Los Angeles is real

Why do we do what we do? Why do we enjoy things that others don’t? Why do certain things in this world fascinate us? Why do we ask “why”? To be honest, I am not sure why. What I do know is that we are curious beings. No matter what it is, we will discover it, research it, read about it, then, we’ll talk about it. We’ve been through these stages several times in our lives. It is the time for me to go through those again.

Yes, this is an article about Los Angeles. A Los Angeles that has fascinated me for years. I am talking about the Los Angeles from Flying Lotus’s album cover “Los Angeles”. I remember the first time that I listened to it. It was at the time when I was studying graphic design in Saint-Etienne, France. I would visit my family and friends in Lyon during the weekend. I was at Thomas’s apartment, who is a great friend of mine. We were listening to music. He started to play the entire “Los Angeles” album. As much as I enjoyed listening to it, it was the cover that caught all my attention. I was puzzled and intrigued. I thought that it was a better version of the famous Massive Attack album cover. Even though I am a trained designer, I was never able to figure out what is on that album cover, until last year.

While researching for a blog post I was writing for work, I found the answers to my questions. It was right before my eyes. I was happy to find out what it was, yet, I felt disappointed. For a while, I considered the image to be the photograph of a Grace Jones type of woman, wearing a strange leather mask covering her whole face, apart from her lips. Later, I moved on to the idea that the black shape on the white background could be a painting or a piece of 3D rendering. It turns out that I was wrong. Unexpectedly, it was a sculpture. I couldn’t believe it. All the images that my brain imagined didn’t exist. None of it was real. The sculpture that Timothy Saccenti photographed for the cover is, however, very real.

I understand why “Los Angeles” looks this peculiar and memorable. I also know why it was so hard to get my head around it. I am happy to know that my brain still sees different things, even if I know that the represented object is a real sculpture. Los Angeles is real and so is my imagination. How is yours doing? I’d love to read about the album cover that made you imagine things that aren’t what they actually are.

Gotham’s black uppercase ‘G’

As people, it is very common to enjoy simple things. A nice smoked piece of meat, a great song, a sip of freshly squeezed juice. Basically, anything that is good to us. I get to enjoy these things, but I also things such as the shape of a letter. This might sound strange to some people, but for designers and other like minded folks, this is pretty standard. We all have a few favourite fonts but when it comes to letters, it is a different story. I love Gotham Black’s uppercase G!

I remember the first time I saw that letter. It was in a documentary by French filmmaker Jean-Baptiste de Laubier entitled “Hooligan Disco”. The font was used on a black background in between sharp cuts of Para One’s US touring footage. It was there to introduce the viewer to the upcoming chapter. As simple as it was, I witnessed it’s extreme efficiency and was instantly blown away!

From that point on, I did my best to hunt down that font until I got it’s name. Gotham. A font named after the imaginary city of Batman was amazing to me. Actually, it still is! This is why knowing it’s name filled me with great joy!
I was still a student at the time, and couldn’t afford to pay hundreds of dollars for a font. I managed to “acquire” a copy of it through a friend’s friend. Once I installed it, I opened Illustrator and typed in the words “Gotham City” in Gotham Black. I remember staring at the capital G. Trying to understand it. Analyse it. I couldn’t break the reason why it is so perfect. Eventually, I gave up and realised that some things aren’t meant to be decoded and understood. Some things are just meant to be admired.

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Music of the week #2

Hi everyone! Happy new year! It’s been a while, once again. Any way, I’m back with a new Music of the week post. Since last week, I found myself reading the autobiography of the one and only Miles Davis. I’ve listened to his music before, but now that I’m actually learning about how he got into playing the trumpet and learning more about how the bebop jazz movement started, I started listening more to that sort of stuff lately. So this Music of the week could be a jazz special of my favourite jazz tracks at the moment. It is quite hard for me to set a list of my most favourite one on that, as one song is as powerful as the other. So here are the tracks, in no specific order.

MOANIN’ BY ART BLAKEY & THE JAZZ MESSENGERS

This live version is awesome! Simply because it is about 4 minutes longer than the original recording. The solos are great and you get to see what it was like back then. For some reason, since I’m a kid, I’ve always loved to look at black jazz players. Mainly because they had that very hip and sort classy look/stance while on stage.

