Thursday, February 4, 2010

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Visual move

... At least I won the biggest gap between posts for this year. Well my friends, I was busy with breaking my back, and also moving this blog to greener (literally I hope, cause I need to take baths in Benjamins, really) pastures.

A Visual Sound is from now on hosted on Wordpress, and you can check it here, and update your links, and be happy you don't have to type that stupid "cara-" before the title. Anyway, see y'all there!

My other blog Memory Screened also moved over there as well, and found a home right here.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A teasa please | Mystery solved

As Boil The Ocean perfectly summed it up, 2008 was most definitely the year of the Tim And Henry format’s resurrection.
Are these things long trailers?
Or short videos?
Why are bushes bushy?
So many questions, so few answers. I’ll still call them “teasers” though, for the sake of my feature’s title's pun, and while some left us hanging wanting to see less, some definitely worked their magic. Like Stereo's "Dyson" part, the semi-recent Mystery promo is one of these.
With the brand's trademarked black-and-white-only aesthetics and tasteful riders choices (Pete Eldridge shouldn't be installing fireplaces), it’s also a success on the musical front. Which for whatever reasons I was expecting (dreading) to be way more three-chords or even worse, arena-rock, inclined. Well my friends, hosannah ! It wasn’t. Let’s see what this promotional teaser’s black box has to say.

1. Chuck Berry : The Downbound Train (Intro)
Right after he got advised by his idol Muddy Waters to go and meet a certain Leonard Chess, the musician whose cousin improv'd for a fresh-out-of-1984 Marty Mc Fly -shamelessly stealing his song from the retro-future, Johnny B Goode, as any serious biographer knows- recorded his first hit in 1955. It was called Maybellene, and got shortly followed by the No Money Down 7-inch. The Downbound Train could have been forgotten on its B-Side… Until the Mystery promo resurrected it. Feeling as bluesy as a 500-frames-a-second videographer losing all the colors on his screen, reverting back to trolley-less, Eastern Exposure 3-black and white times. Perfect mood-setting tune.

2. Smith: Baby It’s You (Everen Stallion)
The archetype of the one-hit-wonder that disappeared without a trace –still trying to contact Q Lazzarus, dudes-, Smith’s glory peaked in 1969 with this song. Nice performance when you come to think that it was only a cover of a 1961 Shirelles tune, that got also sung by The Beatles in 1963. But no, Smith got the money, and their beautiful soulesque interpretation of Baby It’s You can be heard on their debut album "A Group Called Smith," and in that fancy double-feature Tarantino film.
Four decades later, Smith’s singer Gayle McCormick ‘s poisonous delivery of these Cause-baby-it’s-yous still work -look at the photo at the beginning of this post and let imagination do the rest. Also, this band invented a very popular grind in skateboarding.

The other tunes
3. Sly And The Family Stone: Underdog (Montage)
4. Sean Price : King Kong (Pete Eldridge)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Re:music | Ed Tempeton's greatest almosts

Ever imagined what Nick Trapasso's already classic Suffer The Joy part would sound like without Sleepwalk's nonchalance? Ed Templeton and Kevin Barnett did, they even contemplated the option for a while. It wasn't the only one. Whatever the reason was, this one and a bunch of other tunes that should have been in Toy Machine videos never were. Why? Ed picked five and explains.

1. John Renbourn: Nobody's Fault but Mine
"Austin Stephens wanted to skate to it in Good and Evil but we couldn't secure the rights, so we used Peggy Honeywell's Sing, Sang, Sung instead."

2. Bob Dylan: One More Cup of Coffee
"That's the tune Nick Trapasso wanted for Suffer The Joy. But he got Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny."

3. Johnny Cash: Hurt
"Billy Marks was trying to get this one but we ended up using Ladytron's Blue Jeans in Good and Evil."

4. Some song from Yes
"Kerry Getz was going to use a song from the band Yes in Jump Off A Building but then changed his mind, using the Scorpions."

5. Led Zeppelin: Immigrant Song
"This one was supposed to be Donny Barley's song in Welcome to Hell, but at the last minute he switched it to Ozzy, then Jeremy Wray used it I think..."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Interlude | Memory Screened is up

Oh by the way, I just started also the Memory Screened blog, it's an archive of that page in Skateboarder aimed at creating a mess in pros' garages by asking them to dig up their five favorite boards and comment them. 
So far I posted the two first installments (Ed Templeton and John Cardiel) and will update it once a week -yeah right, just like this one. Anyway, it's up. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

AVS # 7 | Penal Code 100 A (1996)

Sure, before FTC’s first video Finally, some people had dabbled in the classic soul-ish repertoire. Some. Because in 1993, rare were the ones who allowed themselves to think outside the Das Efx/De La Soul box when it came to picking tracks for a skate video. A smooth-operating, Chico Brenes Finally part set to Sade’s suave purring later (not to mention the OG Jackson 5 intervention in Video Days), it suddenly made sense. So once again with FTC’s second film, Aaron Meza digged deep for the oldies (*) and skateboarding’s soundtracks were changed for a while, launching a trend that culminated with Girl’s early flicks.
Penal Code 100 A
is such a good shop video, it even made forget that there's a Coolio tune in the Howard/Carroll part –courtesy of Mike Carroll, according to Aaron. The epitome of the SF/NYC connection, it also doubled as the the swan song of the hi-top white Superstar craze and featured about fifty of the most-wanted (sometimes blunted) skaters from both coasts, on classical spots. Penal Code 100 A also drew the blueprint, music-wise and otherwise, for the Girl/Chocolate decade to come.
Welcome to the 7th installment of A Visual Sound, dedicated to all the Markus Browns and Ben Sanchezes and Keefe bros out there. Droorstalgia at its fullest, people. Again.

