• Reaching for the spiritual in Ragnar Kjartansson and The National’s 6-hour film ‘A Lot Of Sorrow’

    “All religion is like this, repeating the same thing again and again, until it becomes spiritual.”

    Watching Ragnar Kjartansson’s ‘A Lot Of Sorrow’ is something akin to meditation. For the first few minutes, it’s tough to feel comfortable, and even tougher to concentrate on what’s going on. The brain, so used to consuming impressions quickly, is reacting to the slow down in stimulation like an engine gasping for fuel. For the first few renditions, ‘Sorrow’ feels interminably long, repetitive and homogenous.

    But then, slowly, as in meditation, something changes. The rush to move on subsides, the brain settles with renewed focus, and ‘Sorrow’ begins to speed up. Suddenly, half an hour passes, then an hour, each rendition voraciously devoured, as nuances of the performance, the existential struggle of the band and their unfailing camaraderie emerge.

    In ‘A Lot Of Sorrow’, Kjartansson says he’s turned the song into a sculpture, and the performance into a painting. You can look at it briefly, see it’s contours and admire its colours, or you can enter it more deeply, explore its edges, tones and secrets.

    Asking a band you like to play a song of theirs repeatedly for six hours straight in front of a live audience is an audacious act in itself. It’s playful, perhaps even slightly sadistic (although Kjartansson refutes this), and somewhat absurd. In the case of ‘Sorrow’, this absurdism is entwined with the all-encompassing nature of grief the song grapples with. It is cathartic, communal, but also seemingly without end. The final piece in The Store X New Museum’s Strange Days exhibition, it also seems to extend the experience of the show into something that feels like it approaches infinity.

    As with much of Kjartansson’s performance work, ‘A Lot Of Sorrow’ explores the tension between the individual and the collective. In the 9-panel video work ‘The Visitors’, Kjartansson’s All-Star troupe perform elements of the same “feminine nihilistic gospel song” in different rooms, united in performance, while being isolated in space.

    Likewise, one of the most fascinating elements in ‘A Lot Of Sorrow’ is watching The National negotiate the task at hand, at times collectively, and at others, struggling on alone. Several hours in and the dynamic between brothers Aaron and Bryce Dessner is one of the film’s compelling side-shows. Bryce the stoic, betraying little emotion; his brother Aaron battling untold demons (and visible boredom) to find new ways to bend his guitar to the same solemn tune.

    As part of Strange Days at The Store X, we spoke to Kjartansson about the intentions and influences behind the work, how The National experienced it and how he hopes the viewer will experience it too.

    ‘A Lot Of Sorrow’ is displayed at Strange Days: Memories of the Future at The Store X until 9th December. Click here for more information.


    Ragnar Kjartansson with the National – A Lot of Sorrow, 2013–14
    Source: Vimeo

    Courtesy of: Ragnar Kjartansson with the National
    A Lot of Sorrow, 2013–14
    Original performance occurred at MoMA PS1 as part of Sunday Sessions. Courtesy the artists; Luhring Augustine, New York; and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik

  • Lose yourself in the dance with Róisín Murphy’s new video for ‘The Rumble’

    From the final instalment of her 4×12″ series with Maurice Fulton.

    Róisín Murphy has shared the next self-directed video to accompany her series of 12″s with house producer Maurice Fulton.

    Shot in one take, the video centres around choreographer and dancer Lindy Nsingo, as she loses herself in the pulsating euphoria of the track, from its brooding opening to the gospel organ exultations of the finale.

    As Murphy explains: “I was lucky enough to work with badass choreographer and dancer Lindy Nsingo across these video projects. Before this performance, I showed her a reference for the dancing, a clip from The New Dance Show, a late ’80s tv show from Detroit, the clip featured a woman who looked like Lindy – popping and head-banging to some incredible techno, we used it as the styling reference also, but I had no clue Lindy would take it to the extremes she did.

    “The performance blew the top off the room but still, I didn’t expect ‘The Rumble’ would be a one shot video until I watched the footage back. Her performance is like the track itself, it’s church, it’s spiritual, it’s possessed. This all happened at the end of a two day shoot and I’m only proud that I had created an environment in which it could happen, the rest of it is all down to Lindy.”

    ‘The Rumble’ follows Murphy’s videos for ‘Jacuzzi Rollercoaster’, ‘Plaything’ and ‘All My Dreams’, released earlier this year.

    ‘The Rumble’ / ‘World’s Crazy’ is out now via The Vinyl Factory. Order a copy here.

  • A trippy ride through synth-filled psychedelic weirdness, with Kim Ann Foxman-fronted Pleasure Planet

    Levitating planets and puppets aplenty, in new dance floor filler ‘Evaporate’.

