Entries tagged with: Yoshimi
by Lukas Hodge
Cold Cave in Winslow / dancers in Pittsburgh / Cat Power in Barstow
Just after you walk through the front doors of the historic La Posada hotel in Winslow, Arizona, a news clipping hanging from a bulletin board reads "Another City too Strong to Die". An interesting statement when you think about it due to the fact that it suggests that in all likelihood, this is not a place that's supposed to still exist. It almost advocates feelings that this is a city stuck swimming upstream. The question is raised, what here is worth preserving? If you ask a local, or even just walk a single block through the small downtown area, you'll understand quickly that the hope of this town rests on a song written by Jackson Browne in 1972. Everywhere you go there are signs advertising the town crux: a street corner two blocks from the train station named "Standin' On The Corner" park. Dedicated to one line in a single song, it's surrounded by murals, shops, and even a bronze statue which may or may not be in Jackson Browne's likeness. The song, is of course, "Take It Easy" as performed by The Eagles. And while no other part of this tour really comes close to the level of polarization created by an arena-filling rock band, the story of Winslow works as an effective allegory to sum up the meaning of why myself or anyone rode a customized train disguised as a moving piece of art, complete with recording studio, post-production office, dining hall, and one of Frank Sinatra's private rail cars, from New York to California.
The answer comes from multi-media artist, Doug Aitken, who's devoted his life to the pursuit of collaboration and performance. The "Happenings", as Aitken branded them, were never overwhelming. The numbers were intentionally kept low at each date allowing every participant a feeling of intimacy with each piece of art they encountered, whether it be a stark and awkward Cat Power set in the backyard of a railroad inn, or a UFO high above the California deserts and a Beck set featuring a full choir. This was most noticeable at the Barstow date, a little over one thousand people showed up to the happening within the walls of at least a 4,000 capacity drive-in theater. It's obvious that Aitken's focus was not on attendance and not on outsiders but on bringing together different artistic communities that would almost never normally interact. And hey, a thousand witnesses can't be a bad thing.
Levi's ®, who made the public art project known as Station to Station possible, had their own tents that resembled nomadic sculptures, known as Yurts set up at each date where independent artists and designers could create their own denim products out of locally sourced goods under the "Makers" brand. To quote Maker Laura Sato via an interview with Vice:
The Makers yurt was Levi's® artistic contribution to Station to Station. Levi's® Makers is a collective of artisan's from across the country who sell their handmade goods under the label of Levi's® Makers.The yurts which were also traveling with the train and acted as evolving installation pieces. The Nomadic Sculptures range from Carsten Höller's yurt pierced with holes that visitors can throw a Frisbee through, to Liz Glynn's creation of the universe that develops at each stop. At some stops, filmmaker Kenneth Anger screened a film in his Yurt.
For the majority of the trip, we had four other Makers along with the Levi's® Tailor Shop who had their stations set up in the yurt. Forestbound (one of a kind tote bags made of salvaged materials), Folk Fibers (hand-stitched, natural dyed quilts), Junkyard Jeans (customized chain-stitch embroidery), and Tangleblue Weavers. We also had a few guests along the way for a couple stops; Cobra Rock Boot Co.(handmade boots), Chimayo Weavers, and Teranishi (leather goods).
The yurt really gave us a platform to create and collaborate while allowing the public to observe our process and ask us questions. I've worked for the Levi's® Tailor Shop making handmade goods for almost three years, but when I met my fellow Makers on this trip it really hit me what a special thing I'm a part of. I got to work and become close with some of the most inspiring and talented people, all of us tied together with the common thread of loving to create and work with our hands. There was definitely a special energy inside the yurt.
Every stop on the trip included a combination of visual arts, installations, and live music, all in a very unforgettable fashion. Some of the Happenings take place inside actual train stations (Chicago, Pittsburgh), while others exist within hubs at the creative centers of communities (Brooklyn, Barstow). How the tour arrives at each stop is the truly unforgettable part. Within each of the nine train cars, each serving a distinct purpose, it was almost impossible to find someone without their face glued to the windows admiring the little seen landscape from up on the rails or with their hands on one of the many interactive tools ("for the modern frontier") made possible by Levi's ®. Included in these was an original 1901 Underwood No. 5 typewriter linked directly to Twitter, a 1939 web-enabled Graflex Speed Graphic still cam for taking Instagram pictures, . and a 1960's Gibson hollow body plugged straight into Soundcloud.
