ISSUE 16 founder ¦ editor-in-chief giuseppe russo
sarah jayne fell
assistant editor jessica manim
architecture/design editor annelie rode
sarah jayne fell
assistant copy editor jessica manim
advertising & sales michael littlefield
distribution assistant rachel basckin
diesel jeans concept & photographer eric uys I www.ericuys.com art director giuseppe russo rossline from infidels hair & make-up danielle van cuyck model jonothan kope from boss
jon monsoon, jess henson as jezebel, sarah jayne fell, paul white and rudi cronje as HEADLINE payoff, jessica manim, lucy heavens, giuseppe russo, annelie rode, sanda pfeiffer, lize kay, marita nortje, wordy rock guy, tamlyn grey, leonie van hase, kelly berold, mick raubenheimer, francois schmidt
eric uys, lillith leda, duane ashton morton, michaela verity, deborah rossouw, ross garrett
oss tv crew: ryan christian & karen nass (coza productions) and paul wilson (editor), pietro russo, jimmy strats, howard simms (hammer live), bruce wright (mnemonic), rudi silbermann (guest artwork), the book lounge, biblioteq
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firstname.lastname@example.org www.onesmallseed/subscriptions2.htm The small print: No responsibility can be taken for the quality and accuracy of the reproductions, as this is dependent on the quality of the material supplied. No responsibility can be taken for typographical errors. The publishers reserve the right to refuse and edit material. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. No responsibility will be taken for any decision made by the reader as a result of such opinions. Copyright one small seed South Africa. All rights reserved. Both the name ‘one small seed’ and are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written consent from the publisher. one small seed does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. This is a quarterly publication. ISSN 977 181 6896 033.
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EDITOR’S letter It is with immense pride that I want to share this anniversary issue with you. Four years of one small seed showcasing the best South Africa has to offer makes this a special occasion indeed. So, we decided to make this issue very special for everyone; firstly, with a little present, one small seed d. volume one, that you’ll find on the back inside cover (if nobody has stolen it yet). With this, one small seed is very glad to bring you the very best of South African independent music. Thanks to all the bands and labels who gave us their music for this first volume. While I’m at it, I’d also like to add a general thanks to all those who’ve contributed to one small seed in any way over the years. Thanks for joining us along this journey, you know who you are. These last four years have been a constant struggle for us, so to say, especially in trying to find the best balance possible for the magazine. The content has had to be novel and interesting but without offending too many people. Sometimes we definitely succeeded, and sometimes we did not! We’ve always wanted to deliver you something different; since independent publishing means we don’t have to please any big organisations at the end of the chain, we’ve always been able to express ourselves freely. This alone is an immense privilege, one that’s very rare these days. So, thank you for supporting us and making it possible for us to be here, allowing us to continue to select our magazine content without being held back by any constraints. We are eternally grappling with what could be considered interesting and good, whether adding just a little more would be too much, or if putting in a little less would be bad. This brings us to the content of this issue, in which we went in both directions; this issue is all about our own internal struggles, considering both the good side and the darker, bad side that exists in us all. What would we do for the sake of the good? What do we do that others perceive to be bad? How far is it okay to go, in either extreme? When does it stop being ‘acceptable’? Well, we all have to decide for ourselves since we all live very different lives and have different boundaries – especially as creatives, whereby our very existence demands us to push our boundaries as far as possible. In this issue we showcase the work and lives of those that do just that, push boundaries – their own and those of others – in all sorts of crazy directions. Each example is as individually intriguing as the next and has something we can all learn from. On page 66, I have written a longer article about the history of one small seed, how it all began and what our underlying goals have always been. This is a story I have often been asked about, so I thought if I don’t do it now, for this special anniversary occasion, I never will. For the rest, well, I hope you’ve heard about our new friend Joe Bubble (www.joebubble.com). He has also written a little something for us in the magazine. Be forgiving, he is quite a character ;) I really hope you enjoy this colourful issue and I hope that one small seed will have many years ahead to continue to inspire, and to showcase and share your work with the world. For now, please celebrate with us. Enjoy the magazine. Giuseppe Russo Founder | editor-in-chief one small seed
PROFILES: ARYAN KAGANOF & NIKHIL SINGH PROFILES: MARUMIYAN
47 FEATURE: CONSCIOUS DESIGN
24 PROFILES: RUDI SILBERMANN
56 FEATURE: MASH-UP
30 PROFILES: SASAN
60 FEATURE: CLEON PETERSON
66 FEATURE: THE STORY OF A SEED
72 FASHION: DARING THE SHOOT
88 MUSIC: COAL
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80 FASHION: NU DENIM I HANDS-ON POP
89 MUSIC: THE SLEEPERS
92 MUSIC: THE BLACK HOTELS
94 MUSIC: LAMB OF GOD
SA ARTISTS EXPLODING THE I
ARYAN KAGANOF & NIKHIL SINGH 16
Why be conscious when it comes to design? Find out from conscious creatives from SA’s republic of design, featuring Ryan Frank, Porky Hefer, LIV Design and Liam Mooney.
INTERNATIONAL GRAPHIC ARTIST
FASHION: DARING THE SHOOT
NU DENIM: HANDS-ON POP
LOCAL DIGITAL ARTIST
We join in on the global remix debate, letting two industry leaders battle it out.
EMERGENT ETHEREAL SOUNDSCAPES LOCAL MULTIMEDIA ARTIST
RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY
Looking at the London leg of the international music event for 2010. INTERNATIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER
LORDS OF CAPE TOWN DARK ROCK
SA ART INITIATIVE
59 MISHMASH JOZI INDIE POP
A night of doodling for the greater good.
THE BLACK HOTELS
CLEON PETERSON LOCAL DJ/PRODUCER
TRIPLET OF BELLVILLE
LA artist exposes the dark side of the real. This one’s PG-rated.
NEW WAVE LEADERS OF US METAL
LAMB OF GOD
THE STORY OF A SEED
Marking the occasion of our fourth anniversary, we tell the tale of one small seed.
DEPARTMENTS: IN STORE BOOK REVIEWS CD REVIEWS DVD REVIEWS
PAGE 8 PAGE 14 PAGE 98 PAGE 102
NOW SHOWING THE LAST WORD DIRECTORY
PAGE 104 PAGE 108 PAGE 111
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DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY Sarah Jayne Fell & Lucy Heavens (LH)
IN STORE THE NIXON NEWTON
This novel, cute and chunky analogue watch by Nixon has moving dots instead of hands. It features Chinese quartz movement with LED light and display. Completing this funky-retro piece is its thick, hardwearing silicone strap. Available in white, black, red, blue and mismatch (white with coloured trims). www.nixonnow.com
REEBOK ALLSTON SNEAKERS www.reebok.com
FENDER ROAD WORN SERIES Pre-worn guitars see the instruments aged in all the right spots to give them the authentic vintage look and feel of guitars from the 1950s and ‘60s. Their necks are worn in to give them the more comfortable feel of older guitars, as are the fret boards. Small abrasions are made to the finish, including battle scars like smoke stains and scratches, to complete a convincing aged affect. The new Road Worn guitars by Fender have been introduced this year as an affordable line of their flagship models. The series includes a ‘60s jazz bass, ‘50s P-bass, a ‘50s telecastor, and ‘50s and ‘60s strats. They all have pre-aged bodies that look like they’ve weathered some smoky bars, lovingly distressed to give the guitars a broken-in feel, and even have aged pickups to give them a vintage look and tone. They’re really rocking. www.fender.com/roadworn
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SIGMA DP1 This nifty little digicam is marketed as “the world’s first and only truly high-performance compact digital camera”. Is it true? Well the big deal here is that it flaunts an SLR-sized image sensor, something no other compact can boast. It also has a 28mm prime lens designed for top performance, and a minimised automatic element in its capture setting. The idea is to avoid the generic, flat look created by most compact cameras that have made photography for dummies failureproof, but which don’t allow for anything really spectacular. The SIGMA DP1’s conception arose from a desire for a compact camera that can produce works of art, not just replicable happy snaps; a camera that allows the artistic eye behind the lens to express its vision without being overridden by auto-functions. This lightweight, pocket-sized digicam creates images with remarkable pixel detail, even compared to DSLRs. It’s undeniably in a category of its own. www.sigma-dp1.com
VON ZIPPER SHADES Style: Bang Bang - gold gradient www.vonzipper.com
Young Guns 6 and The Undiscovered Letter An interesting two-volume set from The Art Directors Club (ADC) Young Guns, a New York-based showcase of exceptional new professional talent from all fields of media and design, who are 30 years of age and younger. The first volume, Young Guns 6, is a compilation of the work of finalists from the ADC annual design challenge. The challenge serves to benefit lettera27, an Italian non-profit organisation dedicated to eradicating global illiteracy. The second volume, The Undiscovered Letter, is filled with participants’ visualisations of a 27th letter of the alphabet. Packaged as two small Moleskines bound with the signature bellyband, the bundle is quirky and attractive. (LH) by The Art Directors Club with lettera27 Chronicle Books, produced by Moleskine
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DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY SARAH JAYNE FELL
THE HACKNEY SHELF Jo’burg-born designer Ryan Frank begins the creative process of these funky shelving units by leaving whiteboards around London’s graffiti hotspots for the public to have their way with. Later he removes them and transforms them into cool once-off pieces of furniture that bring a touch of authentic street art into chic contemporary interiors. See page 48 for a full feature on his work. www.ryanfrank.net
SWATCH TED SCAPA - THREESIXTY RIDE www.swatch.com
PLAYFOREVER TOYS Playforever is a London-based designer toy manufacturer. This delightful range is designed by Julian Meagher and includes the Bruno Roadster, the Mimmo Aeroplane and the Enzo Motorbike. Available in bright blue and racy red. www.playforevertoys.com
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DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY SARAH JAYNE FELL
TRIHARD STOOL AND PLANTER This modular seating system consists of separate triangular modules and is made from lightweight concrete so each piece can be moved around. Put them together to form a hexagonal island or in a line to form a long bench or keep them separate as single stools. Their tops are removable, concealing storage space or, get this, a cooler box, due to the concreteâ€™s amazing insulation properties. The space can also be used to create a planter. Super versatile and innovative, makes for some cool and quirky garden furniture thatâ€™s also weatherrestistingly durable and sturdy. by Joe Paine Available through Whatiftheworld I Design Studio www.whatiftheworld.com
THE LOWVELD STOOL by Liam Mooney www.liammooney.co.za
tulamp & anenome lamp by LIV Designs www.2livliv.com
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DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY LUCY HEAVENS (LH), JESSICA MANIM (JM)
BOOK REVIEWS MARCEL WANDERS: BEHIND THE CEILING edited by R. Klanten, S. Moreno, A. Mollard Gestalten
This book offers page after page of beautiful things, humour and ideas from Dutch designer, Marcel Wanders. The artist’s wit and imagination is beautifully evoked throughout. It includes photographs of objects and installations, as well as personal, conceptual sketches. Behind the Ceiling also introduces Wanders’ highly anticipated, new ideas around extraordinary architecture and interiors. Examples of furniture, lighting, textiles, tableware and porcelain, as well as Wanders’ personal art editions are accompanied by incredibly unpretentious anecdotes and insights into the nature of design and creativity. This book is a pleasure trip into Wanders’ extensive and irresistible universe. (LH)
ELEGANT ENIGMAS: THE ART OF EDWARD GOREY by Karen Wilkin
Brandywine River Museum and Pomegranate Press
More than 175 reproductions of Gorey’s work offer a rich retrospective on the genius of this awesome American writer and artist. Samples from Gorey’s own books, illustrations for other authors from Charles Dickens to Virginia Woolf, theatrical sets, costume designs, and a wealth of individual pieces, many previously unpublished, are included here. The text by Karen Wilkin, an expert on, and friend of Gorey, offers an intimate review of his career, as well as fresh insights into his life and work. Published on the occasion of the first major travelling exhibition of this master artist, this beautifully produced book is long overdue. It shines a deservedly bright light on Gorey’s technical brilliance, black humour, intellect and devastating charm. (LH)
SATCHMO: THE WONDERFUL WORLD AND ART OF LOUIS ARMSTRONG by Steven Brower Abrams
This surprising collection of collages, scrapbooks and letters by Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong is completely captivating, personal and intriguing. Photographs of long, colourful prose pieces written by Satchmo himself, recount memories and experiences in the easy manner of a prolific diary-keeper. Brower’s own insights are accompanied by hundreds of collages, mostly on recording tape boxes, created by Armstrong. The book not only reveals the life of the great jazzman, but also takes the reader on a vivid journey through mid-century black America. The collages incorporate newspaper clippings, handwritten notes, and personal photographs of Armstrong, other jazz greats, friends and family. A biography in the form of an art book, this is an essential for fans and art lovers alike. (LH) 14
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*Books available at The Book Lounge, Biblioteq & all good book stores
PRINT AND PRODUCTION FINISHES FOR SUSTAINABLE DESIGN by Edward Denison Rotovision
A simple and practical guide for what has become a vital design consideration for many companies: sustainability. Environmentally-friendly inks, varnishes, pigments, and finishes are accompanied by examples of their uses on recyclable paper, paper substitutes, and 100% biodegradable plastics. Case studies show this put into practice in a selection of successful sustainable organisations. Existing companies dedicated to reducing their impact on the environment showcase designs that demonstrate clear environmental benefits. The book is uncomplicated and easy to navigate – an ideal source for sustainable design in print media, products, packaging, fashion and accessories. (LH)
DOODLE FOR A DIFFERENCE
by Paballo Ya Batho / Legion / Night of 1000 Drawings Legion
Doodle for a Difference explores one of South Africa’s most innovative exhibitions, Night of 1000 Drawings. The first exhibition was held in 2007 as a fundraiser to help Paballo Ya Batho (Paballo), an organisation that assists the destitute population of Jo’burg. Later, the project worked to help a similar organisation in Cape Town, Love to Africa. This perfectly-sized A5 book features letters from major players, such as Paballo founder Janet Hudson and writer Sean O’Toole, as well as photographs of some of the artworks and events. While the letters are printed on rough, matt pages, the photographs are on glossy paper, imbuing them with the glory they rightly deserve. It’s a juicy visual treat for the art collector and the philanthropist. (JM)
by Arata Isozaki and Ken Tadashi Oshima Phaidon
This is one of those heavy-paged, mouth-watering, monographic volumes that Phaidon does so well. It brims with the work, both conceptual and realised, of one of the world’s most prolific and influential architects, Arata Isozaki. The study is extensively illustrated with drawings, silkscreens, sketches, and models from the Isozaki Office Archive. Isozaki’s vast body of work is grouped into six chapters according to themes based on the Japanese architect’s own cataloguing system. Essays by Ken Tadashi Oshima are accompanied by theoretical texts by Isozaki, many of which have never been published or translated before. (LH)
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illustration by Nikhil Singh
Operating in the hinter-light of mainstream’s glare, local multimediatics Aryan Kaganof and Nikhil Singh are conjuring vast labyrinths of self-styled art. A cross-section through their respective bodies of work amounts to an assault on the senses: Not content with testing the bounds of any given discipline, they tear through one medium to the next, fuelling their creative hunger as they go. Always several steps ahead of even their most avid fans, they pop up where least expected, brandishing several new works, before slipping from view once more. The fact that they’re only marginally known is criminal, if understandable – juggling mediums as they do monikers, they can’t be bothered to wait for an audience to gather, much less keep up. Standing still is a waste of time. WORDS:
