Four bands/singers who inspire me

As I am trying to develop my blog and talk more about art in general, I thought now is the time to tell you about some music I love. I have hundreds of bands and singers I like, so I had to reduce to a top four. I was about to present five but I don’t want the article to be too long. Below, you’ll find some information about them, as well as links to their Spotify pages and my favourite song for each.


1/ Sigur Ros

Born in 1994 in Iceland, the band quickly became famous around the world, thanks to the singularity of their music style. For instance, Jonsi (the lead singer), plays the electric guitar with a bow. I could do research to tell you the exact music genre, but that’s not funny. I think we could call it psychedelic, post-rock.

I have seen them live in Lille a few years ago and to this day, it is still the best concert I went to. They pay a lot of attention to the atmosphere, playing with lights and displaying clips on a screen.

Talking about the visual aspects of Sigur Ros, they have done many things over the years After an international tour, they went back to Iceland and played in different places around the country for free, to thank the population who made them who they are. They made a film, Heima, which gives a great overview of their music, as well as landscapes of Iceland. They also asked famous filmmakers to create clips for their album Valtari, and the result is amazing, and available on the band’s Youtube channel. More recently, they organised a festival in Reykjavik, in the beautiful Harpa (I have some pictures of the building, just click).

I could talk about them for hours, they are definitely my top 1.

Link to their Spotify : HERE.

Favourite song : Ekki Mukk (Valtari album)


2/ Antony and the Johnsons (now Anohni)

Antony Hegarty created the band in 1998. I actually do not know a lot of the history of the band, but I don’t think it would make a difference to know anything. What is special is Antony’s voice, which is one of an angel (I could have said the same thing about Jonsi in Sigur Ros), a voice so powerful that it made me shiver many nights. I have written many poems listening to Antony and the Johnsons.

Antony also worked with many artists I love, including Lou Reed, on the album The Raven (for those who love Edgar Allan Poe, it’s amazing), Björk and Leonard Cohen among others. Okay, I’ll quote CocoRosie too !

As Anohni, the music evolved to an experimental electronic genre. Even tough I liked the album Hopelessness (2016) a bit less, I was still enjoying the powerful voice of the artist.

Link to their Spotify : HERE.

Favourite songs : Hope there’s someone // Fistful of Love


3/ The Smiths (I am actually listening right now)

If you love British Indie rock bands from the 1980s, The Smiths is perfect for you. With Morrissey as lead singer, the group quickly became top of the charts.

What I love about them is how they mix genres, making each album a unique piece. I mean, if you listen to “This Charming Man” and “Asleep”, you’ll understand what I mean. Some of their songs are very melancholic while others can be more joyful.

Influenced by the Punk movement, The Smiths also used their music to convey political messages, including their views on Thatcherism or on the treatment of animals (Meat is Murder, 1985).

Link to their spotify : HERE.

Favourite song : Asleep


4/ Pink Floyd

Okay, I feel like if I tried to explain what Pink Floyd are, I would make a fool of myself. First, because I think they are famous enough ; second because they are so many different things. So I won’t go into details on the history on the band, which can be easily found online anyways.

Pink Floyd make me dream.

Every album is unique and you can really see an evolution between the early period and the most recent works. As I do not want to describe each album, I will just focus on two, that have really inspired me.

The Dark Side of the Moon is maybe the most famous one (after The Wall). It is thanks to this work that I have discovered the band. It could work as a single song, each track following the previous one with perfection.

Atom Heart Mother dates back to their early period (1970). With a 23-minute suite as a first song, it is a trip of the mind through different genres, including some opera voices at some point. The last song, “Alan’s Psychedelic Breakfast” even includes recording of sounds of chewing and cutlery hitting china. It is definitely an experience which goes beyond music itself.

Okay, I only said two albums but I just want to make a reference to Animals (1977) because it was inspired by George Orwell’s Animal Farm and I love both works so much.

Link to their Spotify : HERE.

Favourite song : Echoes (23 minutes)

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The MoMa in Paris

Until the beginning of March, the Louis Vitton Foundation (Bois de Boulogne) has opened its doors to two hundred masterpieces from American Museum of Modern Art (MoMa). I was very lucky to visit the exhibition and (re)discover so many brilliant artists. This article is just a random guy talking about art he liked.

