Live – Tinariwen ft. Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Cler Achel”, Review: The Pioneers of Desert Rock

 

When was the last time you went to a concert where you could not help yourself but move? In today’s music industry, we move around in “music genre bubbles” much the same way we move around in “social bubbles”. As a consequence, we have all kinds of expectations on how good music should sound like, according to the kind of sounds we are most familiar with, but we forget how music originated in the first place.

Tuareg band Tinariwen is here to remind us that the making of music arose as a means to unite people, travellers by nature, no matter their differences in background, experience or opinion. And since most of us cannot speak this nomad language anyway, their performance depends mainly on the rhythm of the music, and the energy in the room.

In ancient times, we would all sit by the fire and produce sounds with our mouths and limbs. Whether a spontaneous whistle or a cry, the clapping of our hands, or the playing of a handmade drum, the rhythm would be there, as a general team effort. And as pioneers of the music genre Desert Rock, the members of Tinariwen have creatively introduced the electric guitar into this ancient human ritual.

In this particular performance, rockers Josh and Flea, members of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, decided to join in to provide for the kind of party we Western people so desperately need. No social anxiety nor public smartphone taping here. Just a genuine sharing of the love of music and its consequent highly energetic yet laid-back vibes.

Enjoy this video, and treat yourself that one ticket to a different music genre, and a different party (Tinariwen tours all over the globe, unusually often).

 


Director of MV: Antirecords

 

Live – Portishead, “Roads”, Review: On the Fork in your Road

 

After I got fired from my job a while back, I spent three months wandering around planet Earth, crossing all kinds of roads, trying to figure out which one to take. During this journey, I’ve gotten all kinds of advices in helping me pick the right road, both from people close to me as well as those that just happened to be about, but one in particular stood out. It was the one that asked me, quite puzzled really, “What road? You just gotta look at the options and take ’em. … If you see a fork in the road, just take it.” So I took it. Alone.

I got nobody on my side and, surely, that ain’t right. But, in listening to this song, I keep on wondering whether the fork was the solution all along. Because if the fork was the right choice for me, then how can it feel this wrong? And that is exactly the kind of feeling that you get from watching this live performance of Portishead.

The sense that, whatever road you might be on right now, and whatever fork there may be in front of you, the only one who can see it … is you. And therefore the only one who can actually feel it … is you. And since we as human beings are all fundamentally alone in this endeavour, more often than not we just don’t take any fork at all, and freeze.

 

Director of  video: Dick Carruthers

 

 

Live – Trixie Whitley & Daniel Lanois, “I’d Rather Go Blind” @Brussels, 2009

I’d rather go blind than be, be this misunderstood. I can sit there on my chair, trying my utmost best to explain myself. How the world relates to me, to all of us, to every little gem around of me. But I can only closely observe it, can’t I? There is really not much I can act upon. And they don’t understand. Understand the meaning of it all. The x number of feelings one can feel, all at once, the x number of things one can think, all at once, no matter your age. Brother knows: I ain’t no wicked child. Whatever I do, I do it out of good intentions – but these never come through. I explain it simply, but my words are only turned into complex pronunciation. Complex thought patterns in someone else’s head. I’m eating dirt all day long. Dirt in the form of small talk. Small talk no one every really listens too. Small talk to fill up your time and your energy. Stupid things people say. Stupid things people do. They’ve got to see it through. And when I finally think ‘yes, I’m finally gonna come through’. I’m doing this. I got this. I’m gonna act. So I act upon myself, day in, day out. I act. And act. And act. I keep on acting what I believe to be correct. Yet, no one understands – and all that’s left is my wicked treachery and how one shouldn’t come too close to me. For if you do, there it will suddenly reveal itself to you: utterly disturbing, deeply disturbing, complexity. But if one could only open up one’s mind. Then thorough understanding might come true.


Director of MV: De Laatste Show

Live – PJ Harvey, “Grow Grow Grow”, Review: On Art, Personal Growth and Vulnerability

 

“Not giving a fuck does not mean being indifferent; it means being comfortable with being different”, at least, that’s what Mark Manson claims in The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (p. 14). You might not get his point immediately, but watching PJ Harvey’s live performance below will certainly change that. If mainstream art is all about being able to “fit in”, normal art is all about being different and not giving a fuck. Of course, not giving a fuck does not mean that you do not care, or that you are not scared, or that you are without emotion. Rather, it means you may feel all of those things, but won’t let it stop you from doing the right thing. Real art is then, in essence, all about vulnerability. About being able to be vulnerable in front of a large group of strangers, and about having the courage to do just so, even though you might be scared shitless.

