happening anymore. I just like making the music and recording it, I was trying to get into the whole record label thing but it’s a lot of work and while I still appreciate the D.I.Y. aesthetic, I’m just not that interested in running a record label these days. I guess it was good for one record though [laughs]. How did you start creating your own instruments? I found a piano-lin in a thrift store. I made this box that has all sorts of noise making instruments on it, like an egg beater, bicycle parts, and like guitar pick-ups. I made a guitar that just has one string and a lever so you can bend it and play it with a bow and you can change the pitch, kind of like a saw. What do you see happening with this project in the future? I don’t know, this tour has been like the most fun I’ve ever had, so I’m hoping I can do another one soon--like in the summer or next year or something. I’d like to do it with a lot of people again, maybe even
more. I feel really good having this record done. Lil’ Jon or Lil’ Wayne? Well, on behalf of my friend Brian [Architecture] who’s in the band, I’d have to say Lil’ Wayne [laughs].
Text : Brian Vu Photography : David De Ridder
WHAT YOU SAY IS WHAT YOU ARE
Rob Kieswetter does everything with tender loving care, especially when it comes to creating music and choosing legit monikers. Bobby Birdman is the stage name of Keiswetter, a California native with plenty of talent and ambition. Over the past three years, the musician has been hard at work at his new album, pulling inspiration from a variety of genres and influences. New Moods, the end result of his labors, was released November 10 on the Frk Beat label. Though it is a departure from Bobby Birdman’s earliest acoustic style, the electro-pop heavy New Moods is still a highly enjoyable and genuinely honest album. Now it’s just easier to dance to. For early 2010, Bobby Birdman will be teaming up with YACHT for a Canadian and US tour.
What were you like as a child? I did a lot of stuff. I was always in love with the ocean. My dad would always take me out body surfing when i was really little. Pretty young, I learned how to stand up on a surfboard. I lived far away from the ocean, so I only went surfing a couple times a year. I was super obsessed with it, I read the magazines, had the posters on my wall, and put all of the stickers on my car. I played a little music growing up, not that much. I took a few years of piano lessons, but I never had that much formal training. Then I got interested in girls and stopped playing music for a while. I started to play in a band in high school, then eventually played in a band called Little Wings in College. Kyle Field is the songwriter in that band. He was the first person to get me excited about writing my own songs, because before that I only played in other people’s bands.
Tell us about your background. I was born in San Diego, but I grew up in a town called Nevada City, California. That’s where I spent ages five to fifteen.
When and how did you get the name Bobby Birdman? Well, I was actually surfing with Kyle from Little Wings. We were surfing in Pismo Beach, California. We were pretending that we were surf commentators, and giving each other play-byplays (in an Australian accent) and fake nicknames. Bobby Birdman was mine. I was playing shows with just my name. When I “ I had to finally call it and say I’m had a show coming up I felt sort of selfdone, otherwise I’d be working on it for five more years. If I’m working on conscious about that, so I thought something for too long, I’m blocking why not try it with the flow of creativity so I can’t work a moniker?
on the next thing.”
Lets talk about your new album, How would describe it’s sound? It is called New Moods, and I think it’s appropriate. Some of the previous records I made had sort of a darker and somber tone to them. There are
more positive feelings in this record. I think the sound is more optimistic. It explores a lot of influences that I have, that I sort of maybe hinted in the past. Like different types of dance, hip hop, and rap music. Like perhaps Lil Wayne? I love Lil Wayne. I hate to easily use the term genius, but I think he’s a pretty incredible being in music right now. There are a lot of producers that are doing really amazing and innovative things. Lyrically, I think that he’s super advanced more so than anybody in “indie rock” or “underground” music. I’m not really touched by that many lyricists. Even though I can’t relate to what Lil Wayne is talking about, the way that he strings words together is super progressive to me that I don’t see in underground independent music. What was the recording / writing process like? It was really long. I was sort of working on and off on this record for maybe three years. However, I didn’t work on it for three years straight. I moved a lot of different times, and went through a lot of experiences. The process was definitely stunted. I had this body of work. I had some songs. I ditched a bunch of songs. I wrote new songs. I massaged the songs, maybe for way longer than I needed to. But it got to the point where I got caught up with the project, I had to finally call it and say I’m done, otherwise I’d be working on it for five more years. If I’m working on something for too long, I’m blocking the flow of creativity so I can’t work on the next thing. Has anyone called it New Moon? No, but I think about that sometimes. That’s really funny.
That’s something that popped up in my mind when I heard the name. Did you see it? No, I haven’t even seen the first one. I don’t really know what the obsession with vampires is about. But it must have something to do with our culture. What is your relationship with Fryk Beat Records? Fryk Beat is run by this guy Eric Mast who also goes by the name E*Rock. He started an instrumental label called Audio Dregs. But Eric wanted to have an imprint with more vocal stuff. He approached me about putting out a 12 inch single. And then we did this full length. He’s also a really good friend of mine. I lived in Portland for about five years. That’s where I met Jonah (YACHT) and Eric. It was a sort of a late friendship but it has turned into a really strong one. We have a lot of similarities visually, and music-wise. Fryk Beat is a really small label, but since he’s been doing a label for so long he knows what he’s doing. Name a few albums that inspire you to create music. • Fleetwood Mac - Tusk • Van Dyke Parks - Discover America • Clipse -Lord Willin’ • Terry Riley - A Rainbow in Curved Air What are some of your other influences? Definitely my peers. I’ve always been influenced by my friends. I did a lot of touring with Jonah, and I’m definitely influenced by the stuff he’s produced. White Rainbow, Lucky Dragons, E*Rock, and Barr. Barr is a great performer! We just saw him over summer. Right when I moved to LA, I met him. We became friends and played some shows together. His performance style has
influenced me and my performance. I don’t think we have a similar performance necessarily, but I do think about his stage presence. Same with Calvin Johnson. What is the best part about performing in front of an audience? When I am able to make a connection with the audience and be able to break down the barrier with the performer and the audience. It’s those fleeting moments that you break down that wall, and you’re all in the room together rather than on stage. You modeled for Band of Outsiders for Fall 08 Correct? What was that like? Yes. It was scary anticipating it. But once it happened, it was very mellow. I love the clothes that Scott makes. I think he is a huge music fan, as well as the DIY culture. It seems like he runs his label that way.
