"What do you mean I don't get it? I'm a genius, I'll understand it; I just need to break it down is all. Now let's see, something about fish sticks interacting with me, makes me a gay fish. Alright now -- what do we know about fish sticks? They're breaded; they're fried; they're frozen. Then under me we have rapper, genius. Hmmm. Then gay fish -- homosexual and they swim...." - "Kanye West" on South Park
Kanye West Yeezus (2013) Def Jam Recordings Kanye West - Yeezus Album ReviewI've never given one solid shit about Kanye West. Perhaps I assumed he would be relegated to the fading collective memory of that awful decade, the '00s -- a waning image of yesteryear, alongside Rudolph Guiliani, Suicide Girls, and Shitty Movies Ben Affleck. He was, after all, the star of one of the greatest events in '00s history, when he hijacked a live telethon for Katrina victims, went way off script and declared "George Bush doesn't care about black people!" A couple days later, a heroic everyman citizen told Vice President Cheney to go fuck himself, right to his face: a butterfly effect Mr. West can be proud of.
And now, here we are, 2013! Holy shit, how 'bout 2013? If someone told me in 2005 that in 8-years-time, Japan would be melting from radioactivity, Daft Punk would make a yacht rock record with Nile Rodgers on guitar, Barack Obama was a two-term president and he too was a war criminal, and Kanye West from the Katrina telethon just dropped one of the best records of the year (and... oh by the way... it's experimental and grotesque like In Utero -- only nastier -- or Pink Flamingos -- only funnier)... I might have shit myself right there. Ah 2013! I mean, what the hell? There are no rules on this island. It's taken me a while to dig in, but Yeezus is fresh as hell.

 

Seattle artist Bette Burgoyne creates intricate colored pencil drawings that flow like the mechanizations of the universe. Inspired by geometry and pattern-based forms as well as nature, science, mathematics, and music, Burgoyne places heavy reliance on how perspectives and viewpoints shift and unfold over time. As she states simply in her personal statement, "My intention is to reveal a spectacle of wood, water, light and atmosphere; to share my enthusiasm for these processes and patterns that overlay, harmonize and echo one another." In the Q&A below, Burgoyne expands on this intention by describing her approach, factors that led her to her current body of work, and how music plays a significant role on her process.

 

This in-depth feature highlights how well-executed album artwork can go beyond genre lines to expand into territories of philosophical, thematic, and conceptual significance. Perhaps now more than ever, album cover artwork plays a vital role in music....

A staff-compiled list of some of our favorite songs from the year 2011, in no particular order or with allegiance to any particular style....

A spectrum of musical madness that represents our tastes from large to small, mainstream to obscure, spaced out to reasonable. There's no way in bloody hell you'll love every release on this list unless you have a million personalities living in your puny body, but...

To copy and paste from Jagjaguwar's description: "Some of the questions raised when we announced the existence of Volcano Choir were 'When are they going to tour?' and 'How will they re-create this live?' The answers to those are 1) They will tour only in Japan,...

