Ever think of the colour purple without thinking of Prince? Impossible. Seductive, erotic and hypnotising, Prince was the walking definition of this colour. The life and soul of Prince represents true artistry and individuality between 1958-2016. It has been said he “lived life like movie”, his head being a constant radio, forming melodies and rhythms – a procedure he used for the “one take” process of his music. He is an iconic symbol of a man who did not go by social norms, he played and performed the way he wanted to completely within his own vision. It seems as if he was obsessed with this controversial colour, making it his total theme for music and art as if he really did adopt it like his own. The newly released book by Mobeen Azhar ‘PRINCE Stories from the Purple Underground’ gives an ultimate pictorial tribute to the artist in the truest form of his life, evolution, career and death. For the first time we see key members of Prince’s ongoing legacy give a first-hand account of the artist in a light never seen before. Author of the piece Mobeen is a fanatic of Prince, even appearing on stage with the man himself, who evidently is the perfect passion and person for the making of the book.
This is a beautiful record of Princes life, it features photos all the way back to when he got his first record deal at 19 years old, to performing at Madison Square Garden decades later. The photographs are bold, powerful and heroic, helping us understand the real Prince on and off stage. It is an unbiased, yet honest portrayal of the artist, making the pages personal and sentimental to the reader. We witness how much of an inspiration he was to many, even teaching one guitarist to only love the way they play guitar and no one else, to fully embrace yourself (without being arrogant). These personal monologues prevent the Purple Underground book from being a cliche autobiography, making us hear the different voices and experiences from many who feature in the book. One story in particular comes to mind which mentions having to share a an awkward moment inside of a lift with him.
Left: Prince in Canada, December 1996. Top right: On stage during the Parade tour, 1986. Bottom right: Photoshoot at Kemps Ice Cream building. Minneapolis. 1997.
What comes to mind when imagining the colour purple? Perhaps a smoky jazz bar or even the only two flags in the world that contain this colour. Although it is seen upon as a colour of spiritual awareness in China it is somewhat a controversial tone, even to be seen as a negative, unlucky or a forbidden colour in some cultures. As a powerful member of the rainbow, it’s a colour that represents a strong level of power which is particularly used by royals or emperors. Considering it to be culturally controversial and neglected in some areas, Prince saw it as the ultimate colour of inspiration (as do some others) which could still quite be an unusual choice to make in the world today.
For this months theme of LOUCHE, we have been asking several musicians what they associate with the word louche musically. At Cent, we feel that the word louche is defined as something or someone who is laid back, relaxed and a little bit sultry, we asked the band Future Generations what top ten tracks they would associate with the word louche. Future Generations will be releasing a self-titled album on the 29th of July, you can find their website here, but in the meantime here are there top ten louche tracks and why they chose them:
Washed Out – New Theory
Ernest Green, the musician/producer behind Washed Out, has serotonin flowing through his veins. You know that anesthetic concoction doctors give you before surgery? Ernest Green mixes it with his coffee in the morning. Washed Out’s name and corresponding song titles (“Amor Fati” translates to “love of one’s fate”) invoke a consistent sense of optimistic determinism, as if to say “It’s all out of our control, but it’s cool.
Anderson Paak. – The Bird
I was listening to a best music of 2015 podcast last year, and one of the featured songs was “Suede” by NxWorries, which is a collaboration between Anderson Paak. and Knxwledge. We all really fuck with Knxwledge, who does production for Kendrick Lamar, so, I showed their 2015 mixtape to Mike and he, being the world’s foremost hip-hop historian, already knew it and turned me onto other Anderson Paak. stuff. “The Bird” is from Paak.’s “Malibu,” a mellow-jazzy banger.
Widowspeak – Stoned
This one always seems to find its way onto our playlist whenever we go out on the road. Ethereal vibe. Mike saw them on a boat once – chill.
Slum Village – Untitled
J Dilla has had monumental influence on Mike and Dylan and this song represents his ability to establish neck breaking grooves with effervescent harmonic structure. The way the keys float in and out of the progression while the strings glide over top of the heavy hitting drums and bass is the very thing about Slum Village and J Dilla that has established them as legends. Roll down the windows on a hot summer day, jam this song, and watch yourself get taken from reality for 3 short minutes.
Buffalo Springfield – For What It’s Worth
From the sleepy and reverbed whole-note guitar line to the whispering gang harmonies, “For What It’s Worth,” I’m pretty sure, started chilled, laidback music as we know it today. It’s a protest song masquerading as a friendly stoner’s lament. Disguising the message or theme of a song with a melody of opposing is something we like to do as well, and Stephen Still and co’s work is some of the earliest and effective examples of that technique in pop music.
