Music May 29, 2009 By Derek Peck

hermas title Hermas

Hermas Zopoula is an artist we just got turned onto by our friends at Asthmatic Kitty, which is putting out his debut album this month. His music is simple, warm, and heartfelt. In this video, shot in the front yard of his home in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, he plays a song from his debut, Espoir, called “Attention”. What I love about this video is how naturally the music fits into his environment, with the sound of the wind rustling the tree leaves, the faint noise of children playing nearby, a bird squawking, a storm brewing in the distance. It’s about as authentic as things get. Hermas is set to play a show in New York on June 12, at Sycamore in the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn – that is if the U.S. of A. comes through on his visa. Fingers crossed.

Art May 26, 2009 By Jennifer Pappas
odani1 Odani Motohiko
SP2 ‘New Born’ (Viper A), 2007. Photography by Keizo Kioku. All Images Courtesy of the Artist and YAMAMOTO GENDAI

odani title Odani Motohiko

Odani Motohiko knows how to generate a reaction. In his first solo show back in 1997, the artist arranged for a nurse to come and take 1.4 liters of his own blood for an installation he was planning entitled, Fair Completion. A small fan in the corner of the room was used to float a series of soap bubbles filled with a single drop of that blood across the gallery. After a few moments the soap bubbles would burst, sending ruby splatters across the white space and a collective chill down the spines of the audience. At the Tokyo opening, a single woman was overheard saying, “Isn’t it beautiful?” Though Odani’s work seems purely confrontational, the themes he explores are as interwoven as the Tokyo streets and hold just as many questions. Time, the human body, and primitive senses such as sensuality, shame and fear are evident in everything Odani creates, including his newest installation, 9th Room, at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo. The piece is made up of an enclosed room of waterfalls projected onto four different screens. The ceiling and the floor are mirrored, encapsulating anyone inside with a 360-degree sensation of falling. Terrifying, yes, but extremely primordial; the title is a reference to Dante’s ninth and final circle of Hell. Installation aside, Odani is equally at home working in digital animation, photography, and sculpture. His recent return to the latter has the art world buzzing that this “dead art” may be in for a little shock treatment. Until then, trust that Odani Motohiko will keep the answers hanging in the air.

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Music May 25, 2009 By Timothy Gunatilaka
phoenix2 Phoenix
Photography by Pascal Textiera

phoenix title Phoenix

Despite name-dropping Mozart and Franz Liszt, one would certainly be hard-pressed to discern any obvious classical currents on Phoenix’s new album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and its lead single “Lisztomania”. And perhaps this is the French four-piece’s master plan; for a record whose cover art shows technicolor bombs about to explode, understated subversion hardly seems the point.  “Vandalism” is the word Thomas Mars initially employs in trying to explain the album’s off-kilter title and overarching ethos, comparing the act of affixing one’s own band to the surname of the composer-god to “a kid drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa. It’s like pop art. You take culture and make it your own.”
     Vandalism, culture clash, chaos, contradiction, and brats — such words and concepts appear and reappear throughout Mars’ slightly fractured-English account of his band’s fourth album. Clad in faded leather boots, artfully torn blue jeans and collared shirt, the singer sat down with PLANET over soda at the sun-drenched hotel lounge of NYC’s Thompson LES to discuss the album, the importance of chaos and culture clash, tourism in Versailles, and the magic of fatherhood. (Mars and girlfriend Sofia Coppola welcomed daughter Romy in 2006.)

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1901 Alan Wilkis Remix

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Music May 22, 2009 By Todd Rosenberg
moderat Moderat
BPitch Control

moderat title Moderat

Moderat are a German electronic supergroup comprised of the members of Modeselektor and Apparat. After working on an EP together more than 5 years ago, both acts went their separate ways and came to fame on their own: Apparat, most notably, for his collaboration with compatriot Ellen Allien and Modeselektor for 2007’s worldwide crossover Happy Birthday. The two acts ran into each other on the way to a public swimming pool in Berlin and had an argument about whose most recent album was better, and how each could have benefited from the other’s involvement. So, it only made sense to resurrect their long-lost project to prove the point. In that respect, Moderat (BPitch Control) is a successful exercise in synergy, and thrives on the explorations its members are willing to take together, from dubstep to atmospheric IDM, alternating between instrumental and vocal-driven tracks. The most memorable of these experiments, “Rusty Nails”, showcases Apparat’s Sascha Ring on vocals, and feels like what would happen if the Notwist let Burial make its beats. In case there was any doubt, Berlin is in the house.