Aitken has repeatedly begrudged the term "tour" and endorses the idea that the project is an entity which "constantly changes". All posturing aside, whatever you want to call it, it's impressive and ambitious. Each station had a very distinct feel and was drastically different from the happening prior. In Brooklyn, it kicked off in a dark noise-filled soundstage on the river with sets from electronic pioneers Suicide, tour staple No Age, and psychedelic locals Ariel Pink (who performed at multiple dates), as well as a youth marching band from Kansas City. By the time it reached Chicago, Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore had joined for his set with drummer John Moloney as Caught On Tape. The Legendary gospel diva Mavis Staples also performed.
As the train rolled on, it finally made its way to the southwest and, in my opinion, its defining showcases. When the train, decorated in highly visible, flashing, LED lights, pulled up on the beautifully restored grounds of the almost century old La Posada hotel (which was the original Winslow train stop) the traveling event arguably achieved its most characterized evening. Between the location of the stage being only a few feet from the train, and the recently restored Inn doubling as a local art museum, this seemed to be the exact platform from which Levi's ® and Station to Station creator Doug Aitken wished to "make their mark". Jackson Browne tossed out a few classics before finally playing "Take It Easy, which resulted in a fevered reaction from every middle aged resident sitting in their lawn chairs. Another tour favorite was Cold Cave, who in Winslow, played atop an elevated platform overlooking a haystack maze full of puzzled onlookers.
One of the main themes being pushed was that the most important part was not the "happening", but what comes after it. For someone like Doug Aitken who's constantly looking forward to the next collaboration or project, it makes sense that the aim of the entire undertaking was to push imagination into the future while taking educated hints from the past. What better place exists than being in a shuttle riding the exact tracks that helped shape the land moving beneath it?
You already saw pictures and heard more about the NYC and Pittsburgh stops and saw a set of pictures from Chicago. More pictures and some videos from the train along with the Chicago, IL, Winslow, AZ, and Barstow, CA stops, below...
photos by Adela Loconte
"Was already excited to see Kim Gordon's new project at a super small venue, but insane bonus that Yoshimi P-We is opening." - brett renfer
Kim Gordon & Yoshimi @ Union Pool - 9/10/2013
With Body/Head, they're referring back to a rawer, riskier era, creating something wholly unpredictable, based on "scripted improvisation". Gordon has stated that there was very little editing involved in the final product, and while this occasionally manifests in a bit of meandering, they repeatedly succeed in taking their noise somewhere interesting, rather than allowing it to become the chore that some of the Syd Barrett-era psychedelia they were influenced by can be. [The Quietus]Though Sonic Youth is no longer active, all four members have been keeping busy, and Kim Gordon's been doing so with Body/Head, her noise duo with Bill Nace. Body/Head's new album, Coming Apart, came out this past Tuesday (9/10), and to celebrate the band played a sold-out show at Brooklyn's Union Pool that same day. Noise Nomads, who Thurston Moore told us he loved in 2008, and who we caught opening for him in 2009, opened the show. Yoshimo aka a duo featuring Yoshimi of the Boredoms and Free Kitten which also contains Kim Gordon, was also on the bill thanks to coming to town to play the Station to Station show a few days earlier. Pictures of the Union Pool show are in this post.
Body/Head's tour continues, and it brings them back to NYC for a show on October 5 at SIR Stage 37 as part of the New Yorker Festival (where Kim will also be in conversation with Alex Halberstadt). Then on November 13 and 14, Issue Project Room hosts the Kim Gordon benefit which sees Kim performing along with Bill Nace, Ikue Mori, Jutta Koether, and more TBA (tickets).
More pictures from Union Pool below...
by Lukas Hodge
Ariel Pink / art "yurts" / Yoshimi of Boredoms @ NYC Station to Station 9/6/2013
The cross country Station to Station tour, a public art project made possible by Levi's, was launched on Friday night in Williamsburg in a massive sound stage located right on the east river waterfront. Conceived by artist Doug Aitken, Station to Station involves a rotating cast of visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, and more who travel together on a single train. The NYC show, which happened at Riverfront Studios in Williamsburg on Friday (9/6), felt more like an art event (or Fashion Week party) than a concert and very much the "happening" it was billed as. (Most of these happen at actual train stations.) A welcome change to normal show-going.
