Devon Welsh isn't just looking for applause at the end of a Majical Cloudz song. He'll gladly accept it, nod his head a few times, and give the audience a hint of a smile, but for Welsh, the Majical Cloudz live set is about much more than that.Majical Cloudz "When you play a show, you want people to feel something," Welsh told Pitchfork's Jenn Pelly in a recent interview. "It's much better to communicate something than for people to just be like, 'Oh this is cool.'" As Welsh performs -- he's strictly the lead singer of the two-piece group that includes Matthew Otto on synth and sound mixing -- he slowly rotates his gaze throughout the crowd, moving at a snail's pace from left to right and then back again. You won't see him shutting his eyes or staring off into the distance, because his priority is ensuring that each word coming out of his mouth is fully digested by the crowd. He doesn't just casually look out into the crowd to gauge his audience, either. He stares into the eyes of every onlooker, and when his pupils fall on you, it feels like an intimate and intensely personal performance.
August 27th, 2013 @ The Echo in Los Angeles, CA
Michael Noer is a gritty realist, concerned with the unstoppable inertia of the city. Crossing back and forth between documentary and fiction, Noer sees no line between the constructed plots of his films and the real-life social fissures in Danish society. His depictions of the malfunctioning systems that entrap youth into a life of crime and poverty are starkly grounded in reality, which makes the characters in his films all the more believable and tragic.

 

Barn Owl's 2011 release, Lost In The Glare, was an instant love for me and earned a deep place in my heart with hardly any effort at all. I had been longing to see the Northern California duo since, and during the wait, my expectations had been growing higher. In early November, Thrill Jockey Records threw one of four 20th Anniversary shows at Mississippi Studios in Portland. It boasted a seven act lineup of Trans Am, Liturgy, Eternal Tapestry, Barn Owl, Golden Retriever, Mike Scheidt, and Jason Urick, and finally put my expectations for Barn Owl to the test. They certainly passed, by putting on one of the best performances I've ever seen at Mississippi Studios. With a largely improvised set -- I presume -- Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras showed off their electronic-leaning new sound, and wonderfully blew out of proportion what is perhaps most compelling about their music: their ability to engage contradiction by transforming gnarly, noisy sonics into the most heartwarming sounds possible, and their ability to effortlessly send one reeling through time and landscapes eternal.
November 9th, 2012 at Mississippi Studios in Portland, Oregon

 

Scottish illustrators Kyle Noble and Jamie Irvine travel the world individually but remain tethered together through the constant exchange of twisted, fantastical comics. Emerging from their psychedelic landscapes -- some of which hardly resemble landscapes at all -- come floating heads with third eyes, praying mantises with Madonna streaming out of the top of their heads, fungal universes, and possible tractor beams. Noble and Irvine's collaborations are inspired by Exquisite Corpse, a Surrealist invention that serves as a mode of artistic interplay between individuals. Drawings are exchanged back and forth to evolve an image spontaneously and to create an organic, ever-unstable narrative. In the case of Noble and Irvine, this results in works that they describe as "unutterably absurd, sexually graphic and loaded with scientific as well as 'new age' theories" -- a natural output considering their respective influences. Noble cites interest in themes such as "the origins of man, Megalithic monuments, ancient civilizations, shamanism, psychedelia, cultural truth, skepticism, and spiritualism", and Irvine finds equal interest in "the exploration of the subconscious and the relationship with mind, sold, and body." Madness unfolds from there, to be seen in the batch images below. Some of Noble and Irvine's solo works to follow. (9 IMAGES TOTAL)

 

SPECTRAL HYPNOSIS A recurring series, featuring mesmerizing songs for one to lose sense of time and space, mind and body. This installment is a particularly intense one, reserved for those who understand that noise can be a hypnotic mechanism. Here are intensely aggressive sounds from The Silent Moon, minimal techno from Silent Servant, and offerings and remixes from ERAAS.
SEE ALSO: FULL POST + ALL SPECTRAL HYPNOSIS POSTS + ALL COLUMNS

