Chan Marshall is a confusing character, viagra sale you hope for her to be brilliant live but there’s always the niggling feeling that it might just go pear-shaped. She’s always been a little fragile; undoubtedly it’s part of her charm. However as soon a she skips onto stage you realise that tonight’s performance is going to be different.
Chan seems to have overcome, approved or at least learnt to deal with her performance issues. She arrives with a curtsey and a gigantic grin on her face, symptoms and it seems immediately obvious that this isn’t going to be one of her infamous ‘two songs and I’m off’ performances. The crowd sense that she’s on good form and welcome her with a roar of applause, perhaps out of relief as well as appreciation.
At times I longed for a break from the rather slow pace and the absence of any of her pre-Greatest material was a disappointment. However, there’s very little to criticise about the woman herself and the audience were quick to give encouraging yelps and cheers at every opportunity. At times she seemed overwhelmed and kind of surprised that we’d even turned up, ‘You guys are amazing, you’re going to make me cry’. Of course, her unmistakeable voice was as incredible as ever, she’s one of those rare performers who understands the power of restraint.
Chan isn’t out to prove her vocal abilities by show-off jazz grandstanding; there are no self-indulgent runs or vocal acrobatics. Perhaps a skill born out of self-preservation, Chan sings as if no one is watching. And it’s beautiful.
Well, and I have just spent the last three days intensively shooting the Sheffield band the Harrisons for their press shots – they are currently putting the finishing touches to their debut album in a remote studio called The Chapel in Lincolnshire with reknowned producer Hugh Jones, who has worked with such luminaries as Echo and the Bunnymen. The studio has seen many famous bands pass through it’s environs – the Arctic Monkeys being the most recent to record their block-busting album in what would once have been the alter of the chapel and is now a cosy wood panelled studio. It was really fun, if hard work – getting the boys out of bed early enough in the morning to get moving and actually get enough shots done before a) they had to return to carry on recording and b) the sun went in for good – jeez the days are short, especially in the north-east – was quite a lot of effort. They range in age evenly from 20 – 23 yrs old and it’s just not very rock ‘n’ roll to get up before lunchtime anyway.
The new Rough Trade superstore is cavernous and full of trendy young things casually perusing the flyers and freebie magazines near the coffee shop, many on their own like me, due to the stringent ticket conditions of this in-demand gig. Yes, this is a gig to be accompanied by coffee or fruit juice only – beers to be had later in the bar next door.
At the back under a sign saying Dance CDs, a small stage had been erected and the racks shunted out of the way. Beirut is a cute teddybear of a man accompanied by his scenester hoodie crew. Only here will you see what looks like a new raver playing double bass to a new wave kletzmer soundtrack.
Beirut is discombobulated…he’s got jet lag and the mikes are having feedback issues that mean I spend most of the gig with a hand over the ear nearest the speakers – but that doesn’t stop a rousing set. Accordians, multiple ukes, a man playing a funny drum thing on the floor next to the cds, mandolin, violin, trumpet – all musical bases are covered. This is the return of the rock orchestra – people are bored with the traditional guitar, bass, drums combo, and everywhere I turn I’m seeing a move towards the instruments of an orchestra or big band. This is music that wouldn’t be out of place in Red Square in Moscow, but suddenly it is being feted as the next big thing. Not a bad thing I say.
Written by Amelia on Thursday November 8th, 2007 12:27 am
The Anchoress is a new project managed by Drowned in Sound supremo Sean Adams featuring the feisty Welsh lass also known as Catherine Anne Davies – a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and storyteller. The video for single You And Only You references The Anchoress‘ misspent youth training to become a dancer – a career scuppered by breaking her back and pelvis in a nasty fall, which led to her locking herself away at the piano to work on her early recordings. It was directed by Oliver Cross & Frances Main. The electronic version of ‘You And Only You‘ is a collaboration with Philip Reach and features the operatic indie-wail of Mansun’s Paul Draper as a guest vocalist.
Speaking about You And Only You, The Anchoress says:
“This is the only song on the album that I wrote entirely on the guitar, when my hand was too badly mangled to play the piano (studio related injury…) and I had to wear a metal cast for months even to turn door handles. The song went through three different incarnations before it decided it wanted to be a duet (with co-producer Paul Draper on joint wailing duties here). We ended up recording this final version in my snatched sleepless so-called “days off” from the UK leg of the Simple Minds tour, replaying the guitar over the original drum, bass, and organ takes from the first studio sessions.
Originally it was something I’d written for my best friend, who had just come out of her first long term relationship after enduring horrific brain surgery from a burst aneurysm. Lyrically, I guess it continues with the album’s dominant themes of deconstructing normative ideas of love and romance. No ‘baby, baby”s here. This woman just basically wants you to leave her the fuck alone.
There’s another duet version with a full string section that we recorded just before the one that you hear on the album. I said to Paul that we had to scrap it due him sounding too much like Barry Gibb on the middle eight… Christ knows what I’m saying in French at the end. I don’t actually remember recording that due to an overabundance of Tramadol.”
This track is taken from the 5-track You and Only You EP which is available to pre-order now here. Her forthcoming album ‘Confessions of A Romance Novelist‘ is out Jan 15th 2016 via Kscope. Preorder the album now and instantly receive 3 tracks (2 more coming before the albums release!)
Half Venezuelan and half Lebanese, London based artist Sofia lays her heart on the line with new single Ice Cold Love, an airily beautiful tune that spins a tale of empowerment from the ending of a cold hearted relationship. She has been justly compared to the likes of KD Lang and Tegan & Sara, with a much anticipated debut album In The City due out later this year. Here she shares more of her inspiration…
‘I wanted the video for Ice Cold Love to show the disintegration of a relationship in a way that represents both sides equally. I wanted to show the tension and how distant two people can become, when things fall apart. That’s why Tim Glaesener, (my videographer who is actually from Germany!) suggested we told the story by having two screens representing me and my ‘significant other‘ in the video in the final moments of a relationship. Two people who once might have had all the heat at the beginning, can also grow apart. We tend to forget about the consequences and get carried away by the heat and the passion.
I’ve always been inspired by the people around me, particularly the people I love. When I feel that someone I care is going through a hard time or I feel that I can’t express myself to them properly in words, writing a song is usually the outcome. I’ve often been inspired by books I’ve read or movies, because sometimes they greatest perspective you can get on your life is putting yourself in other peoples shoes.
My songs usually always start with a title and then I’ll start to mess around with chords and a melody. Sometimes, I’ll just start randomly writing lyrics and I figure out the title as I go. It’s good to be flexible when you’re writing, so I try not to impose too many rules on myself and if I feel like writing something completely out of character genre wise, it kind of gives me a breath of fresh air.
