Up in Flames

Manitoba - Up in Flames

Manitoba/Caribou - Up in Flames

Dan Snaith’s first album, Start Breaking My Heart (2000), is usually categorized as folktronica or intelligent dance music (IDM), in the vein of Boards of Canada and Four Tet. Samples are precisely calibrated and meticulously arranged in exact sequences. It is an appropriate sound given Snaith’s academic background: a B.Sc. from Toronto and a Ph.D. from Imperial College, both in mathematics; his father and sister are also mathematicians. In contrast, his sophomore album, Up in Flames (2003), is a messy, vibrant, wall-of-sound that wears its bliss on its sleeve and smacks of instant gratification. It is shocking to discover that both albums were similarly composed on a computer; Snaith cooks up a delightful smorgasbord of echoing vocals, punishing drums, animal sounds, organ blasts, and strummed guitar. Serving suggestion: enjoy with headphones on a sunny, carefree day. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

New Order Goes Kaputt

In its February 2012 issue, MOJO has enclosed a CD of covers by different bands of New Order’s Power, Corruption, & Lies (1983). The timing is bittersweet, as the tension between Peter Hook (who has been touring Joy Division’s back catalogue) and the two other original members of the band, Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris, has recently escalated in public spheres. The chance of a full reunion is rather slim.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Music

“They rejected brushes and pencils in favor of drafting tools and photography”

The Art Institute of Chicago is currently hosting an exhibition titled “Avant-Garde Art in Everyday Life” which follows six artists working in Eastern Europe primarily from the 1920’s and 1930’s in the world of design. As the exhibition overview tells, these artists “rejected brushes and pencils in favor of drafting tools and photography,” choosing not to create fine art, but to bring their work to the people through posters, books, magazines, and even office supplies and stationary. The six artists are similar and at times their work overlaps in space, style and intent, but I found the second half of the exhibit – that focusing on the work of Latvian Gustav Klutsis, Russian El Lissitzky and German John Heartfield – to be the more interesting. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Art, Exhibitions

Califone at Empty Bottle

As I listened to Califone play, I thought to myself that this band’s music seems composed entirely of grace notes. Sure, there are melodies, lyrics and all the traditional trappings of standard pop, but what makes it so enjoyable is everything else. Twittering rhythms and layered sounds are accentuated by subtle and ever-changing percussion. There are bells and rattling beads and wind chimes and stings and grungy, dirty, grinding bass guitar licks all floating below Tim Rutili’s ghostly voice. To say the music is just grace notes isn’t fair, but it characterizes how different this group’s sound is. It’s post-rock and experimental, but with a folk heart and loveable DIY aesthetic.

Califone

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Concerts, Music

This, My Friends, is What a Cocktail Party Should Look Like (Part 2)

This is the second of our two part post on the Summer 2011 edition of Four Eleven, a  recurring cocktail party held by the authors of bybe. In this post, knowb discusses his contributions to this iteration which featured a menu of all original drinks. If you haven’t done so already, check out the first post here which introduces Four Eleven and details contributions from bybe’s other author, mccowan. Again, both authors graciously thank Mandy McGee for photographing the event and allowing us to reproduce her pictures here. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Drinks, Mixology

This, My Friends, is What a Cocktail Party Should Look Like (Part 1)

Your two authors here at bybe collaborate on many things besides cobbling together the occasional posts you stop by to read. One of those things is a recurring cocktail party we call Four Eleven where we can flex our mixology muscles and hone our bartending skills. The parties are of course very fun, but we take them seriously and use them as an opportunity to challenge ourselves, to experiment, and to gain new experiences and much needed practice. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Drinks, Mixology

The Tree of Life

The Tree of Life

Not without controversy, the Palme d’Or at Cannes this year was awarded to The Tree of Life, the fifth film in nearly forty years by American director Terrence Malick. As the title suggests, The Tree of Life attempts to relate our cosmic origins, the mundane and sometimes tragic occurrences of our lives, and aspects of our emotional and spiritual selves like love, redemption, and forgiveness. Without too much spoiler, the anniversary of a tragedy necessitates a phone call between father and son. Most of the film is spent on a journey through the son’s memories and thoughts on existential questions that are ultimately raised when one recalls an event of this enormity, as if the viewer were privy to the flashbacks and mental images behind the closed eyelids of a person deep in recollection. As such, The Tree of Life is impressionistic and not strictly temporally ordered, which may alienate filmgoers – it continues to polarize critics after Cannes.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Art, Film