‘An honest man is always a child’ is a sourceless quote often attributed to either Socrates or Plato. I really don’t know. I had a notebook made of limestone paper and the quote was written on the front. I’ve seen this quote before, maybe you have too, and whenever I see it it’s connected to the faith or understanding of a child being something of a purity you should try to attain. Maybe.
Child. instead compares, contrasts, and pokes fun at the process of growing old. Child. was one of the things that I needed to write. There’s no creative structure, no real aesthetic, and it’s mostly void of any clear line that you could call poetry. It’s more like four thoughts that share some similarity with each other. But these four thoughts are interesting to me because there’s no honest beginning or end. To me, this reflects the journey of understanding anything. The first line is the first line but it may as well be the third or second. The same goes for any other line; understanding is an endless journey. The natural conclusion at any age is that to be man you must be honest. To be honest you must accept your own limited understanding and begin again as a child.
‘Endors Toi’, the second song on Tame Impala’s Lonerism, is the middle section of a three-part song about anxiety, dreams, and reality. First off the album is ‘Be Above It’ which feels like a feverish and rhythmic ode to anxiety where the narrator incessantly repeats “I gotta be above it” for the entirety of the song. After a short pause ‘Endors Toi’ begins. From there it kicks off and it never really stops until the end of ‘Apocalypse Dreams’. ‘Endors Toi’, which is meant to mean something like “put yourself to sleep” in French, offers a retreat from the anxiety-inducing reality illustrated in ‘Be Above It’. While, musically, ‘Endors Toi’ feels like a trip down a rabbit hole, its lyrical composition alludes to a peaceful state of mind. Through the song both anxiety and peace live in a harmony that is calming to the narrator. It’s not until ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ where reality, dreams, and anxiety are allowed to share a space together. ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ acts as a stream of metaphors where the author presents ways they have been able to move past sources of stress. Even more so, the song gives explanations as to why there was no need to feel anxiety in the first place. Then, the song retreats and echoes opening the door to the remainder of the album to see where the author will go from here.
This is Tame Impala at their best. Kevin Parker with the help of Nick Allbrook is a devastating combination. Nick Allbrook seems to inject fear into a song. He’s responsible for the slashing guitars on ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ and those paired with the synth and drums of Kevin are what brings their Australian psychedelic charm to the main stage. It’s turbulent, unpretentious and just the right amount of careless.
John R. Pepper is an Italian photographer renowned for his black and white street work and most recently a collection of isolating desert photos he calls Inhabited Deserts.
John grew up as a photographer, having his first photo published at only 15 and studying under the wings of Ugo Mulas. His early sense of direction gave him the opportunity to craft his own unique style and philosophy for photography. In an interview with Monovisions, Pepper described his process before taking a photo. Briefly speaking; there is none. To Pepper, being a photographer is an open-minded pursuit that discourages planning. He says it is akin to falling in love and to fall in love is to have an open mind about things. His photographs as a street photographer benefit from the process.
As a street photographer, Pepper catches these intimate moments in moving time. Often the subject will linger in the background seeming to be stuck amidst a scene. It’s almost as if each subject of each photograph seems preoccupied. This is especially the case in photos where the subject acknowledges the camera where then they seem to be either caught off guard or momentarily framing themselves.
However, it’s his photos of deserts that really got my attention. The styling is the same as his street photography being composed of either noisy foregrounds or absolutely clear lines of contrast. What I find is that despite the collection’s title, Inhabited Deserts, there is a very authentic and palpable human loneliness to them. I don’t mean to say that the photos make me feel lonely, quite the opposite. Inhabited Deserts feels familiar and, as I said, human.
Pieter Bruegel is to painting what Massimo Vitali is to photography. Through his photographs Massimo presents a harmony between humans and whatever environment they inhabit. And like Bruegel, the moments Massimo captures invite the audience to speculate the relationship between humans and environment. Massimo does this by utilizing traditional geographical landscape photos and adding to it flocks of people. While prominent features like beachside cliffs and lavish landscapes dominate each photo, it is the spattering of people who provide the contrast and commentary. People, who fill the negative space, provide each photo with a visual metaphor and encourage the audience to muse as to why these two subjects seem to cooperate so cohesively.
Angel is a dark subversive piece that has its roots in Jamaican soul, ambient trip hop, and something else that could only be described as Massive Attackesque. the song provides an atmosphere that is complex but easily recognizable. from start to finish this song is a bank robbery, or a heist gone right, or a silent stalking through dark alleys. it builds on itself with tight and stressed snares and a boding bass line that dominates every corner. it’s ambient but choppy leaving behind a sense of safety amongst chaos. this is what music should do. music, no matter what the mood or the presence of the song is, needs to say something. it needs to be something definable and if not definable it should leave you wondering why it was captivating. Angel, as an opener for the album Mezzanine, sets the tone of the whole album. to me, Angel is the best example of an opener setting the appropriate tone of any album i’ve come across.
i won’t even pretend that i have anything new to say about Pieter Bruegel. here’s a quick Wikipedia rundown for those who haven’t yet run into the works of Renaissance painter Pieter Bruegel. for starters, he is the father of the Netherlandish Renaissance. like most painters he wasn’t recognized as ‘a great’ while he was alive. his son, who recreated several of his paintings, carried the style and composition of his paintings for another few years until it gained recognition and influenced the likes of Peter Paul Rubens.
so there’s a brief history.
my favorite paintings by Bruegel are unsurprisingly the ones he is best known for. what made Bruegel different from artists at the time was his interpretation of layers. in nearly every painting you’ll find a bird flying in negative space above the cluttered chaotic center. the bird is meant to provide an outward commentary. the bird represents you, the person viewing the painting or viewing what the painting depicts. it’s magnificent, honestly. artists like Warhol talk about how art is less what is painted and more a conversation between the artist and the audience. we can’t know but i assume Bruegel believed the same about art. in every one of his paintings he opens a commentary between himself and the audience.
the painting i featured in this post is titled Hunters in the Snow. i won’t say anything about it because my interpretation is my own. but i deeply encourage you to reflect on this painting and find your own meaning.