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Aryan Kaganof, provocateur-of-all-arts (except cooking, so far), has no need for the multi-mask of pseudonyms, he was born someone else. Five novels; several collections of poetry; various international art exhibits; three bands; oh, and around 120 films (mostly shorts, but still) strapped to his quantum belts, Kaganof is also founder and editor of a vast (we’re talking biblical proportions here) arts blog. By the time you read this he’ll have notched up several more works. Originally making a name under his doopnaam, Ian Kerkhof graduated from the Netherlands Film and Television Academy with Kyodai Makes the Big Time, which promptly garnered the Golden Kalf for Best Picture (Dutch equivalent of the Oscar). Said debut subsequently gulped down Best Screenplay at the Berlin Film Festival. What followed was a frenzied gush of experiments in cinema – within a handful of years he’d racked up dozens of full-lengths and shorts, notorious for plunging into abysses of taboo, and other dangerous, black-lit scapes of the human psyche. Titles like It’s the Children: Incest; Merzbow Beyond Snuff; the celebrated Ten Monologues from the Lives of the Serial Killers; and Nice to Meet You. Please Don’t Rape Me! speak for themselves. The turn of the century saw Kerkhof experience a personal revelation, which led to his rebirth as Aryan Kaganof. The films continued to gush – if less rabidly – his output now spilling into literature, music, theatre and art. When local publishers wouldn’t publish his debut novel Hectic, Kaganof created Pine Slopes Publications, whose roster now includes works by the likes of Lesego Rampolokeng and Helge Janssen. Moving from smoky thighs to sticky barstools to fictional authors, Kaganof’s literature tirelessly roams the playscapes of authorial deceit – mostly in clipped, simple sentences that periodically leap into the profound or shocking – while his poetry feeds on everything (with a sweet tooth for teenage girls), and remixes itself. On the side he’s tirelessly been documenting various local phenomena - from Sharp Sharp! (The Kwaito Story); to an exploration of Post/non-Colonial African thought via the likes of Lefifi Tladi and Geoff Mphakati (who also co-directed) in Giant Steps; and Africa’s first experimental electronic music festival, Unyazi, in Unyazi of the Bushveld. In 2005 he coined the world’s first full-length feature film shot entirely on cellphone, SMS Sugar Man, which Kaganof says “introduces South African audiences to the feel-bad movie, a genre of my own that I have finely honed and shaped over the past 20 years”. For the unveiling universes of Kaganof, see ‘loci’. Loci: Aryan Kaganof AK Thembeka Ian Kerkhof Abraxas Younity Movement Virgins Freedom Fighter www.kaganof.com www.myspace.com/africannoisefoundation www.kaganof.com/kagablog www.pineslopes.book.co.za www.smssugarman.com 18
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Artist/musician/writer Nikhil Singh is a dark prince of his trades. Originally slinking into view with his ornate, gothic cartoon illustrations, he visited the pages of one small seed three years ago, graced album covers and appeared in publications like Itch and Rankin’s Dazed & Confused. The fortune-teller and tarot devotee (his sixteen-year-old future masterpiece is a deck of tarot cards he’s patiently been coaxing to life), also spearheaded the neon occult of shortlived band The Wild Eyes. The group was treasured for their live concerts/ happenings where splendorous, careening sonics were met with, even ousted by, darkly bright visual exclamations. The Wild Eyes had scarcely gasped their last before Singh gathered an illustrious lineup of Cape Town’s edgier musos (from Righard Kapp through Ramon Da Silva, Brydon Bolton and beyond) to realise the concise, gently eclectic splendour of solo album, Pressed up Black. Said album had bare been out a week when Singh announced he was heading off for the wider nights of London, where he’s been based since 2007. The UK season has seen the births of various musical outfits, and new projects of literature and aesthetics; from the crashing duet of Hi Spider, with Nikhil on geetah and vox, assaulted by the drums of one Bat Blackk; to the ambient dark of Basement Angels, and more. Singh’s short stories and illustrations inhabit richly detailed, self-contained worlds governed by precise, eccentric logics. His graphic novel Salem Brownstone: All Along the Watchtower, a collaboration with author John Harris Dunning, is due for release on Halloween this year, sneak a peek on Amazon. In the meantime, he’s waist-deep into his second novel, while the hallucinogenic chic of his expanding drawings and short stories seep ever deeper into realms of cyberspace. Singh’s proliferating ventures can be traced at newly launched site www.nikhilsingh.com; which also couches his arts blog, Venusville. Breathe in... dive deep. Loci: Nikhil Singh Witchboy www.myspace.com/hispider www.myspace.com/thewildeyes www.myspace.com/promisingpain www.myspace.com/rocktocktick www.myspace.com/basementangels
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sarah jayne fell
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Marumiyan’s work is a combination of hand-drawn images (using a pen-tablet), photographs and digital manipulation, put together in Photoshop. He says he’s drawn inspiration from Japanese cartoonist, Taiyo Matsumoto, and Spanish surrealist, Joan Miró. His work also reflects the style of sixties Art Nouveau posters by artists like Alfons Mucha, modernised by a more sophisticated understanding of light and shadow invoked by the subsequent revolution in photography. Marumiyan also says he is profoundly inspired by music, which he is unable to work without, and listens to anything from electronica to rock, and jazz to hip-hop while creating his explosions of colour and energy. He speaks of his work as “an expression of his imaginational world”, placing importance on “showing his colour”. “I’d like to present my world,” he says, “the world of my imagination, to people whenever possible”. So, here we present, the world of Marumiyan. The graphic art of Marumiyan is a visual extension of Ryosuke Mori’s fantastic imagination imbued by a childhood spent in the countryside of Japan, family visits to art galleries, and hours occupied by doodling on backs of flyers and any scrap paper he could get his hands on. Mori went on to study graphic arts and design at university in the starkly other-worldly Fukuoka, the oldest city in Japan that has also been named one of the ten most dynamic cities in the world. The breakthrough in his work shows something in the young Mori’s mind must have exploded as his two disparate worlds collided. Creating images harking back to traditional Japanese culture that erupt with intricate natural elements fused with darker urban symbolism and coloured by the vibrancy of Fukuoka’s energy, his art invokes a fantastical new world he’s been transplanted to. Serene, beautyspotted women adorned with flamingos and leopards, skulls and jewels, with flowers and feathers erupting from their beings, gaze into the distance to a faraway place. Art Nouveau juxtaposes with Japanese Manga, the old world clashes with the new, the man-made merges with nature. Saturated colour flows throughout, creating a dazzling sense of harmony in a pastiche of diametric opposition. Mori is now working under the name ‘Marumiyan’ as both a freelance commercial designer and a fine artist, and the ambitious twenty-something-year-old has been commanding attention all over Asia with his disarming work. He’s exhibited in Japan, Taiwan, Sweden and Poland to date, done commercial work on CD album art for over forty international musicians, and been featured in multiple Japanese magazines. This is his first-ever showcase in a non-Asian publication. one small seed
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THE DIGITAL DREAMS OF
RUDI SILBERMANN Recently, a startling collection of work was uploaded to one small seedâ€™s community network site. We, in the one small seed office, were stunned by the portfolioâ€™s technical wizardry and its delicate, otherworldly compositions. Jessica Manim investigated the digital dreams and found Rudi Silbermann, a thoroughbred South African talent. WORDS:
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Magical and breathtaking, Rudi’s talent is the kind you’d expect to see grown on international soil. But, raised at the mouth of the Breede River, he’s testament to the rapidly growing South African digital art scene. He states he’s always had a fervent interest in the power of visual constructions and that as a child he was deeply intrigued by the layout of magazines. This obsession with design led him to study photolithography, after which he worked in the printing industry for six years. It was during this time that Rudi met an architect who introduced him to the craft of making artistic impressions for architectural projects. Instantly attracted to the vocation, he began dabbling in Photoshop. It wasn’t long before he discovered 3D modelling and became hooked on developing digital masterpieces. Working primarily in Photoshop and Maxon Cinema 4D, Rudi combines photographs with 3D-modelled elements to build dreamy landscapes that whisper fantastical stories and whimsical dreams. Each piece carefully balances the delicate and the dark, contrasting soft lighting with sombre, warm colours. From abandoned houses set against barren landscapes to exquisite women wrapped in mist, his works are at once foreign and yet familiar, leaving an open doorway through which to discover meaning. “The key thing I try to create is a space where the viewer can develop their own story about what they see,” explains Rudi. “My images are meant to invoke emotion and thought. Sometimes the things we dream do feel real, and this is what the artworks are about.” 26
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Like illustrations of childhood fairytales or snapshots from a lucid dream, Rudi’s images instantly call up a narrative in one’s mind. Whether one views each piece in isolation or as a series of related artworks, they’re definitely more than just ‘pretty pictures’. There’s a sense that each element he includes is vital to the final product, although he does not always choose them consciously. From cast aside masks to distant buildings, each part seems to bring a keen sense of balance and power to the overall composition. He often feels that they are all predetermined, as ideas will often pop wholly formed into his mind. “Sometimes I feel that the images I make are just lying there, waiting to be created,” he says. “It’s like they were just meant to be.” Recently, Rudi has been working in conjunction with Ian Mitchinson, a Capetonian fine art photographer, on The Cherish Series. The collaboration pushes the limits of portrait photography, which is often conventionally stifling. The idea is to take that which is most dear to the subject and transform it from the expected to the fantastical, imbuing it with tangible emotional tones. From wedding dresses to hobbies and the jovial to the serious, the collection celebrates life’s revered moments. And while Rudi and Ian cherish the moments of others, this is clearly one South African talent who’s worthy of being cherished himself. Nates Tune Sister of Night PREVIOUS PAGE: Journey FOLLOWING PAGE: Next Level ABOVE:
â€œSometimes we dream and things do feel real, and this is what the artwork is about.â€?
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COMPASSION IN A DARK REALM Sasan is a man intrigued by the darker side of the human mind. His artworks exist in a realm of palpable fear and tension; and yet he takes no sadistic pleasure in them, only a profound contemplation in the possibility of their existence. Although his portfolio includes a variety of formats, his mixed media works are the most intriguing. They combine his workâ€™s finest aspects, creating pieces that captivate the mind and invoke the most primal of emotions. WORDS:
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Red Thinker X
The Capetonian artist’s world is a stark one, created primarily in black and white, the linework swims in heavy layers of crimson. He positions his subjects centrally before slowly building up their surroundings. His figures are always alone, lost within an oppressively dim realm without a companion. A sense of rejection surrounds them, a feeling that they are social outcasts due to some form of deformity. Which makes sense when one learns that one of his major sources of inspiration is Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. The novella famously tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a pressurised salesman who transforms into an insect overnight, only to be rejected by those who once loved him. Sasan explains the connection to this seminal modernist work: “I’m trying to tap into the dark and melancholic parts of the mind. As humans we are visual creatures and love beauty. We don’t like ugliness.” Areas of intricate detail are sharply contrasted with achingly open spaces in most of Sasan’s mixed media works. Vacant spaces draw you into the surrounding areas, heavily populated by intense crosshatching. “The very simple linework can be followed like a road until you get to the busy area,” says Sasan. “I choose my shading and light source in a way that allows me to have a lot of dark areas as the focus point.” Whether he draws your attention to the foreground figure or the background scenery, the effect is powerful, forcing one aspect of an image to pop out while others recede. Several symbols recur throughout Sasan’s portfolio of personal work. Two that predominate are masks and insects. The masks reference the medieval Schandmasken (Shameful Masks) that were used to publicly discipline and ridicule those who had committed minor offences. Metal masks in the shape of animal heads were strapped to the head before the offender was forced into public to be mocked by his community. It’s no surprise then that they have become such a strong feature in the work of a man who explores the twisted ways in which humans interact with one another. However, his work doesn’t enter into the ridicule; instead it pulsates with a powerful feeling of compassion. The use of insects prevails as, for Sasan, they straddle the delicate line between the grotesque and the magnificent. While most humans react with automatic repulsion towards insects, Sasan spent many years drawing them professionally and finds them intensely alluring. Obsessed with the darker side of humans yet beating with a gentle sense of compassion, Sasan’s works delve the depths of the hidden territory of the heart. While one may be shocked or even revolted by his subjects’ suffering, it’s impossible to withdraw from them. Instead, his works provoke a prolonged contemplation, a silent analysis not only of the subject’s situation but an exploration of one’s own murkier acts and intentions. 32
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Cape Town Port
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Hermann one small seed
RANKIN LIVE WORDS:
sarah jayne fell
From the catwalk to the Congo, British portrait and fashion photographer John Rankin Waddell has produced an enormous and diverse body of work. Rankin Live! is his latest endeavour, currently being showcased at the Old Truman Brewery in the creative hub of London’s East End. The photographic event takes an innovative twist on the traditional exhibition format, featuring two shows in one: The Retrospective provides an overview of the artist’s career, in an exhibition of 600 images selected from his vast portfolio of work. The second exhibit, Shoot Me, Rankin! is a work-inprogress, comprising a live, ongoing photoshoot of 1000 individuals, whose portraits will also become part of the overall photographic exhibition. Working under the name Rankin, the Glaswegian has photographed some of the biggest names and faces of the century. His star-studded inventory includes supermodels Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell, rockstars from Marilyn Manson to David Bowie, popstars such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue, and iconic figures from Quentin Tarantino and Damien Hirst to Tony Blair and The Queen Herself. (That’s not to mention the long list of celebrities he’s snapped nude.) Rankin’s also shot and directed prominent ads for big brands like Nike, Levi’s, CocaCola and BMW, magazine covers for Vogue, Playboy, GQ and Dazed, and even launched his own fashion magazine, RANK, in 2000. Lately, Rankin’s been directing in his spare time, most recently creating the music video for Britrock chart-topper The Enemy’s single, ‘No Time For Tears’ and a viral campaign for Wonderbra. The man has unequivocally had one of the busiest and sexiest careers in his field. Rankin Live! is a museum-scale show featuring Rankin’s first-ever retrospective of his twenty-two year career, featuring an extraordinary collection of beauty, erotica, celebrity, charity and commercial images, as well as more personal photographs. The live shoot element, Shoot Me, Rankin!, puts the public in front of Rankin’s lens in an open studio during the exhibition. The portraits are immediately added to the online gallery, RankinLive, and will culminate as a series that altogether creates an original holistic yet personal portrait of a 21st Century UK. Rankin Live! runs at the Old Truman Brewery, London until 18 September 2009. www.rankinlive.com I www.rankin.co.uk one small seed
FANTASTIC NORWAY ARCHITECTS www.fantasticnorway.no
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Two young Norwegians in one red caravan travelling around Norway in search of adventure. Not how you’d normally describe an architectural firm, but this is not normal. This is Fantastic Norway. Rogue architects, Håkon Matre Aasarød and Erlend Blakstad Haffner, scour Norway in their bright office-on-wheels for situations where they can bring about change. Rather than competing for commissioned architectural projects, they abandoned conventional practice and left school to pursue an experimental approach of ’going out’ to find their own work. Six years later, their little mobile office is always open to local communities and clients. With their Norwegian heritage firmly engrained, Fantastic Norway seeks to restore architecture to its communal grassroots. They started together in 2003, working with locals from Brønnøysund to rescue a public square from a private developer. Since then, the creative pair has completed many fantastic projects: from the visually stunning ‘Siren’, a restaurant on the Oslo waterfront with a transparent, floating façade, to ‘Polar Night’, light sculptures that warm abandoned public spaces during the 24 hour-long darkness of Arctic wintertime. The guys love to take on urban challenges and sometimes this proves not only difficult, but dangerous. Like having their van shot at to prevent them from revitalising a run-down area in the far North. Luckily, the intrepid architects never accept no for an answer, and are still here to tell the tale.
