This Friday, we’re juiced to bring you a collaborative, 12-artist group show at Grid Gallery, in the heart of Oakland. Featuring pieces from Kool AD, Ian Flanigan, Aris Jerome, Danielle Schnur, OnTask Family, and more, “Feels” brings together great work from some incredible folks. Gallery opens at 7 PM.
In the ’90s, East Oakland’s Phunky Phat Graph-X created iconic album artwork for luminaries like E-40, Master P, and Nickatina, in staggering volume. As the iced-out aesthetic of Pen & Pixel’s high profile Cash Money covers resurfaces, Ben D-L takes a moment to appreciate their lesser known design predecessors.
Much love to the folks that ventured out to the first Wine & Bowties of the Spring. To Tap 10, Starter Kit, Jay Casio and Yung_smh thank you for blessing us with your tunes. Consider it the first HNRL + TT6 + DRGN + W&B collab. Friday got weird but we live to tell to about it through pictures and words.
One cold night in New York, our very own Amanda Gayle ventured out to Vector Gallery, JJ Brine’s ecstatic posthuman pop art gallery. In her feature, Amanda ruminates on the value of art after a night of fake blood rituals and dead baby dolls.
February marked the first installment in our nascent discussion series, Talks, where we opened up a conversation about creativity and entrepreneurship. For the inaugural, we called on a superstar cast of young creatives: Cre8tive Class founder Daghe, photographer Lauren Crew, MC and visual artist Queens D. Light, Oakland Surf Club’s Max Klineman, and Flavourhood’s Japheth Gonzalez.
After perusing a handful of reviews from other folks–music journalism blasphemy, I know–there seems to a relative consensus about Flying Lotus’ latest, Until the Quiet Comes, at least as far as comparisons to 2010′s Cosmogramma go. Cosmogramma was of course, a towering, impossibly dense album. It was even, for much of the time, complete sonic chaos. There were ping pong balls and Sun Ra cosmic jazz voyages, clicks and pops, mechanical noise and ornate harps. Here was the scattershot product of an immense imagination, something that simply couldn’t have wiggled its strange way out of anybody else’s skull. Now granted, Until the Quiet Comes is a different record, less busy, and certainly at least a touch more conventional. And yet, it’s worth taking into account that in virtually every other respect, it fits the very same descriptions pretty well.
On the surface, the communist era in Poland proved unkind to the arts. As the international theater and film emerged between the 1960s and ’70s in Poland, accompanying visuals were created in the form of movie posters and promotional material to market the works. Yet while many of these posters served to promote the films to a wider audience, the state-controlled film and theater institutions saw most of those promotional materials as subversive and incendiary. As a result, the government commissioned Polish artists to re-do the works in hopes of creating more “tasteful” advertisements for upcoming plays and films.
Fortunately, the results were actually astounding. Vibrant posters were created by famed Polish artists from the likes of Wiktor Gorka to Waldemar Swierzy. Oftentimes hardly resembling the films they were advertising, the recreated posters embodied a more carefree, abstract nature, which over time helped to establish Polish poster design internationally. Collected by vintage film aficionados Eye Sea Posters, these images provide a window into the past through the work of some of Poland’s most revered artists.
Let’s take a brief moment to recap here. I believe it was Halloween of last year when LiveLoveA$AP descended upon us, fresh out of the post-“Peso” haze. Roughly a year later, well, things have changed. Clothes have indeed gotten weirder, and money longer. Alexander Wang and Rihanna are on speed dial. Festivals have been rocked and foreign countries frequented. Shit, he may have even gotten his hands on an original Danielle Schnur or two. And now, with Halloween 2012 around the corner, it appears he has a bona fide hit single in his hands, complete with the obligatory 2 Chainz cameo, which, miraculously and thankfully, is limited to a punchline-free hook.
In all seriousness though, this one is major, and not just because of the illustrious lineup. Leave it to 40 to lace up some R&B-inflected slap, equal parts atmospheric and whip-ready. If “Problem doesn’t offer much in the subtlety department, it’s a monster on plenty of other fronts. If you didn’t already hear this one over the weekend in one function or another, expect to soon. LONGLIVEA$AP is due out shortly, and on a related note, it won’t be the only great rap album to drop this month. But we’ll get to Kendrick later this week.
In many ways Adrien Sauvage is an enigma. A keen sense of style, coupled with modernist sensibilities spawned his most celebrated work to date in the form of his 2011 cinematic short, This Is Not A Suit. With time spent as a personal stylist following his stint as an English international basketball player, at 29, it seems as though the Ghanaian born Sauvage continues to evolve with the times. Following up his creative efforts with his most recent piece aptly titled The Student, the film again finds Suavage in the director’s chair, expertly detailing the intricacies of his “Dress Easy” mantra. Simple yet effective, The Student offers another glimpse into the ever evolving mind of Sauvage, while also offering a subtle reminder for us all to step our sartorial game up.
There’s a lot about Ryan Hemsworth’s music that feels pretty damn timely, and I suppose part of that has to do with the fact that his sound already seems to have subtly crept its way into the consciousness of a lot of tastemakers. Somewhere between the late-night glow of Montreal’s dance music scene, the atmospheric cloud-rap haze of co-conspirators Main Attrakionz, and the cross-continental barrage of trap lies Hemsworth’s music, an adventurous, entirely of-the-moment fusion all the above and more.
