Sound Waves from Contemporary Music Become Traditional Chinese Landscapes in Du Kun's Scroll Paintings
“Playing music is my only hobby,” says artist Du Kun, who pairs his longtime passion for the auditory art form with the traditional Chinese landscapes his father taught him to paint as a child. This compilation takes shape in his sprawling, layered scenes that follow lush groves and steep rock formations across silk scrolls stretching nearly nine meters. Each one of the natural features is the artist’s translation of a sound wave, which turns an eccentric array of tracks into wide, serene landscapes.
In a short video detailing his multi-faceted process, Du (previously) strums an acoustic guitar and taps percussive beats that he then digitally manipulates to form arched bridges or a whimsically rendered cloud that blows the length of the scroll. He combines multiple instruments and tracks for greater perspective and depth than a single recording would provide, rendering rich works that transform sung melodies into birds and clouds or the repetitive rhythms of electronic music into segmented architecture.
There’s an implied conversation between the visual and audio elements, Du says, describing how he uses “the mood of the painting as an initial guiding foundation to break away from the conventional routines of music arrangement.” Painting styles typically associated with the Song Dynasty and contemporary audio converge in the works in a seamless mix of time and sensory experiences, which he explains:
By using painting to influence music, the elements of music are transformed into these landscape paintings, becoming a new kind of music score. This series of works bring traditional Chinese paintings and modern music together, where ‘static’ and ‘noise’ are simultaneously present in the works—causing mutual influence, interdependency, and translation with one another. Just like two people who speak different languages but find a special way to communicate with each other.
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Flip through a treasured record collection and you’re likely to find tattered covers and faded, bent corners on the most played albums. Artist Erik Burke displays these signs of a well-loved LPs in a new mural that amplifies music’s outsized impact to a monumental scale. Tucked into a corner at Reno’s Record Street Brewing, the towering artwork gathers a vintage collection—The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die is slotted next to The Velvet Underground & Nico and Johnny Cash’s Live At Folsom Prison is side-by-side with Give ‘Em Enough Rope by The Clash—that’s an eclectic mishmash spanning genres and decades. “A large part of it was sourcing the original vinyl and choosing the most worn-and-torn covers to show how these records are a big part of our life and tell unique stories,” the artist tells Colossal.
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Turn that Root Down into a meltdown with the first-ever candle replica of the boombox so iconic it’s simply referred to as “The King.” Cent LDN just released a retro design modeled after the legendary JVC RC M90 boombox—you might recognize this iconic device from LL Cool J’s Radio album cover and multiple photoshoots for the Beastie Boys. The hand-poured candle weighs more than four pounds, which is just a fraction of the actual electronic’s 22, burns for 100 hours, and is molded in cream-colored soy wax that’s both biodegradable and vegan.
Pick up one of the hip hop classics in the Cent LDN shop, where you’ll also find a Spalding basketball, and follow the London-based company on Instagram to watch for new releases. (via Plain Magazine)
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Say goodbye to the days of being jarred awake by the alarm blaring from your iPhone. The creative team over at OneClock designed a streamlined device with the intention of rousing people in a more peaceful manner, one with soothing melodies that are in stark contrast to the startling sounds many of us hear every morning.
Minimal in aesthetic, the analog alarm is outfitted with more than 20 instrumental and vocal compositions created by musician Jon Natchez, a Grammy-award-winning artist who’s known for his work with The War on Drugs. Each of the sequences focuses on the tones, tempos, and frequencies most likely to wake even the groggiest sleeper. When it’s time to get up, the melodies gradually swell in volume. An AI music generator remixes a new composition each morning to stave off alarm fatigue, meaning that it never plays the same tune twice. OneClock also won’t allow snoozing, but it does emit music for about 20 minutes, giving drowsy folks a little extra time.
Although you’d probably be hard-pressed to find someone who agrees with OneClock that “sleep is great, but waking up is better,” the project is already is fully backed on Kickstarter with just more than two weeks to go. The retro, low-tech design, which features a built-in nightlight, currently is available in four colors and has a white oak front. Follow updates on its official launch on Instagram and its site. (via swissmiss)
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A Jazz Band Improvises an Entire Track in One Take for an Animated Music Video Honoring the Brushstroke
The process behind most music videos begins with an audio track that an artist reacts to and pairs with a corresponding visual, an undertaking Vincent de Boer knows well. The Netherlands-based artist has been working with the jazz quartet Ill Considered since 2017, listening to the band’s largely improvised melodies and creating abstract animations, alongside stills for its 11 album covers, to match.
But for their most recent collaboration, “The Stroke,” the group flipped the traditional workflow. With the help of his creative partner Hans Schuttenbeld, de Boer hand-drew 4,056 frames that range from dark, geometric shapes to gangly creatures to scenes that morph from one trippy composition to the next. Honoring the simple, unpretentious lines of each sweeping mark, the artist bills the completed animation as “the story of a brushstroke: a trace of a movement performed by the artist with his instrument, the paintbrush,” he said in a statement.
Once complete, de Boer shared the project with Ill Considered, who recorded an entirely improvised track on its first viewing. The resulting music video matches the jazzy riffs with de Boer’s shapeshifting sequences in a cohesive conversation between the two artforms.
You can purchase an LP of “The Stroke,” which is packaged with 12 of de Boer’s original artworks on the cover and inside, on Bandcamp, and see the full process behind the animation, including the painstaking drawing process and actual recording session, in the video below. Keep up with de Boer’s latest projects on Instagram and Vimeo.
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Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters was one of the few good things to come out of 2020, with the Grammy-nominated track “Shameika” even resulting in a heartwarming reunion between the singer and the schoolmate who inspired it. The now-iconic piano ballad is paired with an equally alluring music video created by graphic designer Matthias Brown, whose figurative gifs we’ve featured previously on Colossal, and follows a black-and-white rendering of Apple’s lips that shapeshift as she mouths the lyrics.
The video took a few years to complete, a lengthy process Brown documented in a timelapse and that began with rotoscoping, or tracing, videos of Apple’s face while she sang. The New York City-based designer then animated each drawing frame-by-frame and set it to the track. “I tried working directly analog, but my timing wasn’t working well with the music. I had a digital version of the animation completed, then printed every frame out and traced it using brush and ink,” he says. “All in all, there are about 4,000 frames. Scanning alone took about 20 hours.”
Brown says plans are in the works to sell stills from the video to raise money for Seeding Sovereignty and Harlem Children’s Zone. You can follow the designer’s most recent projects, which include a plafyul series of alphabet animations, on his Tumblr, Traceloops.
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