Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monuments of deceit

The photo art by Michal Karcz from Poland is among the best I have seen. His creations are often apocalyptic, with the effect strengthened by including very small human figures. More examples in the link. All rights retained by the artist, as usual.

link

Monday, June 29, 2015

Breakthrough

This is a shot I took earlier this month at the nearby historical building, that served in the past as a miltary training school and later as a fine arts academy. At the moment, reconstructions are going on to turn it into a culture complex, including the library. Perhaps not a personal favourite, but it received more likes than any other shot of the past few months, and must have been a near-miss for Flickr Explore.

Camera: Canon IXUS 115 HS, 12 Megapixels, handheld
Exposure: 0.033 sec (1/30)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.0 mm
ISO Speed: 250
Post-processing: Picasa 3.0

Flickr

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Celanese Fabrics

This beautiful illustration was used in an advertisement for Celanese Fabrics in the Ladies' Home Journal of June 1928. A gorgeous example of Art Deco at its best.

web site

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 26. I won't let you down (Ph.D.)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #26, we find UK band Ph.D. with their one hit wonder I won't let you down (#1 in 1982). The characteristic high voice of Scottish lead singer Jim Diamond (of later I should have known better fame) really carried this song with its strong searing melody and great instrumentation (especially the organ part) into the UK top five. One of many British acts of that time that made no impact whatsoever in the USA. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, June 26, 2015

Unusual concertos [91]: Cimbalom

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - realizing 90+ this time.

The ninety-first concerto deals with the cimbalom (image credit), a hammered dulcimer that was very popular in Eastern Europe. Its use in classical music is rather extensive, it having been used in scores by composers such as Kodaly, Stravinsky, Liszt, Bartok, Boulez and Dutilleux. For concertos we have to go to less famous names though, and I have found one on YouTube by Alexander Timofeev. It is played by Ion Curteanu and the Porumbescu youth orchestra under the composer.

Go here

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms

Or, to give the album its full title: Difficult Shapes and Passive Rhythms - Some People Think It's Fun to Entertain. It was the debut album for Liverpool's China Crisis, one of the bands that contributed to my personal soundtrack of the eighties. The cover is a minimalist masterpiece, but unfortunately once more it turned out to be impossible for me to find information on its designer.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Potpourri: 200,000 piece fantasy world

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 8 April 2013.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Commencement ceremony

Taken from a post about Commencement ceremonies held this year throughout the world. This shot combines excellent photographic qualities with an appropriate feeling of solemness: these newly recruited members of the Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) are to fight islamic guerrillas in Kashmir. As always, all rights retained by the photographer (Dar Yasin/Associated Press).

Monday, June 22, 2015

Fluid space #2

It is a bit of a curse with Flickr in recent years, many of my favourite Flickr members drop out for prolonged times (although fortunately some come back as well). Take my Flickr friend Susanne Meyer (sannesu): she has not posted since December, when this marvelous abstract became an instant fave. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Bally shoes

A striking vintage Art Deco poster from the twenties for the German shoe brand Bally, which is still going strong almost a century later.

Vintage Posters

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 27. 100 Years (Joey Dyser)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #27, we find Dutch singer Joey Dyser with 100 Years (#1 in 1975). Amsterdam reporter Josje Duister used to write songs and sing them as a hobby, when one day her neighbour, producer Albert Gemerts, invited her to his studio to make some professional recordings. One of the songs was her self-penned ballad 100 Years, which was released as a single under the name Joey Dyser, and went straight to the top, followed by huge sales in Belgium and Germany as well. Josje Duister enjoyed the success, but decided that her job and her family were more important. Silence ever after. A pity, because to my taste this song, with its peculiar drums only introduction, was one of the better Dutch hits of the seventies. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, June 19, 2015

Predominant.ly

I found this web site strangely addicting. The Predominantly site lets you select a colour from a large range, and then generates album covers that are predominantly in that colour. Give it a try. Or two. Or maybe a few more....

web site

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Voyageur

Voyageur is an intriguing series of posters by Evan Robertson of Obvious State, a refreshing look on Paris landmarks in a retro style that reminds me of the thirties. More examples in the link.

web site

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Land Scape by David LaChapelle

Famous photographer David LaChapelle has embarked on an impressive art project. In Land Scape he constructs miniature versions of oil refineries and petrol stations from tea canisters, egg cartons and other remnants of our wasteful lifestyle. More examples in the link. As usual, all rights retained by the artist.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The New Yorker January 1937

A vintage magazine cover with an art theme... a double whammy for this blog. This 1937 illustration by Richard Taylor shows that approaching contemporary modern art in a cautious way is something of all time.

link

Monday, June 15, 2015

Yellow, orange and purple

Franz Kline (1910 - 1962) was an American painter, who has not featured yet in this blog. His main works belong to the Abstract Expressionism movement. I quite like this colourful creation from 1960. More on Kline in the wikipedia article linked to below.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Together in the merciful dark

I had thought that Emo had by now run its course as a style of rock music popular with a certain segment of teenage and early tween listeners. But here we have the band Fueled by Hate, from Stockholm, whose first album is storming up the charts all over Europe. Together in the merciful dark is surprisingly good quality emo punk with a dash of progressive rock sounds making a surprising and effective variation on the usual soundscape. Perhaps not so surprising after all, considering that the album was produced by Opeth's Mikael Akerfeldt. The title song, available on YouTube, is a good starting point to explore this band. Recommended.

