Category Archives: Music

A flaneur in Paris

Brigitte Bardot, near to my apartment in Montmatre

As someone who abides by the flaneur philosophy, there is no place better to be a flaneur than the city in which the term was coined: Paris. Having moved to Paris two weeks ago I have spent much of my time flaneuring around. For those for whom the term is unfamiliar Ill give you a brief explaination, upon the basis that at some point you promise that you’ll arrive in a city, and allow yourself to get involved. I profoundly believe that there is no better way to experience a place.

Flaneur as a term was coined by Frech philosopher Charles Baudelaire and is derived from the french word ‘flaneur,’ which means, ‘stroller,’ ‘lounger,’ or ‘saunterer,’ in its literal sense. To this word Baudelaire added layers of philosophical theorization that became the composition of a concept for which the English language has no single accurate word of its own. So we too latched onto “flaneur,” and its implied ideology.

Ultimately ‘flaneur’ is a way of thinking. A flanuer is both engaged and unattached at the same time. A flanuer is self aware. It is through this self-awareness that he/she gains an understanding of and partakes in the city. A flanuer is an explorer and turns corners seeking hidden meaning. Surrealist founder Andre Breton and members of the movement were amongst the most notorious followers of the flaneur philosophy, but there are flaneurs that exist today in ever city, in every country, even if they don’t quite know it.

A Concise guide to being a flaneur:

Firstly and most importantly ditch the Map. Some of you may find this tremendously difficult. Your map is your lifeline, without it you would get lost blah blah blah…A flaneur casts these woes aside. Repeat to yourself…BEING LOST IS NOT A BAD THING, Like 50 times (or more depending on how into maps you are.)

When you are lost you come across paths untold, you follow un-forecasted routes, you exist as a unique being and are endowed with the power to find your own unique urban fate.

Secondly forget your agenda. Forget Time Out’s list of top ten things to see. Forget where you have to be at 11.30. Forget the gallery that closes at 4 and forget your dinner reservation at 9. Don’t let time confine you. This is about the individuality of your existence. This is about you and wherever your feet will take you.

And that’s it pretty much. It’s fairly simple. Just remember that the path of a flanuer is wonderful and rare so appreciate it and enjoy !

Unlike us, the surrealists did not have the benefit of ipods to listen to whist flanuering. I have found mine to be a great enhancement to my experience as a flanuer…

My day as a flanuer in music :

Morning: Wake up to Arcade Fire’s latest album Suburbs

With lyrics that focus on the way that we live our lives, the Arcade Fire weave profound statements and observations into superb melodies.  Listen out for : the title track “Suburbs,”as well as” Modern Man” & “Month of May,” all guaranteed to put a spring in your morning step.

For elevenses: I turned back the musical clock a bit and listened to Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow. Appropriate because am I in my flaneurship, these guys were evidently inspired by surrealism.

Listen out for: Bizzare lyrics and general psychedelia. Very atmospheric but always California cool.

For lunch : A bit of People Under The Stair’s Or Stay Tuned

An album packed full with fresh party jams and reflective rhymes. Listen out for : “La Song (Sensitive Mix)”…its bigger than Hip Hop

Followed by a little bit of Mount Kimbie’s Crooks and Lovers

A fine example of what is going on musically “post-dubstep.” Dub/dance/ trip-hop/folktronic, Mount Kimbe are all of these, and none of these at once. This vibrant album is testament to limit- pushing electronic creativity. The U.K duo mish-mash musical genre and somehow manage to make it work like an audible dream.

And for Sundowners:  Extrawelt – Schone Neue Extrawelt

Alluring in its lack of light, Schone Neue Extrawelt suggests darkness but never plunges us too far into its depths. Instead its conjures an eerie mysticism equatable to that which can be felt at twilight. Listen out for “Lost in Willaura,”a fine example of techno music’s capacity to enchant.

And at night time : Claude Von Stroke’s Bird Brain,

With a sound that is definitively deep and down-tempo, this album will satisfy your evening ears with heavy bass lines, freaky layers and crisp beats. As it was so accurately put when publicized it’s “chock full of dirty, slutty, dank, funny and giggling cuts,” http://www.residentadvisor.net/news.aspx?id=11001 mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

Resident Advisor

My Resident Advisor review…take a peek….

http://www.residentadvisor.net/review-view.aspx?id=7800

Mr Mojo Risin

Last night I checked out When You’re Strange – the new documentary on The Doors directed by Tom Dicillo and narrated by Johnny Depp. Now, when Johnny Depp agrees to narrate a film, you can pretty much guarantee that it’s going to be cool – not that The Door’s need Johnny Depp to validate their cool – but its an added bonus isn’t it?

For someone of my generation who can only reflect upon The Doors’ heyday as a historic entity , the greatest thing about this movie is the fact that the majority of it is made up from live performance and behind the scenes footage. A a result we are subjected to an honest portrayal of Jim Morisson’s tempestuous talent. Live performances of songs such as “Love me two times,” and “Riders on the Storm,” are literally breathtaking, so much so they invoked in me  a kind of faux nostalgia deriving from a personal longing to have been there for these momentous musical displays.

The movie takes us on a journey through Jim’s life, through the life of The Doors, through the life of their music. Depp’s insightful comments,  provide intimate revelations into Morisson’s personality and detail the trials and tribulations of the band. Scenes of Morisson arriving at recording sessions monstrously drunk, ranting and writhing on stage are not omitted. As well inversigating his role within the public eye, emphasis is placed on Morrison’s more personal existence and his consideration of his own didactic potential as a poet.

