New York City

Bae and I took an extended weekend to New York City last week. These are the photos!

The weirdest music in my collection

Iglooghost's avatar, the U.K. producer that clocks in as an honorable mention below.

Iglooghost's avatar, the U.K. producer that clocks in as an honorable mention below.

There's something really fun about extremely weird music. I'm not talking just $uicideboy$ or Death Grips or something similarly shocking but still fairly mainstream... I mean the real diamond-in-the-rough material. 

Let's get into my top 10.

1. Iraan - New Rumors of War
Recorded in 2012, this is the description according to Iraan: "Each track was recorded in and is meant to exemplify one room of my childhood home." It's a collection of eerie field recordings and ambient instrumentals. The original Bandcamp link is inactive, so I uploaded it here.

2. Ryoji Ikeda - Dataplex
This "minimal glitch" record came out in 2005 and is the sound of "specific waveform data that performs a data-read test for optical drives." Here's a sample of the grating but weirdly rhythmic style.

3. David Teie - Music For Cats Album 1
Well, um, this is an album that I invested in as a Kickstarter and ... well, just watch the video

4. Hauschka
Hauschka's real name is Volker Bertelmann, and he is a German piano player. He explores the percussive elements of a piano by doing things like jamming chopsticks into the hammers and wires of a baby grand, and then looping and amplifying the results. Check out this video and skim through it a bit to see everything he tinkers with. I have the album Salon Des Amateurs from 2011, and I like it a lot.

5. bo en - Pale Machine
British video game soundtrack composer bo en is just fun as hell. Imagine a modern song that reeks of Super Smash Bros. and Sim City 2000... then a 1981 Luther Vandross sample comes in (one that Kanye made famous in 2004), and then a Japanese lyricist sings a bit before bringing you into a clavé cha-cha. And that's just the first 1.5 minutes of one track. This is probably some of the more accessible and listenable stuff on this list.

Twentington - Beautiful Hill
Some good bedroom-core. Angsty four-track acoustic doodling with flaws and all. Haunting and lonely at times. And since Twentington seems to have taken down everything, here's a Google Drive folder.

Al Ripken Jr. - Captain Cougar EP
An effective application of old MIDI and 8-bit sounds mixed with theramin and made into modernized trap. I recommend the Captain Cougar Theme Song. The Captain Cougar EP is on Spotify.

Sesame Street - My Name is Roosevelt Franklin
Roosevelt Franklin (here's a good article on him) was one of the first Muppets on Sesame Street to be implied as a black character. The purple-skinned slick-talker put out an album in 1974 that we used to listen to in college; we always thought there were drug references in the album's opener ("I'm gonna get my first job hauling bricks!").

Electric Sea Spider - Supercash
Bizarre and erratic beats from Melbourne, Australia. Defies convention, especially drum-wise.

Iglooghost - Chinese Nu Yr
I love this EP, but I can't quite find it online, so check out Iglooghost's newest, instead. It's like bo en (also from the U.K.) but with more vaporwave and hip-hop influence. Don't worry, there's still plenty of goofy and wild video game flavor.

We're going back to state!

Shooting photos at the Minnesota Boys Basketball State Tournament is an annual treat. Here are my favorite shots that I grabbed from the Target Center this weekend.

Vince Staples @ First Avenue

Last night's Vince Staples show was very challenging to shoot. The California rapper had an incredible light show behind him, but almost no light was cast on Vince himself. This made him really hard to auto-focus at times, so instead I focused on grabbing the most interesting figures that his shadows made.

Quotes to keep your creative gears turning

Notes from The Shape of Design by frank chimero (MCAD reading assignment):

  • The relationship between form and purpose  –  How and Why  –  is symbiotic. But despite this link, Why is usually neglected, because How is more easily framed. It is easier to recognize failures of technique than those of strategy or purpose, and simpler to ask “How do I paint this tree?” than to answer “Why does this painting need a tree in it?”
     
  • Creative people commonly lament about being “blocked,” perpetually stuck and unable to produce work when necessary. Blocks spring from the imbalanced relationship of How and Why: either we have an idea, but lack the skills to execute; or we have skills, but lack a message, idea, or purpose for the work.
     
  • The Shakers have a proverb that says, “Do not make something unless it is both necessary and useful; but if it is both, do not hesitate to make it beautiful.”
     
  • My work was flat, because it was missing the spark that comes from creating something you believe in for someone you care about. This is the source of the highest craft, because an affection for the audience produces the care necessary to make the work well.
     
  • When we build, we take bits of others’ work and fuse them to our own choices to see if alchemy occurs.
     
  • I find the best way to gain momentum is to think of the worst possible way to tackle the project. Quality may be elusive, but stupidity is always easily accessible; absurdity is fine, maybe even desired.
     
  • All design work seems to have three common traits: there is a message to the work, the tone of that message, and the format that the work takes.
     
  • “No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be….This, in turn, means that our statesmen, our businessmen, our everyman must take on a science fictional way of thinking.” 
    — Issac Asimov

A Night With the Seshollowaterboyz

I have a confession... I have a real soft spot for some simple, dirty rap. And ever since I saw Bones' unique aesthetic for the first time, I wanted to see him live. 

After some DMing back and forth with Bones' brother/manager, I managed to slip backstage at his June 18th show and position myself for some good angles. There was just one problem... the venue was so humid, so steamy, that the viewfinder fogged up and I couldn't see a thing through my DSLR. I ended up tuning my manual settings through trial and error, and essentially shooting blind.

I still got some good shots; I like the grimy, imperfect qualities of some of the photos. I threw some Nik filters on some of the more crisp shots as well. On to the next, bigger show.

Expert listener

First of all, welcome to my blog. Squarespace is a really fun system, and I'm glad to be putting this site together with tons of customization at my fingertips. 

I needed something to kick off my first blog post, so why not turn the clock back to 2011 when I was on my third day of the job at the Minnesota Timberwolves? Rookie mistake: I missed the beginning of the media availability with Rick Adelman, but around the 0:24 mark I slide in the back and pretend like I'm listening. Stealth.