After their collaboration on The Belle Game’s first music video proved natural and compelling in narrative, director Kheaven Lewandowski and the band decided to once again work together on the music video for "River", from their debut album, Ritual Tradition Habit. Much less upbeat than the previous track, "River"'s finds its setting moving from Western countrysides into Japanese cityscapes, as it follows a male sex worker – also known as a rent-boy – through neon-lit streets and into a realistically-documented underbelly of the city. The result is both sensual and raw, leaving viewers curious to know more about the subculture. Lewandowski and The Belle Game’s Adam Nanji discuss the formulation and execution of the music video, as well as the social ideas it stirs up, in the bi-lingual English-Japanese Q&A interview below. Japanese translation by Katch, Matt Erik and Yoshiko Sanda 日本語翻訳:三田佳子、キャッチ・マシュー

Hidden beneath the gargantuan, State-driven China that is emphasized over-and-over again in news coverage lies an artistic day-to-day that few people see. As in any developing country, China has become a breeding ground for new and often innovative ideas – and included in that are an increasing number of musicians...

In the music video for "Je Suis la Montagne", psychedelic art rockers Moodoïd have collaborated with director Jérôme Walter Gueguen a true work of surrealist-inspired art. With a relatively minimal budget and ample film school training, they've turned childhood recollections of mountains into a Magritte-coloured world of soil-covered faces and tasteful (as well as tasty) object manipulation. In this two-sided, bilingual Q&A interview, we speak with fast friends Jérôme Walter Gueguen and Moodoïd's frontman Pablo Padovani on their friendship, collaboration, and shared inspirations. Moodoïd's self-titled EP is now out on Entreprise, a division of Third Side Records.
ENGLISH TEXT & INTERVIEW BY VIVIAN HUA
In line with my persistent belief that an artist’s creative output is reflective of who he or she is as a human being, I have to admit that I was a little bit nervous to meet Seattle photographer Frank Correa, and it’s because of pre-conceived judgments. Correa’s images almost always feature well-dressed and attractive models that American Apparel would approve of, often placed in awkward poses that Vice in the early 2000s would definitely approve of. They could easily be considered “hipster” by any stereotypical or isolated viewing. With my only hints into his personality being our overly-friendly internet communications and his off-the-wall photographic work, my mind reeled through possible iterations of what Correa might be like. By most accounts, I gathered that he would be fairly friendly – but I must shamefully confess that I was torn on whether or not Correa would be genuine in his artistic pursuit – and considering his extremely definitive style, my sometimes docile self also wondered if he might be bigger-than-life and over-the-top, or pretentious and intimidating. As I wait outside of Correa’s apartment in Capitol Hill, which he shares with a member of Seattle electro-noise band Crypts, the feeling of nervousness persists. Correa arrives minutes after I do and greets me through the thin cloth of a purple shirt, its attached facemask pulled up past his nose. Mysterious. Inside, though, Correa quickly makes it obvious that he is hiding nothing; he raises the blinds immediately, to shine light upon the impressively sparse and tidy living room, which also serves as a creative workspace. Lining its walls is an analog modular synthesizer rig for his roommate, and for Correa, a desktop and giant TV screen doubling as a computer monitor. He immediately proves himself a thoughtful host. He offers me Perrier on the rocks almost as soon as I sit down… and as I easily and comfortably settle in, I note to myself that I am a douche. Previous checklist of reservations? Completely off-base and unwarranted. Correa’s animated, yes – and talkative, extremely – but intimidating or over-the-top? No. Genuine? Without a doubt.
SPANISH TRANSLATION BY TANYA E. ORELLANA
De acuerdo con mi constante creencia de que la producción creativa de un artista es reflejo de quien él ó ella es como ser humano, tengo que admitir que estaba un poquito nerviosa de conocer al fotógrafo de Seattle Frank Correa, en mayor parte debido a nociones preconcebidas. Las imágenes de Correa casi siempre muestran modelos atractivos y bien vestidos, del tipo al que American Apparel le gustarían, muchas veces puestos en poses fuera de lo común, de las que la revista Vice al principio de los 2000s definitivamente hubiera aprobado. Podrían ser considerados “hipster” por cualquier visión estereotípica o aislada. Siendo mis únicas pistas de su personalidad nuestras conversaciones súper amigables por internet y su extraordinario trabajo fotográfico, mi mente imaginaba las posibilidades de como podría ser Correa. Por lo que había escuchado, parecía que seria lo suficientemente amistoso – pero debo confesar de que no estaba segura si Correa seria genuino en su propuesta artística – y considerando su estilo extremadamente absoluto, mi lado dócil se preguntaba si él podría ser un tipo de personalidad exagerada y desmesurada, o pretencioso e intimidante. Mientras espero afuera del apartamento de Correa en Capitol Hill, el cual comparte con un miembro de Crypts, un conjunto de electro-noise de Seattle, mis nervios persisten. Correa llega minutos después de mi y me saluda a través de la delgada tela de su camisa morada, la cual incluye una máscara que le cubre la cara hasta la nariz. Misterioso. Pero adentro, Correa hace obvio que no esta escondiendo nada; abre las cortinas inmediatamente para iluminar una sala impresionantemente vacía y limpia, la cual se presta también como espacio y taller creativo. Decorando las paredes se encuentra una instalación para el sintetizador modular analógico de su compañero de apartamento, y para Correa, un escritorio y una pantalla de televisión gigante que también funciona como monitor de computadora. Inmediatamente me demuestra que es un anfitrión atento. Me ofrece Perrier en las rocas casi inmediatamente después de sentarme… y mientras me voy acopiando de manera fácil y cómoda, hago una nota mental a mi misma de que he sido muy mala onda. Mi previa lista de dudas? Completamente fuera de lugar e injustificada. Correa es animado, si – y hablador, al extremo – pero intimidante y exagerado? No. Genuino? Sin duda.