Vampire Weekend – Hannah Hunt
This song rules. The greatest track on one of the best albums of the 21st century. The Wayne Gretzky of VW tracks.
Baio – Sister of Pearl
Speaking of Vampire Weekend, their bass player, Chris Baio, has done some seriously groovy solo work. For Sister of Pearl, Baio reached into the Vampire Weekend pantry of ingredients, pulled out plunking harpsichords and heady wordplay, threw in some breathy tenor vocals and a heavily compressed melodic bassline for personal spice and ended up with a 5 Star dish, best enjoyed poolside. There’s your extended food metaphor for you.
Active Bird Community – Pick Me Apart
Buddies from the music scene back at Fordham University. Played some basement shows with them, and now they’re killing it after college. These guys rock. Shout out, Rams and Pugsley’s Pizza.
Tame Impala – ‘Cause I’m a Man
“I think this is the chillest fucking song ever,” said Dylan, a statement immediately confirmed by the other four.
Bahamas – All the Time
It was really tough to choose the last song for this list. But, it basically came down to the task at hand: picking ten laidback summer tunes. And Bahamas’ “All the Time” is a melting popsicle of a song. It’s literally called “All the Time.” And the name of the band is Bahamas! And there are only, like ten lines in the whole song. And one of those lines is “I put work in front of my girl/there’s something wrong with that.” God. S’chill.
Bruce Springsteen – Jersey Girl; Sports – You Are the Right One; Steve Miller Band – Fly Like an Eagle; Phoenix – Love Like a Sunset Pt. 1 & 2; America – Ventura Highway; Guru – Coast Modern; Mac Demarco – No Other Heart
A new exhibition at the National Portrait gallery celebrates the work of William Eggleston. Known by many as the ‘Godfather of Colour Photography’ his work is both insightful and fun. That said, it is the film he used that steals the show.
One subject Eggleston can’t seem to escape in his work, is colour itself. The use of the early colour film Kodachrome means certain hues are slightly saturated. His fascination with the film and eye for detail create the perfect showcase for the American dream of the day. A film that intensifies red and blue lends itself incredibly well to documenting an epoch symbolised by gas stations lit with neon and omnipresent golden arches. Though Eggleston was not an early adopter of Kodachrome (the film was first developed in 1935 by Eastman Kodak Company) he was one of the earliest people to master it and to pioneer it’s popularity. The wonder this film created, combined with it’s burgeoning accessibility took colour photography into both the fine art world and the homes of normal people simultaneously. In fact, Kodachrome was so adored, in 1973 Paul Simon even wrote a song in it’s honour…
Though not the saccharine portrayal that an ad company might come up with to sell the american dream, his work certainly seems celebratory of modernity and the context of America is unmistakable. He shows us popular culture at the time, not through it’s superstars or rock n roll sensations, but once it has filtered down to the very real, and much more humble masses of the deep south. Many of his photographs taken in the mid-seventies of the general public show slightly out-dated fashions that would be more classically associated with the 1960s and even late ‘50s. This just emphasises the concept that Eggleston was shooting real people with real lives in an age when fashion and culture was not a high turn over industry founded instant gratification.
Untitled (Sumner, Mississippi, Cassidy Bayou in Background), 1971
Though what really draws people to Eggleston’s work is the beauty he finds (or creates) in the banal day-to-day existence of his subjects, it does also hold a multi-dimensional aspect if viewed through the filter of class commentary. Though this does seem rather an unconscious element and perhaps one more relevant in hindsight. Predominantly, his work is an aesthetically enthralling ode to the colourful era in which he and his subjects inhabit.
Untitled 1974 (Karen Chatham and Lesa Aldridge)
While looking at Eggleston’s work it is hard to ignore an overwhelming sense of worship to the work pre-Raphaelite brotherhood and their followers, particularly when examining the portraits he creates of the women he knows. While some are a slight doth of the cap to the era, others seem to be a tribute to actual paintings. His photograph Untitled 1974 which features Karen Chatham and the artist’s cousin, Lesa Aldridge is highly reminiscent of Wallis’ ‘Chatterton’. The electric blue folds in the material on her dress, the auburn tones in Chatham’s hair, the light source positioned in so as it implies a sort of other worldly, divinity (though significantly more divine in Wallis’ painting, Eggleston does at least position the source of the fluorescent glow in the same place). Similarly in Eggleston’s portrait of Marcia Hare taken in 1975, he floral dress, long flowing hair, open mouth and tilted, gaunt face bares a striking resemblance to the composition and palette of Millais’ ‘Ophelia’.
