Brian Kesinger Star Wars mash ups

Brian Kesinger Rey&BB8 Brian Kesinger Finn
Brian Kesinger works for Disney‘s animation studio among other things, I don’t know if this Chewie & Han from a few years ago was also him but it fits the mould. *UPDATE: The Chewie & Han illustration below is by Chris Wahl – which he did about 3-4 years ago. http://chriswahlart.blogspot.com/

Check Brian’s Twitter for more…

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Highlights of 2015

2015 Albums
They say that creativity flourishes under oppression and bleak times and it’s been a great year for music so there must be a grain of truth there. In an effort to glean something positive to remember 2015 by in light of all the injustice and hate out there in the world, here are some of my favourite things, in no order whatsoever.

There were several amazing music releases that went far beyond the normal album format – the main one being Aphex Twin‘s incredible Soundcloud dump of archive tracks which continue to drip out and now number over 200 tracks even if he has taken a lot of them down now. If there’s a ‘release’ of the year then that wins hands down although I’m still trying to process it all and tried to compile a selection of the cream in this mix for Solid Steel but bear in mind that that was when he’d only released half of it so by it’s no means definitive.
The other mega-release that deserves special mention is Rammellzee‘s ‘Cosmic Flush’ magnum opus that’s still in the process of materializing in a physical format. Released across seven 12″s with one track + remix + instrumentals + art print each, to be collected in a limited box with booklet around Spring 2016, it’s taken a huge effort by the Gamma Proforma label to bring to fruition seven years after the record’s completion and five years after Rammellzee’s death. It’s been a vintage year for independent Hip Hop too with great albums by Divine Styler, Ollie Teeba, Memory Man and The Fabreeze Brothers.
It’s nice to see the Leaf label celebrating 20 years of existence and still as vital as ever with Melt Yourself Down, Polar Bear, Radioland and new signing The Comet Is Coming all releasing excellent records this year. One last mention must go to the album at the top of the list below that crept out under everyone’s noses on Record Store Day and has slowly been gathering attention through word of mouth in the last eight months. So much so that it won the Dead Albatross Music Prize – an alternative to the Mercury award set up by independent Norman Records to nominate records that would otherwise be passed over at such things. If you only listen to one album from the list below, make it the Annabel (lee) one.

Albums:
Annabel (lee) – By The Sea & Other Solitary Places (If Music/Ninja Tune)
Rammellzee – Cosmic Flush (Gamma Proforma)
Divine Styler – Def Mask (Gamma Proforma) (technically 2014)
Memory Man – Broadcast One (Chopped Herring)
Eagles of Death Metal – Zipper Down
Jane Weaver – The Amber Light (Bird)
Cavern Of Anti-Matter – Blood Music (Grautag Records) (technically 2013)
The The – Hyena (Death Waltz)
The Fabreeze Brothers – S/T (AE Productions)
Markey Funk – Instinct (Audio Montage) (released fully in Jan 2016)
Aphex Twin – Soundcloud Archive dump
Amon Tobin – Dark Jovian EP (Ninja Tune)
Radioland – Radio-Activity Revisited (Leaf)
Ollie Teeba – Short Order (World Expo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Light In The Attic)
Various Artists – The Delaware Road (Buried Treasure)
Floating Points – Elaenia (Pluto)
Morgan Delt – S/T (Trouble In Mind) (technically 2014)
Gaz Coombes – Matador (Universal)
Black Devil – Disco Club (Lo Recordings)
Bruce Ditmas – Yellow Dust (Finders Keepers)
Rodinia – Drumside / Dreamside (Now Again)
Various Artists – In A Moment (Ghost Box)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)

Tracks:
a few of these are from a few years ago but new to me…
Noel Gallagher – The Right Stuff (Sour Mash)
Graeme Miller & Steve Shill – Moomins Theme (Finders Keepers)
The The – Everybody Wants To Go To Heaven But Nobody Wants To Die) (Cineola)
The Comet Is Coming – Neon Baby (Leaf)
Reso – Richochet (Hospital)
Black Channels – Oracles (Death Waltz Originals)
Paul Rutherford – Get Real (Hardcore) (1989)
Beck – Dreams (Capitol)
Band of Skulls – Hootchie Cootchie (Ignition Records) (2014)
Pond – Zond (EMI)
Ash Grunwald – Walking (2011 but via the Amorphous Androgynous ‘Wizards of Oz’ 2015 RSD comp)
Olivier Libaux – No One Knows (feat. Inara George) (2013)
Alan Copeland – Mission Impossible/Norwegian Wood (ABC) (1968!)

