There are hardly any electronic instruments on Punish, Honey. Instead, Vessel's Sebastian Gainsborough built an arsenal of homemade instruments, including flutes made out of bike frames, sheets of metal, and "harmonic guitars". Punish, Honey is an industrialized suite: clanking, stomping, sparking, twitching, pounding. But instead of the giving the sensation of a migraine -- which is sometimes produced from hyperfrenetic digital constructions, as with some of the recent work from James Ferraro -- Punish, Honey is like walking through a factory full of mechanized automata, like a textile mill animated by Jan Svankmajer. Like The Sorcerer's Apprentice, if he had brought jackhammers and bellows to life, rather than broomsticks.
Vessel - Punish, Honey Album Review
The rambunctiously chaotic music of Portland's AU is translated into bright visual forms when processed by Japanese animator and video artist Takafumi Tsuhiya. Both the director and AU's frontman, Luke Wyland, speak below about their collaborations for this year's "OJ" and 2010's "Ida Walked Away", along with how they've each grown in that time period.

 

AU - "OJ" MUSIC VIDEO
"I believe there is something universal in [how] sounds correspond with visuals [that] is over the boundaries of language." - Takafumi Tsuhiya

 

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.

Benoît Pioulard

"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
2010 began on a dark note for artist Christopher Davison. His Disasters Are People Too series kicked off the year, and much like a poet or musician wearing his heart on his sleeve through words, Davison displayed his innermost feelings through strokes on canvas. The series was a reflection of the year 2009 -- a difficult year of transformation of Davison. Through the black-and-white gouache paintings featuring dismembered, mangled body parts floating through dark landscapes, one got the sense of incompleteness, and even the lack of gravity in the pieces did nothing to ease their weight.
"Overall, [2009] had me feeling like I had been knocked off my horse," Davison explains. "The economy was one thing, but I was also trying to push my art into new and unknown territory. It took the whole year for me to really feel like I had the brushes under control." For the first time, Davison began relying almost exclusively on gouache, as opposed to following his previous mixed media routine, which included the use of inks and pens. The darkness pervading the Disasters Are People Too series was heavy, but it was necessary fodder for Davison to move forward. His newer work is brighter and more colorful, and features what Davison calls a "genuine marriage" between his love for rich blacks and colors. They are well-balanced and seem to perfectly parallel Davison's personal tastes.

 

"I've always been a sucker for melancholic music and films. No one really borrows movies from me because when they look in my cabinet, they see Ingmar Bergman, Adam Curtis documentaries, or Jan Svankmajer animations. Likewise, the albums in my heavy rotation always sound better at night or in the winter. So, if media indicates anything, it’s that color may come and go, but black is here to stay." - Christopher Davison