Cultureteca 23.08.15

Cultureteca 3

This week on Cultureteca, complex multimedia album announcements led by Oneohtrix Point Never and jolting EPs by FKA twigs and Panda Bear; film and architecture viewed through Interiors magazine; the continuing brilliance of NXT’s female wrestlers, who starred last night in Brooklyn; and the Perseids meteor shower reaches its finale.

* * *

Oneohtrix Point Never’s G.O.D. and the Week’s Music

It has been a strong week or so for significant album announcements and the surprise release of new EPs. The most elaborate announcement came courtesy of Oneohtrix Point Never. On Tuesday morning, the electronic artist – whose last album was 2013’s starkly beautiful R Plus Seven – uploaded to his website a PDF addressed ‘To the fans’. The message depicts the artist’s relationship with an individual named Ezra, a humanoid alien ‘stuck i an infinite loop of molten puberty’. It leads to a questionnaire purportedly posted by the alien on his blog, which is entitled ‘Kaossed’, with posts backdated to 1994.

The blog features articles on a ‘hypergrunge’ band known as Kaoss Edge, a recapitulation of a 1998 visit to ‘MorphoFest’, an especially early review of R Plus Seven, original poetry, the art of Lucio Fontana, and most recently an interview with Oneohtrix Point Never. Asked by Ezra about new material, Oneohtrix Point Never responds:

‘The record is finished. I’ve spent most of the summer thinking about how I want to present it. I started writing in January, and wrapped up in July. It’ll be out in November. It’s called Garden of Delete or G.O.D. for short. The R thing is over.’ 

Garden of Delete was subsequently confirmed for release on 13 November. It will feature the tracks ‘Sticky Drama’, ‘Ezra’, ‘I Bite Through It’, ‘Animals’, and ‘Mutant Standard’. At the same time Oneohtrix posted on Vimeo a brief loop with the title ‘Flame’; while on YouTube a piece appeared under the Kaoss Edge monicker, called ‘Organ Noire/Daddyflies’:

Last week FKA twigs unveiled M3LL155X, a five-song EP featuring ‘Figure 8’ – a track which emerged at the beginning of August – and the previously-released ‘Glass & Patron’ alongside three new songs. The EP was co-produced by twigs, Boots, Cy An, and Tic. At the same time, a sixteen-minute video appeared compiling visuals for the first four of the EP’s compositions, ‘Figure 8’, ‘I’m Your Doll’, ‘In Time’, and ‘Glass & Patron’:

And in another sudden EP drop, this week Panda Bear released the Crosswords EP, comprising a remixed version of ‘Crosswords’ from this year’s Panda Bear Meets the Grime Reaper; ‘The Preakness’, a bonus track from 2012’s Tomboy; and the new pieces ‘No Mans Land’, ‘Jabberwocky’, and ‘Cosplay’. The EP was co-produced by Sonic Boom. Streaming now via Apple Music and Spotify, Crosswords will get a physical release on 13 November.

Lana Del Rey confirmed that her third album proper, Honeymoon, will be released on 18 September. Two versions of the album’s cover art have been disclosed, with the second to be sold exclusively via Urban Outfitters:

Honeymoon 1

Honeymoon 2

The album’s title track materialised on YouTube in the middle of July, with ‘High By The Beach’Honeymoon‘s lead single – arriving across the first weeks of August. And alongside the release date and cover art, this week the audio for a third album track appeared online, titled ‘Terrence Loves You’. The song had previously been accessible via Del Rey’s ‘Honeymoon Hotline’ on 1800-268-7886: the number, which appears in part on the album cover, serving to provide weekly updates and some of Lana’s favourite lectures in the run-up to 18 September.

Elsewhere after a countdown on their website, Deerhunter announced Fading Frontier, due out on 16 October. The record will be produced by Ben Allen, and will reportedly feature members of the bands Broadcast and Stereolab. The announcement came with the video for ‘Snakeskin’, showcasing dungaree-clad Bradford Cox. And with Beach House’s new album Depression Cherry imminent – it will be out in mere days, on 28 August – the work was previewed in full in the United States via NPR Music. Here is the audio for ‘Sparks’:

Finally on the music front, Future and Drake released the video for DS2‘s ‘Where Ya At’. And for the New York Film Festival at the end of September, a documentary from Paul Thomas Anderson was announced, with Junun following Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead on a recording session in Rajasthan. Greenwood travelled to Mehrangarh Fort, poised above the city of Jodhpur in northwest India, to collaborate on a new album with the Israeli composer Shye Ben Tzur.