Constructing / Deconstructing art

What I love about modern artists is that they tend to interact with the audience. Two artists in particular have made me question the notion of changing art in this exhibition. Felix Gonzales-Torres created sculptures made of sweets, asking the public to help themselves with one. With only 85 unique structures offered to the MoMa (the artist died in 1996), there will be a point when its oeuvre, Untitled (USA Today) will cease to exist. If I remember well, it was metaphorical for his illness which would kill him eventually. With that piece, visitors were part of the deconstruction of art.

Another artist who interacted with the public was Slovakian Roman Ondák who, contrarily to Gonzales-Torres, used the people to construct his piece. Measuring the Universe consists of measuring the visitors and writing their first names and the dates they came.

I participated in the second one, as I was happy to be part of a Modern work, but I didn’t take a sweet, as I felt guilty (ridiculously).

 

Photography

As you might have seen on my blog, I love the art of photography, and it is the only visual art I have tried. The exhibition offered a look at different artists, and proposed as well anonymous works. The aim was to show the evolution of the art, from daguerreotypes to digital photos, and explore its different uses. I cannot unfortunately talk about all of the artists, but I can present three I liked : Walker Evans, Man Ray and Jeff Wall.

Walker Evans is famous for his photojournalism during the Great Depression. His work was first presented in the MoMa in 1938, before the Department of Photography was created.

I knew the name “Man Ray” but could not associate it with any work. And then, I recognized one : Anatomies, because it was used for the cover of a Cigarette after Sex album. I do love black and white photos, especially when they tend to be abstract. I can only advise to search for Stieglitz’s art if you like them too.

Finally, Jeff Wall. After “Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison, the Prologue was definitely the work I prefered in the entire museum. Created in 1999-2000, it depicts a scene from Ellison’s novel, in which the narrator steals electricity to light his thousand bulbs. It is a huge photo on a light box, which catches the eye from far away. The picture is a representation of loneliness (we can all rely), but most importantly of the condition of black people in the America of the 1950s.

 

I could carry on for hours on the dozens of artists I have liked in the museum (Picasso, Frida Khalo, Hopper, Signac, and so many more).

A part of the exhibition was dedicated to the history of the MoMa, with a collection of books, pamphlets, photos and videos about the evolution of the museum. I very much liked to learn more about the people who created it and those who contributed to its expansion. Thanks to them, we have the chance to admire the best works ever made since the 1880s, and although I talked a lot about famous people, I was lucky to get to know contemporary artists I didn’t know.

Project Anonymous : the article!

Remember a couple of months ago, in relation to a project that I called « Anonymous », I created a questionnaire via Google. I asked anyone who was willing to help me to reply to some questions on life and money. Two months later, I finally have the courage to write an article gathering the answers. I even did charts!

First of all, before I give you a description of the different (and amazing) answers I received, I would like to intoduce the people that replied. To keep the project as « anonymous » as I could, I did not ask for many details on the social environment of the volunteers. Indeed, as most of the answers come from my social circles, the less details I have, the less easily I can guess who answered.

I have to say that I was not reaally surprised when I saw the distribution of the answers according to age. As I said, the answers come from people I know, or from people that study in the same university as I do. It was then normal that half of the answers come from people aged between 20 and 30. The reason why I give you a chart is for you to have an idea of the categories of people that answered… Most of them are students. Consequently, the answers are to be studied according to this variable.

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The second chart I give you concerns the gender of the volunteers. When I created the questionnaire, I intentionally add a third choice, apart from male and female. I know that there is a debate about the question of gender in many countries these days and my opinion is that male and female are concepts that were created. I do not cast doubt on a third gender or a fourth one. If someone disagrees, I would love to hear your arguments. Back to the figures, a majority of answers come from female even though the difference is small. I also received answers from people that considered themselves part of a third category, but no detail was given.

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Then, what seems important is the places the volunteers come from. We all have different cultures, different educations and these factors are to be taken into account when dealing with questions on happiness and love. Once again, the answers come mainly from places I know, such as France where I am from and Ireland where I currently live. As for the other volunteers, for the most part they come from Europe, and a few from the United States of America. I have tried to represent the percentage of answers in a chart and on a map, yellow representing a small amount of answers and red being a consistent number.