FACT, being the excellent tastemakers they are, recruited Hemsworth for the latest installment of their consistently on-point mix series, giving us the chance to peak inside the musical mind of Halifax’s finest, where a who’s-who of The FADER’s favorite rappers weave their way around deep, swirling masses of emotional R&B ambiance, and a handful of electronic music’s most forward-thinking compositions, his own included, set the mood and keep things equal parts dazed and danceable. Highlights include some Basedgod, Frank Ocean and Danny Brown remix rarities, Hemsworth originals, and an absolute jam from Young Giftz, who apparently, I’ve been sleeping on tough. Keep an eye on Ryan. You’ll probably be hearing his name again soon. Tracklist after the MORE.
By now, I feel like we’ve all got to be pretty familiar with the work of Ryan McGinley. Now more than a decade removed from his early days documenting the young and the hip on the Lower East Side, McGinley’s built up an illustrious set of achievements and accolades, and more specifically over the last few years, honed in on his own unique vision and stylistic and thematic hallmarks. Youth, nudity, freedom, wildness–McGinley’s work tends to pair almost unnaturally vivid color with a certain level of spontaneity, so even as shots are carefully designed to some degree, they still teem with the kind of energy that’s impossible to stage.
Most of the work McGinley’s shown recently, including these shots from his recent Tokyo show Reach Out, I’m Right Here, revolves around summer months spent road tripping, setting the stage for two distinct collections of images. Both, naturally enough, feature nude models, though the setting and the relationship of those models to nature differ. Some images, which formed the bulk of Animals, find their subjects mingling with a strange selection of creatures, culled from a handful of zoos or wildlife sanctuaries across the country. Others, in typical McGinley fashion, feature naked bodies in motion, turning wide open, natural space into a liberated playground. I know I’m not the only one waiting to see what he does next, but for now, we’ve got these to meditate on.
I think why I like Main Attrakionz so much has a lot to with how honest their music is. You won’t catch Squadda Bambino or Mondre M.A.N. talking in cliches about bitches and racks. They’re quick to let those who are really listening know that they’ve been just as lonely, broke, and desperate as the next man, and what’s more, they’ve stuck together through it all. With extremely regionalized tracks like “72 Bus Stop” and “Ice Nites”, it seemed unlikely that the pair would become the blog favorites that they have become. But it’s the perfectly relatable fusion of post-hyphy slap and etherial left-field sampling production that has the self-proclaimed “best duo ever” on the verge of becoming more than just a couple of lovable local oddballs.
The visuals for the first single off their upcoming Bossilinis & Fooliyones album finds Mondre and Squadda alongside impressive San Francisco up-and-comer DaVinci in a variety of recognizable Bay Area locations. The duo look just as comfortable on camera as they sound on the Harry Fraud-produced track, breaking new ground while retaining their goofy swagger. There’s that same sense that these two have come a long way together, but they’re not nearly done progressing. The last shot of the video kind of sums it up for me: the ingredients are all familiar, but they manage to take it to a new place altogether. Bossilinis & Fooliyones comes out October 23rd on Young Ones. Stream the entire album now via FADER.
“Well you know, (enter a high number over 75) percent of communication is non-verbal.” It’s a fun fact we’ve tossed around for years, but is there any truth in it? Albert Mehrabian, the famed UCLA psychology professor is known for coining the theory of 7, 38 and 55; the theory stating that 55% of communication is through body language, while 38% is communicated through one’s tone of voice, and only 7% via the actual words spoken.
The topic’s fascinated me for years, so recently I reached out to body language expert and best selling author Janine Driver to learn more about this crucially important, yet commonly misunderstood aspect of human interaction. With nearly teo decades of experience within the department of justice as an interrogation expert with the CIA, FBI and ATF, Janine lent invaluable insight into the nuances of non-verbal communication.
This past weelkend marked the 5th installment of the Life is Living Festival. Championing environmentalism and community building, the festival has garnered a dedicated following of artists, creatives and community members since its inception five years ago. Held annually in the city of Oakland, the one day event aims to celebrate life through urban performance, intergenerational health, and environmental action.
Attending the event for the first time this year, I was pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming sense of love and tolerance that permeated the air. Far from the image of violence that’s plagued my hometown’s perception in the national media over the years, Life is Living offered a unique opportunity for people of Oakland and abroad to come together for a day of good food, better music and celebratory times. I had the camera on hand to capture some of the Bay’s finest. And be sure to head over to the Life is Living website for more information on the festival and its mission.
Can we all relate to the lifestyle of a globetrotting, compulsively ingenious, multi-multi-multi millionaire? Is it possible that the same dude who spends half the time shitting on the world from atop a mountain of riches and expensive taste might spend the other half spilling his guts, and digging into personal turmoil to the point that we all actually feel like his life isn’t so different from our own? Or maybe it’s just that songs about heartbreak and alienation, or about complicated, strained relationships tend to transcend everything else, when someone so talented is piecing it all together for us. And there’s the paradox that defines Yeezy’s most undeniable songs, “White Dress” included. Impeccable, rarefied presentation made impossibly approachable. In this case, we’re talking a gorgeously autotuned, RZA-assisted wailing soul sample, and a montage of exotic destinations that would burn through all the frequent flyer miles you could rack up in a lifetime. And all of that in service of some quality, reflective storytelling. That all of this sounds like familiar territory says something, I think, about just how much we’ve come to expect.