‘Lying on a Deathbed’ by Jape

Jape

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Wow, I think I might have spent my whole weekend listening to Jape‘s Lying on a Deathbed. It’s the second single from a free double A-side which was released last Friday which is well worth getting your hands on. Jape is the band name of Dubliner Richie Egan, who might be best known for his excellent track Floating, which was covered by Brendan Benson on a few occasions and has a really excellent video.

Richie hasn’t released anything since 2008, and he recently mentioned how he had gotten close to finishing up a new album on numerous occasions but kept going back to write more and more songs; pushing his songwriting as hard as he could. This really shows on Lying in a Deathbed which, for me, could easily be one of the best Irish songs of the last 10 years. Richie describes the song as “one long dying breath” [1], a look back on a life filled with fond memories and gentle musings about existence. It’s a mellow track with a simple melody, but Richie’s world of bus trips to Brittas Bay, single-sex schools and gigs in the Baggot Inn is one which I too have familiar memories of. It’s this familiarity that I think makes this song so special, and Jape’s simple, and at times, understated recollection of this life is both unsentimental and sweet.

As I said, maybe it’s my familiarity with many of the things mentioned in this song that makes it so special for me, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to share it with you on the site today. Seeing as The Fox Is Black has such a broad readership, I thought I’d finish by asking what your favorite song from your country has been in the last ten years? It would be great to hear a mix of songs from all over the world, so if you want to nominate a song stick it in the comments below, and be sure to mention your country. Who knows, maybe if it catches on I’ll share some of my favorites in the coming weeks? Cheers!

Philip

Philip Kennedy

May 30, 2011 / By

Space Suit of the Week

This week, I thought I’d share a few shorts featuring space suits or on some space-related theme. The first is Arrive by Elena Jil Osmann, the second is Starcrossed by Tactful-Cactus, and the final is The Lonely Astronaut by Benjamin Prichard.  Each short has a different conception and distinct portrayal of space, but all have something to do with isolation. Isolation may not be the most optimistic territory, but it’s a persistent theme for a reason that I haven’t exactly figured out over the past year.  My best guess is that space exaggerates physical isolation so that we easily understand the emotional isolation of some character. It is also surprising, even if it’s not novel, to ignore the technological wonder of space in favor of something that can be darker, more interesting or surprising.

Alex

Alex Dent

May 27, 2011 / By

Jakko Mattila

Jakko Mattila

Jakko Mattila

I’m posting these purely because I’m obsessed with them. They’re both prints by Jakko Mattila, a Finnish artist who’s work is really geometric but abstract at the same time. He uses a lot of the same motifs and patterns, lots of dots and lines and random drips. It’s really impressive that so much of his work looks digital when all of it is done by hand, especially his works on canvas. If you enjoy these images you’ll definitely be love the rest of his work.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

May 27, 2011 / By

‘The Accidental Sea’ by Ransom Riggs

'The Accidental Sea' by Ransom Riggs

'The Accidental Sea' by Ransom Riggs

'The Accidental Sea' by Ransom Riggs

Technically, the Salton Sea is a “saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault predominantly in California’s Imperial Valley,” so says Wikipedia. It’s a haunted place that’s been mostly abandoned since the 60′s but still draws in the curious and the adventurous. Recently, a documentarian named Ransom Riggs made a short film called The Accidental Sea which gives the background on this forgotten place and how it got to it’s current state. He likens the Salton Sea to the way the world will be one day, devoid of people, nothing left but our skeletons littering the land. It’s a beautiful, sad film, but I enjoyed it quite a lot.

Found through Devour

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

May 27, 2011 / By

‘Carl Fisher’s Roads’ by Sam Bosma

'Carl Fisher's Roads' by Sam Bosma

'Carl Fisher's Roads' by Sam Bosma

'Carl Fisher's Roads' by Sam Bosma

Wow! Picking images from Sam Bosma‘s portfolio to share on the site is tough work. The Ohio-born, Baltimore-based illustrator really has an impressive collection of work online and anyone could easily loose a substantial portion of their day simply clicking through it. The images above come from a series of five that he created for the current issue of Muse magazine for a piece about the American Entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher.

Fisher was a tireless pioneer and promoter who had a keen interest in America’s growing need for personal transportation during the first half of the 20th century. I think my favorite of Sam’s illustrations shows Carl Fisher’s unique promotion of bikes by throwing one off the roof of a building and awarding a free bike to whoever returned the wreckage back to the shop. Sam’s style is so much fun and his combination of composition, rich color pallets and a beautiful painterly style all add together to make really wonderful work. He also keeps an excellent blog which gives a great insight into his work process.