Packaging 2015

Design / packaging / covers:
so many incredibly high quality creations, a oglden age for record sleeve packaging and design…
Science Fiction Dancehall Classics compilation (Trevor Jackson) (On-U Sound)
The The – Hyena (Cineola / Death Waltz/Mondo)
Kurt Stenzel – Jodorowsky’s Dune (Signal Starr) (Light In The Attic)
Jaga Jazzist – Starfire (Ninja Tune)
Tame Impala – Currents (Robert Beatty)
The ‘Beat Bop’ record case (Jean-Michel Basquiat)
Grasscut – Everyone Was A Bird (Lo Recordings)

Artists2015

Artists:
Dan Lish
Kim Jung Gi
Signal Starr
Oddly Head
Ameet Hindocha
Reuben Sutherland
Stan & Vince
Jonathan Edwards
Laurie Lipton
Larry Carlson

Books2015

Books / Comics:
Augustine Kofie – Keep Drafting (ZERO+ Publishing)
Stephen Coates – X-Ray Audio (Strange Attractor Press)
Roger Perry – The Writing On The Wall (Plain Crisp Books Ltd)
Hanson, Godtland & Krassner – Psychedelic Sex (Taschen)
Island – Various (Image)
Sandman: Overture – Gaiman/Williams (Vertigo)
Ody-C – Fraction/Ward (Image)
8-House – Various (Image)
B.P.R.D: Hell On Earth – Various (Dark Horse)
Punks: The Comic – Fialkov/Chamberlain (Image)
Judge Dredd: Enceladus – New Life – Williams / Flint (2000AD)

Format expo

Exhibitions:
Peter Kennard at the Imperial War Museum
Charles & Ray Eames at the Barbican
Cosmonauts at the Science Museum
X-Ray Audio at the Horse Hospital
Trevor Jackson / Format at the Vinyl Factory space
Zulu Nation 42nd Anniversary at House of Vans

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Film / TV: (I really didn’t watch much this year)
Mad Max: Fury Road
Star Wars : The Force Awakens
Love & Mercy
Dune The Complete Saga (Fan edit)
‘Colossus: The Forbin Project’
Rick & Morty

Secret Cinema X-Wing

Moments:
The X-Wing Fighter flying overhead during Star Wars Secret Cinema
The Frankie Goes To Hollywood box set getting nominated for an AIM award for best box set design
Interviewing Edwin Pouncey aka Savage Pencil for a forthcoming book
Getting to wear a full Stormtrooper suit whilst DJing during Star Wars Secret Cinema
DJ Shadow & Cut Chemist – Renegades of Rhythm show at Koko
Writing a piece and creating a mix about Rammellzee for the Quietus
The moving sale finds at Lambiek in Amsterdam
Crazy scenes at the Southbank for the Big Fish Little Fish free Sunday session

BFLF Southbank

Heroes:
Ben Coghill (again) for being the best agent in the business
The NHS – for saving my mum’s life and generally being incredible
Joshu Docherty – for recommending me for Star Wars Secret Cinema
Jeremy Corbyn – for giving hope that there can be an alternative
Sarah Coleman & Leigh Adams – for releasing their first film, making unique and
interesting things and generally being great people
Pete Williams – for getting the keys to the basement
Shindig! magazine – for overcoming the odds and turning a bad situation to their advantage
Pete Isaac & Scott Boca 45 for getting the whole 45 Live crew together and building an international collective
Everyone who gave their time and dug through their collections to contribute to the weekly Flexibition posts on the site: Jonny Trunk, Pete Isaac, Jon Brooks, Markey Funk & Ofer Tal, Stephen Coates, Jon More, John Stapleton, Steve Cook, Anton Armtone, Sarah & Leigh, Spencer Hickman.

