Apparently, the new tune “OKRA” is a ‘throwaway song’ per the video’s YouTube page. Yet, it’s one of the best tracks I’ve heard this year. And the music video is equally delicious as the juicy bass and spit-filled rhymes.
“I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint, diminishes strength. The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self of the chains that shackle the spirit.”
Music writer Michael A. Gonzalespenned a dynamite article celebrating the 20th-anniversary release of Mezzaninefrom UK band Massive Attack.
Mezzanine is an album best listened to loud, preferably on earphones, to properly hear the layers of weirdness and rhythms, a soulful sound collage that was miles away from the “Parklifes” and “Champagne Supernovas” of their Brit-pop contemporaries Blur and Oasis.
Along with the likes of fellow Bristol-based artists Portishead and Tricky, the band helped usher in an era of trip-hop. The trip-hop genre mashed hip-hop and electronica, adding layers of rock, soul, and dub. Mezzanine was therefore fresh and original, contrary to the DJ sampling on the group’s previous two albums Blue Lines and Protection.
The trip-hop label was bestowed on the group by the Brit journalist Jonathan Taylor to describe the trippy music that was simultaneously street and psychedelic. Trip-hop was a tag that, like jazz, was often rejected by the practitioners, but it fit perfectly.
Mezzanine contained 4 singles, each matched by a dark and intriguing music video (see below). It’s also worth mentioning that one of the three key band members, Robert Del Naja, is rumored to be street artist Banksy.
To celebrate the album’s 20th anniversary, the band decided to release the album in DNA format. 920,000 DNA strands make it the second-largest file ever stored in DNA. This is sure to make it forever timeless.
Photographer Susan Ressler released a collection of black and white images capturing the corporate culture of Los Angeles in the 1970s. From the clunky computers to the banal office plant and male-dominated executives, she captures the industrial economy perfectly.
“Executive Order” depicts corporate America in the late 1970s, mostly in Los Angeles and the Mountain West. The sunbelt was exploding and so was corporate excess. Daylight Books is publishing this work in Spring 2018. Why 40 years later? Because now, in the era of Trump, we face the same dangers that ensue when corporations are deregulated and when profits “trump” people.
Her images are stark reminders of a culture that was and still is prevalent today.
From hand-illustrating every emoji ever to showcasing all varieties of beer, a taxonomy of rap names, and a compendium of basketball jerseys, the artists at Pop Chart Lab turns data into creative infographics.
Not surprisingly, the visuals make perfect posters for the wall. You can order a standalone print, pair it with a handmade frame, or request a print mounted on a panel. Check out the Popchart website for more cool prints.
Hi Friends, below are some interesting links I discovered this week.
Summary: Author Patricia Hampl wants to get rid of the to-do list. Mike Vardy ditches the computer for plain pen and paper to get stuff done. Van Gogh emulated Japanese prints. Video footage of New York City from 1911. Check out all these links and more after the jump.
The Art of the Wasted Day. Patricia Hampl’s new book wants us to reconsider time management by removing the burden of the to-do list and daydream instead. She encourages us, especially in our old age — what she calls the third stage after youth and middle age — to let go of the over-scheduled life.
Why Paper Works. A simple pen and paper ask for our attention. And we give it. Writes Mike Vardy in his piece: “Paper works because it is only limited by what you’re willing to put on (and into) it. Paper provides an escape from your devices and does so without compromising your ability to get things done.”
Van Gogh’s fascination with Japan. Japanese art flooded Western Europe when in 1854, America forced Japan to open its borders to trade. Some of the prints of Japanese woodcuts made it all the way to Vincent Van Gogh in Paris. He grew obsessed with ukyio-e, or “pictures of the world,” joyful elements he copied into his own art.
Thought of the week
“Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance.”
In 1911, Swedish film company Svenska Biografteatern recorded its trip to New York. Fortunately, the footage survived and most recently was speed-corrected and reproduced with added street sounds of car horns, horses, and police whistles to give us a sense of the environment back then.