When it comes the time to start recording, I usually make demos before I hand any songs over the producer. It’s important to me that whoever I work with as a producer, understand the original intention of the song before they begin to consider production ideas. For me figuring out harmonies in all my songs is really important to me, I sort of see it as my signature thing. I grew up singing in choirs, so I’m really inspired by vocal harmonies. Once the producer has an idea of what I’m trying to do we begin to sculpt out how we think the song should build.’
Most music lovers have certain labels that they follow, information pillsprice awaiting releases, viagra 100mg excited by the new directions the people behind these labels have chosen to take. Warp and Planet Mu are two such labels for myself. Years of solid, this web progressive releases have meant I trust their taste – and once again, I think they may have succeeded.
Tim Exile‘s new album bends and shifts between tracks, layering genres from trip-hop to jungle with aspects of punishing techno all combined with stiffly melodic vocals hanging over the top of it all. Each track rolls around almost drunkenly, though perpetually rolling forward – something only possible through the albums astounding production.
There is something about the vocals that don’t strike me as truly necessary. They don’t reach out and suck you in enough and at times and you feel like they’re just sort of there, almost unnecessarily. The tracks speak for themselves; they don’t need Tim’s mutterings splashed across them – often just cheapening the melodies created by his impressive range of synth sounds.
What works much better can be seen in a youtube video of Tim Exile remixing Micachu live. Such an obscure combination that you just know that it could work perfectly, and it does. Well, kind of. It’s interesting.
My highpoint of the album surprisingly comes in the form of ‘Family Galaxy’. It springs from Exile’s past as a Drum and Bass producer (albeit a rather experimental one). On mass, I hate drum and bass. It really is quite ridiculous how much guff can be produced week after week, tirelessly, systematically presenting itself as the same thing. This track however just seems to play with your senses, drawing you in. Then you realise you’re listening to drum and bass and you just have to commend the man. ‘Carouselle’ is also well worth a listen. Truly uplifting experimentations with sounds and melodies it has a kind of dramatic theatricality to it.
This is an album fans of the obscure corners of electronica will enjoy, but not hold up as an album everyone should care about. Intelligent Dance Music is a genre I try to distance myself from (a recent evening spent in a room with Aphex Twin actually scared me away from the genre). This album however seems to bring quite a colorful and enjoyable feel to a genre that seems to thrive in the horrific side of music.
It has to be said I am still trying in vain to establish myself as savvy online shopper. A string of failed eBay purchases led me to become rather despondent about the whole word of online retailing. However recently I found a shop that wholeheartedly restored my faith in the otherwise online abyss.
Hip London based retailer Youreyeslie have emerged on the scene with a shed load of innovative new designers to get our online juices flowing. Branding themselves with the comical slogan “bad taste is better then no taste” its clear to see these guys are not ones for conventional clothing. Featuring everything from bake well tart rings to t-shirts brandishing Nuns with red noses. Their kitsch designs for men and women are sure to make you stand out amidst the city crowds.
The t-shirts feature an eclectic range of styles to suit all tastes from the grunge rockers, hospital the whimsical bohemians to the new rave eccentrics. The site are keen on promoting hand illustration so all t-shirts are beautifully intricate. My favourite has to be the delicate printed tiger oversized t-shirt, I think you will agree he is a handsome beast! I definitely want to take him home.
My Achilles’ heel of the entire website has to be the accessories. They got the entire Amelia’s HQ resorting to excited childish giggles. Each of us tried to conjure plausible excuses to buy a whole bundle of their adorable pendants.The whimsical designs are brilliantly kitsch, taking you on an imaginative whirlwind tour through the fairground, with marching band and tambourine pendants. Then it’s on to the tropical jungle with exotic birds and butterflies and if that’s not enough excitement you’re then catapulted into the realms of outer space with a rocket pendant.
My favourite has to be this bird pendant of two Bluetits, (see a pastoral upbringing has its distinct advantages, well for bird classification at least!) Anyway as an avid bird fan myself these beautifully delicate feathered friends get the thumbs up from me, I happen to think they would be very content perched on my neck.
So give your wardrobe that new leash of life it craves, with free delivery over orders above £50 there is no excuse not to go mad, well that’s my reasoning anyway! Send us stuff by the barrel load, here at Amelia’s we are well and truly hooked on YEL!
I’m sure that all our our wonderful Amelia’s Magazine readers have got a viewpoint on animal testing being conducted for cosmetic products. And I would like to think that the viewpoint is that it is JUST PLAIN WRONG! (Seriously, page what other viewpoint is there?!) I don’t know about you, hospital but I have been under the illusion that we were all in agreement about this, and so were the suits behind all legislations that decided upon animal testing. Apparently I was wrong. Because R.E.A.C.H had got there first. Under this law ( also known as Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), many more animal tests are taking place as the scientists try to work out which chemicals can harm us. Alarmingly, these include chemicals found in cosmetics and toiletries.
Having found out that one of my favourite brands, Lush, have been campaigning heavily against this, I spoke with Andrew Butler, Lush’s Campaign Manager at Lush H.Q to find out more about this situation.
Andrew, I can’t get my head around this.
“This whole R.E.A.C.H thing is horribly convoluted situation, and a lot of people don’t know about it. R.E.A.C.H is already a reality, people have been fighting it for years, but it went through, largely because its something that people didn’t fully understand, It has been too complicated for the media to follow. R.E.A.C.H affects all products. It is a piece of legislation that is about 10 years in the making, and here’s the backround: consumer and health organisations were concerned that there were chemicals on the market that were potentially harmful, either through direct contact or consumers, or via the environment, and concerned that things were getting into the soil or the water, and getting into food chain or affecting wildlife. The kind of concerns in question were if the substance was an irritant, or carcinogenic, or a endocrine disruptor, – i.e it upset the hormonal balance. and so R.E.A.C.H was designed to be a catch all, and pull together all the diverse different bodies that dealt with chemicals in Europe into one central body and pull together existing information and fill in any blanks that there may be, and this was why R.E.A.C.H came to pass.”
But it sounds laudable, in theory?
“Absolutely, we should be ensuring that dangerous chemicals are not in the marketplace, and anything that is either cancer causing or disruptive of hormone systems should be heavily restricted or banned. But it is the way that the data is collected, and the sorts of data is used to ascertain whether something is safe or not. . And that was something that was not asked of the people who proposed the legislation. The groups were concerned about the chemicals, but not necessarily how the safety would be assessed. Traditional toxicology and eco toxicology involves animal tests, and that has always been the case. Pretty much everything that you can imagine from the carpet under your feet to the painting on the walls has been tested on animals somewhere by someone. Almost everything has been through a lethal dose 50 test which is where a group of animals is force fed a substance until 50% of them die. Its something that is done for virtually everything.