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Working ‘off the beaten track’ as architectural pioneers, what has been your most important discovery? We’ve discovered there is no ‘right way’ to be an architect; there is only ‘your way’. With increasing globalisation, the unique is more important than ever. Together with environmental challenges, this is the most important feature architecture can address. Architecture is a wonderful tool to amplify the strange and powerful notion of local identity. What have you learnt about your own culture? Norwegians are scared of the urban. When we regained independence 100 years ago, it became imperative to find something truly Norwegian. Our cities were places built by and for elite outsiders. The romantic idea that nature is good and cities are bad became cemented into Norwegian identity. Most of our celebrated architecture is in contrast with, or inspired by, nature, so it is difficult to create enthusiasm towards urban challenges. This is one reason we bought our caravan in the first place. Do you think your concept can work everywhere? Absolutely! For the Venice Biennale, we took our caravan to Italy. We quickly concluded that the caravan as a social arena works well outside Norway. Our initial ambition was to inspire others and spread our way of working. Since then, students in both Sweden and Italy have used our caravan method. Wherever you go, people enjoy talking and being listened to. Actually, I would say, if it works in Norway, it will definitely work elsewhere. Norwegians are famous for being shy.
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What do you enjoy most about your work? Our ambition with Fantastic Norway is to explore the field of architecture, evolve, and have fun at the same time. We don’t want to be frozen in one position, and find great joy in discussing and revaluing our company that is founded on being an open and socially aware practice. Did it affect you that you didn’t finish your degrees? It was great going back to finish them, but we learned more ‘out there’. For the most part, students’ contact with ‘real life’ is neglected in favour of abstract knowledge. Students are depressed and shocked by the realities of professional architecture. They feel they have to become machines, leaving behind the interesting debates and creative surroundings they had at school. We want to show students there are many ways to be an architect. Can you imagine settling down in an office? Not in a traditional sense. We always want to keep our work socially aware and closely connected to the clients and societies we work in. However, in the last few years we have focussed on self-initiating projects and anchoring them economically and politically. Running a firm this way means finding your own clients, instead of waiting for the next commission. This idea of the caravan, the public architect, is very much part of this way of working, but not necessarily in a physical sense. Moving from town to town isn’t compatible with having a personal life in the long run. WORDS:
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TRIPLET OF BELLVILLE Reputation can make or break a man. Luckily, for Capetonian audio escapologist/dubstep producer Grégory Reveret, a.k.a. T.O.B. (Triplet of Bellville), life is all about the breaks, and the future is a good place to be. Jon Monsoon adjusts the volume and finds out why… DJs – they’re a funny breed. They spend a lot of time playing other people’s music, but come off like they made 98% of it. Either they’re so full of misguided self-importance, it’s impossible to take them seriously, or they’re non-committal to the point of nail-biting boredom on what makes them play what they play. Picasso (the artist, not the DJ) once said “Success is dangerous. One begins to copy oneself, and to copy oneself is more dangerous than to copy others. It leads to sterility.” T.O.B.’s forthcoming single, ‘Phrygian Mode’, is an eye-wateringly dark slice of electronica that makes one thing clear: Sterility is not a place Greg Reveret knows the directions to. Evident in that he elects ‘dubstep’, one of the fringe genres of modern electronica, as his chosen aural weapon. “I’ve been told my sound isn’t like dubstep at all, which to me is a massive compliment,” asserts the DJ/producer, ensconced in his Long Street studio. “I don’t see myself as a dubstep artist and don’t want to be locked in that box,” he furthers on genrefication. “I’ve always found that not being too involved within the culture you make art for forces you to stay unique. I listen to as little dubstep as possible; it keeps my mind fresh.” ‘Fresh’ is certainly the word for it. ‘Phrygian Mode’ has impressed important ears around the globe such as those of BBC Radio1 DJ Bobby Friction and international heavyweights Bassnectar and David Starfire. “It’s one thing to be current and on top of your game but it‘s another to keep an open mind on current trends, whether they please you or not,” explains Greg. “Music is about evolution. To stay static is to admit your fate as a mortal artist.” That his music has tipped a toe in the dark side of the genre pool is undeniable, but what is the message? “Electronic music is a mental and physical expression. It’s about busting the fuck out on a dancefloor, letting the bassline bring out the inner demon in you. Music is not a message, it’s a holy experience!” Amen to that, brother. “Besides, nobody goes to clubs or festivals to listen to somebody’s message. That’s what church is for. I make music because it’s a form of expression. I am not here for World Peace; I’m just trying to expose my music to people who enjoy it.” T.O.B. is signed to Muti Music in the USA. ‘Phrygian Mode’ is released on 14 September 2009. Get in touch with him on www.myspace.com/ tripletcy. 45
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FEATURE: LOCAL DESIGN I CONSCIOUS DESIGN
he fairytale is over. Gone are the days when the princess only flew business class and the handsome prince waited in his V8 to whisk her off to that fabled South Beach hotel, the one that was envisioned by Marcel Wanders. The careless joy they had skipping from Maison et Objet to Art Basel, maxing out credit cards, buying a perfect life. The environment has been begging for mercy for generations but we are only responding now that our designer handbags are unaffordable. We should have seen the signs when the most coveted piece of art was a diamond-encrusted scull. Death through decadence. The designer life has finally cost the world too much. Yet the woes of the times need not foretell a barren future for design. They should herald a renaissance. We are the architects of our own demise but this could be our saving grace; as soon as we create an imbalance, we become acutely aware of it and work at rebalancing it. In this balancing act, we become truly creative. Value in design now lies in how our consciousness is articulated. Words like ‘sustainability’, ‘recycling’ and ‘green’ have quickly become ubiquitously misused consumer catchphrases to hide behind. Essentially, a move away from consumerism is our greatest challenge. The awareness is there, but it’s a reality we’re trying to avoid. Ultimately, we have to face the question of what this shift in awareness implies for design. The answer, I believe, lies in our own backyard. Consciousness of our environment and what it can teach has become the most valuable asset for designers today. We need to return to our own roots, reuse the resources we find there and, only as a last resort, recycle what we can find no other use for.
In developing countries, design is born from necessity. Economy of means is the framework and local craftsmanship is the art. Add heritage to this paradigm and you have the tools for ingenious design. Being blessed enough that our backyard is Africa can only mean inspiration and great design. Having African roots with such diverse cultural, political and artistic influences bestows us with a unique design-oriented identity to tap into. It gives us a consciousness embedded in heritage, aware of space and functionality, cautious with resources, and blessed with exceptional craftsmanship. In the following pages we have a selection of a new guard of designers whose roots all exist here in South Africa. Here, where they have leant that nothing should be taken for granted, that everything has the potential for positive change. Here, where we’re aware that design can be decidedly conscious and nonetheless, deliciously decadent. We’ve made our focus ‘conscious design’, and by this we mean not just eco-conscious, but conscious in a more encompassing sense. LIV Design, who we feature a little later on, put it well: “To us, this means design that acknowledges human beings through job creation; design that is sensitive towards culture and its local community; design that makes economic sense and that considers the impact it has on our planet by the reusing and rethinking of waste and materials.” Design is a crucial factor in the lives of human beings and needs to be viewed with status in its own right, not subordinated to the arts or sciences. Design has shaped our world and can be used to reshape it. This realisation is the first step in what conscious design is all about. The ones that follow can take a wealth of possible forms, because of the limitless creativity of the individual who consciously designs them. The following showcase presents just a sample of such individuals. Individuals who, as designers, are conscious in all the most important ways. Be inspired. one small seed
RYAN FRANK Lauded internationally as an eco-designer to keep an eye on, Ryan claims it was not a conscious decision to become a sustainable designer but a natural progression. He’s always been drawn to materials that inspire him and has an innate respect for the environment. This modest attitude towards his origins, and the realisation that the resources they make available to us should be respected, has garnered Ryan top accolades across the globe. Now living and working in East London in the UK, this respect has become a philosophy that the designer carries through all aspects of his life. Working as a furniture designer, he calls his creations “edgy freerange furniture”. “Edgy”, he says, in the “experimental, cheeky, uniqueness that I try to include in my work,” and “free-range” in the sustainability that’s “built into the pieces as a standard”. Ryan is adamant on the point of sustainability. “I am convinced there are currently enough materials in our world, for us to re-use, recycle, reclaim and remake the products we need. It’d be great if we could really slow down on creating virgin plastics, cutting down trees, or mining more minerals, and focus our attentions on reusing the resources already in use.”
“Underlying rawness”, in Ryan Frank’s opinion, is the most acutely African motif that has arisen in his free-range design. The fascinating story told by corrosion and the natural effects of time is one that resides as a major narrative throughout his work. We chat to the Jo’burg-born product designer to learn the rest of the tale.
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BORN FREE RANGE
He insists that in our current climate, design must live by these principles. “It must try not to fuel consumerism; if designers can design products that speak of longevity, durability, and timelessness, this will address a vital issue in our current ‘throw-away’ culture.” Ryan tells us about the project that sparked his rise as a respected sustainable designer, his notorious ‘Hackney Shelf’ (see page 10): “When I moved to London, a city with history and stories, the worn, derelict, rusted, chipped and scratched buildings were a big inspiration. I wanted to capture these layers of dirt and graffiti that had built up over time, and so I did it with the ‘Hackney Shelf’. The project involved installing whiteboards at graffiti ‘hot-spots’ around East London. The concept was to present a blank canvas to the public. And they attracted a variety of illicit city activities. Once covered in graffiti, they were removed and transformed into mobile shelving units, bringing London streets indoors.” After the unprecedented success of this product, Ryan’s career was pretty much formulated. Subsequent projects cemented his acclaim with products such as ‘Inkuku’ and ‘Shanty’ that point directly to his South Africanness. His ‘Inkuku’ chairs adopt the technique of local craftsmen in townships, who create quirky chickens out of colourful plastic bags. ‘Shanty’ is a standing lamp mounted on corrugated iron that doubles as a room divider. Inspired by shanty towns in Jo’burg, Ryan creates this industrious construction out of waste from London building sites. Both items use relatively simple techniques and a fairly straightforward formula: leftover, forgotten or weathered materials, combined with desire for rebirth through design, to create awardwinning products. Another secret to the formula is that he still sees himself as “100% South African” and works daily to fuse his heritage with the new influences he is exposed to. Next on Ryan’s pioneering agenda is a project to create a giant totem pole from waste in conjunction with a community of teenagers. He also has plans to spread his wings further and set up a design studio in Barcelona (something tells us he misses the sun!). And, we are happy to hear, he will once again be reinstating his roots, working on a range of seating with local African communities. Apart from that, the free-ranger says he’s currently inspired by Dr. Suess, erosion and tree-houses. We’re looking forward to see what this could possibly mean for the greater good of design that Ryan Frank so happily engenders.
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Porky Hefer’s ideas are so compelling that they wake him up. Perhaps because they’re so large that when they come to cuddle, he’s shoved to the floor with their force. Or maybe because they’re so damn exciting that he has to attack them as soon as there’s daylight to light his way. Annelie Rode investigates to discover what’s under the covers. the finished highway
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THE INTERVENTIONIST Coming from a successful advertising background, Porky has been equipped with not only the skills to understand the way people think, but also how you should bend the rules to make them think. To accomplish anything that instils positive change, he says you have to capture someone’s imagination – now! Not surprisingly, the advertising world was too prescriptive for this radical individual who doesn’t stand for any proverbial tails trying to wag this dog. So, Porky broke free from the norm, and established Animal Farm. Animal Farm is a creative consultancy that provides alternative business solutions for everything from branding to communication issues as well as being a place for design collaboration and innovation. His consciously-designed products have graced many a media page, such as his adult-sized weaver nest or ‘organic lounger’ (think, ‘pimp my treehouse’); ‘High Hopes, Big Dreams’, a ‘reuseable’ milkcratecome-stool; and ‘Lite’, pendant lights made from natural plantation wood and fitted with energy-efficient bulbs. Porky says he prefers the term ‘reuse’ to ‘recycle’, because ”it’s not second-hand and kak, it’s still good and useful“. He tells us about the urban sculptures of Frank Gehry in Barcelona and Anish Kapoor in Chicago and we realise just how well largescale, creative interventions can serve to bring about urban renewal. Porky’s own ideas for regeneration began with an art installation in the Table Mountain National Park. They progressed to address more pertinent issues, such as the unfinished highways that cut through Cape Town’s city centre. Many an urban legend has given a reason for this blunder, but after 35 years, little has been done. The National Roads Agency has made it a priority to fix them, but only by 2012, once the world has seen this ‘minor’ inner-city screw-up! In the meantime, they will probably just sweep the problem under a cellphone banner, we suppose.