I have briefly been a vegan in my life. But I’m firmly a vegetarian. I can recommend a vegan restaurant though. There’s this one called Happy Family in the San Gabriel Valley, which you can Google to pretend I told you the exact town.
Do you have an interest in fashion? I’m interested in it. I don’t follow it closely or pretend to know about it too much. I can’t afford most of it, but I appreciate it. I’m definitely concerned with aesthetics, and I think that fashion falls into that. I’m pretty particular is what it comes down to. Lastly, do you have any vegan restaurants you’d like to recommend? You are vegan right?
Bobby Birdman @ Acrobatics Everyday
Text : Lisa Bielsik and Joseph Oâ€™Brien Photography : Brian Vu
Driven by raw emotion regardless of how haunting it may be
When one hears the words “minimal synth”, a few things can come to mind: experimental, depression, the 80’s, or maybe boredom. Once the performance of Former Ghosts front man Freddy Rupert is seen, all assumptions of his music are left behind and a new adoration follows. Few musicians can say they present themselves with the openness and honesty Rupert does, live or recorded.
Fleurs, Former Ghosts’ debut LP on Upset the Rhythm (released October 20th 2009), was not written in a traditional way. While Ruppert took charge of the main songwriting, both Stewart and Roza contributed; Stewart solely focusing on instrumentals and Roza singing over mp3s of ideas that Ruppert originated. “I like it “Now the songs are not so because we’re not influ- much about a specific perenced by each other at all,” Roza says, “He’ll son, they’re more about a send me a song and I’ll specific feeling.” sing over it; not doing what he’s telling me to necessarily, I just go for what I think time. Ruppert often performs solo, would sound best.” While leaving the but is accompanied by Roza or Stewmajority of past lyrical themes be- art whenever possible. In preparation hind, Ruppert tackled a new topic of a for the album release, Ruppert went past relationship. “Now the songs are on a month-long American tour with not so much about a specific person, Stewart by his side in October. As for they’re more about a specific feeling,” 2010, Ruppert and Roza would both Ruppert states. Regardless, Ruppert’s like to do a European tour with Zola lyrical themes are consistently differ- Jesus included. The band is certainly ent snapshots of significant chapters moving forward—files are already being sent through the internet for a of his life. new album. Waiting to hear Ruppert’s Due to the distance between the three next approach thematically will defiband members, there isn’t a consis- nitely be tough. “There’s a couple of tent lineup for Former Ghosts’ live (new) songs that deal with similar performance. On January 5th, For- themes from Fleurs, but I feel like I mer Ghosts played at The Smell with don’t know exactly where it’s going both Ruppert and Roza for the first thematically,” he explains, “Maybe a little bit more hopeful, I guess we’ll see where that goes.”
Early on, the 26 year-old Ruppert was very musical, constantly drawn to music because of his parents, and inspired by bands like Nirvana. He even played guitar in punk bands in the 7th grade, but soon he went on to form This Song is a Mess But So Am I in 2003. With this project, Freddy played songs that dwelled more on the passing of his mother. During that period, Ruppert and his long-time friend Jamie Stewart (of Xiu Xiu) had always talked about starting a group together, but never could find the time. After choosing to end This Song is a Mess But So Am I in 2007 and taking a break from music, Ruppert found that his and Stewart’s schedules aligned and the initial shape of Former Ghosts began to materialize in early 2009. While writing the songs that are now part of the album, Ruppert had asked Nika Roza to sing over a track. “I really like her project Zola Jesus and so I asked her to sing on a song,” Ruppert explains, “when it came back I was so blown away that I had to ask her to join the band and if she said no I would have been totally devastated.” Through countless file sending back and forth, Ruppert had added an element of serenade only heard from Roza. With Ruppert, Stewart, and Roza together, the Former Ghosts’ line-up was now complete.
Text : Douglas Sweeney Photography : Brian Vu
LUCKY DRAGONS Opening Doors We Previously BELIEVED TO BE LOCKED
On the first day of March in 1954, a Japanese fishing boat called The Lucky Dragon was sailing just off the coast of the Bikini Islands. 100 miles east, the US Military detonated a bomb that was 1,300 times more destructive than the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Lucky Dragon was caught in the radiation path of the bomb and the fishermen aboard the ship suffered from severe radiation sickness. This incident opened “ I feel like music is changing up the eyes of the world to the dangers of in the same way it did when nuclear fallout and enpeople were first able to listen acted change throughout the globe to put to music in their homes.” more strict regula-
tions on the use of nuclear energy. Like their namesake, Lucky Dragons (Luke Fischbeck and Sara Anderson) have opened many eyes and ears to different ways of thinking and performing music and art throughout the world. Originally based in Providence, Rhode Island, Luke Fischbeck started Lucky Dragons as an idea for a group nine years ago. While living in Providence, Fischbeck met Sarah Anderson and they decided to move to Los Angeles together. Since then, Lucky Dragons have built up a name for themselves by performing spectacularly personal live shows that include a variety of home made instruments and a penchant for audience participation and also by releasing dizzying array of records and artwork. Each time Lucky Dragons perform they create new musical entities that only exist in that time and place, but those who experience it never forget it. On one night you could see Lucky Dragons playing on a stage by themselves, challenging you to listen in and get in on their vibes. However, on other nights you may find them with their equipment sprawled out on the floor and passing out their instruments to the crowd. The Lucky Dragons live show has become so popular that Fischbeck and Anderson have found themselves playing on the same bill as big name acts such as: Thom Yorke, Animal Collective and Gang Gang Dance--in venues as big as The Orpheum, The Henry Fonda and The El Rey. Lucky Dragons seem to be the one band that never lose touch with the ground, alternating between shows at big, legendary theaters and small, cozy curiosity shops, it’s no surprise then that Lucky Dragons have become something of celebrities within the Los Angeles music scene.
Fischbeck and Anderson are artists in every sense of the word. In addition to creating iconic and groundbreaking music, Lucky Dragons themselves are established artists and the founders of the international collaborative art collective, The Sumi Ink Club. The Sumi Ink Club has chapters all over the world, one in particular is made up of children. The Sumi Ink Club holdsmeetings in which everyone collaborates with each other to create new pieces, the results are some of the most intriguing art pieces you’ll find today (In fact, they are so intriguing that one of the Sumi Ink Club shirts was worn by a cast member on 90210). As well as the Sumi Ink Club, Anderson and Fischbeck host the internet art community known as Glaciers of Nice. Lucky Dragons also do the artwork for many of their friend’s albums, such as David Scott Stone’s newest 7”, which was designed to be gazed upon the entire time you listen to the record. They also do the artwork for their own records. Their China Town art studio is filled with completed works, works in progress and just plain work; the one thing that Lucky Dragons seem to never do is stop. The music that Lucky Dragons make is the reason they are loved most. With new records coming out constantly and their constant collaboration with new artists, it seems that Lucky Dragons get more and more respected as time goes on. Heavily inspired by the experimentalists of yore such as Terry Riley, Harry Partch and Yoko Ono; Lucky Dragon’s music takes on the elements of their influences ever so subtly, and genuinely creates something starkly beautiful and profoundly original.
