Date Archives May 2008

Last Week in Music | 05/18/08 – 05/25/08

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The Swimming Song by Vetiver

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The Clockwise Witness by DeVotchKa

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Astronaut by Beach House

Last Week in Music was a good week, some new faces on there which makes everything so much more exciting. Starting off the list is Vetiver, who’s new album Thing of the Past just came out today. Lead singer of Vetiver Andy Cabic has chosen 12 of his favorite songs and has created an extremely touching cover album which go all over the place musically, but are all extremely beautiful. I highly recommend this album.

Next up was The Magnetic Fields, who are excellent to listen to no matter what. I tried to listen to all of 69 Love Songs (as well as Holiday and I) but I certainly didn’t make it. Then there was DeVotchKa, who’s newest album, A Mad & Faithful Telling, came out over 2 months ago, but I’m just now getting around to listening to it. I actually like it a lot, I’m pretty sure I like it more than their other albums. I also did a lot more listening to DCFC, mostly Narrow Stairs and The Photo Album.

Grand Archives came in at number 5, and I’ve officially added them to my list of albums to listen to this summer, which I think I’ll share with you guys in early June. I also listened to a lot of Cut Copy in preparation of seeing them live last week. Daft Punk made it onto the last somehow, I’m not really sure how, followed by Stars, Beach House (who I had a sudden urge to listen to) and finishing off with Fleet Foxes.


Alex Prager

Last week my buddy Eric gave me a heads up about this photographer Alex Prager, so I checked out her site, and was totally stunned. Alex works in Los Angeles, shooting photos that are extremely retro in their styling, but modern in their execution. Imagine the set of The Birds, or an episode of The Wonder Years, but shot in this weird, almost Stepford Wives kind of way. It’s kind of like she crafted a bunch of personas from different pieces of characters in films and then photographed it. The colors are bright, but somewhat desaturated and definitely surreal.

The top image reminds of a somewhere between The Birds and Jaws, you don’t know whether or not the threat is going to come from above or below, either way she’s totally screwed. The bottom photo makes me think of Dali Atomicus, which captures Dali jumping in the air, cats and water flying by and the easel and other furniture are starting to float. They’re both very out there, but really fun.


The Northern Plains of Mars

On Sunday night, NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander landed on the far northern plains of Mars called Vastitas Borealis, which I think is so rad. While it’s out there it’s going to be searching the soil with it’s big fancy “trench-digging arm” to see if there’s frozen water below the soil. They’re also looking for microbial life as well, because where there’s water, there’s potential life. And of course they’re taking a ton of photos as well, which is definitely my favorite part. I just want them to rotate the camera and suddenly see a giant alien stature or something (maybe they could put it in the NEXT Indiana Jones film?! hahaha).

The NASA sire also has a cool Phoenix Mars Lander interactive site where you can read all about what the lander does. I had no idea it was so big! The solar arrays that power the lander are 18 feet wide! If any of this interests you be sure to visit NASA’s website, they do a really great job of posting all sorts of awesome photos and info pretty regularly.

There’s also this New York Times article that goes into the details of the landing itself.


Memorial Day

Today in the US it’s Memorial Day, and because of our current “war” that’s going on, I thought I’d post these photos I found on DIGG. I read the captions and totally started to cry, I couldn’t help it. I’m very fortunate and haven’t lost anyone that I’ve known to this ridiculous sham we’re calling a “war”, and seeing these photos makes me entirely too upset. Fuck this war, fuck George Bush, fuck everyone involved in getting us into this ludicrous situation. I just hope we can clean up this mess we’ve made so more innocent people, and I mean everyone involved including the Iraqis, and everyone else serving abroad, don’t have to lose their lives in vain.

I know this isn’t very eloquently written or well thought out, but it’s what spilled out of me at the moment.


New Ratatat Video for a New Ratatat Song, Mirando

Chris over at Gorilla vs. Bear posted this great video for an upcoming Ratatat song called Mirando. The song is gonna be on their next album called LP3, and it’s pretty damn rad. As Chris describes it, it’s sort of has an 8 Bit/Bollywood sound to it, which is kind of weird in writing but good to hear. The video itself is really damn great, and was create by Evan from Ratatat. All he did was edit together some footage from the movie Predator, but man it looks good/is hysterical. I love the ending with all the thermal imaging… I think thermal images might be the cool next thing, so I’m gonna do some research and see what I can find.


Scott Hansen / ISO50’s New Obama Poster

Eagle-eyed reader Victor just sent me an email letting me know that Scott Hansen, better knows as ISO50 to the design-y types, has the poster he created for Barack Obama on the official Obama site. About a month ago Scott wrote on his blog that the Obama campaign had contacted him to create a poster, just like Shepard Fairey had done previously. He also described on his blog about how crazy this project became. The final file ended up being 2.77 GB, with almost 1000 layers!!! For those of you who aren’t familiar with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, a file of that size, with that many layers, is basically unheard of. I deal with digital images all the time, and I cringe at a 200 MB file, let alone almost 3 GB!

I think the poster turned out really amazing, it’s definitely going to be pretty damn popular. The colors are fantastic, and I’m sure there’s a TON of detail that you can’t see in the tiny image above. The poster measures 23″ x 40″, and comes in an edition of 5000, which I don’t think is that many, especially with the size of audience that is probably seeing the image. The poster isn’t officially ready, but you can pre-order it for $70 right now.

I just think it’s rad that all of these ultra-creative folks have stepped up to the plate to really show their support for Obama. It makes me really happy to see them rallying behind Obama and hopefully getting more and more younger voters into voting.


Buttefly Lamp by VINTA

K.I.S.S., Keep It Simple Stupid. It may be cheesy, but it’s honestly one of those sayings that I take to heart not only when it comes to design, but my life in general. And I definitely feel like the folks over at VINTA live by a similar mantra. I couldn’t really find much information out about them, but I’m pretty sure they’re Japanese, at least the end of their URL is. Anyhow, I saw this awesome lamp they created called Buttefly and was instantly in love. And so we’re clear, it is Buttefly, not Butterfly, haha…

The lamp was inspired by one of the simplest things out there, a folded piece of paper. But imagine the piece of paper being folded almost perfectly in half. Because of that imperfection, the light can peak at no matter what. But then when you unfold the light it becomes a really large, beautiful light. It’s simplicity is amazing, and the aluminum body really makes it sleek. I’m pretty sure that this isn’t for sale, but I could see MUJI totally being into this sort of design, couldn’t you?


Card-Board: A Cardboard Surfboard

I haven’t been surfing for probably 5 years now, but when I would go I really loved it. I was never good and I’ve probably ridden about 5 waves successfully, but there’s definitely something exciting about surfing and surf culture in general. But what happens when a web programmer decides to build his board not in the traditional way, with foam, but with 3-D modeling? Well you get an entirely new experience.

Mike Sheldrake had no idea how to carve a board, so he took to his computer, a tool he was much more familiar with, and designed himself a snap together board made out of… cardboard. The board is made up of almost 400 pieces of regular old cardboard which are cut out by a computer controlled saw. Because of the unique hexagonal and triangle patterns the boards strength is increased, dispersing the force evenly throughout the board. After he put it all together it’s wrapped in a fiberglass cloth and hardened with epoxy, just like a real board. So what you’re seeing up there is more like the core, you don’t ride that hole-y beast. Mike wants to start selling these online in the near future, so keep an eye out!

Found through Pop Sci