Porky’s solution? Turn them into the city’s pride by making them beautiful. He’s suggested making them look like the ends of a Scalextric set, transforming the brunt of jokes into something that not only makes sense visually but financially too. The obvious question is where funding would come from, and this is where Porky’s long-term strategy comes into play. He proposes tactically placing parts of a Scalextric track across the city as advertising platforms, to contrast to the visual anarchy of billboards. Imagine the world’s eyes on a city that allows such an intervention that is beneficial to the population’s psyche. Another of Porky’s grand schemes to ‘reuse’ is to give the decommissioned cranes in Cape Town harbour a facelift – literally. He’s suggested adding giraffe heads to the tops of the cranes, to create moving light sculptures from the most visibly unused feature on the city’s skyline. Sadly, the idea has been put on the backburner as the 2010 FIFA committee fails to understand how it fits into the theme of a unique African experience. As with many of his ideas, foresight in governance is greatly lacking. Financiers only see as far as the bottom line, and if maximum advertising revenue means minimum expenditure without any ‘greater good’ being achieved, then so be it. Urban spaces go to the highest bidder and not the most innovative solution. But Porky will keep on trying as he believes there has to be a beneficial solution for all of us. Porky has a wealth of ideas hidden up his sleeve, most too exciting to mention just yet. One of the reasons they’re so difficult to execute is that they are just too big to imagine and not tangible enough. A digital image is too unreal and open to manipulation to believe, so the paradigm shift is lost on decision makers. Which is why he’s decided to take a step back to the corporeal and transportable and create equally wonderful, if not slightly more producible, products to build up his observers’ faith before bringing out the big guns. For now, Porky Hefer deserves the last word: “Creativity is creating something that represents a new way of thinking for the new world that we live in; thinking that represents the complexities that make present behaviour and ideas obsolete. So, how can we get together and blow the world apart?”
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DANIELLE EHRLICH EWALDI GROVÉ Danielle Ehrlich and Ewaldi Grové are the effervescent duo behind LIV Design. Their off-beat designs exude their excitable energy, but what’s not quite as blatant, are the conscious choices made with every aspect of their designs. And by conscious, we don’t just mean thought-out, we mean serious saving-theplanet kinda stuff. Binding the pair is “a shared passion for things beautiful, colourful, friendly, conscious and original”. These ladies are all candy-coated exterior, but don’t expect a squishy centre. We took a peek inside and found nothing but rock solid principles. When it comes to design, they are serious about making a difference.
“Being a designer in a world that needs to go green is a 21st century design conundrum,” they reflect. “How can one create more in a world where there is already enough? The challenge is to make sure that the products replacing existing models are conscious and creative contributors.” LIV contemplates the quandary presented by the issue of sustainability for designers in this particularly eco-conscious age. “Are sustainable designers also responsible for reclaiming and recycling of the existing products that are being replaced? At which point do we intercept and how deep do our responsibilities go?”
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These issues of responsibility are clearly at the heart of their mission when it comes to design. “We aim towards urban sustainable design. To us, this means design that acknowledges human beings through job creation; design that is sensitive towards culture and its local community; design that makes economic sense and that considers the impact it has on our planet by the reusing and rethinking of waste and materials.”
DESIGN TO LIV FOR
Finding new materials to utilise is an adventure as they comb through waste to discover hidden gems that they can endow with new use and meaning. Thus, the pair often starts where other manufacturing processes end. They prefer to work with materials with very little use, which normally would end up as garbage in a landfill. “Not everything needs to be recycled in order to be green; reusing material in its existing form is an alternative sustainable route that reduces the carbon footprint of processing.” We see this principle realised in their soft furniture range aptly titled ‘Lil’ Landfills’ that are made with offcuts from the clothing industry. Their method of production is another key to LIV’s design ethos. They manufacture all objects by hand as it not only reduces their carbon footprint, but also supports local industry by creating jobs. They approach local craftsmen and rather than introduce them to a foreign skill, they prefer to develop their existing ones to produce innovative work that maximises both parties’ potential. Pieces like their popular ‘AfroDutch Chest of Drawers’ and ‘Growing Chandelier’ for example are handmade by local wire crafters. By fusing street skill with clever design they not only create desirable objects, but opportunities that offer hope. LIV’s work also speaks of a respect for heritage and celebrates forgotten styles and neglected skills. Their adaptation aims to restore some of our former glory and hopes to instil subtle nostalgia. The ball-and-claw motif common to furniture prolific in old South African homes is clearly evident in their ‘AfroDutch Chest of Drawers’. They also dared a revival of crochet in their ‘Crochet Creature’ seats. LIV aims to be a lifestyle and not just a product; their good intentions don’t just stop at design. They are religious carpoolers and plan the most efficient routes to their destinations. What makes them tick? “Ordinary things. But questioning why the thing is viewed with grey lenses and turning the volume up, tweaking it, adding an element of surprise and transforming it into something fresh and sexy but still celebrating its original purpose and familiarity… Blending into unexplored territory. Mingling in the heart of the city centre. Running through natural forests. Rummaging through waste in industrial areas. Sharing ideas and a cup of coffee with a stranger.”
growing chandelier & retro afrodutch
Who said responsibility can’t be fun? LIV’s fervent dedication is paying off. Apart from receiving numerous design awards, they’ve recently been approached by Twiice International/Design Faktorii to collaborate in design that will focus on promoting South African designers internationally. We look forward to see how a touch of the LIV goodness will influence the international arena. one small seed
LIAM MOONEY Confident and outspoken, emerging designer and co-founder of Whatiftheworld / Design studio, Liam Mooney, is not precious about anything nor does he want to set anything in stone. Although he claims he is always contradicting himself, he is remarkably clear in knowing what he wants and what good design means to him. Annelie Rode catches up with him as he cuts to the chase. In 2008, Liam launched a range called Proletariat, which consists of items made from reused and found materials. This doesn’t exactly make him an eco-crusader, but his aesthetic plainly speaks of an environmental awareness and the importance of waste. But not just waste that refers to leftovers from gluttonous consumption but also aesthetic waste due to avaricious over-decoration. ”Enough of this ‘mega design’ stuff, enough of Art equals Design. Call me old-fashioned but something designed needs to be functional,” stresses Liam. “And the whole ‘function of design is beauty’ argument is weak. Enough design for design’s sake. Enough gigantism. I think the most vital issue of all, for myself at least, is that I remember what is really important. Of course any project will always involve a series of compromises, but I would like to know at the end of it all, that the process was conscious and considered.” When I ask Liam how he thinks design will be affected by the global recession, he says that as there will always be money for design, the customer will just become shrewder. Instead of the cheap and expendable, they will want to know that their products are going to last and age well. He joins the collective designer conscious in the belief that we need to cut back on excess but not on quality ideas; something that seems to have been entrenched in his philosophy from the start.
the little desk that could
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“ENOUGH DESIGN FOR DESIGN’S SAKE.”
the mensch bench
Liam holds quite strong views on the individuality of design. He firmly believes that we, as South Africans, are not exempt from having to deal with all matters out there around creating good design. “You need to carry on doing what you do, only do it better,” he says. “Although, determining what’s ‘better’ is getting a little more complicated.” For him, “vernacular manufacturing techniques and local materials” will inevitably inform design wherever you might find yourself. In his latest project, he has reappropriated used wine barrels from the Backsberg Estate in Stellenbosch to create his new furniture range. The barrels are crafted from French oak, used for the vanilla, butter and spice flavours they impart to wine during the maturation process. However, the French oak takes about 200 years to mature before they can be used to make barrels that only have an average lifespan of five years. He’s hoping to extend the longevity of this beautiful wood before (as he so appropriately puts it) ”it dies a potplant death”.
mechano coffee table
Currently, he finds himself sharing studio space with some fashion designers and he admits to a couple of stolen moments larking about with their fabric. As the interview ends, he mentions that he has ideas for some ”pretty crazy upholstery” in store. This new range is sure to expose us to the softer side of Liam Mooney.
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an expression of consumer dissatisfaction or harmless fun with piracy? Jon Monsoon goes in search of a dancefloor answer…
Madonna singing with The Sex Pistols? Missy Elliott shaking her kadonk-adonk to the mournful refrains of Joy Division? The Beatles with Thomas Newman? 50 Cent with Willie Nelson? The Eagles and Daft Punk? David Bowie and AC/ DC? Quincy Jones and Nine Inch Nails? Ordinarily, these artists would only happen in the same breath during a psychotic music fan’s post-apocalyptic acid trip. Or, more sanely, in a mashup. Mashups, Mash-Ups, Mashes, Bootlegs, Boots, Smash-Ups, Blends, Cutups… Bastard Pop. The words can be used interchangeably but they mean the same thing. “A mashup is created by taking two existing things, say a video or song, and combining them in a way that is fucking unlikely, and yet entertaining at the same time,” explains Fletcher Beadon, Cape Town knob twiddler and name behind some of this country’s wildest dancefloor moments brought to us by the widely praised DJ/remix outfit Krushed & Sorted. (Fletcher readily admits that he’s always been “quite partial to the idea” of the mashup, having long ago realised that rugby commentary and a tearing drum ‘n bass tune can actually go very well together, thank you.) Put differently, cultural critic and legal commentator Siva Vaidhyanathan notes, “The most interesting and entertaining phenomenon of the mp3 libraries on [music sharing] peerto-peer systems is the availability of mashes.” While the Internet has undoubtedly been the fertile substrate in which the mashup has truly bloomed, the phenomenon has been around for centuries. Early precursors can be found in the re-arrangement of conventional folk standards as well as in jazz music’s tradition of reinterpreting jazz standards on a whim, especially during live performances.
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That said, mashups could well be viewed as Vaidhyanathan does: merely the latest incarnation of a “widely shared, deeply embedded cultural habit of cultural recombination across time and space”. Alternatively, they could be seen as nothing more than the bastard pop form they are, one that steals from what already exists, showing little regard for the subtleties of say, genre, and in essence, creating nothing new. And they are illegal. “A neural connection is triggered when the human brain recognises things that are familiar,” asserts Beadon. “On the dancefloor, people dance to hits that they know. It is up to the DJ to strike a balance between playing new songs and the old crowd favourites. A mashup offers the best of both worlds; it’s the shit that people know, yet it is still something new and fresh.” Still not convinced. I will concede that on its surface, elements of mash-up culture share similarities with hip-hop, and that there is a certain punk rock ethic involved that is not entirely unattractive. “The best mashups have shock value, they surprise… they leave you wondering, ‘Why the fuck didn’t I think of that first!?’” counters Fletcher. Probably the biggest argument against the mashup remains that it is all about the plunder and reuse, taking what belongs to someone else without asking (or paying a royalty), and reconfiguring it purely for entertainment value. Read the fine print on the back of any CD cover. The bit about copyright protection, “all rights reserved”, etc. Screw copyrights, the mashup exists in the realm of copyleft. “Yes, it’s stolen, it’s piracy, it’s illegal,” admits DJ Dope. “We enjoy what’s illegal. It’s the same as graffiti: that’s illegal, but that isn’t gonna stop people from getting enjoyment out of painting on public walls with a spraycan, is it?”
“Consider that all of humanity is built one brick on top of the next. Everything around us is built on what has already come before, the mashup just personifies that,” says Fletcher. Modern copyright maintains ownership (usually through a record label) of a piece of music for up to 70 years after its composer’s death . That’s a long time to wait for a piece of music to become public domain! Most of the best mashups use old music, which is already part of mass consciousness anyway, so why shouldn’t we be able to utilise them in bootleg mashups?” rails the demonstrative DJ. “Here’s some historical perspective: Disney was one of the initial companies that really pushed for the present copyright laws to be passed. Consider that a good deal of the early Disney movies drew heavily from classic, traditional fairytales from other cultures. What they were essentially doing was remixing the concept and claiming the stories as their own. And then lobbying for stringent copyright laws that would make them the owners for virtually all of time. Consider also that a band like the Rolling Stones built their music copying the same motif employed by many of the wailing blues artists of the time. But when it came to people ripping into their music for mashups, they got all shirty about it!” Occasionally, mashups do get grudging respect from the artists they’re ripping off, if they’re anywhere half decent. A prime example is ‘Ray of Gob’ that combines Madonna’s ‘Ray of Light’ with The Sex Pistols’ ‘God Save the Queen’. Both Madonna and The Pistols gave it the thumbs up. Mashups are seldom sold. The mashup makers mostly prefer to remain anonymous (lest the copyright holders come knocking), hiding behind names like Yigytugd, Jamie CG74, TizWarz, CopyCat and Electric Priest. They create purely for the kudos they receive from others who might play their mashups in their sets, or to gain popularity through mass downloads. It’s a lot like dealing drugs. If anyone is making money from it, no one is owning up to it. With today’s range of software so easily available (either
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legally or less so through the pirate channels), anyone can make a mashup. “My gran can do it,” maintains Fletcher. If everybody is creating, who is consuming? And if the Internet is flooded with a brazillion new mashups every day, where is the creativity going? “The ongoing creativity is in the lateral thinking,” opines Fletcher. “It’s not the material that’s scarce, it’s the ideas. The real gem of a mashup is the one that uses songs that no one else has thought of putting together. “The entertainment value is important, not the source of the material,” says Beadon. It probably would be possible for mashups to be made legal, given a sort of Creative Commons rethink on the whole copyright issue (which desperately needs to happen, anyway), but what would be the fun in that? Mashups also invalidate the need for a record company. You don’t need a distributor, because your distribution is the Internet. You don’t need a fancy recording studio, because it’s all in your PC, in your bedroom. You don’t need a record label, because you do it all yourself. What of the future for the mashup? Fletcher predicts that logically, the mashup will move into other media. Software programs like Ableton Live allow users to create video mashups to go with audio mashups in less than the time it takes to make a cup of tea. Already, people have started mashing together scenes from different films, with hilarious results. The “ultimate post-modern pop songs”? “Culture jamming in its purest form”? Innovative interventions against bland commodity culture? Or inauthentic, and illegal, derivative moments of throwaway fun, simple jest, the logical extension of a 1980’s throwback obsession with the sample taken to its dumbest extreme? You decide. Or you and you and you make it ice ice baby.
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The most famous mashup of all is an unauthorised album-length project called The Grey Album. Made by Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse), it features the vocals of Jay-Z (off songs from his The Black Album) and the music from The Beatles’ White Album.
