You’d think by now we’d run out of posts. Run out of pieces that embody creativity and celebrate popular culture. Run out of ways to prove that you can do it too. But the work of Craig Alan is just the latest in this ongoing showcase. An artist of various mediums, Craig’s work pictured above depicts some of America’s most revered personalities; their faces immortalized through the art of aerial positioning. Placing his subjects in specific places to recreate the faces of Marilyn, Michael and the rest, Craig Alan’s work serves as another reminder of the limitless possibilities that creative art allows.
An excerpt from Sagan's epic Cosmos on the power of the written word
A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts, still called “leaves”, imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and your hear the voice of another person–perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millenia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time, proof that humans can work magic.
It should come as no surprise that the first collab from Lunice and Hudson Mohawke comes in the form of an absolutely monstrous EP. As an artistic marriage, the Montreal-to-Glasgow connection almost makes too much sense. Both have spent the last few years churning out project after project full of bangers, each finding their own unique combination of fierce, bombastic trap shit and melodic, R&B-laced jams. But rather than trying to tap into the entirety of the duo’s collective repertoire, TNGHT instead hones in on the tendency on both of their parts to make the former– that is, colossal, earth-shattering slaps. The kind that sound cool through your headphones, but don’t really make sense until you hear them blasted through a pretty substantial system; preferably the kind capable of making everything in a city-block radius vibrate.
TNGHT, like plenty of both Lunice and HudMo’s finest ideas, is maximal by way of minimalism. Most of the songs are deceptively complex, squeezing an absurd amount of energy out of a handful of concentrated sounds, and building upward and outward from there. “Higher Ground”, at least as convincingly as anything else here, manages to project that formula on a massive scale, using trapped out drums, a chipmunked out vocal sample, and some positively vicious synth horns to create something that somehow feels laser-focused and completely chaotic, all at the same time. With an official Flocka remix, and a handful of others on the way, expect to hear more from these two sooner rather than later.
Download: TNGHT – “Higher Ground”
Photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto uses Polaroid film to explore the color spectrum
At first glance, the images from the Polarized Color series hardly look like photographs at all. The colors seem impossibly vivid and crisp, and it’s hard to discern any particular tangible subject in front of the lens. But for New York-based, Japanese-born photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, the subject of the images is indeed the colors themselves, both on a visual and intellectual level. After delving into the history of color theory, Sugimoto found himself caught between two ways of understanding color. On the one hand was Newton‘s scientific, seven-color spectrum. On the other, Goethe, whose poetic genius led him to believe that color’s effects on the mind might be the kind of the thing that defies systematic, mechanistic explanation.
Sugimoto, like Goethe, set out to find what was lacking in Newton’s system–namely, to capture the vast, nuanced spectrum of color produced by light, to find everything that exists between those supposedly fixed points represented by red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Refracting beams of light off of mirrors, and into dimly lit black space, Sugimoto used Polaroid film to absorb those countless different hues, effectively taking something impermanent and immaterial and capturing it in a tangible, more permanent object. Pretty gorgeous stuff, and since I’m sure I’m not doing his thought process justice, below, accompanying these images, are some words from Sugimoto himself.
The story of Kendrick’s latest single is likely to be one full of irony. It seems only natural, since so much irony is built into the foundation of the song. For those listeners for whom verses basically just serve as a good way to fill the space between hooks, “Swimming Pools” could just as easily scan as a pregame anthem. The chopped and screwed “drank” call-and-response, the flawlessly catchy turn-up themed hook, the whip-ready backing track courtesy of T-Minus (“I’m On One”, “The Motto”)– it riffs off Drizzy’s club anthems so effectively, that the shrewd social critique at its base is likely to be lost on more than a few thirsty sorority girls.
But like “A.D.H.D.”, this is inclusive commentary, the kind that takes a step back to examine exactly how or why our generation seems to have picked up its peculiar set of ideas about the world. In this case, Kendrick takes on our tendency to get belligerently, unreasonably drunk, tracing a line all the way from older generations’ alcoholism to our own generation’s boundless desire to be seen, be cool, get girls– and yet, it’s done with the kind of self-implicating, introspective wit that somehow keeps it from ever feeling preachy or heavy-handed. Further evidence of one of the most idiosyncratic, intelligent voices contemporary hip-hop has to offer.
Photographic selections from Bristol based photographer Tom Lowther
It seems as though capturing the environment around him is almost second nature to Bristol-based photographer Tom Lowther. Kids in their element, dreamy landscapes and peculiar objects typify the photographer’s work although it seems as though Tom is just getting started. Building an eclectic resume of images, Tom’s work reveals a unique set of life experiences, colored by simplicity and youth. With a distinct element of spontaneity and a touch of deliberateness, Tom’s photography reminds us how easy it is to take a picture, but also how difficult it is to capture a moment.
