Music

April 9 2009


Like a less rhythmically-complex Yeasayer meets the electro-psychedlia of MGMT, Apes and Androids are the latest in a lineage of downtown New York bands striving to meld digital and analogue elements and are blurring the high/low art binary of studio experimentation with the dancefloor. Since adding synth lines and MPC beats to guitar compositions is no longer edgy enough in itself to sustain interest, Apes and Androids have moved to make songs with hypnotic structures and arrangement fluctuations to compensate. 

Although the two piece may seem like the obvious culmination of their fellow Brooklynites, they have managd to produce an album (Blood Moon) with a unique stamp on the genre that's as exciting to dance to and as it is to grab some headphones and curl up with. Exciting stuff that belies the modest conditions in which it was produced. - Matt Hickey
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Music

April 6 2009



It's only just hit April, but 2009 has already brought us a slew of big releases from heavy-hitters such as Animal Collective, Röyksopp and the Decemberists. But in our quest to be continually looking ahead for what's new and what's next, here's our forecast of acts who know will leave their mark on 2009.

BAG RAIDERS

Long seen as the secret weapon in the Australia vs. France electro-war, Sydney's party commanders, Bag Raiders, are hooked-up with the Bang Gang people and A-Trak and destined to shed the 'secret' part of that label this year. We promise.



EMIL & FRIENDS

While the hype swirling hoax that this was Emile Hirsch's musical side project drew initial listeners to New York's Emil & Friends, that audience has stayed for this mysterious band's addictive music.They mix MGMT's electro-fetish with the quirk of the Unicorns and the sample-heavy indie-folk of Animal Collective and Soft Tigers. So it's basically the best thing ever.



F
ENECH-SOLER

Although this three-piece are born and raised in the UK, they've absolutely nailed a French-Touch homage with their snappy indie-with-electronics style. And we're not the only ones who see big things ahead for Fenech-Soler, as Alan Braxe - the French disco icon -has picked up their next single for release on his boutique label, Vulture.



IRAN


Iran's
six-years-in-the-making Dissolver, is getting a load of hype because band member Kyp Malone's other group - TV On The Radio - has gotten kind of big in the interim. Fellow TVOTR member and super producer Dave Sitek lends his golden touch and turns Iran's lo-fi freakout rock into a polished indie-meets-classic rock record that would be just as comfortable blasting in a small club as in a stadium.



JONATHAN BOULET

It's crazy to think that Jonathan Boulet's rich, floating folk-pop melodies took form in the Australian troubadour's miniscule garage studio. But I suppose that is Boulet's gift, after all the twenty-year old can turn subtle, humble campfire tunes into soaring epics. Next he'll be doing straw into gold and water into wine.



LOST VALENTINOS

With Ewan Pearson helming their recent singles, Lost Valentinos have been serving up great combinations of angular guitars, dark synths and heavy beats, taking indie rock out for a night on the dancefloor. But it's Lost Valentinos' oppressive and sinister aesthetic and their experimental tendencies that make them shine this bright. Big things are sure to be found on their debut album, Cities Of Gold.



SHAZAM


With Macbooks and Korgs in their hands, bedroom producers are getting younger and better all the time. But the star at the top of the list is Shazam, a 19 year old disco savant out of Australia's West. His glittering party tunes are pool-side bound and deliriously cool, simply demanding you have some fun.



SNOB SCRILLA

After a fantastic debut EP in 2008 that featured some of the most exciting hip hop tracks of the year, Snob Scrilla is prepping the release of his Day One LP. Street single 'Houston' boasts the same shout-along, intense choruses and broad, bold production strokes that made the EP enthralling and can mean nothing but good things for the full-length.



THE ELEPHANTS

Denmark’s The Elephants sound like the long lost children of Brian Wilson, such is the sweet and sandy inspiration that flows through this quintet’s languid pop music. Currently wrapping their second album, you can expect to be head-over-heels by the time the northern Summer rolls around.



THE HUNDRED IN THE HANDS

With only one single under their belts (the instantaneous joy of Dressed In Dresden), Brooklyn duo The Hundred In The Hands could go anywhere from here. Who knows? Dressed In Dresden could be an enormous fluke and the pair could decide they only want to make reggae or black metal or a frightening hybrid of the two. But going on that single's love of Gang of Four guitar-slashes and driving, distorted bass lines we think they're a pretty safe bet.



THE SOUND OF ARROWS

Sweden's finest indie imprint, Labrador, uncovered pop-boffins, The Sound of Arrows last year. With two singles of skewed candy-coated indie-pop under their belts we're expecting things to get even better this year.



