Erika Iris Simmons represents music better than anyone else. Using film or cassettes tapes in a very innovative way, she represents the most recognisable icons in music industry, giving a real feeling of music or movies. I love how she plays with materials like music scores or papers. She has been chosen to design the 55th Annual Poster for the Grammy’s. Well done her.
I’ve spent years waiting to see Bon Iver and yesterday the day finally arrived at Wembley Arena, London.
The support band was an all female indie-folk band called the Staves, who reminded me of the Indigo Girls with their acoustic sound and beautiful harmonies. I only caught the last song of their set and I really liked it so will be looking into them more. They later returned to provide stunning close harmonies on Bon Iver’s performance of ‘Stacks’.
Bon Iver took to the stage starting with the first song from the new album “Perth”. I’m amazed at how these guys can recreate the sounds from the album exactly the same, but with even more power, more depth than the records. Between the songs were little musical interludes, drones and soundscapes building from one track to the next. The first four songs were played in order from the new album, before mixing it up with songs from the first album ‘For Emma, forever ago’ and the interim ‘Bloodbank EP’.
Singer Justin Vernon started out fronting the alt-folk-rock band DeYarmond Edison who had modest success in their native Wisconsin. Their first two albums were more acoustic and straight song-based, but it’s in their unreleased EP that you can hear the beginnings of what would become Bon Iver. Sadly the band fell apart during the recordings and the EP was never officially released – ‘Epoch’ is the highlight of this set of recordings. Justin also put together an album called ‘Hazletons’ and there are some self-made home recordings floating the internet which show his evolution and experiments with the now trademark falsetto vocals.
After the dissolution of DeYarmond Edison, and having contracted mononucleosis, Justin Vernon took himself off to the woods of Wisconsin to recover – his idea of “hibernating from the world.” These three months of solitude resulted in the creation of For Emma, Forever Ago. All of his personal trouble, lack of perspective, heartache, longing, love, loss and guilt that had been stockpiled over the course of the past six years, was suddenly purged into the form of song.
His first record as Bon Iver (French for Good Winter) was titled ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ and entirely his own creation. The album was self-released in July 2007 and quickly gained attention from various music publications, and particularly popular among music bloggers.
I see Bon Iver’s second, self-titled album as the peak of his career as an artist. I previously talked about the cover of this album in this blog and his creator Gregory Euclide. The music is so organic and beautiful, with a lot of sounds that reminds me to nature and that is good to be alive, slightly akin to Sigur Ros.
I left the gig last night with an amazing feeling having loved the music and Justin’s sweet and self-effacing banter with the crowd. If they’re playing a town near you, they’re definitely worth catching.
Yesterday finally the big day arrived, 10 months after buying my Radiohead tickets. The last time I’d had the chance to see them was in Buenos Aires, 4 years ago but at that time I was 7 months pregnant so decided not to go. So, as you can imagine, I was really looking forward to seeing them perform live after all this time.
Finally the moment had arrived.
I know what you are thinking – how does this have anything to do with art? Well I could argue that music is an art, but really I wanted to talk about the aesthetic design of the staging. I’ve never ever see anything like that before in my entire life… and I’ve seen a lot of bands. I’ve been to a lot of concerts (I’m married to a musician / ex Parlophone/ EMI employee / music lover – oh yes we go to gigs), the most impressive was Bjork. But this, this was something else.
The show made amazing use of lights and colours with screens hanging suspended at angles above the stage, flying around between songs, dividing the projected imagery and presenting it as an ever-changing puzzle. There was no big screen, but 15 little ones, each of them showing a close up of one of the musicians or musical equipment surrounding the band. The colours and ambience were changed for each song adding to the hypnotic delivery of the music. Visually very impressive. And I haven’t even started talking about the band yet.
The stadium was completely packed. Thom Yorke is the best front man I have ever seen, how he moves, how he leads the band. I can understand now why Radiohead stand so high in the world’s perception. I have a friend, who I think is the biggest fan of Radiohead ever. He’s been trying, unsuccessfully, to explain to me for years why he doesn’t go to any other gig that is not Radiohead and why he rarely listens to anything else, I thought he was mental. Now I understand. I was hypnotised for 2 hours. And I loved it, and I can’t wait to see them again live.
Check out some little videos I took with my phone and some photos.
I went to Sadler´s Well Theatre yesterday afternoon to see the ballet. It was the classic Grimm´s brothers story of Snow White, about a Mother and daughter complex.
One of France’s most successful choreographers, Angelin Preljocaj put together an impressive, contemporary setting and choreography. Surprisingly this play is extremely sexual, which I found very interesting because is not necessarily what you expect when you go to see ballet. The spectacular costumes were designed by Jean Paul Gaultier and they were superb. It did help the story a lot and gave the characters more sensuality, supporting the amazing movements and making them more visually powerful.
The Queen was my favourite as there was so much passion in her role. The stag in the middle of the woods came out nude, which was fantastic.
A lot of aerial movement using wires, romance, drama, an impressive scene setting, and accompanied by the sound of extracts from Gustav Mahler´s symphonies, this show is well worth seeing.
I normally write about art, but music was one of the muses in Ancient Greece so then why not (she was called Euterpe).
Eight months ago I bought the new Bon Iver album. I thought the first one was amazing, but the second one titled ‘Bon Iver’ really blows my mind.
Every song (except the last one that is my least favourite) is magnificent. I love that there is something unique about Bon Iver, the way he records himself 4 times making a choir of voices, and the whole arrangement behind makes him an outstanding artist. I can’t wait to see him live soon. (Please come to England).
Anyway, the artwork of this album attracted me from the beginning from the moment I saw the posters in the tube.
I discovered recently the wonderful artist behind it. His name is Gregory Euclide, and he make installations which combine painting and paper, plants, plastic model trees, rocks, pencil, acrylic. Everything is coming out of the paper, coming alive.
And it is exactly what Bon Iver reminds me, to woods, to nature, peace, trees, green, this is what I breathe when I listen to his album. Recently I’ve started making trees out of paper because this guy just inspires me to leave my house and get a tent and go into the deep of the woods of England. It makes me shiver, and it was a long time that an album had such an interesting impact on me.
The Flying Karamazov Brother’s show was an unexpected pleasure to watch. Having read mixed reviews about the group, we decided to go anyway and give them a chance. A series of brilliantly choreographed sketches punctuated the show, always fast moving, imaginative, comic and, more than everything, original.
Each of the ‘brothers’ are talented musicians as well, which carries through in the rhythm of their juggling performance. They had children and adults alike gasping with joy and amazement at some of the daring stunts, which included juggling with flaming torches, meat cleavers and chinese food (as donated by the audience).
A sense of fun and wry humor kept the atmosphere light for the entire hour and a half. This was the last show of the London tour, but I certainly recommend seeing them if they are in a town near you.