courtesy of the Tom Golden Collection, Sonoma County Museum
“Mein Kölner Dom, Wrapped” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
Most artists have a specific medium, a way of rendering the world around them to be something more than what's already there. Whether it's painting, drawing, collage or something else, most artists are lucky to master one aesthetic. Bulgarian artist Christo, on the other hand, is a master of invention.
An artist in every sense of the word, Christo (and his late wife Jeanne-Claude) started with ideas, put them on sketches, collages and diagrams, then made these flat images into three dimensional installations that took over large plots of land. One need only see photos of Little Bay on the Australian coast with its cliffside entirely covered in fabric to grasp the magnitude of their work.
Christo answering questions
But the process is the interesting part, which is what Christo highlighted in a lecture at the Albuquerque Museum (2000 Mountain NW) on Friday, Aug. 22. Addressing a packed house, Christo detailed the many ideas that prompted his most famous works. He also discussed projects still in the making, including “The Mastaba,” a vast trapezoidal structure made up of oil barrels. If completed, it will stand near Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Why are such projects still not completed? As Christo explained, “The difficult part is getting permission. Everywhere in the world belongs to somebody.”
What's impressive about these artworks is the time and planning that go into bringing them to fruition. Years are spent diagramming, speaking with engineers, getting permission from the people in power, and each detail is documented so as to make the outcome not only a structure for visible consumption, but a collaborative piece that invites viewers to become a part of it.
Then there’s the money side. Christo pointed out that for “The Gates” in Central Park, New York, they had to pay the city $3 million for three months of planning and building gates hung with saffron fabric in one of New York City's landmarks. That’s why his projects are funded by the ideas themselves, with Christo selling sketches of the structure's plans and earlier artworks to finance the new piece. If that's not ingenuity, I don't know what is.
The lecture provided fans and viewers with a deeper insight into these works. While it may seem arbitrary to see entire islands in Miami's Biscayne Bay surrounded by pink fabric or a mass of blue and yellow umbrellas inhabiting sections of Japan and Southern California, the ideas that prompt these works are not only visionary, but stand as testaments to the power of man to conceive, design and build something great. And hearing Christo talk so humbly about the process was a pleasure and a treat. Not to mention a privilege.
Christo & Jeanne-Claude: The Tom Golden Collection
Showing until Sept. 14 Albuquerque Museum of Art and History 2000 Mountain NW Hours: Tuesdays through Sundays, 9am-5pm Cost: $2-$4, FREE Sundays from 9am-1pm
When it comes to speaking out on injustice, who better to share words than people who've been held in high regard for their artistic and thought-provoking contributions within a specific canon. Hip-hop artist Killer Mike took to the written word (via an op-ed for Billboard) to speak his mind on the horrible outcomes surrounding the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. He not only addresses the shooting, but addresses the abuse of power in regards to the unsightly tactics law enforcement have undertaken in an effort to keep protesters at bay. Head to Billboard to read the article in its entirety. The rapper also went on CNN to talk about the piece and his thoughts on Ferguson. You can watch it below.
Killer Mike CNN Interview
Delivering the rage
And while we're on the topic of Ferguson, rapper/singer Lauryn Hill posted an old sketch track (“Black Rage”) on SoundCloud, dedicating it to what's going on over in Missouri. The song is a version of the famous number “My Favorite Things.” You can hear that ditty below.
The voodoo chile returns
If you have a pen, highlighter or Sharpie in hand, you should flip your calendar over to September, work your magic little finger over to the 15th and circle, circle, circle. Because on that day, two out-of-print records from the late, great Jimi Hendrix are set to be re-released. Both records (The Cry of Love and Rainbow Bridge) were recorded in 1969 and 1970, but weren't released until after Hendrix' death in 1970. Those albums will get the full treatment, meaning people can purchase them on CD, vinyl and digital formats. So, again, mark that calendar.
A swift return
Well ... it's official. Taylor Swift has abandoned her country roots. Rebranding herself under the pop umbrella, Swift released the video for the first single (“Shake It Off”) off her upcoming record (1989), which comes out on Oct. 27. If we're looking at the single from a very distant eye-glance, it's not really anything special, though Swift is using her cutesy wiles to poke fun at herself, while alerting listeners to shake off the bad vibes. Cause that hasn't been heard in music before. Have a looksie below.
