A Night with Beers and Music

Yesterday I was hanging out with my couchsurfer at home, drinking beer and taking turn to play some of our favorite music on the TV. Surprisingly this is my favorite from his list:

Well, yes, it’s a recent fashion show of Burberry but the live music is truly amazing, especially the last two songs. RHODES, who sang Raise Your Love, is a British musician that has only issued several EPs so far. I love the devotion in his voice. The last song Only Love Can Hurt Like This is even more incredible, wow, the emotion so intense even desperate, the mighty, soulful voice. The singer, Paloma Faith, who I have never heard before, won the female solo artist at Brit Award this year – another strong British female voice after Duffy, Winehouse and Adele.

Another video I remembered from last night is this powerhouse performance from Matt Corby: Song For Interlude.

alt-J

Two friends recommended alt-J to me recently and wow they are terrific! Instantly feel clicked and definitely haunted by this Breezeblocks. This song is so fucking sick, the music video is very intriguing as well.

Tessellate from their debut album.

Two music videos for the same song Left Hand Free from their recent sophomore album.

btw, just bought a ticket to see them live in Berkeley in April. Yeah!

Boxed

This is my work for the second assignment of the Photography As Art II class at Stanford.

Assignment: Use at least 5 photographs to form a narrative.

I was trying to emulate David Hilliard, but it turns out to be WAY MORE difficult than I thought. First of all, I can’t align the lines, it’s almost impossible with my 35mm camera especially I also moved my frame. Second, David’s props are carefully designed, while I am basically shooting whatever is there. Third but most importantly, I never did location scouting or communicate with my model, all the details were only in my head before they quick fell apart in reality.

I ended up with Nico’s idea of using this space where lights shed perfectly through a window into the hallway. There are nine photographs in this series, with the same backdrop but Nico placed in different corners of the frame. We had about more than 40 different compositions, yet it wasn’t too hard to pick the photos. Here it is, “boxed”.

Model: Nico, shot on 5D Mark II with EF 50mm f/1.4 lens.

 

[Update on 2015/02/24]
There are several really valuable comments I got from the critics tonight:
1. People constructed all kinds of narratives. My initial concept is a guy gets trapped at home (or any confined space) and really bored. But at the critic, besides my version, there were also
– waiting anxiously outside labor room
– imitating a cat
– having stomachache
I’m glad there was such variety of responses, which at least proves the series does provoke narratives.
2. People love how the clothes (plain blue shirt + blue jeans) contrasts the wall (white) and wooden floor.
3. Adam loves the mirror on the wall, it makes the composition more interesting especially in some of the pictures it’s blocked by the head of the character.
4. People are divided in whether the bike is redundant. Adam thinks the bike ruins the minimalist style, while I think it makes the scene more realistic. (I later totally agree with Adam, now I wish it were not there!)
5. People like the grid, they like the square frame, and they like the empty picture in the center.

stromae

A French friend invited me to see this guy’s concert in Oakland. I’m not a big fan of house music but apparently every French speaking friend of mine knows him so I decided to give it a try. In fact, he got some pretty catchy songs like these:

But what I found most interesting is his lyrics and the ideas he tells in his song. Like in Sommeil, he says, “your roof, your job, your money, but you don’t have sleep; life, health, happiness, admit that you don’t have sleep”. Those are some really thoughtful words, and nicel summarize the reality we live in. Everybody is so busy chasing things — money, fun, companion — that sometimes we don’t have time to take a deep breath or have a good night of sleep. What’s wrong with us?

Le froid, la soif, la dalle, t’as tout
Mais tu n’as pas sommeil
Ta mère, ta femme, ta fille, y a nous
Mais tu n’as pas sommeil
Ton toit, ton taf, ta caisse, tes sous
Mais tu n’as pas sommeil
La vie, santé, bonheur
Avoue que tu n’as pas sommeil

Another song, formidable, has a really fascinating music video. The story is here.

Future Islands

I simply can’t stop watching this.

I must have seen the cover of Future Island’s album Singles somewhere, but it never really caught my attention…until I read picthfork’s annual Top 100 Tracks and saw this song, Seasons (Waiting On You) right there in the very top spot. So I searched for it and found this Letterman video. “Oh my god, this is so awkward”, I was thinking. But somehow I played it one more time, and one more, and I started to think, “Oh my god, this is awesome”. There is something so precious and unique in Samuel Herring’s performance, you can call it authenticity, dedication, or passion…so dynamite that he looks even a little bit sexy with his receding hairline, black t-shirt tucked in high-waist black pants and embarrassing dance moves.

As it breaks, the summer will wake
But the winter will wash what is left of the taste
As it breaks, the summer will warm
But the winter will crave what is gone
Will crave what has all… gone away

People change,
You know but some people never do
You know when people change
They gain a peace but they lose one too

Cause I’ve been hanging on you
I’ve been waiting on you

Singles is a great album. I’ve been listening to it a lot, especially during running. Love the way Samuel sings, full of life. The band doesn’t have much music videos on youtube but tons of live performances. Here are Spirit and Back in the Tall Grass.

Samuel Herring is fucking priceless.

One More Time

I rewatched Makoto Shinkai’s 5 Centimeters Per Second a few days ago, as a warm up to his new anime The Garden of Words at the Japan Film Festival (which by the way wasn’t as good as 5cm). It was the third time I watched it, but still, I feel it was sadder than I remembered. Or it’s just that now I can understand and maybe relate to that sadness more than I could five years ago. The third chapter was pretty short, followed by the theme song, and all of a sudden that familiar melody struck me. I must have loved this song for some time, although I have completely forgotten it. I found it on Youtube and listened again, and talked to my friend that even though I don’t understand a word about the song, I can hear the longing, the sorrow, the intense unspeakable emotion in it. It might be about an unforgettable love, but it could also be a song to an old mother. It’s powerful, and universal. And I started to feel tears dripping along my cheeks. Here it is, One More Time, One More Chance.