ALBUM REVIEWS Text :
Amir Razmjou, Douglas Sweeney, Emily Hsiao, Marc Ramirez, Damanjit Lamba, Jack Heffron, Scott Mackie, Dmitriy Marchenko, Liam Crocker, Evan Adams, Mark Dodds, Alex Reddock, Josh McDermott, Scot Bowman
Class Actress Journal of Ardency Terrible Records Text : Scot Bowman
Elizabeth Harper has reinvented herself. Back in ‘04/’05 the Brooklyn based singer-songwriter gained critical acclaim with the release of her self-titled debut album - a soft-edged, pop-rock effort that drew comparisons to the likes of Heather Nova and Chrissie Hynde. Now five years later, she has transformed her act, with the help of producers/beatmakers Mark Richardson and Scott Rosenthal, into the electro-disco outfit Class Actress. What stands out most about Harper’s past work would certainly be her unique songwriting skills and her lofty, almost honey-like voice, which is thankfully not lost here. But with the release of the new five-track ep Journal of Ardency, the (now) trio plays with dreamy nightlife nostalgia, spaced out synth-pop and the fragile longing and heartbreak beneath the glamorous façade of a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Most of these songs could have easily been included in the background of late 80’s films like Less Than Zero or Bright Lights, Big City, both of which embody similar themes that are at work here - the often pain-addled high stakes of life under the disco ball and neon lights. If your instinct is to write the band off as just another 80’s knock-off, listen closer to the complex, but utterly romantic lyrics. From there, it’s an easy ride of cool-blue fluorescents and infectious hooks.
Charlotte Gainsbourg IRM Because Music Text : Liam Crocker
Charlotte Gainsbourg’s sophomore album, following her previous release 5:55 from 2000, was inspired by the whirring and clicking noises she experienced in an MRI after suffering from a cerebral hemmorhage. “Every time I was in that tube I thought it would make great music”, she says, “I could fall asleep in there”. This was very astute of her, as it perfectly describes the album. IRM was produced by Beck, and his mark on the creative process is very apparent here. The album’s sound is made distinct by its trudging drums and bass. The album is refreshing, thanks mostly to Gainsbourg’s airy vocals and intuitive but not overbearing use of sampling (Very Beck). Another very obvious influence in IRM is the senior Gainsbourg; songs like “Le Chat Du Café Des Artistes” and “La Collectionneuse” are very french avant-pop. The album switches between these two styles, and for the most part keeps the album refreshing, but not without hitting some hurdles along the way. The pace hits a lull around the middle – single “Heaven Can Wait” being an exception. The songs here are boring and low key, often unflatteringly characterised by repetitive or simply bland choruses. IRM is an album with very broad appeal. Beck’s masterful and immediately identifiable production certainly puts a spin on it that no other could. Though the album’s pacing is at times a rocky road, its has too many good songs to write off. The album sounds like the pair had a fun time making it, it really shows.
The Mercury Program Chez Viking Lovitt Records Text : Jack Heffron
The Mercury Program, natives of Gainesville, Florida, is one band unmoved by the orthodoxy of modern music. Although their music has been branded as ‘post-rock’ or ‘math-rock’, I think it is safe to say that this kind is unlike any ‘post-rock’ or ‘math-rock’ band we may know. Their ingenious mixture of delayed guitars, warm electric pianos, and driving percussions is one product of hypnotic grooviness. But each song is a bit different which makes listening to this group a most enjoyable experience. Their latest and greatest (in my opinion) album, Chez Viking contains more than enough for a friendly groove session or even reading music. Chez Viking is the ultimate example of Mercury Program’s masterful balance of Soothing and Attitude. The bands medium of these two are held together by the rhythmic patterns of the electric pianos, the intricate guitar melodies, and the imaginative drum patterns of Lebleu (drummer). Each song transitions seamlessly to another, making it a wholesome album without doubt. This music will be sure to keep you jammin’
The Oh Sees Dog Poison Captured Tracks Text : Amir Razmjou
John Dwyer is a sort of divine figure among today’s garage music. “Master’s Bedroom” and “Help” have become some of the most influential albums of 2008 and 2009, and Dwyer doesn’t seem to have any intent of slowing down now. When I bought “Dog Poison”, Dwyer described it as a collection of “overdriven sunny acoustic psych-pop songs”; which made it impossible to not indulge in. “Dog Poison” is nostalgic to older Oh Sees albums, such as “Cool Island Death Raiders” and “Sucks Blood”, in an intimacy sort of sense. You can hear Dwyer performing these songs with no formal front and giving it to you how it is, nothing more, nothing less. Dwyer recorded all the tracks on his own, and as if one drum track isn’t enough, he’s doubled the drum kit up on most of the songs. For some songs this adds a very unique powerful rhythmic touch, but for others it creates for an unnecessary sloppy layer of percussion. But like most other talented artists, you have to appreciate and praise dwyer for expanding his horizons, and giving you more tastes of his multidimentional musical talent. “River Rushes” revs up as powerful as any Oh Sees jam, surrounding you in layers of fuzz, drums, flute, and before you know it Dwyer yelling “Fuck over, and over, fuck them all over, fuck MD over” as you blankly stare with no care of this line making sense or not, it just works. Within those first 2:23, the themes for the entire album are laid out, dirty acoustic guitars, relentessly catchy vocals, and battling drums contained in a bubble of fuzz. “Sugar Boat” hits that “popbone” within every Oh Sees fan, and turns out to be one of the most accessible tracks of the album. When you hear “I love you, Let’s just be clear and true”, you start to remember the awkward and beautiful times with that first girlfriend, that innocence that seems to be impossible to achieve again, but still memorable with songs like this. “I Can’t Pay You To Dissappear” and “Dead energy” are the more energetic songs on the album, giving that reckless sort of feeling that everyone craves once in a while. On “Dead Energy”, Dwyer manages to create a catchy melody out of alien-like sounds as he whispers “eh eh eh eh eh eh oh ah”, followed by a perfect ending to the album. “It’s Nearly Over” fluidly eases you back down from all the highs and lows of the album. A simple beat, light flute, and a beautiful melody, and as all these sounds start to break apart, a perfect closer is created. Aside from limp tracks such as “Head of State” and “Voice In The Mirror”, all these tracks have the power to wow in one way or another. One of the less produced of Dwyer’s recent albums, but a solid addition to any garage enthusiast’s collection.
