Keep Calm and Kari On … with Chester French

Interview, TK:LDN

Skin… is a many layered thing; it is artistic, it is cultural, it is biological, it rests on the fragile fringe of one’s inner and outer space… not to be melodramatic, but we consider it an overlooked focus – an abstract opus – of cultural connective tissue.

So, for Art Nouveau’s Skin issue, we chose a duo who connected all of those elements in a most masterful manner: Chester French – black tears, faced fears, a pair so open-minded about the lovable future that their well-endowed brains have descended upon every listener’s ears. We had a chat with Max and D.A. to get an inside look at how they view those elements that make the epidermis so oddly endearing.

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When we come into this world, our skin is supple and soft, that unhindered remnant of divine design. For artists like Chester French, the first album is of that same fresh design. The label signs you because of that new-new you bring to this world. Musicians wear that skin like a manifestation of the self. Unlike the child though, an artist can craft their own primary skin; now more than ever though, it is getting harder to make that sonic aesthetic a signature different than all others.

KE: How important is it to build your own sonic aesthetic through your music, and what do you think your skin is in the industry?

CF: I think – to answer the first part of the question – I think for us it’s kind of important to try and carve out what is our territory creatively in terms of what we want to make and how we want it to sound. I think there’s so much music and so many people in music feel like they have to constantly be following, either super-new trends or really established ideas about how music should sound at a given moment. For us it’s way more important to find a sound that’s unique to us, than it is to “fit in” to any group, necessarily…

KE: Basically, my thing is this: skin is functional and fashionable. It is the first line of defense, but musically it is that very foundation of artistic identity which requires the greatest defense of all.

It’s one thing to look good, a freshman feat that Love the Future achieved, but it’s another entirely to make that good look last: enter Music 4 TNGRS.

KE: What is a TNGR, and what is this music you’re making for them from this standpoint?

Vinyl Cut Prose: “National Anthem,” Lana del Rey

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Nouveau riche in thé vintage frame. The forever first lady and the one time flame. The brunette bombshell and the trap star, lost and found in the endless hyperreel… Because the spectacle said so – when the young culture is American culture, and Lana’s lyrics drown out Key’s ode to Lady Liberty… Where standing wealth disappears beneath the facade of runaway riches. Where race fades in the place of the envy, the currency, the one, the only, the greenface. Where Cognac and Cuban cigars line the seersuckered pockets of star-spangled bangers… Here in this place in time, suspended in the gilded gift of the omnipresent: the market is the new monarchy, fame is the new family, pledge allegiance to the powers that be: Marilana Yolonassis and A$AP “Call Me More Like Dom” F. Kennedy

SnappScenes: “Shot You Down” – Florrie

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This is just… quite good really – in, many many ways; albeit, many simplistic ways, but simplistic ways necessary in an otherwise unnecessarily muddled music scene… Check out Florrie’s latest: “Shot You Down”

Nice progression, smooth – milk smooth #isthataphrase – bass riding through the track. I’m obviously a fiend for most electro-acoustic hybrids – by that I mean, any melodic melange capable of bringing out the best of synthesized effects in tandem with (not drowning out or exploitatively distorting #notinthegooddistortionway acoustic instrumentation) and the soul of live instruments. I’m even more fiendish for that most tangible and raw of instruments – los tambores, le batterie, الطبول, Gǔ, – the drums.

The Re-Branding of America: Fame, it is the New Black

TK:LDN, Vinyl Mind Flow

Fame… and it goes a little something like this

… and it smells a little something like cette

How to Make it in Famerica

 

FAME, as compounded by Lady Gaga:

Tears of Belladonna: One part government hooker #tearsontap, one part femme fatale #looselytranslated, one part Donna sans the Ma #bellathemonsterball, consummated in a nocturnal matrimony #nightshade and equally beautiful death #jumpingoutthewindow, wrapped in the skin of the most Luciferian fruit #suchaholyfood

Atropa belladonna or Atropa bella-donna, commonly known as BelladonnaDevil’s BerriesDeath Cherries or Deadly Nightshade, is a perennialherbaceous plant in the family Solanaceae, native to EuropeNorth Africa, and Western Asia. The foliage and berries are extremely toxic, containing tropane alkaloids. These toxins include scopolamine and hyoscyamine which cause a bizarre delirium and hallucinations, and are also used as pharmaceutical anticholinergics. The drug atropine is derived from the plant.

