So This is Permanence

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Right around when my Valkyrie got shaded I decided to pull the trigger and make a new tattoo appointment for this beauty I’ve been wanting for a long time. Longer than any other tattoo I have. Why it took me so long to actually get this one, I don’t know. I think I needed to make sure I found the right artist who would do CP 1919 justice. It’s incredibly detail-heavy. Another reason might’ve also been the location I wanted. The inner bicep is a notoriously painful spot for a tattoo. I can tell you, from personal experience, that I found it to be agonizing. I had pretty bad bruising for about a week afterwards!

This piece of art — and it is art — is incredibly important to me. Probably the most influential THING for my whole design career and in general life as a music fan. I was 18 I think when I first saw The Shirt being worn by Guy Berryman of Coldplay! of all people (aka the hottest one). Because I was (and always will be) a big Coldplay fan. I thought that shirt was the coolest shirt ever. The graphic was huge and enigmatic and I’m sure I enjoyed its stark boldness — coupled with the ear-catching name “Joy Division.” I held that image in my mind for a few years until I finally heard Joy Division for the first time, which changed something in me. I liked Post-Punk after that. It was because of Joy Division I was interested in getting into bands like The Cure and The Smiths. Anything 80s, alt, and British.

The most arresting thing about it was still that image. I learned that the album sleeve was designed by Peter Saville, who has since become one of my great heroes. Much of my early work was in homage to him. His work is a part of me. Also, cooly, it’s actually a historical image as well, being the first recorded sound pulsar IN SPACE. HOW COOL IS THAT?

So I got this done on January 2nd. I’ve waited so long to show it to the world because I’d just finished up an extensive half-ish sleeve and I was concerned I’d get people going WOW TRY HARD MUCH? Yes. Incredibly. I am mega try hard. Plus, I like the gothy abstract scientific graph to go on top of a sword from a fantasy novel. Multitudes, am I right?

Synth i

synth_mixA few years ago around this time I made a pretty decent “mix tape” of songs that emphasize the Synthesizer. I felt it was diverse-ish, in that it wasn’t all Kraftwerk, and had a mix of old and new artists. But, I listened to it recently for the first time in a couple years and it is long. There was probably enough material on it to warrant 2 or even 4 volumes. Challenge accepted. I present the 1st of 4 Synth volumes for this winter, Synth i. It’s similarly structured to that one I made those many years ago, but it’s also shorter and tighter, and not quite as ambient.

I highly recommend listening to this in sequence, either while driving aimlessly home at night or with heavy duty headphones sitting at your desk. Either way, do it in the winter. This is not a summer time mix. synth_mix

David Bowie

bowieI feel like I’ve known David Bowie in some capacity my whole life. I didn’t really know what to make of Labyrinth when I was a kid, but I watched it all the time, and was incredibly creeped out by Jareth. I wasn’t into that hair, and whatever was in his pants. I’m still vaguely creeped out by him. And that movie is still weird (and wonderful), and David Bowie is still David Bowie.

I got lucky. The first Bowie album I ever listened to all the way through was The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (commonly known as Ziggy Stardust). To this day it remains the most crucial album in his canon (even when you consider Low and Heroes and yes, dammit even Let’s Dance).

Aside from his wide ranging and far reaching music catalogue, which is filled with so much strange brilliance from end-to-end, I hold so much respect for him as a person. For almost 50 years… He’s always busted conventions, and done whatever the fuck he wanted. Even at the very height of the Berlin period (when he released Low, Heroes & Lodger back-to-back-to-back), when he was releasing some of the most interesting and masterful stuff, his music videos were getting banned in the UK because he dressed as a woman.

And he doesn’t end, or stop, and he’ll never die, because he’s not human. He’ll just.. Fly away one day.

I was lucky enough to see David Bowie Is at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London a few years back (not at the Tate, as some assumed). It was a really interesting exhibit which used zone-controlled listening devices, so you were constantly surrounded by the sounds of David Bowie’s voice and music, while looking at actual outfits he wore, or  room-size screens of him as Ziggy, prancing across a stage in platform boots. It made me realize how different he was, and how OK it was to be different, and how much I loved him.

David Bowie, the love I have for you is unreal. Happy Birthday.

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© Andrew Kent

Gothtober

81jcXnqEdoL._SL1228_I can’t believe it’s almost November! I know that every year is the exact same length but it doesn’t somehow make it less surprising when time progresses. Also, time is relative you know? Anyway. This year has been going by quicker than normal, and we’re nearing the holidays (yes!). The nearest holiday obviously being Halloween. Obviously…

For a time, October was my go-to month for all music dark and brooding (I dubbed it Gothtober). To match the weather. This October has been pretty mild and pleasant though and I straight up forgot to listen to my old staple albums. Like, I remember so fondly and clearly the unbelievably good fall of 2009, I was just discovering all the music that would help to inform myself and since I was poor and didn’t know how to find music, I’d go cassette shopping at Cheapo in Uptown. Standing on a Beach by The Cure was pretty much a mainstay in my car’s tape deck for those colder months. THOSE WERE THE DAYS.

Lately it seems like I’ve become an Outdoors Yuppie (I’m not exactly sure what that would be, but I imagine it’s something, you know, like contacting customer support at Columbia when your Greater Rewards points aren’t showing up in your account – because you bought a lot of Omni-Heat™ clothing and you’d like the credit), but now that I’m full on corporate shill for General Mills, I’ve pushed back a little and am trying to get back to my roots. I’ve been cranking Savages and Bathory lately like my whole identity depended on it. I wear ripped jeans and Doc Martens to work like that makes me cool (it does) and next week I’m getting a pretty huge (and badass) tattoo. I shall not be assimilated into the corporate culture! (though to be honest, I am far more comfortable and far happier in a big corporate campus setting. It’s really very cozy here).

Now, Standing On A Beach obviously isn’t available on Spotify, and I would’ve recreated it as a playlist, but Spotify also doesn’t have Boys Don’t Cry, (the American version of Three Imaginary Boys) which contains “Killing an Arab”… But ughhh, I did my best. Listen to my early adult years here:

KV Crimes

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A quick post today. I went to Mill City Nights (formerly The Brick) last night to shoot Kurt Vile for City Pages. The Brick (as I’m calling it from now on) is kind of an unpopular venue, though that’s putting it lightly. The sound is awful. I couldn’t hear sweet Kurt’s angelic voice at all. I also tend to hate venues that are long rectangles where the only way to get up front is to fight your way through a hundred people. They feel like fire hazards, and I get claustrophobic. I greatly prefer a more open layout like First Avenue. But that’s like saying I prefer going on vacation to getting sick.

Anyway. You can see my little slideshow (including some shots of Waxahatchee, a cool indie folk band) right over here.

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