Philip Kennedy is a twenty-something designer and writer from Ireland. He enjoys living in new cities, watching old episodes of Seinfeld and working on fun projects with exciting people. His favorite film will always be Back to the Future.
I make no bones about my love for Damon Albarn. I’ve been a Blur fan since I was a kid and since then I’ve followed his work through each of his exciting projects – from Gorillaz, to his operas and on through his concept albums and his record label. He’s a busy man and in the last few years he’s been one of the most interesting musical talents around. DRC Music has been one such project, and also his most recent (unless you list Rocketjuice And The Moon, but let’s not complicate things, he works hard – we get it)!
Recorded over the course of five days, DRC Music has seen Albarn travel with a group of producers to Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo and together with local musicians they’ve pieced together an entire album fashioned from the recordings of the trip. Entitled Kinshasa One Two; the album brings together the voices of a number of Congolese singers, their various esoteric instruments and the talents of a number of high-name producers and combines them to make a fresh sounding album full of texture, feeling and rhythm.
The track above is the album opener and it features musician’s Tout Puissant Mukalo, Nelly Liyemge and Mr. Albarn himself. Once the neat pop groove of this song cuts in it becomes instantly captivating and it’s difficult not to shake you’re head along to the sweet sound of this track. To learn more about this excellent project point your browser in the direction of the DRC Music blog, and pick up a copy of the album here. All proceeds go towards Oxfam’s efforts in the Congo.
Drawings by Sylvia Plath, copyright Frieda Hughes, courtesy of the Mayor Gallery
I first read the poetry of Sylvia Plath back when I was at school. At that time, she was one of eight poets who appeared on the English syllabus and she was also one of the most interesting. Although Plath never showed up on my exam paper, her poetry seems to have stayed with me the longest. I think the reason for this is that I’m guilty of romanticizing her work. Like many, I can’t help but wrap her tragic life story around the poems which she wrote, and this inescapable relationship has lingered with me over time.
Currently a collection of her sketches are on display for the first time ever at London’s Mayor Gallery. I wasn’t aware that Plath ever drew and so it’s exciting to see these works. Plath really had quite a talent as an artist, and she often said that her deepest source of inspiration was art. The drawings on display at the exhibition come from a time during her travels through Europe while she studied at Cambridge. They’re a beautiful collection of images and a wonderful insight into the world of a great poet.
There’s a lot to love about the illustrations of Thereza Rowe. The London-based illustrator creates fun and playful collages, filled with bright colors and a vibrant sense of mischief. There’s something particularly eye-catching in the way in which she uses geometric shapes and color and indeed, the oddball nature of what she draws.
Rowe’s style is one which seems to be wrapped up in a fantastic sort of childlike wonder, and at times it’s as if her inner-child is simply dictating to her what to draw: “It’s Catman, on a horse, and the horse is saying hello!”. It’s truly wonderful stuff and it’s refreshing to see something so unabashedly playful. It’s no hard task to imagine that her illustrations would be enjoyed by children and the playfulness of them would really stimulate a kid’s imagination. Certainly I know that her work has activated the imagination of the kid who’s writing this! See more of her work online here.
Like many, I have a soft spot for Iceland. About five years ago I managed to travel there for a few days and despite my high expectations, the place didn’t disappoint one bit. It’s a truly wonderful country and it’s filled with a unique sense of beauty and a landscape unlike any other place I’ve ever been to.
Last weekend Sean Pecknold was lucky enough to travel there and on his visit he took some rather amazing photos of the place. The way in which Pecknold captures the landscape through a saturated and earthly palette really sits well upon the Icelandic landscape and it leaves me longing to return to the mountains, glaciers, fjords and geysers of the country. Above is only a small selection of what he saw but it should be enough to whet your appetite for the whole series which can be viewed online here.
Today Weird World Records are releasing a 12″ single of Washed Out‘s Amor Fati. The track, which features on his debut album, also comes with the excellent B-Side Call It Off. Call It Off sees Washed Out venture into much darker territory and at times it feels a bit like The Knife covering a rare Depeche Mode record. While Washed Out’s debut album didn’t excite me quite like his first two EPs, it’s good to hear a track like Call It Off come along and prove that Ernest Greene is still making fresh and exciting sounds.
You can download a free copy of it here or grab it as a bonus track on the iTunes edition of the album. Amor Fati is released as a 12″ single today through Weird World Records, and features Call It Off as well as remixes by Clams Casino and Au Revoir Simone and some rather beautiful artwork.