(click on the sleeve, see the part)

Van Morrison: Moondance
Tune used: Caravan (Bobby Puleo)
As the Cliché team has proved more than once with its infamous tours, the gypsy lifestyle has been fascinating “gadjos” for a while. Irish songwriter Van Morrison was no exception, as the Rroms prompted him to write Caravan, a tune present on his third album from 1970 –with the other inspiration being how as a kid he could distinctely hear his neighbor’s radio, even though the guy was one mile away down the road. Weird, huh? Especially the link between the two, pretty hard to figure out but hey, what do you expect from a dude nicknamed “The Man” thirty years before John Reves?
Besides being one of George Ivan Morrison Order Of The British Empire’s reliable live crowd pleasers, Caravan reached a mythical status as one of the highlights in Last Waltz, the Martin Scorcese doc about VM’s last show before his band split, in 1976. Which leads us to our own legends and Martin Scorceses : Bobby Puleo and Aaron Meza. The former showed how to pop properly out of a f-side boardslide on a curb, while the latter figured out how all this epicness could be encapsuled: via a song from an absolutely classic album by Van The Man, brewed in a time when ‘R&B’ actually had the words “rhythm” and “blues” in it. “I like how the lines are during the versus and the single tricks during the chorus,” Meza had to say about his second-favourite tune on PC100A, after Althea and Donna’s (*).

The Isley Brothers : 3+3
Tune use
d : Who’s that lady (Montage #3)
Allright, allright: some might argue that this section’s highlight actually starts when the music stops. Just when the brothas from the same motha stop wondering who that intriguing lady might be, the Lennie Kirk show begins. Two sick lines, one drop of death, no music, cut. This said, this 90s skater’s wet dream montage wouldn’t be this good without The Isley Brothers’ track, a 1973 reworked tune inspired by, yes, another Impressions song. Which in turn was used by the Beastie Boys on Paul’s Boutique. “They sampled this and I loved it,” Aaron says, “so I just went to the source on this one.”
Back to more skate-related concerns, though: Guy Mariano’s come back. About as big as The Isleys’. Hailing from Cincinnati in 1954, they consisted originally of four brothers and lasted only one year with the original line-up, before they disappeared. The reason being, one of them died in an accident. Three years later, using the reliable Phoenix tactic, they rose from their ashes and went on as a trio, briefly using a guitar player named Jimi Hendrix. After elaborating some pretty cool soul/funk singles and LPs, success came when the Isleys somehow looked in their drawers and found two more brothers, plus one brother-in-law. Hence their album’s name, as simple as what they had become : 3+3.
After various disbandings, platinum albums, deaths and add-ons, things became fairly more complicated, so why get into it? All you need to know is that some of the most powerful (sometimes political) soul music came from this band of bros that sang a tune called Fight The Power 25 years before Public Enemy. Also, that once upon a time, a skateboarding montage bared names such as Weston Correa, Pepe Martinez, Robbie Gangemi, Rob Carlyon, Ben Liversedge and... wait, was that photographer Lance Dawes, almost a decade before Chomp? Meza truly invented everything.

Sly and The Family Stone : There’s a Riot Goin’On
Tune use
d : Family Affair (Montage #2)
Skateboarding’s always loved lyrics that matched the “montage spirit,” for some reason. While the Plan B guys were appreciating “a little help from their friends” in Virtual Reality, FTC saw the whole thing pretty much as “a family affair”. Cute. “I think I picked the people for this section that were actually family,” Meza explains, “like Marcus and Lavar McBride and the Keefe brothers, or people who were really close friends. Pretty corny, huh?”
Anyway, Sly’s little affair wasn’t any less rambunctious, as he stated on his 1971, Rhodes piano-led, synth-drummed mega-hit co-sung with his sister Rose. Family Affair definitely helped propelling the band’s fifth, darker and more conscious album to the very top of the charts. A funny destiny when you keep in mind that the tune itself got recorded in a Wenebago, at least part of it. And also that it was this close to becoming nothing at all: according to the biography Sly and the Family Stone An Oral History, the singer felt that Family Affair wasn't strong enough to be released as a single. Imagine that. What would Aaron Meza have done? Use Thank You For being A Friend by Andrew Gold, of Golden Girls fame?

