Between the Sheets with the Electronic Pop Experimentalist
Aptly for an artist who likes to keep things confessional via vBlogs and Google hangouts, today’s video features Imogen Heap in bed with her partner, the filmmaker Michael Lebor. “It was a very intimate shoot and I didn’t want anyone else in the room,” explains Lebor. “An added challenge given that the camera only recorded 10 seconds of super slow-motion at a time, so I kept having to jump up and run across the room to press 'end record', not wearing very much.” “Entanglement” was originally written for the Twilight film Breaking Dawn, but never made the final cut. The vampires didn’t bite, prompting today’s track to stand out as a relatively simple composition on Heap’s long-awaited concept album, Sparks. Three years in the making, this leftfield record seals her reputation as a sonic pioneer by way of specialized hi-tech musical gloves, a song that also exists as a running app, and crowd-sourced collaborations with her online community. “This track is different from any of the rest of them because it’s recorded in the old fashioned way,” confides the Grammy award-winning British musician. “It was nice to draw on my own experience and go in.” Heap, who is expecting her first child in November, continues to break new ground as the artist/curator of Reverb, a festival of electronica at London’s Roundhouse later this month, where she will perform “Entanglement” for the first time.
Sparks is out Monday August 18. Imogen Heap performs at The Roundhouse this Sunday August 24 as part of Reverb.
American Dance Music's Accidental Pin-Up Breaks Out in New York
Porter Robinson is the dance music prodigy who almost never was. “If it wasn’t for the internet I wouldn’t even be writing music,” explains the 22-year-old producer and DJ who was signed by Skrillex and touring with Tiesto while still only 18. “I probably would’ve grown up loving baseball, and gone to the university, and lived this totally mundane life.” You can trace the change of course back to his 12-year-old obsession with the game Dance Dance Revolution, which he was reacquainted with during the filming in New York of Barbara Anastacio’s candid short film. “I never really considered it to be much about dancing, more timing and execution, meter and rhythm,” he says. “It made me to listen to electronic music that really inspired me: after that I remember going on Limewire and hearing Daft Punk’s Discovery, which is now my favorite album of all time.” After Robinson conquered the Beatport charts in 2010, he put his plans for college in his home of North Carolina on hold and started to tour as a DJ. He holds a monthly residency at the Marquee in Las Vegas, considered the epicenter of EDM’s propensity for crowd-pleasing remixes and credit-zapping drinks bills—a hedonistic environment that Robinson is trying to escape from with his hugely anticipated second album Worlds, out this week (the soaring tracks “Sad Machine” and “Flicker” are showcased here). “The kids who listened to EDM are getting bored of how homogenized it’s become, but they still want electronic music,” he says. “I stopped Djing and tried to write the most personal, sincere thing that I could, about fictional places, escapism, and fantasy.”
Clara Cullen Crystallizes the Allure of Enhancement in Part Two of #DefineBeauty
“Everyone wants something they don’t have. It’s the principle of desire,” says Clara Cullen, the Buenos Aires-born director of Beauty Is a Form of Genius, the second film in the weekly NOWNESS series #DefineBeauty. “I’m fascinated by the idea of changing your face and body. We like to please with our looks and I don't find that immoral or shallow.” An early encounter with 'carnal' French artist Orlan, who uses her face as a surgical canvas, left an imprint on the filmmaker. “I realized plastic surgery is a performing art and while Orlan subverts it—she had two horns popping out of her head—it’s still using the same tools,” she says, also citing Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray as inspiration. Scripted in collaboration with novelist Maxine Swann, Cullen herself provides the evocative monologue, intertwining four stories that take in the universal human conditions of self-esteem, vanity, insecurity and temptation. Long blonde hair, a chiseled bone structure and surgically enhanced breasts and lips depict an Argentinian beauty prototype. “Plastic surgery is in my culture,” says Cullen, who returned to her home city to interview the cast, which included Charlotte Caniggia, daughter of Argentina’s celebrated World Cup hero, the former footballer Claudio Caniggia. “Mario Testino has a joke about us: Why do Argentinians go outside during an electric storm? Because they think God is taking photos of them.”
The next in the #DefineBeauty series A Maximum Illusion: Creme Caramel premieres Tuesday May 20.