Taken By Trees East of Eden Rough Trade Text : Damanjit Lamba
Taken By Trees is the guise of Victoria Bergsman, former lead singer of The Concretes. She is also well known for lending her pipes to Peter Bjorn & John on their explosive single “Young Folks.” Her sophomore solo effort, East of Eden, has a surprisingly great eastern influence with the inclusion of rhythmic drums and eerily beautiful flutes. Bergsman actually recorded the album in Pakistan and collaborated with local musicians. Bergsman wanted to travel and record in uncharted territory away from the studio experience which she found crippling to her creativity. Her love for Pakistani music and the fact that her favourite musicians are Abida Parveen and the noted Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, made Pakistan a likely choice. The result is music that resonates deep into ones core thanks to Bergsman’s rich voice and soothing woodwind instruments. Bergsman’s voice is hypnotic as ever and the eastern melodies don’t hinder her voice at all but serve to highlight it’s beauty.
Real Estate Real Estate Woodsist Text : Liam Crocker
Real Estate’s self titled is really just a great album in the most basic sense of the word. There’s no pretense here. Each song is equally pleasing; similar in theme but made unique by just outstanding riffs. The album starts on a high note, ends on a high note, and after a few listens, opens itself up like a book to be re-listened to for years to come. Though Real Estate is no doubt a buzz band, and its sound is definitely keeping with blogging trends at the moment with its reverb-y and surf sound, the pure quality and simplicity of the album transcends this. This album will be remembered over similar buzz bands of recent. Many have adopted the surfy sound, but Real Estate’s music seems so much more authentic, helped mostly by their masterful songwriting. As I mentioned, Real Estate’s riffs are instantly memorable, and so are their lyrics. “Now I sell shit on the phone, ‘Cause I don’t want to live at home”, they sing. This is the kind of blue-collar songwriting the album uses very powerfully. Simplicity is the name of Real Estate’s game, both in its lyrics and arrangements. Blissful strums are definitely summery, but at the same time fit so well during winter as a sort of longing for spring to come. A truly great album can do this. It spans seasonal appeal, and Real Estate’s self titled album will span years of appeal and definitely be remembered.
The Drums Summertime! ep Twenty Seven Text : Damanjit Lamba
The Drums grew out of a handful of bands that lead singer Jonathan Pierce dabbled in during his teen years in Florida. After becoming disillusioned with the music industry, Pierce decided to take a few years off from writing music in 2005. In late 2008, he teamed up with childhood friend, Jacob Graham, and the two shifted their focus from synthesizers to guitars, giving way to the creation of The Drums. The duo moved to New York in 2009 and brought aboard Adam Kessler on second guitar and Connor Hanwick on drums. Word of mouth served to spread their name throughout New York and helped them become a mainstay of the NY music scene. The direction of The Drums’ music is summed up quite nicely by the band’s statement on their website: “We only write about two feelings: one is the first day of summer when you and all of your friends are standing on the edge of a cliff watching the sun set and being overcome with all of your hopes and dreams at once. The other is when you’re walking alone in the rain and realize you will be alone forever.” This tone is furthered by Pierce’s voice that is akin to The Cure’s Robert Smith and encapsulates the innocence and heightened awareness of teen years. During adolescence, the stakes for things that seem silly to adults really do feel like life and death and Pierce’s yearning voice captures this impression perfectly. The songs permeate with nostalgia and include handclaps and whistling which prove to be a staple throughout the album. Former Dior Homme helmer, Hedi Slimane, has also shown an interest in The Drums as he exclaimed “I love The Drums” on his website and posted a black and white photo set of the band. And who can blame Hedi? The Drums ooze a sense of familiarity while simultaneously maintaining a freshness that I haven’t witnessed in a what feels like forever. Standout songs on their Summertime! EP include “Let’s Go Surfing” which juxtaposes new wave sounds with sweet lyrics that urge listeners to drop what they’re doing and run to the beach. “Make You Mine” recounts the woes of young love with a melodic harmony and backup vocals provided by young children. “I Felt Stupid” is a pop sensation in the vein of New Order with it’s contagious chorus that is sure to get you dancing regardless of Pierce’s lyrics that tell a tale of heartbreak.
Dead Man’s Bones Dead Man’s Bones ANTIText : Mark Dodds
Take little of vaudeville, a little carnival-esque creep, put it masterfully together with some Children of the Corn action by LA’s Silver Lake Conservatory Children’s Choir, stir those shaky vocals in a vat Poe’s inner demon and you have Dead Man’s Bones. Dead Man’s Bones is a concept album created by actor, middle-age divorcée, and heartthrob Ryan Gosling along with his bestie, Zach Sheilds. The nuance of doo-wop and the thrill of late night cemetery parties makes this album’s tunes big shoes to fill for fresh sounds and smoke filled bar talk.
