Vivid Festival in Sydney attracts tourists, musicians, and artists from around the world for an annual spectacle that brings about 2 million people into the CBD every May/June. With hundreds of light exhibits, concerts, events, and installations it’s absolutely heckers and a total art explosion in the city. Given how much is going on, Björk Digital, Björk’s incredible virtual reality premiere is sort of tucked away at the culture haven known as Carriageworks and is remarkably easy to attend FOC.
I saw Björk’s face at the bottom right of a Time Out newsletter which provided a timely reminder to register for my exhibit time slot, 3:30 PM on Friday afternoon, just perfect enough to fake a meeting and bail early for the weekend. I made my way to Carriageworks where I congregated with a group of 10-12 people and waited quietly (I chatted up some chicks in line obvs) for the exhibit to begin.
I knew nothing of the exhibit nor had I read up on the artist’s previous museum contributions such as her tribute to Alexander McQueen, so I went in with a clean and empty mind.
The exhibit is one that needs to be seen and felt individually so I’ll be concise with my observations. There were four parts to the experience:
Björk’s ‘Black Lake’ video playing on opposing movie screens in a smallish horizontal room filled with pulsating speakers emanating different layers of the track respectively. According to Björk’s program explanation, the room was meant to simulate the environment in which the music was conceived, a dim claustrophobic-ish space.
The virtual reality begins with a sweet serenade of ‘Stonemilker’ from Björk on a rocky Icelandic beach. Sun shining, waves crashing, you can stare into Björk’s eyes or turn away and watch the waves. Bjork’s world, your choice. It was beautiful. Imagine walking around freely in the video below with 360 degrees of visibility. That’s what it was.
Best described by the girl who was running this station on the day. When the virtual reality experience ended she said “I hope you enjoyed being a piece of gum.” That comment crystallised it for me. You’re a piece of gum in Björk’s mouth for about 6 minutes. It’s called Mouth Mantra by Jesse Kanda and it looked like this, but remember in virtual reality!
You’re in a seemingly dark part of the universe with pink and yellow light particles about. Initially you can only see a silhouette of Bjork’s head and an incredible gold yellow crown singing hauntingly, but soon, more particles arrive to eventually form a body with legs and arms. A technicolor rain flurry of light energy particles in the shape of Björk for you to interact with, walk through, stand inside.
The single Plastic Thrills (below) was released in April but excitement is building as Deerhoof’s new full length comes out next week. Check out the OFFICIAL Press Release from PolyVinyl under the track:
After all the accolades from press and peers, what’s a legendary band to do? Forget the recording studio, rent out an abandoned office space in the middle of the New Mexico desert, set up, plug in and play REALLY LOUD. Starting with hardly a notion of the outcome, by seven days later Deerhoof had found (you guessed it) The Magic: a raw and refreshing 15-song wallop of an album about what happens when you leave your comfort zone.
The version of Deerhoof you hear on The Magic is a most punch-drunk proposition. Everyone showed up in the mood to sing. Satomi, Greg, John and Ed dream up alchemies of punk, pop, glam, hair metal, doo-wop, hip hop, and R&B, late-night car rides, long days, attitude and spandex. Poetry into noise. Volume knob into gratification. Friendship into rock band.
According to drummer Greg, the music on The Magic was lurking in the shadows of “what we liked when we were kids – when music was magic – before you knew about the industry and before there were rules. Sometimes hair metal is the right choice.”
For singer/bassist Satomi Matsuzaki The Magic is but the latest episode of an ongoing gamble: “I joined Deerhoof a week after I arrived in San Francisco from Japan. I hopped on a MUNI bus to have a first meeting but got off at a wrong stop. I was lost and confused. They found me on a dark street corner after I called for help from a pay phone. Since then my adventure expanded. Deerhoof is a vehicle with four powered wheels that takes me through forest, desert and buildings. My life is adventure!”
The Magic is a mixtape imbued with Deerhoof’s sorcery — boldness, wonder, technical know-how, risk. It is a mixtape by the kid with the biggest music collection you’ve ever seen, who will take you camping and show you how to pull a rabbit out of a hat.
The Magic comes out June 24th on Polyvinyl Records.
2016 started with a bang for Alistar Richardson. Since waving goodbye to his high school love child The Cairos with a final January tour, Alistar, reborn as five piece Zefereli, has spent the last few months writing and producing, along with building a sweet recording studio on the family farm, situated an hour out of Brisbane.
M83, aka Anthony Gonzalez, shares another new track from his forthcoming full-length album, JUNK, out this Friday, April 8, on Mute. “Go!” – an exultant synth pop charmer – features lead vocals from French chanteuse Mai Lan, and a guitar solo by virtuoso Steve Vai. Gonzalez describes the collaboration with Vai: “We asked for the craziest space solo possible, which wasn’t hard for him. He sent us three different takes, and we blended two to make the ultimate Steve Vai solo. It was amazing to work with him.”
It’s always great to discover movie titles that are changed for particular geographic regions. Being an American who moved to Australia I’ve gotten to enjoy a few aussie name changes first hand. Here’s my shortlist of favorite augmented movie titles
The Sandlot in Australia is called The Sandlot Kids and randomly one of Australia’s rare strong ties to baseball. Aussie chicks love Sandlot Kids for some reason!
Cluein Australia is called Cluedo. Not just the movie but the board game too! I doubt even Tim Curry could figure out who murdered this classic title. Cluedo just sounds weird, wtf.
Saving Silverman in Australia is called Evil Womanwhich is oddly simplified for an English speaking nation but my guess is this got switch for some alternative language speaking country and Aussie got stuck with it during distribution.
Extra Credits: As a special bonus I’ll throw in two non-movie name changes for you.
All Burger Kings in Australia are called Hungry Jacks. This is because a Canadian born businessman named Jack Cowin who moved to Australia decades ago decided to bestow his name to chain in it’s Australian incarnation. Same logo, same food, different name.
Leyla and Dave Moore make up Planet Rump and they’re not to be fucked with when it comes to dirty dance mixes, bass, and anything neon. Check out their new track HBIC below and go through their sound cloud library for some more Brooklyn bangas..