An empowering #PrivateJam, SBTRKT goes Higher, Metronomy's mind-bending music video and more in the songs we tweeted this week
by CH Editors in Listen Up on 14 September 2014
Lo Fang: When We're Fire (Cello Version)
After garnering much acclaim while supporting Lorde on her most recent tour, Lo Fang has just announced a new mixtape and a listen reveals the work to be as impressive as his live act. This EP, Every Night, is available on 30 September 2014 and features a new cello version of his single "When We're Fire." There's a majesty to his voice and the delicately throbbing string instrument calls to mind a more mellow version of Nick Drake's "Cello Song." There's something haunting to the arrangement—intimate, thoughtful and, at times, piercing.
Metronomy: Month of Sundays
British artist and filmmaker Callum Cooper applied his experimental, MC Escher-like approach to Metronomy's new song "Month of Sundays" (from their fourth album Love Letters). The result is a dizzying look at the band, as well as London's iconic Barbican and other Brutalist buildings around town. Cooper—who used a specially made "utilitarian sculpture" that doubled as a camera mount—tells Nowness, “This architecture speaks of a shattered dream in a way." The concept perfectly matches the tune's melancholic yet progressive nature.
Drake: 0 to 100
This week's #PrivateJam comes from Courtney Lowery, Senior Director of Publicity at Sony—whose clients include Future, Yo Gotti, Travis Scott, Bobby Shmurda and Kat Dahlia, to name a few. A bonafide music enthusiast as well as an industry professional, Lowery tells us: "I LOVE '0 to 100' by Drake. Whether I’m in my car, a club, my office, home or front row at his concert, something comes over me and takes me to another level. I turn the tune all the way up and simply 'ZONE OUT.' It empowers me and puts me in a place where I feel invincible. Every time I hear the song, it’s like the very time I’ve experienced it."
SBTRKT: Higher (ft. Raury)
The generous SBTRKT has been dropping tracks here and there over the past year—from "Runaway" with Jessie Ware to the instrumental EP series Transitions. Known for his tight production, the masked UK electronic musician teases us yet again with the release of two songs off his upcoming album Wonder Where We Land, out via Young Turks at the end of September. In "Higher," SBTRKT lets emerging Atlanta-based singer/rapper Raury take the spotlight, supporting his vocals with toned-down bare beats and "Ayo Technology" vibes. If "Higher" is your vibe give the jazzed-out, experimental "Voices in My Head" featuring A$AP Ferg and Warpaint a listen too.
Jimmy Tamborello—also known as Dntel—has remained relatively quiet since the runaway success of his side project The Postal Service with Death Cab's Ben Gibbard in 2003. This week, the LA-based minimalist electronic artist released a new single from his upcoming full-length Human Voice out 23 September on Leaving Records. "Ashby" is a four-minute track that sounds and feels much larger. Tamborello builds a vast sonic landscape that takes on a life of its own, calling to mind Brian Eno's structured ambience. Cerebral, layered synths and digitally altered vocals have never sounded so full of human emotion.
ListenUp is a Cool Hunting series published every Sunday that takes a deeper look at the music we tweeted throughout the week. Often we'll include a musician or notable fan's personal favorite in a song or album dubbed #PrivateJam.
James Turrell's light prints, a $1 microscope, contamination-detecting chopsticks and more in our weekly look at the web
by CH Editors in Link About It on 13 September 2014
1. A Mysterious WTC Photographer
In his research for the National Geographic Channel documentary "9/10: The Final Hours," filmmaker Erik Nelson was missing one vital piece. While he had more than enough exterior footage of the two towers, he had very little of what the buildings looked like inside. Thanks to an internet miracle, one of his film researchers discovered a wealth of images on the Estonian photo site Fotki. Commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 this week, The New Yorker retells how Nelson tried to track down the mysterious man that took the beautiful photographs of the empty interiors at night. The puzzle was finally solved, but unfortunately, the two will never be able to meet in person.
2. James Turrell in Print
Renowned light artist James Turrell is known for his expansive installations that encapsulate the viewer in a meditative, spiritual cocoon of visual warmth. It comes as something of an (exciting) surprise that his upcoming work will be on paper. "Prints and Process" translates Turrell's critically acclaimed Guggenheim show into posters with the help of master printer and craftsman Yasu Shibata. The exhibition is on view now at Pace Prints in NYC through 18 October 2014.
3. Poison-Sensitive Chopsticks
Anyone who has ever suffered from food poisoning can attest to the value of smart chopsticks—a new development from a Chinese tech firm Baidu. Sensors in the chopsticks pick up certain chemical combinations in food, and trigger an indicator LED. Blue means safe, red means beware. As a final perk, the chopsticks also connect to smartphones for a full breakdown on why an alert was issued. No price has been announced yet, but there's no denying, these sound pretty handy.
4. A Graphic Design Bible, Reissued
Before Helvetica, there was Standard Medium—and Standard Medium was leading subway riders the right way, according to the 1970 NYC Transit Authority Graphics Standards Manual by Unimark's Massimo Vignelli and Bob Noorda. The historical document is essentially a "Rosetta Stone" for graphic designers, and is now seeing a second life after a rare copy of the manual was found in the basement of Pentagram's NYC office. In a special agreement with the MTA, scans of this copy will be transformed into a high-quality hardcover available only through Kickstarter.
5. Beans to Farts Explained
Many may wonder about the link between legumes and gas. Thanks to Men's Health, Rami Niemi and this wonderful video the knowledge is now easily digestible. There are a lot of scientific facts across the one minute explanation, but the animation is also entirely endearing. It's long-been one of life's little mysteries, but thanks to the wonders of the internet, we now know the biology of tooting.
