Ephemerama #9

I’ve been getting some interesting questions on my work lately, many center on where I get the inspiration for my work. I often wonder, are artist just more imaginative than the population in general, or are they more determined to make art from their musings. Well in an attempt to answer some of those inspiration questions I thought I’d take a minute to give a playlist of sorts of the music that I listen to when I make my artwork. I’ve provided YouTube links to most of the music.

To begin with let me first state that I’m an NPR junkie and that’s often what’s on in the background, particularly in the mornings. My studio days often start at 6 am and my morning routine starts with WNYC for Morning Edition, the BBC and the Brian Lehrer Show. (See WNYC here). But around noon or so I set into my jam sessions. Most of my work is inspired by metal music, though for the sake of my studio mates I rarely play that music when I’m working. I’ve really been into three bands lately, Messhugah, Mastodon and Everytime I Die. Here’s my list of the top tracks from these bands.

1. Messhugah: Bleed

2. Messhugah: obZen

3. Messhugah: Straws Pulled at Random

4. Mastodon: Capillarian Crest

5. Mastodon: This Mortal Soil

6. Mastodon: Blood and Thunder

7. Everytime I Die: This Great Secret

8. Everytime I Die: Embolarama

9. Everytime I Die: Decayin With The Boys. See there amazing video below

There are several others in the metal category I listen to, mostly on Pandora. I’ll go into them in a later blog post perhaps. I’m also really into Trans Am lately. They’re a sorta rock sorta electronica group out of the Washington, D.C. area. I guess there officially known as a post-rock group. I’ve really been into their 2007 album called “Sex Change” especially the tracks “Conspiracy of the Gods” and “Triangular Pyramid”. Their album “Red Line” is a classic for anyone into that genre.

I consider myself pretty diverse in musical tastes so I listen to a lot of different stuff to get me going artistically besides metal and rock. I’ve been getting my R&B and Pop fix in with a lot of Erykah Badu lately especially her awesome “Mommas Gun” record from the mid 2000’s. Of course D’Angelo’s new record “Black Messiah” is an instant classic especially the last track “Another Life“. I love everything by J-Dilla. Rihanna’s “BBHMM” is fantastic and the video of the song is deliciously disturbing and dark. See her video below:

Hip hop and Rap I’ve been way late to the party on in terms of my appreciation over the years. I’ve clung mostly to chart topping acts like Jay Z and Kanye – “Mercy” is still one of the best rap songs I’ve ever heard. I’ve mentioned The Vagabondz before. I still love that they’re just out of high school. I do love Azaelia Banks too, I just wished she’d produce more and talk less – that no slight against her as a female MC mind you, I just as a fan want her talent to shine through more than her provocateur-persona. Of course there’s Nikki Minaj. I love “Feeling Myself“; and fuck all those rich musicians for adding yet another layer of filtering to get at content like the “Feeling Myself” video. I hope Tidal crashes and burns.

I’ve been on a strange classical music hiatus lately, normally I’m quite the opera fan. Opera is one of the few genres that – like metal – cause me to visualize whole series of artwork. In the past I’ve been obsessed with Tchaikovsky’s “Mazeppa” – which saved my life while driving across North Dakota, but that’s another story. I also love Donizetti’s “Elixir of Love” and Verdi “Il Trovatore” especially “Or, cu dadi“. Lately all I seem to listen to when I’m in that classical mood is Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman” and Douglas Cuomo’s “Arjuna’s Dilemma”. Here’s the overture of the “Flying Dutchman”.

Well that’s a pretty thorough list of music I regularly listen to. I also watch a lot of YouTube dance videos. I particularly like anything by the Camden Sophisticated Sisters ( see a video of them here). My friend King and I also love this New Zealand crew led by Paris Goebel’s called ReQuest Dance Crew. They have this hot new video on YouTube now. See below:

Anyway enough for now see you all next time…

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