A short history of a Birmingham-based Acid Jazz band

About a year and a half ago I was introduced to a Birmingham-based Acid Jazz band called Kanopus. The band was made up of Leo Altarelli and Lizzy Parks on vocals, Tom Robins on guitars, Rob Norman on keys, Ryan Trebilcock on bass, Alan Gardiner on drums and Andy Isherwood on horns. Although I have nothing against Jazz I’ve never been drawn towards it, instead favouring Heavy Metal/Rock, IDM and some experimental music. After listening to the song Only Time will Tell I was hooked. However, like many bands that I’m discovering this band had been defunct for over a year! I got my investigatory hat on to find out what the main players are up to, in the hope that I can discover some similar music!

I did a search online and could only find an abandoned website (currently down) and a MySpace that hasn’t been updated since early 2007 (you can even see a comment left by me). I went to their official website and downloaded a few of their tracks.

I did a bit of snooping around their Myspace page to see if any of the members had joined other acts. I came across Sugar Beats on Myspace (their official website is down), which features almost all of the Kanopus lot, minus Lizzy Parks, and learned that they were doing a gig with Giles Peterson and the Town Hall reopening. Before that, however, through Leo Altarelli’s Myspace page I found that he was doing a gig at The Tower Of Song supporting The Beautiful Word. I managed to go to that gig and it was great! Since moving down to Brighton he’s now getting ready to release his solo album, which is preceded by the release of the song Cabin Fever. He also recently did a gig at the Songwriters Café

I next found some information about Lizzy Parks (again, through Myspace). All I could find when I visited the site in 2007 was that she was releasing an album at some point. This actually happened recently with the album launch as part of Resonance Events. Unfortunately I couldn’t go, but will be getting her album as the previews sound good.

What about the band? Y’know the ones that play instruments. Following the departure of their vocalist Leo Altarelli, Sugar Beats performed at Gigbeth 2007 as The Sub Ensemble. They’ve recently released an EP that features Leo on vocals and also Sara Colman, who performed with Kanopus at ArtsFest in 2006.

So, the next crumb in this trail comes in the form of Leo playing a gig at The Cross in Moseley on 14th. I’ll be going! Maybe through that I can find some other great funk/jazz artists.

All of this investigation is really just an attempt to try and understand a genre of music that is quite alien to me. I’m sure there are many other great Jazz/Funk/Acid Jazz acts out there in the world, and probably quite a few in Birmingham, but I haven’t found them yet…

24 hour Psycho

On Halloween, as well as the Brill Drummond talk (see what I did there) at Eastside Projects and the closing party at Ikon Eastside I went to the screening of 24 Hour Psycho at VIVID Gallery, which is just a few moments away from it.

I was there for about an hour and in that time I probably saw the result of only 5 minutes of footage! As is my understanding the film was shown at one frame every half-second. What I find interesting is that if this was shown using a traditional reel of film you’d have to have 12 frames of the same picture followed by another twelve frames of another still picture, thus creating the effect of playing two frames per second. However, due to the absence of noise that would usually come from the projector I’d guess it is a digital projection and because of it with each frame you get slight pixelation in each frame. I would’ve liked to have seen it being projected using reels of film, which then presents the screening of the actual movie as a performance in itself. After doing some research, however, I can see that this wasn’t really the intention of the artist.

He [Douglas Gordon] went on to imagine that this ‹someone› might suddenly remember what they had seen earlier that day, later that night; perhaps at around 10 o’clock, ordering drinks in a crowded bar with friends, or somewhere else in the city, perhaps very late at night, just as the ‹someone› is undressing to go to bed, they may turn their head to the pillow and start to think about what they had seen that day.

I suppose you only really get that effect if you actually do watch it for awhile, and possibly at some of the more interesting parts of the film. That said, the image of someone smiling at me walking across the street is one that is still sticking with me.

Vacant – Illustration Friday

This is my submission for the Illustration Friday topic, Vacant

I interpreted vacant to mean blank and with that came the image of a blank piece of paper. A blank paper is very daunting to many artists and it’s no different with me. However if I start at a paper and think long enough usually ideas just start to come out at me. I portrayed this by using very light colours for the lettering and scenery.

You may have noticed that it’s a very minimal style than what I usually do. Probably not something that will stick, but I’ll develop ways of using it.

Some more work in progress

This piece was originally entitled Krap. It started out with the text and was a reflection on my mood. This I felt was quite negative so I added the faces and am now transforming it into a portrait of a man who loves music!

A reflection of my mood and also my first of this style to be drawn directly into the computer! It was a lot easier than I thought. In Inkscape I just pressed Ctrl + L to get rid of all of the extra nodes then smoothed it all out. This piece will make a lot more sense soon!

WordPress Idea – Trackback for themes

I’ve suggested an idea for future wordpress builds.

The overall idea is that theme authors can see potentially see who is using their theme. This wouldn’t be automatic, and maybe there could be two options such as 1) send notification to theme author and 2) allow information to be displayed on authors’ website. I feel this could help notify users of any theme updates and also link them with people who have used the theme and modified it in any way.

I’m making a theme for portfolio websites at the moment so this would be a useful feature for me. Go vote!