    Brooklyn trio Pleasure Planet aka Kim Ann Foxman, Andrew Potter and Brian Hersey have unveiled the first video from their self-titled debut EP Pleasure Planet.

    Mixing Bangles-esque vocals with club-ready synth hooks, ‘Evaporate’ sees Kim channeling her inner Salvador Dali via a technicolour vortex freakout.

    Watch the video above and check out the EP artwork below.

    Pleasure Planet’s Pleasure Planet is out now via new Firehouse imprint self : timer.

    By in News, Vinyl Factory Films
  • Jeremy Deller explores the illegal raves and pagan rituals of Stonehenge

    Featuring experimental performances from the London Sinfonietta.

    Turner Prize-winning artist Jeremy Deller has curated a centenary celebration to mark 100 years since Stonehenge was gifted to the United Kingdom.

    It featured an inflatable, life-sized replica of Stonehenge called Sacrilege, on loan to English Heritage by The Store X The Vinyl Factory, and exhibited from the 26th to 28th, alongside performances by London Sinfonietta on the 26th, and increased access to the grounds throughout the weekend.

    Sacrilege previously toured the UK in the summer of 2012 as part of a national Olympic tour.

    The celebration continues Deller’s exploration of the intersection between rave cultural and English heritage, as seen in his 1997 work Acid Brass, which featured brass band cover versions of acid house tracks, and English Magic, which featured west London steel drum band The Melodians.

    The installation also featured in Deller’s 2013 film English Magic – premiered at Venice Biennale in 2013 – with a soundtrack of the same name released on limited 3×12″ and standard variants by The Vinyl Factory.

    Watch the video above.

    With thanks to English Heritage and London Sinfonietta.

    By in News, Vinyl Factory Films
  • A portrait of Chicago institution Out Of The Past Records

    Almost 50 years in the business.

    Couple Charlie and Marie Henderson have been selling records in Garfield Park since 1969. A West Side Chicago mainstay, the original Madison Street storefront burned down during riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King. Now at 4407 W. Madison, the shop is a one-stop adventure for eager collectors ready to get dirty and dig.

    A cross-eyed cat named Shadow roams the store, and you’ll be sure to see some dusty groovers meandering through the stacks alongside you. Records here are ‘strictly old-school’, reasonably priced and gently used. As Marie Henderson says, “you’re guaranteed to find a lot of everything and a lot of nothing, it just depends what you’re looking for.”

    Watch the short film above and visit Out Of The Past Records in person at 4407 W. Madison St, Chicago, IL 60624. Find more of Chicago’s best record shops here.

    Film by Simon Brubaker for The Vinyl Factory.

    Music: Alan Parker’s ‘Love Is All’ and ‘You’ve Got What It Takes” from The Sound of Soul, courtesy of Be With Records. Pre-order a copy here.

    By in Vinyl Factory Films
  • A sonic journey through the dream-like world of new The Store X show Strange Days

    Inside the 5-star exhibition, showcasing some of the most brilliant and radical contemporary film-makers.

    Visitor information:

    Where: The Store X, 180 The Strand, London, WC2R 1EA

    When: 2nd October – 9th December

    Opening times: Tuesday to Saturday, 12pm – 7pm, Sunday 12pm – 6pm

    Free entry


    “Music is the tool through which we lose control, but it’s also the occasion in which we feel our bodies again,” describes New Museum’s Massimiliano Gioni, who has curated the acclaimed new exhibition Strange Days: Memories of the Future alongside The Store X and The Vinyl Factory.

    Led through the labyrinthine underbelly of the brutalist former office building that now houses The Store X, 180 The Strand, it is sound and music that compel you to discover more – a hint of what’s behind the next corner, an echo of what you’ve just experienced.

    Likened to the experience of a first-person video game, and inspired by the Kathryn Bigelow-directed film of the same name, Strange Days stitches together scores, samples and soundscapes into the fabric of the show, whether through Kahli Joseph’s Fly Paper, or The National’s 6-hour marathon rendition of ‘Sorrow’ by Ragnar Kjartansson.

    With the show now open until 9th December, we spoke to Gioni to find out more about the exhibition’s sonic aspects, and how music has helped guide its curation.

    Watch the video above, and for those wanting to explore further, we’ve also selected 7 key works that are essential for every visit to the exhibition.


