Thursday, April 21, 2011

RIP TV on the Radio's Gerard Smith

It comes as sad news that TV on the Radio's Gerard Smith lost his battle with lung cancer over night. At just 34 Smith had been with the band since 2005. He had recorded on Return to Cookie Mountain, Dear Science and the recently released Nine Types of Light.

I have only seen TV on the Radio once, in 2006 at Sydney's Gaelic Club and have been eager to see them ever since. A fantastic band who prove themselves worthy of the huge praise time and time again. Nine Types of Light finds the band tread lighter than before, with the same groove but with a mellower vibe, but I chose Family Tree, a song from Dear Science.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bart Constant's Do Better, video by Kimmo Films

Bart Constant's passport does not read Bart Constant, it reads Rutger Hoedemaekers. The Dutch producer has begun to release his own music and, I guess for good reason, thought the pseudonym would be catchier.

It's no wonder Hoedemaekers' contribution to Mixed-tape sees the London Symphony Orchestra, Múm, Pet Shop Boys and Ella Fitzgerald. All of these can be heard on his single "Do Better" under the Constant guise.

"Do Better" builds from small moments to large baroque-pop epicness as Constant's mournful vocals and rich violins are joined by Dustin O'Halloran (formerly of Devics, signed to Bella Union) and his mesmerising piano to feel very Death Cab for Cutie. Sweeping and cinematic; it's a headphone symphony. It'll be interesting to hear what he does next.

Suitably, the accompanying video is both humble and majestic. Kimmo Films' Mirka Duijn & Nina Spiering keep the audio of their footage rolling under Constant's song as we're taken into a small film about a disciplined 80s-era trapeze artist torn between her craft and a boy. You know that age-old conundrum.

Stylised beautifully, the film is set around grim and grey Rotterdam, rendering a bleak outlook through grainy super8 (and some Canon 5D). Kimmo captures the female athlete's body in the way Darren Aronofsky did in Black Swan - the star must have been a trapeze artist first, actor second (no slight on her skill for the latter).
Watch to the end to be given a selection of Kimmo's other work. One is a video, 'Call Up To Heaven' by Dutch disco-funk outfit Kraak n Smaak where the super8 gives a fantastic '70s blaxploitation feel. Also check out an excerpt from their short film Manitoba (music by Hoedemaekers), which screened at Cannes and Rotterdam International Film Festival. I'm not sure where you can watch the whole film, if anyone knows, please leave a comment below.