Untitled 1975 (Marcia Hare)
Eggleston’s visual ethos does not always fits with the code of the pre-Raphaelite brotherhood, though it could be said that one of their doctrines was followed by Eggleston, only in a very contemporary sense; ‘to study nature attentively, so as to know how to express them’. Though Eggleston’s nature was a very different one to the likes of Millais et al, his keen observation and ability to focus in and magnify a fleeting, human moment gives his work an unusual majesty that will no doubt lead to his work being studied by art and photography students for centuries to come.
William Eggleston Portraits will run until 23 October 2016 at London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Some of our fondest childhood memories belong to being in awe at the cartoons that were brought to life from our bed time story books on to the television. Animated pictures have always sought after to capture our imagination. Arguably this curiosity of the world of animation and the enthusiasm to create highly developed animation, has inevitably led to the dramatic changes in the animation industry in a short period of time.
Early Days: People realised very quickly that pictures taken of a moving object, could be flipped through in succession to create the illusion of a motion picture. These very simple drawings were photographed, but this was a very tedious process.
The development of the celluloid shift led to the first successful fully animated cartoon, Gerti the Dinosaur, created by Winsor McCay. But then …
Progression: The young animator who would later be known as one of the founding Father’s of animation, Walt Disney, started the next revolution in animation. 1928 saw the release of Steamboat Willie, it was the first animated film to introduce sound and also debuted the charming Mickey Mouse.- Throughout the years Walt Disney also developed the use of three step technicolor, this was the method of painting directly on film strips. This led to films such as Snow White and others becoming a popular form of entertainment.
Evolutionary: The computer revolution completely changed the way animation was done, frame by frame animation of 2D characters could now be done entirely on a computer. It gave graphic artists more control and they were able to produce content without the use of artists. – Computers then pushed the development of 3D animation, three dimensional models or characters were constructed using geometrical shapes.
Then comes along Pixar, when they presented their groundbreaking form of CGI rendered animation with Toy Story in 1993. It used a complex system of model articulation and motion control- Pixar was able to create characters with depth and personality.
Everything peaked when James Cameron’s two decades in the making Avatar was released in 2009. It used advanced CGI and motion capture techniques that were so incredibly groundbreaking, that it has led to films such as the newly released Jungle Book, BFG,Tarzan and The Planet of the Apes to take tips in how to create a visually interesting master piece.Some would say that technology has replaced the role of animation, but it hasn’t. Despite the breakthrough in computer animation, any piece of animation still needs the creative talent of an animator, to give it a story, characters and dialogue. Traditional animators still remain a prominent part in the form of animation. Computer animation is definitely not seen as a replacement, rather just a replacement.
There has been a massively fun trend floating around and everyone has been talking about it. Can you guess what it is? Thats right, you said it, colouring books for adults! Not only are we able to get away with colouring, a stigma which is associated with childish behaviour, but this notion of using our imagination to colour has been proven to be a stress reliever. What can better than being able to revisit your childhood (a complete stress-free period to say the least!) as well as relieving stress from the pressures of adulthood?
‘Now it’s your chance to be the designer, and to colour in your own versions of the latest looks – you can choose to follow the descriptions of the original garments or create crazy new colourways of your own”. – Iain R. Webb
The Vogue Colouring Book gives everyone the unique chance and fulfil their utmost desire of being a fashion designer. Every little girls dream! The book features hand drawn artworks, by Iain R Webb, which were inspired and taken from actual images from British Vogue in the 1950’s. The 1950’s is an era known for the glamorous and elegant style featuring the classic hourglass figure. The book is an exploration of every woman’s dream wardrobe with opulent dresses, dramatic accessories and fancy but structured women suits. The Vogue Colouring Book is officially released on November 5th 2015, so get your colouring pencils ready and don’t miss out on this dashing book. Don’t forget to share your designs and hashtag them using the hashtag #TheVogueColouringBook.
If you want something completely different you could try the ‘Lost Ocean’ colouring book by Johanna Basford which is almost enchanting and takes you on an embellishing journey of the hidden secrets and gems of the underwater world!
Immerse yourself in this groovy trend, pick up your coloured pencils and let yourself get lost in this beautifully enchanting world of colouring!