Companies who are concerned with safety testing but also don’t want to use animals have been concerned with the ingredients so there are various mechanism that companies can put in place so animal testing is not used. They can set a cut off date after which ingredients are not tested on animals, or they won’t do business with companies that are testing on animals. There are grave questions about the validity of animal testing, not just the ethics. The animal testing data is not really applicable to people.
As R.E.A.C.H was being developed there was pressure to not rely on animal test data. We ran a campaign in our stores, we collected postcards to MEPS urging them to not rely on animal tests under R.E.A.C.H, we collected 85,000 of those and sent them to MEPS. Many groups, such as Animal Aid and PETA were also campaigning against R.E.A.C.H. In the six years that the legislation was being passed, there were provisions put in place. For example, if animal test data already existed for a particular ingredient, that should be used in place of any new data. So provisions were put in place to minimise it, but not do away with it entirely. ”
I’m sure we already know it, but what is Lush’s stand on animal testing?
Lush goes into the stocks
“For us as a company, we have an objection to animal testing – both because it isn’t ethical to inflict suffering and kill animals in order to assess safety, and we don’t believe that animal tests will result in accurate info, we feel that the animal test data is inconclusive. Generally speaking, animal tests offer an accuracy rate of 40%, whereas the non animal tests are accurate 70- 80%. We are opposed to animal tests being mandatory in R.E.A.C.H. We need to ensure safety without suffering, with modern, non animal testing methods that will give us much more accurate results. ”
When did R.E.A.C.H come into effect, and what kind of ingredients are being tested?
“The legislation passed in 2007, and it has been implemented over the last couple of years. R.E.A.C.H legislation presides over anything that has undergone a chemical process – so e.g. a lavender flower isn’t included, but lavender essential oil would be considered a chemical, because it has undergone a chemical process. Anyone manufacturing or importanting any material in Europe that is over a tone of materials have to register it to R.E.A.C.H, and collectively, almost everything comes under these guidelines. And the deadline for this was December 2008 and the European Chemicals Agency were meant to have sift through all of these registrations, come up with a final list and set deadlines for the testing to be done. 140,000 materials need to be tested and be given safety information. If the data doesn’t exist, animal testing needs to be done. There is a huge degree of uncertainty – how much of that data already exists? How much animal testing needs to be done? Potentially, millions of animal experiments will need to be done. And it tends to be the more natural substances, like essential oils that don’t have all of the data. They are the ones who are going to end up being having to have their products tested; this will be done against their will.”
This is all so bleak! Is there a possibility of a positive outcome?
“We are struggling at the moment, because of the degree of uncertainty. But there is a silver lining. There is the European Cosmetics Directive, which came into force on March 11th 2009, it is an amendment to the cosmetics directive. It says that you cannot test any ingredients for cosmetics on animals in Europe. You can’t even market a product in Europe containing ingredients that have been tested on animals anywhere in the world. So on the one hand you have this, and on the other, you have R.E.A.C.H. ”
Before the last draft of R.E.A.C.H was passed, Lush paid a visit with a manure truck
So which one gets the say so on testing?
“That is a good question! It’s something that has to be tested in court. The whole cosmetics industry sees that there is clearly a conflict. What we need is for more companies to stand up and start questioning this, and to get the British Government to stand up and say that we are questioning this. So our campaign right now is awareness raising. R.E.A.C.H spells the end to cruelty free cosmetics. So if you care about this, you need to be aware of this, you need to start talking about this, and you need to ask other companies what they are doing about this. What are the British Government doing about this? They stood up in 1998 and said no more animal testing. Well they have signed us up to the biggest animal testing programme in Europe’s history, what’s that all about? Lush can engage corporate disobedience, and refuse to toe the line but thats not enough, if everyone is complying with R.E.A.C.H then animal testing will still go ahead. It needs to be collective. And the British public need to get involved too!”
Is there information readily available in Lush stores about this?
“Until the end of Easter there is information in all the stores, it’s being run as an in store campaign. The aim after Easter is to get a more comprehensive leaflet that will be available if you ask for it. There is also always going to be information on our website (www.lush.co.uk/reachout/ ) We are hoping to produce letters to MP’s and other companies, specifically about this issue.”
How has the feedback been from your Lush customers?
“We have had a really strong response. We have run plenty of campaigns about packaging, shark finning, human rights in Guantanamo, all sorts of things and this is one of the strongest customer responses, people have been shocked – they had no idea that this was happening. A lot of the responses have been that this is contrary to my rights, this should be going through the European Human Rights Courts because it should be my right to say, no I am not going to be alright with animal testing.
Information booth outside Lush
R.E.A.C.H is a law, there is not one particular thing that you can do to stop it, but if we do lots of things; if we at least start talking about this, and get large companies to stand up and say that we are not happy about this situation, then we stand a chance.”
If you haven’t come across Etsy before, treatment a bank holiday weekend is a good time to start exploring, find as you could very easily wake up Tuesday morning and find that’s all you’ve done for the last 4 days. www.Etsy.com is kind of like Ebay, but only for handmade items – from cookies to soap, socks to coffee tables – if it can be made, chances are you’ll find someone on Etsy who’s made it. Painter, carpenter and photographer Rob Kalin created the site after failing to find anywhere he could sell his products online. In 2005,the year the site was launched, $166,000 worth of goods were sold. This year, they had already sold $32 million worth by March. The ethos behind the site is responsible for it being such a massive hit in the States, and its starting to become better known worldwide- everyone is reacting against our culture of mass-production and supporting small, home-run businesses where people make things by hand. The following statement fromt the company explains it all…
With the global economic crisis putting finances in a squeeze, Etsy is a great way to maximize a budget. There is an endless variety of unique, quality handmade gifts at affordable prices. Besides being memorable, these gifts are also valuable. They’re made to last a lifetime, not just until next year’s version comes out. Which means less trash for landfills, and more savings for shoppers. Plus, each purchase on Etsy directly supports independent artists and designers.
To ease you in gently, I have picked out some affordable works of art that would be a wise investment and more importantly, might brighten up your home. If you like a seller’s work, click on their ‘Favourites’ tab on the right hand side of the Etsy web page, which will take you to all the sellers they like..and so on until before you know it your cyber basket is full!
Tea Fairy by Winonacookie
Lots of artists on Etsy use old images from vintage photographs and books to create new collages or ‘altered art’. Winonacookie is my favourite, though she’s obviously gained a fair following and her originals are a tad pricey now. Remember- the prices shown are in dollars though- they change it when you check out.
Their work would look perfectly at home on the pages of Dazed and Confused or Vogue. Nab a print before they make it big.
You can view my favourite spring fashion buys from Etsy by clicking here.