Imagine you have to give a live performance about your deepest, darkest, most shameful inner fears in front of a group of artists such as yourself (people who know the vulnerability feeling). Difficult, right? Now, imagine having to do the same thing in front of a group of non-artistic people. People who are, or at least trying hard to be, utterly and completely “normal”. Even worse, right? Like, a fucking nightmare. Because, here you are, being your weird little self in front of those who try hard not to be; in front of X number of people who are all more than capable of pointing out just how weird you exactly are. Not just with your music, but with your clothes, your voice, … your everything.

Lately I’ve been having this suspicion that true art is all about the artist’s courage to “step out of the closet” and be authentically weird or, as a synonym to that, vulnerable. Because true art is all about the courage to be as vulnerable as possible, so that the artist’s vulnerability might serve other people, people they do not know nor care about (“strangers”), in feeling slightly understood. In that sense, one’s own vulnerability serves a greater cause. True art is then, indeed, all about the love of emotional growth. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why it is worth watching this stunning performance of PJ’s “Grow Grow Grow”.


Director: Unknown TV Show

 

Live – Son Lux, “You Don’t Know Me” @Texas, 2015

 

You drink your wine from my heart, but you don’t know me at all. If you’re fed up with modern romanticism or, on the other side of the spectrum, the exploitation of holy names, this hidden YouTube record might be something for you. It’s a small part of Son Lux’s ample repertoire of kickass live performances. A hidden gem in today’s music mass production – some call it the Age of the Artist -, these three guys (yes, an American band) show us that Genius conquers all. Risk takers, experimental beats, whatever you want to call it: you can’t deny genius when it hits you in the ear. Three things that caught my attention: (a) music unites all – whatever race you happen to be, (b) that drummer is insane (!), and (c) somehow I feel today’s social media hypocrisy could perhaps be interpreted in between. As if they intentionally wanted you to open your eyes and ears, to add meaning according to your needs … You write my name on your walls (“1 month together with this cutie!” – “3 months! xoxoxo”), but you don’t own me (when reality hits you in the face and your Facebook relationship status is back up again). Of course, it could also refer to the misusage of holy names in favour of any political cause whatsoever. Whatever it may refer to, there’s magic in there. Notice that, and even Tito’s handmade vodka, screaming somewhat helplessly for some attention from the corner of the room, can’t distract you from the energy fueled up in here. A mashup of several different voices, carefully constructed by one very talented team, each one its own instrument, yet beautifully crafted into a single theme.

Director of MV: Brent Walker @ Off The Avenue

Live – Ludovico Einaudi, “Experience” @London, 2013

Need instant support, or perhaps an inspirational video? Watch Ludovico play. Trust me, your heart will feel so much fuller afterwards. Are you tired of the thought overdose in your head, all that mumbling in the background, the big mashup of contradictory feelings you wish you didn’t feel? Are you, in short, tired of having to think or feel? Need a mindful moment? In which your thinking abilities stand totally still? Few musicians can get you to this point, while still implying complexity within and before you, just by the way their faces are shaped when playing the piano. It’s the kind of rhythm you cannot not hear; the one that makes your head shake involuntarily. It’s the external headache, the almost religious surrender to an instrument, the human connection on a deeper, rhythmitical level of a group of human beings using instruments to tap into the human brain, the thorough understanding of Life’s many obstacles and the obstacles within ourselves, the positive melancholy of feeling you have lost and/or forgotten some infinite thing of beauty, the contrasts of good and bad, or even the feeling good within the bad; it’s that rhythmic feeling you can’t control, the force in between your braincells that wants to break out, the feeling of perhaps not being good enough, of being a fraud, someone very unlike you, the feeling you can’t get there, not quite yet; the feeling of not knowing how to live, or think, or feel – the feeling of mere experience. It’s all of that, all into one, that makes you, just for a minute, forget where you are, or how to go from here, or what to think or feel; it’s the mindful use of your eyes and ears and deep inner Self, who, at the moment, is just Here.

Director of MV: Fabric London