Jeremy Mangan makes paintings of barns. Barns are not in and of themselves fascinating subjects, and it's hard to escape the cliché imagery associated with them -- of wheat fields and bucolic pastures. But Jeremy Mangan makes barns magical.
jeremy mangan Mangan grew up in rural Washington but spent a number of years living in New York while attending graduate school at Hunter College. His interest in shantytowns and weather-worn buildings began with observations of his surroundings, and was later informed by the urban layering of New York City. "I think what [my interest] comes from is a combination of growing up here and always being attracted to these dilapidated old structures," Mangan explains over coffee. "And then in New York, the overbuilt stacking, the literal hierarchy -- where the higher up you are, the higher up you are. You look up and you see the penthouses, and then you look down and you go into a subway." When Mangan first began his explorations into rural Americana, he was working with a very unorthodox medium. "I was painting fairly realistic, naturalistic subject matter at that point, and I was frustrated, so I decided I would just use the dumbest material I could find -- something that wasn't meant for art making and wasn't so precise," Mangan explains. "So I just bought a cup of coffee from the local bodega and started painting with it."
"Music does something kind of like poetry does. We can access music and listen to music and it doesn't have the expectations on it that visual art does, to be important or meaningful or to have direct social commentary... There's just something visceral and direct about it that I want to be in my paintings also." - Jeremy Mangan
Looking at his work, it's hard to believe that Mangan managed to achieve such an impressive array of depth and tones using coffee, but he has always been a technically skilled artist. He attributes much of his painting technique to his time spent as an ice carver. While finishing his graduate degree, Mangan's studio shared a building with Okamato Studio, the ice sculpting business of Takeo and Shintaro Okamoto. "They knocked on my studio one day and said, 'Hey, I need to deliver this ice sculpture; I could use a hand with it.'" At first Mangan only helped with the deliveries, but he was gradually entrusted with more responsibilities. Eventually they let Mangan try his hand at carving. "They gave me a 300 pound block of ice and a chainsaw and said, 'Go for it.'" Mangan's experience with carving fundamentally changed the way he approached painting. "As a painter, I could look at a face as a mug shot, and then in profile, and imagine how I would render it and how the line should be, but ice sculpture made me think in terms of volume, and that took a while to learn." This sojourn as an ice sculptor led Mangan to many interesting situations, including one assignment making a giant reindeer for Martha Stewart's holiday party. "She seemed very... uh... composed. Like she was working. Very smiley, almost robotic. What you might expect." Although it was a day job that involved creating and working with his hands, Mangan ultimately felt that he needed to leave New York and make more time for the work he wanted to pursue. "I was working 40, 50 hours a week carving ice, and I didn't go that far away to become an ice carver. It was just a job. I wasn't painting... I joke that I needed to leave New York and move to Fife for things to really start coming together." jeremy mangan

With GAYNGS' first composition, "The Gaudy Side Of Town," record producer Ryan Olson crafted what would later be the album opener for GAYNGS' first release, entitled Relayted. This early track was so impressive that it reeled in collaborations from members of Megafaun, Bon Iver, The Rosebuds, and Lookbook. Relayted became almost like a songwriting challenge, given its intense collaboration and the fact that every track on this album shares a common 69 BPM's.

 

As the album's first single, "The Gaudy Side Of Town" is a brilliant example of soul influences in modern indie rock. Jazzing up traditional R&B songwriting structures, beats, and vocal stylings with psychedelic guitarwork, the first two tracks of Relayted give off a relaxed vibe like one conjured up by freak folkers, Woods. But when a cover of Godley & Creme's "Cry" appears, the album veers strangely into alt-country territory. Yet, it is not so far removed from the previous tracks that it's a huge shocker; perhaps "Cry" is just a stylistic anomaly, and that seems true when "No Sweat" steers the album back into R&B territory

Last year marked the first year in which we compiled a top five albums of the year, as deemed by nine Redefine staff writers. Remarkably, no albums were doubled up. It proved that Redefine staff writers have diverse tastes, and that their tastes run the...

What do you get when you put two overwhelmed magazine staffers, a few hundred bands, a shit ton of industry people, and a gay horse all together? You get Redefine Magazine's first SxSW adventure! And though the weekend was a hot sweaty blur at best, we're reminiscing about the best, worst, and craziest parts of the whole shebang (at least the parts we got into -- fuck you, Rachel Ray).
 

Cadence Weapon

Saturday morning at the Mohawk bar, I caught Edmonton-grown hip hopster Cadence Weapon. It wasn't the largest crowd I had seen, but I'd bet the overbearing heat had much to do with that. In fact, the heat didn't make it very easy for Mr. Rollie Pemberton; his mixer broke down midway through the set due to overheating. Temperatures were blazing and Mr. Pemberton was obviously a little worse for wear (most likely from partying it up with fellow Edmontonions from Shout Out Out Out Out), but the man truly rocked the house, whether it was screaming his lungs out for “In Search of the Youth Crew" or charging up the crowd with “Real Estate." I can't help but marvel at the enthusiasm of the crowd -- one of the many trademarks of SxSW as a whole.  

Darondo

Passing by the outdoor lot on Red River Road, I saw a name that I never expected to see at any music festival, much less SxSW. Soul survivor Darondo was performing in the hot Austin sun, and his charismatic banter and incorrigible voice was a welcome refresher from the boys-with-guitars that I had been seeing up until then. Though it was obviously being framed as a mom and pop type event, Darondo brought smiles to everyone in the crowd -- young and old. Nothing really beats sucking on a free popsicle in the 90 degree heat while hearing Darondo talk about his mad cache of bitches.