    Credits:

    Lead image: Pipilotti Rist, ‘4th Floor To Mildness,’ 2016. Photo by Jack Hems for The Store X, 180 The Strand

    Filmed by: Pawel Ptak, Luis Munoz, Kamil Dymek
    Edited by: Pawel Ptak

    Music used:

    Kahlil Joseph’s Fly Paper – Soundtrack Score – James William Blades & Kahlil Joseph, 2017
    Source: Soundcloud

    Ragnar Kjartansson with the National – A Lot of Sorrow, 2013–14
    Source: Vimeo

    List of works featured:

    Camille Henrot
    Grosse Fatigue, 2013
    Courtesy the artist, Silex Films, and kamel mennour, Paris

    Ed Atkins
    Happy Birthday!!, 2014

    Courtesy the artist and Cabinet Gallery, London

    Pipilotti Rist
    4th Floor To Mildness, 2016

    Music and text by Soap&Skin/Anja Plaschg, courtesy Flora Musikverlag and [PIAS] Recordings.
    Courtesy the artist, Hauser & Wirth, and Luhring Augustine, New York 
Supported by kvadrat and Top Carpet.

    Cheng Ran
    Diary of a Madman (The Bridge), 2016
    Diary of a Madman (Circadian Rhythm), 2016
    Diary of a Madman (The Mad Man), 2016
    Diary of a Madman (The Self-Portrait), 2016
    Diary of a Madman (The Water Tower), 2016
    Diary of a Madman (The Wreck), 2016

    All works courtesy the artist, K11 Art Foundation, and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing and Lucerne.

    Kahlil Joseph
    Fly Paper, 2017

    Courtesy the artist.

    Klara Lidén
    Der Mythos des Fortschritts (Moonwalk)
    [The Myth of Progress (Moonwalk)]
    , 2008
    Courtesy the artist; Galerie Neu, Berlin; and Reena Spaulings Fine Art, New York

    Wong Ping
    Jungle of Desire, 2015

    Courtesy the artist and Edouard Malingue Gallery

    Lili Reynaud-Dewar
    TEETH, GUMS, MACHINE, FUTURE, SOCIETY (One Body, Two Souls), 2017

    Courtesy the artist and CLEARING, New York/Brussels

    Oliver Laric
    Untitled, 2014–15
    Courtesy the artist and Tanya Leighton, Berlin

    Wu Tsang
    The Looks, 2015
    Courtesy the artist and Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi

    Daria Martin
    Soft Materials, 2004

    Courtesy the artist and Maureen Paley, London

    Cally Spooner
    DRAG DRAG SOLO, 2016
    Courtesy the artist; gb agency, Paris; and ZERO, Milan

    Ryan Trecartin
    Item Falls, 2013

    Courtesy the artist; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; and Sprüth Magers

    Laure Prouvost
    Into All That Is Here, 2015

    Courtesy the artist and Lisson Gallery

    Mounira Al Solh
    Now Eat My Script, 2014

    Courtesy Sfeir-Semler Gallery

    John Akomfrah
    Vertigo Sea, 2015

    Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films
 and Lisson Gallery

    Anri Sala
    Three Minutes, 2004
    Courtesy Hauser & Wirth; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris; and Marian Goodman Gallery, New York

    Maha Maamoun
    2026, 2010

    Courtesy the artist and Gypsum Gallery, Cairo

    Hassan Khan
    Jewel, 2010

    Original music by the artist
 ©Hassan Khan. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris

    Jonathas de Andrade
    O peixe [The Fish], 2016

    Courtesy Alexander and Bonin, New York, and Galeria Vermelho, São Paulo

    Ragnar Kjartansson with the National
    A Lot of Sorrow, 2013–14
    Original performance occurred at MoMA PS1 as part of Sunday Sessions. Courtesy the artists; Luhring Augustine, New York; and i8 Gallery, Reykjavik

  • Watch Roisin Murphy’s new kaleidoscopic dance video for ‘Jacuzzi Rollercoaster’

    “We’ve left the club and entered the drug.”

    Part three of Róisin Murphy’s 4×12″ series with Maurice Fulton, ‘Jacuzzi Rollercoaster’ / ‘Can’t Hang On’ has dropped on vinyl. To celebrate its release the multi-faceted artist has shared a trippy freeze frame video she directed for ‘Jacuzzi Rollercoaster’.

    “This time a larger leap of imagination was required as we were shooting against a simple green screen, effectively removing the rave and concentrating solely on the ravers,” shares Murphy.

    “The green screen enabled me to manipulate and collage the footage, the phrase “we’ve left the club and entered the drug” has been a kind of guiding principal. We have gone into the trip.”

    “I believe there would have been no other way to capture and to put on screen the ecstasy and naivety that makes for an authentic club experience.”

    ‘Jacuzzi Rollercoaster’ / ‘Can’t Hang On’ is out now digitally on streaming platforms, and on vinyl here.

  • Inside a Technics SL-1200 turntable

    What makes the iconic turntable tick?

    The Technics SL-1200 has been the industry standard DJ turntable for decades – a no-frills direct-drive deck that does what it needs to do, and does it well. Many boast of having had theirs since the ’70s or ’80s, often without so much as a cursory check up.