A suspended act of affirmative persistence…an aesthetic meditation on the human desire to believe in the futile and to conceive the impossible. That’s the statement of purpose given by Diego Agullo and Dmitry Paranyushkin, the creative minds behind The Humping Pact. I’ll be real though. My first thoughts when I saw this video weren’t exactly concerned with aesthetic meditations. My first thought was to laugh. Hard. Because this is a fucking funny idea.
Aside from that though, with the project’s crew of humpers making their way across the European continent, stopping in various “dysfunctional spaces that still emanate creative potential”– think coal mines, Soviet military bases, abandoned architectural curiosities–and getting better acquainted with the space. In addition to the initial performances, these spectacles are then reenacted in a gallery setting or transformed into large scale video projections, prints and other media. In any case, I’m sure I’m not doing the Pact justice here, so visit their site for a better explanation of what all the faux-fornication is about. For now, feel free to meditate on this.
There’s something completely hypnotic about Cooly G’s new album. It’s as if she was able to distill the feeling of a few dozen late night ’90s house-R&B classics into just a handful of tracks, before soaking each of them in the appropriate dose of narcotic reverb. A fixture of the London underground scene, Cooly G’s made her name to date mostly off the strength of a subtly spacey take on UK funky. With Playin’ Me though, she expands on that formula into more personal territory, putting her voice front and center, and crafting sultry, intimate jams that give us a glimpse of her own world. “Good Times” is an absolute stunner, complimented by some slow-burning synth work and sparse, bouncy percussion, and ready to soundtrack just about any hazy, post-party montage imaginable. Suffice to say, it’s not every producer that’s able make three in the morning feel this warm and inviting.
Download: Cooly G – “Good Times”
Emotionally engaging, wildly imaginative, and completely gratifying, Frank's latest is one for the books
It would be hard not to notice just how orange the cover artwork for Channel Orange really is. It’s intensely, artificially orange. It’s practically glowing. Looking at it now, I can’t help but be reminded of the Nickelodeon logo. For better or for worse, images like that one from Viacom’s entertainment empire are inextricably linked to my memories of childhood. It’s a pretty frightening realization, but it’s undeniable. The impression made by television’s constant barrage of vivid colors and exaggerated characters on my nascent imagination is something completely immeasurable, and impossible to overestimate. It strikes me then, in listening to Frank Ocean’s latest, that he’s likely a product of the same set of influences that permeated the formative years of so many other twenty-somethings the way they did mine–Nicktoons, late ’90s MTV, a few dozen early internet fads, VHS tapes, Anime, Super NES, even Adult Swim. The fifteen seconds or so of Street Fighter music that kicks off Channel Orange is enough to trigger just about every nostalgia reflex my brain has at its disposal.
As far as imagination goes, Frank Ocean has a pretty boundless supply, and Channel Orange feels like nothing so much as a playground for those far-flung ideas and influences to run wild–a channel-surfing tour through the three or so pounds of gray matter sitting inside his skull. Sonically, it’s just as adventurous, a smattering of technicolor sounds, loosely revolving around a futuristic funk motif. The stories are bursting with all the rich detail and bizarre variety of a Saturday morning cartoon lineup, and the characters who populate this landscape just as colorful: unsupervised rich kids railing lines and joyriding in daddy’s Jag, the black queen Cleopatra who moonlights as a stripper, a lonely basehead reflecting on better days, a stage-diving Dalai Lama, and even a love interest based on good old Forrest Gump. Don’t get me wrong with the cartoon talk though. This is big kid stuff. Often what’s being filtered through that expansive imagination is raw emotion, the kind that bleeds through anything created in the midst of internal crisis. These are the kind of songs that make private emotions feel like they couldn’t possibly be expressed without reference to surreal, sweeping metaphors and sensational drama. It’s the kind of vivid, poignant storytelling that reaches out to you from somewhere internal and can’t help but pull big, disparate chunks of the universe into its orbit.
Download: Frank Ocean – “Pyramids”
A collection of photos from our first art show
Saturday afternoon marked our inaugural art show for Wine & Bowties. Warm weather, good food and great art made for one particularly settled afternoon. Focused around the visuals of black and white imagery, each artist utilized their own interpretation of black and white to share their work with our audience. Congratulations and thanks to Rebekkah Castellanos, Danielle Schnur and Jesse Draxler who we collaborated with for this first show. And a special thank you to everyone who helped make the day happen. Louis XIII and dJ Hemisphere on the tables. Oscar on the tacos. Our greeters Teo and mother. And Hannah, Geoff and Ya for keeping the sangria flowing. Rest assured there will be more to come.