Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Art. Show all posts

Monday, 9 December 2013

'So The Echo' - Brandon Boyd

Meet Brandon Boyd. He's got to be one of the most creative people in contemporary culture. 'Incubus' was his break and his most well known creation, but stretching beyond this pioneering experimental rock band, Brandon's life-long strive to express himself appears boundless.

I'm yet to purchase a copy of his new 'coffee-table' book but it definitely looks like it's worth checking out. 'A Peek Inside' on his website demonstrates that this collection gives insight into his creative process through a combination of his art alongside lyrics, notes and almost fleeting opinion pieces from his journal. It seems a 'stream of consciousness' narrative to Brandon's inner going-ons. His art combines what seems to be an edgy political tone amongst a psychedelic backdrop, producing some rather quirky and abstract - but nonetheless thought provoking - pieces. Surrounding much of his art, and his words to an extent, is an element of fluidity. His musical work often plays on clever time signatures and lyrical structure, tampering with how his music flows. His art reciprocates this somewhat. Streaks, twirls and waves work themselves around a central icon or image developing, on a simple level, mere aesthetic pleasure; on a higher note a lot of his work compliments his ideas and thoughts more often seen in his poesis.

Boyd's creative adaptability is what sets him up above the rest. He versatiley brings his fans an array of abounding ingenuity for our eyes and ears. Whether you take his work at face value or attempt to extend his work into something more, there's an angle for everyone. If you ever catch one of his interviews he often talks of his childhood and how he felt he was raised in an environment that (quite evidently) nurtured his artistic innovation to where he is today and where he will go. What all parties will come to appreciate is that creativity, for Brandon, is far from just work, but a lifestyle.

'So The Echo',out now, is available from Brandon Boyd's online shop here.

Friday, 8 November 2013

New room, new times.

For the third (and hopefully final) time during my university years I've moved once again, this time - I'm proud and privileged to say - to a much nicer area and certainly not so far from my university campus at all! Since the start of term several student publications have beaten me to the game of how to decorate your student room but nonetheless I thought I'd share what I've done this year to hopefully spark some ideas.

When I moved in my room was pretty bare. Nothing but my bed, an inadequately sized desk and one chair was provided thus my first port of call was furniture and, being a student, cheap and cheerful is paramount. Ikea, you are a saviour.

A bedside table is probably the most helpful piece of bedroom furniture with it being a common host for your lamp, books and, for me, copious amounts of tea. For £25 this guy is an absolute pleasure; easy to assemble, nice looking and plenty of space.The same goes for my bookcase. Being an English Literature student and Kindle sceptic, I have a forever increasing book collection. With no shelving provided in my room, this item was also an absolute necessity on my list. At just £15 I'm flabbergasted at its size and sturdiness. I went for a randomised approach to my shelves as I've always thought natural (but still sensibly placed) clutter can be quite attractive. I bought the hanging ivy from a plant sale on campus and with little attention, this little beauty has grown out really nicely to accompany my collection of books. Candles (£5, Tk Maxx), incense sticks (£2, Amazon) and a clock (£10, Tk Maxx) also made this area a bit more homely.

Wall space is something that I took a long time to figure out how to fill. Whilst posters are a cheap way to beautify your room, when they're simply stuck up I always feel it takes the power out of the picture and looks a little tatty. After a little research I found some cheap poster frames online (£10 ea, I can't remember where from...sorry!). Posters are a great way to express your interests and passions and these frames make them much tidier and gives that treasured music and art much more authority.

Above my bed is probably the most intriguing feature. I bought this vinyl art off eBay for £30 (inc. postage) and I haven't regretted it since. I didn't want my walls to lack variety and another couple of posters might have been slightly monotonous. My room in my old house used to have a really great mural wall and I considered something similar (see here) so after some research I came across these vinyl prints. Ok so perhaps it was a tad pricey but it gave my room a lot more personality and considering the amount of hours I've spent staring at it I think I've got my money's worth already. Plus, it's a great conversation starter. They're a bit of a mission to put up, so you might want another pair of hands if you're out for one.

I spend so much time in my room so I thought it was worth spending some money to make it my own. It might not be your style but, however you want your room, Tk Maxx, Dunelm, and online are the places to look. Not only are they affordable, but if you take some time looking through a lot of their stuff you can make some really interesting looks. The most cost-effective purchase? The canvas shelving in my wardrobe; only £3.99 and it's made such an organisational difference. Best buy irrespective of price? My bean bag: so, so comfy.

You might also want to check out some of these articles that I used when setting up my room. I thought some of the advice was crap, but it definitely sparked my imagination initially;

The National Student;

Student Beans;

The Telegraph;

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

'Hype Vibes' and Claude VonStroke

I've recently started writing for an online music blog called Hype Vibes. They cover big releases and news on the contemporary urban dance scene.

