This week’s Cultureteca looks at The Weeknd, Majical Cloudz, and the beef that never was, with appearances from Julee Cruise and Twin Peaks, and Kanye West at the MTV Video Music Awards. Then on to the 45th anniversary edition of The Velvet Underground’s Loaded; an apparent baseball mishap at Tropicana Field; an exhibition in Verona by the artist Jacob Hashimoto; and finally some noisy plastic ducks.
* * *
Bar Room Singers: The Weeknd, Majical Cloudz, and Twin Peaks
The prospect of music beef tantalisingly suggested itself this week, scenting the nostrils and tingling almost tangible upon the taste buds. And some distance removed from the traditional rap locales, it proposed to set two of Canada’s brightest indie talents against one another, pitting Toronto against Montreal. Alas, it was less than a misunderstanding – there was nothing to it aside from the grasping of journalists – but it did provide one of the musical week’s more humorous interludes.
Apparently a couple of years ago a director named Mitch Moore worked briefly on a video with Majical Cloudz which never came to fruition. Owing to creative differences, the project was scrapped. But then last month The Weeknd released his video for ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, directed by Grant Singer, with the song the second single from The Weeknd’s just-released sophomore studio album Beauty Behind the Madness – and Mitch Moore was advised to take note. He spotted some similarities between his work on the aborted Majical Cloudz video and the completed video for ‘Can’t Feel My Face’, and asserting that he sent edits of his video out around the time to colleagues for feedback, he took to Instagram to suggest a degree of appropriation. When Pitchfork got involved, Moore edited his Instagram post to offer a fuller statement.
Still Devon Welsh of Majical Cloudz found himself having to dispel the notion that he and his band were personally accusing Grant Singer or The Weeknd of copying.
Following 2013’s exceptional Impersonator, Majical Cloudz have a new album on the way, with Are You Alone? due out on 16 October. This month the audio for one of the album’s twelve tracks was released, the beautiful ‘Silver Car Crash’. Devon took the opportunity presented by the Weeknd scandal to reveal that a video for ‘Silver Car Crash’ is imminent.
Aside from Devon’s lighthearted series of tweets – and even if there is a marked correspondence in terms of mise-en-scène and cutting across a portion of Moore and Singer’s videos – the very fact that Majical Cloudz had to defuse a situation, and the highly generic concept behind both videos, were equal causes for amusement. Both videos show singers standing at the forefront of stages with their microphones, ahead of plush backdrops, in bars with careful lighting.
The scenario may recall any number of music videos, films, or television shows, but I was reminded of the scenes inside the Roadhouse at the end of the pivotal fourteenth episode of Twin Peaks, otherwise known as ‘Lonely Souls’. With FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper, Sheriff Harry S. Truman, and The Log Lady, Donna Hayward and James Hurley, and Bobby Briggs all gathered in the Roadhouse, Julee Cruise, as the Roadhouse Singer, sings first ‘Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart’, then the devastating ‘The World Spins’ – the latter song interrupted ominously by The Giant.
To round this segment off, the MTV Video Music Awards took place earlier tonight at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, and Kanye West was witnessed dancing as The Weeknd performed ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ live.
Kanye dancing to "Can't Feel My Face" by the Weeknd https://t.co/33V6QtyPyM
— Kanye Doing Things (@KanyeDoingStuff) August 31, 2015
* * *
The Velvet Underground’s Loaded Turns 45
The Velvet Underground have previously released 45th anniversary editions of each of their first three studio albums: The Velvet Underground & Nico (1967), White Light/White Heat (1968), and The Velvet Underground (1969). These have arrived in deluxe packages with up to six CD’s worth of material, comprising remastered original recordings, alternate full-album mixes, alternate song takes, and live performances.
This year it is the turn of Loaded. The first two discs of the anniversary edition will contain the studio and mono versions of the album, along with assorted outtakes. The third will feature early versions and alternate mixes of songs recorded during the Loaded sessions. The fourth is a remastered edit of the 1972 release Live at Max’s Kansas City, which captured back on 23 August 1970 in New York what was effectively the group’s final show.
The fifth disc offers a hitherto unreleased recording of a live show which took place earlier in the year, on 9 May in Philadelphia. Live At Second Fret, Philadelphia, 1970, will boast eleven songs, with the band on the night a three-piece, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrison, and Doug Yule performing in the absence of Moe Tucker, who missed out on recording the vast majority of Loaded as she was pregnant at the time with her first child.
The sixth and final disc is an audio DVD incorporating three different high-resolution mixes of Loaded. Apparently these mixes have been re-sequenced, to demonstrate an originally planned segue between ‘I Found a Reason’ and ‘Head Held High’. Loaded: Re-Loaded 45th Anniversary Edition will be out on 30 October.
* * *
Kevin Kiermaier’s Vain Climb
The following GIF appears to show Tampa Bay Rays centre Kevin Kiermaier grossly misjudging the flight of the baseball off the bat of Kendrys Morales of the Kansas City Royals, during the game between the two sides at Tropicana Field on Friday night.
In fact Tropicana Field is notorious for four catwalks that hang from the stadium’s dome low over the outfield. The catwalks are lettered A to D. If A or B are struck, the ball drops into the outfield and can be caught or otherwise counts as a hit. But if C or D are struck, then the ball is ruled a home run. In this case, Morales actually achieved a two-run home run off the catwalk; while Kiermaier has to settle for being much less ludicrous that I and others initially presumed.
* * *
Jacob Hashimoto ‘Never Comes Tomorrow’ at Studio La Città
Since viewing an installation in bamboo and silk, titled ‘Superabundant Atmosphere’, by Jacob Hashimoto at Umeå’s Bildmuseet a few years ago, I have loosely followed the New York-based artist’s work. At the moment Studio La Città in Verona is showing ‘Never Comes Tomorrow’, a solo exhibition featuring some of Hashimoto’s best-known wall pieces alongside new site-specific installations. The show will run for just under a couple more weeks, until 12 September.
* * *
Noisy Plastic Ducks
And to close with the boldest and brightest thing on the internet right now, listen to the sound made by this safe of ducks.