Taylor Swift - “Shake It Off”
Tuff it out
I mentioned a while back that King Tuff was coming out with a new record (Black Moon Spell) on Sept. 23. Well, that's still happening. Gasp! But Tuff has taken the initiative to make the title track available for your listening pressure. And let's just say that this is a real treat of a song, and if the tune is any indication of the record itself ... it's gonna be one ferocious little gem. Have a listen below.
Still not fadin’ away
Talk about a sneaker-upper ... a group of country musicians have banded together to create a tribute album to one of rock's greatest gifts: Buddy Holly. Mmhmm, you read that right. Artists like Merle Haggard, T. Graham Brown and Helen Cornelius will tackle songs from Holly's oeuvre and give them a good ol' country spin. The record, The Buddy Holly Country Tribute: Remember Me, hits stores and online markets on Sept. 7, on what would have been Holly's 78th birthday if he'd still been alive. Whether or not you dig country (or what passes for country nowadays), this should be an exciting release.
The last slice
This is a sad one, y'all. Swedish experimental duo The Knife have announced that they're calling it quits. After their tour is finished in November, the band is going to dissolve, though they didn't specify as to what's next for each of the members. All speculation aside, I'm sure that they'll both go on to do interesting and innovative things. So as a goodbye, have a listen to their song “Heartbeats” below. Head over to Dazed to read what the band had to say about the break-up and the future.
The Knife - “Heartbeats”
Something savage this way comes
In case I wasn't overtly explicit, I love Savages. Well, at least their debut record (which made my Best Albums of 2013 list). I'm not going to go into my love over it because it would take all day, and I'm sure you've got important things lined up in your schedule. To the point: Savages is teaming up with “acid punk” band Bo Ningen for a collaborative record. Apparently, the album is going to be one 37-minute track, described as a “Sonic Simultaneous Poem.” And that's expected to be out and about on Nov. 17. Any way you spin this, it's exciting news. Head over to Pitchfork to read more about the upcoming release.
Out of the basement
It was announced a while back that unearthed Bob Dylan lyrics from 1967 were going to be recorded and released as Lost on the River: The New Basement Tapes. The record is produced by T. Bone Burnett and includes performances by Jim James (of My Morning Jacket), Elvis Costello, Marcus Mumford and more. The first snippet of what the record will entail has been posted online. Have a listen to Jim James' version of Dylan's “Nothing To It.”
The New Basement Tapes - “Nothing To It (Official Lyric Video)”
Dream of the stream
Oh snap, it's time for some album streamage. You know you've been waiting for this one ... it's the New Pornographers' new record (Brill Bruisers)! Exciting news for people who like the band. I can't count myself in that group, though I've not heard enough from them to make a valid listening decision. You know ... laziness and all. It gets the best of us. Regardless, head over to iTunes Radio to give that a listen before it gets stale from staying out too long. Wait ... that's bread. And since you're getting it for free, you may as well head over to NPR to hear Ty Segall's new record Manipulator. EDITOR’S NOTE: These streams are only up for a limited time, so apologies if they’re no longer available by the time you click these links.
What's one way to celebrate the red and green veggie that makes us proud to call ourselves Burqueños? That would be the Chile Festival, of course. This two-day spectacular has a variety of events and treats that would make any member of the Duke City not only proud, but a little giddy. If there's not live music (which there is), there's a plethora of yummy treats that would make even the snottiest of foodies go red in the cheek. From a bake sale featuring donated sweets to books and movies for sale to roasted chile to arts & crafts, it's basically a hodgepodge of activities that spell “good” in every stride.