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Art May 21, 2009 By Valerie Palmer
ra11 Sun Ra
Images courtesy of Philly's ICA

ra title1 Sun Ra

George Clinton, Afrika Bambaataa and Bootsy Collins can all trace their creative lineage back to Sun Ra. His space age philosophy, flowing capes, and Egyptian headdresses paved the way for their own colorful personas decades later. More than a man before his time, Sun Ra transcended time. Nestled in between the Civil Rights and Black Power movements of his day, Sun Ra’s message was about more than race; it was about enlightenment on a cosmic scale, and he spread his message primarily through music but also through words and art. A disciplined musician since childhood, Sun Ra headed his Arkestra, an ever-changing line-up of jazz musicians, from the mid-1950s up until his death in 1993. His prolific output spanned poetry, music, and album cover art, much of which is exhibited at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art in Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn & Chicago’s Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968.
     Born Herman Blount in 1914, Sun Ra claimed he was abducted by aliens in the early 1950s, a story he maintained throughout his life. On this intergalactic journey, he visited Jupiter and Saturn, and upon his return to Earth he christened himself Sun Ra (Ra is the Egyptian god of the sun) and formed his Arkestra, a clever play on words.

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lolo Lolo. San Francisco

If you’ve spent any time in San Francisco’s Mission District, you know that it’s an enclave characterized by artful bohemia, hipster cool, and worldly Latin heat. So it’s no surprise that Lolo’s Mexican-Turkish small plates have captured a loyal following among those who appreciate surprising culinary offerings. The taco tropical (panko and spice-dusted shrimp, topped with a tropical relish), octopus tiradito, and duck confit with corn tortillas and grapefruit-jalapeno sauce are some of the interesting small plates worth savoring. The front dining room is intimate and subdued, while the rear room is a colorful space decorated with lively mix of pop art and art deco. Grab a seat along the bar and take advantage of Lolo’s extensive wine list, and be sure to chat up the friendly staff and owners, all Guadalajara natives. From the food to the drink, you’re in for an evening steeped in unexpected flavors and textures, and judging from the locale, you should expect nothing less.

3230 22nd Street    415.643.5656

Art May 19, 2009 By Andy Gilmore

andy Earthby Andy Gilmoreandy title Earthby Andy Gilmore

Our latest EARTH BY (no. 23) was created especially for PLANET by artist ANDY GILMORE. Born, raised, and residing in Rochester, New York, Gilmore is widely known for his luminous, astral geometric illustrations and artwork. He’s created work for the New York Times Magazine, Wired, Dazed & Confused, and many others. He says the challenge of creating a graphic, personal representation of the Earth was very exciting to him. Gilmore is also a musician, mathematician, and magician. Clearly, he’s someone who likes to speak through modes of communication other than language. His favorite quote? “I have nothing to say and I am saying it” – John Cage.

Fashion May 18, 2009 By Diane Vasil
test large open Lina and Yulia
Black Sheer Dress Allessandro Dell’ Aqua Black Patent Lace Up Heels Jean-Michel Cazabat Black Feather Coat Adrienne Landau White Socks American Apparel

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Architecture, Books May 14, 2009 By Ryan Grim
space1 Spacecraft 2
All images courtesy of Gestalten

space title Spacecraft 2

Doesn’t the phrase “fleeting architecture” seem like an oxymoron? A successful building is one that’s built to last, right? If you’re in the market for, say, a new house, you probably wouldn’t judge each prospect by how quickly it could be disassembled and transported to another city. At least not right now. But your priorities may be different in 2020.
     For the architects and artists whose work is featured in the gorgeous hardcover Spacecraft 2 (Gestalten; $75), designing and promoting ephemeral structures is an M.O.— one that’s expanding and complicating our built environment. The thesis behind the book has been on the minds of designers for decades: permanent buildings don’t always work. They often cost too much money and waste too many materials. And they could easily be razed in 20 years anyway, so what’s the point? In some cases, a pavilion or exhibition space, or even a house, will serve us best if it’s designed with its own dissolution in mind. Plus, a building that’s modular and/or temporary will have a smaller carbon footprint than one built using traditional construction methods.

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Art, Events May 13, 2009 By Derek Peck
alex13 Alex Asher Daniel
Images courtesy of Kate Robinson Art

alex title Alex Asher Daniel

Beauty, as it’s been told over the centuries and engraved into our skulls, is in the eye of the beholder. Yet true as this may be, some beholders have a better eye for it. Often, the beauty in question isn’t breathless landscapes or beguiling abstracts but the universal muse and eternal mother of art: the endlessly interesting female form. This is where the art of Alex Asher Daniel begins. But as we’ve also learned, beauty is only skin deep, and Daniel is especially attuned to this, connecting layers in his work that hint at something vastly more complex and powerful hidden beneath the surface, yet without negating the essential beauty of his subject. “I’m interested in the meeting point between the inner and outer world,” he says. “The female body is such an interesting vehicle to me; it’s the most divine representation we have of that intersection.”
      Working with oilstick and charcoal on paper, the works are a combination of line drawing and rich pigments applied in paint-like clusters and rougher lines that partially abstract the figurative qualities of the work. Even though there are clear figures here, the work is gestural and expressionistic. Most strikingly, there are obvious fetal gestures central to all 19 of the drawings on display, which at first seems a strange and slightly discomforting motif to invoke through grown women.

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