This is The Story… of a Cover Girl Named Sally TNGR

TK:LDN

Alright, alright, alright – we’ve done this before… Well, not we, but me. So, don’t be scared – I’ve done this before. Gotta love album art, right? When it’s done right at least, which is the least you could ask from a generation of kids who make gifs and Photoshop tricks all day. Alas, today’s album art is… quite atrocious by-and-large. Anyhaps, when given the opportunity, I like to give stories to album covers – because a) why not (b) the picture itself already gave me the first thousand words, I’m just grabbing the baton (c) stop asking moot questions – the cover’s going to get creatively deconstructed. That said, Chester French is coming out with a new album #huzzah Yep, that Chester French #kanyeshrugsandsomeblackgirllove … connecting the dots… they dropped the album cover … connecting the dots … here goes the Blinkk:

This is the story… of a girl named Sally. Uh-oh, D.A. didn’t take you to prom… Max left you alone at the football field underneath the bleachers… The world has gone topsy-turvy. You’re any kid from Everytown, USA. You remember when you were a teen and the internet was awesome. You lived outside; it was boring, but it was okay – because you had a place where you were your projection: XangaLiveJournal, and MySpace were your digital protection. You “got” the net before the net got you. You were the future – the digital Magellan. You beat Y2K. You found some bootstraps and pulled yourself up. Maybe you blogged and grassrooted your way to Harvard. It was 2005 and you were on the fast track to the American Dream. You were going to be the next Elle Woods. You hung with guys that had the spirit of the Winklevosses and the style of a young Zuckerberg. You Photshopped and ProToolsed your way into the creative world. You became “somebody” on YouTube. You were going to be the one. Then, you realized – so was everybody else.

Night in the Sweyepe: Talk in Colour, Floripa, Shoreditch, UK

Live, Soundtrek, TK:LDN

The Sirens: Talk in Colour (Chris Bangs – Cello and electronics, Dave Oliver – Drums, Kat Arney – Harp, Mary Erskine – Vocals and keyboards, Nick Siddall – Guitar)

The Stump: With a growing reputation for blistering live shows combining dirty bass lines with impressive musicianship, Talk In Colour launched their new album, Colliderscope, with a party at Floripa in east London on Wednesday 23rd May. By turns dark then uplifting, slipping effortlessly between pure instrumentals and vocal driven tracks, Talk In Colour defy easy categorisation. It’s no surprise that the band cite influences as far ranging as Lamb, Battles, The XX and Berlin-era Bowie, with a nod to Afrobeat and Alice Coltrane along the way. Together, the band blends electronic and organic instrumentation into a blistering aesthetic.

The Scene: When East London met fogo de chao – not the churrascaria, but the fire on the ground: Floripa…

SnappScenes: “No Church in the Wild,” The Throne

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The Throne… Black Jesus walks in the wild… Where there is no church, just a primal society of spectacular sinners in the magnificent monde a la mode… Amen fashion… London is looting, Paris is burning, New York is occupied, victors are vilified, and the beasts are the beautiful beacons of a new world… Postcolonial cultural institutions, Neo-capitalism beneath the civilly disobedient liberated lady, soundtracks run through the veins and veneer of a blind Justice Judy… Mitochondrial thieves, sons of Reagan’s mythological Welfare Queens, tears on the mausoleum floor, lies on the lips of a priest… Faustus grants voices, viles of victorious libations, and a hand to grasp to the thug’s prayers reached…. Human beings to a mob, what’s a mob to a king, what’s a king to a god, what’s a god to a non-believer who don’t believe in anything… #preach

December 22, 2011

Night in the Sweyepe: fIN at Bush Hall, London, UK

Live, Soundtrek, TK:LDN

The Sires: fiN (Jonny Garner – guitar, Simon Harding – drums, Luke Joyce – vocals, Kerry Lambert – bass)

The Stump: fiN played London’s Bush Hall Wednesday for the release of new single ‘Twenty Three/Eve’ on 16th April on Artisan Records. Debut single ‘The Artisan’, an almost entirely instrumental track which blends the epic darkness of Radiohead and the rock frenzy of Foo Fighters, brought fiN early adopters and began their quick succession of sell-out live shows. Second single ‘Rapture/Everybody Dies Alone’ followed earning the band glowing reviews and a packed out single launch at The Borderline.

The Scene: fiN navigted somewhere between the English Channel and the Pacific Ocean – possibly Route 66. Wednesday night in Shephard’s Bush LDR-esque oversaturated vintage Golden State reels bathed the porcelain walls of Bush Hall’s Victorian backing. Beneath chandeliers and a disco ball, heavy rich drums and lingering electric riffs drowned the tailored crowd in deliciously dense melodic metallic sound. fiN doesn’t have a bad side, or a bad angle. and they look like they sound – a meticulously motley crew of rocker types – grungy beach types, devil-may-care band with a James Dean-esque frontman donning Uncle Jesse hair #wontbehave