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RED BULL MUSIC ACADEMY Journeying from one metropolis to the next, the Red Bull Music Academy has been charting new musical territory for well over a decade. Every year the Academy hosts a largescale workshop in a different city for musos to share ideas and create unique audio concoctions. A shifting microscope, the Academy focuses on tried-and-trusted classics as well as new aural hybrids in a celebration of sound. In July this year, the Academy hosted a taster event in South Africa to prepare local tunesters for next year’s main event, scheduled to take place over two terms in London during February and March 2010. The South African event, entitled ‘The Red Bull Music Academy Taster – A Third World Perspective’, was billed as an introduction for the uninitiated to this worldwide phenomenon. This year the event was held in Cape Town over the first week of July. From indie-rockers to hip-hop MCs and DJs, twenty of the country’s top musical minds were chosen from the talented musical masses to have a nibble of this aural treat. The event consisted of lectures, debates and workshops hosted by local bigwigs, such as eclectic-electro electricians Trevor Jackson and Sibot, rocker-turned-producer Theo Crouse, and jazz hero Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse. From tecnho wizards to rock gods, the spectrum of talent on offer allowed for in-depth discussions to take place around the nature of music, creativity and the creation process. Much like the main, international event, once the participants had been thoroughly immersed in information and inspiration, they were split into smaller groups and sent off to create musical mayhem. While some chose to
spin the decks, others elected to fiddle with Protools or dabble with synthesisers and drum machines. These studio sessions had explosive results and all involved came away with their preconceptions profoundly challenged. In the first half of 2009, musos from around the world were invited to apply to the 2010 Red Bull Music Academy event and the final selection of sixty participants will be announced midOctober this year. The 2010 event will be hosted in London, a city ceaselessly vibrant with life, sound and motion. The event will take place over two phases, the first scheduled to run from the 7th to the 19th of February and the second from the 28th of February to the12th of March. Thirty participants will attend each term. Workshops will be held on a daily basis to teach delegates essential skills, from business practicalities to turntable tricks. Each group of thirty will be broken down into smaller groups for more intensive workshops. Every year the Academy enlists some of the world’s top DJs, instrumentalists, vocalists and sound engineers, among others, to act as lecturers to the delegates. Past lecturers have included the likes of French party-instigator DJ Mehdi, underground hiphop king Bun B, and Roger Linn, the inventor of the first digital drum machine. For the musically inclined, the Red Bull Music Academy is definitely worth keeping an eye on. Whether you’re into poprock or indie, break-beat or drum ‘n bass, the Academy is the school to aspire to when it comes to acquiring the knowledge of all the industry’s latest skills and software. www.redbullmusicacademy.com
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DRAWINGS From little children’s crayon scribbles to renowned illustrators’ pen doodles, all will be on sale in the name of charity at 1000 Drawings, a.k.a. 1000D. Held for just one night, 1000D has run for three years and the creative whirlwind shows no sign of letting up. First held in the cosmopolitan city of Jo’burg in 2006 by founding organisations Legion Collective and Intdev, the event made the trek to Slaapstad in 2007. The city’s talented inhabitants opened their hearts and wallets, and together with the Jozi event, helped raise over R100 000 that year. This year, 1000D will happen virtually simultaneously in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Dubai and Amsterdam, turning this innovative affair into a global visionary explosion. An exhibition with a heart, each picture is sold for R100 and all the proceeds go directly towards three South African charities: Paballo ya Batho (Paballo), Princess Alice Adoption Home and Write on Africa. Paballo provides food, clothing and blankets, medical care, and counselling to Jozi’s inner-city destitutes, working to build a greater sense of dignity within the community. Over the past twenty years they’ve fed over five hundred hungry mouths and souls and were rescued from almost certain closure by the very first 1000D event three years ago. The Princess Alice Adoption Home is a home and place of safety for babies up to 18 months old, who’ve been abandoned, put up for adoption or removed from their families. Write on Africa was established by the Word of Art collective and seeks to mobilise communities and creatives to assist in the upliftment of underprivileged communities.
Leading up to 1000D, Word of Art will host ‘Sketch Away Thursdays’ on the last Thursday of every month at their Woodstock studio. The idea behind these get-togethers is similar to the ‘Doodle’ events held in prior years, which will also be held this year. Anyone who wants to contribute to the 1000D exhibition is invited to attend the Sketch Aways and Doodles to ruminate with other visual minds in relaxed drawing sessions. Cape Town’s exhibition will take place in the Woodstock Industrial Building (where WOA is curating a creative community) in November, although an exact date is yet to be confirmed. All three floors will be decked out with the doodles, allowing ample space for art collectors and the charitable to mill, network and admire. While organisers are keeping mum on the finer details, they did let slip that on the night you’ll be able to screenprint your favourite artist’s work onto a t-shirt or poster at one of the event’s Silk Screen Bars as well as witness a totally unique music lineup. Jozi’s exhibition date and mysterious new location in the CBD will be confirmed within the next few weeks. So keep your eyes beady and your ears open. Drawings for 1000D can be drawn on any A5 surface, of anything, and drawn with anything. You can drop off your artworks at the Word of Art studio in Woodstock, Cape Town or at any Lulu coffee shop in Jozi (more drop-off points will be announced soon). Visit the website and sign up to the mailing list to find out more details as they’re unveiled. www.1000drawings.co.za I www.paballo.org.za www.word-of-art.co.za I www.writeonafrica.com
one small seed
sarah jayne fell
From a distance, the paintings of Cleon Peterson depict a hive of human activity, figures interacting in a scene that could be a ‘Where’s Wally?’ illustration. The tableau is drenched in bright, saccharine shades of red or pink broken by dense black and flat white, a jarringly luminescent kaleidoscope of geometric shapes. Zoom out and they could be abstract expressionist creations made with day-glow enamel. Zoom in and discover a scene of sardonic wrath, a disturbing, angst-ridden struggle of bodies and blood; policemen and prisoners, broken bottles and cigarettes, twisted faces and exposed genitals. Wounded, decapitated, disembowelled. Tears, vomit, blood. Fighting, fucking, fleeing. Rape and pillage in its most literal terms. The works are assaulting on multiple levels, and yet something draws you in, compelling you to scrutinise the savagery that exists within each scene. There’s also a marked sense of organised chaos. Something intensely structured that detracts from the horror and makes it all seem strangely okay. I chatted to Cleon, curious about his choice of subject matter; naturally something so confrontational is trying to make a point. He says quite simply, “It’s a reflection of the world that we live in.” Rather than resorting to symbolism or allusion, he paints things as they are. There’s a sense of the smiling façade of society that we see from afar, which up close paints a very different, far more sinister picture. It’s an anti-Hollywood portrait of American society that, despite its putrid content, is rather refreshing. “I guess,” mulls the artist, “you’d have to ask other people why they’re ignoring these subjects.” The story behind this Seattle-born artist and graphic designer helps illuminate his cynical outlook. “Born in ’73, I grew up surrounded by artistic people. My parents hated to live within the rules of society and believed that working ‘normal jobs’ would have made them live inauthentic lives. When I was really young and my family was doing well we had a big
one small seed
house where filmmakers, dancers, musicians and actors would crash when they came into town. I remember having extravagant parties where people would play piano and drink wine. People like James Belushi and Patrick Swayze stayed at our house. As time went on we lost that house and our lives became much different.” “By the time I left [home] at 17 years old I was a drug addict, my mom was a stripper, my brother was a lost child, and my dad was managing and living in Section 8 housing.” More than a decade was lost between dropping out of high school at 15 and returning to college in 2004.
just that. I think that instead of it being a nationalistic identity here it’s divided on social and economic lines. There’s also the distinction between living life abiding by the law or breaking the laws. After you’ve been to jails and institutions you then move into the world of sane and insane.” He sees the lack of cultural identity as a flaw in Western societies that leads to disjointedness that destroys cohesion among people. Society becomes organised around binaries that categorise according to moral judgments, creating a system based on difference and hierarchies of authority rather than on unifying factors. These binaries are nonetheless riddled with hypocrisy and corruption, something that Cleon points to in his work. While there is an order of sorts, it is nonetheless a pandemonium, occupying a vast morally grey area. “The grey area between the dualistic nature of authority in our world is where these paintings live,” he explains. Cleon says his work is thus inspired not only by his own story, but also by those of other people. “I feel kinship to people stuck in existential angst and to people that don’t have the answers to everything.”
He spent his time oscillating between Seattle, San Diego and New York “before NY got cleaned up, and there were drugs everywhere”; in and out of college, working on and off drawing skateboard graphics, in and out of hospital and rehab, on and off drugs. Following these misspent years, Cleon cleaned up and completed his studies, graduating and obtaining a Masters in Graphic Design. He’d developed a name as one of the most sought-after illustrators in the skateboard business and went on to design Shepard Fairey’s monograph, Supply and Demand. He’s now married, has two kids, and works fulltime as a commercial designer by day at Fairey’s Studio Number One in LA and as a fine artist by night. Despite his existential turnaround, however, Cleon’s work still tells a hardened tale. “I’d say that everyone sane sees the world through the lens of their past experiences. Living in a desperate world of addiction brings out the worst in you and your peers… I can say that I experienced things that most haven’t in those years and that desperation makes morals and ethics very flexible.” “Today I experience most of my violence through the media. We are really in a time of violence right now, being at war and taking on the role of policing the world. Every morning the media talks about our side’s death tolls and injuries, and I think this is the worst kind of violence because it is just common and numb.” Beyond his own experience of violence, Cleon clearly also draws on this manner in which the media desensitises people to violence as a central theme in his work. I ask him about his cultural identity, how it has influenced his work. His answer is pertinent. “Cultural identity isn’t a term I hear that often in the US, but I do think my work is about
“I never intentionally set out to create dark or sinister compositions. I often just begin drawing and something like this comes out. I have always had a brutal, sadistic perspective, and for some reason my sense of humour usually ends up taking things to an uncomfortable place. I am always drawn to narratives that evoke a sinister or devious side of culture, the tragic movie where everyone dies or where the hero winds up ordinary. I think there is a truth everyone can relate to in feelings of struggle, desperation, pain, and failure.” “I’m trying to create this world where everything is about to fall apart at the seams,” Cleon elaborates, “where there’s so much intensity and deviance that there’s no room for anything else in a way; it’s just this image of chaos. This is a world that is pushed to the limits, but at the same time, I feel like I’m painting a reality. You see other painters using symbolism, but I try to stay away from that and paint a reality, but a chaotic, brutal reality.” The brutal reality he depicts does not sit comfortably with the viewer. It evokes an internal conflict like that brought about by the scene of an accident or a gory horror flick: Should you avoid the scene or can you not bear to tear your eyes away? But really, does it matter? Either way, the reality in front of you remains. “I don’t feel that as an artist, you should be an ambassador for what the world thinks you should say,” defends Cleon. “Or create work that doesn’t push boundaries, or challenge. I like to do stuff that people aren’t necessarily going to like. I’d like to make something that people hate, but have to like at the same time.” Like it or hate it, Cleon is certainly onto something. Whether he’s designing fulltime for one of the most reputable artists in The States or exhibiting at top international galleries in London, New York, LA, Berlin, Sydney, and (currently) Brussels, just to name a few, the man has irrefutably made his mark. Cleon Peterson is a man with something to say. Whether you choose to hear it, is up to you. www.cleonpeterson.com one small seed
image courtesy of Rudi Silbermann
one small seed
THE STORY OF A SEED
It has been exactly four years since one small seed printed its first page, and approximately 16 million pages after, I have still people asking me, “What is one small seed?”, “How did it start and what is your goal?”. Well, I use this anniversary opportunity to give you insights into why one small seed was conceived and how we managed, in these hard times, to not only survive, but to expand as an independent new media company. I hope you will enjoy the ride. WORDS:
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IT ALL BEGAN…
choice of name. To me, it means to believe in yourself, to plant your seed and nourish your ideas to the end. And, since I believe in the idea ‘do to yourself what you want other people to do to you’, it was a perfect name for my personal seed as well. The success of the idea was dependent on how much I could lead as an example. The longer I could take care of my own seed, the better I could fulfil other people’s dreams and showcase their seed to like-minded people. The symbol of one small seed represents a germinating seed, a designer chair, a simplified building, morphed typography, or just a character with its feet strongly planted on the ground and the creative mind moving towards an unknown future. It doesn’t matter. Everybody has to see the symbol as best fits him. Once that is done, the symbol has fulfilled its purpose and the seed is planted in their mind, and, hopefully, in their heart too. one small seed was not created to be purely a print magazine. I knew that with a magazine alone, sooner or later I would be stuck in format and accessibility. No, one small seed should have a bigger goal than just being a nice magazine; it had to grow into a brand and idea to which people can relate and in which they can believe, whatever shape that might take. Targeting a new mindset and not a specific demographic, one small seed had to be a New Media platform, beginning with the magazine as a starting point, since a tangible product gives you a better understanding of the underlying idea. But we had to start expanding quickly and extend our showcase online, to fulfil a complete and more holistic showcase of all contemporary artists.
PLANTING THE SEED Well, without contemplating my past too much, I want to say that I’ve always been a strong activist of the ‘believe in yourself’ mantra. Arriving in South Africa from Luxembourg five years ago, I saw that little was done to showcase and promote South African talent. I am not talking about big awards that lots of organisations arrange more to promote themselves than the actual designer or other creatives. No, I’m talking about a dayto-day showcase of local talent, from music to architecture and from fashion to art. Most magazines (except very few) were way too busy showing the world to South Africa, force-feeding them information that sold well overseas and so it had to sell well here as well, since South Africa could not miss any important celeb news, just like their colleagues in The States. No, my idea was to show South Africa to South Africa, and to the world. To me, showcasing local means talking to your community. It is making people proud of who they are and what is happening in their own country, since pride is key for better self-esteem, which leads to better quality and better competition. It is essential for reaching your full creative potential, individually and as a country. The seed, which means the vision to believe in yourself and in who you are, had to be planted in South Africa first. And so, one small seed was born. Many have asked me about my 68
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Nevertheless, print was the start that proved not to be the easiest choice. The joy in receiving our first issue, printed in four thousand examples at the time, was indescribable. The smell of the printed paper in the office was comparable to a breeze of fresh air in the Swiss Alps, let me tell you. This moment of joy and pride was quickly exterminated when the first problems of distribution, displaying, delivering, circulation figures and all the other things that nobody told me of, started to bring me to the sour smelling reality of independent publishing. If designing the magazine and putting it together was not a hard enough task to accomplish in our 2.5m² office in Bo-kaap at the time, who knew that independent publishing could have been so hard. For those of you who don’t know, advertisers want to see ABC figures (they certify your circulation), before they buy advertising, which we could only deliver a year after being a quarterly magazine. The distributors (the ones who deliver the mag to the shops and collect the back issues) are not so eager to work with a new publication, especially not one so niche. Major retail shops also did not allow you to have magazine stands or branding if you’re not part of big publishing companies. These are just a few examples of what it meant and, to a certain extent, still means, to be independently published. This did not stop me on my task, however, since I strongly believe that anything worth going for is never easy.