(*) Disclaimer : Please note that if one of the cleverest-matching tunes of all video-times, Althea and Donna’s Uptown Top Ranking, “Nah pop no style” (on Huf's section), isn’t part of this selection, it’s simply because it is drowned in one of these disappointing reggae albums (jut re-listened to it, I confirm) –and we’re all about fully classic LPs over here, sorry. What do you mean, what’s a LP?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Re:music | Adventures in chill with Nicolas Malinowsky

Ever heard of Rémy Bricka, l’homme-orchestre? Nicolas Malinowsky would be his skate counterpart, collecting slashes the way your grandpa accumulated war medals. For those who don’t know, "Mémé" happens to be a really good skater straight outta the ‘90s school of Shell-toeing (see pic), a DJ/producer –he did among others the music for JJ’s part in Cliché's Europa-, a video animator, and also quite a stunning, meticulous graphic designer whose hand-drawn fonts always leave crowds of humid fans in awe, as his adventures with Chill mag, and now with his Ill Studio buddies, attest.
To sum it all up, a musician who skates, a skater who makes music, the link to A Visual Sound was almost too obvious. Here are French Skateboarding’s own Rémy Bricka (minus the fireworks)’s picks when it comes to his 5 favorite tunes, ever, on video parts.

1. Steely Dan: Peg
As used in: Let The Horns Blow
(Scott Johnston’s part)

“I watched this video a lot, and particularly Mr Johnston’s part. This came out when skating was becoming stylish again, i.e. when the whole thing was about doing lines (preferably in SF event though in my case it was more in Issy-Les-Moulineaux, but it worked too) based on well-selected, basic tricks to be landed in the cleanest possible way. A whole different approach than trying a new late-underflip combo a la Damon Byrd.
Anyway, this song fits perfectly Scott Johnston’s part, it’s catchy and sums up for me a certain spirit in skateboarding : going downhill in half cabs, wearing a (not-so-baggy) Droors jeans and a (mad Circle in this case) white t-shirt.”

2. Royal Flush: Worldwide inst.
As used in: Mouse
(Gino & Keenan’s part)

“OK, so this one has been my party hit for the past ten years. You know the four skaters present will always go off when you play this inter-planetary hit... For the true nerds [French nerds, he meant -Seb’s note], the must-have on this instrumental is the freestyle by Lunatic, X-men an Oxmo Pucino, recorded live on 88.2 FM in 1996, during the best ever moment in French rap history.
Back to Gino, since he’s pretty much the best skater in the world, any track that would be ran on his parts would become dope anyway, BUT this Royal Flush did have a little something. The little squeaky sample works perfect, not to mention the acapella, which I remixed all over the place. Recently, I reworked it with the instrumental from Rustie's
Just For Kicks. By the way, I really love Rustie, the latest add-on to the “new comer from Glasgow” category… It made me think that I can’t wait for the new Chocolate video.”

3. Jacqueline Taieb: Le coeur au bout des doigts
As used in: Stereo promo
“This one, Jason Lee and Dune killed me [the original expression, in French, was “they sawed my anus in two”, which alas doesn’t work that good in English –Seb’s] when they pulled it out of their trenchcoat. Jacqueline Taieb was one of these female “yéyé” singers as we say, she put out an amazing LP in 1967 called
The French Mademoiselle. Ca défouraille sec! I think you can find the video for her song La Fac De Lettres on Dailymotion. If you ever find it on vinyl, buy it cause it’s worth gold these days, and not only in Japan.
Le coeur au bout des doigts represents the ultimate class as far as Frenchitude goes. I have to say Stereo already hit a spot with Gainsbourg [and this one], but I give them the Digger’s Award to have dug this one out. Watch out though and stay away from Jacqueline’s ‘80s stuff, it really sucks”.

4. De La Soul: Odle of O’s
As used in: Goldfish
(Mike Carroll’s part)

“One of my favorite Mike Carroll’s parts, because of its tune too. De La Soul’s smoothitude matches really well Mike’s. I thought about it cause I just found the Saturday EP, which was missing in my “emergency party dancefloor hits” collection. It reminded me how I used to listen so much to 3 feet High and Rising and De La Soul Is Dead in these days, and how it was such good hip hop. Hip hop was better before anyway, and if I dared I’d say it’s skateboarding’s case too, but I would sound too much like an old fart. Plus skating still looks cool today, especially when it’s Lucas doing it, or Gino. Still the best, even without skating!”

5. Casual: Lose In The End
As used in: Virtual Reality
(Mike Carroll’s part)

“Allez, another Mike Carroll part that rules, as much as Casual’s album. What was it called? Early hyphy? This one, I bled the cassette dry in my walkman, going to school when it was still dark after having smoked weed with my friend Jimmy til 5 in the morning. It was also a very good office pick when we were doing Chill. Actually, it’s one of these hip hop albums that can be listened to on and on, like a good fusion jazz album. It might be looped and looped, the whole Bay Area/Carroll/Sheffey feeling you get from it just never gets old.”

Also, here are a few random bonuses that Nico wanted to add too:
. Company Flow : 8 Steps To Perfection (Josh Kalis in The Sixth Sense)
. Cream : White Room (Jeremy Wray, Second Hand Smoke)
. Chocolate Milk : Actions Speak Louder Than Words (Richard Mulder, The Chocolate tour)
. Steppenwolf: Born To Be Wild (Chico Brenes, Love Child)