New York City’s Electronic Indie Kids Inspire a Cartoon Adventureland
Flying buccaneers, a psychedelic teapot and a golden-nosed narwhal all contribute to the fantastical world of “We Are Golden,” the third video from Brooklyn-based indie band Black Light Dinner Party. After the success of 2012’s B.L.D.P EP and its video for “Gold Chain” starring legendary adult film star Ron Jeremy, “We Are Golden” offers a first glimpse of the band's much-anticipated debut album. Singer Jack Côté croons over a shimmering synth-pop lullaby, accompanied by Zach Lipkins on drums, Joel Friedman on keys and Dan Stevens on bass as his lyrics are twisted into an irreverent, dreamy adventure by animator Jonathan Seligson. “We had some ideas and sent them over,” says the band, “but when Jonathan responded with the following we just decided to go with it: ‘A Barbarella-type Eskimo adventurer and her polar bear companion race against a trio of Czarist-style Russian pirates on giant flying Tetris pieces.’” Although an acolyte of master storytellers Hayao Miyazaki and Walt Disney, Seligson looked to TV—specifically the Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time and Dexter’s Laboratory—as references for the technicolor trippiness. “The story, setting and character dynamics came to me spontaneously upon hearing the song for the first time,” the animator recalls. “As I listened, the imagery simply manifested in my mind’s eye.” We asked each band member to describe the appeal of their own favorite animated classic.
Jack: “Ratatouille. It makes me cook something delicious, French, and bad for me to eat while watching. That might be more about the food though.”
Zach: “Kung Fu Panda. I like a panda who marches to the beat of his own drum.”
Joel: “The Triplets of Belleville. I’m amazed by all the visual detail. I love how the animators exaggerate the physical features of the characters, they look like caricatures of real people.”
Dan: “Waking Life. The film used various artists who layered animation on top of actual footage, creating a dreamlike effect that I find beautiful.”
The Cuban-American Artist Takes Us Out of the Gallery and on to London’s Concrete Streets
Concrete sculptures and large-format expressionistic paintings that combine collected ephemera with layered oils and graffiti-style brushstrokes bring the streets into the gallery for José Parlá’s exhibition Broken Language, opening today at Haunch of Venison in London. In this documentary short, the New York-based, Miami-born artist mines inspiration from the pavements of Hackney for this latest solo show, giving us a peak into his signature practice of recording the urban environments he visits in his multimedia works. “London spirals and circles,” observes the artist of the crazy, unplanned structure of the UK capital that is reflected in the dynamic wall-sized pieces currently on display there. “There are veins of alleyways and streets that go in different directions, and you have to know the routes to get around.” Parlá has been visiting the city since the late 90s, and notes how both the natural and built environments have a distinct impact on its inhabitants in comparison to his adopted home. “The infrastructure is different, the colors are different, the vegetation is different, the grey skies are different—and when you have light, it’s very special,” says Parlá, who makes multiple trips to a locale when studying it for his creations. “There is a lot of psychology that goes with how a city is built.”
Broken Language runs at Haunch of Venison, London through March 28.
Director Zoe Cassavetes Weaves a Debauched Love Triangle to the Beats of the French DJ Duo
Zoe Cassavetes’ narrative romp for the infectious track “Paris” by Scratch Massive casts Cécile Cassel, Louis-Marie de Castelbajac and Charles Derenne as three young friends who, fueled by red wine, pearls and lust, romantically unravel in an apartment on the Canal St. Martin. Comprised of DJs Sebastien Chenut, who is married to Cassavetes, and Maud Geffray, Scratch Massive are known for their dark, melodic electronic music and film scores for Cassavetes (Broken English, 2007), Henry Alex Rubin (Murderball, 2005) and Yolande Zauberman (Would You Have Sex With An Arab?, 2011). For “Paris”, taken from their latest album Nuit de Rêve, they teamed up with Icelandic singer Daníel Ágúst of GusGus. The narrative short is the latest collaboration between the band and Cassavetes, beginning with her interpretation of their single "Like You Said" in 2007. This time around, Cassavetes wanted to make “a 1970s style movie trailer” and took cues from Looking For Mr. Goodbar and American Gigolo. The film’s most prominent influence, however, is the director’s adopted hometown. “This is not the typical tourist version we see in every movie about the city,” she says. “We shot where I really feel it is my Paris.”