Archive for March, 2011

I’ve been listening to this record over the last couple of days and I really like the random, casual collection of keepsakes on the sleeve.
The music reminds me of many other mid-to-late 80s North American alt-rock, like REM and The Replacements. That vague sense of community is enhanced by a photo of Hüsker Dü on the cover and a gentle prod in Michael Stipe’s direction via the song For The Singer Of REM, which both point to an endearingly ego-free playfulness.
Music that doesn’t take itself too seriously and is also rather good should be savoured.

Oramic Theory
March 26th, 2011

Daphne Oram (BBC archives)

Daphne Oram was a sound pioneer and founder of the legendary BBC Radiophonic Workshop. It’s amazing to think that the synthesised sound that we now take for granted, easily available at the push of a button, was once the result of hard-won experiments by this woman, amongst others. Her Oramic machine was fed with drawn symbols, which were then converted into sound.

Listen to Pompie Ballet:

Here’s a video of her Oramics synthesiser being rescued by Mick Grierson, soundtracked by some of the stirring music it made:

Oramics from Nick Street on Vimeo.

Street Life
March 26th, 2011

Jacob Lawrence, Street to Mbari (1964), tempera, gouache and graphite on paper

This jumble of colour, shape and movement just hit me in the face when I saw it in an exhibition review for Afro Modern at Tate Liverpool last year. I wish I’d seen the show now, curated with one eye on Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic, an important book I studied at university.

Eurythmic Method
March 26th, 2011

I love this song. Totally Cocteau Twins and recorded by Conny Plank with members of Can (Holgar Czukay plays French Horn on this one!) in Cologne. And then they became massive.

Guy And Dolls
March 24th, 2011

Footage shot by Guy Bourdin, edited by Adam Mufti, music by Olivier Alary

Mysterious yet highly commercial, Guy Bourdin’s fashion photography throws up more questions than it answers.

Behind The Mask
March 16th, 2011

Luc Tuymans, Masks (2005), oil on canvas.

This painting is eerie and almost not there, like many of Tuymans’ ghostly pictures. The contours of the masks come out of the flatness of the pictorial space like figures emerging from sand. There aren’t many features on display but the old-fashioned facial hair and glasses make the picture funnier than it might’ve been.

Serve The Servants
March 16th, 2011

The Sun A Small Star by The Servants

Felt-esque guitar playing and catchy ba-ba-ba vocals. Dreamy C86 indie pop.

Girardot Not Bardot
March 16th, 2011

Annie Girardot in Rocco and His Brothers (1960), directed by Luchino Visconti

Girardot died recently. When I saw this image on the Sight & Sound website it looked pale and bleached-out but still carried a sense of foreboding.

Youth Brigade
March 16th, 2011

Thurston & Kim of Sonic Youth photographed by Terry Richardson

Two cool cookies.

Woodcutting Crew
March 9th, 2011

Katsukawa Shunsho, A View of Enoshima in Sagami Province, Looking from the Direction of Koshigoe (circa 1784, Edo period)

I was browsing in a book shop last night and this woodcut stood out from a book of Japanese Prints as being so modern and clear; a blend of detailed line-work and graphic simplicity. The book, published by The British Museum, mentions that the sky, which has faded to pale ochre, was once a brilliant blue, printed in a time before the Prussian blue pigment was readily available. After 1706, European artists could use the new pigment to achieve longer-lasting blues and, eventually, it was exported around the world. It’s interesting that we appreciate the image on its current terms, but it was once admired as a brighter picture with altogether different properties.

He’s A Miracle
March 5th, 2011

Cruisin’ is effortless soul from a master of the genre. The syrupy strings and the drawn-out pace of this song perfectly complement Smokey Robinson’s fluttering falsetto. This song evokes long summer days that I don’t even know if I’ve experienced.