* * *

Interiors: Viewing Film through Architecture

Briefly remaining on the subject of the cinema, this week while researching one of my pieces on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1963 film The Birds, I came again upon the online publication Interiors. This started out at the beginning of 2012 as an original way of looking at film: with an issue published each month interpreting a famous movie scene according to its architectural floor plan. Alongside scale drawings, the accompanying articles discussed issues of space, character positioning and their movement through scenes, and matters of design and construction. While The Birds itself hasn’t featured, three films by Hitchcock have: Psycho (1960), Dial M for Murder (1954), and Lifeboat (1944). And the work of Interiors extends from silent German expressionist cinema such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) and French films like Playtime (1967), to American classics from Manhattan (1979) to Raging Bull (1980), to popular modern films like Drive (2011), and animated pictures including Up (2009).

The last monthly issue of Interiors appeared at the end of 2014, but over the course of this year the publication has continued to function in new directions, still focusing on the interplay between architecture and film, but now incorporating think-pieces and interviews.

Dial M Floor Plan
Interiors Floor Plan for Dial M for Murder (1954)
Only God Forgives Fight Plan
Interiors Fight Plan for Only God Forgives (2013)

* * *

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn

NXT Brooklyn

With SummerSlam, World Wrestling Entertainment’s secondary event of the year after WrestleMania, extending this evening across four hours from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, last night the same venue saw the latest iteration of NXT TakeOver. And once again, WWE’s developmental wrestlers put on a show more than matching that achieved by their more illustrious counterparts.

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn saw a hot opening, with Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger defeating Tyler Breeze courtesy of a Liger Bomb. Liger not only ran through several of his signature moves and submissions – the surfboard, and a somersault plancha to the outside – but he also engaged with Breeze’s narcissistic gimmick, pausing at one point to ironically take some in-ring selfies of his own.

Sasha Brooklyn

The Vaudevillains captured the NXT Tag Team titles from Blake and Murphy, with Blue Pants counteracting the interfering ways of Alexa Bliss. Apollo Crews made an impressive debut, beating Tye Dillinger with a standing moonsault. And after William Regal had announced a tag tournament commemorating Dusty Rhodes, a rapidly evolving end-sequence saw Samoa Joe choke out Baron Corbin.

Finn Balor and Kevin Owens gave a stellar performance in the night’s main event, Balor prevailing after a high-impact, back-and-forth ladder match, retaining his NXT Championship with a Coup de Grâce diving foot stomp from the top of the ladder. But once more the women stole the show.

Bank Statement

Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship was an enthralling encounter, depicting two women with a rich history and a tangible sense of something at stake. Both Sasha and Bayley present colourful, boldly drawn characters, with plenty of subtlety between the lines, and they are expert storytellers who last night made exceptional use of the ring. They brawled on the mat and grappled fiercely for the advantage in the turnbuckles, with Sasha more often than not coming out ahead, finally managing to land a double-knee drop from an elevated top-rope position. She made innovative use of the outside, squashing Bayley’s injured hand between the ring apron and the steel steps.

But Bayley came back into the match when she reversed the Bank Statement submission to huge cheers; and she finally won the NXT Women’s title following an amazing modified hurricanrana from the top rope, and a Bayley-to-Belly suplex which resulted in the 1-2-3. Bayley and Sasha hugged after the match, celebrating along with Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Bayley deserves her turn in the spotlight as champion, and can help nurture a new generation of NXT women; while after her match with Lynch at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable in May, Banks can claim the two best wrestling matches of the year so far regardless of gender.

Bayley Hurricanrana

* * *

Reviewing the Perseids 2015

The Perseids, the annual meteor shower particularly impressive this year since it coincided with a new moon, peaked around 13 August but will persist in the night’s sky until the end of 24 August tomorrow. Around the time of their peak, I took some atmospheric but decidedly amateur photographs in York. As the Perseids draw to a close, here are a selection of winning shots at Space.com, TimeThe Independent, and The Guardian.

Perseids Round