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The Sound: There’s endless love coasting along relentless rock hearkening to a freshly aged sound as golden as the beaches liberating the backdrop. Then there’s the depths as the waves crash along the proverbial shore. Pieces of the gig draw me back to Atlanta backwoods drives… damp pine-filled aromas lingering along with the beautifully ominous sounds of The Deftones… Ivory vapors of sound as tangible as the aural White Pony was eargasmic. Ever the crowd-pleasers and cognizant audiophiles, fiN covered The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.” “This is not my beautiful house,” vocals faded as the tone turned nostalgic from the vantage of a frontman living out every boy’s dream of being a rockstar. Childhood videos replaced Sixties propaganda films, pinup Hollywood captures, and black-and-white media clips that would make even Bernays and McLuhan blush at their own brainchildren come to life. Ushering out the political with the personal past, the aural artisans displayed a return to individuality over industry, within some capacity. “You don’t know yourself, lucky you…” closing mullings from maestros projecting shadows of a nostalgia never known, perhaps a most fitting foothold for a British Indie band on the brink.

There’s a touch of Fool’s Gold in between the Let’s-Muse-About-When-Radiohead-Fought-Foo sounds, glossed with a definite sense of Pop-Rock Yellowcard/Sum-41 feel, with some strong Alien Ant Farm undertones – an easily familiarizing American sound for an English band.

They dig their fans. They have the look. They’re kind of like if Skrillex met Lana del Ray.

Watch This Space: When “Life is Wasted on the Living” played out to archived clips of everyone from Richard Pryor and Freddie Mercury, to Princess Diana and Winston Churchill… As Joyce stood in an image not unlike Peter Petrelli – beyond pixie blonde bombshells, social architects, and Dean the Causeless Rebel himself – the crowd too believed, for a second, that we can all be rockstars; we can all be heroes.

Why New Blood, Why Now? Nine Minutes with Morgan Spurlock

Interview, TK:LDN

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As a bit of a Pop fiend, it was a pleasure to discuss New Blood with Morgan Spurlock; as a bit of a Pop theorist, it’s something of a marvel to ponder the nine-minute manifesto… 

Why New Blood, why now?

I don’t know if it was a question of now, or if I just felt like there was a need to show – I feel like there’s still this shifty new movement in the art space where the people who kind of launched this whole “low brow” art movement, this street art movement are now inspiring this whole new generation of artists; y’know these new kinds of Pop graffiti artists who are kind of coming up in their wake, and I find that to be really fascinating. You gotta think it wasn’t that long ago when low brow art and street art was being relegated to the lowest smallest of the fringe galleries, to now where these paintings are being put up in the cornerstones of the modern art movement. So I think to see where that ripple effect is continuing to affect, not only our generation, but the next generation of artists is really inspiring.

Live-Fi: Florrie – HMV’s Next Big Thing, Barfly Camden, London

Live, Soundtrek, TK:LDN, Vinyl Cut Prose

Pop. Out. My. Ears. #yes

The Siren: Florrie Arnold

The Scene: Snow, ice, pints, and Summer Nights… on the outside: London’s first snow of the year, on the inside: the strobed sublime of HMV’s Next Big Thing – snowballs and disco balls make for a splendid sonic nightcap. Roughly speaking, Barfly hosted a beautiful melange of art gallery purveyor types, thirty-something Euro/Dance Pop aficionados, twenty-something knit hooded hipsters, Camden characters, low-key Diesel-and-cardigan donning Pop fiends, raven-haired East London teens… moustaches, brown leather satchels and black rimmed glasses, cocktail dresses, red lipstick and suede heels, scarves and sailor stripes… On the floor: an Anglophilic audience with a distinct taste for Xenomania; at the helm: a doe-eyed, denim-donning neo-disco diamond in the rough behind a pulsing pokerface bluff, and the beat of her own drum #litrally

The Sound: All the best bits of Brit-and-Synth-Pop – period. Much like a fine wine, or the Fugees break-up, Florrie’s stint as an unsigned artist yields a product that gets better with time. Saturday’s set list covered her relatively brief back solo catalogue, spanning both her Introduction (“Left too Late,” “Summer Nights,” “Give Me Your Love“) and Experiments (“Begging Me,” “I Took A Little Something,” “Experimenting with Rugs,” “What You Doing This For”) EPs, and throwing some new tracks in the mix (“Without A Trace,” “Go“).

SnappScenes: “Bad Girls” – M.I.A.

A.V Hub, TK:LDN

Live fast, die young… #badgirlsdoitwell… Maya Arulpragasm like the Mayans – had it right… even when wrong:

It turns out that the Mayans had it right. History is a giant alarm clock. As the bell starts to ring, we awaken from the dream, and remember who we are.

Bad Girls… from Eve and Mary (and Magdalene), to Cleopatra and Nefertiti, from Frida and Josephine, to Eleanor and Marilyn – are the backbone of wake-up calls and real talk, courtesy of rogue revelry. #doitwell

Top-to-Bottom two cents #topback: History is a giant alarm clock, and discographies are giant phonographs… as the bell starts to ring, and the needle hits the groove, we awaken from the scene, and remember who we are… This year, Maya got back into the groove: Kala style.