Who would have thought that so close to Oxford Street, information pills headache-inducing caricature of the nation’s identikit high streets that it is, Great Marlborough Street would reside, a civilized and calm conduit of the Capital’s finest culture creators. Culture creators with smart suits and serious rosé habits, who have long since outgrown their boho-clobber. And right between these parallel universes, on the barely-noticeable Ramillies Street, we find the new home of The Photographers Gallery. It is a very efficient three-tier cuboid of display. If Muji did art galleries, they’d be like this.
The prize exhibition began on the 20th of February, and for a few nail-biting weeks of suspense, we wondered where the fickle finger of fate would land, and what arguments we would have to have about it, while the winner went off to Jessop’s to fritter away their £30,000.
The winner, it turns out, is Paul Graham. Graham’s work is pure uninterventionalist America-watching, with a dark profundity to it. A fat man in America pulls on a cigarette like he really needs it outside a drab white building. He’s shuffling about, going nowhere until the end of his fix. And he’s doing the the same again. And again. And again. Some trees in America do nothing. And again. And again. The book that led to his nomination is entitled A Shimmer Of Possibility. It’s all as dry as this, yet strangely moving. A sequence of the book depicts one hard-on-his-luck chap striding across New York tensely, again with a cigarette, yet each shot is followed by a shot of a magnificent, yet naturally composed North Dakota sunset. It’s just the very idea that one man’s drab life and lack of purpose coexists with the world’s beauty. A beauty that cares not at all, but still offers a redemptive temple for prayer. It’s inevitable that this will be compared with Robert Franks’ The Americans. It’s a valid comparison, since critical distance is the backbone of each body of work. But A Shimmer Of Possibility is not an update, but more a change of gear, with all dynamism and gusto drained from The Land Of The Free, the better to imprison them within our gaze. But that’s the book.
The exhibition space doesn’t really have room to display a significant proportion of Graham’s slow narratives. The small selection here should be taken as an existentialist aperitif, and is not necessarily the most potent of his output.
Moving up two floors, you’ll find the three runners-up. Tod Papageorge is responsible for taking pictures of people in Central Park constantly for twenty-two years (1969-1991). These are bizarre little vignettes situated within the expanse of Manhattan’s great lawn. It’s a bit like zooming into a Watteau and finding little scenes depicting the strangeness of twentieth century life. A young couple stretched out on a blanket in the sun. A scruffy man combs his son’s hair in a clearing. In a very compelling shot, a black man lies in repose before a chessboard. The black pieces are his. The white pieces belong to the gallery-going public. Is this a meaningless chance happening, or composed confrontation? It drives right to the core of what apparently out-on-the-prowl photography can be, asking the viewer what they can see, and are they right to see it.
The next encounter is with the work of Taryn Simon. I found her the most fascinating exhibitor here. These photographs constitute a very focused project, to catalogue aspects of America that are normally hidden or unfamiliar. The hydroponic marijuana room at a licensed research lab. A cryopreservation unit that holds the bodies of the wife and mother of cryogenics expert Robert Ettinger. A couple of thousand nuclear waste capsules sitting at the bottom of a watery containment facility in Washington State. A Braille edition of Playboy magazine. Finches in quarantine. The seized contraband room at JFK airport, full of tropical plants, odd food, diseased vegetation, and bushmeat, all awaiting incineration. These glimpses off the radar, though all beautifully captured, lack a consistent visual style. The subject is paramount, to a documentary degree, and each must be captured on its own terms. Simon is really allowing her issues to speak for themselves, be it with humour, disgust, or merely what Stephen fry would call Quite Interesting-ness. It’s a glimpse behind the curtain, bringing your conspiracy theory gland into the real world, for each composition is an altercation between your notions of real and normal, usually wedded, now in uncomfortable stand-off. The most powerful piece is a heart-wrenching portrait of Kenny, a white tiger, residing at an animal refuge, selectively inbred as a status pet by Arkansas half-wits, themselves perhaps inbred. Kenny has breathing difficulties, malformed bones and teeth, and cannot close his jaw. His siblings are even worse off, apparently. Looking into Kenny’s eyes and wondering, identifying, is overwhelming. Elsewhere on the spectrum is an interior of the CIA’s art collection offices. Simple yet sinister, this makes you wonder about all the things you still can’t see, all the dirty interventions by Intelligence Agents in our beloved realm of culture.
Simon’s project is almost journalistic, and the photos need to be accompanied by the little text labels, which explain these otherwise very disparate images. However, if that constitutes a dilution of the definition of a photographer, it’s nothing next to Emily Jacir’s deviation. She presents an archive of the life of Walter Zuaiter, a Palestinian intellectual who was assassinated in Rome by Israel’s Wrath Of God Operation in 1972, after they linked him, perhaps falsely, to the Munich Olympics massacre.
Jacir would have been two years old at the time, and I’m assuming she didn’t take the photos herself. She is an archivist, perhaps a curator, likely an artist, certainly a fangirl, but I can’t see how she could be called a photographer. Photography Prize, remember? It’s easy to redefine art for found objects, but the word photography is a bit more specific than that. I suppose that’s just semantics. It may not be in the right place, but it is worth seeing, and is a tragic memory of this intriguing life. She displays a selection of paperbacks that he had read, along with letters, and old photographs as a way to create some space for the personal amidst the political, the human amongst the historical. And it’s good that not everything here is about America.
The show overall is a pretty still, meditative, even modest affair. Beauty abounds. And thought. The Deutsche Börse Prize turns all of this into a big discussion about art and value. To award one prize is a shame, and probabilistically, only a quarter of people would agree with the choice of Graham, but art, at least, wins on the ground floor, and the second floor. The filling to this Photography sandwich is a shop for photography books and prints and coffee. The hordes of Oxford Street will never know. Don’t be one of them.
The Exhibition runs until April 12. Monday, what is ed 13th
Enough with the chocolate eating! Music can be delicious as well, so go enjoy your last holiday evening with Bombay Bicycle Club (the band, not the restaurant silly!) at KCLSU (King’s College Student Union). They are launching a very yummy single called “Always Like This” which is the leader one from their new album due this summer.
7:30 pm. £8.50.
Bombay Bicycle Club
Some Swedish romanticism can`t hurt, right? Well, Loney Dear is back celebrating the release of their fifth album ‘Dear John’ with a full band show at Scala, fresh from an extensive tour around America.
On support duties, welcome Snowbird, a brand new and rather bewitching collaboration from Stephanie Dosen and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins, Bella Union) playing songs of the old and new variety. As if that’s not enough, there`s also the full lavishly appointed and luxuriously hand-tooled 8 piece version of The Leisure Society, a fast rising orchestral folk-pop band whose tour will culminate at this very show.
7:30 pm. £11.50
Acclaimed indie pop trio The Wave Pictures release their latest album ‘If You Leave It Alone’ on the 4th May. The band is currently on tour in the UK and London fellows can check out the homonym single at ICA this Wednesday.