My first piece is on Claude VonStroke's new 'Urban Animal', one of my current favourites. You can check my article here. I've also embedded the Soundcloud preview of the album;

Also, here's a video which I found during my research which accompanies my article nicely. Turns out VonStroke seems a really decent guy! I love the way the entire album is based around liberation from what he calls the "9-5 grind" and that antipation that many feel for the weekend ahead. Check the video and see what you think;

UPDATE (19/01/2014); unfortunately this article is no longer hosted on this website, however I've posted it below;

Described as “spanning genre, space and mood” and “as unpredictable and bewildering as any living entity”, Claude VonStroke’s ‘Urban Animal’ certainly lives up to its name. With dirtybird’s 100th release expect to find experimental, metropolitan electronica combined with bouncy house beats, cleverly creating this idiosyncratic sound that delivers a fruitful depiction of the current Detroit techno movement.

‘Urban Animal’ opens with its title track. The dark tones and sharp, snappy beats immediately place you in VonStroke’s urban landscape. Along with the progressive bass undertones and rich piano, the track becomes a well-rounded uplifting piece of electronica, placing you in the right urban mind-set.

But the main energy is yet to come. ‘The Clapping Track’ and ‘Dood’ bring a whole new pounding dimension to the release. The former is a real crowd pleaser: happy and playful and no doubt a floor-filler; whilst the latter takes a more rugged approach, fuelled by squealing 303 synths and experimental, bendy vocals.

Whilst the album’s urban theme remains a constant, the genre is far from static. ‘Oakland Rope’ is the wild card that really shows off VonStroke’s eclectic skill. Collaborating with Fox & Py, the team have produced a really moreish drum and bass piece. With the echoey guitar samples and somewhat haunting vocals, it differs considerably to the heavy 4X4 beats that came before and in tracks such as ‘Can’t Wait’ which follow. Yet this differing style shows VonStroke’s diversity and how he is not confined to one field, consequently stressing the value of pleasure in dance music as an entire entity, and not in one particular genre.

The simple pleasure of dancing is exactly the impression you get of what VonStroke hopes of his listeners. He wants you to not just to listen to ‘Urban Animal’, but to be the urban animal; to thrive off the primitive pleasure of pounding grooves and flowing basslines. Don’t waste your time listening to this through small speakers. ‘Urban Animal’ is a dish best served loud and preferably in the collective claustrophobia of the city where it was designed to be listened to, amongst friends and strangers alike.

‘Urban Animal’ is available to buy on iTunes and Beatport. Alternatively, you can also listen to it on Spotify.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Mr. Brainwash - 'Life is Beautiful' Art Exhibition, (20/10/2012)

Also published in Brunel University's Le Nurb. Find it here

Serendipity is a great word which I don't often get to use. However when my friend Jon and I accidentally stumbled upon this exhibition in High Holborn I think my opportunity finally arose. Wow. Just wow.

Theirry Guetta, aka Mr. Brainwash, was someone I had only ever briefly heard of before Saturday. Since 2008, his 'Life is Beautiful' exhibition has captured the hearts and imaginations of many internationally. His idiosyncratic but refreshing touch to urban pop art attracted as many as 30,000 to his first exhibition on Sunset Boulevard, an event that seemed to not expect such recognition1. Again, Guetta appeared to have under-estimated his limits and, to my fortune, his exhibition in central London was re-opened on the 12th October after its first successful launch in the UK during the London Olympics.

Guetta once again has taken over the vast ground floor of a former multi-storey Royal Mail postal depot, cleverly and strategically placing his pieces in a style of his own in the very rustic location. The Zone 1 venue, considering its aforementioned previous owners, gave a real theme of quintessential 'Britishness' but nonetheless Guetta still cleverly ties in and revives much of American sixties pop art with multiple homages to Warhol. But it wasn't just the inside that Guetta seems to have captured; he's embraced the surroundings and outer walls of his lugubrious host, continuing his work onto the nearby streets. This is, for one, I suppose to draw people in; but also I feel it's to really extend his art outside of his official display thus bringing home the true values of freedom of expression and that art is a free and public enjoyment, not one that is costly and locked away.

Topically, my experience with this building didn't begin with this exhibition. Two years ago upon this forthcoming weekend one of the biggest illegal raves of the noughties decade was held here. Titled 'Scumoween', the rave is an annual event which is held in a different abandoned building space each year around London, generally on the outskirts. In 2010, thousands attended this particular rave including myself and friends for an experience that no official or legal club can replicate. It is sad to say that the publicity of the event was rather negative, (considering some confrontation with the police and its very central location), however this was unfortunately a rowdy and unwelcome minority that tarred us all with the same brush. Walking around the same building space nearly two years later was rather nostalgic. Upon discussing this event with one of the exhibition representatives on Saturday I found that much of the remnants of the party were still left on the building's other floors and he also told an interesting story of how the rave organisers were cleverly able to originally occupy the building and compromise its security.

Notice the difference?
I used the very same entrance for both events2

So it seems that Holborn is the home to a rather cult building. There's that saying "if walls could talk..." but, for me, having had the lucky oppurtunity to have attended both of these significant events in modern London culture, I daresay I wouldn't have much to ask them.

1 Who Is Mr Brainwash? ,, (Accessed; 22/10/2012)
2Photo courtesy of James West Photography;
3Thanks to Jon Line also for supplying many of these photos and for what was a cracking day.