The lyrically deliberate ballads of Aaron Embry seem incredibly appropriate at this particular point in history. They are so accessible that they feel almost as if you had been listening to them for years, like a comfy blanket sitting in your closet just waiting to cozy up to. The melancholy harmonica solos and the passionate vocal pacing keep me wanting more. The video above is just the latest in a string of fantastic pieces Aaron has put out on YouTube via his blog. There is gives the back story to many of the tracks and hints at how he might arrange them when he records full instrumental versions.
It’s always nice to catch a first as it’s happening. We’re sure we’ll see a lot more interactive projects like this in the future, so far we’ve never seen anything quite like Japanese group Sour’s “Mirror” video. In fact, we’re not even sure if “video” is the right word for what this is. It only works in Safari or Chrome, but it’s actually worth downloading a new browser just to watch if you only have IE or Firefox. This is a truly ground breaking project and as a bonus the music isn’t bad either.
After several years of relative silence Sean Lennon emerges with his newest project The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger. Lennon’s 2006 release Friendly Fire solidified his presence as a serious force in not-so-indie music. A collaboration with his long time girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, this feels like a natural evolution. Their sound though less refined than Lennon’s previous albums is more honest. Recorded in the livingroom of their New York home, this project is reflects the idiosyncratic behavior the two have a reputation for. While when listening it’s difficult to mentally separate Sean from John, the addition of Kemp Muhl’s delicate voice is the perfect compliment to Lennon’s subdued inflections. The duo recently released their first full length album, a compilation of acoustic renditions of previously released tracks aptly titled Acoustic Sessions.
Phoenix at the Holywood Bowl September 18, 2010
In a recent Wall Street Journal article The Black Crows and Wilco spoke candidly about their decisions to strictly prohibit the use of photo and video cameras at their live shows. We were shocked when Chris Robinson was quoted in the article stating, “As a band we’ve been trying to string together these moments, the kind of moments I’ve had as a music fan that have blown my mind. That’s not happening when you’re texting or checking your f—ing fantasy league stats.”
Disengaged fans are a separate issue. There is no doubt that Robinson is aware that fans who record his image infringe on his intellectual property rights with out licensing or paying for them. Long gone are the days when artists can strictly control the use of their likeness and profit from licensing it. Bands like The Black Crows continue to stifle their marketing abilities by holding on to archaic views the music industry and will struggle remain relevant while artists who engage their fans are embraced. Fans demand more of an artist, they will no longer be nickel and dimed by merchandising and CD sales. They take control of the fan experience by making a conscious decision to support artists by attending shows and sharing that experience driving music to new audiences.
Wilco front man Jeff Tweedy expressed his sentiments toward fan the videos by saying “My sense of indignation was really roused quite a few nights.” Even though Tweedy seems upset, Wilco takes a slightly more lax approach to enforcement by refraining from invasive frisks and searches and simply requesting that fans not shoot video. Still their public distaste for the very devices that are key to Wilco’s marketing success, amounts to clear fan abandonment. Cameras and phones could be deteriorating the concert going experience, but prohibition of these key cultural components could be career suicide.
Oh the kids these days. There was a time when a few guitars cranked to 11, a light show and a fog machine (plus a fair amount of illicit substances) equaled a rockin’ good time, but this is 2010 and the Summer of Love is more than four decades in the dustbin.
1024 Collective is Francois Wunschel and Pier Schneider, these wundkinds of the digital era have the Total Package: Space, Sound, Visual, Light, Body - an aesthetic that would make most DJ/VJ’s want to change their diaper and go back to their “day job” at Kinkos.
All kidding aside, this has to be regarded as further evidence that there is a quantum shift taking place in the world of music and arts. Musicians and Artists take note: if you want to hang your bad, anime-inspired art at the local coffee shop and play your acoustic guitar and sing about “Change” on open mic night, go right ahead, just don’t expect me to be there. I will be here:
What this all leads to is the inevitable conclusion that the “Triumph of the New York School” is over and this is one more example that Europe, with it’s state funded Arts and Design schools are pumping out the product in terms of brilliant design and engineering in the world of audio visual arts.
It’s time for MIT Media Center and CalArts to quit playing “World of Warcraft” and step up their game.
Justin “Kutmah” McNulty has circulated on the LA deejay scene for years. His Sketchbook night at Little Temple precedes the acclaimed beat scene instituation Low End Theory and serves as an inspiration to many. His music has helped define the beat sound which has evolved in recent years and is only now getting national recognition. At the same time Kutmah has made a name for himself in the LA art scene. His detailed line work and use of unconventional mediums has propelled his work and garnered great success at LA galleries. Photo (left): Josh Weiss
The Los Angeles creative and music communities were rocked earlier this month when Kutmah was obtained on in the early morning hours of May 5th at his Mount Washington area home and quickly moved to an immigration holding facility in New Mexico. He arrived in the United States at the age of twelve. It was then that he and his mother attempted to justify their reasons to remain here. In 1997 they made a final attempt and applied for green cards for which they were denied and asked to voluntarily leave the country. It is the violation of this deportation order that led to the events of May 5th. Why he was specifically targeted is still unclear as Kutmah has no criminal record and Immigrations and Customs enforcement officials have refrained from comment in this matter.
The question we ask ourselves today is how do members of the creative community affect the community as a whole? While main stream media reports the emergence of the LA beat sound and the music community looks forward to a new era, one of the foundational members has been completely removed. What is the value of the creative vision?
Kutmah has been called an innovator and a visionary . His inventive spirit is recalled by many who’ve know his work. Friend and HIT+RUN co-founder Brandy Flower commented “He’s always been ahead of the pack with his desire for the new. The same way he would find a new musical scene, through his involvement with immigration he’s defining a new sociopolitical scene.”
As immediately as he was taken, friends and colleges rallied in support of Kutmah, utilizing social media and directly contacting local and state authorities in an effort to re-open his case. Tonight they will be holding “Free Kutmah: Sketchbook Sessions” at the Verdugo Bar. Over 20 guest DJ’s have signed on including Gaslamp Killer and Abcnt, where one hundred percent of donations will benefit Kutmah.