Music

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Animation Music

Abstract Shapes Respond to a Relaxing Melody in a New Animated Music Video for Janek Murd

November 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

Colorful shapeshifting animations dance across the screen in an experimental music video for a newly released single by Estonian musician and composer Janek Murd. Created by the design studio Tolm, a collection of floating orbs, speckled discs, and a mishmash of flexible rings follow the melody of “AVA,” a mellow tune dominated by a trumpet and xylophone. The lively, abstract shapes are transposed to primarily correspond to the brass track, with spheres bursting into the air with a crescendo and bubbles growing in dense clusters as a run builds in intensity. “‘Ava’ explores the constant cycle of life—be it a breath of air, passing of a day, (a) full turn of the year, or journey from one’s birth to death,” Murd says about the piece.

Watch the full music video above, and go behind the scenes with Tolm on Behance.

 

 

 

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Animation Music

Ten Degrees of Strange: Moving Clay Scenes Animate a Music Video About Escaping Anxiety

November 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

In the music video for Robert Macfarlane and Johnny Flynn’s new song “Ten Degrees of Strange,” director Lynn Tomlinson (previously) captures the endless transformations of human emotion through moving clay. The Baltimore-based animator uses her singular technique, which involves painting the pliable material onto a glass backdrop and photographing each frame, to create a stunning visual companion to the indie track about “trying to outrun anxiety, seeking joy and strength in landscape and movement.”

Seamlessly shifting from wide aerial shots to underwater close-ups, the animation opens with an inscribed ancient tablet before following the antagonistic relationship between a central character and a dog. “As a medium, clay holds a lot of power—its malleability allows me to transition fluidly from scene to scene, much as the natural world shifts and evolves over time,” Tomlinson explains in a statement. “In many ways, my clay on glass animation is naturally suited for telling stories about the passage of time, evolving perspectives, and cycles in nature.”

In addition to collaborative projects like “Ten Degrees of Strange,” Tomlinson creates a variety of personal projects focused on the human impact on the environment. You can watch those animations on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 



Design Music

Repurposed Barcode Scanners Roll Across a Miniature Skate Park to Produce Glitchy Electronic Beats

September 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

Using random objects to build homemade hand drums or maraca-style instruments isn’t new, but the team behind the ongoing Electronicos Fantasticos project takes the idea of repurposing unwanted materials to an imaginative level. Led by Ei Wada (previously), the Japanese musicians have spent the last few years recycling retail scanners and their barcode counterparts into synthesizer-like instruments, capitalizing on the product’s original function to produce rhythmic tracks and samples. Their recent design adds a playful twist to the concept by attaching the plastic devices to miniature skateboards that roll across ramps and down flat surfaces printed with black-and-white stripes. In addition to the musical component that’s similar to scratching an LP, it’s worth watching the group’s performances as they slide and riff on different barcodes, which you can find on Instagram and YouTube.

 

 

 

 



Animation Music

A Mesmerizing Animation Spins Through Banknotes From 23 Countries in a Hypnotic Look at What Cultures Value

September 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

An endless loop of lines, ornate motifs, emblems, and historical figures converge in a hypnotic animation by Los Angeles-based director Lachlan Turczan. Paired with Blake Mills’s subdued track “Money Is The One True God,” the music video is comprised of high-resolution scans spliced together in a mesmerizing rotation. The compilation reveals colorful snippets of currency from 23 countries dating from the 1800s to the present day—these include a portrait of rebellion leader Samuel Sharpe on the Jamaican 50 dollar bill, an engraving of Tenochtitlan on a 100 peso, and a kaleidoscopic sunset on China’s 5 yuan—that show how notions of value have evolved over time.

Turczan writes that he used replacement animation techniques to highlight the guilloché patterns embedded within the bills. While much of the animation focuses on the abstract, it’s also indicative of cultural trends and shifts. “The age of exploration leads to industrialization, wonders of the world are replaced by office buildings, and icons of freedom stand in stark contrast to images of slavery,” he says. “The project culminates with the collective eyes of all world leaders staring back at the audience.”