The Soft Moon

Somehow, Luis Vasquez of The Soft Moon (and Lumerians) can release tracks like "Die Life" and embrace gothic dance vibes without coming off as annoyingly trite. Zeroes, his latest album to be released via Captured Tracks, doesn't seem like the cheeriest of records, as it seems to not only wallow but actively embrace all things doom and apocalypse. You can also here "Insides" on Captured Tracks' Soundcloud. The press release gives a summary of the album's tracks as follows:
Zeros opens with "It Ends," a rumbling eerie epic that explodes and then fades. The slowing breath and pulse at the finish signify our break with reality as consciousness drifts deeper into Vasquez' world. Welcoming us into "Machines," a demon utters unclear incantations over snapping drums and flange-warped tones, while the titular song gives us a beat to dance to as a strange voice gushes lascivious "aahhhs" from a cloud of swirling synths. Songs like "Insides" and "Crush" feel utterly inward-looking-a loner's cry buried in soil and metal shavings-but "Remember the Future" bounces like a twisted John Carpenter score, and "Die Life" lashes out at everything within reach. Listen closely and you'll hear the sounds of the creatures and people that survived whatever catastrophe created this space: chirping insects, bawling whales, strained howls, jungle percussion, tribal chanting.
I've not heard the album in its entirety yet, but it comes out the day before Halloween, and if "Die Life" is any indicator, it will serve as the perfect soundtrack to that pagan holiday. Tracklisting and tour dates in the full post.

 

World-renowned Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere makes sculptures that challenge the idea of bodily form, of becoming and unbecoming. Using organic and inorganic materials, she creates mangled figures that truly should never be -- headless, eyeless, and sexless forms that speak novels of pain by way of contortion. Her sculptures from...

"Our overall album art concept is simple ~ each individual album has different art that’s unique and only YOU have it. So if we’ve given out thousands of these things, then that means we’ve made over 1000 different art pieces, and those different people are the owners of that." -...

If you live in NYC or are visiting it soon, get to New Museum by the end of the month if you know what's good for ya! Closing January 2nd is this amazing, amazing enveloping psychedelic sculptural Experience, presented by Germany's Carsten Höller (now living and working in Sweden). Where else will you see giant life-size multi-colored hippos? Nowhere. Where else will you be presented with giant tri-shroom composites? Nowhere.
new museum carsten holler This is, according to the New Museum website, "the most comprehensive US exhibition to date of the artist’s engaging work." They continue by saying:
"The current show gathers together a number of the artist’s signature works in an arrangement that transforms the viewer’s experience of time and space. Originally trained as a scientist, Höller is frequently inspired by research and experiments from scientific history and deploys these studies in works that alter the audience’s physical and psychological sensations, inspiring doubt and uncertainty about the world around them. His work often draws on social spaces outside of the museum such as the amusement park, zoo, or playground, but the experiences they provide are always far from our usual expectations of these activities. Höller’s art takes the form of proposals for radical, new ways of living by creating sculptures and diagrams for visionary architecture as well as transportation alternatives, such as his renowned slide installations. These concepts may seem impossible in the present day, but suggest new models for the future."
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche Written by Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix Starring Yahima Torres, Andre Jacobs and Olivier Gourmet Black Venus is a film centered around the life and death of South African woman Sarah Baartman. Nicknamed Hottentot Venus, Baartman was exhibited as a freakshow attraction in 19th century Europe and lived a life that was unbefitting for even the vilest of human creatures. Her "career" began in Britain, where she was a performer wearing tight garments which showed off her enlarged bosoms and buttocks to a relatively poor British audience. The performance soon enraged the British community, however, resulting in much controversy and the show's eventual export into to the homes of the French upper-class. What Black Venus grimly captures is not the glitz and glamour of "show business," but what happens when a naive young woman is misled by the promises of opportunity. The film explores the worst capabilities of human beings and their yearnings to manipulate and take control of others; it addresses multi-tiered issues of race, class, and opportunity and does so with faithfulness to realism, even when realism is uncomfortably atrocious.