The idea of this little game is to create an album cover for an imaginary artist/group, as well as an imaginary review, following these instructions:

[1] The artist/group: go to the wiki random page generator. The first random Wikipedia article obtained this way is the name of the band or performer. In this case, I ended up with Fueled by Hate.
[2] The title: go to the random quotations site. The last four words of the very last quote of the page is the title of the album (from 2014 onward: any part of a random quotation will do). The random quote that came up was by Mary Stewart: I reached for sleep and drew it round me like a blanket muffling pain and thought together in the merciful dark.
[3] The illustration: pick a suitable one from my Flickr collection. My picture, Ghosts, can be found here on Flickr. The on-line editing was done with the programme On-line image editor, the font settings selected were Horro Hotel 150 white and Chiller 80 red, respectively.

Note: this is a variation on the "Debut album game" that has been making its rounds around bulletin boards and blogs for some time now - the original version called for a random Flickr Explore photograph to be used as the cover. I have been trying to find out who had the original idea, but so far no success.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 28. Paradise by the dashboardlight (Meat Loaf)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #28, we find Meat Loaf's' breakthrough single, memorable not least because of the steamy video (#1 in 1977). Whilst the corresponding brilliant album Bat out of hell contains several songs that are superior, it is easy to see why this song had such an impact - even though its 8+ minutes length far exceeded the usual run time of a single. Some knowledge of baseball and its use in metaphors for love making does help in understanding the middle part, though! Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube

Friday, June 12, 2015

Hanseatic

This is a painting my wife made last year. It is an impression of the view from our Kampen gallery, and actually includes our new studio (to the left), which we had not considered buying yet at the time.

The Art of Lu Schaper

Thursday, June 11, 2015

BoltOns

It's been far too long since my Flickr friend David Gumbrell (Auribins) appeared in this blog - although his own prolonged absence from Flickr did not help. Anyway, he is back, and I love this shot with its awesome grey scales and patterns. As usual, all rights retained by the creator.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Seeing red

Here is a so far unused programme that's part of the free software SuperPhoto that came with my laptop. It is called "Colored metal" and I applied it to a photograph I took years ago of a shop window display in Antwerp. It would make an interesting CD cover. The link leads to the original photograph.

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Unusual concertos [90]: Mezzo-soprano

Before the purge of end 2008, one of the most popular topics of this blog was "Unusual concertos", classical concertos for all kinds of instruments and orchestra. I have decided to revive this, aiming for less familiar composers in general. In its original incarnation, I came to 40 different concertante instruments - realizing 90+ this time.

The ninetieth concerto deals with the mezzo-soprano (image credit) as a rather unlikely concertante "instrument" - although we have encountered an earlier similar example in Gliere's concerto for coloratura soprano. I know of one concerto for mezzo-soprano and orchestra, the Lyra Celtica concerto by John Foulds. I have the recording by Susan Bickley and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Sakari Oramo. It is available on a Warner Classics CD.

Go here

Monday, June 08, 2015

Rrrrrrrrepin's Mussorrrrrgsky

More photoshop brilliance taken from the advanced Photoshop contest section of Worth1000. Here is a shot created by their member Mandrak for the Pirate Ren contest: taking an art work and transforming it into a pirate theme. Actually, this creation combines three of this blog's subjects: classical music (Mussorgsky), paintings (Ilya Repin) and Photoshopping. As always, all rights retained by the creator.

Worth1000

Saturday, June 06, 2015

The best Dutch #1 hits: 29. Under the bridge (RHCP)

As posted here, the Dutch top40 chart celebrated its 50th birthday in January this year. When I posted about that event, I included my top50 songs that made the top40 chart in the past. I was intrigued how few of my favourite songs actually made the #1 position, so the rest of the year I will be posting at a rate of one a week (on Saturday, the day the top40 was broadcast) my countdown of fifty favourite #1 hits. At #29, we find funk punk metal band RHCP, who show themselves from their softer side in this timeless ballad ( #1 in 1992). Under the bridge, widely known as City of Angels, is based on lead singer Anthony Kiedis' experience as a drugs addict in Los Angeles. Art Rock score: 9/10 (awesome song, one of the 1000 best of all time).

YouTube