Mark Aguhar

Mark Aguhar is an artist currently living and studying in Austin Texas. I don’t know him well or know much about him but I have been following him on Tumblr for a while. His paintings and drawings are always fantastic, usually super gay and often feature shirtless boys with hairy chests.  Need I say more? Some of his stuff vaguely reminds me of a more primitive Bob London, only with strong homosexual overtones.

Mark also dabbles in sculpture work, some of which can be seen at his Flickr stream. He has a blog too but it doesn’t look like it gets updated too often so I guess his Tumblr is probably the best place to keep track of him. There’s a lot of stuff to get through but the trawl is more than worthwhile!

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Robyn: Hang With Me

So, Robyn’s new single is a bit of beast. The song, Hang With Me, originally appeared in a very different form on Body Talk Pt. 1, although I was less than impressed with the previous version. It wasn’t that I hated it or anything, but the piano and canned strings arrangement left me a little cold. The revamped version on the other hand lifts the song from simply quite good to bloody brilliant! Director Max Vitali, also responsible for the Dancing On My Own video, has created a gorgeous document of Robyn’s life on tour to accompany the track. It’s beautifully shot and suits the song perfectly. Enjoy!

Baths

Baths is the name of the latest musical project from 21 year old California native Will Wiesenfeld, following on from his previous excursions under his Geotic and Post-Foetus monikers. Baths’ incredible debut album Cerulean recently came out on the legendary Anticon label, home to such indie hip-hop luminaries as Why?, Themselves and Alias. Whilst it’s undeniable that there are elements of hip-hop to be found scattered around Cerulean, the record is unlike anything else in the Anticon cannon. The beats click and whir, sometimes threatening to collapse under the weight of their complexity but always expertly pulled back from the brink at precisely the right moment. Sometimes melancholic, sometimes chaotic, Wiesenfeld’s cherubic vocals frequently floating on top of the fray.

Some articles I’ve read have put Baths in the same bracket as Washed Out, Toro Y Moi and other like minded Chillwave artists. Some have likened the music to fellow L.A beatmakers and associates like Daedelus or Flying Lotus. I can definitely see the connection to both, but to me the music has more in common with laid back glitch based artists like E*Vax and Sin Fang Bous. I’m not sure if these are people who have directly informed Wiesenfeld’s music making, but it sounds that way to me. His Myspace page lists seminal electronic labels like Morr Music and The Leaf Label as influences and that definitely shines through in what he’s created on Cerulean.

One of my favourite tracks on Cerulean is Aminals and I think it’s a good starting point, although it doesn’t feature any of Will’s lovely singing. The typical skittery, jarring (in a good way!) beats and ultra-melodic hooks are most definitely present however and the awesome samples of playground chatter fall just on the right side of cutesy. Here’s a video where the song soundtracks some great footage of old timey holidaymakers.

So that’s Baths for you. Here’s hoping this wonderfully talented guy can make it over to the UK for some shows. The sooner the better, and I for one will be there with bells on. With all the praise and positive buzz that he’s been receiving of late it’s surely only a matter of time.

Oh, and did I mention that I think Will is super hot? Like, super hot!

Click here to purchase Cerulean from the Anticon store.

Rodney Alan Greenblat

I first came across Rodney Alan Greenblat’s work on the cover of They Might Be Giants wonderful self-titled debut album. I had admired the artwork for years before deciding to take a look at the credits and find out more about the artist responsible. Upon further investigation I learned that as well as having amassed a staggering body of work during his years as a visual artist, Greenblat was also the man behind the character design for PlayStation almost-classic PaRappa The Rapper. Utter genius!

An air of unwavering positivity and optimism runs through almost all of Greenblat’s stuff that I’ve seen so far.  It’s vibrant, spirited and downright fun. Many of his more recent paintings have been heavily influenced by his keen interest in Zen Buddhism.

Rodney currently lives in New York where he and his wife Deena Lebow run their own design company, the excellently named Centre For Advanced Whimsy. Take a look at his website, Whimsyload, where you can see tonnes more of his beautiful artwork.