Pursued by a Bear »

  • Lux capacity to go back to the future

    November 21, 2012 @ 11:08 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    When Brian Eno releases an album it’s usually something of an artistic event, and worth taking notice of – and his latest, Lux, is no exception. He’s taken a leap forward with his generative, ambient music while drawing on his formidable musical knowledge to create something that sounds of and out of its time.

    Eno is, of course, a musical innovator’s innovator. He was in Talking Heads (sort of); he was in Roxy Music. He made the Berlin Trilogy of Low, Heroes and Lodger with David Bowie. He’s probably most famous in these parts for producing U2’s The Joshua Tree, but he’s also worked with Paul Simon, Grace Jones, Devo and Depeche Mode. And he also came up with Oblique Strategies, a deck of cards with cryptic remarks designed to force musicians to work in different ways or break out of their familiar habits.

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  • If you only do one think this weekend . . . pull on a Stetson

    November 15, 2012 @ 4:45 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Book ’em, Dano: The Dublin Book Festival still has a few tricks up its sleeve this weekend. Friday is all about getting the electronic edge, with several discussions on how to make the most out of e-publishing. The lunchtime reading features John Givens, Dave Duggan, Joyce Russell and Garbhan Downey, and that evening there’s a look at Ireland’s Gothic literature, with Jon Kenny.

    On Saturday, Sinéad Gleeson will be in conversation with some of the contributors to her edited collection of short stories, Silver Threads of Hope. Roddy Doyle, Siobhán Mannion and Declan Hughes will be taking questions. It’s all getting a bit historical on Saturday too, with Lorcan Collins, Conor Kostick and Liz Gillis looking at revisionism, and Diarmaid Ferriter is in conversation with John Bowman.

    On Saturday and Sunday there are excellent literary walking tours with Pat Liddy, where he uncovers Temple Bar’s long love affair with the printed page. Click here for more.

    Happy birthday TP: Twisted Pepper is celebrating its fourth birthday this weekend with a fine line-up of club and electro acts, but among all those beats is the bass saxophone of Colin Stetson, who is playing his first solo show in Dublin.

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    Stetson is a touring member of Arcade Fire and was one of the men giving muscle to Bon Iver’s midweek line-up in the 02. He has also played with the likes of Tom Waits, Feist, David Byrne, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Godspeed and Angelique Kidjo – so basically every hip cat going. His own music is intense and melodic – go along. You couldn’t possibly regret it. There – an entire two paragraphs without a massive horn joke. Honk, honk.

    Tricolore film: Everyone has time for a little love in their life, right? Well, in the case of Michael Haneke’s Amour you might have to make more than a little time, as this accomplished piece of work will break you heart. But first do you research, by reading this interview by Donald Clarke with the great director. It’s a laugh a minute. Okay, maybe not every minute. But there’s at least one wry smile in there.

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    Amour is just one of the glittering jewels in this year’s French Film Festival at the IFI. Others on show this weekend include Alain Resnais’s You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet(on tonight only, so hurry, hurry), the punchy A Better Life (on Saturday), and You Will Be My Son starring Niels Arestrup of A Prophet fame. Unfortunately, Beatrice Dalle will not be attending Saturday’s planned Q&A and screenings of Betty Blue and Bye Bye Blondie. Quel dommage.

    Improvise: New music. Live, improvised music. Few rules. Chaos beckons. Class wins out. Terrified? You should be. But don’t let that stop you taking on the Bottlenote Festival headlong. The event is artist-led, and focuses on improvised music, so there is no way to predict how this one is going to run. Those running the show, or attempting to herd the cats, are Shane Latimer, Justin Carroll and Seán Mac Erlaine, and over the next three nights performers will include Roy Carroll, DJackulate, Shane O’Donovan, Justin Carroll, Sarah Buechi, Darragh O’Kelly, Ed Rosenberg III and Christian Skjødt. One worth taking a creative chance on.

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  • In praise of books

    November 13, 2012 @ 7:02 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    After months of reluctance and procrastination, I recently decided to cave in to my more progressive reasoning, and buy an ebook reader. Then I decided to upgrade that as far as a tablet, to take better advantage of the digital editions of various magazines, thereby saving me money on the somewhat more costly print-and-deliver subscriptions that most of them offer.

    This would then give me enough of an excuse to splash the cash on a Google Nexus or some class of an iPad. See? By spending money I am actually saving money. (There are very good reasons why I don’t work in the business section of this newspaper.) (more…)

  • Paul Rand, the man with the brands

    November 12, 2012 @ 5:15 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    One of the major draws at this year’s Offset creative conference, which took place in March, was Paula Scher from design powerhouse Pentagram.

    During her highly entertaining delivery, she gave attendees a brief glimpse at one of her projects, and one of the most high-profile design jobs in the business – the new logo for Microsoft Windows 8, which no doubt has been battering your eyes from all manner of advertising hoardings and formats in recent weeks.

    According to Pentagram, the “logo re-imagines the familiar four-colour symbol as a modern geometric shape that introduces a new perspective on the Microsoft brand”.