Accompanying the musical aspects of the tour are rotating art installations, or, "Nomadic Sculptures." Designed by artists from all over the world, the pieces are built as small huts or "yurts." Watch a video below about the nomadic sculptures in Pittsburgh.
One of the yurts, designed by experimental filmmaker Kenneth Anger, worked as a screening room for his film "Lucifer Rising." Other sculptures included Belgian artist Carsten Höller's interactive yurt which was full of holes that participants could throw frisbees through. Another, maybe more ambitious, sculpture by Los Angeles artist Liz Glynn acts as an interactive reconstruction of the universe itself. Evolving as the tour goes on, her yurt began as a pitch black walk through complete with heavy black curtains and headlamps used by participants to navigate. All of the sculptures are positioned outside of the ticketed area, allowing anyone access to them (though this was not the case at the Brooklyn kickoff).
Additionally, tour sponsor, Levi's had their own yurts set up as well. One included a loom from which denim products were constructed in real time, personalized with patches and products sourced locally from each stop by artists, and then sold in another tent known as the "Makers yurt.
The Kansas City Cobras, a marching band based around community outreach for young teens, have been opening the nights up so far by performing outside and marching into the respective venue, collectively segueing into Los Angeles Sub Pop outfit No Age's set in an impressive display of collaboration. Intentional or not, it absolutely sets the tone for the entire Station to Station experience.
As for the music, Ariel Pink, YOSHIMO aka Yoshimi of Japanese experimental group Boredoms (who also opened for Kim Gordon's band Body/Head at Union Pool last night), and No Age (their second NYC show that week) all performed at both New York and Pittsburgh dates. Electronic pioneers Suicide headlined the Brooklyn kickoff show and their sandblasting noise was as loud as any metal band. Thurston Moore and John Moloney joined the tour in Pittsburgh (and dedicated songs to both Yoko Ono and the Steelers).
On the entire nationwide tour, the stage is wrapped in three giant screens which work as both impressive lighting/backdrop for the performances and also to showcase short films between sets. There were also non-musical between-band performances, like a slo-mo choreographed piece on rollerskates. The Brooklyn kickoff finished with a bit of pyrotechnics: a metal trellis wired with a rainbow of smoke bombs exploded against a battery of bright lights. Pictures from the whole night are in this post.
Station to Station hit Chicago last night (9/10). Mavis Staples joined the party in the windy city, and we'll have a full report and pictures from that soon up on BV Chicago. The next stop is in Minneapolis on Thursday (9/12) with No Age, Eleanor Friedberger and White Mystery.
Check out more pictures from the NYC kickoff event, as well as some from Pittsburgh, below.
words by Black Bubblegum, photos by Ryan Muir
some of the stars of ATP NY 2009
What's almost the exact opposite of a soothing set of Seven Swans performed by one of the most delicate singers in indie rock? Try nine drummers (including Hisham Bharoocha, Zach Hill, and Kid Millions among other notables) bashing your fucking skull for so long that the stage manager has to come out to unplug their gear and remove toms from underneath them! That's how I started my ATP Day 3... with the Boredoms blowing my mind.
Starting off with sparse chords on the monstrous multi-neck guitar/percussive device, Eye set a calm and reflective mood... and then the cymbals. And then the toms. And then eight drummers pummeled away led by Yoshimi P-We. And then the synced rimshots that recalled an Animal Collective beat. All of this happened before a ninth drummer was carried into the show like an emperor while doing a call and response with the other eight.
Within about 10 minutes, I knew that Boredoms would take the prize as best show at Kutsher's that weekend. The sheer power of the coordinated drums, along with pregnant pauses and killer synth effects performed via keys, CD-DJ tables, and broomsticks (!) were beyond jaw dropping.
Following Boredoms, I poked my head into Oneida's Ocropolis for the first of many times. For 10+ hours, Oneida basically had the small and very decorated room all to themselves for a long jam session with their friends. Reportedly, the band had tape rolling the whole time (Ocropolis is the name of their Brooklyn recording studio) and had visuals provided by the Mighty Robot AV Squad. With local standbys like BJ Warshaw of Parts & Labor/Shooting Spires fame, Chris Weingarten (ex P&L), Todd P, and many others spotted in the Sportsman's Bar, it seemed like Brooklyn in the Catskills. Unfortunately, I missed every single special guest appearance (word is, and in part according to a sign on the door, Soft Circle, Yoshimi, Aaron from Tall Firs, Zach Hill, Steven Drozd and many others all popped in) but the band was very interesting to watch, alternating between songs, and droney ambient jams.
