Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mndsgn: Cosmic Perspective Intro + Cosmic Perspective

Beginning in 2009, rural South New Jersey-raised Filipino-American producer Ringgo Ancheta aka Mndsgn [pronounced 'mind design'] put out a handful of excellent solo and collaborative EPs and mixtapes before signing with renowned L.A. label Stones Throw Records in 2014. His debut studio full-length 'Yawn Zen' was released that same year. This month he dropped his second studio album 'Body Wash' consisting of 16 tracks, including the superb "Cosmic Perspective". 

Two accompanying videos have been published, both of which include frustratingly familiar aspects of Los Angeles: homelessness and wacky gurus. However, by adding a sci-fi theme and plenty of camp, the clips become more than palatable. They were directed and edited by Eric Coleman. (Mndsgn co-created and co-produced along with girlfriend Alima Jennings and Shane Sakanoi.)

A few shows are coming up next month: October 14 in Denver and October 20 in Philadelphia. (Also on the bill in Denver is Stones Throw Records founder Peanut Butter Wolf aka Chris Manak. The label celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.)








VIDEO UPDATE December 2016:
It's every music blogger's worst nightmare and it sadly happens quite often: returning to an older entry and discovering that the video posted has been made "private" by the account holder on YouTube, either the label or the artist/band. This is sometimes due to copyright issues, but whatever the reason, it utterly sucks. And in this case, it's not one, but two videos.

I could delete the entire entry, but I'm choosing in this case to leave it up as food for thought.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Tribute To Skateboarding: Brett Novak & Kilian Martin

I've long been a fan of skateboarding and surfing, both of which are such a huge part of the unique Southern California culture and vibe. Thus it was a thrill to come across an outstanding video on YouTube featuring renowned Madrid-born-and-raised skater Kilian Martin, directed by established Los Angeles based filmmaker Brett Novak, also a skater himself.

Altered Route was shot at the defunct Lake Dolores Waterpark in the Mojave Desert in 2012 and makes great use of the location. Not surprisingly, the place has been a favorite haunt of vandals and thieves since the permanent closing of the park in 2004; still, it retains a strange, surreal beauty.

Novak has directed several Kilian Martin videos and every one of them is as stunning and poetic as Altered Route: my favorites are Searching Sirocco (2015) and India Within (2013).

Note: Be sure to check out Novak's YouTube channel for his other stellar skater films.

The music chosen for the three clips fits perfectly with the images:

Altered Route: Patrick Watson
Searching Sirocco: also Patrick Watson
India Within: Other Lives









Friday, September 16, 2016

Coldplay: Midnight (Dedicated to India)

India, March 7, 2006 - September 15, 2016   R.I.P.

My brother and his family north of Copenhagen said goodbye to their beloved dog India yesterday. An extraordinarily beautiful and sweet tempered tricolor Cavalier King Charles spaniel, she was loved, treasured and enjoyed a very good life.

Man's best friend indeed, a dog is truly a most remarkable animal, giving back ten-fold the love it receives. If you have the time and affection a dog richly deserves, the years spent with a canine companion will be some of the best of your life.

I chose "Midnight" by Coldplay for this post simply because it's a hauntingly beautiful song that is matched by the superb video created by filmmaker Mary Wigmore.  The track is from the band's 2014 album "Ghost Stories".


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sekuoia: Brace (Featuring Marc Roland)

After releasing three acclaimed EPs in five years, Copenhagen producer Patrick Alexander Beck-Madsen aka Sekuoia is ready to drop his debut full-length 'Flac' on September 16. For the superb track "Brace" he recruited Marc Roland of Danish band Kentaur: the collaboration proves to be a match made in heaven, with Roland's extraordinary vocals blending so perfectly into the intoxicating soundscape that one wishes for an entire Sekuoia/Roland album.

Sekuoia has two dozen shows lined up this fall: he kicks off the tour in Denmark September 29 (Århus) and also wraps it up in Denmark November 26 (Esbjerg.)  In between those two dates he'll be performing in numerous cities around continental Europe, including in Norway and Finland.  There is also a single gig in London (October 8).

Marc Roland is given a supporting role in the accompanying video which stars the wonderful German actor Stephan Koch. The stellar clip was directed by Faraz Shariat and produced by Paulina Lorenz of Hildesheim based filmmaker team Jünglinge. Director Shariat has once again created a work of art that is in fact more a short film with music, rather than a standard music video. In his beautiful films, devoid of sentimentality, the lead characters are always treated with great compassion, never with pity. Expertly helped by luminous acting performance, the viewer is treated to a 3-4 minute magical and dignified glimpse into the life of a human being, something that far too many feature film makers fail to accomplish over the course of 90 or 120 minutes.

Speaking of feature films: The Jünglinge team are currently writing the script for their first feature film, a coming of age story and are in the process of casting as well as finding co-producers and sponsors.

Read my December 2015 interview with Faraz Shariat here:


And be sure to watch more exceptional work by Jünglinge. (Note: their video "Frogs" won 3rd Place in the Best Narrative category at the Berlin Music Video Awards in May. )








Monday, September 5, 2016

Jones: Melt + Hoops + Indulge

Exactly two years ago Cherie Jones aka JONES uploaded the track "Deep" to SoundCloud, in May of last year the debut EP 'Indulge' came out, and on October 7 she drops the 12-track debut full-length 'New Skin'. The attention enjoyed so far is well-deserved and hopefully JONES' smooth-as-honey voice and excellent songwriting will gain her as many fans as Lykke Li and Little Dragon, two of her contemporaries and - according to the artist herself - biggest inspirations.

JONES has been busy playing festivals this summer and there are three fall festivals performances in Amsterdam, Hamburg and Paris coming up. First up however is a gig on September 9 in Melbourne.  And between October 12 and 18 she has five UK shows scheduled.

The outstanding tracks "Melt", "Hoops" and "Indulge" are all included on the upcoming album. 

Note: Make sure to listen to the stellar acoustic versions of her songs on SoundCloud.

The playful videos for "Melt" and "Hoops" were shot by London based director David Silis. The sensual black/white clip that accompanies" Indulge" was made by Norwegian director Jon Olav Stokke, also London based.