ENGLISH TEXT & INTERVIEWS BY KARLA HERNANDEZ
Imagine an ordinary day. You're driving home from work, maybe listening to the new Gardens & Villa track -- or perhaps that one Vampire Weekend song that you pretend not to like, or something more classic like The Beatles. You then stop at a red light, and the car next to you is blasting mariachi music. Annoyed, you instantly think to yourself, 'Why is it so loud? Why is the singer wailing? What is the singer even saying?' Something unfamiliar shows up, and instantly a barrier goes up. It's okay. We all do it, to varying degrees. Maybe at that Chinese restaurant where you dined last night, the moment the server went into the kitchen and started talking really fast in Mandarin, you gave your friend a funny look.
SPANISH TRANSLATION BY JEAN-CLAIRE PELTIAE
Imagina un día ordinario. Estas conduciendo del trabajo a la casa, quizás escuchando el nuevo tema de Gardens & Villa, o tal vez esa canción de Vampire Weekend que finges que no te gusta, o algo más clásico como los Beatles. A continuación, te detienes en un semáforo en rojo, y el auto al lado tiene música mariachi a todo volumen. Molesto, de inmediato piensas, "¿Por qué lo tienen tan alto? ¿Por qué esta gimiendo el cantante? ¿Qué está diciendo el cantante?" Aparece algo desconocido, y en este instante se forma una barrera. Todos lo hacemos, en grados diferentes. Tal vez en ese restaurant chino donde comiste anoche, en el momento que el mesero entro a la cocina y empezó hablando rápido en Mandarín, le dio a tu amigo una mirada rara.
Considering the large populations of immigrants that have lived throughout the past hundreds of years in the United States, it's odd to think that something as simple as language can create disconnections between us. Going back to Gardens & Villa, Vampire Weekend, and The Beatles, we listen to these bands without giving it a second thought. However, their music would not exist today without the cultural blending that occurred decades before them.
Considerando la gran población de inmigrantes que han vivido en los Estados Unidos a través de los últimos siglos, es extraño pensar que algo tan simple como el idioma puede crear desconexiones entre nosotros. Volviendo a Gardens & Villa, Vampire Weekend y los Beatles, escuchamos estos grupos sin pensarlo. Sin embargo, su música no existiría hoy sin la mixtura cultural que ocurrió décadas antes de su aparición.
 
Blues and jazz were born in African-American communities, and rock mixed R&B with country, blues and folk. The Beatles received a lot of attention for incorporating the sitar in some of their songs, while Paul Simon was influenced by music from South Africa. Who knows where modern Western music would be today if our musical ancestors did not explore and experiment with mixing their own regional music with that of other areas? These were musicians who traveled to different regions of the world and were inspired by the music of other countries. Now, these other countries are affecting contemporary Western music through immigration. To use the United States as an example, immigrants here are changing the DNA of communities, job markets, schools, public policy, and the economy. Musicians who are immigrants or children of immigrants are finding their feet, heart, and minds in two worlds. Not only is their worldview different; the way that they communicate is literally different.
El Blues y el Jazz nacieron en comunidades afro-americanas, y rock mezcló R&B con country, blues y folk. Los Beatles recibieron mucha atención por incorporar el citar en algunas de sus canciones, mientras Paul Simon fue influenciado por la música de Sudáfrica. ¿Quién sabe donde estaría la música occidental hoy si nuestros ancestros musicales no hubieran explorado, experimentado y mezclando su propia música regional con la de otras áreas? Estos eran músicos que viajaban a diferentes regiones del mundo y fueron inspirados por la música de otros países. Ahora estos otros países están afectando la música occidental a través de la inmigración. Usando a los Estados Unidos como ejemplo, los inmigrantes aquí están cambiando el ADN de comunidades, mercados de trabajo, escuelas, políticas públicas y la economía. Los músicos que son inmigrantes o hijos de inmigrantes están encontrando sus pies, corazones y mentes en los dos mundos, sus dos países. No solo su visión global es diferente; su forma de comunicarse es distinta literalmente.
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
China: a land of nearly 1.5 billion people, 56 recognized ethnic groups, and 292 living languages, spanning over 5,000 kilometers and 34 land divisions. Massive in size, notable in history, and influential in its economic and political maneuvers, China is simultaneously exciting and terrifying – something of a contradiction to the outside world, much loved and much feared.
中国:一个有着近15亿人口,56个民族,292种仍在使用的语言,跨越5000公里,由34块地域组成的国家。中国不仅地理广阔,也有着丰富璀璨的历史,影响世界的经济及政治力量。中国不仅令人震惊兴奋,也令人担心害怕 – 她似乎是个与外面世界不太相同的国家,令人热爱也令人畏惧。
Yet 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 searching for their own identities. Many of them are following and documenting their own creative impulses, thereby bringing some musical change to a society otherwise dominated by mainstream Asian pop.
尽管中国一直以来都以庞然大国,国家统治形象示人,她所蕴含的日渐浓重的艺术氛围与文化发展却往往为人忽略。如许多发展中国家一样,中国正孕育着许多新颖,极具创造力的艺术思想 – 这些思想都来自于那些努力发声,力求为大众所见的艺术家、音乐家们。众多音乐家正跟随记录着他们自己的艺术脉搏,运用着他们的创造力,努力为日渐单一、主流化的亚洲流行音乐市场带来不一样的声音及改变。
English text by Vivian Hua; Chinese translation by Summer Fang
"The world's image of China is that of a faceless factory worker, the tasteless new rich Chinese buying property everywhere, the 1.5 billion black dots in the horizon sucking up resources. It doesn't realize that there are also 1.5 billion potential creative minds in this country as well. I think it will take time to make that true." – Helen Feng of Nova Heart "世界对中国的印象一直以来都是千篇一律,毫无特征的工厂工人,只有金钱却毫无品味的中国买家,以及用力耗尽资源的15亿人口。然而大多数人都没有意识到,这15亿人口也是15亿个潜在创造力。我想这需要时间去使其成真。" - Nova Heart (新星心) 的冯海宁
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