Thursday, February 25, 2010

Scando Robot Funk

Wading through the splutter of very ordinary Indie acts at Norway's by:larm festival last week, I came across my first direct experience of Skwee music courtesy of a night dedicated to it at underground Oslo club The Villa. Skwee has been bubbling under the radar for a while since one of the genre's first international introductions via Sonar 2008. It generally sounds like future funk made by machines from the era when they looked like cyborg robots and has roots mostly from Scandinavia, particularly Sweden and Finland. I had a chance to meet one of the scenes driving figures, Mesak, during by:larm and got so excited by the sounds I heard at The Villa and on his new album The School of Mesak - I've written a review about both that night and the album. There is something for beats heads, disco, house and even grime DJs in this album - be sure to get on this Scando-wagon and pick it up!
Skwee/Mesak street tag

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Design Think-ing

'Intrinsic Incision' article featuring Ronen Kadushin is now published in issue 3 of US based, sustainable design magazine Think. I will be contributing design editor for the same magazine's forthcoming special 'Earth Day' issue which will be online around the end of April, to coincide with other Earth Day events around the globe. Earth Day originated around 1970 as a day of educational talks and debate to raise awareness about environmental concerns. You can find out about some of the various events going on throughout the globe on the Earth Day network site.
Think magazine issue 3

Thursday, February 4, 2010

À bon chat, bon rat

Suffering from post-cheap flight travel trauma and subsequent illness from the multiple chicken marching arrangements (extensive bus journeys, caged into tight squadrons of ill travelers before embarking and vice versa) put paid to any previous words about my recent Paris jaunt. Here are some nibbles from the French metropole of amour and tardy waiting staff; Staying around the Château Rouge area of Paris was grimey warm - like onion soup - charming, colorful and full of slapdash market stalls. The daily contraband operation at nearby Barbès metro was a theatrical masterpiece; sellers moving back and forth to the changing of traffic lights or loitering like seasoned flâners. One of the lures of Paris on this occasion was a return to the Rex Club for a set by legendary mixer Francois K. You can check out my review of this event on Resident Advisor. Ultimately, the best cultural olives in this swing-by-trip were the burgeoning design and culture scene in Bastille and the vibrant and youthful burst of bars in Oberkampf.
'ticket collage' by Alexander Horne, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Breaking the ice

Street culture, urban expressionism, creative jams - these exist to a minor extent in Oslo but, it's just there does not seem to be any visible showcase or cross field collaboration going on with them. If a tiny paint shop at the back of a night club and one store dedicated to street-affiliated threds and pleasures, Hunting Lodge, is pretty much all there is to show - it cannot be a healthy thing! Or is it going to change.....just recently Oslo based trio Ole, Lars and Martin brought some life and well needed urbaine vigour to the cities artscape with their 'All Bottled Up' exhibition, held in the cavernous confines of a student bar with free beers (near impossible in Norway!) and a live show by synthy new wave Bergen talent Leif. It was a welcome addition to whats (not) going on here and thankfully like the kind of event you would find in cities such as Barcelona or San Francisco. Check out some pics from the exhibition below or read the write up they got on Superfuture.
'All Bottled Up' photos by Alexander Horne, 2010