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Now, let’s enter the heart of the project. I will start with the end of the questionnaire. I offered different themes and asked the volunteers to rate them from 1 to 5 according to the importance they attach to these themes. Volunteers were asked to rate their interest in literature, poetry, cinema, music, nature, video games, sport, party, art and career. I was not sure what I would do with the numbers afterward but I felt that I should ask these questions. I have made a chart (again) showing the average of interest in the different subjects.

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What I noticed and found interesting is that even though the age average is low, the interest in video games is the lowest. This does not show in any case that there is a decrease of young people playing video games but perhaps that the people that answered are not geeks. Contrarily, they seem to have great interest in artistic and literary themes. Music makes the worlds go round and so does the cinema! Indeed, they are the two themes with the highest rate, with an average grade of 4,3 and 80% of people granting importance to them in their lives (people that voted 4 and 5). As for the other themes, I let you have a look on the results. As I said before, I was not sure how to deal with the numbers but it is good to have them.

What is your definition of happiness?

I have hesitated a lot to know how I would present the results to the open questions : should I make a summary of the replies or should I just list the answers. The difficulty of doing a summary is that I have asked the volunteers to tell me if they were happy, based on their definition. With a summary, the answers for the second question seem meaningless. So, I will make a list of the definitions, followed by the reply on whether people are happy or not.

  • a simple life surrounded by positive people, YES

  • deep breathing, NO

  • do whatever we want, whenever we want without hurting anyone, YES

  • Being able to be yourself and enjoy your life, do things with people who love you for who you are and not feel lonely or scared or depressed, NO

  • feeling alive, NO

  • feeling good, KIND OF

  • eternal life, YES

  • do whatever I want without being judged by society, KIND OF

  • being surrounded by people you love and who love you, are happy to see you, will cheer you up when you feel down, will ignore any petty squabbles and know you’d do the same for them, NO

  • not worrying that I’d let people down, not on an emotional level – failing tests, not getting jobs, etc, YES

  • acceptance and loving friends, NO

  • when time doesn’t have any sense anymore, YES

  • having things that I care about, KIND OF

  • freedom, fullness, YES ANS NO

  • love, NO

  • being able to do the things I love and have a roof over my head and food, good friends and a nice family, NO

  • do things without second guessing, having friends without thinking they hate me, SOMETIMES

  • having everything I need, YES

  • existence, YES

  • fulfillment in most areas of my life, YES

  • to love the way you are and to love how things are going and to feel so good that you want things to stay that way. Feel good with oneself and accept whatever life offers you, YES

  • unconditional love and acceptance without the need to categorize anyone, success in helping others, KIND OF

  • enthusiasm and peacefulness, SOMETIMES

  • being yourself without caring about what people will think of you, NO

  • happiness is a fake feeling, NO

  • sense of wellness, contentedness, feeling of safety and inner self-”reassuredness” (I love people that create words), YES

  • joy and serenity, NO

Now that you have read every answers, here is a summary of the replies concerning people’s feeling on whether they are happy or not. We all have different definitions of happiness and a bit more than half of us think we are happy to a certain extent.

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 What is your definition of true love?

Here, I will not make a list of the answers but a summary instead. On the one hand, there are people that believe in true love and others that think true love does not exist. Among those who don’t believe in true love, some told me that they thought there were different forms of love and that none of them was more true than another, and I agree. I will not create a debate here, I did not ask the question to find a perfect answer but to learn a bit about people’s views on love.

Among the answers of those who seem to believe in true love, most of people think that it happens when you find someone who know you can spend your life with or when you are ready to die for. In most cases, it means a total presence in the other person’s life, implying that you accept that person for who they are and that they accept who you are in return. Trust, respect, comfort and sincerity are important aspects of the relationships described in the answers.

If there was no money, what would you do?

Here comes a crucial question. Indeed, if money did not limit your possibilities, what would your dreams be? I have already developed this question in another article and I am currently working on a new project with a friend on the subject (update to come soon). I will also sum up the replies, as most of the volunteers agree on their views. A part of the people that replied would just (as they say) live their lives. What I understand here is that in both cases (money exists or it doesn’t), those people already feel like they live their lives as they wish. Some others dream of travels, explorations, creation. In other cases, people would share with others and try to create a better place. Among the answers I found funny : lots of sex, create money and be a rich “bastard” and “hide because we’re all going to die.”

