New York Is Killing Me (Chris Cunningham Remix)

Haunting last video of Gil Scott-Heron

A Remix Manifesto

Clay and the Collective Body

Clay and the Collective Body

Just read a really interesting interview with sculptor Antony Gormley (in New Scientist magazine, of all places) that had a surprisingly political slant.

His recent installation Clay and the Collective Body explores “conversations between people – through objects or through the process of creating” by locking 100 random people in a stark white environment, with only a monolithic block of clay for entertainment. This “gave rise to an extraordinary and explosive outpouring of, you could say, collective unconciousness.”

This alien place seemed to trigger something in the participants, something primal that if I was more of a “yogurt-weaver”, I may be tempted to call a universal human connection – certainly the only familiar sight were other people, and the only way of killing time was to create.

“What’s absolutely beautiful is the way that people have occupied that space and become the absolute opposite of what capitalism wants us to be – passive consumers of spectacle, of information, of entertainment, of objects of desire – they become participatory and productive and cross-fertilising.” I thought it was particularly apt that Gormley chose to use the word occupy in that context.

Although Gormley goes on to state that he never intends to make overt political statements with his work, he lets slip that “…there’s no question that many of my works, in different ways, are asking about the connection between humans and our environment. And I think that all my installations in cities of the naked human animal in effigy form – surrogate fossils, industrialised fossils – are asking, where does humankind fit? Now that we seem to be well into the sixth great extinction, how long are we going to contribute to the evolution of life? Those are very big issues”  – and undoubtedly political ones.

Another subject that Gormley brings up in the interview, that is also a favourite of my own, is that of Easter Island.

Easter Island

This ‘ghost island’ captured my imagination from a very young age, as it seems to encapsulate the power that art and iconography can hold over people, our self-destructive tendencies, the damage that can be caused by a flawed belief system and the folly of excess that human civilization seems prone to follow.

“What was in the mind of the man or woman on Rapa Nui who cut down the last tree? It seems the answer to that question is “Well, I cut down this tree because that was what my father did and that was what my father’s father did.” I think we’re in the same position, but we are running on the myth of progress. My work is there to ask pretty serious questions about how we can shift our perception of what constitutes viable human actions or viable human behaviour.”

I always thought there was an eerie connection between Gormley’s sculpture and the statues on Easter Island, and I’m pleased to learn my instincts were close to the mark. Both signify mankind’s strange detachment from the world that bore him, and the lonely marks left on the land after he has gone.

Antony Gormley's Another Place

Gormley also goes on to criticise elitism and the determinism of scientific progress – it is a thoroughly thought provoking and enlightened article, that has once again piqued my enthusiasm for art’s potential to induce change, by making us take a long, hard, look in the collective mirror.

Read the whole interview in New Scientist

Urban Exploration in the Ragged Kingdom

ISAM live in Graz

That bruise-coloured ceiling of floating misery

“Apologies for swearing in an opening sentence, but have you seen the shitbastard sky we’ve been having lately? In case you don’t recognise it at first glance, it’s that bruise-coloured ceiling of floating misery that has been remorselessly flinging cold water over everyone and everything in the nation for weeks now. There’s moss growing on the inside of clouds up there. The British summer has long been a work of bleak fiction but this year it morphed into full-blown dystopian satire…”

Charlie Brooker is back to full form with a miserablist masterpiece on the shitty british summer. Cheered me up anyway!

Have a goose

Ragged Kingdom Closing Party

Artist and anarchist Jamie Reid, perhaps best known for his work with the Sex Pistols, is currently exhibiting a retrospective of his work at Temple Works in Leeds. The exhibition is on until the July 14th closing with an evening of experimental music and art curated by the Urban Exploration collective.

Interview with Jamie Reid
Urban Exploration Page

Jamie Reid Corporate Slavery

Urban Exploration will present a 4 hour epic set involving collaborative improv with Oliver Knight (spoken word), Jenny Komowsky (classical singing), Rowan Reid (singer/songwriter), Umcorps (modular synthesist), and a Navajo indian spirit dancer….all with a backdrop of tipis, interactive visuals and the largest reverb room ever!

More info on this event from Temple Works

Who's George? Ragged Kingdom Closing Party

Who’s George? Find out on the final night of Jamie Reid’s Ragged Kingdom at Temple.Works.Leeds, July 14, 7:00 pm – 1:00 am.