THE TEMPER TRAP

The Temper Trap make music that will break your heart and shake your soul. A steady momentum built on the Australians' shimmering single, Sweet Disposition is now gathering pace (including a spot in the Zooey Deschanel indie-bait movie 500 Hundred Days Of Summer) and getting set to explode with their guaranteed-classic debut.



WALE

As if releasing one of the most widely-spread, highly-acclaimed and generally entertaining mix tapes of last year wasn't enough, Wale has assembled a dream team of producers for his debut disc (see: Cool & Dre, Green Lantern, will.i.am, Dave Sitek). If the US MC maintains his ear for good beats and knack for great lyrical turns then the hype should translate into a very solid debut.



WILEY


London grime master, Wiley, cuts his skills to record like he has a belt of dynamite strapped about his torso. Having just unleashed the blazing aural onslaught that is See Clear Now, Wiley is now gearing up to global release of another hip-breaking long player, Race Against Time. By Matt Hickey, Matt Shea, Dave Ruby Howe and Oliver Queen




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Offices

April 2 2009



Sometimes you come across an environment that really lets the merchandise or content (such as people, merchandise or furnishings) stand out. This 2,000 square-meter jewelry-case – the head office of the venerable fashion house Escada in Munich, Germany – is a luxurious example of this.

Completed in late 2008, the location hosts the international fashion media and buyers who gather here to view the latest Escada collection each season. The three dominant areas – entry court, lobby and interior courtyard – are separated by transparent facades. This creates a visually stunning, 75 meter-long runway that flows right through the center of the entire building.



Escada commissioned the Parisian architecture studio Carbondale of Michigan-born Eric Carlson to design the architectural public face of its head office, including the entry façade, entry court, interior courtyard, lobby and furniture.


 
Carlson graduated from Kansas State University School of Architecture in 1986. Before co-founding the Louis Vuitton Architecture Department in 1997, he worked in the offices of Mark Mack, Oscar Tusquets and Rem Koolhaas, He established Carbondale in Paris in 2004. Carlson is known for his work with luxury brands including the Louis Vuitton buildings in Roppongi, Tokyo, the LV Maison in Paris, the 360° Watch Museum and the corporate headquarters of Tag Heuer in Switzerland. - Tuija Seipell



Photographs by Jimmy Cohrssen


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Art

April 1 2009



Never before has your brand's visual language been so crucial to your business. In the age of "blink and you'll miss it" attention spans, your visual identity acts as a shorthand, expressing your brand's personality and values literally at a glance.



Brands are like us, they don't just want to be heard, they want to be understood and embraced, they want meaningful connection. Our global team of innovative creatives will bring your brand to life. The Cool Hunter Design represents a paradigm shift in the creative process.



Why use one studio when you can draw upon a global community of creatives - the international roster of collaborators who inspire hundreds of thousands of The Cool Hunter readers every day.     Click here for more info



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Offices

March 30 2009



Giorgio Borruso Design of Marina Del Rey, California, designed the new airy and fluid headquarters for Milano’s Fornari SpA (Fornari Group).
 
Located in the Navigli section of Milan, the 35,000 square-foot building was converted from the historic porcelain workshop of the centuries-old Richard Ginori brand.


 
The Fornari family’s road to fashion fame started in the mid 1940s from footwear manufacturing. It entered the fashion apparel business in 1998 and has since flourished in other fashion, design and lifestyle brands, including the Fornarina fashion concept stores across Europe and the U.S.
 
The main entrance of the headquarters on Via Morimondo opens to a space lit by color-changing LED lights that seems to suck the visitor gently into the reception area. The open space is flexible, airy and fluid with rounded corners, curved edges, transparent partitions and unexpected waves of color. The hard and exposed concrete floors and steel structure contrast beautifully with the wavy feel of the new walls, partitions and staircase.


 
There is also a slight, vertigo-inducing sense of controlled imbalance, of not being completely sure what is floor, what is ceiling and what is wall. This was the intention of Giorgio Borruso designers describing the result as “Giving the illusion that there is no gravitational force; that you can walk on any surface; you can rotate the system ninety degrees, and it still works.”
 
The Italian architect and designer Giorgio Borruso is known for experimenting with and testing the boundaries of form, shape and structure throughout his career. He has won awards for product design, retail design, architecture and interior design. His famous retail work includes the tortellini-shaped shoe fixtures for Fornarina and the cocoon-like fitting rooms for Miss Sixty. - Tuija Seipell



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Ads

March 30 2009



Call it buzz, guerrilla, viral, word-of-mouth, whatever – marketing and advertising stunts and ideas that achieve free attention are working now perhaps better than ever before. Of course, they are much less expensive than TV or print ads so they are a good alternative in this economic climate. And even if the marketer had the money to spend on lavish conventional media campaigns, using guerrilla tactics appears frugal and smart and appeals to an audience that appreciates such attitudes.

