Date Archives September 2011

‘All Nite’ by Rustie

Glass Swords by Rustie

'All Nite' by Rustie

Warp Records has a knack for pulling out great UK beatmakers. By slowly introducing them into the scene, they end up becoming another part of the sonic collage that the record label releases. Rustie, a recent addition to Warp and a Glasgow native, is about to drop his first full length on the label in the next month called Glass Swords. His style of UK bass melds the mechanism of Detroit techno with the boogie funk of the 80’s. Synths are abused and drum machines hammered into a precision, creating this sort of bombastic funky drum beat.

His first single All Nite is a perfect example of his craft. You can hear the dub plates, an 80’s booty bass line, a gratuitous synthesizer and Kanye’s chimpmunk-esque samples. This is an awesome blend of pop styles. It’s a track that should be turned way up as it builds into melding melodies. A bass line with a sick, flat low end flows against a pulsing synth melody that is just so sweet and gratifying. Add a techno break down and a sick melodic turn at the end and it is a real banger. To me, it’s something you wish a recently departed king of pop could really cut loose over. It’s so smooth and easy to enjoy that I feel guilty of loving something too fast. Don’t you love when that happens?

If this is any indicator, Rustie’s debut, Glass Swords, might be one of the most anticipated records of the year. I can’t wait.


‘Whatever Leads Me to You’ by Geoffrey O’Connor (Video)

'Whatever Leads Me to You' by Geoffrey O'Connor

'Whatever Leads Me to You' by Geoffrey O'Connor

Some of you might already know Geoffrey O’Connor as the frontman for Australian pop group Crayon Fields. This week he’s releasing a new solo LP called Vanity is Forever and from what I’ve heard I quite like it. The lead single from the album is a sort of down-and-dark synth-pop number called Whatever Leads Me to You. It’s a great track and it combines an excellent edgy bass-line with some nicely textured 80s-style synthesizers.

The video above captures the mood of the song really well and I’m particularly drawn to the lighting and the colors in it. Overall though, it’s the decidedly soft-rock quality of the whole thing that does it for me, and the the combined video and music captures the essence of classic synth-rock from the 1980s (for better or for worse). Currently O’Connor is streaming the whole album for a limited time on his Soundcloud page here, which I recommend you check out.


Water Rising | A Mixtape by Canon Blue

Download Water Rising | A Mixtape by Canon Blue

Apparat – “Ash Black”
Son Lux – “Chase”
Owen Pallet – “Midnight Directives”
Nico Muhly – “The Only Tune Pt. 3”
Muteson – “Water Rising”
Gotye – “Somebody That I Used to Know”
Murder – “Providence”
Valgeir Sigurdsson – “Hot Ground, Cold”
Stina Nordenstam – “The Morning Belongs to the Night”
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – “The Lake”
Brian Eno & John Cale – “Lay My Love”
The Magnetic Fields – “You Must Be Out of Your Mind”

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Damien Correll’s Beautiful Contributions to Friends of Type

Damien Correll's Beautiful Contributions to Friends of Type

Damien Correll's Beautiful Contributions to Friends of Type

Damien Correll's Beautiful Contributions to Friends of Type

Damien Correll's Beautiful Contributions to Friends of Type

Click images to enlarge

A few weeks ago I had what I called an “Artsy Bro Dinner”, which was basically a reason to get together with some friends and chat over a good meal. A member of this dinner was my buddy Damien Correll, an awesome illustrator and designer from New York who is also one half of Part & Parcel. I’ve known Damien for years now, he’s contributed to wallpapers on the site and all kinds of things.

I was super excited to see that he was guest posting/creating over on Friends of Type, hands down the best place on the web to see beautiful, experimental type on the web, so inspirational. Damien did five pieces total, the last came out today, and all of them were so well done, you should be totally jealous. My favorite of the bunch was the first piece, which I would seriously get tattooed on my body, I love it that much.

Click here to see Damien’s post over on FoT, they’re way larger over there and you can really soak in the details.