There’s something alluringly voyeuristic about watching behind the scenes footage Morrison and the other band members. It’s both humanizing and inspiring. We enter into the complex world of a genius. We look into his eyes, hear his thoughts, listen to his poetry watch him perform off his head on acid and are mesmerised. The longevity of The Door’s music speaks volumes as to the extent of their combined musical talent but never before have I seen this talent dissected, broken down or investigated so beautifully. Along with millions of others I have been captivated by the music and Morisson’s voice. But now when I listen to The Doors I feel his dangerous charisma, his sexuality, his mind and his poetry, his existence as a disturbed and disturbing human being.

In “LA woman” Morisson chants Mr. Mojo Risin, an annogram of Jim Morisson. Mr. Mojo Risin and his music lures us into a trance that is verging on otherworldly. He is both the man of my dreams and the man of my nightmares. This, in knowledge of where The Door’s name is derived from adds a further layer of mystique. Morrison named his band before it had even formed using a quote from William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell:

” If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite “

As history has come to show, his choice was an apt one. It is as though in these words, he foresaw his destiny. As he came to personify the source of “the Doors,” The Doors came to personify the words that articulate their own philosophical basis. Jim may have died at only 27 but infinity he achieved.

Let The Doors live on.

ACID WASHED

Some of the best album art work Ive seen in a long time…

With their debut album, Acid Washed; the mysterious duo from Paris, give French electro a much needed psycadelic kick up the back side rendering the genre hypercool once again. Their sound can best be described as late nineties acid house, with allusions to american techno (from detroit and chicago ,) infused with cosmic melody and bouncing beats.

The Black Strobe Remix of “General Motors, Detroit, America is one of the best tunes that I’ve heard so far this summer :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmC-EJK1fo0

Party Pictures part 1

Partying in Picturesque settings is an awesome activity that I am always happy to partake in!

Hot Natured at the W Hotel Barcelona

Where: Hosted at the immensely impressive and architecturally iconic W hotel, whose pool overlooks the Barcelona coastline.

Who: Bikini clad attendees sipped on mojitos and were lulled into dancing on deck in the afternoon sunshine to the sounds of Hot Natured DJs; Jamie Jones, Lee Foss & Dyed Soundorom.

What: Flickering between deep moody house with techno edge and  disco inspired  tracks with funk infused vocals.

Why : The music, the picturesque party setting and the glorious weather formulated an ambiance that was second to none. Aside from the ridiculous bathroom queues this party was total perfection.

For a taster of the musical joys that we were treated to that afternoon, check out Jamie Jones’ Essential Mix. One and a half hours of blissful deep house…(his plastic people set is pretty epic too)

http://soundcloud.com/search?q%5Bfulltext%5D=jamie+jones+

If you like what you hear, here is a link to Hot Natured’s myspace http://www.myspace.com/hotnatured I like their self summary : A sunny and modern take on some classic and future classic music, with the party always in mind.

Hear My Train A Comin’

This is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It’s a 12 string acoustic studio version of jimi Hendrix playing Hear My Train A Comin’ .  He looks and sounds ridiculously amazing.

G-UNIT

NO silly not 50 cent’s gangster Hip Hop group…

My G-unit is a term that Ive coined for the purpose of this article that I feel adequately describes a) the group that is collectively the Gorillaz and the numerous cult collaborators that joined them on stage at the Roundhouse in Camden last week and b) how fucking bad ass this collective and their performance was.

If seeing Blur perform in Hyde park last summer reawakened my teenage crush on Damon Albarn, his performance last Thursday made me want to marry him. I find it hard to grasp how one man can be so cool. Surrounded by epic visuals, and the likes of   Mick Jones and Paul Simon of The Clash, Bobby Womack, De La Soul, Little Dragon & Kano to name but a few,  Albarn and his “Gorillaz,” resolved the ambitious challenge of expressing the performance of a fictional live band with inspiring style. The show was non stop excitement, continuous colour, energy, spectacle and extravaganza. As well as the various rappers and singers, there were multi-media montages designed by Gorillaz  character creator Jamie Hewlett , there were Ensembles and Orchestras( at times there were over thirty people on stage!) and there were a whole bunch of heads in sailors hats.

For someone with an attention span that seldom lasts over an hour and a half (to put things into perspective, the last hour of Avitar, was a great challenge for me,)  I can say with confidence that I could EASILY have stayed there watching, listening and dancing all night. Never have I been so up for an encore, especially when the encore involved  “Clint Eastwood.” My only criticism was the fact Snoop Dog wasn’t there (instead they had him on a pre recorded video that ran on the giant screen above the performers ,) because his featuring track, “Welcome to The World of The Plastic BEach,” which opened the show, is one of my favorites and also if only for the reason that he’s a total P.I.M.P. However his lacking presence was soon forgotten thanks to the multitude of other people that filled the stage at various points during the show. Highlights for me were; Shaun Ryder’s characteristic apathetic entry onto the stage for a cracking performance of 2005’s no.1 song “Dare,”  “Kids with Guns,” which had my favourite accompanying visuals consisting of  psychedelic guns  flashing up above the heads of the performers. From Plastic Beach “Stylo,” was awesome, as was “On Melancholy Hill” and “Plastic Beach,” itself. nothing was bad, nothing went wrong, I could go on and on.

So far I haven’t read a review that hasn’t rated this gig an impressive 5*s. Although being a sheep is not something I’m usually that into doing, I’m also not into lieing for the sake of not being a sheep so…..Damon, my love….I without doubt bestow on you and your G-Unit 5 wonderful, golden and much deserved stars for a performance that was unforgettable.