A fundraiser for St George’s Crypt homeless shelter in memory of our much loved porter Brian Bird (1959 – 2012), the night will see Jamie himself back at Temple.Works.Leeds.  An evening of extraordinary experiences will include experimental electronic ambient collective Urban Exploration collaborating with an opera singer, a poet, a singer songwriter (Jamie’s daughter Rowan), a hip-hop mc and a modular synthesist, and an acoustic set by Brian’s friends the Urban Stage Band – moving  from the Joiners bar into the Open Loading bay for a night of sound, light and …dancing by our surprise guest, Dennis Lee Rogers, the Spirit Dancer of the Navajo Nation in proximity to Jamie’s immense tipis which form part of his ongoing work around the Eightfold year. Celebrated dancer, artist and educator, Dennis met Jamie Reid in 1998 while on tour in U.K and returned to open Ragged London in October 2011 Jamie’s piece Corporate Slavery currently hung in the Joiner’s Bar Main Gallery Space features Dennis himself.

Facebook Event Page

Marsen Jules & Anders Weberg

Life in the Overgrowth

Music by Urban Exploration

Arrangement and Video by Conflux

Björk’s Moon

More reasons to love the Icelandic 😉

Laurel Halo – Embassy

Manchester Apocalypse

James Chadderton

An exhibition of works by artist James Chadderton has gone on display at the Incognito Gallery in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The images depict a post-apocalyptic vision of the city. Photographs have been shopped to great effect, transforming modern-day Manchester city centre, into an urban wasteland.

Chadderton said he was inspired by “the visuals and themes of post apocalyptic films, books and games. The quality of films like 28 Days Later, The Road, Children of Men and games such as Metro 2033, S.T.A.L.K.E.R and the Fallout series has given me a huge amount of inspiration for creating work”.

Hope I get to see it before it closes on the 4th Jan 2012!

Here are some previews from the beeb. 

Abandoned Pork Pipes


See full gallery

Our good friend and Urban Exploration collaborator, MJS, has been on another hair-raising expedition into Britain’s forgotten spaces. This one is a veritable “meat feast” of photographic wonders and daredevil discoveries for your delectation. Vegans need not apply…

“HISTORY: Pyestock was conceptualised in pre Elizabethan times after the great world wide pork pie famine. The idea was to create and stock pile pork pies in the event of other such catastrophes happening again. Over the years the institution decided to stick with the old English spelling of ‘pye’ as opposed to the modern equivalent ‘pie’, hence the name ‘Pyestock’.

PROCESS:After the swine is delivered to site, it is blown through a series of pipes at speeds not dissimilar to the speed of light in order to tenderise the meat.”

Buxton’s BUG

Adam Buxton
“I tell people that BUG is like going round to a friend’s house and having him open up his laptop and show you interesting and amusing things he’s found or made, except not as tedious and shit as that sounds.” Adam Buxton

We went to see Adam Buxton present BUG last night at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, with no real preconceptions whatsoever.

Well, maybe one. That it would be something akin to watching Rude Tube live, but with more interesting beats and without that curly-haired twat.  Thankfully it was nothing of the sort.

Sitting in an art-house cinema to watch cutting-edge music videos was a novel enough experience in itself, but the focus of the evening was definitely the host, Adam Buxton, who was in fine comedic form, making the whole experience much more like live stand-up comedy than anything else I can think of.

He would be the first to admit he has been off the public radar for a few years – in “TV Jail” as he puts it! But he has still been very active in the digital realm, carving out his own surreal style via his Youtube channel. While incarcerated in obscurity, Buxton has embraced the viral and assimilated this culture into his comedy vignettes, which seem just as playful (but a lot less infantine) than his seminal work with former partner-in-crime, Joe Cornish. As a childhood fan of The Adam and Joe Show it’s really nice to see his comedy mature and develop as I do.

The whole evening had a really relaxed and intimate atmosphere – like you really were round his house, peering over his shoulder while he showed you his favourite online clips. My only criticism of the event was that it didn’t last quite long enough. I could easily have stayed into the small hours watching music videos with him. It felt like I was hanging out with an old mate of mine that I hadn’t seen for a few years, and it seemed like the rest of the audience felt the same.

The music videos he showed us were also of high quality. Alongside more obvious (but still great) choices like Roots Manuva’s Witness The Fitness and contributions by the legendary Cyriak, there were also some great videos that had passed me by, and I enjoyed this aspect as much as the comedy. If you get chance to go see one of these shows, do so!

Some of Adam Buxton’s new material:

Adam Buxton’s website

BUG website


Urban Expo 1

Urban Exposition 1

Improvised music by Urban Exploration with Live visuals.


Autechre – Gantz Graf

This is one of my favourite videos of all time and the best syncing of visuals to music I have ever seen. This track is taken from the 3 track EP of the same name and was directed by Alex Rutterford. It appears on the Warp Vision DVD release containing music videos from 1989-2004, by various artists on the label.

