Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

13 MAY, 2009

Hyper-Marketing Meets Meta-Art: Tate Tracks

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How to lure twentysomethings, or what Basement Jaxx have to do with high art.

We love seeing “advertising” that swells far beyond the traditional commercial boundaries of the industry and into the broader cultural realm in a way that inspires, provokes, and adds poetic resonance to the cultural dialogue. 

Today, we take a lesson in culturally enlightened marketing — an inspired effort by London ad agency wunderkind Fallon for the Tate Modern. The project, dubbed Tate Tracks, aimed to get more 18-to-24-year-olds into the gallery. And it did it brilliantly, through the one medium most relevant to that demographic — music — using it as a vehicle to connect young people to art.

So they invited several prominent music artists — including Basement Jaxx, Chemical Brothers, Graham Coxon from Blur, and more — to walk around the museum and find a piece of art that inspired them to write a music track. The rest is, well, art history.

Another layer of the effort included Your Tate Tracks, a music competition aimed at unsigned bands and musicians aged between 16 and 24. The YouTube community chose 20 finalists, out of which the judging panel — Graham Coxon, Basement Jaxx, Roll Deep and Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens — selected the winner: U.K. indie trio Kotki Dwa.

But what really makes this effort special isn’t just that it redefines the notion of “advertising” — it also expands the traditional conception of what a gallery is, from a place that merely collects art to one that helps create it.

See the project’s full music output here. For more Tate goodness, check out their iTunes outpost, where you’ll find 4 years worth of incredible talks by some of the art world’s biggest thinkers.

11 MAY, 2009

We Got Time: Hand-Illustration Meets In-Camera Animation Magic

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What a French invention from 1877 has to do with superb modern animation.

A couple of weeks ago, a fantastic video for Moray McLaren‘s We Got Time made waves with its brilliant in-camera animation magic. It’s pure creative genius — despite the utter visual indulgence, it isn’t stop-motion, no computer super-imposing was used, and everything you see is exactly what rolled off the camera.

The animations in the side-on views were produced by the camera capturing the moving reflections from the mirrored carousels, and the animations in the top-down views were created by matching the cameras frame rate to that of spinning record.

Now, we go behind the scenes with London-based animator David Wilson, who directed it and hand-drew all the illustration.

Beyond being a pure joy to watch, We Got Time is a testament to our belief that creativity is simply the genius of combining existing resources — knowledge, ideas, inspiration — in completely revolutionary ways: In this case, a vintage Praxinoscope device and old-school hand-drawn illustration.

Brilliant.

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05 MAY, 2009

(R)evolutionary Record: The Darwin Song Project

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Under house arrest by art and science, or what evolution has to do with independent music.

You may have forgotten Charles Darwin’s birthday — he turned 200 in February — but you still have a chance to commemorate it. Recently, Neil Pearson, owner of Fish Records and director of the UK’s Shrewsbury Folk Festival, persuaded 8 of Britain’s finest singer-songwriters to visit Darwin’s farm house. Little did they know he’d lock them inside for one week and have them create an album from scratch, dedicated to the life and work of the eminent evolutionist.

What has emerged is a juicy mix of storytelling and incredible talent, dubbed the Darwin Song Project.

British singer/songwriter and multinstrumentalist Jez Lowe, for instance, found inspiration in Darwin’s personal affairs: His wife, Emma, with whom he never seemed to agree, always wanted to spend more time with her husband, who spent countless hours away from Emma on his work, Voyage of The Beagle. They differed on many levels, particularly in the clash between Emma’s belief in God and Charles’ evolutionary theory. Lowe writes,

Where’ve you been, your tea’s been in the oven. Come home now.

Other artists include Rachael McShane, Stu Hanna, Emily Smith, Chris Wood, Mark Erelli, Karine Polwart and Krista Detor — and they seem to have had a blast collaborating. Catch their reflections on the experience here and here.

Originally created for a live concert at Theatre Severn in March, the music from the project will be released as an album this summer. The group will also reconvene to perform at the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in late August.

Stay tuned on the project’s website.

Update: The album is now out, and it’s every bit as fantastic as we’ve come to expect it to be. Grab a copy.

Julian Dominic carries a pocket notebook and 0.3 pen everywhere; continuing to record, research and repeat almost everything he sees, hears and tastes on the road.