The Wave Pictures
OK, so far it`s been impossible not to go out every single evening in the week. The musical orgy continues on Thursday with all the Berlin coolness of The Whitest Boy Alive, fronted by Erland Oye, formerly Kings Of Convenience. The will be playing “Rules”, the new album, at Scala.
7:30 pm. £15.
The Whitest Boy Alive
Temper`s Trap new release Science Of Fear is due to 20th April and a preview will be performed this Friday at Koko.
Great music for free? Here we come! To celebrate Record Store Day, Pure Groove will be hosting three gigs where you’ll be able to see Graham Coxon performing live, along with our own Dan Michaelson and Patrick Wolf.
10am to 6pm. Free.
Everybody is all around talking about “Two Suns”, Bat For Lashes new album. Honestly? When we first listened to it at the office here we all flipped out.
They are playing a second night at Sheperd`s Bush Empire so guarantee your Sunday ticket before it sells out.
7:30 pm. £15
Alex Gene Morrison’s art can’t help but attract attention. Despite being displayed on a backward-facing wall, mindpurchase the second I walk into the ‘The Future Is Now’ show, website like this my eye is drawn straight to it. He is exhibiting three large canvases; each of a painted face, buy more about but it is the middle one that I find most conspicuous. The head, body and hair are hidden under a dense layer of matt black paint, leaving only a set of menacing eyes in the picture. The larger than life size does nothing to mask the unnatural peculiarity of Morrison’s portraits either. My walk around, champagne glass in hand, takes me past the odd inspiring piece. Somewhere on a balcony above me I spy a tower of precariously balanced teacups that look fairly beautiful from afar. Still on the ground floor, however, I stop to admire a row of miniature portraits, skilfully painted in muted colours. Each displays a varying degree of abnormality – none of the delicate faces are by any means normal.
David Hancock‘s enormous, hyper-real landscape is definitely something to be seen. Vaguely reminding me of one of those children’s T-shirts with unicorns, hills and fairy dust on, the canvas depicts a fantasy mountain scene, with wonderful skies and a dreamlike river. Hancock has chosen to makes certain parts of the canvas 3D, presumably using something lumpy like mod-rock to create an unsatisfying surface you want to reach out and touch.The piece that really stayed with me that evening though was by Alexis Milne.
Whilst scanning some art on the other side of the room I caught sight of Amelia and the crew hovering around a small, darkly painted shack. On closer inspection I discover that inside the hut is the scariest clown I have ever seen, complete with tarot cards and a fake American accent. Pinned to the walls are various masks of animals and child-like paintings. The clown (perhaps Milne himself?) is reading Amelia’s ‘tarot cards’ in his loud,phoney, and frankly creepy voice. He tells her that she is a horny schizophrenic. I decide I must also have a go while we’re there. He wastes no time in telling me that I am to end up a chariot racing, lap dancer with a fondness of eating.
Hmm. He also makes me wear a creepy cat mask whilst talking to him, so I understand this is to be taken with more than a pinch of salt. On the whole ‘The Future Is Now’ show displays an array of style, quality and substance in the pieces they have chosen to exhibit. I am left feeling overwhelmed (it really is quite a big exhibition) but more importantly inspired.
Photography: Amelia innit!
Photo 1: Sophie, Anna, James and Tim
After forgetting to RSVP to the Young Knives‘ Rough Trade instore, case some of the A-Mag team and I were sitting outside nursing ciders wondering whether it was time to try and sweet talk the doorman. Funnily enough, approved munching on some food next to us was none other than the Young Knives manager, who took pity and kindly put us on the door. Thanks Duncan!
After trying to scull the rest of our cider – yes, all class we are – we walked into Rough Trade to the sounds of the song The Decision, and an epic, Phil Collins style drum fill. Oh yeaaah baby. I, not having the vertical advantage of my companion’s six foot four inches, had to crane my neck from mid-way through the crowd to glimpse the thick rimmed geek chic of Henry and Thomas “House Of Lords” Dartnell and Oliver Askew, garbed up in what Tall James described as conservative shirts and ties, looking like they’ve come fresh out of their nine to five jobs at a real estate agent.
With mature, well-crafted indie pop songs, the Young Knives are musically tight like tigers. As has happened in the past from what I gather, Razorlight got a mention – as they have a song called Up All Night as well…incidentally, as do Unwritten Law, Lionel Richie, Boomtown Rats and the Counting Crows. Their vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Crowded House. Repetitive guitar riffs ran under infectious hooks, getting heads bobbing and a warm reception from the crowd.
With their easy stage presence and self-deprecating banter that conveyed their confidence and self-assurance at the quality of their own music; and whether they were sartorially splendid or committing fashion faux pas in their outfits, they could convince me to rent a property any day. And then I’d ask them to play at the housewarming.
It’s not just because my cat is called Francois. This French musician is très bon. Francois Marry, tadalafil aka Francois and The Atlas Mountains, viagra buy is a songwriter, this musician, animator and artist from Saintes, which is a small town off the west coast of France. Lighthearted and friendly, Francois is extremely pleasant to listen to when you’re driving somewhere alone. Or indeed, when you’re cooking. Not that I’d ever dictate to you!
Francois moved to the UK at 19. To Bristol in-fact. Ever the artiste, he drew a picture and put a note up in a window, both announcing his arrival, and asking people to make music with him. Trawling the car boot sales, he found his instruments and started to play small shows. His endearing personality and actions got him quickly involved in the Bristol scene and he assembled a group of players; The Atlas Mountains. They include Rozi Plain, who I saw play with and support This Is The Kit, and possesses a gorgeously wholesome, free spirited voice. Since Francois’s local loving and successes, he has been traveling around… playing, drawing and singing.
As his animations stand next to and hold trees, moving the background of the myspace page, and Be Water (je suis de l’eau) streams out, you get a sense of French humour. As seen in many of the country’s films, such as The Girl Cut in Two, Priceless and The Beat That My Heart Skipped. A little bit of a slapstick chuckle.
However that’s not to say Francois doesn’t hold the other famous French attribute of sensitive LOVE – of course like in the aforementioned films. Night Lights and Remind displays this delicacy perfectly. With two voices singing, it is so tender. Tour de France too, although I don’t understand French (oh how I wish I did), to me, is a scene set in Paris, with a French lover driving from the city to the countryside of chateau’s etc. In a tiny car.