Autechre are an electronica duo, who have released on Warp Records and Skam and are consistently pushing the boat out when it comes to experimental, cutting edge music and sound design. Anyone who likes electronic music and has not yet delved into their back catalogue should immediately do so. They are at the top of their game and have been instrumental in the cultivation of experimental music across the world.

Make sure you play the HD version and in full screen mode for the best experience.

Raoul Sinier – Guilty Cloaks

Captivating, complex and genre-defying; Guilty Cloaks feels like the most genuine piece electronic music I’ve heard in a long time. This masterpiece is the fifth full length album by the multi-talented artist, illustrator, animator and musician Raoul Sinier, and it really is something to write home about.

Intense human emotion runs through the entire album – this has a great deal to do with Sinier’s subtle vocals (think Thom Yorke or Martin Grech) which form the focal point of many of the tracks, but it is much more than the vocals alone. The precise and imaginative composition of every track creates a mood which is fluctuating: unsettling at times, serene and brooding at others; even silly (take the lyric from Over The Table for example:  “If you are a monkey, jump from tree to tree. If you are a pork, jump on my fork.”)

Guilty Cloaks takes many unexpected twists and turns, creating an album full of excitement. She Is Lord pummels away with an Amon Tobin-esque grittiness; Green Lights is meandering and broody with sharp crisp beats offsetting Boards of Canada undertones; Winter Days balances a delicate piano riff with detailed glitched-out beats which takes it some way down the dark path of breakcore; Summer Days contains desolate and desperate lyrics – “Everyone is dead. Bright light, dark sunshine… Sunshine’s in my mind, and darkness lives on my skin”; Walk features Raoul’s distinctive voice over pounding rhythms and orchestral melodies, and is an epic end to a monumental album.

Winter Days:

She Is Lord:

A few weeks back I caught up with Raoul himself, and he spared me a few minutes to answer some of my questions:

You’re a painter, musician, animator, illustrator… Are you ever bored?

I’m easily bored, yes. You might think I’m into my music and my image all the time but I have huge gaps of emptiness and inactivity, especially with music, sometimes for months. But when I’m into it, I like to try a lot of different things, as long as I get some fun or good results.

Did you work in a different way or set out to achieve something different with this album?

No I always work in the same way, I don’t think too much about what I do and I let myself go with the flow. New directions always come out on their own. The only thing a bit different on this record (and this year’s EPs) is the singing. Over the years I have been more and more interested in adding vocals, but I had to work on that for a while (and still do).

“Guilty Cloaks” sounds very genuine and personal. It makes me think you set yourself no boundaries when it came to writing this album – did you have any rules?

I don’t have any rules. Again, I don’t really put thoughts into my music, I hate concept in art, I’m just looking for emotions. I think the key about this is that as an artist but also as a listener, I don’t pay attention to genres, it’s not relevant to me. For me, music goes from happy to sad, from slow to fast, from complex to minimal, and so on. I can find something that I love or hate in any given musical genre, because emotions in music are always the same, and that’s probably why I don’t enjoy some electronic music only based on technique and producers’ gimmicks. For me the composition is the real point of music, I work a lot on the sound itself, but it’s only to serve the composition.

To me it seems like a narrative – is Guilty Cloaks about anything as a whole, or is it just the individual songs that carry their own meaning?

To me it is a whole thing, like any album should be in my opinion. But of course every track has its own little story, obviously each of the songs with lyrics have something to say.

I don’t really know if the album says something precise. I guess it turns around ideas of self-conditioning – when people force themselves to think they are this or that. This is what I tried to express with the artwork, not in an obvious way because I don’t really care about having a “real” message of some sort. And the title “Guilty Cloaks” is a personal illustration of the idea of someone not happy with his life and blaming it on his disguise. Not happy with the core, blaming the shell.

Let’s talk about your art. I can tell Francis Bacon must be a huge influence on you, but who or what else influences you?

Francis Bacon is of course my biggest influence, maybe not biggest but most noticeable. But I’m influenced by anything, I could speak about artists like J-P Witkin for example, I love his work, but i’m really feeding on everything I see. Even stuff I find awful can trigger some ideas or mental images.

Estimating A Leg: 2009

Your paintings are dark and unsettling and yet beautiful – they also have a very strong narrative quality again, like Guilty Cloaks in fact, as if they are illustrations to an untold story…

I’m glad to hear that, sometimes people only see the dark side of my work, and of course it’s very dark, but it cannot be reduced to just that, it has a lot of weird humour, silliness, even poetry sometimes… I don’t really care about dark aesthetic if there is nothing beneath.