SOWING AND GROWING ONE SMALL SEED TV www.onesmallseed.tv
As mentioned before, one small seed was never conceived to be a printed publication only. No, showcasing meant showcasing, by any means and on any platform. With art being redefined every day, with our daily life being modernised every day, creatives do more and more work on a purely digital platform. Obviously you can grab a printscreen from an animation, video clip or interview and print it in the mag, but what’s the point if you can actually show the complete work online? After publishing all our back issues online and for free on our website since 2006, we decided in June 2008 to create an online TV platform, one small seed tv, to produce a really complete showcase. one small seed tv offers interviews with bands, artists, backstage views of events, latest videos from local bands, the making of one small seed magazine’s fashion shoots and so much more. To complete this platform we had to collaborate with different people and companies, and only with them we could create a clean and functional platform. image courtesy of Rudi Silbermann
In 2008 I was in search for partners to push the one small seed brand to the next level. Thinking about magazines looking for an extra hand, lots of people suggested I approach publishing houses – a thought I wanted to avoid at any cost. I needed someone who could understand the bigger picture of one small seed and the potential around it, not an organisation who just looks at your income and sales figures. When the King James Group showed interest in one small seed, it was a no-brainer for me. This multiple award-winning, independent South African ad agency which, over 11 years, managed to turn into a communication group with several different companies under their umbrella, was the perfect match for our growth. King James now operates design, promotions, PR, media and web companies which all work in tandem. Alistair King, co-founder of the company, recently explained King James’s decision to come onboard with us, saying that they’ve long admired one small seed and it is in their nature to become involved with companies they respect. They’ve always believed that it’s important for an advertising agency to be a part of popular culture, not a passive observer of it from the outside. They’ve taken King James into a number of creative fields and will continue to extend themselves in creative areas that excite and inspire them. They believe one small seed, from a brand point of view, is very exciting, and they hope to help expand it into a variety of arenas. This alignment between one small seed and King James made it possible for me to focus more on the image and communication of one small seed while King James helps bring some business stability and financial control. Howard Simms, director of Hammer Live Brands, has played a big part in our business strategy. Hammer Live Brands is a part of the King James group and it executes strategicallyaligned activations on behalf of premium global brands on a national scale. Howard, for the last year, assisted me in bringing structure to the back end of the business in different aspects, which again gave us more time to spend on our new platforms.
Operating the coding and design for the back-end of our one small seed tv platform was Mnemonic, which specialises in Digital Brand Communication. They were a key factor in having our TV site operate as an optimal platform. Bruce Wright, director of Mnemonic, explains their involvement in the production of the site. “The main objective was to enable one small seed to take control of the content once we had completed our side,” explains Bruce. “The development of an easy-to-use Content Management System was the only way to achieve this. The back-end [we coded] also allowed for the inclusion of banners and promotional advertising. The balance of form and functionality was key in the interface design. Our main challenge was the issue of bandwidth and download time (When is it never in South Africa?) so we created a custom viewer which allowed for adequate buffering. Also playing a role [in solving this issue] was the selection of a hosting environment that could accommodate loads of videos.” Another major player on our TV site is Coza Productions, who’ve worked in partnership with one small seed since the very beginning. “We have a team dedicated to sourcing material that’s relevant to one small seed tv,” explain Ryan Christian and Karen Nass, company directors. “The team keeps abreast of up-and-coming events on the one small seed networking site and through other entertainment guides. We’re in constant communication with the South African music industry, ensuring that we capture the best live performances and album launches. We also have regular content-related meetings with Giuseppe, as we produce all our clips ahead of time. Several clips are featured in each issue of one small seed magazine in the ’Now Showing‘ section.
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ONE SMALL SEED NETWORK www.onesmallseed.net
During our three years of publishing, we created something people wanted to be part of. But having only four issues a year, we had to turn down a lot of potential creatives hoping to showcase their work in one small seed magazine. Which is why in November 2008 we launched a new platform, one small seed network. Here, our readers and likeminded creatives from all over the country can showcase their work, comment on each other’s creations, get inspired and have much more to showcase and absorb than they could ever dream of. From our over-2000 member rich network, the area that grew the fastest was our photography section. So fast in fact, that after a couple of months we decided to launch our first online monthly photography magazine, featuring only members of the one small seed network as contributors. We named the magazine Picture This and it’s available exclusively on the one small seed network.
OUR NEW FRIEND JOE www.joebubble.com
Oh yes, Joe. Well, without revealing too much, when it comes to breaking new ground, I think one small seed has showed with this new product, Joe Bubble, that online media can take a completely new shape. Joe will take you on a journey around South Africa’s hottest spots every month. We love Joe and hope you will too.
FROM A SEED TO… Today, one small seed prints 52 thousand magazines a year, has over 3 600 members on its Facebook group and a 20 thousand strong national email database. Not to mention over 60 thousand pageviews on our network site every month; an average of over 14 thousand views on our online publications; an online television station which is produced inhouse with mostly exclusive content; Picture This, an online photography magazine; and Joe Bubble, a brand new interactive magazine. All this is not stopping us from starting to export and adapt this uniquely South African seed to different countries in the very close future. one small seed is planning to have a seed planted in every major city in the world within the next three to six years to let this new generation of creatives express and share their ideas and knowledge under one symbol, which everybody still will interpret in a different and unique way. This process is on the go and Canada is the first country one small seed is working on. Now, stop wasting your time reading about this seed, it is your turn to make your seed become a forest!
one small seed
Daring the Shoot PHOTOGRAPHY: LILLITH LEDA I www.lillithleda.com STYLIST: LILLITH LEDA & KAT TRIM HAIR & MAKE-UP: LILLITH LEDA MODEL: KAT TRIM
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das @ A-Store iâ€™s I sneakers by adi I baggy jeans by Lev ce Pri Mr by t ves ite kband by Milk I wh Christiaan wears nec
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M I N E NU D
CONCEPT & PHOTOGRAPHY: ERIC UYS I www.ericuys.com ART DIRECTION: GIUSEPPE RUSS O STYLIST: MELANIE ROSSLINE @ INFIDELS MODELS: JONOTHAN KOPE , CHRIS TIAAN PRETORIUS & LOUISE POPE , ALL @ BOSS
op hands-on pop hands-on pop hands-on pop hands-on pop
Louise wears vest by Diesel I denim jacket by Diesel white panties by Nazareth House I gold hoop earrings by Accessorize gold three-finger ring by The Lot I yellow sneakers by A-Store Jonothan wears denim jacket by Leviâ€™s striped shorts by The Lot sneakers by Diesel gun chain by A-Store one small seed
The Lot grey cardigan by grey jeans by Guess rs by D&G @ Spitz black & gold sneake @ A- Store xon neon watch by Ni
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rs Louise wea t s by The Lo yellow dres iesel D by at stco denim wai k ots by Mil denim bo sorize es cc A by ze flower ring Accessori by rrings peacock ea Diesel by A-Store â€˜thanazâ€™ jeans by Jonothan wears checked shirt ore A-St @ Nike by kers purple snea
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Jonothan wears grey waistcoat by Diesel halfmoon jeans by Guess skull necklace by Misfit neon rainbow bag by Seventies-80s Clothing
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Louise wears denim dungare es by Diesel I clear glasses by gold chains by Se Seventies -80s venties -80s Clo Clothing thing I flowe r necklace by Mi lk I gold
tiger ring by Th e Lot one small seed
Jonothan wears black jeans by Diesel black studded belt by Diesel skull keyring by Misfit bracelet by Milk
one small seed
Sure, spunky-looking babes in a band are nothing new; it’s been done. And done. Even in South Africa. What hasn’t been done in these parts is a band of them making music that borrows from the ethereal underworld of rock while referencing opulent soundscapes and intricate imagery.
Just when you think you’ve heard it all, along comes something that totally resets your ears and makes you sit up and take notice. And not just because the five music makers all happen to be spunky-looking babes! jon monsoon deborah rossouw
The band was part-realised at the end of 2008 as the fantasy-madeflesh workings of a drum teacher instructing Sherri Liss in the art of percussion. The others knew each other through boyfriends in bands on the Cape Town unsigned indie scene. “None of us necessarily knew how to be in a band, we just knew that we wanted to be in one,” explains bassist and backing vocalist Helen Westcott. They set about finding a vocalist, mindful not to end up as a girly-band that sings about girly things. When Kathy Davy (better known for her stints as a violin-wielding session muso) stood at the mic for the first time at an audition one day, the band knew they’d found her. The music that followed employs the voice as just another instrument in a heady mix of drums-bass-guitarkeyboards and meandering interludes, that sooner reference a forgotten era than stand in imitation of something else already tried. That the local audience is ready for something more visceral than what is currently on offer was proven at Coal’s debut gig: a mid-week, winterrainstorm-soaked affair that saw the venue packed to the rafters and more turned away at the door. Those that got in stood in slack-jawed awe at what transpired on stage. “We always considered ourselves something of an acquired taste,” reckons Helen, “that people would take a long time to get what we were trying to do. But after our first show, we felt we were onto something special…” Kathy adds, “Cape Town audiences are notoriously fussy. They were probably appreciative of what we were doing: daring to be different and giving them something new to think about.” And therein lies Coal’s greatest challenge: to be accepted as a band that is liked because they’re good, not because they’re good looking. “People look at a girl on stage and will sooner say something like ‘Gee, she’s hot!’, before saying ‘Gee, she’s a hot bassist!’” opines drummer Sherri. “We don’t wanna be good for girls, we wanna be good – full stop.” Coal has a firm plan in place, part of which is not to gig as often as most new bands do. “Each show we put on is just that – a show! A lot goes into the planning, our outfits and the stage design, so we want to keep it special every time we play, both for our audience and for ourselves,” says keyboardist Linda Scarborough in explanation of this atypical strategy. We, for one, will be watching closely. Look out for them on facebook.
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Thereâ€™s more to being dark than a pale face and gloomy music. Lize Kay catches up with lords of Cape Town dark rock, The Sleepers, to discover the real meaning of the word. PHOTOGRAPHY:
WORDS: lize kay michaela verity
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In a world of pretty pop, mellifluous ballads and the sweetest singalongs engineered to radio-play perfection, there are few bands doing their own thing. But recent times have seen the re-emergence of raw rock ‘n roll: a grittier, darker version of the hyperbole, a tribute to what made rock Rock decades ago, when having money to pay for training and a studio did not guarantee anyone a charttopper. The Sleepers are one such a band. To The Sleepers, making dark music is not about being different for the simple sake of defying the norm; the music they make comes naturally to them, as it should for anyone who’d call themselves a musician. And while the band members are not particularly dark characters, they have created a somewhat moody sound; one that constructs a greater platform to explore the seemingly endless sphere of sonically creative music. As drummer Steven Jacobson laughingly declares, “It’s more fun being dark!” To an extent they revel in it, rather than creating a front of being dark and twisty to cultivate a certain image by pure command. Vocalist Simon Tamblyn describes themselves as “big girls who love to listen to ballads”, making clear that their darkness is not a farce of emotions deeper than anyone else’s. What they play is real to them, and it’s a bonus that it happens to be real to others too. The Sleepers have gigged predominantly in their hometown, with one or two ventures up the coast. While they’re taking things slow, they’re nonetheless gaining momentum. From picking up a guitar in school and teaching himself Smashing Pumpkins covers, guitarist Adam Hill has come a long way, and he shares the band’s aspirations for bigger things. Having recently played with Pretorian band, Isochronous, all members have their eyes set on the north for shows, as well as major festivals. Their live performances are loud and all-over-the-place in a rockstar kinda way that thunders of their love for being onstage.
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The Sleepers are artists, beyond being musicians. Each gig poster is designed by Adam, who explains that the music and the graphics feed off each other in the creative process, amalgamating all aspects of their lives as musicians, performers and artists into something complete, unique and true. Their posters have quickly acquired a reputation, and if they’re not selling fast after gigs, they’re being stolen off walls and streetlights. Like their posters, their debut album is now in equally high demand after its much-anticipated, somewhat timeous release. Entitled A Signal Path, it boasts mastering in the true sense of the word and has been well worth the wait for all fans and losers of faith. It also flaunts incredible album art, and Adam stresses the importance he puts on creating artwork that is of a standard comparable to his band’s music. Essentially the darkness in The Sleepers’ music is not about colour so much as contrast. On its own, it is not exactly gloomy. But juxtaposed against the lively, buoyant music pumped out by the gallon worldwide, it is obvious why it is perceived to be so. Their music is by no means depressing, as is often assumed of that which defies the pop princesses and popped collars of today. A lot of their ‘dark sound’ is actually uplifting. Darkness cannot exist without light and light would be dark without darkness to compare it to. The Sleepers straddle both worlds, using light to enhance the dark, and darkness to create something stirring. It is a thrust of emotion. It is not for everyone, but it is from the heart. Whether the heart is a dark place or not, it is ultimately where all inspiration should be born. www.thesleepers.co.za
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breaking the mould PHOTOGRAPHY:
duane ashton morton
HAIR & MAKE-UP:
WORDS: marita nortje nadia seale @ shine
Jozi band, The Black Hotels, are making their mark with their words and their music without being dictated to by expectations or commercial demands. As Marita Nortje discovers, it is all about energy and expression… May 2006: John Boyd and Lisa Campbell form The Black Hotels, together with Neil White on guitar and Robin Wheeler on drums. May 2007: They record an EP and call it Beautiful Mornings. Sep 2008: Warrick Poultney replaces Wheeler. Producer Matthew Fink joins on keys. I read about them as “one of the most interesting bands on the SA music scene”. Nov 2008: The Black Hotels start recording an album. A friend plays me their tracks at a party. They’re performing at the Bohemian later. I sadly can’t make it. May 2009: Their album, Films for the Next Century, is released. My mate Chris sees his friend Lisa and her band play at CCHQ. A week later they’re appearing at the FTV Silverstar Casino and I’m on my way there. Listening to the Black Hotels feels like waking after a restless night with music in your head and it slowly dawns on you that it’s real. Their music’s reassuring because it’s somehow familiar. I’m struck by the intensity of their performance and how into the music the sticky West Rand audience is. Girls sway and bump at the front of the crowd, nerds check them out, people headbang in the middle. The energy is infectious. Their style runs from country to rock to punk, with a sound reminiscent of bands from Men without Hats to The Strokes. The melodics wind around lyrics that fly at you: “We walk a fine line between love and yesterday/ It’s like a movie where the bad guy gets away.” They’re also surreal: A “Californian neighbour” steals an escalator and takes over the city, and there’s a struggle to find parking and climb flights of stairs. Their album’s title, Films for the Next Century, reflects this vivid futuristic fantasy that filters through their music.
