Brain Pickings

Posts Tagged ‘music’

19 MAY, 2009

Artist Spotlight: Zee Avi

By:

From island paradise to bushfire, or why the best new music puts all of SXSW to shame.

At just 23, Malaysian singer-songwriter Zee Avi isn’t simply formidable up-and-coming musical talent — she’s also a poster child for success via social media. Her story goes a little something like this: After months of recording songs on her webcam and uploading them to YouTube, Avi woke up one morning to find a message from a major talent scout in her inbox. Beds were rolled off of in excitement, contacts were exchanged, and the rest was indie music history.

One thing led to another and, next thing I know, I was on a plane to L.A.

With vocals that are part Ingrid Michaelson, part Billie Holiday, and the lyrical sensibility of Feist, Zee Avi is the antidote to the general mediocrity that spewed from SXSW this year — and positively the best performer we’ve come across in 2009. 

Her self-titled debut album drops today, under Jack Johnson’s Brushfire Records label. So go ahead, get in the know before she goes… gasp… mainstream.

14 MAY, 2009

Animation Spotlight: Forget

By:

Balloons, nested dolls, and a man with a cardboard box on his head.

Today’s short-and-sweet is a possibly bizarre but positively breathtaking music video for Vania & The Master‘s Forget, directed and animated by German motion graphics artist Michael Fragstein.

Enjoy.

13 MAY, 2009

Hyper-Marketing Meets Meta-Art: Tate Tracks

By:

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.