What I try to do is exactly what you said: set up untold stories, or pieces from something larger. I like to show a situation without any explanation, not because I want the viewer to understand an obscure meaning by himself or something… I just want to show something nice and unusual – almost like abstract art.

Could you recommend a film for me to watch?

To keep on this conversation’s tone, I would say “Taxidermia”, just because I felt very close to this aesthetic when I saw it.

Finally, what are you up to next?

Well the only think really planned is the new video (to be released in September) this one is animated, with a post apocalyptic/run for your life theme… very harsh. I just finished the whole thing and I have plenty of time to polish it, I like to be ready early.

Concerning music I won’t do anything new for quite some time now – usually when I finish an album I don’t write new stuff for a while, a long while. Especially here with the album and the 2 EPs earlier this year (Cymbal Rush/Strange Teeth & Black Nails on Oeuvre and The Melting Man on Tigerbeat6). I let ideas build up and grow in my head, and one day, for no apparent reason I start again, and if it’s the right time, then I become very productive again. So, stay tuned…

Raoul Sinier’s Guilty Cloaks is out on Ad Noiseam now.
Raoul Sinier official website
Guilty Cloaks lyrics
Raoul Sinier’s art
Raoul Sinier on YouTube

Urban Exploration Live Debut

The whole collective have been busy preparing a monster setup of modular synths, drum machines, laptops, tape echoes, stomp boxes and miles of cable for their live debut as a performing group, at this year’s Bridgnorth Music and Arts Festival.

They will also be curating a whole day of experimental electronica and whole night of banging techno at the festival:

More information on the festival

Here is sneak preview from one of their early practices…

Headcleaner Blog


For those of you that liked the video we posted from “20 years of Braindance”, you will be glad to hear that you can keep up to date with Headcleaner’s movements on his new site:

It includes live videos, information and even some videos demonstrating the devices he has been building recently. Check it out!

Strangeloop – ‘Fields’. Out on Brainfeeder 25/07/11

The most recent EP to reach me from Flying Lotus’ essential label Brainfeeder is the epic and beautiful ‘Fields’ by LA based VJ and producer Strangeloop. With an ongoing preoccupation with astral projection, mystical states of consciousness and the trappings of human perception, you can be sure that anything coming from Strangeloop will be deep and questioning, and ‘Fields’ does not disappoint.

Essentially it is a series of detailed sprawling loops and delicate sounds, with minimal beats and gentle bass, which builds up a hypnotic and authentic soundscape. Knowing that the writing of this EP was influenced directly by an experience during an altered state of consciousness gives this EP real depth  – the first movement symbolising birth and constellation, the second death and dissolution, and the third a transcendental union of both. Unfortunately I have no clips to play from the EP, but here’s a Strangeloop track from earlier this year which will at least pass as a good introduction to his music:

And here’s another track which is possibly a better indication of the meditative feel of ‘Fields’:

He’s an interesting and awe-inspiring creative character: making electronic music since the age of 14; drawing, painting, VJing, and the cross-pollination of it all. His avant-sci-fi project “2010: (or) How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Singularity” helped to make him known in the UK electronic music scene with the support of Mary Anne Hobbes. Here’s the edited version of the film and mix he did for her show, which is well worth watching:

There are a load more videos of his live VJing performances and short films / visuals here which I would thoroughly recommend checking out.

‘Fields’ will also take the form of an interactive online AV experience once released, so keep checking back at Brainfeeder to get involved however you can!


Strangeloop TV
Strangeloop on Vimeo  
Strangeloop on Soundcloud 

MisinforMation Review

MisinforMation DVD
The first time I watched this DVD I was pretty stoned. One of my favourite pastimes is to put on a film, one with great pictures and no dialogue such as Koyaanisqatsi, or some old Buster Keaton movies, skin up a large one, and provide my own soundtrack to the visuals out of my sizable collection of electronic music. As the psychotropic compound hits the cannabinoid receptors in the back of my brain and takes hold, pictures and sounds become one, rhythm becomes serendipitous, and my senses and imagination work together to re-contextualise this information in any way they see fit.
Intracellular signal transduction pathways are activated! I drift off into my own reverie, the images become blurred, the sound becomes muffled, and I pass out on my bean-bag, fully satisfied by this waking dream. With MisinforMation it feels like the Baron Mordant has done much the same thing, except he has managed to stay conscious long enough to write some original music, bespoke for the occasion.

I decided to watch the DVD again, this time with a clear head. The box doesn’t give you much information to be misguided by, though I’ve now worked out that the DVD is a collaboration between the BFI and Mordant Music, edited and re-scored by the latter, using the former’s access to the archives of the Central Office of Information – the UK government’s marketing and communications agency, and producer of public information films.

