Thirty years ago (July 12, 1990, to be exact), Northern Exposure premiered on network television. The six-season series depicts life in a fictional small town called Cicely in the wilds of Alaska. It does not shy away from the spiritual nor the surreal, in employing extended dream sequences, fairy tale...
"The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the very first time." - Friedrich Nietzsche
On his new EP Kok, occasional Röyksopp collaborator, Bjørn Torske relies on our abilities to remember, rather than forget, as the spur to engagement with and enjoyment of his music.
Concerned, amongst other things, with aural and spacial effects, the record is born of experimentation with different instruments, objects, and their sonic footprints within different acoustic spaces. Merging a lo-fi folk aesthetic with elements of outsider experimentation this is an interesting progression from his last release of 2007, Feil Knapp.
Whether through voice, instruments, or electronically-produced sounds, these emissions are deployed and recorded in various spaces to form an inspirational trigger in the creative process. Through this process of what is known as "worldizing", Torske seeks to escape the straitjacket of reverb plug-ins whose room emulations and mathematical logarithms are often predictable.
"I shall make company with creators, with harvesters, with celebrants!"
... so cries Zarathustra, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's prophetic protagonist in his most esoteric philosophical work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra.1
The July 2010 issue of Yeti Magazine includes a series of photographs taken on tour by Dean Wareham of pop duo Dean & Britta. Among them is a snap of a French newsstand, where Michael Jackson and Friedrich Nietzsche sat side by side on neighboring magazine covers:
In his description of the photograph, Wareham went on to imagine a conversation between the two thinkers, sharing the finer points of dancing and the inner child:
FN: Be on your guard against the learned! They hate you; for they are unfruitful.
MJ: Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.
FN: In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play.
MJ: There's a Mother's Day and a Father's Day but there's no Children's Day. It would mean a lot. World peace.
FN: I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.2
Charming, yes, but I believe this comparison runs much deeper than that, into a juxtaposition of two historical figures that is entirely natural and extremely rich. In this article, I will endeavor to delve further into these imagined cahoots between the King of Pop and Nietzsche.
The character of my fondness for Michael Jackson and Friedrich Nietzsche is very similar. Despite both of these men being extremely influential and leaving behind highly celebrated bodies of work, they are also both often considered tragic cases on the historical stage. They were driven to obsessive heights, if not madness, by their devotion to their craft and their vision for the world. Yet I have never looked upon either of them with anything short of deep respect. Even in their tragedy, these men are beautiful to me. I hope to expand upon this fictional dialogue, and attempt to reveal two visionaries reaching out to one another from across historical eras and spheres of influence. In the act of aligning these two boldly trailblazing artists, I hope to lend an admirable and rich philosophy to a pop star, and to lend the romance and marvel of pop to the life's work of a philosopher.
John Coltrane once said: "My goal is to live the truly religious life, and express it in my music. If you live it, when you play there's no problem because the music is part of the whole thing. To be a musician is really something. It goes very, very deep....
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
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.
"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."
In Midday Veil's new video for "Moon Temple," vocalist Emily Pothast has edited source material she and guitarist Timm Mason generated last year during a residency at Experimental Television Center in Upstate New York. At its gentlest, the video is a silky smooth ripple; at its most severe, a rigid...
Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) is upon us again, and we have whittled down their list of 100+ international shorts and full-length films to pick what we have determined to be the best and most interesting of the bunch.
Portland International Film Festival 2012 runs from February 9th through the 25th,...
I've oft wondered how radically different our music culture would be if say, venues were allowed to turn a profit from other drugs. Thanks to John Hopkins University, we're now for the first time since the '60s seeing studies which suggest psilocybin can be used for all kinds of freaky deaky shit -- like say, alleviating people's fear of death. I personally use them to peer into the intricate depths of the thousand-eyed hive mind, but to each their own.
Am I the only one who's beyond weirded out by the fact that there's only one legal recreational drug? It's shamelessly pushed down our throats, and what does it do? It binds us here and keeps us stupid; that's what it does. It's called mind control my friends, pure and simple. You can drink booze! It's all over the fucking place. There are literally billions of potential recreational compounds which we could choose as the foundation for our cultural activities, and that's the one we get. You've got to stop thinking this makes any sense. I've always joked that if you want to get paid playing music, you should start a cover band. The reason is simple: the game's been rigged. Clubs make their money off booze and drunk people want to hear songs they already know and can sing along with. Hell, I do when I'm drunk.
Timeless states of being are always within our reach through the use of psychoactive substances, meditation, breathing exercises, dream manipulation, and other natural methods -- but it's also nice to know that Midday Veil frontwoman Emily Pothast's fledgling record label, Translinguistic Other, is on the forefront of helping you achieve them with even greater ease through sonic invocation.
I caught up with the prolific Miss Pothast (pronounced like “hottest") to discuss some of these topics, and some other stuff that happened to be going through my head when I drew up the questions. I was kind of drunk.
Q&A With Emily Pothast, Translinguistic Other Founder & Midday Veil Vocalist
I first became interested in Gnosticism when I was living in a part of Texas that is completely dominated by fundamentalist Christianity. I knew the dominant culture was fucked, but I didn’t feel like it was useful to be completely dismissive of the religious mythologies that held so much resonance for these people. I wanted to know where these ideas came from and to see if I could learn something about the patterns behind them.
-- Emily Pothast, on mysticism