 

Dead Oceans' Sun Airway, comprised of Philadelphia's Jon Barthmus and Patrick Marsceill, is are not only indie pop extraordinaires, but are musicians with an understanding of aural-visual relationships. The choices they make in selecting collaborators result in visuals richly sympathetic to their musical output and evoke the same sense of wonder and romance that their music does. The album cover for Sun Airway's 2012 release, Soft Fall, is adorned with a beautiful woman caught beneath a stringed web of falling flowers, porcelain china, and fine silver. It was painstakingly crafted by Japanese art collective NAM. In the bi-lingual Japanese and English interview and feature below, Barthmus and NAM's art director and designer Takayuki Nakazawa offer their perspectives on the creative process, as we further explore the work of both parties.
JAPANESE TO ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS BY MORGAN HARKNESS Takayuki Nakazawa (NAM): Our aim was to perfectly match the world of Sun Airway's music and take that world of sound and enlarge its image visually. I believe that the music and the cover visuals that go with the creation of an album have an extremely intimate relationship. Music and visuals have the power to overcome country and language to convey a message. Creating something so intimate between the US and Japan was an incredible experience, and most of all it was fun! We would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to Jon Barthmus for inviting us to this wonderful project. 私達が今回目指したのはSun Airwayの音楽の世界と完全にマッチし、さらに音の世界をビジュアルによってイメージの視覚的拡大をする事でした。アルバム制作における音楽とカバービジュアルは本来とても密接な関係性をもっているものだと思います。音楽やビジュアルは言語や国境を超えて伝達していく力があり、今回、日本とアメリカの間で密な相互関係をもって制作が行われた事は、私達にとって大変良い経験で、なによりも楽しかった!このような素敵なプロジェクトに私達を誘ってくれたJon Barthmusさんに、この場をお借りして感謝をしたいと思います。

 

Hands In The Dark was born at the end of a boozy party in 2010! What could have ended up just a brilliant idea and a short-lived story became the start of a great musical adventure, bringing together two lovers of "unclassified" music. Hands In the Dark pulls together various sounds with the common feature of mixing pop and experimental music. Grouping them under the title 'Expop' music, HITD has quickly reached its 12th release comprising CD's, vinyl and even tapes. HITD also means ''DIY''. We build everything from top to bottom, from contact with the bands we love to sending out the parcels. We always preserve our freedom with no artistic pressure. Such is the great enterprise of HITD. In short, a French label with a certain je-ne-sais-quoi... Thanks to Amélie and Alice...

 

Curation & Translation by Morgan & Onito; Additional Translation by Jeff Diteman Hands In The Dark est né fin 2010 lors d'une soirée arrosée! Ce qui aurait pu s'apparenter à une fulgurance doublée d'une histoire sans lendemain n'était en fait que le début d'une belle aventure musicale réunissant deux amis passionnés de musiques inclassables. Hands In The Dark rassemble des sonorités diverses et ayant pour dénominateur commun un côté expérimental allié à un versant pop. Rassemblé sous l'étiquette d' «Expop music», le catalogue du label comptera bientôt 12 références... Cd's, vinyles mais aussi cassettes. HITD, c'est aussi l'importance du côté « DIY ». Tout est de A à Z géré par nos soins, de la prise de contact avec les groupes que l'on aime à l'envoi des disques. Aucune entrave à notre liberté, aucune contrainte artistique... Tel est le vaste chantier de HITD. Merci à Amélie et Alice.

 

In REDEFINE's first bi-lingual interview, we speak with Gabriele Ottino, director behind the acid trip visuals for Italian electronic artist TOMAT's latest track, "1984". Taking inspiration from George Orwell and a wide cross-section of human affairs, the video mixes archival footage of events between June 1st and June 6th, 1984, glitch and pixel elements, and modern day footage of the musician into a brightly-colored visual slideshow.
"The denser the number of events a second, the more we lose the facts itself, gaining objectivity but losing humanity." -- Gabriele Ottino

 

MUSIC VIDEO AND INTERVIEW CONTINUED BELOW Directed by Gabriele Ottino and produced by Superbudda Studio

 

"... All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome." -- George Orwell, London Letter to Partisan Review