Thursday, December 17, 2009

Things I've Enjoyed in 2009

Hi there blog.
2009 is coming to an end, and its been a big year. My first turbulent year in the animation industry. Ive lived in 3 states, 9 houses, visited 7 countries, blown all my money, been part of an oscar shortlisted film, watched the company i work for sink, been beaten up by junkies.

I guess as a way to capture some the things that have inspired me over the last 12 months I thought I'd break from my usual pattern of posting drawings and post a ramshambles list. Things I've enjoyed, things that have motivated me. Music, film, artists ect.

SOUNDS-

Animal Collective
I like these guys. I cant really think of a way to express that with enough force. There's something about the way they combine raw experimentation with pop sensibilities that interests me on a level that runs a lot deeper than music. Animal Collective have released my favourite album of the year- the stunning Merriweather Post Pavillion. I was disappointed to find out that they have been releasing music for years, and I hadnt been listening to it. Imagine how much better my life would have been if I knew.

Yeasayer

YEASAYER's album was released in 2007, but its unfortunately taken me this long to start listening to it. I am a fan. Check out these if you're curious- A takeaway show shot in paris. And their latest video.

Girls
GIRLS write the poetry you thought you were writing when you were 16. I thought my obsession for them would be a passing thing...it wasnt. Their album is brilliant. It also carries what is probably one of the best songs of the year- Lust For Life

Grizzly BearVeckatimest was released early this year. Im not really sure how to explain it. Melancholy, euphoric? Rock solid?

Dirty Projectors
Totally charming Bitte Orca. Pretty choir girls meets amazing and idiosyncratic song writer David Longstreth. They did a recording for Pitchfork earlier this year. Its worth checking out. They've also done some great colabs with Bjork recently.

Phoenix
Hands down, most danceable album of the year.

Passion Pit
Probably a close second.

The Clash
I hope this doesn't look like a token "old band" for the sake of street cred...

Some other bands worth noting- Wild Beasts and The XX both released some pretty exciting albums this year.

VISIONS-

Keith Schofield
An American music video and commercial director. I think of him as the Spike Jonze of the Youtube age. He was a total highlight at this year's Semi-Permanent. Somebody who understands the amazing possibilities that the Internet holds for film makers. His advice, summarised as i remember it- If you want to start as a filmmaker making music videos, you'll have to work for friends bands. Work spec, pay for everything yourself, that way they will let you do whatever you like. Music videos arent made for TV anymore, when was the last time you discovered you favourite music vid on TV? Take advantage of that fact. Have a really clear or funny idea- Make a video that people will forward to their friends or be passed around forums.

One example Keith used was his youtube video simply called "how to make meth". It was a music video where the band members make a range of recreational drugs at home. It caused a moral uproar in the US with many news and daytime TV shows referencing it. He also the mind behind Diesel's phenomenal viral XXX campaign (pornography from the 80's animated over to look like innocent activities) check them out on his site. He also shares a whole bunch of his film making tricks and treatments.
Not only is he a great film maker, but he is really positive and clever guy. Really inspiring.

Day 19

Jeremy and Claire Weiss are a couple of American photographers i caught at Semi-Permanent this year. They take great photographs but they also have an amazingly positive attitude towards what they do. During their talk they just rolled through their photos and gave little stories about how they came to be. Most of the stories were- "Well i guess we just met up with the band, had a whole bunch of beers and hung out." I guess that's why they get such intimate photos. They were never staged, just friends documenting friends. A totally inspiring pair of artists.

A Serious Man
The Latest film from the Coen Brothers is both an immaculate piece of black comedy and a searing satire. Deeply unsettling, totally brilliant.

Where the Wild Things Are.
Spike Jonze, Dave Eggers, and Maurice Sendak have created a gorgeous, uncompromising piece of fiction.

The Wrestler
I caught The Wrestler earlier this year. For me it felt like an exploration of sexual identity (in the masculine/feminine sense) through extremes...I'm not totally sure if that was the intended point. I loved it though.

Um yeah so there you have it, a couple of things I've liked this year. Ive almost certainly forgotten some pretty important things. I might update the list if I think of anything big.

Hope you have a great Christmas, and a merry new year. Hopefully have some fresh drawings and animations soon!

Lots of love

Alex

3 comments:

Jase said...

You only liked those films because i was there.

Sarasarasarato said...

Oh shit yeah Alex, that post was epic. If ever there was a finger on the pulse, that finger was yours and that pulse was mine... please call my mum.

Loved the format and the retrospective commentary, you can believe I'm gonna go through and check those bands out. I'm pumped to make my own Best Of '09 list now. If I'm cheeky enough to steal your format I'll call it a Grigglist.

Been a pleasure spending the best bits of the year with you.

merenity said...

Hmmm... Alex, perhaps you should write a film about your first year adventures in animationland? What an epic year...!