Taking Stock

Category : Animation, Digital Media, highlight

control_masterAnimation comes in all shapes and sizes. But the use of digital technology has helped animators create animations that appear to have a traditional look and quality but are in fact multiple layers of digital information.

A case in point is the animating excellence of Run Wrake. His uses of traditional illustrations within a digital environment are impressive, quirky and wonderfully surreal. A highly original style facilitated and developed on his acclaimed short “Rabbit”. 

Last year he was commissioned by VEER, a Canadian Visual Elements Agency to produce an animation in his inimitable collage style using their vintage stock art CSA images. What he produced was the Sci-Fi pulp-comic animation short “The Control Master”. 

Set in Halftone City the story jovially depicts what happens when a powerful device falls into the hands of scientist-turned-villain Doctor Moire. Great soundtrack too.

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Gui Boratto – Take My Breath Away

Category : Digital Media, Electronica, highlight, Minimal House

guiborattoI remember what a revelation it was the first time I heard Arquipelago, one of Gui Boratto’s early singles. Although the sound of this tune was distinctively sparse his music is not definitively minimal. More importantly Boratto’s recent releases prove his ability to consistently create compelling sounds in an arena where remaining relevant is a hard task.

Now I’m not one who likes the use of vocals in electronic music unless they are heavily distorted. Indeed I tend to skip past anything that resembles a “proper” vocal. They always remind me with horror of the “I want to take you higher!” mindless disco dancer brigade. Gui Boratto is one of the rare exceptions to this rule as he manages to limit the vocals to short and minor components. On the beautifully lush “No Turning Back” Boratto’s wife, Luciana Villanova is given vocal duties. Thankfully these are short and subtly embedded into the track with plinky noises and distorted guitars and survives with no real harm done to the music. I await with anticipation a distorted vocoder vocal remix a la the 2007 “Beautiful Life “Sascha Funke Remix as a more edgy alternative.

“Take My Breath Away” develops themes and samples explored on his first album Chromophobia. On the title track Boratto employs his trademark deep throbbing drone that he so thrillingly utilized on Arquipelago. The rest of the album is liberally sprinkled with bleeps and ambient refrains and a carefully concealed bass line intermittently surfaces to dramatic effect throughout the album. This pays homage in part to New Order’s Peter Hook and shows Boratto’s ability to transcend the electronic musical genre and reach out to a wider music audience. His strength is his consistency and quality tunes and this album delivers on both.

Art, Science and Technology Converge

Category : Animation, Digital Media, Electronica, highlight


radiohead1With the relentless proliferation of digital technology its good to see art, science and technology converging to push the boundaries of creativity.

It’s no great surprise that Radiohead, familiar to breaking boundaries and tradition, would be there at the forefront of pop promo production. They recently commissioning a video that uses “No lights, no cameras – just a scanner on a dolly” for their song ‘House of Cards’. The video is created using 64 rotating lasers and shoots in a 360 degree radius at 900 times per minute. Puts a different spin on lights, camera, action….. Cue scanner, cue rotating lasers!

Director James Frost makes a bold observation stating that “In a weird way it’s a direct reflection on our society in that everything around us is data… driven… Our lives are digital.” See the video below.

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Watch the making of the video here

or have a play with the interactive head here

Meanwhile in the world of art this intriguing “Design and the Elastic Mind” website at Museum of Modern Art in New York has lots of inspiring ideas using tagging to display content. It’s a refined use of Adobe Flex Builder2 and Flash CS3.

The site covers diverse art developments into nanostructures, biological systems, topography, and cosmology where artists, scientists and programmers work in close proximity.

Julius Popp‘s bit.fall is one such example. This project unleashes a stream of randomly selected text from the internet in the form of a technologically sophisticated waterfall. Bit.fall uses 128 computer controlled nozzles to create words out of water droplets. Popp’s work is acknowledged not only by the art world but also in the field of scientific research.

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Layo & Bushwacka and Gui Boratto @ The End (My Last Night at “The End”)

Category : Electronica, Minimal House, Politics

the_endThis is a post I wrote way back in August 2008 on a previous blog. I didn’t realise it would be my last night there…..

Ever had one of those nights out clubbing where everything just turns out to be just perfect? Saturday night was one for me. When I noticed a double bill of Layo & Bushwacka and Gui Boratto at The End. I couldn’t resist revisiting a club I’d not been to in ten years.

One of the many highlights of L&B set was their mesmerising new release “Now is the Time” which includes a ‘rap’ from the late Martin Luther King. Intentionally or not it resonates with the 1968 retrospective, being the year of Dr King’s assassination, and the nostalgia that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment. There is also a sense that the similarities of the 68’s politics of the Vietnam War and the Black Civil Rights movement relate to today’s war in Iraq and the potential first black president of the United States in Barack Obama. Politics aside their set was pulsating and either way “Now is the Time” it is set to be a classic.

At 2.30am Gui Boratto appears resplendent in a Brazil scarf and the first hour of his set is taken up with his blend of South American beats and minimal techno. It appears he’s getting a little help from Layo Paskin on the digital “decks”. The words Gui Boratto “live” on the flyer means “appearing live” not “twiddling knobs live” – presumably. I leave the club at 5.30am happy, with sore feet and the night bus home.

Minilogue: Hitchhiker’s Choice – Advertisers’ Choice

Category : Animation, Digital Media, Electronica, highlight, Minimal House

minilogue-animalsMinilogue reside in Malmo. They have brought a freshness and vitality to electronica and have made a large contributed to the rise in popularity of minimal house. Another notable is The Field aka Axel Willner.

Below is the beautifully animated video that accompanies the equally great Minilogue tune “Hitchhiker’s Choice”. The stop-frame animation was created using a whiteboard and non-permanent pen by Kristofer Strom.

The video has had a high level of viewing on video-sharing sites and we know what happens when this new phenomena reaches critical mass….. In walk the those lovely advertising people to use it to sell us some product or other. Strom made a commercial for Carphone Warehouse which is shown here beneath the original. I hope he got paid well for it as the original must have been a labour of love. They’ve even kept the Minilogues’s original tune too.

Original Minilogue video

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The new Carphone Warehouse Ad “A Brief History of Communication”

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Sonar with Lyrics

Category : Animation, Digital Media, Electronica, highlight, Minimal House

sonar_with-lyricsAs this is my first post I thought I’d start with great piece of work that really got me excited when I first saw it back in February 07. It’s created using an object orientated program (OOP) called Processing which is developed by MIT, open source and free to download. It uses programming to randomise shapes and objects.


The creator of this work is a person known by the pseudonym of Flight 404. He’s chosen a track by Goldfrapp which is perfect for the style and visual representation. The images react to the layers of music.


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