Caribou was next in the main room and the 16-piece(!) band including Sun Ra Arkestra member Marshall Allen, Koushik, Kieran Hebden (Fourtet) and many others. I had no expectations heading into the set and was pleasantly surprised, although I found the mix to have waaay too much low end.
I ducked out of Caribou early to catch the last twenty minutes of Hopewell who was billed to be playing "The Desperation Suite," "complete with a female choir and avant-garde saxophonist Mark Marinoff". From what little I saw, the three person "choir" did little but coo, ooh, ahh, and coordinate a dance, but the band did close with a rousing cover of Jane's Addiction's classic "Of Course".
photos by Ryan Muir
DOWNLOAD: The Flaming Lips - Silver Trembling Hands (MP3)
For those complaining that the Flaming Lips didn't play any old songs, know this: 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' was released in 1939 - benjamin redder
"Those confetti-spewing, peace-loving, Bush-hating hippie weirdos the Flaming Lips are set to tussle with Stephen Colbert on a new episode of "The Colbert Report" airing this Wednesday, according to the TV show's official site. If previous musical guest appearances are any indication, the Lips will perform a song from their new album, Embryonic (due October 13 on Warner Bros.), and take part in a delightfully antagonistic chat with the host." [P4K]The Flaming Lips played songs off that new album during their festival-closing set at ATP on Sunday night (9/13). One of them is available for free download above.
Employing many of their old, but still great, tricks, The Flaming Lips were the perfect Kutscher's headliner (and curator of Sunday's lineup). It was big, yet intimate. Their set was sensory overload with loud music, psychedelic projections, lights, smoke, confetti, balloons, streamers, lasers (that the band gave out to the audience), fans in costumes, people in costume on stage (fully dressed yetis on the left, scantily clad yetis on the right), stage hands in orange jumpsuits, lots of screaming people, Wayne in his gray suit with megaphone, and other various instruments. That includes an old style trumpet that he played a funeral march on, and the gong. Their was Obama cheering and sing-a-longs. There was no hand puppet, War Pigs or Hulk hands. There was talk of weed and the smell of it in the air.
The show started with a projection of a woman with her legs spread - a spinning hypnotic circle covered her most private of areas which got closer and closer and closer until all of a sudden the 3 non-Wayne band members made their grand entrance right through it (through a flap in the video screen at the back of the stage actually). Wayne then immediately kicked things off in the giant inflatable bubble.
They went on around 11:45 on Sunday night. I was outside of Kutscher's and on my way home in a car by 1:40 AM (then after some minor pit stops, I was home in Brooklyn around 4:30 Monday morning).
Wayne took time more than once throughout their set to repeatedly thank all the bands who played the festival including the Boredoms who played their killer Boadrum 9 set the same day. As others have pointed out, Yoshimi of the Boredoms (who I can't confirm was actually in the room watching) was there, and the Lips played "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" as part of their set.
"The lyrics of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots concern a diverse array of subject matter, mostly deeply melancholy ponderings about love, mortality, artificial emotion, pacifism, and deception, while telling the story of Yoshimi's battle. The title character is believed to be an allusion to Boredoms/OOIOO member Yoshimi P-We, who also performs on the album. Some listeners consider Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots to be a concept album; however, the story is debated, as it is only directly apparent in the first four tracks. However, despite the story-type title and science fiction themes of the album, the Flaming Lips frontman, Wayne Coyne, has made it clear that the album is not intended to be a concept album" [Wiki]That kind of worked out that a Flaming Lips-curated NY ATP happened right around the time of 9/9/9 (when the Boredoms would want be be back in NY anyway to do their follow up show to 8/8/8 and 7/7/7).
Wayne could also be seen walking around and enjoying the upstate NY festival throughout the weekend. One great moment happened earlier on Sunday as Deerhoof drummer Greg Saunier took time out from their set to thank everyone. As he thanked the Lips for inviting them, he turned his head to the side of the stage to direct his comment right at Wayne, who was in fact standing there watching.
No, there weren't old songs. Yes, they did play 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'. BBG's take on it, and the rest of the pictures from the weekend are coming soon (though Day One are already HERE). An interview we did with Wayne (with Ryan Muir-taken portraits) is coming soon too. The rest of the Flaming Lips pics and the setlist, below....