SnappScenes: “Give Me All Your Luvin'” ft. Nicki Minaj & M.I.A. – Madonna

A.V Hub, Soundtrek, TK:LDN, Vinyl Mind Flow

Oh that Madge… I can’t help it, I’ve got the biggest Cheshire grin plastered above my chin right now…

See the thing about it is, I wanted to not like this video – hear me out: I wanted to not like this video because after the hoopla and hype, after the media blitzes and reductionism, this era was gearing up to be the bark of Confessions with the bite of Hard Candy #notgreat then, there’s the distractions and the white noise pulling attention from the product at hand and towards the peripheral gossip… in a nutshell: I was ready to not like this video for the same reason I was gearing up to not like Born This Way – because people were going Gaga over Madonna; but lo and behold… Pop never lets you down.

A Few of My Favorite Things… 2011: The Haus

art, TK:LDN

haus

The Haus: From Government Hookers not giving a Sheibe and Paris runways getting werqed twice, from Judas and Jo Calderone to Laurieann overthrown, please believe we always left a key under the welcome mat for Hauskeeping to keep a humble home – if not beasted and broken in the best way known.

The Haus was decent… like the States it was in a transitional point this year #inatumultuouskindofway yet, still churning out presumed epochal signposts

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Night in the Sweype: Toro Y Moi, The Relentless Garage, Highbury, London

Live, Soundtrek, TK:LDN, Vinyl Cut Prose

The Sire: Chaz “Toro Y Moi” Bundick

The Sound: Chillwave/Eighties Synth-Funk

The Scene: The Relentless Garage, Highbury, London, UK

Toro Y Moi graced East London with the infectious sounds of his South Carolinian synth-wave swelter on Wednesday at Canonbury’s Relentless Garage. The venue packed 600 people in a mingling of Red Stripes and sailor stripes: yuppies, hipsters, blipsters, iPhone photographers, and Instagrandmas on sway in a hazy hole-in-the-wall. The mood was mellow, the bassline ebb, beasted, flowed, and bellowed, as Chaz Bundick brought his signature Southern Hipstertality to Highbury.

SnappScenes: “Marry the Night,” Lady Gaga

A.V Hub, Soundtrek, TK:LDN, Vinyl Cut Prose

You can reproduce your past, you can rewrite your present, you can dictate your future… beneath the metronomic hum of the running film reel Gaga brings the monster from the hub of the city to the heart and soul of her own fatally fame-laden tale…

If you knight it then you should’ve put a ring on it…

BlinkkIt: #bam Manhattan’s Pop monarch came back after three betrayals to bring Brooklyn’s Finest’s line to fruition… closing out Born This Way with a single that slays the sanctimony of matrimony and raises a glass to the twice-kissed sinners… “Birthdays was the worst days, now we sip champagne when we thirstay;” here’s to all of your future pain being champagne. #cheerstotearsontap

Night in the Sweype: Little Boots “Shake” Launch Party – London

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The Siren: Victoria “Little Boots” Hesketh

The Sound: Neo-Disco Electro-synth Brit-Pop

The Scene: Black and Gold, Blue-eyed synth soul… Lights, Camera, Passion in an East London Secret Warehouse… Half rave cave, half Factory foyer… Shake it ’til you make it, then make it shake… While you’re at it: shake it ’til your heart breaks and deluges limitless sonic sublime across the scape…

Night in the Sweyepe: Red Hot Chili Peppers & Fool’s Gold Live at The O2

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Standin’ in line to see the show tonight, and there’s a light on… heavy glow; by the way, I tried to say I’d be there… waiting for…

November in Britain: cold, dark, a tad bit secluded… but at the end of the day, there’s nothing more electrifying than a Chili night in London…

Vinyl Cut Prose: Black Jesus † Amen Fashion (Mugler Remix)

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Sometimes… my heart, sometimes, feels so black…in the dunes of sand… and other days, my heart feels like rainbows. Mugler. Mugler. Amen. Jesus is the new black. I am Mugler woman. I am quiet; I am strong. Amen. Planet Mugler. Mugler. Gaga. I am Mugler Woman. Don’t f*ck with me. Don’t f*ck with Mugler. Don’t f… f… Don’t f*ck with Mugler woman. Mugler. Scheiße. Say a prayer… Take me, Paris. I am Paris; we are Paris. Do not anger a Mugler woman; she will eat you. Planet Mugler. I will eat you. I will eat you… Mugler, Mugler… Jesus is the new black. I am Mugler woman. I am quiet; I am strong. Amen. Welcome to Paris. It’s Fashion Week. We are Paris.