Other Music's Latest and Greatest at Ace Hotel New York
Other Music, our favorite local record shop in the East Village, curates choice vinyl and CDs for Ace Hotel New York. This is their latest delivery — Dirty Projectors, Twin Shadow and Lijadu Sisters from Nigeria. If you’re staying with us and have a jones for something fresh to play on your turntable, just call the front desk and have it hand delivered. Or drop by if you’re in the neighborhood and bring it home with you.
SWING LO MAGELLAN — DIRTY PROJECTORS
Rather than shaking off the R&B pop embrace of Bitte Orca and flittering back into avant-chamber rock territory, Dirty Projectors go for broke on Swing Lo Magellan. While there are still off-kilter rhythms, weird strings, dense vocal harmonies and spindly guitars to spare, it’s all distilled down to its purest essence, as if meant for heavy rotation on some imaginary frequency between Lil Wayne, Philip Glass, the Beatles and King Sunny Ade, with listeners glued to their radios.
CONFESS — TWIN SHADOW
Dominican born, Florida raised, Brooklyn-forged George Lewis Jr. aka Twin Shadow returns with Confess, a brilliant follow-up to his critic-approved 2010 breakout Forget. Opening with a wash of heavy synth and sampled chorus out of a G-rated 80s fantasy film, the timeless touches throughout the album feeling happily congruous; yes, that bass line does recall a long lost Japan B-side from 1979, so cry for joy that it’s been duly dusted off. Lewis has refined his stage persona into a torrid pop idol pin-up. He pulls it off, and then some.
SUNSHINE — LIJADU SISTERS
This is the latest in the Knitting Factory’s reissue series of the music of Taiwo and Kehinde Lijadu, the mesmerizing Nigerian singing twins. Sunshine, The Lijadu Sisters’ third album from 1978, has a bright swagger and buoyant tempo that beckon from the first track forward to “Come and Dance”. Biddy Wright, who co-arranges and plays most of the instruments, outshines even his own previous efforts. Bringing back the electric guitar and organ featured prominently in Danger, he throws some dreamy synth into the mix for a psychedelic disco feel on “Promise”. A rocksteady vibe comes through at times with heavy horns and bass for an acid jazz momentum on “Reincarnation”.
Every Tuesday night this August, DJ Akalepse of Brooklyn’s Truth & Soul Records hits the decks in the lobby of Ace New York. Between raising roofs from Berlin to Props at Le Poisson Rouge, running a record label and shooting videos for the Faithful Man himself, Lee Fields, we’re glad he could spare a moment to share a few words.
You recently spent some time in Germany. We all know the Poets of Rhythm. What’s the current state of Deutschfunk?
There were some recent conversations at T&S about putting out a new Poets Of Rhythm project. Germany’s music scene is full force right now — I was in Berlin, the place is pretty amazing.
Listening through the Truth and Soul catalog, is it safe to say the difference between a re-issue and a new release may be less than obvious?
I guess that really depends on how much music you listen to and how you listen to it. For sure, there are people who think some of the newer things in the catalog are from yesteryear, but what’s nice these days is that the press is starting to get out of their little retro box and notice that what we do has an analog & warm aesthetic. It comes from recording equipment from a different time in technology, but it’s done in a completely modern way. At the end of the day, good music is good music, good production and song writing is good production and song writing. Music can certainly be timeless.
Is there a final frontier for crate diggers? What and where was one of your luckiest or unlikeliest finds?
I guess the final frontier is if you decide you don’t want to do it anymore. There are certainly more records than you could ever find. Any time I find a record that I really like it feels lucky to me — nothing unlucky in the game at all……..the whole thing is a luxury.
Can anybody fuck with Lee Fields?
"Comparison is the shortest road to unhappiness", and in that respect, of course not.
Work Magazine and Gloria Noto are national treasures. As art, fashion, design and music become increasingly co-opted by the world of corporate marketing, we need tastemakers and champions of the underground ever more with each passing season. Gloria — like the best of the best who have come before her — follows her instinct when curating exhilarating content for Work; she knows it when she sees it because she feels it. Work Magazine can now be found in rooms at Ace Hotel & Swim Club — leaving your room with one in the morning and reading it by the pool with a Bloody Mary and French Toast breakfast is highly recommended.
We wanted to ask Gloria about her background, her work and her daydreams. She obliged.
You grew up in Detroit. Being from the archetypical blue-collar American city must have something to do with the magazine’s proletarian name.
That is a very interesting angle. It very well could have been a part of the many ingredients that make up the basis of the title and concept of The Work Magazine. Growing up in Detroit gave me a fierce work ethic and follow through with the things I set out to accomplish. To be from Detroit means to be a fighter and a hard worker. It’s tough out there, so you have to be tough with it.
What does the magazine as a blank canvas mean to you as people, artists, citizens?
Each time I launch an Issue, the very next day, I am faced with another blank canvas and all the hopes and dreams I would like to set to accomplish with the following issue. Having the magazine be such a great platform for myself to express and connect my feelings and interests to the world is such a great feeling for me…to connect…that’s all we really want to do itsn’t it? And then there is the greater purpose of The Work Magazine, to be a blank canvas for those involved. To help them push the limits to submit something of the issues concept, but submit something that forces them to think outside the box, or get out side of their comfort zone. And now take that one step higher, and reach the reader…having them hold that once blank canvas in their hands and shown something they haven’t seen in other magazines, or in general, and to teach them something new, to give them something new to store in a crinkle of their brain. Like before mentioned, to connect. That’s what a blank canvas means to me.
Does it feel like work?
