Music & Visions – projects selected by Giovanni Papalia + ThePT
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Josh “DJ Shadow” Davis had already been experimenting with making beats and breaks on a four-track recorder while he was in high school in the Nor-Cal college town of Davis, but it was during university that he co-founded his own Solesides label as an outlet for his original tracks. Hooking up with Davis’ few b-boys (including eventual Solesides artists Blackalicious and Lyrics Born) through the college radio station, Shadow began releasing the Hip-Hop Reconstruction mix tapes in 1991, eventually catching the attention of The Source magazine and Dave Funkenklein. Shadow was featured in the magazine’s “Unsigned Hype” column in 1991, and Klein signed him to a production deal with Hollywood BASIC records. Concurrently, Shadow provided beats and scratches for Bay Area rapper Paris and was featured on his second album. In 1993, Shadow pressed his 17-minute beat-head symphony “Entropy.” His tracks spread widely through the DJ-strong hip-hop underground, eventually reaching James Lavelle of Mo’ Wax.
Shadow’s first full-length, Endtroducing….., was released on the label in late 1996 to immense critical acclaim in Britain and America. The album has frequently been lauded as one of the most important works of the last 50 years, landing on countless “Best Of The ‘90s” lists and polls, including Rolling Stone and NME. Preemptive Strike, a compilation of early singles, followed in early 1998. Later that year, Shadow produced tracks for the debut album by U.N.K.L.E., a long-time Mo’ Wax production team that gained superstar guests including Thom Yorke (of Radiohead), Richard Ashcroft (of the Verve), Mike D (of the Beastie Boys), and others.
Nearly six years after his debut production album, the proper follow-up, The Private Press, was released in June 2002, again to considerable acclaim. In 2006 he released another long awaited full-length album The Outsider, which featured rising Bay Area Hyphy rappers including Keak Da Sneak and E-40. The Outsider also featured a single with Q-Tip (of A Tribe Called Quest), which led to Shadow’s first appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.
2010 and 2011 saw a tour throughout Europe and North America entitled “Live From The Shadowsphere.” Hailed for its visual innovations, the tour was cited by Beatport as one of the top 10 DJ shows of all time, and was capped off by two memorable performances at the Coachella Festival, one of which featured a surprise cameo by Zack De La Rocha.
In 2011, DJ Shadow released The Less You Know, The Better, purportedly his last full-length album to prominently feature samples. 2012 included Total Breakdown, Hidden Transmissions From The MPC Era (1992-1996), an archival project; and Reconstructed: The Best of DJ Shadow, a greatest hits album.
2012 saw a shift in Shadow’s live persona…at the request of trendsetting LA club night Low End Theory, he returned to playing traditional, contemporary DJ sets, often eschewing his own music for that of peers. Simultaneously, the restless DJ began releasing music by himself and his contemporaries on the self-funded Liquid Amber label, garnering strong critical and fan support across over a dozen releases to date.
2016 is shaping up to be another action-packed year for the DJ, as he prepares to unveil a brand new album, embark on a supporting tour, and…tantalizingly…celebrate the 20-year anniversary of his seminal masterpiece, Endtroducing. Spending 7 months crafting his latest full-length LP, Shadow promises a dense album full of surprises. “I’ve loved every record I’ve made, but this one is special to me. It’s a culmination of everything I’ve learned, and everything I love about music.” Featuring guests ranging from Run The Jewels and Nils Frahm to UK jazz artist Matthew Halsall, The Mountain Will Fall was released June 24th, 2016 on Mass Appeal Records. Listen / purchase here: https://djshadow.lnk.to/TMWF
An opening Song
text by Giovanni Cervi
(translation by Farhaan Mumtaz)
In the 19th Century Arthur Russell Wallace and Charles Darwin propounded that phylogenetic branched trees derived from a single ancestor, which meant that all forms of life are tied by relationships of common descent. From a biological point of view, this is extremely “simple”; it suggests life as we know it was created with an original being. Thus with the first cry of each new birth, our collective memory resonates with that first piercing song of arrival. We are reminded our ancestral consciousness, we are reminded of our animal dimension.
Nicol Vizioli started her photographic project An opening song in April 2012. It all started with a dream, then a meeting in the crowd with the first woman bird, Helene; Nicol pursued birds of prey and found herself in the hauntingly beautiful English countryside. In the presence of these wild animals that dominate the wind and the currents, the artist’s soul was stirred and awakened; there is something intangible, of wind and profound unity with nature.
A long period of reflection, readings, drawings and meetings with characters that are able to understand and share her journey, or that have it in their DNA, whom then become her models. Albino, twins, rebellious souls, old and woodland travellers.
It’s the union of these varying vital strengths (the wild animal, the thinking animal and the prodigy animal) the strength of the photographic medium is unleashed in the hands of Nicol. She captures a simultaneous expressive fury and aesthetic balance to her photos which makes them able to speak to every individual and universally iconographic. Observers are encouraged to feel cognisant of the warm comforting protection of the womb alongside our fragile vulnerability facing the whirling enormity of Nature. Glimpses of Nature’s symbols since time immemorial are revealed.
Flawed, dirty, obscure, mysterious, aware of descending from the same progeny. Embodied in a tribal way, bodies covered with dust and soil bring the signs of the cost and of the fatigue to be reborn, a forfeit of that old legacy where we all belong.
The analogical portraits tell us about a return to life, a collective rite of passage from one dimension to another, from simply surviving, to living, they explore the holders of this primordial spark, this original force of which we all come from. That first song, which is impossible not to recognise in front of the photographs so dramatic of Nicol Vizioli, crosses us like a lost memory which is suddenly found again.
extract from An opening Song
catalog published by Vanilla Edizioni, Milan
exhibition catalog is available HERE
© Nicol Vizioli
Nicol Vizioli is an Italian artist whose practice is mainly based on photography. Coming from a fine art background her work draws upon many different influences: the natural and animal world, mythology, literature and finally painting. Her photographic work is the convergence point, a visual realisation of these imaginary worlds. With the same principles, Nicol is also exploring different media, and she is currently working on her first film project. After a degree in Cinema she moved to London, where she graduated from MA Fashion Photography at LCF, University of The Arts London, with first class honours in 2011.
Her work has been exhibited in several places and international art fairs such as Scope Basel, Miami, Somerset House, the Zabludowicz Collection, The XV Biennale de la Mediterranée, Milan, London and many others.
Nicol has also been visiting as a guest lecturer and workshop leader at:
London College of Fashion, University of The Arts London (London, UK), University of West London (London, UK), University of Wolverhampton – School of Arts (Wolverhampton, UK), Ljósmyndaskólinn (Reykjavík, Iceland), Solent University (Southampton, UK), IED – Istituto Europeo di Design (Rome, IT), ISFCI – Institute of Photography and Communication (Rome, IT), La Erre (Guatemala City, Guatemala).
Born in Rome, she currently lives and works in London.
Nicol is represented by Officine Dell’Immagine Gallery