Blakroc Blakroc Blakroc Text : Dmitriy Marchenko
Its only right, since rap itself is an evolution of ‘talking blues’, that one of the biggest blues bands, The Black Keys, hooked up with a slew of rappers and create the most refreshing hip-hop record in years. “Blakroc” mixes the perfect mix of drums and percussion instruments played by Patrick Carney, combined with the multifarious use of the guitar by singer/songwriter Dan Auerbach. Dame Dash, himself a huge fan of The Black Keys, oversees the record recruiting Mos Def, RZA, Pharoahe Monch, Raekwon, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Ludacris, Q-Tip, Billy Danze of M.O.P, Jim Jones, NOE and singer Nicole Wray. Dan himself lays down vocals, singing the eerie vocals on “Hard Times”, the soulful chorus on “Dollaz & Sense”, melodic ‘la la la’s’ that compliments Mos Def’s singing on “Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)”, and splits time with the talented Wray on “What You Do To Me”. The musical talents and creativity of The Black Keys places a perfect asphalt for the all-star rap cast to traverse. The bass is deep, the music hard, atmospheric, layered, and the perfect balance of guitar, percussion and keys. Most importantly it avoids sounding too ‘studio’ as so many rap albums tend to these days. The lowest points are Jim Jones, whose voice should never touch a mic and NOE sounding too much like Jay-Z. Other than that, Nicole Wray sounds more soulful than any R&B singer I’ve heard in a while, Ol’ Dirty is always amazing (dead or alive), the Wu-crew is always on point, Mos Def shows why he’s probably the best singer/rapper (other than Andre 3000), and Q-Tip is a legend. The 11 tracks are a perfect length, no filler to have to press the ‘next’ button, and enough variety to keep one listening through with pleasure. Ultimately, I would take any of the seven Black Keys albums over this one, but that neither here nor there. This album makes its own stand, separating itself from the unlistenable rap-rock of the 90s (Limp Biscuit?) and really lays a floor down on the possibilities of what a hip-hop album could sound like with a band, (musically surpassing genre innovators such as The Roots). “Blakroc” is a good album, and a great rap album, one that in my opinion is long overdue in the landscape of the terrible hip-hop of the 21st century. Deerhunter Carve Your Initials Into the Wall of the Night Notown Sound Text : Douglas Sweeney
The long lost, legendary noise album Carve Your Initials Into the Wall of the Night by Georgia dream-pop-rockers, Deerhunter; was finally released via Bradford Cox’s blog [deerhuntertheband.blogspot]. In a year of profound breakthroughs [Logos, Rainwater Cassette Exchange] and more public exposure than ever before, Cox’s decision to release this murky, cavernous noise album after years of being out of print seems incredibly bad-ass of him and really, really good for us Deerhunter fans. Cox and Moses are heard here during their self-described “tape-phase” in which they would play as a duo, implementing the use of vocal loops and tape-machines. The ten tracks of sonic experimentation offer a rare look into the early days of Deerhunter, who much like their friends Animal Collective (who also released some old noise recordings in 2009), started out as a noise band. To see Bradford Cox’s time-line of development through sound is astounding and makes you appreciate the recordings all the much more. Drawing from much influence from the godfathers of tape-experimentation, Renaldo & The Loaf, Carve Your Initials Into the Wall of the Night is in turns exhilarating and profoundly confusing upon first listen. Every sonic detail seems so meticulously placed and yet at the same time seems so haphazard and spontaneous. The only insight we receive is after the starting three tracks of pulsating noise reverberations, Bradford offers us some advice by saying, “just don’t take yourself too seriously” and then jumps into a seemingly self-deprecating if not totally ironic MIDI dance jam (“But, I’m a Boy”). Thus is the essence of Deerhunter.
Memory Tapes Seek Magic Sincerely Yours / Acéphale / Something in Construction Text : Evan Adams
Dayve Hawk, the man behind Memory Tapes, appears to love New Order. He also seems to be drawn to acts such as Cut Copy, the Rapture, and Hercules and Love Affair. With this in mind, it would be fairly easy to call Memory Tapes’ debut LP just another hipster, 80’s inspired dance record. However, such a hasty generalization is problematic when one considers the disparate (and odd) assortment of sounds illustrated on “Seek Magic”: crickets, barking dogs, indistinct noises from a gym floor, etc. I should mention upfront, then, that “Seek Magic” requires repeated listens. It is not simple or predictable. Rather, it is a complex arrangement of seemingly disjointed yet entirely cohesive tracks. It is clear early on that “Seek Magic” aims to challenge the sounds that conventionally define dance music. As if to foreshadow subsequent tracks and the album in general, opener “Swimming Field” goes in one direction but changes its course drastically before ending. It begins and continues for a while as a relaxed, almost repetitive type of “chillwave”, but toward its conclusion a surprising burst of driving percussion transforms the sound completely. The rest of the album, too, combines various music styles successfully, and that is perhaps its greatest strength. Arguably the album’s best track, “Graphics” is the strongest and most curious amalgamation of sounds. Some of dance music’s best features are represented here: house or techno inspired verses, quintessentially 80’s pop choruses, and danceable yet extremely powerful drone breakdowns that seem to deconstruct the piece entirely (ala Fuck Buttons, HEALTH, etc.). In showcasing these diverse styles, Hawk is not subtle with his influences. The work is not derivative, however. One can trace his influences, but he uses them to create a unique sound and supplement his own vision. “Bicycle” highlights New Order guitar and Duran Duran bass, but these elements are only parts of a wholly unique, multi-layered blend of harmonies and disco and club beats. Interestingly, “Plain Material” sounds a lot like Passion Pit’s playfulness during the choruses (if they can be called “choruses”), but that dance-pop sensibility is juxtaposed with a surprisingly straightforward guitar and vocal delivery. Such unusual combinations usually do not work or at least seemed forced. “Seek Magic”, on the other hand, works very well. This is not a perfect album, but it is a refreshing collection during a year saturated musically with so much of the same. Again, many of these overdone dance techniques are noticeably present on “Seek Magic”, but they are combined unconventionally – in seemingly unrelated ways. More importantly, such unusual arrangements work so well because they advance Hawk’s unique and exciting approach to dance pop. His influences are evident, but his own distinct ability to create both fun and striking arrangements is what underlies the entire record.
Washed Out Life Of Leisure EP Mexican Summer Text : Evan Adams
Dream-pop. Chillwave. Whatever you want to call it, this has been the year for lo-fi, 80’s inspired, and incredibly catchy music. Washed Out, the aptly chosen pseudonym for former South Carolinian Ernest Greene, is yet another artist who has transformed traditional electronic music into dreamy pop that sounds both new and old at the same time (i.e., Toro Y Moi, Neon Indian, Nite Jewel, etc.). However, on his EP – “Life of Leisure” – Greene establishes a voice that will most likely resonate long after this musical trend fades. The record can certainly be enjoyable on a “chillwave” or “dream-pop” basis, but its pop underpinnings – arresting hooks, impressive and consistent harmonies, relatable lyrics of longing, etc. – are remarkably unique, or at the very least just damn good, setting Washed Out apart from his numerous contemporaries. Tracks like “Feel It All Around” and “New Theory”, for instance, are indeed dreamy, but they are also solid pieces of music that are powerful and accessible from beginning to end. That is, Greene’s techniques here are not novelties: the effects of his songs are not contingent upon elements related to musical fads, nor are they unnecessarily dense and cumbersome to prove his distinct prowess. The driving beats and beautifully vague harmonies of album highlight “You’ll See It” illustrate Washed Out’s current sound best. The track reveals a playful sound that exploits or at least makes use of the recent fascination with retro dream-pop, but it is so infectious, stunning, and surprisingly haunting that one cannot help but notice that Greene is in a league of his own. “Life of Leisure” is also evidence that he has room to mature and develop his sound, but unlike some musicians, I am actually interested in watching him grow.