RIP:
Mike Allen (Legendary Hip Hop DJ), Lemmy, Demis Roussos, The Pizz, Don Joyce (Negativland), Shusei Nagaoka, Kája Saudek, Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate), Daevid Allen (Gong), Leonard Nimoy, Brett Ewins, Noriyoshi Ohrai, Rod McKuen, Edgar Froese (Tangerine Dream), Mark B.

Looking forward to:
Transmission shop opening in Margate
David Bowie – Black Star LP
Mute 40 book
The Black Channels LP
The Allergies – Rock Rock feat. Andy Cat (Ugly Duckling)
Prophet: Earth War

Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars Star Wars etc… (No spoilers)

So, I saw the film, it wasn’t perfect but it was a TON of fun and I loved it. Go see it, up there with the Episodes 4-6. Predictably there’s a ton of great related content arriving on the web, the Bad Lip-reading shorts above have been doing the rounds and are well worth watching.

I took part in a Beatport feature on Star Wars Super-fans alongside DJ Yoda, MK, Armin Van Buuren and more…

This guy built the largest Lego Imperial Star Destroyer ever…

Scarfolk even got in on the action…

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Flexibition #51: Bantha Tracks No.34 – Special Soundsheet Ed.

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Today being the UK premiere of Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, the only possible option for the Flexibition was the Autumn ’86 edition of the Star Wars Fan Club zine, Bantha Tracks, that came with a flexi disc inside it. Concentrating on the sound design of the movies by Sprocket Systems and detailing how they got that distinctive light sabre sound among other things, the flexi was the perfect medium for this little behind the scenes chat. The piece is excellent and, being sound designers, they’ve put the whole thing together beautifully. Instead of a dry, technical look at the world of foley we get an entertaining concrete collage with creative panning, tinkering rhythms and an aural bombardment of sounds and voices.

In fact it’s actually a bit over the top, I’ve listened to it a few times and still get distracted from the main narrative as there’s so much sonic detail happening. It’s also one of the cleanest, clearest sounding flexi’s I’ve ever heard, virtually no noise or crackle. Look at that lovely painting under the clear disc too and check the fan mail addresses for the main actors on the back. A copy of this is still not that hard to find for a decent price either.Flex51_BanthaTraxCoverFlex51_BanthaTraxInsideL Flex51_BanthaTraxDisc Flex51_BanthaTraxLabel
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ST*R W*RS

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17 more days… Above are apparently official posters in the style of the original film’s teasers.

Below is a selection of my favourites from Steven Martin Lear‘s WhyTheLongPlayFace Instagram account where he mashes up famous album covers with modern day films. These are all Star Wars of course but there are others (many!) and, unlike some I’ve seen around the web, Steven has some Photoshop skills and when he gets it right, he really hits the nail on the head. There’s some background on his creations on the My Geek Heart website.
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Kim Jung Gi

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UPDATE: The three images above seem to be the finished item, when I first posted these they were a work in progress (see below).
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These incredible Star Wars re-imaginings have been doing the rounds on the web this weekend after a live drawing event with Kim Jung Gi. His eastern versions of the Star Wars galaxy are just mind-blowing as are his astronauts which I’ve joined together from details posted on Instagram. Check out his work, it’s all incredible.

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The Tracks Go Off In This Direction… a Star Wars mix

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Finally, after a long hiatus, I’ve managed a new mix, and a audio visual one at that. The school summer holidays are a killer creatively when you have kids to attend to but now that the little ones are back to the 9-3.30 I’m back in gear. Something else that’s been occupying my time this summer, since May to be precise, is Secret Cinema‘s production of The Empire Strikes Back that I’ve been playing at in various locations and guises since it opened. Last night was my last gig, sound-tracking the Cantina Bar post-film with the run finishing completely in two weeks.

SWSC poster
To say it’s been an experience is an understatement and it’s one I will cherish forever as it is like nothing else out there. If you were one of the thousands who attended then you’ll know what I’m talking about and I’ll do a full post about my time there in a few weeks time when it’s closed as I don’t want to spoil things for those yet to go. But to commemorate the end of my run I’ve put together this 30 minute Star Wars-themed mix, complete with a video accompaniment, featuring some of the songs I played in amongst the rest of the themed tunes selected for the different areas.