Venezuelan photographer Ronaldo Schemidt won World Press Photo of the Year for his image of the “Burning Man.” The picture shows a fleeing José Víctor Salazar Balza engulfed in flames at an anti-government protest in Venezuela on May 3, 2017.
According to a study done by psychologists at Exeter University, humans are hardwired for rural environments.
An MRI scanner revealed that human brains grow confused at the image of cities. Meanwhile, reviewing photos of the countryside calmed down the mind to a meditative state.
Reports researcher Dr. Ian Frampton:
“When looking at urban environments the brain is doing a lot of processing because it doesn’t know what this environment is. The brain doesn’t have an immediate natural response to it, so it has to get busy. Part of the brain that deals with visual complexity lights up: ‘What is this that I’m looking at?’ Even if you have lived in a city all your life, it seems your brain doesn’t quite know what to do with this information and has to do visual processing.”
Take a walk in the park
We all know the city can make us feel like another rat in a cage. The zoo metaphor isn’t off. Said one Exeter professor: “If you don’t get the conditions right in zoos, the animals start behaving in a wacky way.” To quote novelist John Berger, “the zoo is the epitaph to a relationship.”
Urbanization is not natural, so the brain does its best to adapt to infrastructure and chaos. Catalan artist Arnau Alemany depicts the relationship between the metropolis and the fields. City parks provide an important outlet to human nature.
Despite the chaos, cities work. Like our crazy neurons, there seems to some order in the disorder. The brain is plastic, after all.
Today marks the 24th anniversary of Illmatic, considered one of the greatest rap albums of all-time. It saw 20-year-old Queens-bred Nas pair up with New York producers DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Q-Tip, and Large Professor. Below is the promo video introducing the release.
Nas went on to become one of the greatest lyricists. In 2013, Harvard University established the Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellowship to provide scholars with creative opportunities in the arts. In 2017, Nas sat down with Harvard poetry professor Elisa New to discuss his track “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” from the Illmatic album.
Nasty Nas made his recorded debut on Main Source’s Live at the Barbeque album as an 18-year-old. He wrote the verse when he was 16. Check out the live clip below:
Bursting onto the art scene for her surreal piece on “mouserflies,” painter Lisa Ericson returns to Portland’s Antler Gallery for the fourth time.
Writes the Gallery on her imaginative take on species as “mobile habitats”:
“Her technical skill is beyond compare. The depth of her feeling really shines through in these gorgeous depictions of supernatural beings which look as though they could be photographs taken on a night safari or deep-dive.”
Time is to clock as mind is to brain. The clock or watch somehow contains the time. And yet time refuses to be bottled up like a genie stuffed in a lamp. Whether it flows as sand or turns on wheels within wheels, time escapes irretrievably, while we watch. Even when the bulbs of the hourglass shatter, when darkness withholds the shadow from the sundial, when the mainspring winds down so far that the clock hands hold still as death, time itself keeps on. The most we can hope a watch to do is mark that progress. And since time sets its own tempo, like a heartbeat or an ebb tide, timepieces don’t really keep time. They just keep up with it, if they’re able.
“Another flaw in human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance,” said Kurt Vonnegut.
Everybody’s wants to start something, but they rarely want to maintain it.
The problem in growing at no costs is that it blinds integrity. Instead of leading by example, the race to the bottom unearths the highest greed.
“The selfish reason to be ethical is that it attracts the other ethical people in the network.” Naval Ravikant
That’s the lesson of Facebook, the so-called ‘behavior modification empire.‘ The social network cut corners on data collection to make another buck. No Facebook, we will not answer any more questions “to help people get to know us.” Replace the word “people” with the attention merchants.
The Cambridge Analytica scandal was the nudge Facebook needed to become more accountable. Seizing the data of others and building on top of it contorts the machinery of morality. Sometimes the genie of innovation has to contain the miraculous.