Tan Dollar Your Body As A Temple Life’s Blood / Mirror Universe Text : Douglas Sweeney
Originally a Beefheart-loving avant-garde/noise troupe born out of their Orange County boredom, Tan Dollar (Currently: Liz Suh, “Lil” Chris Balingit and Chris Thorne) now make some of the best noise-pop available in this day and age. In a sea of noisesities and reverbed-out pop groups, Tan Dollar are a lung capacity of fresh air. Playing a dizzying array of shows throughout 2009 and the beginning of 2010 (including two tours), Liz and the boys have developed a name for themselves through their implement of dueling keyboards and live drumming. They have teamed up with their friend and frequent collaborator Paul Rosales (aka Wonder Wheel) to record their new full-length CD, Your Body As a Temple [2010; Mirror Universe/Life’s Blood]. The songs 13 on YBAAT are some of the most endearing and catchy pop tunes this side of Power 105.9. Starting with the anthemic “LC’s Choice”, YBAAT will lead you on a journey into the depths of pop-music experimentation and the result will leave you hooked. Much like their Mirror Universe label mates, Tan Dollar show they have an ear for melody and aren’t afraid to use it to their advantage. While most noise-pop groups have a certain air of sunshine and 60’s pop mentality to them, Tan Dollar replace that feeling of nostaglia with joyous winter sound-scapes (“Ice Palace”) and a futuristic feel that is no doubt going to catch on. However, you shouldn’t expect the ever-indifferent Tan Dollar to exactly look back on this breakthrough record with much schmaltz, they are reportedly already working on new songs that will be different from Your Body As a Temple in every way.
Memoryhouse The Years EP Arcade Sound Ltd Text : Scott Mackie
Last week I was subjected to the most exquisitely torturous experience in recent memory: a depression-related bout of insomnia that featured as its soundtrack that would not stop, Memoryhouse’s “Lately,” whose opening line fittingly states, “Lately, I’m not sleeping.” Also highly appropriate and similarly torturous was the second verse: “Lately, my heart’s been breaking, my heart’s been breaking, through the seams,” since the source of a whole lot of heartbreak was sleeping nearby. Memoryhouse is a self-described “bedroom recording project of a neo-classical composer and a photographer.” The composer, Evan, and Denise, the photographer, live near Toronto, and have released a couple of things in the past month: a self-titled single on the fabulous French net-label: www.beko-dsl.com, which features a version of “Lately,” and an EP, The Years, which is also available for free from another highly fabulous net-label, Arcade Sound Ltd (www. arcadesoundltd.com: who have also released Millionyoung’s two EP’s). A couple more releases are forthcoming: Looms of Youth, a 7-song EP, on cassette through Arcade Sound, ca. Spring 2010, and a 7 inch with “To the Lighthouse,” and “Bonfire,” to be released by Evident. Their best song, the aforementioned source of pleasure and pain, “Lately,” can be found in two different versions. The most widely circulating version, entitled: “Lately (Deuxieme),” adds a subtle and half-hearted beat beneath an arpeggiating guitar figure and lo-fi synth emo-swells that carry the song from beginning to end. The song starts with the sound of a cassette being inserted into a vintage CS player, and the “play” button being hit. This imagery then carries over impressionistically into the vocal production, which is deliberately warbly, achieving the effect of a stretched and warped cassette. This aching and warped vocal is often joined by a reverbed guitar, playing a single note melody in unison with the vocal, heightening the emotional effect. The song closes with the music receiving the same warped cassette impressionistic treatment. The parent version of “Lately” is the better of the two, with a much faster tempo and slightly less lo-fi production (hi-fi?). The vocals are more direct and the “cassette impressionism” is absent. It is not as easy to find, but every bit worth the effort.
Curse Ov Dialect Crisis Tales Staubgold Text : Josh McDermott
Crisis Tales is the most recent release from Australian post-hip hoppers Curse of Dialect, coming hot on the heals of (not really) 2006s Wooden Tongues. Shunning the typical misogynistic homophobic semi-Nationalistic type of hip-hop endemic to Australia, Curse ov Dialect’s Crisis Tales is a highly original brand of post-hip hop that is essentially without comparison in contemporary circles. In terms of lyricism, Crisis Tales sounds a little like Paul’s Boutique-era Beastie Boys, delivered with a more contemporary Beastie Boys subject matter, in that Crisis Tales is lacking lyrics concerning dogging your missus, and her being “a doofus” etc, instead tending toward Public Enemy style politics. Such is the intellectual quotient of a typical Crisis Tales track that at times you feel as if you are being lectured to. At the same time however, there is the track called ‘85 Percent’ claiming “85% of us are totally ignorant”… so maybe this intellectualising is lost on all but a small proportion of the audience. Interestingly, one of the members of Curse claims he studied sociology “just so I could write better lyrics,” which must count amongst the only useful applications of studies in this field ever (I jest), but also serves to provide an idea of the level of soft-core academia you are in for with Crisis Tales. Themes of race and identity abound on Crisis Tales. The first “Identity” features the excellent lyric “curry and rice not bangas and mash”. “Aegean Ghosts” features “gems” such as “modern Greeks are a 19th century creation a fabrication of the philhellene imagination” amongst a thesis about… something — civil war, hellinism, repatriation, decapitation, drinking castor oil — all in there. Be warned, do incorporate controversial issues involving Greco-Macedonian affairs into their rhymes. Overall, there is an interesting sound to Crisis Tales, which features plenty of experimentation and 1 million samples. Obscure instrumentation abounds, with late-80s game show sounding music featuring in “Paradigm”, inter-spliced with subcontinental sounding chants as backing vocals. “Draindrops” is largely in Japanese by MC Kaigen, something along the lines of “bard of the currency and financial sector distant galaxy,” if the Google translation is to be trusted, which I am sure it cannot (context etc). The track also features several minutes of split channel vocals, performed by the same guy at the same time, which is impressive and disorienting. Rounding out the album is the 11 minute, 7000 MC containing opus “Colossus,” which is just absurd but seems to work. All of this experimentation and innovation is carried out across the entire album, and all of it is occurring at breakneck pace such that it sounds as if it would be impossible to replicate, but given the massive gap between this and the last album, it is the result of intensive concentration and several parts magic. All in all, Crisis Tales is a solid effort.
