Kamasi Washington: Truth. Even if you don’t like jazz you will love this.


I can hardly believe that only 300,000 have viewed this at the time of writing.

It’s a piece called Truth by Kamasi Washington and please find 14 minutes in your life to watch this on fullscreen at full volume.

For those of you who don’t know, Kamasi Washington is an American Jazz Saxophonist and has worked extensively with Kendrick Lamar (on to Pimp a Butterfly. the best album of 2015) and many others.

It’s the final movement in a five movement piece conceived for the Whitney Museum in New York’s 2017 Biennial called Harmony of Difference and the film was directed by A G Rojas , a Barcelona based film director who’s also made videos for the likes of Jack White.

The centrepiece of the film fits the slow movement, within the movement as a whole, and features the longest, slowest zoom and pan you will ever see.  Orson Welles would be proud of it.

I first heard this on the amazing Giles Peterson show on BBC 6 Music (it’s a treasure trove of beautiful, jazz, jazz influenced and electronica that makes a Saturday afternoon a very fine thing – or listen to his show in download form on the BBC iPlayer).

Incidentally for the sharp eared among you the central six note theme (that’s introduced on the guitar) is virtually identical to Gorgeous George by Edwin Collins.  Not that I am criticising this, but it was nagging away at me as to what I knew it from.

Baby Driver: Movie Review.


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The poster says that Baby Driver is the coolest movie of the summer.  I don’t know that that aspiration is king size but in my view it fails to achieve even those unlofty heights.

It is QUITE cool but it’s reliance on music as a key plot device requires the music to be cool as…

It isn’t.

The anchor song, Queen’s Brighton Rock, isn’t even Queen’s coolest song.  Not by a long way.

The title credits, where our hero (Baby) walks the streets of Atlanta to the sound of Harlem Shuffle is clever as the lyrics pop up as street graffiti, shop names and so on but it’s trying soooo hard.

The car chases are invariably high quality but I felt some of the casting was a bit gash.  Love interest, Lily James, doesn’t cut the mustard and Baby (Ansel Elgort) created no real empathy.

But the biggest crime is the OST.

Come on guys you could have done better than that.

Apart from Hocus Pocus by Focus and Egyptian Reggae by Jonathan Richman it was just kind of meh!  It ain’t no Tarantino soundtrack.

Now THAT’s cool.

Jamie Foxx is largely unintelligible. But John Hamm and Kevin Spacey put in good, professional efforts.

This movie aspires to coolness, but it left me a little cold.

 

Why Damien Hirst may be the most important artist of a generation.


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The critics (generally) loathe Damien Hirst.  They despise his art ‘factory’  They don’t like his populist approach to creating art.

They see him as an arrogant upstart with a pop sensibility.

They mistrust his popularity among ‘consumers’.

I love him.

And I love him even more having made a trip to Venice specially to see his “Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable.”

It’s a massive piss take on an incomprehensible scale. (194 pieces created by 250 craftspeople in 5 countries)

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As the show notes state (all a lie) in 2008 a vast wreckage was discovered off the coast of East Africa.  A wealthy ex slave, Cif Amotan II, (an anagram of I am a fiction) accumulated a vast collection of artefacts the length and breadth of the ancient world (oh, and Disney).  The treasures were brought together on board a ship called the Apisos (translated from Koine Greek as the ‘Unbelievable‘) destined for a purpose built temple the ship sank in the Indian Ocean and lay there for two thousand years before being discovered in 2008.

Many of the pieces (prior to ‘restoration’) are encrusted in barnacles, corals and other marine life.

The show opens with a video of the plundering of the ship’s contents (in actual fact these are Hirst’s creations dropped onto the seabed for immediate recovery.  It’s all staged.)

Set in two massive palaces (the Palazzo Grassi and the Punto Della Dogana) you are met in the colossal atrium of Palazzo Grassi by the show’s spectacular centrepiece Demon with a bowl.  

It stands 18 metres tall and although it’s made of Resin it appears to be bronze.

Your jaw literally drops.

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Then begins the journey.

Most of the pieces are cast in bronze with painted coral and underwater flora and fauna.  Some of these are simply breathtaking in their beauty.  But there are also pieces made from Jade, Malachite, Gold, Silver, Cararra and Pink marble,

Here we go…

Piss take #1.  How exactly did this appear on the floor of the Indian Ocean in 100 AD?

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This is stunning.

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I mean, at auction these pieces will sell for millions (individually).

This piece is called Andromeda and the Sea Monster and measures 4 metres by 6 metres and is made entirely of bronze.

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It’s mind boggling.

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This is kind of Goofy. (Piss take #3).

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Now he’s taking the Mickey…

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…and here it is being ‘recovered’.

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Just beautiful.

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And again.  (It’s Kate Moss.)

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Unknown Pharaoh in Blue Granite, Gold and white agate.

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Huge.

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Did the Ancient Egyptians wear nipple rings?  I suspect not.

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Two mummies.

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Piss take #4. Look closely.

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Sphynx.

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Nice boobs.

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Piss take #5.  Beautiful Pink Marble torso…

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…but look at the back of it…

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And here’s ‘the collector’

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Look at the detailing in this.

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It’s miraculous, profound, beautiful, funny and the art critics can talk a walk.

Go see it.

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Retina Festival 2017. (Celebrating photography at its very best)


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Get yourself along to Ocean Terminal in Leith to view the outstanding Emerging Talent show at the Image Collective Gallery on the top floor.

Retina is in its fourth year and over that period it has done more to showcase great photography in Scotland than just about anybody else.

This year is no different.  Indeed next Tuesday sees the opening of the Association of Photographers 2016 Photography Awards Show at Out of the Blue.

And there’s a great show by Hellen Van Meene and Bryn Griffiths at Summerhall until the 15th July.

But last night was about the newbies and I had the great pleasure of talking to two of them.  Both delightful human beings. Rod Penn

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In particular we had a long chat with Suzanne whose architectural series called Ethereal Industry multi layers images of beautiful industrial and agricultural units to creat a ghostly world of weird but truly beautiful structures.  She rightly won a BIPP award for this collection.

It’s brilliant.

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The Hungary Pavilion at Venice Biennale 2017. Our favourite.


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There’s much to savour at La Biennale but this was our collective favourite.

Here’s what they say about it.

“Peace on Earth!” by Gyula Várnai and curated by Zsolt Petrányi is a project based on the viability and the imminent need of utopias; it’s about the disillusion we have about the future and about the things that have not come true, but especially it’s a show concerning new technologies, global economies and natural crisis, giving the viewer the chance to make a deep reflection on a future that is growing faster than before.

The entire pavilion is just a stunning display of modern art but this piece stole it for us.

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The rainbow needs closer scrutiny.  Turns out is made up of a kaleidescope of 1960’s pin badges…

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Like this one…

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We didn’t see Gyula Várnai’s neon piece at night but this is how it looks

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The Biennale is incredible.  This won our vote.