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August 26, 2014

Ibeyi: River

In the Studio with XL Recordings’ French-Cuban Duo

This week London-based label XL Recordings celebrates 25 years of turning next-big-things into global names—and following Prodigy, The White Stripes and The xx on the independent's illustrious roster is latest signing, Ibeyi. The 19-year-old French-Cuban twins Naomi and Lisa-Kainde Díaz are daughters of the late, Grammy-winning Buena Vista Social Club percussionist Anga Díaz. “We probably carry his love of mixing different musics and influences on in an unconscious way,” says Lisa, who recorded the debut album with her beat-making sister and the XL owner Richard Russell during a three-month period: “Recording with Richard has been a deep experience, we learned a lot about our music and about ourselves. He and John the engineer recorded everything that was happening in the studio. If one day you find one of our big twin fights on the internet, you know where it comes from.” Taking in Nina Simone, Meshell Ndegeocello and Reggaeton as influences, at the root of the pair’s music is the culture of ‘Yoruba,’ which was imported into Cuba from West Africa. “Yoruba's culture is part of our lives and our music; mixing ancient religious chants with other western influences is what came naturally to us when we started making songs,” says Lisa. “It traveled to Cuba with the slaves but is largely unknown, so it's important to us that people discover how profound it is.”

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Sabina: Viva L’Amour

The Brazilian Girls Singer Unveils a Pencil-on-Paper Collaboration with Artist Oliver Clegg

“We filmed Sabina in her flat in Paris and then used to footage to create the backbone of the video,” says British artist Oliver Clegg of his collaboration with Sabina Sciubba on “Viva L’Amour.” Marking the release of the lead singer of avant-garde electro-punk outfit Brazilian Girls’ debut solo album, Toujours, this is his first foray into moving-image, made with the New York design studio, Eyeball. “I met Sabina ten years ago at Nublu in the East Village, NYC when the Brazilian Girls were playing regularly on Sunday nights at the venue,” says Clegg, whose work has showcased at Art Basel Miami, Saatchi Gallery and Venice Biennale. The animation uses rotoscoping, invented in 1915 by Max Fleicher, in which stills of a film are traced in a broken sequence to give an animated, hand-drawn quality. “I wanted the piece to be full of contrasts—humorous yet sincere, childlike yet sophisticated, direct yet enigmatic, says Clegg. “The choice of drawing was part of this consistency of opposites: the desire to create dimension and conceptual spaces out of the simplest descriptive tool available, the line.”

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Jake Bugg: Messed Up Kids

The British Troubadour Reflects On a Life Once Lived in His Latest Music Video

The council estate or housing project has become de rigueur in the modern music video—but where it might sometimes be called upon to add an easy edginess to a band’s image, Andrew Douglas’ film for Jake Bugg’s new EP “Messed Up Kids” uses the location as a metaphor for the 20-year-old singer-songwriter’s position in the world. Having sold 1.5m albums since the release of his eponymous debut in 2013, Bugg feels estranged from the surroundings that nurtured his songwriting: “I don’t really live anywhere at the moment as I’m always on the road,” says the Nottingham-born guitarist, whose latest release from Rick Rubin-produced second album Shangri La comes as he tours the US, before heading to South America, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. “On the first record, I talked a lot about my hometown because I was still a big part of it. Now after everything that has happened, going back feels crazy: I’m somebody looking in from the outside.”

TALES FROM THE SET


Location
In the shadow of a council block in Bow, east London. “We wanted something gritty but ordinary so it would stand in for the Clifton Estate, where Jake is from, or indeed anywhere in the UK,” says Andrew Douglas. “Jake didn’t want to feature too much in this film, feeling that it would be disingenuous for him to still play a ‘messed up kid’ where he grew up. But he liked the idea of being the author or observer.”

Duration
A week’s scouting, casting and equipment testing; a day to shoot.

Execution
Shot at a high frame rate while tracking across the action very fast. “Justin Brown risked life and limb to hurtle across the streets of Bow, on camera. The wonderful editor Sam Ostrove at Cut and Run then found a cool way to forensically review the footage for details.”

Inspiration
The work of British social-realist photographers such as Chris Killip.

Pre-order “Messed Up Kids” EP on iTunes and vinyl. Shangri La is available now.

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