A lot of people say that if you love what you do, it will never feel like work…I disagree! Yes it feels like work, because it is work. It takes a lot of time, a lot of back and forth and searching, a lot of bumps, etc. And when you are a very small family that mainly does this as a labor of love, it takes even more work. But with that said, the work is so gratifying, and such a learning experience with every individual I meet, or bump that I encounter, that it makes the work enjoyable at even it’s harder points. I am lucky to have a strong team that keeps things together for me when I feel like I am at my last, and a team that is constantly bringing new and interesting point of views to the table. Without them, there would be a really sad magazine. So yes, it feels like work, but who says a work feeling can’t be a good feeling!?
What has inspired you in the last 24 hours or so?
My girlfriend Ally and the little pow-wow conversations we have while taking a very long walk around the SilverLake Reservoir. We get on topics of work often and have such a great banter on back and forth ideas on what we want to accomplish and how we can do these things. And then there was the neighborhood I was walking in while having this conversation, Silverlake is such an inspiring little town full of beautiful homes, nature, artistic people, and amazing food… Every time I walk in my neighborhood I feel a dueling sense of peace and excitement. I can feel the creative energy all around me and that makes me feel creative in return.
If you were packing your bags and leaving LA today, where would you be moving to?
Are we talking realistically here? Because I would have to take into account where I could continue to work, if that was the case. But since I have a feeling that you don’t mean a realistic answer, I would say Berlin. I haven’t been yet, but I think it would work out.
Why did The Work need to be?
The Work Magazine needed to be because I needed an outlet to be. I am a makeup artist as well, and am constantly surrounded by these amazing individuals whom I thought deserved recognition, rather than the same bull shit that I would see over and over again in magazines, used only because the client would be paying them for product placement rather than because the item or the concept had soul. I felt that a lot of soul was missing from publications and that I also wanted to leave a mark on the transitioning magazine world. I wanted to show the world what I thought was interesting and to hopefully have them share the same view, and in doing so, share these amazing artists with the world.
Do you have a favorite magazine on airplanes?
I don’t have a specific one, but I did grab the most recent issues of BUST, LOVE, GentleWoman, and Dosier, and a new favorite Kinfolk on my last flight to NYC. They helped me through the whole flight.
If a fictional character was curating an issue of The Work, who would it be?
Someone with a severe case of schizophrenia, ADD, and great taste. Maybe Andy Warhol.
Mike Mills is an artist, filmmaker, photographer, musician, handsome gentleman and multi-disciplinary imagination vessel. His recent film Beginners arrives on the heels of decades of nimble, idiosyncratic and hella special work like his other films Thumbsucker and Paperboys (among others) and his music videos for Yoko Ono and Air, as well as album covers for Sonic Youth, Beastie Boys and Ol’ Dirty Bastard. If you saw him in that seminal documentary of outsider art, Beautiful Losers, you probably remember what an eloquent voice he has on behalf of his craft, and on behalf of being human. That voice, carried over into his film, print and other work, is what moves us so deeply.
Mike has created a pair of limited edition printed posters for Commune — the group of people who helped design Ace Hotel & Swim Club, and old friends of Ace; you can see some behind-the-scene shots of Mike working on the posters on their blog here. The prints are centered on civil disobedience, and we had a chance to ask the man in question about what counts as disobedience and why color is a power tool.
You are civilly disobedient in much of your work — both via civil disobedience and by being civil while being disobedient. Is art a friendly way to disobey? Does being friendly make change more possible in the world?
Who was it that said if you’re going to break some laws you should dress nicely as to not be detected. I think that’s a powerful metaphor. I think the art world is actually too open for disobedience to be very impactful, that’s partly why I prefer to work in the design context or the entertainment world — while there is less room for subversion, I feel that what you can get away with in that context just has more traction in terms of making the world a bit more open. And lastly, yes, I love courtesy, friendliness, empathy and manners and I think all those qualities can be lethally subversive.
You’ve designed books, scarves, advertisements, music videos, fabrics and probably a bunch of stuff no one but you has ever seen. How do all the mediums you’ve used inform one another? When you’re designing or imagining, do you have a specific medium in mind? How does this change when you’re working on a commission or for a specific brand or project?
I very often just have ‘interests’ or maybe they’re obsessions and things on my heart and mind that are churning, churning, churning, and they come out in whatever opportunity is in front of me (a shirt, part of a script, a record cover, etc.). And yes, something I do in an art show can totally help me figure out a problem I’m having with a script, or something I learn doing a record cover can teach me about how I want to film something. I think I took my Bauhaus book I got in high school way too seriously and I thought this was how it was going to be in the future, everyone was gonna have multidiscplinary artistic lives, and that most of those ‘discplines’ were little lies made up by cultural institutions and schools anyways.
Color and you seem to have a great relationship. You have a way with gold foil. And Beginners has some beautiful full-screen color blocks. Is it California-born blood that brings out all this color? What does it mean to you? Can bright colors be sad? Can gold be depressing?
To be honest, I don’t totally know where all that came from. My father was, in addition to an art historian, a flag designer and did really amazing work that was always around the house. My mother loved minimalist art and color-field paintings, and I do carry that with me. I often feel a simple field of color says so much, is gorgeously open-ended and inviting, and, like music, works on a much more interesting and powerful subconscious level. And let’s face it, color is cheap — you get a lot of bang for your buck with a field of color and I really admire and respect that simple power.
What’s it like to make a movie about relationships when you’re in a relationship with someone who makes movies about relationships? Do you find yourselves in there sometimes, or is it a kind of therapeutic fiction (knowing that fiction is a great form of truth-telling)?