Amoeblog

MISSION DISTRICT CELEBRATED IN BEN STOKES' ANIMATED AZEEM VID

Posted by Billyjam, March 4, 2009 01:21pm | Post a Comment

The brilliant, Ben Stokes-directed video above for Azeem's Air Cartoons' album track "Latin Revenge" (on Oaklyn Records with music production by DJ Zeph) takes place in the Mission District of San air cartoons azeemFrancisco. Inspired in part by Terry Gilliam's work and also by Azeem's music, the animated piece also puts a spin on the role of how police are perceived in society. In the video Azeem gains popularity as he peruses the streets of the Mission (eventually becoming a King Kong-like menace) as meanwhile a host of local neighborhood characters take notice. The police in the video are described by the maker as "enablers and cheerleaders."

I called up Azeem the other day to ask him what he thought about the new video. "It made me a fan and it's my video," he laughed, adding that, "All I can say about that video is that I can really almost take no credit for it. I just made the song. Like you and anyone else, I am fan of the video and I am amazed at the level of artistry that it incorporates." The video's animation was done by Ben Stokes (the video's producer/director) with additional animation by Patrick Siemer, who drew from the thousands of still photographs they shot, then cut up, mixed and matched, and then painstakenly animated using After effects.

Ben Stokes, also a part of Tino Corps, D.H.S.,, &  Meat Beat Manifesto, has been professionally making music videos for about 20 years. The Mission District, San Francisco-based Stokes started out doing videos back in 1990 in his native Chicago where he began directing & producing a lot of the pioneering hometown WaxTrax industrial music artists' videos such as Ministry and the Revolting Cocks.

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WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? STEINSKI: THE AMOEBLOG INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, June 2, 2008 11:22pm | Post a Comment

Last week the label Illegal Art did the world a great favor and released a nicely packaged comprehensive retrospective of the best of hip-hop cut-n-paste pioneer Steinski -- something that has never been easily available before, and not all nicely presented together like this.

But this great collection beautifully showcases the legendary producer who, both along with studio partner Double Dee and as a solo artist, directly influenced so many artists, including most notably DJ Shadow, Cut Chemist and Coldcut

Steinski: What Does It All Mean? 1983-2006 Retrospective is something that belongs in every music collection.  The 2 CD set comes with a nice booklet and liner notes by Hua Hsu that include Steve "Steinski" Stein's comments on each of CD 1's fourteen tracks. Included are the three legendary "Lessons" with Doug DiFranco (Double Dee) -- the first one originating as an 1983 entry in a Tommy Boy Records remix contest -- plus the artist's most important solo outings and remixes including the JFK assassination-themed "The Motorcade Sped On," recorded under the name Steinski & The Mass Media that came as a track on a free 7" EP compilation given away with UK mag NME in 1987.

The second CD is the artist's relatively recent Nothing To Fear mix made for BBC London's Solid Steel radio show a few years ago, with song titles for all 28 tracks in the CD booklet.

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BILLY JAM'S HIP-HOP ROUND UP (4/25/08): CHARTS, NEWS, VIDEOS

Posted by Billyjam, April 25, 2008 08:18am | Post a Comment

A quick glance at this week's Hip-Hop Top Five charts (all below) from the Berkeley, San Francisco, & Hollywood Amoeba Music locations (thanks respectively to Tunde, Luis, & Marques Newson) further proves what I've been feeling all along this year: that hip-hop is in one of the most exciting and healthiest states that it's been in for a minute. To my ears, nearly every new hip-hop full-length release dropping these days is quality shit. Sure, there's a few lemons here and there, but mostly new 2008 hip-hop is more likely to be on hit than sound like shit.

Another glance at these new rap charts also reveals that hip-hop has arrived at perhaps its most richly diverse stage in its 30 plus years.  It's as if in 2008 hip-hop has all grown up, multiplied, and gone forth and conquered the world (of music) with a wide range of sounds all qualifying as hip-hop today.  From the stripped down, style of Minneapolis' Atmosphere, to the bouncy hip-hop of the Bay Area's Lyrics Born (pictured above) with its funk foundation, to the trippy sounding Danger Mouse-produced new Gnarls Barkley, to the straight-up hard turntable hip-hop beats and cuts of DJ Quest, to the twisted soulful, ten-track, mostly instrumental,  grooves of the new one from the late J-Dilla -- a hell of a lot of musical territory is being covered under the hip-hop umbrella of '08.

HIP-HOP TOP FIVE @ AMOEBA MUSIC BERKELEY

PAINTING BY MUSIC: FOREST STEARNS' INTERACTIVE ART

Posted by Billyjam, July 25, 2007 09:56am | Post a Comment

If you are a regular at Amoeba Music you may have already seen the silk screened poster art of Forest Stearns, who has done several pieces specifically for Amoeba events. Or maybe you've been lucky enough to catch Forest doing his art live at one of the interactive music-and-art Amoeba instores he has been a part of over the past year.

Instores Forest has been involved with include one with DJ Shadow (San Francisco Ameoba instore) and two with Cut Chemist (San Francisco and Hollywood Amoebas). He has also done live interactive art with hip-hoppers such as Z-Man and at other events such as Reggae On The River.

Additionally, the NorCal artist designed the poster for the Noisettes instore at Amoeba San Francisco, which reportedly everyone loved, including Universal. Forest says the label wants to take the poster and flesh it out to make an animated versions of the band based on the illustration for clothing and more. I recently caught up with the artist to chop it up about life and art, and art and life. For more information visit his website: draweverywheredotcom.

AMOEBLOG:
What inspires you to make art?

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