If the guerrilla stunt works and gains news media coverage and serious online buzz, then it has also achieved the coveted third-party endorsement and peer-reviews  that are so important to today’s consumers.

We’ve recently highlighted a few simple and clever examples of this in our advertising section. The most recent was the People as Fleas idea.

A similar large-scale floor sticker was used in January by a Swiss skydiving school. Their agency, Wirz/BBDO Switzerland, managed to execute a simple idea that achieved media coverage and is still making the online rounds. The images of the city skyline make it extremely clear what Swiss Skydive.org can do for you. - Tuija Seipell

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Design

March 25 2009



Barcelona’s new wholesale flower market – Mercabarna-Flor – near the Barcelona International Airport was designed by Willy Muller Architects.
 
The most striking features of the new market are the multi-faceted angular roof structure and the multi-colored outer shell inspired by an aerial view of flower fields in full bloom.


 
The new complex – 15,000 square-meters of buildings on a 44,000 square-meter lot – houses three main sections, one for cut flowers, one for plants and one for accessories. The location near the airport cargo terminal is crucial to the flower business that relies on fast air delivery of fresh flowers.


 
The impressive building joins a line-up of several much talked-about new structures in Barcelona: Fira de Barcelona’s (Barcelona Fair grounds) nine pavilions and two 114-meter towers designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito; Terminal Sur at the Barcelona Airport by Barcelona’s own Ricardo Bofill; and the Hesperia Hotel and Towers by the British Pritzker Prize winner, Richard Rogers.



 Willy Muller’s Barcelona office is led by Muller, a native of Argentina, and by Frenchman and associate architect, Frédéric Guillaud. They also have an office in Brazil. - Tuija Seipell

Architecture

March 24 2009




From the street, this Edwardian house might seem unassuming, undeserving of a second glance. From the back, however, the addition to the Trojan House by Jackson Clements Burrows, where three children’s bedrooms are cantilevered above a large living space, is anything but ordinary.



The entire addition is wrapped in a seamless timber skin that conceals any obvious openings. Windows, covered by shutters that follow the pattern of the façade, reveal nothing of the interior space. 



Incidentally the inside is just as remarkable as the outside. A thermal chimney and a breezeway corridor allow for passive cooling in the warmer months as each room was designed to allow for cross ventilation.  Additionally a rain screen provides extra shade from the hot summer sun, and also insulates the inside in the winter by forming a space for warm air. - Andrew J Wiener





 

Music

March 20 2009



The reports of the demise of Nick Zinner’s guitar have been greatly exaggerated. While the band’s new found admiration of Giorgio Moroder and the synths-and-sequencers party vibe of lead single Zero led many to think that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs had ditched their signature guitar-drenched sound, it’s not the case. Zinner still wields his guitar like a pro on It’s Blitz!, yet it’s used in such measured and considered strokes throughout the album, complementing the richer sense of space and detail than we’ve yet seen from the band. It’s a more artful, rather than arty, version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

That's not to say that the band still don't rock, because they really do like on the afore-mentioned single Zero, or Dull Life which gallops at full speed aboard Zinner’s tumbling riffs. But the NYC trio truly shine when they push themselves and their sound headlong into unexplored territories. Take the gorgeous Hysteric, with a skeletal synthesis of organic and programmed drumming, and sparingly used guitar atmospherics, it’s the band at their most tender, before they decide to throw everything at their disposal — horns, trumpets, whistles — into the song, only making it sound bigger and more poignant than before.

Such slow-burning tracks have quickly become the band’s strongest suit, and accordingly It’s Blitz! (a deceptive title it turns out) is dominated with layers of trembling synthesizers and Zinner’s rich guitar-mist. It's a fairly staggering leap from the bratty rush of Fever To Tell and the polished-rock-sheen of Show Your Bones, but the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound so comfortable and assured of themselves while they jump from sound to sound that you shouldn't hesitate about jumping off with them. - By Dave Ruby Howe

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Ads

March 17 2009



No more living in denial about the size of your waist line, thanks to this fantastic albeit terrifying guerrilla marketing initiative from the health club chain, Fitness First. Unsuspecting commuters in the Netherlands are faced with viewing their body weight in bright lights - quite literally - when they take a seat at this Rotterdam bus stop. Scary to say the very least, but extraordinarily clever and likely to increase membership numbers at the local Fitness First. The brainchild of Netherlands’ agency N=5, the initiative takes the concept of guerilla marketing to a whole new level. - Lisa Evans

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