Yeasayer Odd Blood Secretly Canadian Text : Alex Reddock
The Brooklyn experimental art rockers recorded their sophomore effort in upstate New York, notably renting a house in Woodstock formerly owned by Peter Gabriel’s drummer in order to build a studio in an environment leaking with inspiration. On first listen, it is evident that the band wanted to combine several influences and create an exciting and complex twist on today’s pop, drowning the tracks with arresting hooks and decorating them with psychedelic electronics; however, it takes several listens to realize the collective ambition of Chris Keating, Ira Wolf-Tuton and Anand Wilder in its stimulating and imaginative splendour. ‘Odd Blood’ opens with industrial crunch, radically distorting a melodic array of pianos, synths and thumping bassline that provides an idyllic introduction for the glorious title track, ‘Ambling Alp’, a more conventional poppy bounce with flawless percussion and a wildly catchy chorus. The vocals are more straight than the three-part harmonies that captivated the listeners of their debut, ‘All Hour Cymbals’, yet the polyrhythms stand out in a thunderous and memorable fashion. The remainder of the first half of the record presents orchestrated ballads of troubled romance, with the unforgettable poetry through Keating’s wailing falsetto in ‘I Remember’ and the lyrical paranoia of ‘Love Me Girl’ – a synthesised funk groove which lures the listener into a raving vibe, only to break down into a plea for attention, in which Keating questions in fear: “what is she covering up, what is she lying about?” The intricacy with which this beat is constructed affords a convulsing impulse, making this track one of the most danceable stand-outs. The pace heightens with tracks in the second half, eccentrically delving into the trio’s more experimental and indulgent persona. If tracks such as the enchanting ‘2080’ from their first record yearned enough to be from the future, then the band’s desire to create a sound that belongs to themselves and distinctly define futuristic music has been accomplished with this sonically-magnificent record. Yeasayer - eager to discover more about life following their worldly and folksy debut - clearly focused on developing their song writing techniques and the production of their music, manufacturing a pleasurable, yet indefatigable catharsis of love and adrenaline, garnished in atmospheric passion and relentless ambience. Their ultimate aim to clearly distinguish the transformation of the studio efforts to the live stage offers great anticipation for their impending colossal world tour following this radiantly sentimental record, a proclamation of the sound of this new decade.
Beach House Teen Dream Subpop Text : Marc Ramirez
Dream pop to me has to go down as one of the most under appreciated music genres that exists today. I’m sure everyone has had an encounter with this genre with one way or another. Cocteau Twins were kinda of the birth givers of this genre with they’re soothing meoldies and dreamy vocals. Dream pop reached the peak of its popularity when LA based musicians Mazzy Star came out with a song called “Fade Into You” which took over the airwaves and was declared a hit song. Now, we venture past the 90’s and arrive to a Baltimore based duo known as Beach House. 2009 paved the way for these musicians as their popularity soared through the sky and exploded into the internet heavens. After becoming a SXSW breakthrough artist they gained so much notability upon the blogosphere as well as critics. Their vocalist was even invited to do vocals with Grizzly Bear on a track for the Twilight movie “New Moon” as well tour with them. Beach House is a dream pop duo consisting of Victoria Legrand (vocals, organ) and Alex Scally (guitar, keyboards). The two grow up together collectively making music together their entire lives. To this day they’ve released 2 albums. Their self titled which was released in 2006 and their sophomore album “Devotion” which was released in 2008. They have a third album known as Teen Dream. Teen Dream, although not officially released, leaked on the internet in November of 2009. This album had a slated street date for January 26th, 2009. It takes a lot of effort to overcome the greatness of a sophomoric album. But, in this case Beach House took great strides and making this album a lot more of a stronger album than their first two. In Teen Dream you can really tell where the dream pop influence takes over their sound. “Zebra” starts off the album with Alex Scally writing a simple yet. entrancing guitar melodies and leads into Victoria’s calming words. The next three tracks really show off the range of Victoria Legrand’s vocals and how Beach House can set the “dream like atmosphere.” With “Silver Soul” and “Walk In The Park” the Cocteau Twins influence is really obvious and rivals Elizabeth Fraser. “Norway” which is the official single for this album is much like “Gila” with its chorus by extending out the last syllable of its title. Internet speculations seem to gather that “Walk In The Park” is the “best song” from the album. Although, it is a huge stand out for album. What really catches listeners more so than the voice is the hypnotizing melodies, organs, and keys in this song and the lyrical story telling of the track. As the rest of the album progresses onward, Beach House takes the dream pop formula and applies to each masterpiece of music. The closing track of the album “Take Care” couldn’t have been better. What is really taken in consideration for this album is the isolation Beach House took with themselves to make this as “perfect” as can be. Here, you can listen to all the potential Victoria Legrand that is shown off as well a great blend of mellow percussion and sooth-flowing organs.
