July

MONDAY MUSIC - QUEEN

I was so excited when I bought this album when I was 11 years old. I'd been into Queen for a while as one of my older cousins turned me onto them a few years earlier.

The album cover blew me away. I sat and stared at it for a while before taking the plastic off. Then the opening track "We Will Rock You" almost made me jump out of my window it was so fkn good! I'm glad I didn't jump because the rest album is amazing,

They were already pretty big by the time "News of the World" was released but this definitely solidified them as one of the greatest bands ever. They've made so much music I love and listen to on the regular.

I don't think I've met anyone who doesn't like Queen. Maybe they weren't a huge fan but I can't recall anyone saying, "Oh, they suck!". I'd feel pretty bad for anyone who feels that way.

Anyway, enjoy this timeless classic.

FV

 

RICHARD D. WOLFF

One of my favorite guys to listen to when it comes breaking down what's broken. If you think capitalism is a winning game, take a couple hours and consider his words.

I have a deep seated hatred of Wall Street and capitalism in general. I grew up watching the wealthy slowly peel away the fabric of America, in fact, the world. Reagan and his crew were the bastards who made me understand how terrible the system was. Each president since has driven it home further and further to me. 

I'm no economy expert by any stretch of the imagination. But I have common sense and everything is heading in a really bad direction. I hope you take a listen. I don't care if you agree with me or not. I've listened to the Greenspan's and Geithner's and don't dig what's been pushed down my throat. I find extreme wealth morally reprehensible.

What says you?

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - PINK FLOYD

I'm not an uber Pink Floyd fan but they are without a doubt one of the best rock bands ever. I really like the stuff they did with Roger Waters and after he left I just kind of listened to whatever they had out on the radio or whatever.

This album is one of my favorites from any band of all time. I know it's referential to Syd Barrett but really the lyrics are quite universal to me and reflect one's own life experiences easy enough. The album has a flow that weaves each song effortlessly from start to finish.

Yep, this is one of those must have albums for me. Great stuff.

FV

 

EXPERIMENTATION

"Killed By Cop" - Fred Vee

So far I've been real happy to be participating in the exhibition / experiment my friend Marcos Fernandes and I thought up, Future Sound/Future Vision. Our first week was really cool with a good amount of visual artists showing up and going for theirs. Marcos did a few workshops and we had a live sound event. Not bad and next week we've got more live sound than this week so it should prove to be just as exciting.

For me personally I've felt a lot of freedom. A general lack of pressure that I tend to put on myself. I know a big part of that is having other people around creating. I get really inspired watching people get down and dirty with their work. We insisted on no rules, other than to listen to the sounds provided while you create, so I'm creating more and thinking less. I feel the other artists are as well. It's good mental exercise to react and just feel the vibe.

The woodcut from my previous post was created in this frame of mind, as was my painting, a child like crayon picture I did and the above drawing. I was listening to sounds that were quite mellow, with cicadas buzzing and almost tranquil. I started playing around with calligraphy brushes and ink, making shapes and what not.

Then something in that tranquility struck me as the quiet that often follows an extremely violent act. I started thinking of all the shitty videos lately of white people losing their minds in Amerikkka and calling the cops on mainly black people for, well being black while doing normal shit. I remembered reading today or yesterday was the anniversary of Eric Garner's murder by the cops. Then of all the black dudes murdered by the cops in the last few years (though it goes wayyyy back, obviously).

That stunned silence, sometimes very brief, that this really went down. That we witness another unarmed black man murdered whether you were there or we see it on video. It's fucking sad, stupid and embarrassing. It's worse that the outrage doesn't get respected and we see these yoyo's calling cops for nothing, without a thought I imagine that this could lead to the person's death (or maybe that's what they are hoping for).

And that picture above is what came out. Something I don't think I could do with my camera. Something that's amateurish and rough done in about 30 minutes but came from a place of real frustration. Something that freeing the mind of worry and getting lost allowed  it to happen.

Slowly, with inspiration from others, to think to myself, "Fuck it. Not much time left, better put down what you think." I'm trying a few new things and feeling it's what I need to be doing to get to where I want to be. 