Having worked with talents like Phoebe Bridgers, Sam von Horn, and Flock of Dimes, Mills’s “Money Is The One True God” is just one of Turczan’s music videos, which you can watch on Vimeo and Instagram. You also might enjoy this stop-motion short at the intersection of culture and economics. (via Booooooom)

 

 

 



Art Documentary Music

Through Totemic Sculptures and Sound Art, Guadalupe Maravilla Explores the Therapeutic Power of Indigenous Ritual

August 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

In 1984, eight-year-old Guadalupe Maravilla left his family and joined a group of other children fleeing their homes in El Salvador. The Central American country was in the midst of a brutal civil war, a profoundly traumatic experience that’s left an indelible impact on the artist and one that guides his broad, multi-disciplinary practice to this day.

Now based in Brooklyn, Maravilla works across painting, sculpture, and sound-based performances all veiled with autobiography, whether informed by the Mayan architecture and stone totems that surrounded him as a child or his cancer diagnosis as a young adult. His pieces are predominately therapeutic and rooted in Indigenous ritual and mythology, recurring themes the team at Art21 explores in a new documentary.

 

“Guadalupe Maravilla & the Sound of Healing” follows the artist as he prepares for his solo exhibition on view through September 6 at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City. Titled Planeta Abuelx, or Grandparent Planet—Maravilla expands on the often-used idea of Mother Nature to broaden its scope—the outdoor show is comprised of the artist’s trademark Disease Throwers, towering headdresses and shrines made of recycled aluminum. Allusions to Central American culture bolster the monumental works, with imprints of corn cobs, wooden toys, and other found objects planted throughout.

Covering the surrounding grass are chalky white markings, a signature component of the artist’s practice that delineate every space where he installs a piece. The abstract patterns evoke Tripa Chuca, one of Maravilla’s favorite childhood games that involves players drawing lines between corresponding numbers to create new intertwined motifs.

 

In Planeta Abuelx, Maravilla pairs his visual works with meditative performances that are based on the sound baths he used for pain management while undergoing chemotherapy. These healing therapies are designed to reduce anxiety and tension that often trigger stress-induced diseases. Using gongs and glass vessels, the palliative remedy has been the foundation of workshops the artist hosts for undocumented immigrants and others dealing with cancer that more deeply connect his totemic artworks to the viewers.

“Having a community that has gone through similar experiences can be really empowering,” he says. “Making these elaborate Disease Throwers is not just about telling a story from my past, but it’s also about how this healing ritual can continue in the future, long after I’m gone.”

If you’re in New York, Maravilla is hosting a sound bath to mark the close of Planeta Abuelx on September 4, and you can see more of his multivalent projects on Instagram. For a larger archive of documentaries exploring the lives and work of today’s most impactful artists, like this visit to Wangechi Mutu’s Nairobi studio, check out Art21’s site.

 

 

 



Art Music

Sound Waves from Contemporary Music Become Traditional Chinese Landscapes in Du Kun’s Scroll Paintings

July 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (painting), 51 × 836 centimeters (scroll), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

“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.

 

“电音云龙图 (Cloud Dragon in Electronic Noise)” (2020), scroll, ink, and color on silk, 70 × 860 centimeters (painting), 75 × 1172 centimeters (scroll), 82 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

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.

The works shown here are part of Du’s solo exhibition titled Scores of Landscapes, which is on view in-person and virtually at Mizuma Gallery in Singapore through July 18.

 

Detail of “登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (painting), 51 × 836 centimeters (scroll), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

“临江听筝 (Listening to the Guzheng While Overlooking a River)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 27 × 150 centimeters (painting), 33 × 180 centimeters (silk), 39 × 186 × 5 centimeters (framed)

Details of “三远即兴 (Sanyuan Improvisation)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 19 × 136 centimeters (painting), 25 × 180 centimeters (silk), 30 × 186 × 3 centimeters (framed)

“三远即兴 (Sanyuan Improvisation)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 19 × 136 centimeters (painting), 25 × 180 centimeters (silk), 30 × 186 × 3 centimeters (framed)

Detail of “登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (painting), 51 × 836 centimeters (scroll), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)

Detail of “临江听筝 (Listening to the Guzheng While Overlooking a River)” (2021), ink and color on silk, 27 × 150 centimeters (painting), 33 × 180 centimeters (silk), 39 × 186 × 5 centimeters (framed)

“登楼 / Going Upstairs” (2021), scroll, ink and color on silk, 50 × 600 centimeters (painting), 51 × 836 centimeters (scroll), 62 × 11 × 12 centimeters (camphor wood box)