Every year, at some point in January, I make a long list of what music I thought was great in the previous year. This list is usually scrawled out as a Facebook note or onto defunct personal blogs but–for 2012–Bobby asked if the list could be shared on The Fox Is Black. Why not?! Thus, a very long list of what I thought of music in 2012 and a few items to look out for in 2013.
One thing to keep in mind before reading is that the items shared are from a personal point of view that electronic music is the only music to be listened to. Moreover, I have been on the hunt for the Best Dance Album Of All Time since I was born and have yet to find what I think is a suitable filler for that title. If things lack vocals or rely on sounding like robots in various forms of stress, I apologize. If anything, hopefully you find an artist/song/album or two that is new to you. With that, enjoy.
Painting With Patterns: An Interview With Alika Cooper
Alika Cooper is a Los Angeles artist who you would describe as a painter but she isn’t making what you would call paintings now. They’re kind of like paintings but they’re a lot more like collages but even she is not sure what to call them as they are pieces on canvas having to do with the female body and femininity done through cut fabric. They are incredibly detailed works for being made of *just* fabric and represent an artist challenging herself to make differently–and redefine what it is to make a painting.
Clover Canyon + Alexandra Grant
Los Angeles fashion label Clover Canyon recently teamed up with LA artist Alexandra Grant to make a small collection of clothes. Clover Canyon is known for their very bright and hyper-patterened clothes. This style paired perfectly with Grant’s own pattern making and recent use of text in her work, both of which were the basis for these super chic outfits. The collection is made in support of a show up at LAXART and 20% of sales goes to the aforementioned art non-profit art space. We need to see more people wearing these!
Metro’s New Canopies
It was mentioned last year that some Metro stations were going to get some canopies over the top from them to add a little architectural flair and protection from the elements to stations. We had noticed they were being constructed over the past few months but all of a sudden they were complete at the 1st and Hill Civic Center station. We took a bunch of photos and had to share. They look great!
A Crane Castle In Arcadia
We didn’t know if we wanted to share this story or not but we will: in Northeast Los Angeles in Arcadia, hidden within a little strip mall at the far corner of a Japanese bazaar is an entire shop of just toy crane games. You can win anything from stuffed Hello Kittys to an iPad Mini. It’s super crazy place and will certainly suck ten dollars out of your pocket, easily.
Thanh Nguygen’s Arrogant Bastard Conceptual Recpackaging
This is a few years old but really great: local designer Thanh Nguygen repackaged California beer brand Arrogant Bastard’s beers to look a lot more sophisticated. This redo of the packaging is clean and simple and still is very much on brand for the Arrogant Bastard. Someone needs to hire Nguygen to adapt this look to their beers!
Beauty, Decay, and Art Making In Los Angeles: An Interview With Amir H. Fallah
Amir Fallah is a brilliant Los Angeles painter. His works are bright and realistic, full of fantasy yet takes on still life. He is making truly modern portraiture. You know what else he does? He started Beautiful/Decay, a printed institution of contemporary art. After over a decade dedicated to the project, Fallah is now focusing on his own art. We’re pumped to have gotten to share what he’s doing as he transitions from writer/blogger/art enthusiast to full time artist. He’s going places!
Kevin Appel’s Screen (Double Desert Inverted)
We shared artist Kevin Appel’s story months ago and we noticed there was a pattern up on his wall that he mentioned being a project he was working on. That project was finally revealed and it is a wall decal/installation with Maharam titled Screen (Double Desert Inverted. The piece plays into his desert/Salton Sea gazing aesthetic and makes it so you can have a triangular desert in your space.
Jimmy Brings You 2013 and Jeremy Rendina’s 2013 Moon Calendars
We somehow forgot that this was the time of year for calendars. Two caught our eye. The first is a series of twelve posters by local queer zine JIMMY that sees local performance artist and dancer Ryan Heffinton and his Lady Boys shot by Daniel Trese. The other calendar is a letterpress by Jeremy Rendina that is a way to watch how the moon changes in the year but also how time passes. It’s a very interesting piece. Both are available for purchase now.