Oh, and did we mention music? Performing acts include the Route 66 Revelers, Ambush Brass, the Young at Heart Quartet and more. Oh, and proceeds from the event go to benefit Habitat For Humanity. So the good eats and fun-filled action are for a good cause. Festivities run for two days: tomorrow from 9am to 4pm and Sunday, Aug. 24, from 11am to 4pm. This free event happens at Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church (1801 Montaño NW). Wait … chile? Go get you some. Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church • Sat Aug 23 • 9am-4pm • FREE • View on Alibi calendar
Like a lot of people, my first introduction to Robyn was her song “Dancing On My Own,” when it was featured in the hit HBO series “Girls.” Used perfectly in the soundtrack's sequencing, it's my only indicator of Robyn's prowess as one of Sweden's most notable exports. Regardless, Robyn ventured to create an EP with Norwegian electronic duo Röyksopp (Do It Again), and now they've released a video for album track “Monument.” Have a looksie below ...
Röyksopp & Robyn - “Monument”
Givin’ it away ...
It's free music, y'all! Free music! Well, not in physical form, but still, it's free! DJ Shadow has released his new EP (Liquid Amber), available for streaming, as “an opening salvo” for future snippets of sonic fancies. Fans better eat it up, considering this is his first release since 2011's The Less You Know, The Better. Should make it feel more sacred, right? You can listen to the EP below. Enjoy!
My rap game could use a little work. OK, maybe a lot of work. But that's even more reason to mention that rap aficionado Nas announced a while back that he was going to commemorate his intricate verbage on legendary album Illmatic by coming out with a full-length documentary as well as a tour. On tour, which kicks off Oct. 2, he'll perform the album in its entirety. The documentary (Nas: Time is Illmatic) hits theaters on Oct. 1 (Oct. 3 for on demand and iTunes), so check your local theater listings. While the tour doesn't make a stop in the Duke City, it's worth it to plan a possible trip around it, no?
If you're not familiar with Matt Sweeney's online show “Guitar Moves,” I'd recommend some viewage. It's cool if you like seeing various guitar devotees share some tricks of the trade, especially when you're attempting to learn the instrument (like myself). Now the show is titled “Guitar Power,” and Sweeney's latest incarnation sees Kurt Vile showing off his prowess as an axe man and songwriter. Check out Vile's episode below.
Guitar Power Ep. 3 featuring Kurt Vile
Most people who still buy albums know that they almost always hit stores on Tuesdays. Well, that might change. In an effort to battle music piracy (and taking a note from Australia), the record industry is making a push to make Friday a “standard, global album release day.” According to Billboard, some digital music venues have given the release day their blessing, though the change is already being met with opposition from indie record labels and stores. Apparently, having a release day earlier in the week is better for sales. If this comes to pass, that'll be put into effect in July of 2015.
The Foo is back
While I'm not a huge Foo Fighters fan, I can attest that they put on one of the best shows of any band around. After seeing an epic, mind-blowing set at ACL a few years back, I'd convinced myself that I'd seen something akin to my generation experiencing Led Zeppelin in their heyday, which is a fairly bold statement. Regardless, the Foo Fighters have announced their upcoming record Sonic Highways (out Nov. 10). The album was apparently recorded in eight studios in eight different states, and the band is also coming out with an HBO doc series about the process (premiering Oct. 17). View a teaser for the record below, and head to NME to read more 'bout it.
Foo Fighters –Sonic Highways
Full circle listen
Fugazi is one of those bands that has always escaped me, though bands I'm a fan of have always lauded them and their influence on rock and roll. And now people can partake in a listening session with the music that started the group on its course to take over the world: their first demo. Titled First Demo, it'll be the release of music recorded in 1988 from their original demo tapes. Talk about the rough and ready. That'll get a proper release some time this Winter, so keep an eye out for it.
Leonard Cohen is one of those musicians that really doesn't need any sort of introduction, as the man has been in the game for numerous decades. Still, his track “Hallelujah” is one of the most covered and revered tracks ever to hit the music-sphere. The singer-songwriter's webmaster Jarkko Arjatsalo recently announced that in celebration of Cohen's 80th birthday, he's coming out with a new record in September, titled Popular Problems. No word yet on what songs will be featured, but he did add that Cohen has no plans to tour the album. Bummer. Have a listen to “Hallelujah” below.
Leonard Cohen - “Hallelujah”
Music for the inmates
Talk about bringing music to the masses … John Dwyer's Castle Face Records (which has released records by Dwyer's Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, White Fence, etc.) is now conducting a program where they send free CDs from their catalog to prison inmates. All you gotta do is send them the prisoner's info and mailing restrictions, and they'll take care of the rest. Click here to read more about Castle Face For the Incarcerated.