These New Puritans Hidden Domino Text : Damanjit Lamba
These New Puritans have created an album that others will be hard-pressed to imitate. Their influences are vast and include rhythmic dancehall, 20th century post-minimalism, and English Renaissance composers. Dave Cooley (J Dilla, MF Doom) mixed the album and the band used unconventional recording techniques to create one of a kind sounds. Methods include recording the sound of chains wrapped around feet and using a hammer to smash a melon with cream crackers attached to stimulate the sound of a human head being crushed. It is because of this innovative approach that certain musical measurements stand out not because of musical content, but sound content. For instance, “Attack Music” stands out for utilizing the sound of swords being drawn. Their choice to introduce brass and woodwind instruments shouldn’t lead you to believe that this album is calm in any way. Lead singer Jack Barnett finds it “embarrassing” when bands use classical instrumentation to make their music sound anthemic. They’ve turned this concept on its head by using wood and brass instruments to create more unevenness within their music. Even in songs where orchestral music dominates, there is something off. They are harsh, spooky and when the instruments make their mark in fast-paced song such as “Drum Courts – Where Corals Lie” one is well aware that every moment of stasis is merely temporary and sub-heavy beats are going to takeover any second. It may sound like this album is all over the place but the band has painstakingly pieced together the songs in such a way that each component of the compositions can seem surprising but at the same time sound so right. “We Want War” is the first single off Hidden and rightly so. It is a signifier of what These New Puritan’s album strives to achieve. That being, juxtaposing various influences and musical styles in a way that makes you question why they’ve never been fused in such a way before. A bass drum resounding in your ear and a dark voice intoning the phrase “we want war” frightens at the song’s commencement. The first part of the song contains a resounding abruptness with a bass pounding at your eardrums every few seconds. Horns signal the arrival of the second part which is dominated by children’s choral-music. Their angelic voices coupled with dark and menacing piano tones and Jack’s strained voice result in an unimaginably strong feeling of unease. “Three Thousand” follows with a pronounced drum beat to die for. A low bass snarls in the background while harrowing synths sound like they could perfectly accompany an early classical film scene of a villain preying on his next victim. Their songs are either downbeat or a full frontal attack on your senses. “White Chords” is able to balance these two aspects as it is rhythmically driven and maintains paced vocals. There is also a pronounced combative theme throughout the album. This is seen in pieces such as “Attack Music” and “Fire Power” which are mind attacks that relentlessly beat drums. With the closer “5” we see These New Puritans letting go of their abruptness with beautiful wind instruments, children’s choir music, and Jack’s barely discernable voice that hides behind a heavy bassoon. Even though it lacks the chaos present throughout most of the album, this song seems to have a mind of its own as it goes through highs and lows where the music either rebels against any set form or complies and settles down. These New Puritans are messing with all of us with a sophomore album that incites musical distress. But what none of us knew was just how good distress could sound.
OOIOO Armonico Hewa Thrill Jockey Text : Emily Hsiao
Whenever I listen to OOIOO, there is always an internal struggle within me. Why exactly do I like these ladies so much, I ask myself. What is it about their piercing shrieks and indecipherable words that I find so appealing? I quickly realize, however, that while OOIOO can be slightly unconventional (read: weird as hell), the music has movement, life, driving rhythms, and above all, really killer female harmonies. Armonico Hewa is the sixth release from this all-girl Japanese experimental group, led by Yoshimi P-We of Boredoms. Similar to their previous albums, Armonico Hewa offers jubilant melodies, intricate percussion, and playful vocals and wordplay. Listeners are brought into the magical world of OOIOO, where things don’t have to make sense—an entire song can sound like birdcalls, and words with any real meaning are thrown out the window. There is a moment of clarity in “Ulda.” Amidst washes of synth and a gently plodding percussive beat, Yoshimi sings (in English!), “I don’t know what I’m going to say” before she continues with lyrics that may or may not be in English or even words at all. It is seriously the only time in the entire album that listeners understand the “lyrics.” All other times, Yoshimi and her girl gang break into their chants, yelps, and vocal chirps as they are wont to do. “Polacca” is a nearly 8-minute funk-jam that is the sound of utter, unbridled joy. Album closer “Honki Ponki”— while starting off sounding frighteningly similar to that terrible Ying Yang Twins Whisper song—develops into its own little uplifting Oriental-sounding groove. The ladies of OOIOO are pushing the limits of music today, while still offering a highly enjoyable listening experience. With Armonico Hewa, they continue to show that their brand of psychedelic sound experimentation is not necessarily meant to be understood, but that it is instead an experience meant to be accepted, felt and shared. It really is a beautiful thing.
Text : Lindsay Peters Photography : Brian Vu
Welcom Hunters Presents Project White T-shirt
Participating Designers: 8045 A Bug Collection /Doktor Doktor Aftur A’N’D Andrea Crews Anntian bruno Pieters.
c.neeon complex geometries Créature de Keis Daniel Palillo Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair Harald Lunde Helgesen Iris Loeffler Jean//Phillip
Jerell Scott Julian Louie Kling by Kling Kostas Murkudis Kumiko Watari Manifeste Mundi Narelle Dore
Pelican Avenue Sankuanz Siv Støldal Slow and Steady Wins the Race Skyward Triple-Major Unholy Matrimony White Tent
Welcome Hunters hosted Project White T-shirt at their store in Chinatown recently. It brought together the talents of 31 designers from 13 countries in an explosion of creativity to an otherwise conventional and solely functional form. Each designer was given a plain white tee and asked to redesign and redefine its look, feel, or role in the realm of fashion. The designers included: Fifth Avenue Shoe Repair, Unholy Matrimony, Jarell Scott of Project Runway fame, and Daniel Pallilo to name just a few. On display were neck pieces, a t shirt shape framed by none other than the said t-shirt, and a huge shirt covered in white marshmallows. In one night the very definition of a stark white shirt was transformed and completely knocked off its feet. Curated by Triple-Major and in support of Designers Against Aids this exhibition was an awe inspiring look on how easily the artistic mind can rearrange and transcend the limits of anything and everything.
Text : Ilya Sandomirsky Photography : Nate Miller
The FMLY FMLY FEST
Participating Designers: Day 1: Timothy Rabbit Koalacaust Head Hunters Meho Plaza Kid Infinity
Insects vs. Robots THINGS Wampire/ASS Presstones Dnon Kong
Day 2: DJDT Evan Voytas Geoff Geis Hank May Active Child
Apple Orange Philip Seymour Hoffman Jules Verne The Magic Johnson The Mayfly Dance
Fmly fest took place December 27th and 28th, approaching the death of the decade, and it was a festival worthy of the title. The recently birthed venue, 5011/McWorld, held the festival, played by bands which had appeared at fmly events previously. Among the music, fans brought the venue an almost surreal atmosphere full of cuddle puddles, tents, all sorts of costumes, lights, and dances. The two days were bridged by a sleepover at the warehouse, taken advantage of by orange county refugees like myself.
Fashion… / 10
Welcome Hunters welcomehuntersla.com
Photography… / 66
Clayton Cotterell claytoncotterell.com
Nicholas McElroy nhmcelroy.com
Jean Jullien jeanjullien.com
Lang / Baumann langbaumann.com
/ 20 Meyoko meyoko.com
Design… / 90
My Amenity myamenity.de
Elisa Strozyk elisastrozyk.de
Music… / 100
Bobby Birdman bobbybirdman.com
Foot Ox myspace.com/footox
Former Ghosts formerghosts.com
/ 112 Lucky Dragons hawksandsparrows.org
Events… / 138 The FMLY thefmly.com
Second The Best! www.wearerebels.com