The band describes their music as a mishmash, somewhere between punk and soul, a sound going backwards to Ella Fitzgerald, and forwards to the Pixies. They say you can’t dance to it. They refuse to create radio music. They declare, “We play music that we like.” And add, “It’s about connecting emotionally with people. If we like it ourselves, hopefully other people will.” Passion drives them. For Neil, inspirational people are the reason he practises. Like Lisa, he started music early (“not necessarily a good thing”). Drummer Warrick is a self-taught guitarist but “bands need drummers more.” At 15, Matthew joined his first band to be “like Joy Division”, the same age that John started a cover band. Now, John’s the one who starts the creative process. He points at his lyrics in a huge pile of notebooks. “There are stacks of books. I write in the morning. It’s like a stream of consciousness…” Lisa started with piano, moved on to guitar. I ask her how one plays bass and sings at the same time. They laugh. “Ask Paul McCartney.” The new album has great synergy. ‘Episoda’ invokes this best, reminding me of Men Without Hats’ hit ‘Safety Dance’ with its fusion of keyboard, bass and singing electric guitar. In ‘Holes’, the pounding drum fills the spotlight. Mimicked in rhythm and tone by the vocals, they create the urgency of a manic dance. Other tracks are more tender. An undercurrent of watery sounds swells behind the acoustic guitar and tambourine in ‘Underwater Me’. Like a musical poem, it’s an expression about expression. Whichever direction each song takes, the core of The Black Hotel’s music ultimately returns to what Lisa says about their playing: “It’s about being alive with other people. It’s like a drug. You need to let it out.” www.blackhotels.co.za
Catch The Black Hotels live at Rocking the Daisies Music Festival in October 2009. one small seed
let there be light! Of all the musical genres most likely to inspire the wrath of the righteous, heavy metal pips them all to the post. Jon Monsoon spoke to metal mayhemmers Lamb of God’s frontman, Randall Blythe, about the sins of being bad. If it is generally accepted that heavy metal (and by that, please include all of its relatives hidden up the family tree: the uncles of death metal, the aunts of speed metal, the teenage siblings of screamo and numetal) is truly The Devil’s Music, then it must hold that its practitioners are the very servants of Satan, or at least the willing whipping boys (and girls) of His Unholy Darkness. By all accounts, the quintet from Virginia, USA aren’t exactly the baddest band at the sinner’s soul braai. Despite a church-baiting start to life under the t-shirt-worthy moniker ‘Burn the Priest’ in 1990 (around the time other misunderstood metallers, Judas Priest, were on trial for inciting two drunken kids listening to their music on a walkman to attempt suicide), Lamb of God hold no distinctions for being especially badass or even especially metal-evil (they prefer the tag ‘progressive rock’). Although their fan club is called ‘The Congregation’, as a band they don’t employ the usual devil-imagery so favoured among the metallic ilk; rather their subject matter ranges from the angrily political to the intensely personal. And frontman Randy Blythe is just about the nicest, sanest guy you could ever hope to meet this side of Hades. Fifteen years ago, they were a little-known band from Richmond, Virginia. A favourite among a rabid following of underground thrash metal fanatics, the band toured North America relentlessly and began their international career in support of their As the Palaces Burn album in 2003. Some ten years after inception, Lamb of God had risen to the top of the independent metal scene. To date, the band has released six studio albums, one live album, and three DVDs. Their fifth album, Sacrament, was Grammy nominated for Best Metal Performance and was also the best-selling metal album
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worldwide in 2006. Lamb of God’s cumulative sales equal almost two million in the US. They’ve toured with Ozzfest and performed at Download, both twice, among many other major festivals. And because of the little time they take off in between, Lamb of God has been called the “hardest working band in metal”. Their uncommon work ethic, uncompromising musicianship and intellectual lyrics have set them apart, in and out of their own genre. It would be fair to say they’ve helped push the extreme metal scene to the brink of mainstream acceptance. “It’s hard to define metal anymore,” comments Blythe over the line from backstage somewhere in Italy. “I think the general public is at a point of being tired of pop music, so it follows that some heavier sounds are sneaking their way into ‘commercial’ music.” Aside from that, the band has also widely been named leaders of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. Must be something to do with their loyal fanbase, painstakingly built over 15-odd years gigging the planet. “I’m not Britney Spears man; I am a real dude,” Andy explains. “You can see me walking down the street in my hometown, so there is always that one-on-one connection with our fans.” In 2009, Lamb of God – guitarist Willie Adler, Willie’s drummer brother Chris, bassist John Campbell, guitarist Mark Morton and vocalist Randy Blythe – have recaptured the attention of the heavy metal world, toting a vicious new and highly-anticipated album they’ve deemed Wrath. If, as Oscar Wilde (another member of the Gleeful Sinners Club) once surmised, “Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others”, then metal (call it what you will) circa 2009 is looking mighty pretty right about now, and Lamb of God are on the front cover.
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THIS SPACE IS RESERVED FOR YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS’ AUTOGRAPHS AT ROCKING THE DAISIES 2009 IN THE ONE SMALL SEED TENT. NO MAG, NO ACCESS TO THE ONE SMALL SEED TENT.
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS by JON MONSOON (JM), JEZEBEL (JZ), LEONIE VAN HASE (LVH), TAMLYN GREY (TG), WORDY ROCK GUY (WRG)
CD REVIEWS Killswitch Engage
The Airborne Toxic Event The Airborne Toxic Event
The fact that these LA-based indie-rock newkids have been influenced by cabaret vocals, ska, party punk and bad girls, makes them somewhat of a different indie band. But why is it that so many bands put their best songs first or second on their albums, heralding a sharp decline in the music as you listen on? This is the case with The Airborne Toxic Event, an album of mostly forgettable songs once you’ve passed track two. The single bass drum pattern that carries throughout the album invites monotony that’s only broken by the tenth track. This belated redeemer declares its classical influences, an aspect not often heard in the indie bands of today. When you start to forget the music, something in the next song will draw you back in – it’s just a matter of whether you’ll still be in the room to hear it. (TG)
Naming your fifth album after your first (which was named after your band) is confusing to fans. I guess it leaves open the opportunity to call it what we like, say, ‘the awesome new album’. Some – myself included – might anoint this ‘the shit new album’. And this seems to be the general consensus. Track one, ‘Never Again’, should have been the album’s last. ‘The shit new album’ by the once-mighty metallers doesn’t capture attention. Nor does it evoke the desire to nod your head vigorously like good metal should. What it does do is make you skip each track a quarter-way through in hopes of finding a good one. Howard Jones’s vocals are weak, the music is empty, and at 38 minutes long, it’s over before it even gets going. A sadly tainted affair. (WRG)
The High End of Low www.marilynmanson.com
Jónsi & Alex
Riceboy Sleeps www.jonsiandalex.com
Riceboy Sleeps, the album from side project of Icelandic electro-weirdios Sigur Rós, is always going to be understated. Not because of the duo’s performance, but because it’s surprisingly hard to convey a sense of their music, save to say how very… beautiful it all is. Sigur Rós frontman Jón Þór ‘Jónsi’ Birgisson and partner Alex Somers released a limited edition picture book in 2006 named Riceboy Sleeps (also the duo’s former name). This album is the retrospective soundtrack to that stunning piece of visual artwork. With appearances by Amiina and the Kópavogsdætur Choir, the outcome is a dreamlike experience of intense yet fragile aural images that leaves you powerless to do little else but allow the beauty to wash over you. It might be the prettiest music you hear this year. (TG) 98
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Ruthless. Heavy. Violent. Three choice words Ma Manson has picked to describe his new album. With ex-bassist Twiggy Ramirez returning to the fold for the band’s seventh studio album, this is not what you’d expect from the extravagant shock-rocking, glam-metal Marilyn. Other than minor similarities to 1998’s Mechanical Animals, the self-proclaimed God of Fuck brings us a different sound that’s sure to delight. As difficult as it might be for older fans to appreciate his progression, once this album’s in the player, you’ll find yourself listening to the whole damn thing from start to finish, singing along to songs you’ve never heard before – and hitting repeat once it’s over. Does that make it predictable, or just plain catchy? (TG)
brought to you by musica megastore ¦ www. musica.co.za
The Time of the Assassins www.myspace.com/officialnickeleye
The Mars Volta Octahedron
To my codeine-addled mind, The Mars Volta is a band you’ve always loved or hated. Their Latin-infused funkpunk rock-jazz fusion is one you either took to immediately upon hearing 2003’s De-loused In The Comatorium, or largely ignored (until 2008’s Grammy Award-winning, Bedlam in Goliath, came along). This year’s affair offers yet more concept cool in the form of eight ‘acoustic’ songs that are more constrained than anything they have done before. This is The Mars Volta album that people who found their previous free-form jazz wanks too way out and wild, will gravitate towards. Singer Cedric Bixlar Zavala’s voice positively shines and he comes off sounding more accomplished and ‘together’ than ever. Maybe it’s just me, but here finally is a TMV album I can listen to, from start to finish, and not feel like my brain is a bowl of warm two-minute noodles afterwards. (JM)
The solo project of Nikolai (‘Nickel Eye’, get it?) Fraiture – he who otherwise plays bass for that band The Strokes – has him not only singing on this one, but also playing guitar, electric and double bass, and the harmonica. The man is clearly talented in the ways of music. Recorded as an outlet for pent-up frustrations during The Strokes’ lengthy hiatus, The Time of the Assassins is remarkably chilled in its outlook. It visits sounds borrowed from a tradition of pub rock, folk twang and ska while referencing favourites from Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, The Kinks and Frank Black. Regina Spektor pops in to drop keys and wild-haired Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs comes round for tea and a bit of a hang. The lyrics warm the soul like a favourite jersey and, all in all, you’re none the worse for having listened. Inoffensive and uncomplicated. (JM)
The Pretty Blue Guns Cutting Heads
Kiss the Plastics www.myspace.com/theplasticsband
This cutely-named, free EP is the latest release from The Plastics and it’s testament that the Capetonian band of two brothers and their best friends, really is a tight-knit unit. The underlying texture of instrumental-over-vocals makes for a rich and fun soundscape that creates a cohesive thread throughout the album. That said, the songs aren’t always the freshest. The vocalist, Pascal, lacks a maturity to cement his own style, and often borders on imitation (340ml and Arctic Monkeys immediately spring to mind). Despite being frontman for now defunct punk act, Hoax, for several years, his voice still rings of inexperience. The constant American twang in his accent riddles and soils the album, winding itself through every song like a long, slimy tapeworm. That, and lyrics such as “…like cotton candy, with lips like Cherry Cola, you won me over…” sell this potentially long-shot band very short. (LvH)
With the ageless energy of indie rock ‘n roll, these fine lads are ahead of their game. Precocious without being pretentious, their debut album is a dangerous mix of lurking insights and lashing highlights, all straightened out with blurring blues, gutted garage and raw rock. There’s little room for expletives between its instrumental outbursts and murderously ponderous meditations. It’s probably safer described as a series of metaphors – think splitting hairs, spilling beers, telling tales and running wild. After you’ve danced the devil away to its energetic overtones, sit with it a bit and let its subtler undertones stalk you with stories that will leave Goldilocks, Bluebeard and Little Red Riding Hood looking pale. It’s an album that grows on you, slowly revealing its riches and potential; especially in the animated vocals yet to claim their rightful range and meet the guitar halfway. Give it time. (JZ)
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DEPARTMENTS: WORDS by JON MONSOON (JM), JEZEBEL (JZ), LEONIE VAN HASE (LVH), TAMLYN GREY (TG), WORDY ROCK GUY (WRG)
CD REVIEWS Righard Kapp
Strung Like a Compound Eye www.righardkapp.co.za
Crack the Skye www.mastodonrocks.com
I bet the members of Mastodon used to spend hours playing Dungeons & Dragons when they were young(er). Their music inhabits a realm of orcs, magicians and all manner of netherworldly beings fit for a movie in multiple parts. But is it any good? You bet your eighthlevel light staff it is! The band’s hard-edged prog-rock attitude is as fierce as an enraged fire dragon and about as relentless as one. With songs about having an out-ofbody experience, meeting Rasputin and saving the world, Crack the Skye is a triumphant piece of epic rock worthy of repeated listenings when you have the crew over for World of Warcraft on a rainy Sunday afternoon. Do yourself a favour and check out their previous releases too. (WRG)
Strung Like a Compound Eye is hung like a horse when it comes to humble, instrumental soliloquies and sudden discords that break its gentle seduction into tiny pieces. Better posited as an experience in new listening, this quirky collection of acoustic and electronic tracks dips and dives and requires an open mind. If you’re not really a music lover, it’s perfect to slip into the section of your CD collection you secretly think of as ‘awkward’ or ‘weird’ and keep to impress overly intellectual dinner guests. If you’re listening wide, though, its aural ebb and flow will prove that avant-pop is not a new softdrink, and might even help you through some of those ‘awkward’ or ‘weird’ emotional processes. If you can’t appreciate the courage in its compositions and the honesty in its simplicity, you’ve possibly been lulled by too much Bon Iver this winter. (JZ)
The Petshop Boys Yes
This is going to be a good review; I feel these patriots of ‘80s cheese deserve it. Not so much because their latest album, Yes, is a masterpiece, but because, believe it or not, the music is sincere. Instead of buying into the new synthetic sound of pop, this endurable duo has earned the Noddy badge of the month by sticking to the sound that made them famous two decades ago. The album has another thing going for it: the lyrics. The vulnerability of growing up and growing old, having experienced disappointment, despair and joy all in one breath, is spelt out without reading as pretentious. Nor is this honesty dressed up in metaphorical hoo-ha. Songs are simply titled, sometimes infused with nostalgia, and mostly instilled with subtle self-reflection that makes you want to listen on. (LvH) 100
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It’s easy to apply the terms ‘brilliant’ or ‘bad’ to a band; easier still to swap them. Dubbing it ‘good’ isn’t. Good has gaps, mystery and risk. From a band with a searing live act and a debut album already released twice, then, comes a second album set to change the way Taxi Violence presents itself to the world. Was it worth the wait? That’s like asking if it’s ‘lo-fi’. Its compositional intelligence and production have evolved from the singular, singalongable and solved melodies of their earlier rock ‘n pole dance album, Untie Yourself. The Turn introduces new vocal textures and compositional complexities. It’s darker, wiser and ironically more listenable; a mixed blessing for a band about to go big but still wondering if there‘s such a thing as radio-friendly rock. The Turn seems to swap it to whether there’s such a thing as rock-friendly radio. THAT is a good question. (JZ)
DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY KELLY BEROLD
dvd REVIEWS RACHEL GETTING MARRIED (2008)
Directed by: Jonathan Demme Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin, Debra Winger Category: Rehab Familial Comedy
I admit I did not want to enjoy Rachel Getting Married, partly due to the overwhelming fuss it generated come Oscar season and partly due to my own tenuous pain threshold when it comes to Anne Hathaway’s innate ability to annoy. Set amidst the chaos of prewedding preparations, former junkie and textbook black sheep Kym (Hathaway) is yanked from the ironic solace of rehab and into the lap of her jubilant, albeit judging, bohemian family. They treat her like a heat-seeking missile as she thrashes through every prenuptial event with a relentless talent for destruction. The camera is invasive, placing the audience in the scene while allowing them to participate in Kym’s social claustrophobia. Hathaway’s raw performance truly deserves its acclaim, while the richness of the dialogue and character interaction almost distract from the film’s few awkward moments and overall glacial pace. I stand corrected.