FV

 

WOODCUT

While I've enjoyed doing linocuts, I've been a little frustrated with the results I'm getting from the material I have available to me. Something about the stuff I buy just isn't holding color well. It's often uneven and if you look at the ones I've posted you'll probably notice it, like a textured look, which isn't what I'm looking for all the time.

So I tried my first woodcut yesterday as seen above. It was just a cheap block of wood from the art store, like a thick block of plywood I guess. My first impressions were it felt much better to work with. Definitely more tactile. The first prints I made of the circle were much more jagged and rough around the edges. I was able to clean them up to the best of my ability easier than on the lino material.

I intentionally tried for a easy design but not being good at circular shapes gave myself that challenge. I found it a bit easier to make the cuts and as I mentioned clean things up. I was a little intimidated thinking it was gonna be kind of beastly but found it enjoyable to work with. Definitely a little more work required and my hands are a bit sore as I had to carve away all the white you see in the print. 

I have another block of wood that I'm gonna start on soon, hopefully this week. Probably try something with more detail to get a feel for that. Then I'll likely go to the home center and buy some various woods and see what's what and what suits me.

Don't think I'll give up on lino but I don't have the patience at the moment to seek out a better material. Wood variety is more plentiful here so that's the direction I'm gonna head in for now.

Btw, I follow this guy Hernan Arevalo from Costa Rica on Instagram. I love his woodcuts and he's a real inspiration to me since I started printmaking a couple months ago. Check him out.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - SUICIDE

Comprised of the late Alan Vega and Martin Rev Suicide were punk as fuck. This album came out at the height of disco and stories of them playing live are legendary. They were practically despised by all but a small legion who got what they were about.

Video is out there of Alan Vega quite high on cocaine and god knows what else, preening and provoking and generally freaking people out. It's great stuff to say the least. They were like a mix of punk, spoken word, performance art, minimalism and satan all mixed together.

Their sound was unique. The lyrics reflected reality far more than most of the bands at the time. Punctuated by Vega's howls and screams it's not hard to see why people either loved or hated them. But over the years they've been covered by Bruce Springsteen (Dream Baby Dream, which is like tepid water compared to the original) and most notably "sampled" by M.I.A who basically just used Ghost Rider and slapped her lyrics over it.

In any event, Suicide's music is a must in your collection; people will look at you funny if it's not.

FV

 

FUTURE SOUND / FUTURE VISION

Right now, the gallery I run with my wife is having an interesting exhibition. We've assembled a group of sound artists (phonographers) and visual artists to collaborate by having the visual artists respond to the soundscapes they hear. It's all in celebration of World Listening Day 2018, which to be honest I hadn't heard of until my friend Marcos Fernandes told me about it and we came up with the idea for the exhibit.

Most of the work is being created in the gallery as the days go by, so it's constantly changing and evolving. We opened the show yesterday and got off to a really good start. It's all very serendipitous and freeform. We changed our usual hours to 2pm till 10pm so it's pretty cool having the night time vibe. To enhance it a bit more artists and visitors can bring beer or wine, kick back and chat or wait for that inspiration to hit and start making some art. Very chill atmosphere.

My wife is taking care of the visitors and what not but I'm participating on the art side. I'm aiming to make something everyday and to do a few things I don't normally do. I made a painting yesterday for example. From the sounds I've heard so far I think I'll be doing some woodcuts, probably some image transfers and some freestyle sketching.

If you are in a reasonable distance to Yokohama I'd recommend stopping by. We've got a really creative group of people on both ends. The sound stuff is worth the trip alone. Amazing, high quality work. Links to the website and Facebook page with all the relevant info are below:

https://launchpad-gallery.com/current-exhibition/

https://www.facebook.com/events/244563946139397/

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - TOMAHAWK

Mike Patton is to most people best known as the singer of the band Faith No More. But to his fans he is much more than that. An incredibly versatile vocalist, he has more bands, side projects, collaborations and guest appearances than I can keep up with. He might be the hardest working guy in show business that is under the radar for the general public.

When he made the scene as the replacement singer for Faith No More on their release "The Real Thing" I knew nothing about him, the album didn't do much for me and I hated the video. In retrospect, I think he probably had certain pressures put on him to mimic the trend of that time (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Fishbone, etc) and I wrote the guy off as an Anthony Keidis wannabe and tuned out from the band.