MisinforMation Screenshot 1
Pressing play you are greeted with a stark looking menu with the cryptic option to view “Spools” or to “Spore All” – I chose the latter. You are flung head-first into a Hitchcockian nightmare-vision of invading magpies, which quickly reveals itself to be a crime prevention commercial, extolling the virtues of Neighbourhood Watch. The sound is synthetic and ominous, the mood disquieting. This sets the tone if not the main themes of MisinforMation from the outset, a work that is as interested in the mechanics and language of film, as it is with the content. Indeed, the frequent use of test cards, countdowns and grainy damaged reels, conveys a love for the textural quality of the medium, and how that can effect the mood and feel of the images, as much as the themes and narratives displayed therein.

The Baron Mordant’s score emphasises this devil in the ambiguous detail. It is his music which becomes the constant thread, tying disparate pieces together. As many of the visual sources are from the 1970s and 80s, the nods to Vangelis and Eno seem highly appropriate – but it isn’t another retro pastiche. The sounds are pulled apart and elongated to form textures and drones. While at times it is Hauntological in the manner of Ghost Box or Boards of Canada, often the synths and effects are more akin to Autechre or Merzbow, noise and ambience are intense and lift the images to another plane. All works well until the Baron attempts a song – a somewhat naive blip on an otherwise flawless electronic score.

All the short films collated here are highly watchable, and interesting historical objects in their own right – but in MisinforMation they are re-purposed, obfuscated and altered – the new interpretation provided by sound alone. They are shown in a new light and this has a big impact on their semantic purpose. This is the main concept behind the project – that with only slight deviations from the original context, the meaning can be completely transformed. Sometimes this works better than others.

MisinforMation Screenshot 4

MisinforMation Screenshot 5

MisinforMation Screenshot 2

MisinforMation Screenshot 3

MisinforMation Screenshot 6

MisinforMation Screenshot 7

A Dark Social Template is particularly effective.  The new soundtrack casts a bleak re-imagining of our past’s visions for the future, playing on our informed position of knowing exactly how certain ideas would end up failing. The concrete mazes and dungeons of 1960s new builds are underscored by itchy, nervous, analogue bleeps and tones, highlighting the inhumanity of such places – while the original film, blissfully unaware of their future failure, tries to persuade poor sods to up-sticks and move there. Animated sections in the film are rendered surreal, with human behaviour made to look alien and viral, cities emerge like infected wounds on the earth’s skin. A beat-less disco makes the revelers look like absurd maniacs and re-interprets an OAP’s conga-line as some bizarre satanic ritual. The only part of this piece that didn’t capture my imagination was watching the presenters talking without the original audio. It was as if I had turned the sound down on my own TV, and this made it feel a bit amateurish when compared with the perfect wedding of music to picture in the other scenes. This is executed better, later on, by replacing the original voice with another – a much more interesting use of such footage, and more befitting of the title.

Attenuated Shadows is another highlight. This short film about solvent abuse would have been profoundly disturbing without the new score, but the music here goes really well indeed – mournful chords and woozy soundscapes add melancholy to the shock value. The footage looks very real, and yet we’re told at the end of the documentary that the children depicted doing glue, did not inhale. This seems hard to believe – were the COI covering their arses for fear of being labeled exploitative? Was the original misinforming us, or has Mordant Music’s emotive scoring misinformed us into believing the illusion? Maybe we’ll never know. This is MISinformation after all.

Urban nightmares are then replaced by grainy pictures of Stone Henge and picture-book illustrations of early man. Ridyll was the weakest section for me. It didn’t feel as though it had been re-purposed as much as the others, and it did drag a little. However, it does benefit from being an interlude, and in contrast with the other more intense offerings, it paints a quaint picture of Britain’s ancient history. And the music is pretty good too, featuring a Moog wig-out in the style of Bo Hansson.

Elsewhere on the DVD we see the famous AIDS advert (from the 80s) in reverse, a suburban domestic version of Tron where nature fights back, a documentary on Ink Jet technology repurposed to reveal something dark in our nature, strange footage of nematode worms in a lab, and many other more abstract pieces, where music and visual mesh perfectly with no apparent agenda or message to be conveyed. The last film is pure audio-visual pleasure, as beautiful images of the sea and coastline are immaculately scored – the sound and picture relationship here is more precise than anywhere else in the work, with beautiful rhythmic editing and a sense of humour to boot.