    At the time, Scher was more succinct. After giving a blink and you’d have missed it look at the already-familiar four-pane logo, she said: “I know what you’re thinking. You don’t like it. But you will.” (more…)

  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . get branded

    November 8, 2012 @ 6:54 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Get branded: The name Paul Rand might not mean anything to you, but you will definitely be familiar with his work. Rand was one of the greatest graphic designers ever – in fact, he almost single-handedly invented the business, and his timeless designs and logos for companies are still very much in evidence. Among his clients were UPS, Westinghouse, NeXT (the company Steve Jobs founded when he quite Apple in the 1980s), IBM and ABC. Rand charges around $100,000 per “solution”, which seems reasonable enough when you realise how many of these images have survived today.


    The Ebow collaborative space and gallery is holding an exhibition of Rand’s work, that also features an animation of some of his graphics, and specially commissioned prints by Irish artists Johnny Kelly and James Earley. I’ll have a longer piece on Rand in tomorrow’s paper. (more…)

  • ‘Dogtooth’ director comes to town

    November 6, 2012 @ 9:01 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Those of you with decent foreign film memories will recall Dogtooth, a bizarre Greek offering that saw a group of children being homeschooled via tape-recorded messages in a sprawling estate – and the children in question were well into their 20s.

    Slick and subtle, it screened at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in 2010 and got its director, Yorgos Lanthimos, a best director award from the Dublin Film Critics Circle. The film scooped the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes and was also nominated for an Oscar in 2011.

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  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . take in the Vue

    November 1, 2012 @ 7:22 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    A fine art selection: If the Dublin Contemporary exhibition seemed overwhelming, then Vue at the Royal Hibernian Academy in Dublin might prove much more manageable. The annual art fair brings together the country’s leading commercial galleries to exhibit a selection of their work in one spot. It’s a blink and you’ll miss it shooting gallery of work though – you only have from Friday to Sunday to catch it. Among those parading their wares will the Cross, Molesworth, Green on Red, Hillsboro Fine Art, Kevin Kavanagh, and Taylor Galleries, along with likes of the Graphic Studio Galleries, KT Contemporary and the Fenderesky. Entry is free, and it should give you enough ammunition for a month or two of bluffing in arty conversations. I’d post a link but there doesn’t seem to be a website anywhere for the expo. You’ll just have to go along and find out for yourself. How very old-school adventurous.

    On the road: Tonight sees the First Music Contact tour put in the first of five nights on the road, featuring a triumvirate of acts sharing the headline slot. Squarehead, The Lost Brothers and We Cut Corners will take turns leading the pack in Galway, Cork and Limerick, before taking a week off and then heading for Kildare and Dublin. Local support at each show adds heft to an already solid bill, and all for the princely sum of 11 yo-yos. (No, not literally yo-yos, because that would actually be quite pricey.) One thing to note is that the acts are inveterate liars – Squarehead’s craniums tend towards the spherical, The Lost Brothers are demons for the GPS, and We Cut Corners are notoriously diligent. We’re just saying.

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  • Ripping open pink bears in the name of science

    October 31, 2012 @ 12:10 am | by Laurence Mackin

    Last week, I spent several hours building a video-game monster bear – and this time, the damn thing will work.

    And that’s because I got help from an adult – well, several adults, in the form of staff at Dublin’s Science Gallery and two men from New York, Syed Salahuddin and Kunal Gupta, who are part of the Babycastles collective.

    The monster mash-up was part of a workshop that is building up to the gallery’s next exhibition, Game: The Future of Play, which opens on November 16th. It will look at what happens when the boundaries between the real world and a computer game are pulled down, why we play games, and how you can create a successful game for the future.

    One part of the show will be video-console installations built by Babycastles, with some help from a group of volunteers. Some are coders, some are enthusiastic gamers, and some are people stuck in a video-game time when the Amiga was king, and The Secret of Monkey Island was the only gig in town (that would be me).

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  • If you only do one thing this weekend . . . get stoked

    October 25, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    Music: November and December are shaping up to be terrific months as far as live music is concerned, but first there is the small matter of the October bank-holiday weekend to get out of the way. If you’re anywhere near Cork, it’s got to be jazz, or this weekend you should also make an effort to track down the mercurial Tigran Hamasyan.

    Whichever part of the country you happen to wash up in this weekend, you are spoiled for choice. In Dublin, Kildare electro head Mmoths is delivering a rare headline show in Dublin, with guests Regal Safari Young Wonder. His spare beats and subtle grooves are winning an international fanbase – head over here for a cracking mix he did recently for The Fader. And there’s also his magic take on Villagers’ latest track The Waves. (more…)

  • The people’s republic of jazz, and other fine things

    October 24, 2012 @ 10:07 pm | by Laurence Mackin

    It’s a busy weekend ahead if you’re of a jazz persuasion. This weekend, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival gets into full swing. In recent years, it hasn’t delivered a musical line-up in step with its heritage, but things have taken a turn for the better. There’s plenty of crowd pleasers among the line-up (and there’s nothing wrong with that), with the likes of De La Soul and Beach House finding an unusual home among the jazzers.

    For those of a more purist persuasion, there’s plenty of interest on the bill, from hot property Phronesis to more old-school style with Roy Hargrove and Gregory Porter.

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    Click. Listen. Be happy (more…)

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