HealeyIsland On Ponzi Bridge White Label MusicFrances Fukuyama's book The End Of History, published in 1992, went directly against Jacques Derrida's Spectres of Marx, predicting the global triumph of Capitalism and of the Spectacle. Greg Healey's music, as HealeyIsland, is the soundtrack of sprawling shopping complexes and virtual dating sites. This is the world predicted by Walter Benjamin, in his unfinished Passagenwerken (The Arcades Project): the birth of the pop culture, the beginning of the shopping mall, of commerce, of virtuality. It's the simulacrum's smug satisfaction that it is real, that it has it all under control, under wraps. It's a dustbin museum, full of never-ending card catalogs, everything dated and numbered, and we are told to go pilfer, go explore. But the museum is not real life; Healey remembers the outside, the sunshine and dirty gutters. Healey both pays reverence to and makes a mockery of high-definition, high-gloss early-'90s CGI utopianism in On Ponzi Bridge. Healey loves and hates the spectacle, and fights back with the keenest of British weapons: sarcasm.
 

Adorable husband and wife duo The Last Names, consisting of Justin Rice of Bishop Allen and his wife Darbie, have now released Wilderness, a 12-track indie pop record that floats through dual-vocaled harmonies with the peacefulness of a '60s haze. To bring their intimately self-recorded and self-mixed project to life, the couple decided to go one step further, by incorporating a one-of-a-kind hand-woven LP cover. Inspired by German education theorist Friedrich Froebel, who created the concept of "kindergarten" and is credited with laying the foundation for one system of modern education, the 15 x 15 grid which graces the cover of Wilderness offers a pattern-based playground of visual satisfaction to anyone with a latent curiosity and child-like love of play. Read on as they explain how the album artwork came to fruition, how patterns influence The Last Names' music and vice versa, and more.
"Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child's soul." -- Friedrich Froebel

 

Lyonnais' music video for "A Sign From On High / Modern Calvary" may be the most spectacular piece of promotional art I've seen so far this year. Filmed in multiple locations around the globe by Land & Sea, the scenery reaches as far as the Sahara, London, and Atlanta to recall fashionable regalia and exquisite travel without any of their economic and social implications. Complementary angles and forms intersect and juxtapose to create a world of simultaneous decay and majesty -- one which Lyonnais hope is just distant enough to evade recognition. The video for "A Sign From On High / Modern Calvary" is an expansive piece of work, embodying all of the sprawling and meandering of Lyonnais' sounds with wandering figures and some of nature's finest landscapes. The adventure into this music video begins with a small sampling of stills, as chosen by by the band, followed by the video and a smattering of Q&A selections.
Lyonnais - A Sign From On High / Modern Calvary 2:15 (The advent of humanity) Lyonnais - A Sign From On High / Modern Calvary 4:22 (The feminine) Lyonnais - A Sign From On High / Modern Calvary 6:03 (The desert dumping into an equally expansive and endless sea)
"To me, it was important to separate the visual to somewhere a little less familiar and more exotic in order to convey the right feeling. There is a certain overwhelming feeling that I get when I think of the Sahara or the Gobi, a place where nothing changes. It could be 2,000 years ago or 2,000 years from now and you wouldn't know the difference. It humbles you." - Lyonnais

 

Portland artist Ian Michael Anderson's latest collection of gouache paintings contrast earth tones and light pink hues with symbolic imagery, to powerful and striking visual effect. In Anderson's own words, his paintings aim to address chaos and conflicts in life as well as order, to help him gain insight into their distinct natures. He explains by saying, "... Dualistic narratives take shape [and] opposing forces are typically revealed: Life and death, good and evil, man and beast, predator and prey, war and peace. These dreamlike and often nightmarish fables reflect an outward and subconscious view of man and his destructive role in this world. Through this lens, my own place in these mostly impossible scenarios can be triangulated, and I am on my way to resolving the confrontation and understanding the need for such destruction." You can see these pieces in person on First Thursday, May 3rd, at Backspace Gallery and Cafe (115 NW 5th Ave) in Portland, and read a brief Q&A with Anderson below.

 

Drawing from the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and one of the area's most majestic creatures, Rafael Anton Irisarri of The Sight Below and Thomas Meluch of Benoît Pioulard have breathed life into a new project, Orcas. On their debut self-titled disc, the two have created nine tracks of ambiance-heavy songs featuring a number of opposing elements, including light and dark, acoustic and electronic, textured subtlety and straight-forward hook. In that spirit of balance, this bilateral feature places side-by-side interview responses and sample tracks from both artists, to dissect the strengths, weaknesses, and sonic tendencies both musicians contribute to making Orcas the rich collaboration that it is.

Benoît Pioulard

"Sault" from Lasted Where Irisarri's soundscapes lay a gentle foundation for the work of Orcas, Meluch's work as Benoît Pioulard provides more accessible and structural elements, complete with singer-songwriter pop melodies. "Sault," from Benoît Pioulard's album Lasted, has guitar and vocal tendencies that connect to the piano and guitar lines of "Arrow Drawn," which is streaming below.

Rafael Anton Irisarri

"A Great Northern Sigh" from The North Bend As The Sight Below, Rafael Anton Irisarri's compositions rebuild familiar emotions and spaces by way of minimal electronic soundscapes. According to Irisarri, "A Great Northern Sigh" has conceptual and thematic ties to the work of Orcas, as it also relates to the Pacific Northwest. "Almost like an audio postcard," he adds. "What can I say -- I'm deeply inspired by this region and wouldn't imagine composing our Orcas album anywhere else."