Francois and The Atlas Mountains have a total lack of pretentiousness, their guitars simply strumming and Francois’ tone, trustworthy in its lack of change. Sometimes the words don’t seem to fit the notes, but it comes off as beautifully haphazard. Their latest album Plaine Inondable, released in 2009 by Fence Records, follows the faithful, friendly vibe. The recordings took place partly in Charente-Maritime and partly in the Basques Country and includes a whole track of vocal harmony, Nights = Days. Although a mixture of English and French, the entire album sounds distinctly like an ambling along Frenchman with the jumpy, instruments like backing singers, and his revealing accent. Moitiee is so beautiful, thoughtful and melodramatic. And guitar focused French and English mixed Pic-nic is honest and sad; “and we’ll never go out for picnic anymore”, whilst the chorus style singing Do You Do, is splendid. So incredibly cute.
‘So why are you vegetarian?’ I seem to have been asked this question a lot in the last two months since I stopped eating meat. It makes for quite entertaining pub chat as everyone is vehement in the expression of their beliefs. The aspect I find fascinating is the high levels of animosity that are present in these discussions. It appears to me that the average meat eater is a lot more militant than the average vegetarian. I’m not entirely sure why it is though I have a couple of guesses. It might be that it genuinely seems ridiculous to them, generic they’ve never thought about it much or the reasons I give just don’t register on their world view. The view I’m more inclined towards is that my decision to become a vegetarian feels threatening. By not eating meat it is as if I’m making a moral judgment on those that do.
I would like to begin by saying I’m not a militant vegetarian. I might sound like one if people ask my reasons, find but I don’t try and impose it on people, but it’s nice to be able to justify your reasons, whether to others or just to yourself.
First I’ll rule out the reasons that weren’t factors for me: the possible financial benefit had little influence on my decision, and it has nothing to do with not liking the taste of meat, as, unfortunately I really, really do (to the point that at first I had recurring dreams where I was guiltily biting into a chicken drumstick or lamb chop). Instead my motivations to stop eating meat rest on more ethical (to use that wonderfully vague word) foundations.
One of the main reasons that motivated me to become vegetarian is the environmental impact of the meat and livestock industry. The statistics of the livestock industry, they are quite staggering. A UN report released in 2006 entitled ‘Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options’ stated that ‘the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global’.
The livestock sector is responsible for 18% of green house gases, which is greater than the amount caused from transport. It is also accounts for 8% of global human water use and is suspected to be the largest source of water pollution. It is estimated to take 100,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef. As it stands livestock production (including feedcrop production) accounts for 30% of the land surface of the planet, and 70% of all agricultural land. The expansion of livestock production is accountable for a large amount of deforrestation. It is projected that global production of meat will continue to rise rapidly, with estimates that it will double by 2050. It seems clear that the livestock industry as it stands is both highly damaging to the environment and not sustainable.
These are just basic figures, to see far more and a wider range of the impacts I recommend doing additional reading, including looking at the report. But nonetheless these seem to provide a strong incentive, provided one sees sustainability and climate change as problems, to at the very least reduce ones meat consuption. Knowing this led me to have a nagging, guilt-ridden feeling every time I ate meat.
I suppose that nagging feeling is perhaps the real reason I’ve become a vegetarian. As I’ve become older, increasingly things are less black and white and morality and ethics becomes a blur. I’ve retained that ‘catholic guilt’ from my upbringing that means I tend to feel guilty about ridiculous things, often beyond my control. There are problems all around us from climate change to discrimination, from sweat shops to war. It can be all too easy to give up and admit defeat. By no means am I an exception to this. I still get flights to go on holiday despite knowing the environmental impact. I don’t check that every item of clothing I wear has been ethically sourced. These things nag at me, and I repeatedly fail to do anything about it. Similarly the thought of not eating meat dragged at me, wearing me down, sucking the fun out of eating meat, even if on another level I enjoyed the taste. It feels like by giving up meat I’ve taken an active decision, and one that I can manage. It feels empowering and though it might not last forever, and although I still have a leather wallet and belt, it gives me something to feel good about even if it’s only a small thing. It’s a beginning.
There are so many reasons why if you are London based, stomach you should pitch up at the OneTaste festival at the Bedford in Balham on Sunday. So in no particular order of importance, no rx here is why;
It’s a festival that costs £10.00 (if booked in advance; £12.00 on the door). £10.00 gets you access to 3 floors, viagra order 5 stages and 45 acts. If you have ever attended a festival for less money, you must have scaled the fence to get in. And we don’t condone that! (And if you are one of the first 100 people through the door this Sunday, you get a goodie bag too – I normally get sunburn or welly rot at festivals so a goodie bag will make a pleasant change)
Speakers Corner Quartet
It’s a one day festival. (Starting at 1pm and wrapping up at midnight). This means that you get to see as many artists as you normally would in a three day festival, but without the wasted long hours spent queuing for a portaloo that doesn’t work, or searching for your tent – without a torch – in the wrong field (I’m not the only person that this has happened to, am I?)
There is not a Lady Gaga in sight; this is your chance to discover the delights of up and coming and fresh talent, whose skills lie in acoustic melodies, not lip synching and dance routines. OneTaste (who have previously been featured here) have the knack of discovering and promoting the best in the underground arts scene. One such graduate is Newton Faulkner, who performed at OneTaste’s first ever gig at The Bedford, five years ago. Three million sales later, he is returning to his alma mater this Sunday to take part in the festivals festivities.
The Bedford venue is a top place to spend a Sunday. Originally an old vaudeville establishment, it’s a perfect setting for the OneTaste merriment, and a great place to have a Sunday lunch, which can also be delivered to your table while you watch the performances. Good grub and a bottle of red is a preferable accompaniment to listening to live music then the usual greasy noodles and an expensive beer, don’t you think?
The inaugural Wilderness Festival took place last weekend on the Cornbury Park estate just north of Oxford. The new festival promised big things: a taste of the madness of Secret Garden Party presented alongside more mature family centric offerings such as a kids’ area, drugs boutique babysitting, side effects bug walks, side effects wild swimming in the beautiful ornamental lakes, spa treatments, lectures, cricket matches and the denouement – huge banquets by celebrated chefs in a big marquee.
Wilderness Festival 2011. All photography by Amelia Gregory.
Set amongst mature grounds, you would be hard pressed to find a prettier location for a festival. We camped beneath a huge old oak which turned out to be a bit of a mistake when we discovered that said oak was a child magnet, making it a beautiful, albeit extremely noisy place to wake up in the morning.
Afterwards it was off for a tour of the site, taking in some truly magical scenes down by the lake side where people swam and boated.
In one of the more wonderful echoes of Secret Garden Party festival goers were encouraged to make their own entertainment; we chanced upon a group of people having an impromptu singsong around a carefully placed piano.
Every festival worth its hippy salt now has the obligatory healing area, but I was most engaged by these scaly cocoons, which created cosy seating areas.