6. City Stream
Chinese painter Lu Xinjian creates mind-bending abstract images of city streets in "City Stream," a series of urban impressionism paintings that are somewhat reminiscent of Magic Eye puzzles. Using basic shapes and colors, the jumble of geometric abstraction comes to life after a closer look, depicting cityscapes extruded from ariel views of streets and architecture throughout Shanghai. The images are at once 2D and 3D, offering a truly unique way to view the world.
7. $1 Fold-Up Microscope
Using a special printer and a drop of optical-quality glue, Stanford University bioengineer Manu Prakash has invented a way to turn a piece of paper into a microscope. The printer prints a precise diagram instructing how to fold the paper, and the glue acts as a lens. With a little effort, a microscope is created—and all for under a dollar. With applications from schools to in-the-field tech repairs and primitive medical research, the development is nothing short of exciting.
8. Freezing Out Death
Over the course of six hours, Patrick Savage experienced seven cardiac arrests with his heart fully stopping for a total of 90 minutes—yet he survived. Doctors used an experimental and possibly revolutionary technique once thought reserved for science fiction: therapeutic hypothermia. Covering Savage's body in cold packs and pumping chilled saline through his body to draw out any remaining heat slowed his metabolism and halted the brain damage that would normally occur. The technique is continually being refined and physicians have even begun to rethink the state of death as a result. In lab tests, pigs remained "pulseless"—not technically dead—for up to three hours before revival.
Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.
The Parisian shop's founder takes us through her highlights from the Paris Design Week event
by CH Contributor in Design on 12 September 2014
by Caroline Kinneberg
While design weeks in London and Milan are oftentimes as much about marketing and events as they are showcasing new designs, Paris Design Week is considerably more retail-oriented. This is especially true at its main attraction, Maison & Objet, where people have their wallets out and homes waiting to be filled. "I'm always excited to discover new creations, to feel alive intellectually as well as emotionally," explains Chu You, who founded design shop Luka Luna in Paris' Marais district with her brother in 2001. Though her feelings are mixed when she enters the tradeshow's doors. "At the same time I'm stressed because the show has become just enormous."
From among the 3,000 exhibitors at M&O, Chu has the difficult task of purchasing pieces for her shop. Since the store is just 80 square meters, she sticks to smaller items—most often by independent designers. "They have less means and they're less known; I find them very courageous. And often they're more daring—they don't have a director of communication, of marketing." Chu tried to avoid fads as well, emphasizing emotion over function, "I find that the world today is difficult, moves extremely fast and feels cold—given, for example, the relationships we have across screens and devices. I find it extremely important now to have suspended moments, instances that are ours alone. Things become timeless when we have a personal connection with them. They remind us of a film, a text, a sensation, a smell. We create memories of those objects." In search of such objects that would hopefully evoke a certain feeling, we recently walked the show with Chu, who pointed out her favorite discoveries this season.
The ethos of TH Manufacture is that design is intrinsically linked to place. Porcelain from Limoges, glass from Italy—but conceived for the company in a contemporary vein. Founder Jean-Baptise Ceaux also believes that an object's particular energy originates not only from where it was made, but who it was made by. As such, everything produced for the new Paris-based brand is handcrafted and reveals an interesting human backstory. The product that drew Chu to TH's stand, "Yve Hand Mirror" is inspired by the technical glass industry based near designer Maarten Baptist's Dutch hometown. The clever mirror is technically 3D, yet ultra lightweight and perfectly flat.
French graphic designer Leslie David based her silkscreened "Mix and Match" plates off childhood school notebooks, while illustrator Jules Julien updated Da Vinci's layering technique sfumato for his incredibly smooth-to-the-touch "Collection Blanche" plates. Umut Demirel's magnetized "Attractive Mirror" stems from the common habit of checking out one's reflection before leaving the house.
Stéphanie Radenac has worked in fashion and textile design, opera scenography, publishing and window design—all of which comes through in the eclectic range of offerings from her "emotional design" brand. She devises experimental objects that push humans to think, feel, laugh, smile, reflect and become more aware. Her pieces include the whimsical "Wishbone" salad server (€30)—which is attached by a magnet—and a charming screen-printed pillow (€40).
Perhaps most engaging is Radenac's 2ml vial hidden inside a rock—ready to be filled with your secret potion of choice—completed with a porcelain cap to be engraved with a message of choice including: "extase," "plenitude" or "altitude." Chu says she'd fill one with an "elixir d'amour."
Chu was fascinated by Moustache's entire selection of products celebrating the company's fifth anniversary. Constance Guisset's suspended lights, both soft and strong, animal- and plant-like (but, more than anything, resembling Darth Vader); Formafantasma's stool with super-soft perch and salmon skin, discarded by the fishing industry and cleverly tanned like leather; and Jean Baptiste Fastrez's scarab-inspired lamp, composed of iridescent shells. Among the Paris-based company's new items is also a mesmerizing, color-producing lamp by super-talented Ferréol Babin, one of a handful of young French designers highlighted this year by M&O as rising stars.
Danish Crafts Council
Some of the most popular stands at Maison & Objet are those that champion regional design, from Design Stockholm House to government-backed Korea Craft and Design Foundation. This year the Danish Crafts Council—which aims to bring recognition to local artisans as well as Danish design in general—stood out with a curated selection of contemporary craftwork that emphasized sustainability. Chu's favorite product on display was the group of contorted ceramic wine glasses by Claydies, a team of two women who met at art school and have been working together ever since. Their wine glasses (€106 each) show how simple design can influence behavior: one glass you'll instinctively wear like a ring, another you won't be able to put down until you've finished sipping.
Other standouts from the Danish Craft Council were Agnes Fries' porcelain vases in the form of iconic perfume bottles—which, much like the beauty products they refer to, can either be functional or design objects in themselves.
Images courtesy of respective brands