Reasons To Love Los Angeles
We love New York magazine. We wish LA had an equivalent of New York! Sadly we don’t. Anyway, every year New York publishes a super fucking obnoxious issue titled Reasons To Love New York that is essentially a way for them to masturbate all over themselves about how ~*~cOoL~*~ their city is. It is so gross. After years of getting this issue in the mail, we decided to tell them we can be as annoying and elitist. Thus, our Reasons To Love Los Angeles.
Inside Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater
If you have lived in Los Angeles for at least a year, Bob Baker’s Marionette Theater has caught your eye at one point or another as an intriguing and somewhat confusing institution. Have you ever been inside? Probably not–and most people haven’t! Thus, enjoy this very well made short film that takes a step inside of the marionette theater to see what goes on inside of there. Now we just have to see a show there…
This week on Los Angeles, I’m Yours, we spent a lot of time reflecting on what we shared all year. This included lots of lists of our favorite thats and this, these things and those things: we recapped ourself for a week! If you haven’t had a chance to poke through LAIY in the past year, we did it for you and chose the best in subjects from art to drinks to dramas. Enjoy the best of what we’ve done for 2012 and what we enjoyed most in Los Angeles in 2012. See you in 2013!
December is a little late in the year to welcome a new candidate into the best music of the year chatter. Efforts released in either November or December of any year are always forgotten or simply assumed to be a part of the following year’s releases: it’s very easy to get swept under the rug. Holly Herndon isn’t letting that happen to her. On November 13 she released her RVNG Intl. debut Movement which has stormed the techno and experimental worlds alike: Holly has stepped in as the genre’s new hope.
The seven track LP is a quick roll through vocal performance and mutation, computer geek techno plays, and electronic music card tricks. The title–Movement–is a suggestion of the body, bringing visions of athletic musculature and vocal exercises: Herndon’s focus is on the human body’s performance. Title track “Terminal” eases you into Holly’s world with a vocal piece that is stretched and stretched and stretched until it is nearly mistakable for the hum of an overworked laptop. “Dilato” is a high art cousin to this LP starter and a clear play on distending the voice to shrill scratches and in-synch pitches. This song was my first introduction to Herndon and was cause to perk up at the thought of electronic music digging and digging back toward the experiments they originated from.
As avant garde as she can get, she can and does turn out some ball busters. “Movement” (at top) runs itself closely with alarm sounds and squeezes beautiful vocal sweeps through a fan. It is essentially the song that you would want to have played if you were escaping from zombies on a dance floor. “Fade” (directly above) is clearly the best electronic song of the year, a surprise you will want to build up from after “Terminal.” The song is a complex, layering of vocal chants (The phrase “Reach out your hand.” is folded and unfolded, over and over itself like vocal origami.) underneath powerful synth kicks, bass, and an ending breakdown that no techno genius in Berlin could ever reach. It is complicated, it is fun, and you feel like you need a cigarette after listening to it.
Herndon is so damned good because she is building her own world of academic electronic atop of an already rich history of music in an often obscure genre. Encounteringmanyinterviews with her, you find that she is a Tennessee singer who moved to Berlin, discovered techno, and has since dedicated her life to understanding and challenging what singing and music making can be. She is currently studying to be a doctoral student at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics program. Basically she’s getting a doctorate in electronic music: that is how fucking legit Holly Herndon is.
The album is a treasure and a first effort that dares you to question its power. Movement is an on-trend entry into the “doom” house that Andy Stott, Demdike Stare, Laurel Halo, Shed, and more have been making–yet Herndon’s effort deserves to be installed at MOCA. In repeated spins of Movement, you delve into bigger questions related to electronic performance, the female body, and queer theory: in the male dominated worlds of science and electronic music, where does an extremely experimental American female fit in? Herndon is taking cues from historic female and queer electronic artists like Laurie Spiegel and Wendy Carlos and answering this question. Get ready to hear a lot more from Herndon–she’s just getting started.