TAKE FIVE BY THE DAVE BRUBECK QUARTET

This track here is a jazz classic! I’ve loved it since I’m a kid and even though it takes me back to my childhood, every time that I listen to it, I realise how great that tune is. Mainly because of the piano chords in the background that help the bass and support extremely well the drums and the sax! Just great! And that version has a few moments that make giggle and laugh during solo parts.

DON’T BE THAT WAY BY BENNY GOODMAN

A few weeks back, Emilie and I went to visit her family in Saint-Jean de Monts (France) to celebrate Christmas. Her dad got his brother a few jazz CD’s and this track was the one that we all enjoyed together. Either when prepping meals, playing dice games or waking up. Not only it reminds of that great time spent with them, it represents what I enjoy the most in jazz: big bands!

UNE PETITE LAITUE BY ROY ELDRIDGE

This track happened to be on the same jazz CD that my father in law gave to his brother as a gift for Christmas. Now, what I really like about that track, is that, not only the song is in French, but the song is about food. More specically about salad. Yes. The whole song is about a small lettuce. Which is fun, naive, and a great song to listen to at any time of the day.

ASCENSEUR POUR L’ECHAFAUD BY MILES DAVIS

Here is Miles Davis improvising during the record sessions of the soundtrack for Louis Balle’s movie Ascenseur pour l’echafaud. Although we only here Miles playing for a few minutes, the first time I saw that footage, I knew that I needed to learn more about him. One of my favourite musicians of all times.

What song/track/album/video did you listened to/watched most the last few weeks? Let me know what you think of that selection and if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Have a sound day!

Music of the week

Good evening everyone! Hope that you are well? So I decided that I will post at least twice a week. So for this week’s second post, let’s focus a bit on music. As I work in the same agency as my girlfriend and that we share a Spotify account, we can’t use it at the same time and one of us ends using other great online services to listen to music. So here is my top 5 tracks that I’ve been listening the last few weeks.

#5 – UNCLE TONA BY DREW HOWARD

Drew Howard – AKA 88 Camino – is a Canadian rapper and member of GET HOME SAFE from Toronto. I discovered him through a Noisey interview. The track is really slow, chill and pretty easy to listen to when focusing on something important.

#4 – SET FIRE BY JAZZ CARTIER

Jazz Cartier – AKA Jacuzzi La Fleur – is another Canadian rapper and… Also member of GET HOME SAFE. I discovered him through the previously mentioned Noisey interview. I realised that I really listened to that track when in a rush to finish something. Really intense and energetic, it kept me going when I was slowing down.

#3 – LIVE @ FESTIVAL HAUTS DE GARONNE BY SHIGETO

Compared to the 4 other music videos of this TOP 5 tracks I listened to lately, this live by Shigeto is awesome! I’m a huge fan of Shigeto and his music really talks to me. But I must say that while working, I like to listen to something with a lot of drums and/or bass. Which is why this live comes in third place. It’s really good to focus for a long period and if you want to put your eyes on something else, seeing Shigeto in action is simply brilliant. Since I’ve haven’t got the chance to see him live, this video is perfect!

#2 – KING OF MY CASTLE BY BOOM BAPTIST

Here is another live performance. This time we are listening to American beatmaker and MC Boom Baptist. Their are actually 2 songs in this video. “Are and Bee” and “King Of My Castle”. Both songs will be featured on his new forthcoming album. I didn’t have a particular moment to listen to that track, apart that once I did, it got stuck in my head and didn’t want to leave it. This is why I ended up listening to it over and over again last Thursday (all day long)! Listening to it is a great pleasure, specially when the lyrics come in… Not going to spoil it for you!

#1 – XMAS IN PADOVA BY TACTEEL

In first position comes French producer Tacteel. This song is most definitely one of my favourite french electronic songs! I remember buying the CD at the Lazy Dog in Paris, when they had their second shop at the Citadium. It is one of the rare albums that I’ve never downloaded and possess in both CD and vinyl. Now this song is number one for a simple reason. The first time that I ever listened to it, I’ve notice a small hint to another of my favourite songs (again, I’m not going to spoil it). That song also made me understand that making music is all about fun and what you enjoy the most and helped me a lot one I “released” my very first EP. This is just one of these tracks that I would like to “hear” at my funeral or save if we ever needed to before the Apocalypse.

What song/track/album/video did you listened to/watched most the last few weeks? Let me know what you think of that selection and if you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

Have a sound day!