Those actors and their music ... you know, the ones who think they're talented enough to take a stab at the golden glory of releasing a record, playing shows and being a straight-up rock n' rolla. Well, a lot of the time, they're not even rock musicians when they transfer from the big screen to the small stage, but more often than not, they still have the chops to back it up. (Zooey Deschanel, Charlotte Gainsbourg (even though she was a musician before she was an actress), Michael Cera). That last one is what this is about. Michael Cera released a surprise album, titled true that, which is now available to stream online. Head over to his Bandcamp page to give that a listen. I’m sure, to some, the lo-fi, folky intonations are reminiscent of his work in Juno (viewable below).
It's here, folks. The event that your FFA courses prepared you for. A chance to show off your crops, tractors and gardening wares, or to sample someone else's. It's the Harvest Festival at Wildlife West Nature Park (87 North Frontage Rd.) in Edgewood, N.M. And while it may seem like a trek, 30 miles is a mere cruise when you take into consideration all that will be on hand. Celebrating the “area's culture, traditions and agricultural heritage,” there will be a tractor parade, visits to the Pinto Bean Museum, fresh produce, wine sampling, live music, delicious food, tractor games and old-fashioned hayrides. And that's just the tip of the pie, so to speak.
A down-home, family friendly event like this isn't one to be missed. And you have two days to get your acts together, get the kiddos in the car and get truckin'. The festival starts tomorrow at 9am with a tractor parade and continues till about 6pm. Then it picks up again on Sunday, Aug. 17, from 10am to 6pm. All the weekend's activities, minus the Chuckwagon Dinner Show, are included with regular admission ($7 regular, $6 seniors, $4 students). And, as always, children under 5 are free. Wildlife West, Edgewood • Sat Aug 16 • 9am-6pm • $4-$7 • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
There's not a whole lot I know about A$AP Rocky other than he's been making waves through the rap music-sphere for the past couple years. And now, he's going to be a more well-known face after having a Noisey documentary filmed about him (SVDDXNLY). The first part of the film, which features a cameo by Rihanna, is available online, with the rest coming out in weekly increments. Future installments of A$AP's feature-length film include appearances by Drake, Danny Brown, Kathy Griffin, Snoop Dogg, Macklemore and Jeremy Scott. View the first part below, and check YouTube weekly for the rest of the doc.
A$AP Rocky: SVDDXNLY - Part 1/5
On the horizon ...
Bass Drum of Death's self-titled album was one of my favorites of 2013. Not enough to make my top five, but it was a bashin', thrashin' mix of a variety of influences, culminating in a wall of sound that wasn't easily forgettable. Now the band is set to release a new record (Rip This), which hits the online and physical markets on Oct. 7, and to give folks a snippet as to what the record will sound like, they've made album track “Left For Dead” available. If the track is anything to go by, this one's gonna be a keeper.
Now that Sonic Youth has called it quits (thank God, and you can quote me), Thurston Moore has had his hand in other projects, among them Chelsea Light Moving, though that project hasn't released anything since last year. However, Moore is now gearing up to release a solo LP (The Best Day), which will have contributions from Sonic Youth drummer Steve Shelley and My Bloody Valentine bassist Debbie Googe. The record will have other guest musicians, including Chelsea Light Moving contemporaries. And before you start marking those calendars, a release date hasn't been announced. Bummer.
I go back and forth with Stevie Nicks. I like her voice, I do. But a part of me always flinches when people declare her one of the greatest female vocalists in music. That's a bold statement to make. I mean ... have you never listened to Aretha Franklin? I digress. Nicks is releasing a compilation of unreleased tracks (24 Karat Gold: Songs From the Vault), which drops on Oct. 7. And Nicks has released one of the album's tunes (“The Dealer”), which you can hear below.
