Guido Harari (1952) is an Egypt born Italian photographer. He is mainly known for his work with pop/rock stars, including Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, Ute Lemper, and especially Kate Bush, as shown in this sample of his work (taken from a BBC Arts overview of that collaboration). More about Harari on the linked Wikipedia site (in Italian).
I thought this stylish vintage Chinese book cover for Tolkien's first Lord of the rings novel would be appropriate for today: it is exactly 17 years ago that my beautiful Shanghai girl and I got engaged, starting our own fellowship of the ring.
After a short absence from Flickr, I returned with this shot, a sculpture outside our city hall. Another example of abstract photography, and one that received more faves than most in my stream this year.
The architecture inspired desserts by Ukrainian pastry chef Dinara Kasko are little pieces of art - and more fitting for this blog than for Potpourri. This is my personal favourite of the lot, but do click the link to sample more of them - well, see them at least.
It's been a while since I last posted a CD review in the blog. At the request of Sam Healy, from the Scottish avant-rock group North Atlantic Oscillation, I am reviewing his second solo album (released under the name Sand), A sleeper, just awake, scheduled for release by the end of the month (picture created with Photofunia, the cover shown is of the reviewed album).
Since I have not heard either the three North Atlantic Oscillation albums, or the first Sand album, I sat down to listen without any prior references. Well, it was a very pleasant surprise. Electronic pop, bordering on prog rock, with a voice that is good enough to stand out, but can also blend in with the music as if it was another instrument. Looking back on my notes from the first listen, I jotted down some names that came to mind: especially Steven Wilson, but also Peter Gabriel, Mark Hollis (who also happen to be some of my personal favourite artists), and even occasional classical influences from Charles Ives and Philip Glass,
The melodious album opener Mayfly is an instant favourite, with great mood shifts in the instrumentation. LTGB would not be out of place on a Steven Wilson album, which is very high praise indeed - an excellent piece of prog. Commitment to the bit continues in a similar vein, only to end totally different in the last 10 seconds or so - very effective indeed! Seldom used furnitures introduces a dominant piano to change the atmosphere, although in the end persistent electronics take control once more. Berceuse, a practically instrumental track, is a well-chosen title for a spot of relative calmness. Embers is another track where I can hear a Steven Wilson influence, albeit here more from the softer songs of Porcupine Tree - well, after I listened to this album, I found out North Atlantic Oscillation have toured with Porcupine Tree in the past.... Initial is a slowed down song, where parts remind me of Ives in their complexity. Coward has strong melodic lines set off against a nervous instrumentation, with Ivesian passages. The final Earth mound is a 10min+ epic, with an '80s synthesizer riff competing with electronics resembling bagpipes, and vocal lines somewhat reminiscent of Peter Gabriel, Gradually, Glass-like minimalism takes over for a while, as the atmosphere becomes more and more relaxed toward the end.
All in all, this is a strong and in spite of some influences very original album, with no weaker songs. The only thing missing is one or two really outstanding songs (all nine would score a 4/6 on the Art Rock song rating, corresponding to "songs I'd love to put on my MP3 player"), which makes it fall short of the highest album rating. Still, on a scale of 1 to 6, this album scores a solid 5, "an album I love to play frequently". For more information on Sand and this CD, please check out the web site or the FaceBook page.
I was surprised to see that French fauvist artist Maurice de Vlaminck (1876-1958) had featured only once in the blog so far - and that was back in 2009. Today he makes a long overdue repeat appearance with this beautiful 1909 landscape. More on de Vlaminck in the wikipedia article linked to below.
From time to time I will be highlighting some of my own favourite posts in my parallel blog, Art's Potpourri. These can be recent or from some time ago. This one was originally posted 21 September 2013.
Jugend (German for Youth) was an art magazine issued weekly in the first decades of the 20th century. This cover immediately jumped out at me when I saw it on the linked Flapper Girl blog early this week.
I stumbled across the site Tunefind when I was googling to find which music was used in a particular episode of House M.D. This site lists the music per episode of over 700 shows. A tremendous source of information.
For the 15th anniversary of one of the most shocking events of this century. A beautiful live rendition of this outstanding track from her phenomenal 2002 Scarlets walk, a concept album of a fictitious travel through America after the terrorist attack. No other track is clearer with respect to the overlying theme than this one, where Scarlet (Tori) feels what a woman on top of one of the doomed planes went through as she died, in expressive lyrics such as: "You said you could find me here and you said you would find me even in death and you said you'd find me, but I can't see New York as I'm circling down through white cloud, falling out and I know his lips are warm, but I can't seem to find my way out ...". One of those rare songs that always choke me up. Art Rock score: 10/10 (brilliant song, one of the 200 best of all time).
I'm keeping the "worth1000" label for posts about these Photoshop contests even though the site of that name has been absorbed into the Designcrowd site. The general level since the move has been disappointing, but here is the first creation that I really like this year. This renaissance style portrait of Patrick Stewart was created by member jk640 for the Modern Renaissance 20 contest. As always, all rights retained by the creator.
About me: Dutchman, married to a beautiful and highly talented artist from Shanghai. Although my education (PhD chemistry) is very much associated with the left side of the brain, I like to use my right side for my hobbies: music, art, photography.
About this blog: I started this blog in August 2006, just wanting to share what I considered interesting pieces of visual art and music. I suffered from blogging blues for most of 2008, but making a fresh start in October of that year has done wonders for my inspiration. In case you did not notice, most posts end with a small symbol... just click that for the relevant link. All pictures in my blog are hosted on blogger - if some do not show up (the red cross syndrome) it is a blogger hiccup. Right click and selecting "show picture" should do the trick.
My other main blog: In December 2009 I started a parallel blog, Art's Potpourri, for subjects that I think are interesting, but not fitting for my main blog. A few other blogs have come and gone - I list them here for reference.
Most of the images used in this blog are either mine, or they are used with explicit permission of the creators. Some of the images are sourced on the internet and I consider them common use for a non-profit blog (such as album covers), or I use them with a link to the site of the creator/owner.
If you find a picture on this blog that you are the copyright owner of, and object against the use, please drop me an email and I will remove it.