The London Folk Guild had an eclectic line up of folk acts and in between these we caught the odd short film. Then I discovered The Idler Academy, where I was to spend a large portion of the weekend for I do love a good lecture. Ecologist Hugh Warwick introduced us to the Habits of the Hedgehog, delivering an entertaining talk that encompassed Sonic the Hedgehog and North Face hedgehog branded shoes, all by way of drawing attention to the rapid and worrying decline of this most sweet and English of mammals.
Moving into the evening it was time for the legendary Toots and the Maytals, who opened his set with a slot for his daughter. She did a cheesy version of John Waite’s I Ain’t Missing Youand then Toots bounced on stage clad entirely in white, sunglasses firmly in place. He kicked off with his best known classic crowd pleasing tunes before falling back on filler as we wandered off, distracted by some of the more colourful folk in the crowd.
Gogol Bordello are the ultimate festival party band and their energetic performance was the perfect thing to put the audience in a Saturday night party mood.
By late evening it was time to head down to The Last Tuesday Society‘s Big Top, us and thousands of other mask wearing revellers, who were forced to queue one in one out. Needless to say some sneaky sorts kept opening up the tent at the back.
Viktor Wynd‘s Last Man Standing provided manic entertainment, with the man himself sporting a stupendous skull coat and sequinned headdress.
Then it was time for the much hyped naked conga, which was announced by an inebriated David Piper, and failed to attract much of a following (can’t think why…) At one point we were literally surrounded on all sides by snogging couples. This may have been billed as a family festival but there was plenty of Secret Garden debauchery to be had and given the many impromptu displays of public affection I saw everywhere over the weekend it really did feel as though Wilderness Festival was heralding in a new season of lurve.
Two years after releasing his debut album, adiposityside effects Jeremy Warmsley is back with this cheeky taster of what’s yet to come. It’s not as if we need any more of these quirky male singers but this half English, half French philosopher chances his luck with help from his poetical lyrics and sweet melodies.
‘The Boat Song’ sees Warmsley dueting with Emmy the Great on a tale of the love sick and the sea sick. The trouble with this little folksy number is that it sounds old before it’s time. It’s one thing taking a ‘traditional’ approach to song craftsmanship and another sounding like your middle-aged parents around the piano at a family get together.
Much more agreeable is the cover of New Order’s Temptation, turning their synth sound on its head with this heartfelt, paired down piano version. Maybe I’m just biased due to a pretty big crush on Joy Division and, like the lyrics say, I really do have grey eyes, but Warmsley has definitely made this his own without straying too far from the original.
This stopgap single is not to be included on his forthcoming album followers should be clamoring to get hold of this little taster.
A space age set greets you upon walking into the exhibition room at LCF, abortion instead of the normal display of graduate’s work, there is a wall of postcards and 7 giant softly lit light boxes. It transpires that the postcard of your choosing should be placed on the light boxes for you to interactively view the portfolio of your chosen graduate. In this way, LCF aims to give as many graduates the chance to be seen. Although a clever idea, we found several postcards that looked promising but revealed less impressive portfolios. Likewise, there were probably postcards we didn’t pick up on the glance of the inviting image and could have missed out on discovering the future of fashion.
Hidden in the mountain of postcards we did find one or two gems. In the Design/Clothing section Jourdan Caroline Hammond’s postcard stood out for its eye-catching structured surrealism and her portfolio revealed more delights. Her fascination lies in the ghoulish rather than the girlish, as pieces used graphic lines and stark, minimal colour whilst models faces were morbidly replaced by deer heads. Junko Masuda’s take on fruit, made 5 a day exceptionally easy to digest, with a juicy cherry bag calling card which when placed on the glass uncovered more fruity offerings.
A favourite in the Design/Textiles was Samantha Whittle’s tent dress with woodland animal prints topped with chiffon icing. Layered collars and cute buttons added a child-like quality resulting in wearable dresses rather than fantastical creations. Similarly, Shoko Ishikawa’s pleated folds and subtle whale prints, resulted in a killer take on origami. Delicately feminine blouses stayed on the right side of librarian prim and were enticing without flashing any flesh.
Design/Footwear provided a playground for the designer’s imaginations to run away. Tengiz Chketiani’s macabre marriage of taxidermy and footwear would have Bjork at the top of the waiting list. Admittedly the shoes would be tricky to run for the bus in, with doves in flight and wild roses upon your feet, but they would make an amazing collectors piece. Sae Rom Jun seemed to take inspiration from a night at the pub. Reclaimed materials were used to create shoes topped with curls from Fosters cans and heeled with cone shaped wood, resulting in an extremely wearable design.
Often playing second fiddle to Womenswear, we pulled out a few new talents in the field of Menswear category. Tae-Hyoung Kim inventively draped and flowed oversized cardigans and vests paired with knee length shorts. These grown-up schoolboys looked remarkably chic in their simple knit shapes and bowler hats. Shouting a little louder than the rest Robin Murray Switzman’s zig-zag prints wouldn’t look out of place within the pages of a comic. The ‘Biff, Bang, Wallop’ clothes translate into fun and fresh pieces in the usually sober world of menswear.
Image-making presents some of the most visually arresting postcards and had our greedy mitts grabbing for handfuls. Showcasing all the fun of the fair, Jooyoung Lee’s self styled photographs bring colour to the familiar grimy streets of East London. Party hats and paper shapes entice the viewer into a make believe world of colourful escapism. Away from the streets and into an ethereal woodland wonderland, Luke Christopher Castillo turned ballerinas into butterflies. The elusive creatures, with fleshy toned clothes and candy floss hair look like they could easily flutter away. Blink and you’ll miss them.
The Looking Glass reflects many talented individuals who have unfortunately been stifled by all the fancy technology. Rather than a platform for student’s work, it felt like a trade show, where every designer was just a commodity. Whilst forward thinking, the idea seems detrimental in not seeing the physically finished product.
I was under the impression that music was supposed to warrant feelings. Be it loathing or loving. In the former, generic making you curse the day you ever heard that loathsome band’s name – and the latter compelling you to get excited and dance around like an escapee of an asylum, or whatever it is you do to express your excitement. I’ll concede that most albums lie in the less extreme, liking or disliking being the general sentiment. With a small space being reserved for ambivalence, which is where Picturebox comes in, playing their self proclaimed blend of lo-fi pop. However lo-fi, surely their debut album ‘Beans & Bones’ was not supposed to feel like a session band playing in the pub. An above average session band, but still, the over-all sense is of inoffensive background music.
There is nothing wrong with this blend of bluesy tinged garage and melodic pop; but it’s music that just doesn’t go anywhere. They play their instruments well – melodies are nicely arranged, lyrics are well written – but none of these elements approach noteworthy significance, as songs seem to just plod along. Occasionally mediocrity gives way to moments of promise. Not quite the warm fuzzy feeling, but close. Songs like ‘Jennifer’s Brother’ and ‘Beans and Bones’ stick in your head a little bit more, with sliding guitars which definatley work well, even if they become ever so slightly repetitive. ‘England has Perverted Me’ is nicely melodic, but in places slips into boring territory, and I could imagine ‘The Accuser’ being used on a BBC 3 drama series.
