Friday, February 19, 2016

Head Medicine Weekly vol 6



Head Medicine Weekly
vol 6
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sights and sounds for your eyeballs and earholes!
a new installment of Head Medicine Weekly every Friday.
follow on Facebook or Twitter for updates



 
Rod Serling on The Mike Wallace Interview
1959
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Rod Serling cut his path through the early days of television, constantly pushing against the antiseptic corporate sponsorship and censorship that dominated the era.  when Serling sat down with Mike Wallace in 1959, The Twilight Zone was still being born and had not yet aired. Serling was already very famous and highly respected as a writer by that time, and he was in demand for lucrative writing gigs in almost every media, but he was in the process of destroying his predictable future wealth and security by taking a chance on his self funded Twilight Zone.  he demanded complete creative control from his sponsors and got it.  

there's an interesting moment here at the 10:00 mark, where Serling says that he will not be exploring any controversial themes on the show, and instead will focus on science fiction and fanstasy escapism. "I don't wanna have to battle sponsors and agencies," said Serling. "I don't wanna have to push for something that I want and have to settle for second best. I don't wanna have to compromise all the time, which in essence is what the television writer does if he wants to put on controversial themes." of course, this was not true, and was meant more to throw the bloodhounds of the censors off of his trail.  Serling would smash all kinds of boundaries speaking out about racism, war, and many other issues of the day (and today), but veiled behind low-brow sci-fi.  he knew advertisers could not understand metaphor, and got away with it all.

this fascinating interview has Serling speaking about his pre-Twilight Zone career, maintaining the balance between commerce and art, and the future of the still-young television medium.










the animation of Chad VanGaalen
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Chad VanGaalen is easily one of the more restless creators out there today, churning out a never ending variety of art and music and animation, among other endeavors, from his home in Calgary.  his animation is some of the finest and most mesmerizing eye candy you can find.  this is a world where the work of Jim Woodring and Moebius somehow meet, full of bizarre alien cartoon creatures and undulating metamorphosis.  most of his videos have been for his own music, which he performs and produces himself, but he has recently branched out to interpreting other musicians work as well. last november, VanGaalen's 17-minute animated film Tarboz debuted at the GIRAF animation festival, which he wrote, animated, scored, and voiced. "It's kind of like a combination of Bob and Doug MacKenzie meets Stanley Kubrick." hmmmmm... i don't think anyone else in the entire universe can envision that other than VanGaalen, so i'm hoping that it can surface for the rest of us to see soon.   here is a sample of his work:















and if you enjoy VanGaalen's music, HERE is a cool peek into how his head works in the studio





Ugly Stickers
by Basil Wolverton, Wally Wood, and Norm Saunders
1965, 1967
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Decades before the Garbage Pail Kids, there was the hugely successful Ugly Stickers.  in 1965, Topps commissioned cartooning legend Basil Wolverton to create the series, but financial and copyright problems emerged after the first 12 cards were designed.  Norm Saunders, of Mars Attacks! fame, was offered the job and continued working until Wally Wood called him up.  Wood, one of the best comic artists from the era, was also going to be designing some cards, but he urged Saunders to join him in a strike until Wolverton's contractual demands were met.  Eventually the dispute was settled, Wolverton received his money and the copyrights for his creations but he was removed from the project while Wood and Saunders finished the set.  in all, 44 images were created, with 4 different versions of each with different names.  two years later, after the success of the first Ugly series, another series, Make Your Own Name, was created.  Wood and Saunders teamed up once again, along with an unnamed third artist who died during the project.  (it's worth noting that The Uglies were so successful that a series of rubber Uglies were created, based on the card designs, and sold in gumball machines across the country.  see them all HERE)

here is a selection of images from the original Ugly Stickers series, as well as the Make Your Own Name creatures.  scans are from bubblegumcards.org and uglymonstickers.blogspot.com.  

both the Ugly Stickers and Make Your Own Name series are featured on the Norm Saunders website, with proper artist credits for each.










Daniel Lanois and Rocco De Luca
"The Resonant Frequency of Love"
2016
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there are few sounds as beautiful and calming as Daniel Lanois' pedal steel guitar playing.  the pedal steel was the first instrument he began playing as a child, and has been used throughout his career, first showing up on Brian Eno's Apollo: Atmospheres and Soundtracks album, and continuing into his most recent work.  Lanois is an undisputed master of the instrument.  "The Resonant Frequency of Love" is a new track with his recent collaborator,  Rocco Deluca.









odds n ends
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a new installment of Head Medicine Weekly every Friday.
follow on Facebook or Twitter for updates




Friday, February 12, 2016

Head Medicine Weekly vol 5


Head Medicine Weekly
vol 5
_____________________________________


sights and sounds for your eyeballs and earholes!
a new installment of Head Medicine Weekly every Friday.
follow on Facebook or Twitter for updates




Robert Valley
Pear Cider and Cigarettes: the Movie
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it's only in the past few months that i've realized illustrator/animator Robert Valley is one of my favorite artists out there.  i've seen his work, unconsciously, for years and never knew it was him.  he cut his teeth animating for Peter Chung on the Aeon Flux tv series, did work on some of those amazing Gorillaz videos, and was the character designer on the criminally underappreciated Tron: Uprising animated series, among other things.  once i connected all of the dots, i was able to put a name to the work i've been diggin' for so long.  turns out Valley has produced a graphic novel called Pear Cider and Cigarettes, and the work i've seen from it is fucking jaw-dropping.  AND he has secretly been animating the book for the last five years into a 32-minute movie.  in photoshop (!!!).  it makes my eyeballs soooo happy to look at.  those colors... the impeccable design and cinematography... the Eagon Scheille/Aeon Flux elongated figures taken to the extreme... and that swank ass style that drips from every inch of the screen.  it's so fuckin' tasty it hurts.