In conclusion then, I simply can’t recommend this DVD enough – it is a work of art with very few aspects in need of criticism. It is both thought-provoking, emotive and intelligently complied. What I would say though, is that it is best viewed instinctively, on psychotropics, so your own imagination becomes part of the work, and you get lost in the minutae and subtle inter-relationships that jump-start old memories and lateral ideas. You get lost in it happily. Watched in a sober, more linear fashion, you end up trying to second-guess the creator’s motivations, and I don’t think you get quite as much out of it that way.

Best served with 3.5 grams of “Blue Cheese”.

You can buy the DVD from Boomkat

The Bridge


Burial & Fourtet

Amon Tobin – ISAM

Illustrious Brazilian producer Amon Tobin has returned with his 8th album – ISAM – a work that takes you to the next level, sweeping you into a rich and deep sci-fi future as fragments of sounds cluster and morph harmoniously together before disassembling into space and dusty glitches once again.

ISAM is an intense and all-consuming project, and is a refined and inspiring culmination of Tobin’s work so far. He’s forever been pushing the boundaries of electronic music, straining towards a future sound that now encompasses sound design, art, melody and emotion. Tobin made a name for himself with his heavy and ingenious use of sampling in his earlier works, but he pushed beyond this with the use of field recordings in the production of his 2007 album Foley Room. And now he’s gone a step further – “It’s 2011 folks, welcome to the future!” he tells us on his Soundcloud page on which he gives a track-by-track commentary of the album:

To define ISAM as any sort of musical genre would be to needlessly confine it – essentially this album is rejuvenating electronic music using sound design, and that is as far as I’ll go. The influences for ISAM range unexpectedly (or perhaps expectedly) from Tom Waits to Pink Floyd, from the Sgt. Pepper album to Frank Zappa – try to imagine these influences through the electronic spectrum of ISAM and you can see where my unwillingness to pigeon hole arises.

The sounds of ISAM all started out as field recordings that were then synthesized and built into playable instruments using the Haken Continuum Fingerboard . See the making of some of the ISAM sounds:

Using this method of production he is succeeding in re-arranging natural sounds to make something new and imaginary – he has mechanised the natural word, and has lent himself some control over it.

The highlight for me comes mid-way through this epic album with the dark and melodious Lost & Found. Tobin explains part of the concept of the album: “This is where I imagine the hatch being lifted on the torso of the Westworld robot and technology shows itself as the true driving force of all you are experiencing. Nothing is real, it’s all computers.” (ref). The track succeeds in making the listener feel a sort of apocalyptic fear that is somehow enjoyable in its intensity.

This is the second album this year to feed my imagination in such an intense way – the first was Semiomime’s From Memory (an alias of Dj Hidden), a soundtrack to an imaginary film that takes on subtle shape and form in the mind of the listener. Like From Memory, ISAM immerses the listener in a new unknown realm, making you feel awed and alive, disturbed and unnerved, grasping at something tangible and yet entirely unknown.

To mark the release of ISAM, Tobin will be collaborating with Saachii Collection artist Tessa Farmer on a radical and exciting installation project called ‘Control Over Nature’, where Tobin’s sound design will feature alongside Farmer’s natural sculptures: tiny scenes and spectacles built from dead insects, bones and other organic material. An audio-visual match made in heaven, it would seem.

Tessa Farmer: Dragon Fly

ISAM is self indulgent at times there’s no doubt, but it is also fully reliant on the listener to bring it to life. My advice: listen to this album only when you can give it your full undivided attention, your imagination will do the rest. Let’s see where it takes you.

AMON TOBIN + TESSA FARMER PRESENT: ISAM: CONTROL OVER NATURE: 26th May – 5th June (11am – 5pm everyday) Crypt Gallery, below St Pancras Church, Euston Road, London, NW1 2BA

Amon Tobin will bring his Audio-Visual show “ISAM: Live” to the following venues, with many more to be announced…
1st June – Mutek, Montreal
9th June – Astra, Berlin
10th June – AB, Brussels
17th June – Roundhouse, London

Due to the unfortunate leaking of the album, ISAM is now available digitally from Ninja Tune or youn can wait ’til the 23rd May to save some pennies and get the Deluxe Bundle – the digital version, Artwork CD, 2xLP and T-Shirt.

New Banksy

New Banksy
More here


Marwencol is the strange and wonderful story of Mark Hogancamp, a man who, after suffering brain damage resulting from being severely beaten-up by a group of drunken thugs, sets about creating his own very personal brand of therapy. This therapy involves revisiting his childhood passion for Action Man figurines. Mark creates and maintains a miniature, fictional WWII era Belgium town named Marwencol, and documents, in the form of highly accomplished photographs, the on-going narrative of its occupants, modified Barbie and Action Man dolls based on real people in his life. Eventually he and his creations are discovered by a curator, who is so impressed and taken-back by Marwencol that he proposes putting on an exhibition of Mark’s photographs of his town and its curious narrative.