MAN ON WIRE
Directed by: James Marsh Starring: Philippe Petit Category: Highwire Docudrama
Directed by: Larry Charles Starring: Bill Maher Category: Mockumentary
Blasphemy at its funniest! An irreverent documentary questioning the legitimacy of religion and, by extension, exposing the lunacy it so often breeds. American political comedian, Bill Maher, travels the world to find answers to religious inconsistency and easy targets from all faiths to grill, doing so in the most entertaining of ways. Objectivity has no place here, and it does not seem to phase Maher that he himself is preaching to a very distinct audience, but that’s the point. It’s not your BBC doccie, nor is it republican-friendly, but it’s a hilarious if not disturbing eye-opener to the pitfalls of religion, which end up looking, well, religulous. If you are easily offended or have no desire to watch it, see it only for the Holy Land Theme Park scene. It’s just too good. 102
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Giddy, breathtaking and epic, Man on Wire documents a French high-wire artist’s 1974 attempt to walk between The Twin Towers at a height of 417 metres, later dubbed ”the artistic crime of the century”. Philippe Petit is the culprit (played by himself), an enigmatic if not questionably unhinged leader whose six-year courtship with the World Trade Centre claims the core of the documentary and the amazing feat that took place. The film is constructed like a heist film, including emotional testimonials from Petit’s accomplices and original footage from the team’s arduous planning process. Man on Wire, winner of the 2008 Oscar for Best Documentary, is an ode to commitment, beautiful rebellion and serious balls. A David and Goliath tale that will make you feel completely inept in your own life achievements.
(2009) Directed by: Gus Van Sant Starring: Sean Penn, Emile Hirsch, Josh Brolin Category: Pink Doccie-drama
Making a lengthy biopic that avoids exhausting its audience is an achievement in itself, but dealing with a particularly controversial character like Harvey Milk and releasing the film in the midst of Proposition 8 pandemonium, Milk ran a very high risk of sinking before it sailed. Set in the 1970s, the film chronicles Harvey’s life from the eve of his 40th birthday through to his rise as a revolutionary political leader and ending with his assassination eight years later. Gus Van Sant and Sean Penn have managed to carve out a gritty and spirited portrait of California’s first openly gay man to be elected into public office while getting under the skin of the political climate of the seventies without the trappings and fluff of Hollywood. It is a concise, compelling docudrama with a ravenous performance from Penn and impeccable storytelling from one of the dark horses of directing. See it!
I’M A CYBORG, BUT THAT’S OK (2006)
Directed by: Park Chan-wook Starring: Rain, Im Su-jeong Category: Arthouse Romcom (South Korea)
GRAN TORINO (2008)
Directed by: Clint Eastwood Starring: Clint Eastwood, Bee Vang Category: Male Melodrama
Set in a multi-ethnic Detroit hood, Gran Torino is Clint Eastwood’s dubious attempt to prove that, even among a brood of young thugs, a decrepit misanthropic racist with a dog called Daisy can still be The Man. Eastwood plays Walt Kowalski, a lonely war vet and protector of a 1972 Ford Gran Torino who looks upon his Asian neighbours, if not his entire community, with vicious distaste. He growls his way through the film in what can only be described as a rehash of old Eastwood heroes gone soft. In many ways, he is stuck in his Dirty Harry days, but, bar the moments of contrived dialogue and unmotivated conflict, it works. Like the anti-heroes of the seventies, Eastwood cuts a strong character in Walt, who finds tenderness in the characters of Thao and Sue whom he ultimately fights to protect. Although self-indulgent on Eastwood’s part, it’s an engaging and powerful watch.
This little gem managed to slip under the radar and into cult movie heaven back in 2006. Staying true to the cool quirkiness that has become the hallmark of new Asian cinema, I’m a Cyborg, But That’s OK is one of those WTF films that leave you warm and fuzzy inside, if not totally confused. The film follows the mental breakdown of Young-goon, a young woman institutionalised because she believes she is a Cyborg. She refuses to eat, instead spending her time trying to recharge herself with batteries and talking to vending machines. The film’s structure is all over the place, and the constant shifting between the real and the unreal makes it difficult follow. It does, however, redeem itself in the most charming of characters and wonderfully whimsical plot, so that’s ok. Strictly for the highly imaginative!
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DEPARTMENTS: WORDS BY SARAH JAYNE FELL AND JESSICA MANIM
now showing Grahamstown Festival Every year, Grahamstown plays host to The National Arts Festival, South Africa’s biggest arts festival. Founded in 1974 by The Grahamstown Foundation, it has grown from a dorp arts offering to a well established South African tradition. Entertainers from around the world now make the trek to this frosty Eastern Cape town to indulge in ten days of the top offerings of the arts, from dance to music and beyond. This year the festival turned 35, and the one small seed tv crew headed up from rainy Cape Town to capture a brief glimpse of what was on offer. Settle in and savour the delectable auditory and visual delights that they uncovered.
NU DENIM shoot Since one small seed’s tv crew joined the team, we’ve been able to bring you exclusive behind-the-scenes footage from backstage and beyond. Our fashion shoots are always fun and exciting places to be, a great chance to learn the tricks of the trade and to see what goes into putting a professional fashion spread together. For issue 16 of one small seed, our fourth anniversary issue, we’ve created a wacky neo-pop fashion feature, combining denim with crazy retro colours and pop art-inspired design. We’ve called it ‘NU Denim: Hands-on Pop’ and the feature has also been used as the basis for our cover this issue. Check out the live footage on one small seed tv. It’s, ahem, a really hands-on shoot.
Born in Maputo in 2001, 340ml currently resides in SA’s busy and culturally diverse city of Jo’burg. The band consists of Pedro da Silva Pinto on vocals and sampling, Paulo Chibanga on drums, Rui Soeiro on bass and Tiago Paulo on lead guitar, creating a truly eclectic musical outfit. The four laidback lads have a sound peppered with chords of dub floating over grooving jazz, while the distinct tang of traditional African music bobs beneath the beats. Invoking the glow of sultry beaches, lazy sunny summers and sea breezes, 340ml’s music is still deeply rooted in Mozambican soil. The one small seed tv crew went behind the scenes on the set of ‘Fairy Tales’, a single off their second album, Sorry for the Delay, which was released at the end of 2008. They caught up with Tiago to discuss the concept behind the video, and discover how deeply involved the band were in its making. Check out the interview and the full video, now showing on one small seed tv. one small seed
photographer: Ross Garrett
www.onesmallseed.tv What’s Your Story?
one small seed’s all-new original series, What’s Your Story? premiered in June 2009, exclusive to one small seed tv. The series takes us on a cultural tour exploring South Africa’s main roads and back alleys to discover artists and industry leaders who have carved a path in the local creative scene. Each week, one creative directs us to the next as we chat to them about their careers and their passions and then find out who they think we should be talking to. Episode 01 began with Giuseppe Russo, founder and editor-in-chief of one small seed, and since then we’ve been led to photographers, fashionistas, designers, musicians and artists alike, all intriguing, lesser-known figures in the South African creative industries. Follow us on this exciting journey off the beaten track through local pop culture terrain. Check out the latest episodes every Thursday, only on one small seed tv.
Episode 08: Dave Southwood In episode 08 of What’s Your Story?’s first season, one small seed sits down with local photographer-come-DJ, Dave Southwood. From a student career in law, to a love affair with photography that led him to work as a photojournalist, to more recently concocting his own ‘no frills’ brand of electronica, this man has a creative mind worth picking. Sit down with one small seed tv as we do just that.
Episode 09: Felix Laband The Pietermaritzburg-born electronic music artist is now living and working in Cape Town at the heart of SA’s music scene. Felix Laband released his first album in 2001 under African Dope Records, what was then one of the country’s first electronica albums, and is now in production with his fourth blend of ‘indietronica’. Episode 09 of What’s Your Story? leads one small seed to the door of this musical prodigy’s Gardens home. Venture in with us as we delve into the depths of this musician’s mind to find out more.
Episode 10: Gregor Jenkin Product designer and furniture maker, Gregor Jenkin, is the next link in the creative chain reaction as one small seed and What’s Your Story? lead us on an unprecedented tour through South Africa’s arts and culture scene. In Episode 10 we enter the Gregor Jenkin Studio in Cape Town. The Jo’burg-born creative is an industry leader, having featured in a Discovery Channel documentary and won numerous local and international awards, including the VISI Designer of the Year Award. Sit back with one small seed tv as we explore the conceptual studio of this innovative designer, along with the man himself. Then discover where in the creative world the series will be venturing next. Only on www.onesmallseed.tv. one small seed
I fantasise about the worlds given to me by
It’s 9:30 on Saturday morning. I wake to
Jimmy knocking on my bedroom door, ready for the previously agreed upon 10km run to Llandudno. A tanned body with a tattoo on the back of her neck moves momentarily next to me. I’m renting a house in Sea Point with a crazy Polish marketing manager while I contemplate my next corporate move. An architect at one the city’s more promising firms, I still fantasise about being a rockstar. Not today’s rockstars though. Not the Mikas or Paris Hiltons but the Led Zeppelins, the Bob Dylans, the Lennons or The Stones. I’m looking at buying a vintage 1968 Porsche, I’ve started playing the sax and last night I fucked a Brazilian model named Gabriela. Signs of a man having his midlife crisis. Only thing is I just turned twenty-seven. 106
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Kerouac, Miller and Salinger but am reminded by Easton Ellis and Bukowski that it’s all gone to shit. After all, I am of the generation of near misses – too late for the sixties, free love or Studio 54. Instead we’re burdened by the morning after of crystal meth, heroin and Aids. A generation brought up on guilt and responsibility caused by our parents’ carefree infidelity. We’re the ‘make love not carbon emissions’ bastard children; white collars living in an ailing environment. We chase green cars and buildings while working jobs we’re overqualified for to survive in a world we’re not responsible for. So what can we do? Let’s fuck up the economy. Wait, someone just beat us to that.
I get back from my run and find Gabriela has
left a note saying, “Call me, Beijos!” I probably won’t. Jimmy and I head over to Sandbar to meet Frank and Roxanne for a light brunch. The pristine beauty of Camps Bay beach across the road almost overwhelms the personalised number plates of the million dollar cars parked along the roadside. The ocean makes me think that people once flocked here for far less pretentious gratifica-
tions. Four wraps, two salads and three bottles of Chardonnay later, Frank and Roxanne head home. Bastard, having a girl like her. I look down at my watch – it’s close to five in the afternoon. One hell of a brunch. Then again, it’s Saturday and what else are we supposed to do? Jimmy and I settle the bill and walk over to Caprice where Cocktail Hour just began.
Seven pm rolls around and with it, all hopes of a relaxed evening disappear quicker than neat whiskeys number four and five. Jimmy orders another round of vodka shots as I realise that tomorrow is a write-off. I’ll have to head into the office at least an hour earlier on Monday morning to finish the work I took home for the weekend. Lose an hour, gain and hour.
As we enter I’m suddenly surrounded by the
You’re drinking more neat whiskey as you
familiar strangers that you can’t escape in the small town that the Mother City is. Five insincere “how-are-yous” later, I reach the bar and order a Long Island. Hovering nearby are girls showing it in short skirts while rich, older men show off car keys and fat wallets. What a couple of dead meats they are. As I take the first gulp, I see the evening unfold before me: You down four Long Islands in ten minutes because they taste like Kool-Aid and chase it with three shots of Belvedere because your mate is Polish. You realise you should slow down because it’s still early, but the Long Islands kick in and blow your slowdown rationalisation right out the window.
look around at all the fourteen-year-oldlooking models who’ll make it big someday. The kind that, because you tell them that you believe them, will end up in your bed come sunrise. This is your life and it’s ending one minute at a time.
So, I empty my glass, light up a Marlboro and
head out to drown myself in Camps Bay’s sea of pointless pussy.
one small seed
If you’re good and do the right thing, you can expect a lifetime of a stable job, marriage (if you’re good-looking or have low enough standards), children (provided you are fertile), a retirement fund and a dignified death. Someone might even cry at your funeral, or at least sniffle into their handkerchief. If you’re evil, you can expect less people at your funeral (if they can find your body, that is) and every single one of them will be crying. Some about your charismatic spitting style, others because you’re finally gone. Either way, that midget from the funfair will be playing his accordion and that blonde you met in Mexico will be clawing at the six feet of dry turf above your body, begging for the sweet release of death. Once you’re dead, if you’re good, you can expect an eternity of plaiting Jesus’ hair, colour-co-ordinating his kokis and robes, and great big singalongs around the camp-heater (sorry, no fires in heaven – reminds them of the horned one in the basement. Same goes for forks. You’re going to have to eat everything with your spoon). But when you’re evil, the campfire opportunities are endless. Just find one of those people who’re on fire and take a seat next to them. Best to find one that’s been around for a while, they tend to run around screaming a lot less. Like Hitler, with his awesome hair. Don’t even get us started on how much better the hairstyles are in hell, we’ll be here forever. Yours poking kittens in the eyes with sharp sticks,
You know those people. The ones that are nice. They might not be particularly interesting, or have much of a personality. They Do The Right Thing, even if it really is as exciting as a Limp Bizkit reunion. They’re the ones keeping it on the straight and narrow. But not you, you’re a rebel. You read one small seed. You can tell the difference between a vanilla sponge cake covered in 100s and 1000s and a chocolate mousse with a pentagram picked out in double cream. Similarly, you can tell the difference between a teaspoon of herbal cough syrup and a shot of Jägermeister. We know you’re trying to cover up your checkered past with that lumberjack shirt of yours; you used to be a nice person. If, in fact, you were the kid who used to pull the wings of flies, why are you reading this magazine? Shouldn’t you be off doing drive-by-rapings or something? Actually, if you were that kid, you probably can’t read. You asshole. See, the problem is – nice is boring. And being nice is never a sufficient alternative to having a personality. When someone has a personality, they can often be boxed as a doos. We say, rather have opinions and the associated personality, no matter how evil. While we’re in that metaphysical neighbourhood, let’s put good and evil into the ring and see who wins. In the white corner: Good. You can recognise him by his sensible pants, sitting just under his bellybutton and the ‘play by the rules’ look hanging onto his hairless face. In the black corner: Evil. Please excuse him while he licks the face of his rather under-dressed manager, spits on the floor charismatically and puts knuckledusters under his gloves. 108
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one small seed
The South African Pop Culture Magazine.