Philip

Philip Kennedy

May 27, 2011 / By

The Joys of Fat Albert

The Joys of Fat Albert

The Joys of Fat Albert

The Joys of Fat Albert

The animated series Fat Albert and The Cosby Kids premiered on CBS in 1972 and ran for 12 years, spawning 110 episodes. Fat Albert, Mushmouth, Weird Harold, and Dumb Donald were all based on characters Bill Cosby supposedly grew up with and had been involving in his standup routine entitled “Buck Buck” – a game kids would play in his neighborhood.

So many talented and unfortunately forgotten animators had a hand in the design of the characters including Amby Paliwoda (Flintstones) and Ken Mundie (Little Nemo) and it’s striking how their funky images have become influences to so many modern designers and illustrators. The franchise was almost ruined when a terrible live-action film was made that starred Kenan Thompson, but luckily there are artists out there like KAWS, Jamie Hewlett, Michael Lau, and James Jarvis continuing on the tradition of fun and colorful work.

Daniel

Bobby Solomon

May 27, 2011 / By

You Need To See Trolljegeren, AKA TROLL HUNTER

Troll Hunter, Trolljegeren, Written and Directed by André Øvredal

Troll Hunter, Trolljegeren, Written and Directed by André Øvredal

Troll Hunter, Trolljegeren, Written and Directed by André Øvredal

It is with great excitement that I am able to introduce a mildly horrific cinema item on to the site today. The item at hand is a delightful Norwegian film entitled Trolljergeren, which in English translates to Troll Hunter.

Yes, Troll Hunter, folks.

The movie is an extremely fun mockumentary, designed to creep around at dark looking for creatures via night vision goggles. The film follows a small crew of university students who are making a documentary about the Norwegian hunting scene as many bears (“bjørn”) have been found killed. After snooping around a bit, the crew is able to deduce that something else is afoot here, something suspicious and generally not right. They catch sight of a particular hunter, Hans (played by fabulous curmudgeon, Otto Jespersen), and stalk him to find out some great surprises–particularly, trolls (which translate to “trolls”).

You can guess what happens in the film, which really isn’t that groundbreaking in storytelling: mockumentaries are inherently flawed, from the rough way it is shot to the inevitable abrupt end because the cameraman/camera dies. However, what is really so fantastic about this film is its subject matter: trolls! Has there ever been another movie besides Troll & Troll 2 and Ernest Scared Stupid to discuss trolls? No! There hasn’t been! And, the ones that do exist are silly non-mythological looks at this sub-genre. What makes Troll Hunter so important is that it is a moment in (horror) film history where the troll is explained and made logistically possible, which is exactly what makes the movie so entertaining.

Moreover, the film is technically amazing. All the troll effects and animation surrounding the creatures are executed perfectly and never take you out of the movie to say, “PSSSSH: that looks fake.” Instead, the film is able to really embrace its use of night vision and darkness to make these creatures look absolutely great, something Blair Witch and Paranormal Activity did not do, but District 9 did in a more commercial way. You will not be scared by the trolls or by anything else in the film, but you will definitely have fun and be impressed with the creatures.

Troll Hunter is one film released this year that I urge you to seek out. It’s fun, it’s smart, and it will definitely be remade in America and probably introduce a whole new canon of troll horror, which I happily embrace to give us a break from zombies and vampires. You can catch the film today, on your computer, courtesy of Apple or in limited release on June 10.

KYLE

PS. Please note: I recommend you only watch the above (teaser) trailer, as the other full trailers give away a bit too much plot information away. You have been warned!

KYLE FITZPATRICK

May 26, 2011 / By

‘Black Forest’, A Trippy, Looped Video by Charles Huettner

'Black Forest', A Trippy, Looped Video by Charles Huettner

'Black Forest', A Trippy, Looped Video by Charles Huettner

This clever animation above was created by Charles Huettner, a Pennsylvania based illustrator and animator. It’s about… well, I’m not sure what it’s about. But it features this little, black critter that falls from a tree, absorbs a bunch of little black slug guys and then turns into some kinda’ humanoid. But then this jellybean looking guy climbs out of his body and rockets onto the tree, killing the humanoid thing-y. Totally weird, right?

Well here’s the thing. You need to Control + Click the video (or right click if you’re a Windows user) and select Turn Loop ON. This weird little short will play over and over until you’re content. I watched it about 4 times in a row last night, it’s just so weird to see it happening again and again. Charles created this clip for loopdeloop, a site devoted to looping films, which I highly suggest you check out as well.

Bobby

Bobby Solomon

May 26, 2011 / By

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