Stevie Nicks - “The Dealer”
The Flaming Lips is another band I don't know much about, though I was a little surprised to see photos of Wayne Coyne hanging out with Miley Cyrus and getting matching tattoos. Not up to me to question the friendship between a singer-songwriter in his fifties and a young pop star 30 years his junior. I could care less. But that's beside the point. The Lips are gearing up to release With a Little Help From My Fwends, which covers The Beatles' entire St. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It'll have contributions from the aforementioned Cyrus, as well as My Morning Jacket, Dr. Dog, MGMT, Tegan and Sara, Moby and many more. That drops on Oct. 28, so you still have some time to save a few “coynes.” See what I did there?
If you haven't yet watched “Late Night with Seth Meyers,” here is some incentive to tune in. Well ... at least for a short time. In case you didn't know, Fred Armisen is Meyers' bandleader. However, weirdo rock/pop ingenue St. Vincent is going to fill in for Armisen on Monday, Aug. 11, and Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 10:35pm (our time). Not sure if she's going to play any of her originals, but it would be interesting to see her leading an entire house band on a network television show. Check out the video to her single “Digital Witness,” off her latest release.
St. Vincent - “Digital Witness”
Like most people who know about Jimmy Tamborello, I was introduced to him via The Postal Service. However, it wasn't until years later that a friend played me his solo work as Figurine that I became more acquainted with the artist. Then his album Dumb Luck, under the monicker Dntel, came out. And hearing his track “Roll On,” which featured vocals by Jenny Lewis, changed things. It even prompted me to see him live, which was fairly boring, as he stood on a stage with a computer in front of him, with some light installations on a screen making weird shapes and colors. Not exactly my idea of a concert, but it'll do. I digress. Now Dntel is coming out with a new record (Human Voice) on Sept. 23, and he's shared the track “If I Stay a Minute” to give peeps a taste of its oeuvre. You can hear that below.
There's nothing like a record label celebrating a quarter century of its tenure. And there's nothing better than a record label coming out with a new music compilation to celebrate such an expanse of time. In keeping with the spirit of such triumphs, XL Recordings is releasing a collection of ditties called Pay Close Attention, which “compiles important music from the label's illustrious discography.” It'll feature artists such as Radiohead, M.I.A., The White Stripes, The Prodigy, Adele, Devendra Banhart and more. There's also a Pay Close Attention website where fans can read more about why these records and songs were so monumental when they were released. And you can also preorder your copy of the compilation here.
While I'm not an overtly huge fan of electronic music, I'm not completely opposed to it. It just takes me some time. Like dipping your toe in a frozen lake before you plunge through a crack in the ice, ya dig? Austra was first introduced to me after a friend played me an acoustic piano performance of their track “Lose It,” and that's pretty much all I know of the Canadian group. The band recently came out with their Habitat EP, and they've shared a new video for the song “Doepfer,” which is viewable below. If you like LED lights and trippy electronic tunes, this has your name spray-painted all over it.
Austra - “Doepfer”
For all the New Pornographers fans out there, it's time to get excited. Or kind of excited. Band member A.C. Newman has been hard at work on the soundtrack for the film What If (a romantic comedy/drama starring Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter, and Zoe Kazan). The soundtrack is out and about, meaning you can find it at your local retailers or online. Almost all of the songs were were written and recorded by Newman, though there is an Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros track. Oh, and a Patrick Watson tune. But you get the idea. Head over to Pitchfork to read more 'bout it.
More often than not, when you say dinner, I'm there. But dinner and a show? That sounds, perhaps, a tad more enticing than a normal evening over some shrimp and grits. Not that that's on the menu at the third annual “Evening with the Luna-Otero family.” Though guests will get to feast on a “gourmet meal,” the real luck of the draw are the costumed actors making their way through the festivities, sharing pieces of New Mexico history from the scope of the Luna and Otero families.
Guests can travel back to the 1700s and 1800s and bear witness to the “adventure, romance, political intrigue, murder and even a ghost” of New Mexico's treasured past. For the mere speck of a price ($45), attendees get a one-of-a-kind evening à la Medieval Times. But I'm sure the jousting will be in short supply. Different periods, people. The scrumptious, historical extravaganza happens at the Luna Mansion in Los Lunas (110 Main SW) tomorrow night at 6:30pm. Call 865-7333 to schedule a reservation. Luna Mansion, Los Lunas • Thu Aug 7 • 6:30-8pm • $45 for dinner and show • View on Alibi calendar