Friday, May 20, 2011

A Brief Photo Summary of APF 4

As promised... a few photos I took at Austin Psych Fest. All shot on 35mm with a Canon AE-1 Program.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bon Voyage: Can I Borrow Your Mixtape? #6

photo by Annabel Graham

In honor of sun, travels, new acquaintances and whatever else this summer will be bringing our way... a new (rather eclectic) mixtape! I will be leaving for Europe in 2 days so will probably be a bit neglectful of the blog for the next few weeks... but will hopefully return with lots to blog about... !

So enjoy, mes petites crevettes! And happy summer to you all...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Christian Bland: An Interview

Austin Psych Fest was, as predicted, absolutely unreal. Click
here to read my review of the festival on Oliver Kupper's blog, Pas Un Autre!

Christian Bland (pictured above), lead guitarist of headlining band The Black Angels, was kind enough to answer some questions I posed about his fourth year curating and participating in the growing festival. Read the interview below:

ANNABEL GRAHAM: The Black Angels curated Psych Fest. It seems like you guys had a significant impact on the aesthetics of the festival. Can you tell me a little bit about your involvement? What was your experience in curating the show this year and in forming such an environment for your music?

CHRISTIAN BLAND: We started the festival in 2008. After touring the US, Canada, Europe and the UK since 2005, we've met hundreds of like-minded bands. We figured what better place to bring all our friends bands to town for a psychedelic weekend than the place where psychedelic rock was born. The first 3 years I did most of the booking, but this past year we've been so busy touring that Rob Fitzpatrick (one of 4 members of the Reverberation Appreciation Society) did 90% of the booking for APF 4.

GRAHAM: As demonstrated by the festival, the genre of psych-rock is undergoing a major reemergence. Psych Fest is one of the only modern-day festivals dedicated purely to the genre of psychedelic music. What are your views on the manner in which the genre is reemerging in relation to its past (similarities/differences)? What are your predictions on the future of the genre?

BLAND: It seems like psych rocks gaining more popularity than it has since the late 60's. Hopefully it'll take over the radio waves; then we can start the revolution. I honestly don't think the masses are ready for psych rock to hit the mainstream. It almost seems psychedelic rock is meant to live underground. Maybe one day it'll boil over and take over the world, but I think it'll take a re-awakening of some sort.

GRAHAM: How did this year’s Psych Fest compare to previous years? It’s definitely grown in size and notoriety since its founding in 2008.

BLAND: This was the biggest year yet. Every year its grown more and more. It seems to be a testament to the rising popularity of modern psych rock.

GRAHAM: I’d love to know a bit more about your solo endeavor, Christian Bland and The Revelators. How is that developing, and how is it different from your work with The Black Angels? What new avenues or directions has it allowed you as an individual musician?

BLAND: If the Black Angels could put out an album every year, then I probably wouldn't have a side project. It's really an outlet for me to put out as much music as I possibly can. I'm constantly writing new songs, so I need different avenues to release my music other than The Black Angels. I've got another project called The UFO Club with Lee Blackwell from The Night Beats as well.

GRAHAM: The city of Austin has a rich history in the realm of psychedelic rock. In your opinion, in what ways is Austin a prime environment for the reemergence of the genre? Do you think that Psych Fest’s location has contributed to its success?

BLAND: Yes, for sure. Its the reason we have Psych Fest in Austin, and the reason The Black Angels started there. We owe it all to the 13th Floor Elevators.

GRAHAM: I’m sure you’re still cooling off from this year’s Psych Fest, but any ideas brewing for next year?

BLAND: The 5th anniversarys gonna be the best year yet. Hopefully we can get all the bands we've wanted over the past 5 years, but haven't been able to get.... Clinic, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Zombies...

May 2011

I was secretly hoping he'd say The Brian Jonestown Massacre!! We spotted Joel Gion (of BJM) at the show which clued us in...

Have a listen to a short & sweet song by Christian Bland and the Revelators (definitely falls into the psych-rock category):

Photos from Psych Fest coming soon!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Pioneer of Light and Space: James Turrell

My work is about space and the light that inhabits it. It is about how you confront that space and plumb it with vision. It is about your seeing, like the wordless thought that comes from looking into fire.”

In his often ethereal, atmospheric works, James Turrell explores the malleability of light and its infinite spectrum of effects as well as his own ability to accentuate and control the ever-elusive element. Carving a vast crater into the middle of the Arizona desert, trapping colored fluorescence into a prism, creating an entire exhibition space out of light that the viewer can physically interact with—Turrell toys with our perceptions of space, depth and light, challenging our habits of looking at and interacting with art.

Space that Sees, 2009, Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Alta, 1968

The Light Inside, 1999, MFA Houston

The Light Inside (second view)

Bridget's Bardo, 2009, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Germany

Spread, 2003, Henry Art Gallery, Seattle

The artist had an unlikely beginning—born into a Quaker family of doctors and engineers in Pasadena, California in 1943, Turrell studied mathematics, astronomy, geology and psychology—all principles that would later emerge in his artwork. He began to gain widespread notoriety for his art in the mid-1960’s, when he became associated with a group of Los Angeles artists (including Bruce Nauman and Robert Irwin) who pioneered what is now known as the Light and Space Movement. Turrell currently resides in Flagstaff, Arizona—at least until the completion of his most ambitious project to date (slated for 2012), Roden Crater, a dormant volcano that has been in the process of artistic transformation into a celestial observatory under Turrell’s hands for the past 32 years.

Interior view of Roden Crater, 1977-present, Flagstaff, Arizona

Exterior view of Roden Crater

John Coplans writes that Turrell’s work possesses “considerable iconic power… the compelling sensuousness of the light and its inexhaustible brilliance are almost hypnotic…[the unconcealed light source] does not rationalize the total effect but adds to its vividness and mysteriousness.”

Turrell himself articulates,

“I feel my work is made for one being, one individual. You could say that's me, but that's not really true. It's for an idealized viewer. Sometimes I'm kind of cranky coming to see something. I saw the Mona Lisa when it was in L.A., saw it for 13 seconds and had to move on. But, you know, there's this slow-food movement right now. Maybe we could also have a slow-art movement, and take an hour.”

Indeed, his artwork demands direct confrontation, creating an inescapable psychological and physical dialogue with its viewers. Turrell has created a form of art that is impossible to glance at for a mere 13 seconds—the viewer is forced to walk through his pieces, to confront his or her own perceptions of and reactions to the space and to experience the transcendent, ever-changing elements (both natural and manipulated) that affect it.

A snazzy photo of the artist in his younger years

Turrell is currently represented by Pace Gallery in New York. A selection of his works are currently on display at the 54th Venice Biennale, which will run through June 2011, within the ILUMMInazioni pavilion curated by critic and art historian Bice Curger.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May Day: Can I Borrow Your Mixtape? #5

photo by Annabel Graham


Have you forgotten what we were like then

when we were still first rate
and the day came fat with an apple in its mouth

it's no use worrying about Time
but we did have a few tricks up our sleeves
and turned some sharp corners

the whole pasture looked like our meal
we didn't need speedometers
we could manage cocktails out of ice and water

i wouldn't want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days

-Frank O'Hara


& some swell springtime tunes: