Brian Eno 77 Million Paintings In Calgary

Amid St. Paddy’s Day revelers, and incognito, inbred-moron, chronically shorn, marching white supremacists, our roving cultural reporter, writer Geoff Moore, took in a special event which is a part of the 2011 High Performance Rodeo Arts Festival at Calgary’s Glenbow Museum; Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings, a multimedia art installation of moving images and ambient music from a guy who made that sort of thing cool before most of us even thought to consider the idea …


Brian Eno; ambient music is his baby

The day ended long after sunset in a pub on the north side of the Bow River, muttering about amateurs, yellow school busloads of young people staggering about beneath the green plastic leprechaun puke buckets pulled down over their foreheads. Difficult to text somebody whilst heaving in the alley and the alphabet has suddenly expanded to 52 letters. Erin go bragh!

And it began downtown around lunchtime, avoiding marching, chanting bags of puke as Calgary’s tiny cadre of neo-Nazis took to the streets to promote white supremacy although, ironically, the twenty or so disaffected skinheads took pains to conceal their faces with kerchiefs, actions which bespoke the exact opposite of any sort of pride in a particularly odious credo. It would be embarrassing, indeed, if your family and co-workers learned you were such a vile little cretin.

Between the pea soup tinges of unseasoned drinkers and the black garb of our local Nazis there was the tranquil spectrum of “visual music*,” Brian Eno’s 77 Million Paintings installation mounted at the Glenbow Museum as part of the High Performance Rodeo 2011 arts festival. Eno, whose surname is a gift to crossword constructors everywhere, is a postmodern renaissance man: composer, producer, musician, artist, avant-garde pioneer. He is the Nicholas Negroponte (Being Digital) of rock, someone who intuitively grasped technology and all its implications and potential while the rest of us were still trying to figure out how to hook up the cables. Read more

Gorillaz Perform Their Song “5/4”

GorillazHere’s a clip of meta rock ‘n’ hip-hop band Gorillaz with a cut off of their 2001 debut record Gorillaz. The ‘band’ is actually a project conceived by Damon Albarn of Blur, animator Jamie Hewlett (creator of the alternative comic Tank Girl among others), hip hop producer Dan the Automator, and other high-profile guests.

By 2001, Blur was on it’s last legs with guitarist and co-founder Graham Coxon having left to focus on his solo career, and leaving singer Damon Albarn to complete their most recent album Think Tank largely on his own.  But, I suppose Albarn too must have had itchy feet creatively speaking.  Because how different is Gorillaz from Blur?  How different is this project from any project?

Jamie Hewlett’s artwork is distinctive, edgy, and perfect for the music video medium.  Although it was a bold move to create a virtual band, maybe it’s not such a surprise that it was such a success in an age where multimedia is so vital to the success of a musical act, real or drawn.  And not only did the album get a nomination for the British Mercury Prize in 2001(later withdrawn by request of Albarn and Hewlett), the ‘band’ got into the Guinness World Book of Records for most successful virtual band, with the debut record selling seven million copies worldwide.  Their second record, Demon Days, came out in 2005 to enjoy equal success.

Hewlett and Albarn had been flatmates – they shared an apartment in the late 90s.  In discussing the subject of vapid music videos and the reliance of banal images to sell music through that medium, the two decided that they should try and make a comment on the state of the music video by creating something which satrizes it.  So, “Russell”, “Noodle”, “2D”, and “Murdoc” were born, even if the performances in the studio came from Albarn and a number of guest artists which have included Danger Mouse, Neneh Cherry, Ike Turner, De La Soul, Shaun Ryder, and actor Dennis Hopper among many others.

For more information and tuneage, check out  the Gorillaz website which gives backstories on each “band member”, and includes interactive materials relating to the project.  There are, evidently, plans for a third Gorillaz record in 2009.