    When a Technics does start to cough and splutter though, NYC turntable repair station DJ Fix are the technicians to call. Following our short film inside their workshop, we’ve asked DJ Fix founder Jon Hildenstein to talk us through a few turntable basics, for a series of short films set to be released on VF over the next few months.

    In this first instalment, he started by popping the hood of the iconic SL-1200 to have a poke around.

    From the ingenious quartz pitch control, to the isolated direct-drive motor, Hildenstein talks us through just why the Technics is just as impressive below the platter, as above it.

  • Watch a new documentary on the art of composing film soundtracks

    Featuring Max Richter, Anna Meredith, Geoff Barrow and more.

    From Studio To Screen: Becoming A Composer is a new short documentary produced by FACT magazine and the British Council exploring the journey from concept to realisation in scoring for cinema.

    Looking at what makes a great film score and how vital it is to the creative process of filmmaking, the documentary meets with Waltz With Bashir and Black Mirror composer Max Richter, Portishead and BEAK>’s Geoff Barrow and his composing partner Ben Salisbury, Welsh industrial veteran Lustmord and Anna Meredith, who released her first two EPS with The Vinyl Factory.

    You can watch it in full above and click here to read about the making of the film in more detail.

    By in Vinyl Factory Films
  • “Don’t play it safe”: Detroit legend DJ Bone on innovation and creativity

    An afternoon in Berlin with the veteran producer and DJ.

    As a fierce champion of independence in music, DJ Bone has spent over 30 years forging sounds through the underground, releasing music via his Subject Detroit and Encounter labels. As technically experimental as he is creatively expressive, Bone has also built a reputation as one of the world’s most skilful DJs.

    On the heels of the release of his latest album, A Piece of Beyond, we caught up with DJ Bone at The Store Berlin. During the afternoon, Bone waxed lyrical about his inspirations (from the club to his love of Prince and classical music), dissected his craft (and why you should take risks) and shared advice for young producers trying to forge a career in music.

    Watch the film above, and check out Bone’s A Piece Of Beyond, out now on Subject Detroit.

    By in Vinyl Factory Films
  • Watch our new film Midori Takada: In Motion

    An intimate afternoon with the pioneering Japanese artist.

    Tokyo-born composer and musician Midori Takada has always looked at the world differently. In a Coca-Cola bottle, Takada sees a flute. In a rush of blood to the head and pulsating heartbeats, Takada hears percussion. In silence, Takada feels rhythm.

    Though she has been performing and creating music since the 1970s – releasing albums as part of her MKWAJU Ensemble and solo, collaborating with legendary theatre director Tadashi Suzuki, and teaching as a professor of music in Japan – for decades Takada remained relatively unknown to wider audiences.

    Until a few years ago, when the mysterious algorithmic forces of the internet forever changed that. In 2016, a YouTube video of her 1983 album Through The Looking Glass, a cult record among collectors, amassed over 1 million views. That particular upload has since been removed, however a reissue of the album by WRWTFWW shortly afterward fuelled international fervour.

    Since then, Takada has toured across the globe, with additional reissues of her similarly coveted albums – MKWAJU Ensemble’s KI-Motion, and Masahiko Sato collaboration Lunar Cruise.

    As she releases her first new music in twenty years, Le Renard Bleu – a collaborative 20-minute track with Lafawndah inspired by the mythological legend of The Blue Fox, we spent an afternoon with Takada at Union Chapel ahead of her London show.

    Following an intimate rehearsal, Takada spoke with us about her unique approach to sound and performance, what inspires her, and what she would like to teach people about her music.

    A unique visionary, whose work is finally getting the recognition it so long deserved, we’re celebrating her music in its many forms. Watch the film above, look through photographs from the performance at Union Chapel, take a journey through her discography, and delve into Through the Looking Glass in our extended interview.


    All images by Pawel Ptak for The Vinyl Factory.

  • Inside DJ Fix: NYC’s premiere turntable workshop

    The unsung heroes keeping the city’s Technics in rotation.

    There aren’t many items built to last like a Technics SL-1200. The Land Rover Defender of turntables, such was their resilience Panasonic only recently felt the need to upgrade what has become an industry standard. Many of those still in the clubs and homes of New York date back decades.

    But where do you go if your platter starts doing the 3am wobble?

    Jon Hidenstein’s turntable workshop DJ Fix specialises in greasing the wheels of New York’s sprawling club culture landscape. From bedroom DJs to the biggest names, local bars to major clubs, this small basement is an urban field hospital for world-weary decks that have seen better days – or more often than not, just been on the wrong end of a late night beer bath.

    In the first instalment of short films at the workshop, where Jon will be talking us through a series of easy fixes and adjustments you can make to your set-up at home, we had a snoop around to see what goes on when your deck is in rehab.

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