Inflatable Venues and Beautiful Drawings

John Clark, Jake Gay and Taka Shinomoto: Co-Opt Sub-Pop

John Clark, Jake Gay and Taka Shinomoto: Co-Opt Sub-Pop

John Clark, Jake Gay and Taka Shinomoto: Co-Opt Sub-Pop

The Kaohsiung Maritime Pop Music Center Competition invited participants to imagine and propose a venue that could accommodate a whole range of performance/production spaces for this generation of pop music stars and the next. Architecture students John Clark, Jake Gay and Taka Shinomoto thought the competition brief was was based on a “doomed” premise, saying: “pop might be able to be created in a laboratory [today] but the next generation cannot be made this way.” Their proposal relies on a series of small, mechanical sheds that can send out inflatable volumes to make larger, and larger venues. It’s a fun idea that’s conveyed through a series of quite compelling photos, drawings, and combinations of photos and drawings.


Vincent Fournier’s Space Project – Space Suit of the Week

Vincent Fournier’s Space Project constructs a new reality in the fantasy of space exploration. Over the past decade and a half, Fournier has captured a wide array of space organizations from around the world:  Gagarine Cosmonaut Training Center (Russia), Mars Desert Research Station (USA), Guyana Space Center (French Guiana) Atacama Desert observatories (Chile), International School of Space (Kazakhstan), Kennedy Space Center (USA) and other facilities.

Through the seamless compilation of photographed space, he has created an identity of the space traveler that is simply human. His artist statement reads, “The project came from the experience that we all have whilst looking at the stars during our childhood, when we suddenly realise the infinity of the universe and that we are but a tiny part of it.”

His spacesuit photograghs are striking as they take on personalities of their own. Sometimes the suits look lost in a foreign land, like the 2008 Mars Society creatures venturing across desolate terrain. Others seem completely domestic, as in the 2007 Star City space suit photographs, where hues of the space suit blend perfectly into the wallpaper as if it is a fixture to hung on the wall like a clock or a collection of well loved trinkets. Even Fournier’s machines look like sleeping giants ready to awaken, beep, gurgle and then turn their gaze to sky.


Paul Thurlby’s Wonderful Character Illustrations

Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot by Paul Thurlby

Saintly Sinners for Ace Tennis Magazine by Paul Thurlby

The White Stripes by Paul Thurlby

British illustrator Paul Thurlyby has a lovely portfolio filled with a really nice collection of retro-modern illustrations all inspired by mid-century design. Originally from Nottingham but now based in London; Paul has worked on illustrations for a number of clients including the likes of The Guardian, The Times and It’s Nice That. Some of you may have seen the wonderful alphabet series which he created a while ago. It was really rather splendid and if you haven’t seen it then you really should check it out!

Today I thought I’d share some of the wonderful characters that Paul has drawn in the past. I was well aware of his alphabet set but I didn’t know he was also such a fine caricaturist. The top image of Serge Gainsbourg & Brigitte Bardot really does it for me. Paul’s style sits so well upon these two icons of 60’s and I love the texture of Bardot’s hair. Also, check out his picture of The White Stripes – it’s just so much fun! More work can be seen online here.


Facebook’s Timeline: Memories Are More Complex Than Algorithms

Facebook's Timeline: Memories Are More Complex Than Algorithms

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Yesterday, Facebook announced the launch of their product, Timeline, a way to “tell your life story with a new kind of profile.” Much has been written and much more will be written in the coming weeks, and I can’t stop myself from pointing out a few things myself.

The Design
First up is the design, which is both beautiful… and confusing. The designers in the details and the work done in Timeline are pretty near perfect. It’s based on a beautiful grid, the spacing is crisp, the size of the type, it’s all rather nice. The introduction of a cover image of is interesting, bringing some personality to the standard Facebook profile, but it’s aspects like that, which to me, make it feel a lot like Myspace. It’s not a bad thing, but it’s certainly ground that’s been tread before.

My problem with the design though is that it’s a bit disorienting and somewhat noisy. Before it was easy to scan your profile because it had a single column that lets you absorb all the information easily. Now that information has been split into two columns, both are equally weighted, information moving back and forth freely. In my opinion this free movement makes it really hard to scan the page, yours eye have to go back and forth on the page, absorbing random pieces of data. Imagine reading a book from left to right and the story keeps changing as you go.