A must see! Highly recommended. Link to full film bottom of post.

Speaks to the addictiveness, the catharsis, the unpredictability, and the eternity of the creative process. – Jeffrey Chen, Window to the Movies

Marwencol is a mesmerizing documentary, and like Mark Hogancamp it continually surprises you. It may also be one of the best films you’ll see all year. – Beth Accomando,

First-time director Jeff Malmberg does almost everything right in this stunningly empathetic documentary. – Jeff Meyers, Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Marwencol, full film stream.

Mark’s website,

Three of the North’s finest….

I want to introduce you to three artists whom I consider to be extremely talented. They were all living in the West Yorkshire area at time of publishing.

First in the list is Andrew Reynolds; a self proclaimed stress head and master of the stream of conciousness, these traits appear thick and fast within many of his works. I love the flow of these pieces and the way you could imagine seeing a glimpse of something like this in water, smoke or clouds. It is almost as if he captures a snap shot of natural imagery, only existing because of the layers of other things around it. Whilst at Staffordshire University, he undertook a monster of a project, drawing lines on A4 paper and taping them together to form a behemoth of a piece. Much of this was done whilst listening to Venetian Snares and at the time he told me that it aided his creativity, allowing himself to adopt a ‘breakcore mindset’. Some shows in which he has exhibited include: HALLelujah, Princes, Glasgow April 17th Reception, Plan 9, Bristol, 13th March 2009 – Sale-Royal Standard Liverpool Jan – late Feb 2009 The PaperMarket @ Jibbering Records May – July 2008, Live performance drawing @ Soul Monkey for Airspace @ LRV – Light box gallery shop, Jewellery quarter, Birmingham – current Studio 4 commercial gallery, Custard Factory – current Airtrade auction viewing, for Airspace – 11th – 13th December 2007 Airspace, Cultural quarter, Stoke-on-Trent – 22nd September – 20th October 2007 Future Shorts, The Underground, Stoke on Trent – 21st September 2007 Nog Gallery, Brick Lane, Whitechapel, London – 16th July – 13th August 2007 Brick House, Brick Lane, Whitechapel, London – 12th July – 16th July 2007 Graduate show, Staffordshire University, Stoke – 8th June – 16th June 2007

For more information or to contact him please visit this address:

Secondly we have the unbelievably skilled filmmaker and animator, Ben Daure. If you like twisted visions of the future, apocalyptic goings on, dark, intense comedy and a sprinkle of nonsense, he is the man to watch. Combining awesome digital manipulation techniques with simple yet effective ideas, Ben consistently pushes his art to extremes and still regularly manages to get a message in there too! Nothing short of awesome.

Here is one of my personal favourites:

For more videos including the absolute masterpiece music video, for Mishkin’s “Good Day To Die” please visit:

Last, but by no means least, is the best sketch and character artist that I have ever met, Dan Barritt. If this guy doesn’t work in comics or computer games at some point, then the world will have missed out! He recently exhibited a large, highly detailed piece at the Leeds Art Gallery, of a very recognisable part of Leeds, being invaded and terrorised by giant robots. I expect that in Dan’s mind, this is the image he sees every Friday night when walking past the Dry Dock at closing time. There are definite messages within these pictures, but you have to look long and hard to really know what is going on. This is what I particularly love though, as anything with this level of detail immediately catches my attention and is an ongoing inspiration to me. There is also a consistent feeling of impending doom throughout his work, but if you, like me also hate many elements of the world, I guarantee you will enjoy!

Self Portrait:

For more information and artwork please visit:

To add his page on Facebook please click the following link:


Space Invader

A Space Invader spotted in Rome

Space Invader, the French graffiti street artist featured in Exit Through the Gift Shop, uses mosaic ceramic tiles to make his pixelated creations. Then he pastes them onto exterior walls around the world with tiling grout.

If you’re interested in seeing more of his creations, there is a flikr group where people can post photos of space invaders they’ve spotted. Definitely worth a butchers using flikr’s slideshow function, there are some great shots in there.

And also a Space Invader Facebook page.

Space Invader PA_??? : Paris 4eme

My favourite photo in the Space Invader flikr group pool.

“Underneath the Pavement, the Beach!”

The most exciting and relevant art around at the moment isn’t in the white cube galleries, it’s on the streets. Fuck Saatchi and Hirst. Banksy knows what time it really is. Time for a revolution.