Fast forward to the mid 90's and met a woman who became my wife. I noticed she had all the Faith No More releases up to that time and asked her why she liked the band. Aside from the music she said the singer was great. I mentioned how I disliked all the stuff I mentioned and she informed me the rest of the music was nothing like that. So I put on "Angel Dust" and immediately changed my position on the band and Patton. I've been a huge fan since.

I don't want to get into all the side projects he has, but do a search if you're not familiar, you won't regret the investigation. Tomahawk happens to be maybe my favorite of his other groups, most likely because he's teamed up with The Jesus Lizard's guitarist Duane Denison (one of my favorite bands), the drummer from Helmet, John Stanier (Helmet rocks!) and Kevin Rutmanis from The Melvins (fuck yea!) on bass. That's a hell of a line up and they deliver. They recorded four albums and I like them all, though this and Anonymous probably are most in rotation.

So this post is basically for Tomahawk but really a big thanks to Mike Patton. He's a real artist, seems to keep his feet on the ground, is unflinchingly brave artistically, and I have a shit ton of respect for him.

FV

 

LINO 13

Time has not been kind to me the past few weeks. We've been planning a pretty big exhibit at the gallery and all the little things seem to eat up the most time. Suffice to say, my printmaking has been on the back burner unfortunately. 

This is the latest print I did and my personal feeling is that it looks rushed, which it was. It's also unfinished, though I think I'm gonna let it go and move on to something new. I was pretty happy with the color scheme I chose and managed to get. However, my original plan was to do with the reddish tone you see on the corners and try to make a gradient towards a lighter shade towards the center. In my rush I laid down the darker color without thinking it through properly and now that's the lightest shade I can work from. Oh well...

I also had plans to carve out more patterns across the top and bottom stripes and I still could but the blue won't show. My cuts were kind of ok but not really what I was hoping for. I was aiming to get a bunch of thin lines close together to create a kind of shading above and below the X's. Again, oh well...

I still like the print and got handed some lessons again. Planning and time are pretty important. I was stupid doing bits here and there with my eye on the clock and not at the work in front of me. I'm juggling too many hats at the moment. I feel like I'm going to do some simple designs in monochrome to be able to give the attention it deserves. 

So that's where things are at regarding my printmaking. If I can ever untangle my schedule and get more disciplined with my time, hopefully things will improve in a more definitive, concrete and noticeable way.

FV

 

MONDAY MUSIC - GUITAR MOOD

"Guitar Mood - Quite a Collection of Rare Instrumentals from Around the World!" is a gem I found on Ronald Grinder's YouTube channel. Anytime I'm in the mood for something a little off kilter, kitschy or just fascinating I go to this channel. Filled with...well I'll let Ronald speak for himself: "The pleasure of music through the timeless times / Dealer of lost sounds and emotions through the timeless times." I think that sums it up nicely. Check it out.

FV

Tracklist:
01. Tsugaru Jongara Bushi - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans (Japan)
02. Limosna de amores - Los Relampagos (Spain)
03. Damaged Goods - Ventures (USA)
04. Spatial Slow - Les Guitares (France)
05. Rising Guitar - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans
06. The Big Scroungy - The Tronics (USA)
07. Hay quien dice de Jaen - Los Relampagos
08. Changhai - Les Frangins (Belgium)
09. Nit de llampecs - Los Relampagos
10. Moscow Guitar - The Jokers (Netherlands/Belgian)
11. Johnny on His Strings - Electric Johnny & His Skyrockets (Indonesia/Netherlands)
12. Sentimental Guitar - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans
13. Java Guitar - Timebreakers (Indonesia/Netherlands)
14. Galaxie - Les Guitares
15. So-Ran Bushi - Takeshi Terauchi & Blue Jeans
16. El Cumbanchero - The Jokers

 

ALEXANDIA OCASIO-CORTEZ

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez!!! Democratic Socialist from New York’s 14th district. She might just be the new face of the shitty weak ass Democratic party. She seems like the real deal and I’m becoming more impressed with her the more I see her.

She's a working class woman, on message, seems pretty fearless and makes no excuses for being a socialist. She's said that she'd be happy to see new leadership for the Dems in the House, something long overdue. Learn more about her in conversation with journalist Glenn Greenwood. Then look up more about her. Right now she's the only good news out there.

Fight the power!

FV