Titled ‘The Tracks Go Off In This Direction…’ it follows the hunt for the Droids as songs and styles from the SW canon get progressively more random. It’s all Star Wars, plenty of which you will have seen and heard before, but I like to think I’ve dug a little and unearthed some hidden gems that might not be as familiar as Meco‘s ubiquitous disco-fied Star Wars Theme.

Rico - Ska Wars

For example: Rico Rodriguez, The Specials‘ trombonist who recently passed away, released a cover version called ‘Ska Wars’ (what else?) in 1977 on Island records which I’ve included as a tribute. Dickie Goodman, creator of the infamous UFO ‘break-in’ records’ made a ‘Star Warts’ 45 to cash in the same year, I’ve included a later (better) version and several cuts from Herbie Hancock‘s modular synth sidekick, Dr Patrick Gleeson‘s analogue Star Wars album.

Rave Wars disc
It’s not all period covers though, there’s plenty of modern day Hip Hop, Rave and Techno from the likes of AGT Rave Cru, Mark Archer, DJ Shadow and all manner of, shall we say, ‘copyright infringing’ releases under pseudonyms. At the start of the Secret Cinema run, when they also ran a separate satellite Cantina Club in Hoxton, I made a ton of video clips to go with tracks for a one-off AV performance and some of the work I put into those has found its way into the video mix. With a property like Star Wars this is a red flag to a bull so how long it will stay up is anyone’s guess. Grab it while you can…  UPDATE – Sorry folks, I’ve been asked to take it down…  back up!

Star Wars : The Force Awakens poster by Drew Struzan

Force Awakens poster
We’ve all seen this by now, right? Original master movie poster painter Drew Struzan was persuaded out of retirement to create a new poster for Episode VII. Harrison Ford (because that’s all I can see here, not Han Solo)  looks well haggard and seems to be thinking, “Let’s get this over with!”. I’m wondering, with the odd crop and lack of lettering (or space for it) whether this is the full image. I lightened it up a bit because it seemed so dark.

Marc Hagan-Guirey’s Star Wars Cut Scenes exhibition

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I just made it in time to see the end of this exhibition at the 5th Base Gallery today, 12 classic scenes from the first three Star Wars films, each cut from a single sheet of A4 paper. The process is called Kirigami – rather than purely folding paper as in Origami it involves cutting as well – and artist Marc Hagan-Guirey has created these 12 dioramas over a period of three years.

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Beautifully displayed in colour sensitive light boxes with mirrored surfaces they are quite simply stunning and are all apparently hand cut rather than laser cut. The circles are perfect the straight edges are perfect and the level of detail in such miniatures is nothing short of incredible. They are now going to be sold off to the highest bidders from the Kickstarter than Marc initiated to bring the exhibition to the public so this was probably the last time they’ll all be seen together.
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Star Wars seen from two different fan perspectives

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This bit of Star Wars fan fiction is doing the rounds on the web right now and with good cause as it’s visualised and told (wordlessly I might add) beautifully. From a short scene in Return of the Jedi, Daniel Warren Johnson has created an 11 page comic expanding outwards to before and after the event, imagining what led to and ultimately resulted from it.
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The scene is the one where an A-Wing pilot, realising he’s hit and little can save him, turns kamikaze and crashes headlong into Darth Vader‘s Super Star Destroyer Executor causing a chain reaction that causes it to crash into the Death Star surface. Warren Johnson says “For some reason, this A wing pilot MOVED me. Everything about this part of Return of the Jedi made me want to DRAW and CREATE. This is a fan fiction comic I made in April, just because I love this scene and I love comics.”
It’s superbly realised and heartbreaking despite the huge rebel victory that resulted as he’s added a human element to the mix. Also check out his sci-fi web comic, Space Mullet, while you’re there.

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Another bit of Star Wars fan fiction dealing with alternate viewpoints of the saga’s characters is the Tie Fighter animated short I featured a while back. I just noticed that there’s also a poster and extensive background character notes for the seven minute plus Manga-style film by Paul Johnson what has the Empire as the heroes (they always did have the best designs).