Valley has already finished the movie, nothing can change that, but he has a Kickstarter at the moment to pay for the music licensing.  and if everything wasn't sweet enough as is, Valley has some killer tunes in waiting:  Queens of the Stone Age.  Morphine.  Black Sabbath. Leftfield. Nightmares on Wax.  etc etc etc.... great stuff indeed. 

there will be a larger Valley feature in the coming weeks here on Head Medicine that will take a longer look at his past career, what's cooking now, and hopefully what's ahead.  but until then, get on this Kickstarter.  i'm all about the $100 pledge - the hardcover Pear Cider and Cigarettes graphic novel, the movie dvd, and the behind the scenes making of dvd (surely a must have for any aspiring animator or lover of the art process). 

go HERE for the Pear Cider and Cigarettes Kickstarter.


check out the trailer:









Pinball backglass art
1970s-1980s
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the earliest pinball machines date back to the late 1700s, but they really took off during the Depression-era 1930s, satisfying the public's need for cheap fun.  there wasn't any competition until video games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Asteroids took over the arcades all across the country in the late 70s/early 80s.  the pinball makers, unable to compete with video game graphics, needed to up their game and fought back with brilliant artwork to catch the eyes and imagination of teenagers with pockets full of change.  this was the golden age of pinball art.  

here are a few classic examples, check out more HERE














Black Mountain
"Mothers of the Sun"
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this week Black Mountain released "Mothers of the Sun," the first single and video from their new album, IV, out April 1st from Jagjaguwar.  the band has been dormant with new material since 2010, but it sounds like they are ready to make the leap to another level.  the songwriting and performances are tighter, the scope is larger, and the production is immaculate. Black Mountain have channeled deeply into their inner Zeppelin, creating an epic modern day "No Quarter."  ominous organ drones,  glorious slabs of stoner riffs (that tone!), and ghostly vocals... even the video is their Song Remains the Same fantasy sequence. 








William Onyeabor
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Who is William Onyeaborno one really knows for sure.  what we do know is that Onyeabor was a pioneering oddity in the 1970s and 80s Nigerian funk music scene, performing his own brand of African electronic dance music.  he never performed live, and few people ever actually met the man, but his records were hugely successful on the Nigerian club scene.  he performed and produced the music himself, released his albums on his own label Wilfilms, and even manufactured his records at his own vinyl pressing plant.  his sound sprouted from the psychedelic afro-funk around him in mid 70s Nigeria, but sharply diverged from there, and eventually stumbled upon an endless repetition of synthesizer dance floor loops.  there was no one else around even vaguely sounding like Onyeabor at that time. his ideas seemed to be closer to German Krautrock than anything else, and his later work prophesied 1980s house music.  in 1985, Onyeabor became a born-again Christian and completely disappeared from public view, hiding away in his Nigerian palace.

few people know any other details about him. legend has Onyeabor learning music production in Stockholm, Sweden before moving on to study cinematography in Moscow, until he returned to Nigeria to make films and produce their soundtracks.  no one can recall ever actually seeing an Onyeabor film, though.  his studio was packed with state of the art recording equipment and an army of synthesizers, but there is no record of how or where Onyeabor would have been able to purchase this expensive equipment.  there are no other musician credits, so it it unknown if he had a backing band or if he was performing everything himself.  all that remains are his records and the music embedded in the grooves.

Onyeabor's music once again emerged on the classic Nigeria 70 funk compilation, and in 2013 Luaka Bop issued World Psychedelic Classics 5: Who is William Onyeabor?, a collection spanning his entire careerafter an exhausting battle to track Onyeabor down and secure licensing rights, Luaka Bop finally released a deluxe box set collecting all eight of Onyeabor's albums in 2014.  to celebrate the occasion, the man himself came from the shadows and granted the BBC his first ever radio interview (check it out HERE) where he revealed he will be releasing a new album of gospel music in the near future.


here are a few of my favorites from the Who is William Onyeabor? compilation:






and here is Noisey's Onyeabor documentary Fantastic Man.








odds n ends
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Mark Mothersbaugh's synth collection






a new installment of Head Medicine Weekly every Friday.
follow on Facebook or Twitter for updates




Thursday, February 11, 2016

70s-80s Pinball backglass art



the earliest pinball machines date back to the late 1700s, but they really took off during the Depression-era 1930s, satisfying the public's need for cheap fun.  there wasn't any competition until video games like Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Asteroids took over the arcades all across the country in the late 70s/early 80s.  the pinball makers, unable to compete with video game graphics, needed to up their game and fought back with brilliant artwork to catch the eyes and imagination of teenagers with pockets full of change.  this was the golden age of pinball art.