The page also feels rather noisy because of a few key pieces that are smattered all over the page: your user icon, your name and a timestamp. These three things exist on every single update you have, which makes for a whole lot of visual clutter. I’m not sure what the point is of having all that information, either. When you click their profile pic or their name, you just go to their profile.

The Concept
More than the design, which I honestly think is a bold idea, I’m not a fan of what Timeline really means. Facebook is trying to become so much more than a social network, it’s your life in serialized form, from your noisy beginning to quiet end. Facebook wants you to “input” your memories, your favorite songs, the things you cook, the movies you watch. That by doing all of this stuff, you can show people who you really are. But is inputting yourself into a mainframe a true representation of yourself?

Hell no.

I’m pretty morally against what they’re trying to do for a few reasons. The first, and obvious, is that they want you to input all of this information to sell ads against. That’s the way the world works in 2011, and though it sucks, it’s not my biggest problem. What I really hate is that they want to input your memories, but memories are so much more than some photos or a song you were listening to. Sure, those things can bring up memories, but there’s so much more to what a memory is. There’s smells, there’s taste, their’s touch and feel, and none of that can be experienced through a dump of information which Facebook is calling your life.

Your life is more than a bunch of information. Your life is more than songs or photos, it’s experiences, it’s friends, it’s things that can’t ever be replicated. Real memories live inside you, in your head and heart, made with real people in real life. It’s sad and scary that a company is trying to redefine what a memory is, that all we are is data in a cloud somewhere. Is there an answer to this problem? I don’t know, I’m kind of feeling pessimistic about it, but I can try and be hopeful that people are smart enough to know what’s real.


Cate Blanchett collaborates with Nathan Coley, turns into an Archtiect

Nathan Coley and Cate Blanchett "Another Lecture"

Nathan Coley and Cate Blanchett "Another Lecture"

Atist Nathan Coley, presents images of insignificant structures and spaces from Glasgow and Melbourne. The presentation of these buildings is narrated by Cate Blanchett, who speaks as if she were an architect responsible for each of the spaces. It’s pretty hilarious. About the stacked stones that make the entrance to the derelict building above, the architect says: “The carved stones act as a contemporary sign post. On the left side, the stones are carefully positioned, adding order and stability; on the right, it’s a bit more free and romantic.”  Coley says the video is teasing about the pompous attitude of the architecture world while at the same time celebrating the found and unconsciously made.


‘Bioshock Infinite’ Preview (Video)

BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

BioShock Infinite

For many video game enthusiasts, the BioShock series is a grouping of games handcrafted by the gods of video games for us mortals to play when they allow us to. The series has two games so far–BioShock and BioShock 2–with a new one which will be released next year: BioShock Infinite.

Details on the new game were kept under wraps for some time, but are now out in the open: the new game does not take place underwater as the first two but in the air, in Columbia, during the year 1912. You play Brooker DeWitt, a former government agent, who is searching to find a woman named Elizabeth, who he feels is at the center of a civil war. Unfortunately for them both, she is being pursued by a former captive/robotic monster called Songbird. Sounds a little confusing, yes, which I am sure is the point until you actually play it.

The video above is a fifteen minute gameplay demo that debuted at this year’s E3, where it swept the conference’s awards. The video takes place in the middle of the game where Brooker and Elizabeth are perusing this air city, occasionally stalked by Songbird and others, but also using tears, items that alter space and time. As you can see in one of the photos, there is a “Revenge Of The Jedi” marquee which is when Elizabeth opens a tear to the early eighties (yes, that is Tears for Fears you hear in the clip).

As you can tell, this new entry in the series is a total departure and looks nothing like the other entries in the series. Watching the above clip it seems very, very confusing how to play this game as it looks like a movie. If you still want more on the game, the Bioshock Infinite site has much more fun videos and IGN released the first ten minutes of the game last year, furthering that this game is just a movie you click buttons through.