Media Cuts #1 — Art & Culture Slices

Lola Baraldi

A selection of video, written, interactive and audio diggings from different corners of the internet. While they differ in style and scope, all of these projects or documentations have a whole lotta soul and passion at their core. These branches and snippets of art & culture are purely ones that I find fascinating; if they can stir even one other person, then I’m happy.

1. Aura Safari — Aura Safari LP

Discovery of the week: the constructed cool grooves of Aura Safari, serenely stacked over a 10 track LP. The Italian quintet slaps on layers of instruments and influences, with mellow fillings of electro jazz fusion and laid-back funk lining the edges. Their first ever release comes out on Church, a London based label full of eloquent gems just like these.

2. ‘Basement Grooves’ collaboration between beatmaker Saib and visual artist Joe Prytherch

In a Joe Prytherch illustration, the whole setting breathes along with its human subject. His visuals show a slick balance between movement and stillness, forefront and background, minimalism and subject matter. Subtly immersive in their format but moreso in their substance, they unassumingly catch eyes with details and a polished hiphop aesthetic. All his music related album arts and flyers share a contemplative quality, exhaling life from its human subjects as well as the surroundings that inspire creation; they are not just illustrations of a result, but of a creative process.

One of Joe Prytherch’s animations for Kiefer’s Stones Throw release, ‘Cute’

His latest work gives a crisp and casual backdrop to beatmaker Saib’s release on Majestic Casual. Hailing from Morocco, Saib flows between silky lo-fi and jazz-hop grooves, making them his with guitar instrumentals, like this personal favorite. Both of these guys’s creations seem effortless, yet are composed with an elaborateness that’s so easy to soak in.

3. SPIN Magazine’s 1985 Cover Story on The Talking Heads

Last week, SPIN magazine re-released their Talking Heads 1985 cover story, a cool primary source reporting the appeal and relevance of these timeless art school new wave punks.

It’s 1985: The Talking Heads are widely acclaimed, and 6 albums deep into the many atmospheres they’ve championed as polite generational voices of all things mundane and absurd; as emblems of cool bizarre; as jaunty storytellers of rudimentary realities — from illnesses of the human mind to trials and tribulations of urban lifestyles.

Richard E. Aaron/Redferns — Getty Images

“He sings like a man whose hair is on fire. It’s his natural voice, but it jumps when he gets excited. He can sing words that are very heartfelt, but come out sounding like he’s being strangled.”

This article’s tone, detached, witty and clear-cut, mirrors the off-beat yet far-reaching creations of the Talking Heads. It dips into what made these courteous weirdos work so well and sound so good, namely stripping back styling while letting music and character speak. On top of this, an absolute sincerity; one so direct and unpresuming that it made it ‘possible [for] people with similar feelings [to] discover [them].’

O’Brien and Cohen’s words shine a light on the creative process behind the band’s existential themes and collaged lyrics, their layers of musical explorations and the fall back back to their roots for the Little Creatures album. The piece finishes on a stream of consciousness from each member; retro and relevant.

4. Map Sonoro de México

Now this is a map to plunge into. The government funded Fonoteca Nacional de México is a beautiful building constructed in 18th Century Andalusian and Arabic styles, complete with speakers nestled in the trees of its sound garden. It houses a steady line of events, conferences and exhibits to promote and preserve national musical heritage. In its depths, the edifice conducts extensive identification, restoration, preservation and digitalization work for Mexican sonic archives.

They’ve developed a stellar online resource, a digital music box map zooming in on different parts of Mexico, with pinned field recordings or radio segments. Anyone can hear user-uploaded snapshots of daily urban and rural life in the country’s culturally rich regions. A random dive into it lead me to a Monterrey gastronomy radio show, the sound of police whistles after a Pride march in Mexico City, a child pulling firewood to make himself a tricycle in Campeche, artisan fabric looms in Oaxaca, street musicians and festive chants from all over the country.

5. Melbourne’s Detroit Soul Project

On the surface, a recently published Facebook page with minimal content, alluding to some sort of Detroit sound presence in Melbourne and posting some old and new classics. Below the surface, a keep-on-the-radar multimedia project launched by prolific custodians of the underground scene, inspired by John Collins of Underground Resistance’s The Soul of Detroit program on Red Bull Radio. Collins has teamed up with some local techno dons, notably the guys behind the Australian production house Stable Music co., active for almost two decades with large-scale projects, installations, releases and more; Piknic Electronik Melbourne, Melbourne Techno Collective & others. It’s difficult to imagine anything but a quintessential, well curated project coming from these production veterans and techno pioneers… to be continued.

“The important stuff in people’s lives comes through in their living, in what they think about and what they believe in. That’s what I try to write about, rather than writing about stuff that’s bigger than life.” -David Byrne

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