Inoffensive middle of the road music serves its time and place. For me, badly sung along to while on a car journey, whilst taking breaks from eye spy. Many bands have made successful careers out of peddling inoffensive offerings, but there is usually a certain je ne sais quoi accompanying it, which elevates these sing-a-long bands to something infinitely more appealing.
Fashion and photography are a match made in creative heaven .Their relationship has delivered a catalogue of iconic images over the years, visit capturing the designer’s masterpieces and voicing the mood and style of the era.
This summer Kingston College are showcasing work from their National Diploma in Fashion and Clothing and HNC Photography courses. The show enables us to see the garments up close and personal next to its photography equivalent.
Although close in proximity to my home, price this was my first visit to Penny School Gallery. Upon opening the small gate at the entrance I immediately heard the hum of numerous voices in conversation, help alongside the slop of apples falling into glasses. After being greeted by a smiling student with a wonderful choice of Pimms, wine and juices, I started to scour the room. A camera at the far side filmed the large crowd of attendees as if we ourselves were part of a catwalk show of our own. It was amusing to watch people as they bashfully ducked or caught secret sneak peaks at themselves on the screen!
In the main area I was pleased to have the opportunity to look through the student’s sketchbooks. I recall at art school being enthralled by them, often finding them an arena where you see the artist/designer’s imaginations and thought-processes in a beautifully refreshing and honest way. Seeing how the ideas develop and how they are noted down through scribbles, sketches and tear- outs was truly fascinating.
After several minutes spent contemplating in a world of my own, my thoughts were distracted by a beacon of orange to my right, forcing me to whirl around and face Michelle Liu’s New Genre hooded dress coat. Putting my prejudices towards the famously difficult-to-wear colour aside, I have to say I was impressed with how the garment looked on the runway film playing next to it.
Another piece which caught my attention was Anna Melkova’s hooded dress with its luxurious pink quilted lining against an embroidered black outer. Becky Hensman and Sarah Glover’s designs, although muted and predominately monochrome, both captured popular trends. Their use of PVC and silk created a sort of sexy work- wear appeal.
In terms of wear-ability and personal taste if Id had a larger bag I would have whisked Kelly Hyland’s dress away (joking of course!). Its feminine tie straps and hand printed designs soaked in gloriously fresh and summery hues, would team perfectly with a pair of my gladiator sandals at home.
The New Underground section saw Zaina Ahmed, Alex Gibson and Jennifer Withnall take inspiration from the S/S 08 collections with hemlines rising to an alarming height. Like Luella and Mui Mui the dresses combined cute and sexy – a great look for the young fashion savvy.
All the students showed some promise whether it is was through great craftsmanship, their ability to tap into trends or classic styles, innovative ideas, capturing a mood or idea through image or enhancing the appeal of the designs. It will be exciting to see how they progress over the next few important years, and who knows, they may someday be able to hold the flag for British fashion.
Being in Exeter for a few days, mind I decided to take a slice of Devonian arty goodness in the form of Axel Antas‘ exhibition at Spacex Gallery. Originally from Finland, Axel Antas is the latest artist to be influenced by his natural environment, which is so distinctive of South West art.
On first walking in, there was a room with a delicate pencil sketching of woodlands. The faint markings lead you to believe there may be fog in the way, leaving a ghostly feel.
Passing into another room, there is a series of photographs taken in the Catalan Pyrenees. Bird boxes placed in natural landscapes apparently ‘represents man’s failed attempt to converge with the landscape.’ There is a bare loneliness to the photos and the bird boxes add a surprising addition to the otherwise untouched landscape. It as if man’s hopes to engage with nature by building bird boxes has failed as it is gaping apparent they are not meant to be there. All the results are oddly discomforting, with the man made boxes looking frail and sad.
‘Intervention’, a series of photos taken of park landscapes with an added fake mist, enhances the otherworldly melancholy world he is so preoccupied with. He explains the fake mist as his attempt at ‘mimicking nature and momentarily changing the landscape.’ With a film screening of a picturesque park in spring, with hardly anything happening, you feel as if you are sat at a park bench in a private reverie, contemplating the peaceful view in front of you. Similarly around the corner is another larger screening of a foggy area where the screen gradually becomes clear to reveal woodlands.
I left the Spacex Gallery at odds with what I had just seen. There is a simplicity to his work and a lingering loneliness that hangs like the mists he artificially introduces to his works. Added to this, the deadening lack of noise in the gallery is palpable which only leaves you feeling isolated, which is surprising since the exhibition space is tiny. The pieces work well together and it is as if the mists spread it’s silent tentacles into your consciousness without you knowing it! Not exactly an upbeat way to spend your afternoon, but definitely worth a peek for those wanting to engage with hauntingly romantic and poetically beautiful pieces.
With a jingle as catchy as ‘Smelly Cat’, Wave Machines walk the tightrope of cheese, but balance it out with a synth-bass heavy and loopy keyboard melody. Twangy guitars, an inane chorus and cowbells also feature to make this as good as ice-cream.
Wave Machines have been called Liverpool’s third best new band, and judging by this piece of rhythmic joy they will be ousting the un-named bands from the top spots. A big claim, some might say, but Wave Machines have set sail and it’s definitely full speed ahead. Plus, if The Zutons are included it shouldn’t be too difficult.
I was so confused about this band to begin with. First of all by their name, sildenafil but let’s not get into that because who can really say what makes a good or bad band name; and then secondly by the fact they’re from France, but they sound so American. More American in fact than the sound of a severely obese man’s gut rumbling with pangs of hunger because he’s only on his 15th corn dog of the day. Put it this way, they sing about Jack Nicholson, in a style that’s somewhere between The Beach Boys and Johnny Cash and one of them is called Alex Banjo. How much more American can you get?
All this however is best ignored, as there is a lot of substance beyond all this baffling geography. Primarily in the fact that it meets one of the most important criteria for a good album – you can happily listen to it from beginning to end.
Individually tracks like ‘See The Future’, ‘Jack Nicholson style’ and ‘Time Bomb’ stand alone as really great songs, perhaps because they’re more buoyant than the rest of the album. That’s not to say the more sultry songs aren’t any good, they make the album well balanced – like the best of movies you’re taken from the lowest lows to the highest highs with very little time spent in between.
I love the style of this band. They seem to rip off so many people you can’t work out exactly who they’re trying to emulate. So in conclusion, I’ve decided it’s best not to think too hard about it, and just enjoy it for the fact that it gets my feet a tappin’.