William Onyeabor: Fantastic Man

New York Roller Dancers Skate to the Nigerian Synth Pioneer’s Swirling Beat

“We were looking for a group of individuals that had something otherworldly about them,” says musician and filmmaker Adam Bainbridge aka Kindness on the stars of today’s video for “Fantastic Man” by near-mythical psychedelic funk artist William Onyeabor. “I then remembered the energy, the sense of camaraderie and above all, the love of music of the Central Park skaters.” Co-directed with Camilla Wasserman, the joyous short spotlights the cosmic funk of the artist from Enugu, Nigeria, whose backstory is virtually unknown. After a prolific musical output in the 1980s, Onyeabor became a born-again Christian, refusing to talk about his past; one that may or may not have included a period studying film in the Soviet Union and setting up a recording studio, pressing plant and record label when he returned to Africa. “I found out that Damon Albarn was one of the few guys who was familiar with his music,” says Eric Welles-Nyström from Luaka Bop, the label founded by David Byrne and Yale Evelev that released last year’s critically lauded compilation, Who is William Onyeabor?. “It wasn't until we spoke with Damon that it hit me how funny Onyeabor's music can be. He told us how, after listening to the lyrics of ‘Fantastic Man’, he imagined Onyeabor’s behavior towards his lover—showering her with compliments all day long, he finally wants to get some love back.”

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Conversations (1)

  • ToddAnthony.org
    Wonderful! ..little long on length, killing its spontaneity, but truly beautiful :)

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    Heat Is On: Raquel Zimmermann

    The Brazilian Beauty Models a South American Wardrobe for Summer

    Vamping to the surf rock sounds of Pierre Langer's "Tide King", supermodel Raquel Zimmermann pairs her coy pout with Gidget dance moves in a fashion short by photographer Manuel Nogueira. The pulp cinemainspired film showcases the best of Brazil’s design talent, offering a sartorial guide for a Sao Paolo wardrobe from the likes of Alexandre Herchcovitch, Andrea Marques and Pedro Lourenco. Brazilian ELLE chose Zimmermann to star in their August 2011 issue; the film above offers a glimpse of their summer edit. "I think her secret is that she has stayed cool for all these years," ELLE Brazil's fashion editor Susana Barbosa says of Zimmermann. "She really has a passion for fashion, and is more interested in creating gorgeous images than becoming a celebrity." Hailing from Rio Grande do Sul (the southernmost Brazilian state famed for producing Gisele Bündchen), Zimmermann was discovered at the age of 14, and was soon livening up the catwalk for Chanel, appearing on the cover of French Vogue and fronting cosmetic campaigns for Dior. After more than a decade at the top, she appears as the face of no less than seven campaigns this fall, including Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Alexander Wang, Jimmy Choo and Sao Paolo-based brand Animale. 

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    Sunrise, Sunset: Washed Out

    A Dawn Chorus from the Psychedelic Dreamer Heralds a New Series with Yours Truly

    “It was interesting to see the changes in color that happen over the course of two or three hours,” says Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, describing the spectacle of the Californian coast before dawn that kicks off Sunrise, Sunset, a new NOWNESS series created by music filmmaking collective Yours Truly. “I can’t remember the last time I slowed down enough to soak all of that in.” The film segues from the beauty of beachside town Carmel into a hushed early morning performance of “Paracosm,” the eponymous track from the Sup Pop signing’s second album. Written in and around Greene’s countryside home outside Athens, Georgia, the album’s electronic flourishes and dreamlike aesthetic chime with the picturesque landscape captured here. “The week before the band arrived, we went out on adventures along a stretch from Carmel to Monterey and down to Big Sur,” says director Babak Khoshnoud, who in 2009 co-founded Yours Truly alongside William Abramson and Nate Chan. “It reminded us of the sounds and visuals that the record contains; it’s a soundtrack to summer, regardless of the season.”

    Look out for NOWNESS' bespoke dusk and dawn collaborations with Yours Truly during the coming months.

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