M/M Paris is a French design partnership consisting of Michael Amzalag and Mathias Augustyniak, well known for their work with musicians such as Björk (Volta), Kanye West (My Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy) and more. Now the duo has a new exhibition, C’est Wouf!, up at gallery Air de Paris in Paris.
Featuring the titular dog(?) as well as light fixtures, neon sculptures, and more, the exhibit is up through May 18. If you’re not fortunate enough to be near Paris, view some of the wild work below.
With an ear for diversity and a mind for critical thought, Stefon Alexander — better known as rapper P.O.S — has maintained operations as a multi-instrumentalist by day and rap artist by night. The early-30-something is a man whose DIY/punk upbringing aligns him more with Ian MacKaye than Kanye West, and that’s reflected in his many and assorted rock-band roles, including his current gig as keyboardist/vocalist for Marijuana Deathsquads.
But no matter the project, Alexander continues to reinvent himself with each release. His latest as P.O.S, We Don’t Even Live Here, is a testament to his 360-degree perspective of both music and the world we live in. Here he discusses what has changed in his life as well as the new album’s danceable vibe and anti-capitalist theme.
V/A: The Man with the Iron Fists soundtrack (Soul Temple, 10/23/12)
Assembled by rapper/director RZA, the soundtrack for The Man with the Iron Fists aurally delivers on the eyeball-punching promises of his over-the top grindhouse martial-arts movie.
From blues-driven opener “The Baddest Man Alive,” which sees RZA reunite with collaborators The Black Keys, this collection of largely new tracks works as a cohesive album while being eclectic enough to function as accompaniment for a film.
Since 2007, the Portland Cello Project has taken the cello where few have gone before, offering chamber and string-based renditions of movie themes, pop songs, classical pieces, and more — even metal tunes such as Pantera’s “Mouth for War.” The group’s live and recorded output now boasts more than 900 pieces, varying between straightforward arrangements with a handful of cellos to setups of grandiose proportions, with a dozen of its namesake instrument being supported by full choirs, winds, and percussion.
[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Sole__the_Skyrider_Band_Hello_Cruel_World.mp3|titles=Sole & The Skyrider Band: “Hello, Cruel World”]
Citing differences in vision for his label and a desire to release music independently, Tim Holland split in 2010 with the Anticon collective that he helped to found. Now, with his faithful Skyrider Band at his side, Holland has released his first official release as Sole since the departure, and it’s another bold chapter in a bold career.
Skyrider, which has been the force behind Sole’s sonic development over the past few years, now sets a surprisingly mainstream and orchestral backdrop for Holland’s rhymes, which have slowed and become more decipherable — but no less potent in criticism. As he explains below, Holland wanted Hello, Cruel World to sound more like a “big rap album,” and it accomplishes the feat with club beats, vocoder-inspired choruses, and a posse of collaborators (Sage Francis, Xiu Xiu, Lil B, and many more). But the musical backdrop also is more cerebral and beautiful, thanks in part to the talents of band member and film-score composer William Ryan Fritch (a.k.a. Vieo Abiungo).
Holland also is keeping busy with DIY videos and his Nuclear Winter mixtape series, which employs the Situationist détournement technique of “turning expressions of the capitalist system against itself.” In this case, it’s taking hits by Lil Wayne, Rihanna, and the like and dropping politically current themes on them. Here Holland explains this mixtape concept while discussing the state of the world and the Sun Tzu-inspired direction of his new album.
Now three albums into recording with Skyrider, how do you feel that your sound has evolved since joining forces?
It’s pretty crazy, really. When we started out, all I wanted was to be a hip-hop version of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, and somehow along the way, we listened to way too much Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne in the car. The rest is history, I guess! For a while, The Skyrider Band was living in LA and working a lot with Telephone Jim Jesus, and Skyrider really came into its own on the production tip.
A member of Skyrider (William Ryan Fritch) has experience scoring films. How much did he influence the orchestral accents of Hello, Cruel World?
Ryan has always been way too talented for his own good. On our past work, we weren’t experienced enough with how to make the band aesthetic work for a hip-hop album, and I feel like through all of Ryan’s work with real composers, doing film scores, working with Asthmatic Kitty, and branching out on his own, he has a really solid grasp of what to add to Skyrider’s beats to take them over the top. The big surprise on this album is his vocal contribution; he’s able to layer my off-key singing with his beautiful crooning and really make stuff sound great.
Hello, Cruel World has a much more radio-friendly sound and even features Melodyne software (similar to vocoder software) in many choruses. Was there any deliberate decision to target a broader audience to get your messages across?
Yes, there was. In Sun Tzu’s Art of War, he says you can’t keep attacking using the same method; in order to succeed, you have to surprise your opponents. I had listened to gangster rap so much that its influence and aesthetic had taken over what I did, and coincidentally, that is what the hip-hop people are listening to right now. It wasn’t so much an opportunistic move as it was a natural evolution. So we thought it would be an interesting gamble to try to make an album that would be an SSRB take on Jay-Z or TI — a big rap album. What I like about those albums is that they all collaborate with their homies and put each other on. After years of mainly writing music alone, it was really fun to try to collaborate with some of my favorite artists. Usually, when people use these styles, they try to be ironic, but we take rap music very seriously.
Minneapolis rapper P.O.S takes political and social issues head-on from an “everyman” point of view. His critical eye and grounded personality come naturally — a product of his modest, Midwestern upbringing.
Everyone’s favorite original rap super-group Wu-Tang Clanrolled through Chicago over the weekend to perform a set in the Congress Theater. Though its individual members have each gone on to do a number of other things, including RZA‘s foray into Hollywood and recent work on Kanye West‘s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, it’s nice to see them unite forces once in a while. ALARM contributing photographer Elizabeth Gilmore waded through the head-nodding masses to snap these stellar photos.
Among the thousands of under-appreciated or under-publicized albums that were released in 2010, hundreds became our favorites and were presented in ALARM and on AlarmPress.com. Of those, we pared down to 100 outstanding releases, leaving no genre unexplored in our list of this year’s overlooked gems.
Since leaving longtime label Anticon, indie rapperSolehas released The Pyre — a collaboration with artist Ravi Zupa — as well as a free mixtape of his signature rhymes over radio-hit beats from the likes of Rick Ross and Kanye West, titled Nuclear Winter: Vol. 1. In addition, Sole and the Skyrider Band has been working with the labelFake Four. Inc and just finished a US tour with IDM artist Egadz.
Sole (a.k.a. Tim Holland) took a few minutes out of his busy tour schedule to pen a piece on the greatest myths in Western civilization. On the list, just in time for the holidays, is a new perspective on the story and significance of Santa Claus.
Five Western Myths by Tim Holland, a.k.a. Sole
1. Santa Claus
The modern Santa gets his roots from Sinter Klaas, the Dutch father of Christmas. Sinter Klass, with the help of his ‘”Zwarte Pieten,” a.k.a. enslaved “black devils,” brought gifts to children. He moved his residence to the North Pole, where he seemingly swapped out the Moors for Inuits. Today this myth lies at the center of our entire economy and arguably our way of life.
My biggest problem with Santa is that it teaches children that something comes out of nothing, and it gives them an early and tangible affirmation of the supernatural. Even during periods of relative prosperity, it’s not uncommon for an American parent to take a second job around the holidays simply to perpetuate this myth. Maybe history laughs last, as yesterday’s “Moors” are replaced the world over by today’s work force.