The catchy Situationist slogan “beneath the pavement, the beach!” (or “Sous les pavés, la plage!”) has stayed with me since I first heard it in a lecture at art school, and I thought it’d be an appropriate title for this post about “street art”. Googling for background info to blog about on the slogan, I found the photo of the Banksy, left. I had no prior knowledge of this piece before stumbling upon it just now. Quite a coincidence, and satisfying find to boot!

It echoes my feeling, that there are links between contemporary street art, its reaction against the art establishmen/general establishment/advertising industry, and the anarchistic [anti-] art-based movements of Dadaism and Situationist International I studied in my early 20s.

The background info on the slogan. Apparently it refers to the sand found beneath the cobble stones French rioters tore-up to hurl at police during the general wildcat strike riots of the 60s. It suggests, or implies that liberty emerges from the “underground”; la résistance.

The Saatchi era of art, to my eyes, it’s… simply bollocks.

Advertising magnate Charles Saatchi, patron of British art. I remember seeing billboard adverts using concepts/imagery from the Saatchi collection. Funny thing is, I didn’t make the connection at the time. Art as not only a commodity for the rich, but for the advertising industry too?

Saatchi hi-jacked the British art scene in my opinion. Right from the moment he signed the cheque to buy-up all the work in the Hirst curated (and tailored – its layout was based on Saatchi’s new St John’s Wood gallery space. Hirst always has been an excellent salesman) Freeze warehouse exhibition of Goldsmiths students, Saatchi dictated the 90s British art scene. His “sensationalist” artists (see the Sensation exhibition of pieces from Saatchi’s collection) playing the tabloid media like genius publicists.

Damien Hirst admitted he was a businessman before an artist. Platinum cast, diamond encrusted skull to order. More than reminiscent of the 80s stockbroker-cum-artist Jeff Koons and his kitsch, hollow creations of excess and emptiness. Hirst’s diamond skull also reminds me of a Banksy piece I saw in my mate’s video of the Bristol Museum exhibition (Yup, cameras are allowed in Banksy exhibitions. Link to vid is at the bottom of this post. I’m sure neither Adam nor Banksy will mind me sharing it!). A simple painting with an ornate gold frame of two stick figures having a conversation. The one stick figure says, “Do people actually take this art seriously?” to which the other replies, “never underestimate the power of an expensive gold frame.”

I realise art will always be a reflection of the political/cultural climate of the era, it doesn’t mean I have to like it. Street art comes, to me, as a welcome and refreshing reaction against all that 80s/90s unashamedly capitalist, defeatist and cynical art. With its sell-out “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality. For one thing, the likes of Banksy are giving art back to the people. They are liberators of the visual arts.

Banksy - Hirst Spot Painting

I saw Banksy’s documentary “Exit Through the Gift Shop” the other day (if you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it enough – it’s a must see. I’ll provide a link to it at the bottom of this post), and that got me delving into the world of street art a bit deeper. I knew of Banksy, obviously, and I’d seen some other street art, but I was pretty ignorant on the topic as a whole. ETtGS opened my eyes to a wealth of surprising and exciting new art. Like this by Eyesaw (who obviously acquired an ad shell key on their travels and has put it to good use! ):

“Buying is Believing” – should read “Tasting is Believing”
(Click on photo for link to more Eyesaws).

From the Eyesaw website:-

Advertising is everywhere and there is no escape from it. It’s propaganda used as a front line weapon to make you part with your money. It’s in the street, on tv, in magazines, on the internet. Damn, you can’t even enjoy a peaceful cup of tea in your own home without the phone ringing and some robot trying to sell you more crap you don’t need. You may think that you are immune to it and it does not affect you, but constant bombardment feeds into our subconsciousness. Advertising and the media have painted a distorted image of the world and the consumer. Advertising affects everything around us it has shaped the world we live in, the way we live our lives and the way we view ourselves. Advertising promotes greed, jealousy and sexism; it affects our self-asteam and makes us feel inadequate. Advertising is suicide material.

What distinguishes street art from its roots, i.e. graffiti culture, and raises it above most contemporary “traditional” fine art, is the combination of its accessible yet politically charged “low-art” heritage and a sophisticated “high art” aesthetic language. Anything goes as long as it’s witty and creative, if it’s got an overt political slant, all the better. The most important thing is the canvas, which is, as the name implies, the streets.


Exit Through the Gift Shop, Banksy documentary

Street Art Utopia on Facebook

My friend Adam Baker’s video of the Bristol Banksy Exhibition

The Shape Journal

Interesting, strange and alternative views on Science and Philosophy from writer Jim Schofield.

It’s all up there for free. It’ll warp your mind and challenge your assumptions. What’s not to like!

Shape Journal cover