Visionist on Grime and Lost Codes

 

The UK has such an insular culture, churning out its own class system of musicians, stars, and reality tarts. London has nurtured many musical talents,  and is a city pulsing with people experimenting with different sounds, and starting genres like grime.

For anyone unfamiliar with grime, a simplified explanation is that it’s face paced, with high BPM’s of at least 140 with structured synth and electronic sounds. It’s come a long way since its evolution from garage, and is championed by exciting producers like Fatima Al Qadiri and Wiley.

And then, there’s Visionist.

Visionist is a south London based Dj, and producer who has been experimenting with grime for years, and has finessed his own style within the genre. When he released I’m Fine, his six track EP based off the stages of grief, it was so calmly emotive, taking aptly chosen samples from R&B (one of his favorite genres) and pitching them to an almost unrecognizable shrill that perfectly compliments the moodiness of the EP.

His presence in I’m Fine and all subsequent remixes he’s worked on since, is felt as soon as you hear one of his tracks. Visionist  has a signature calmness about him that works its way into all of his music; a quiet sort of precision and control that forces everybody to slow down, despite the actual BPM’s of the track. It could be called minimalism but we prefer to call it Visionist.

As with anything UK specific, the challenge is to crossover and be able to successfully transition stateside. The appeal of grime has grown enormously by the internet, and Dj’s from New York to Taipei have been creating their own versions of the sound.

As for Visionist, he’s been busy travelling internationally, playing sets all over in between working on his album and managing his own record label Lost Codes, which manages other progressive artists like SD Laika. We caught up with him before his set at New Forms ’14 and asked him for some insight into the London music scene, how it’s nurtured grime and the moment he realized he was able to turn his passion into a career.

Discussing detachment and decay with London taxidermist Claire Morgan

 

In 2002, Claire Morgan constructed Untitled an installation in which 2000 fresh strawberries were threaded with nylon and hung from the ceiling in a complex, concave shape. The piece was no doubt a laborious effort; the months of detailed planning, sourcing and implementation were all apparent in the final product – a sculpture that decayed within 10 days.

(Claire Morgan)

(Claire Morgan)

Most of Claire’s work is temporary. She uses organic materials, bringing together flowers, animals, insects and other matter and melding them into three dimensional shapes. Her works are commentaries on the relationship we nurture with nature, and some of her pieces hold themes of contained chaos. It can be jarring when you first realize Making A Killing is adorned with real butterflies but Claire’s use of taxidermy is the perfect introduction for us, who hadn’t previously thought it as art. She gives a new life to these animals as they’re reframed into shapes which seem to fluidly bend as you move around the piece.

(Claire Morgan)

(Claire Morgan)

The interim nature of installation work breeds a unique type of artist. It’s always interesting to learn how an installation artist accepts that their piece, which required such physical and mental effort will eventually cease to exist. For Claire, the fragility of her pieces is worth the price of seeing her ideas executed. She isn’t troubled with the notion of her legacy, instead she concerns herself with the implementation of her ideas. We still had so many questions about how she detached from her pieces but almost forgot to ask, as we spent the next few hours engrossed, prying through her buckets of bee’s and various stuffed animals (and her very alive cat). We did manage to ask Claire about how she’s adapted to letting go of her pieces, where she sources her animals and which animal is her favorite to work with.

Exploring existential Vertigo with sculptor Paige Bradley


Figurative sculpture is one of the purest forms of art. Through bronze casted profiles, viewers glean so much about the human form. Each curve, line and expression is meticulously laboured over by sculptors. It’s indeed a laborious process, a physical release for the artist, as much as an emotional one. Sculpture is very closely associated with the public notion of art as it’s a form that has been around since the beginning of human enlightenment. Art is ever-evolving and sculpture has respectfully transcended the foundations built by Michelangelo and Rodin.

Contemporary sculpture is fluid; it’s expressive, acknowledging and embracing imperfection. One of the most well recognized contemporary sculptures of our time is Expansion by California born, London based artist Paige Bradley.

 

(Pagie Bradley)

(Pagie Bradley)

This image has resonated with many people as a symbol of feminine strength. Juxtaposed against the faint outline of the Brooklyn Bridge, it serves as a bit of peace, inside the concrete jungle.

Paige is a well rounded artist – she is a sculptor, illustrator and writer. She has given life to a number of striking pieces; her bronze  Surrender Containment was recently auctioned at Christies for over estimate. Each buyer leaves with a piece of Paige, as her spirit is so intertwined in her work.

For Paige, these sculptures are a loose figment of her current reality. She creates only from what she knows.

We visited Paige in her East London studio, and she shared with us her thoughts on making it as an artist, her piece Vertigo and the themes of mortality in her work.

 

“If I plan to fall back then I’m going to fall back, if I don’t plan to fall back and it’s not an option then I don’t need a fall back plan.”

– Paige Bradley

Meet Ali Graham – the creator of the 99 Problems blog

 

Chances are, if you’ve been on Tumblr the last few months, you’ve seen a certain rapper dealing with all of life’s conundrums, from a fear of flying (which garnered close to 19,000 reblogs) to poor twerk ethic. Readers of the 99 Problems blog have seen Jay Z face hilarious “day-to-day” problems, which include clever references to his songs, often going back to his earlier albums. Jay is joined by a roster of guest stars including: Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, and even little Blue Ivy. In this video you’ll meet the very talented Ali Graham, who incorporated pop culture references, such as Breaking Bad, Titanic and Spiderman into the series. Ali mixes in these references amongst mundane everyday problems that lead you to believe that Jay Z  is just like us.

His work is a clever exploration of pop culture, our idolization of musicians and the way we believe them to be superheroes. Ali humorously strips Jay Z down and humanizes him using his own wordplay. His process for creating these works can be laborious, if the idea for the day doesn’t jump to him immediately. Once he’s got the vision, the rest forms quite quickly.

We were there as he drew his problem for the day and it was very fun to watch it all happen from concept to creation. We sat down with him afterwards to discuss his idea for the blog, audience reception to it and whether or not Jay Z knows Ali is illustrating his problems.

It’s projects like these that are particularly exciting for us to be a part of because it shows how one artist has the ability to inspire many others.

Ali revealed the 99th problem recently, and has another series featuring Beyonce in the works, click here to go through the entire series and see how many of the references you can get.

 

I like the fact that you offer something simple, and people can read into it more