What makes you angry?

I love this question because it shows how we all are different and it reminds us to a certain extent that we should not blame people for their reaction because, YES, we all are DIFFERENT! Here the answers are : injustice, disrespect, arguing with people, stress, people, rejection, ignorance, inequality, poverty, fascism, capitalism, “myself”, Hermione Granger (people who think they know everything), narrow-mindedness, intolerance, posh people, French people (a French person said that!), modernity, and letting people down. One person told me that he/she could not be angry.

Do you have secrets haunting you?

I will start here with a chart gathering the answers. As you can see, a majority of us have secrets. We can agree that sometimes, keeping secrets is good for us, but in other cases, people feel hurt about what they hide for whatever reason.

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Among the people that replied ‘yes’, some told me what their secret was. As this is anonymous, I think I can share them. Someone feels that they don’t who they are and that they feel they take advantage of a sort of “fake” love they give to others for personal gain. Someone feels ashamed about certain acts such as cheating on a partner. Another person feels like they have too many secrets, among them are disordered eating, self-harm, anxiety, mental illness in the family, etc. Someone does not care about people. Finally, I received a few answers of gay people that are still in the closet and feel haunted by this secret.

Conclusion

I am really bad at conclusion so I will just say one thing : we are all different (you already knew). Yep, nothing else. If you wish to help me conclude, please, feel free to comment above or send me a private message (malher.mathieu@laposte.net).

I would like to thank everyone that participated in the project. I really appreciate your sincerity and I hope you have enjoyed reading this article. I apologize as always for any grammar or syntax fault in the text.

As for my next project in collaboration with a friend, I’ll keep in touch with you but I am really excited.

Project Anonymous : update #2

Very soon, I will publish the results of the test I created for my latest project. I had dozens of answers already and I am really satisfied with the honesty of the replies. I will publish the results in a kind of article (without the journalistic knowledge) joined with several graphics filled with colors.

It is not surprising that many of the answers come from people around me. Even though the test is anonymous, I have moticed a peak of answers fro; France (where I am from) and Ireland (where I live now). I would really love to get some more answers before publishing the stories.

If you are interested in helping me with the project, here is the link :
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gHpXcKRO-NUBNv-3Fa2rU62WoQVWZ0x3itqC8nGnhnk/viewform

It only takes a few minutes.

Thanks!!!

Project #Anonymous

I haven’t been that lazy today. As I had said in my last post, I am working on two projects, and the first one has begun. 

I have created a questionnaire via Google on which I ask private stuff to people, considering that the questionnaire is anonymous, it’s not that bad. I have written the questions in English but if you find it difficult to find the exact word (if your mother tongue is not English), then write it in your own language.

If you find my questionnaire interesting, please share the link on Facebook, Twitter, on your blog or any social media (there are thousands nowadays) in order to help me. Also, I am open to any criticism, suggestions or comments on my questionnaire or on the project itself. 

Here is the link to the questionnaire :
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gHpXcKRO-NUBNv-3Fa2rU62WoQVWZ0x3itqC8nGnhnk/viewform

Self

What about the self?

We think that we make our own choices, that we follow our own path, even that we can change a part of our personality easily but this is not true. I remember when I was in high school, during my last year, my philosophy teacher had told me that we could not change, even with the strongest will we had, the only thing that would change us is anything but us. Of course, I did not believe her.

Now, almost four years later, I realise that what she said was almost true. We don’t change by ourselves. We let others influence our mind, our life, and even the strongest choice we had once made is sometimes destroyed by someone or something that appears in our lives.

Have you ever looked at something you had written when you were younger, or even thought of the music you listened to. Didn’t this seem like someone else, a stranger, a usurper?

Don’t trust what you believe in, because it is ephemeral.

New Project

Discipline.

This is what I need. Since I created this blog, I have had many projects started, but not a lot finished.

I am writing again, and again it is something long. I need to keep trying and remain on the same work for a while. This means that I might not be writing any poem for the moment, unless inspiration forces me to do so. I would like to get something done for once, something I am proud of.

Since I arrived in Ireland, I haven’t really spent any time trying to write. Time goes really fast when you enjoy every little moment.

I really hope I will manage to finish this project. Keep you updated (for those who care).

The Y Generation

I have just read an essay on the Beat Generation by Jack Kerouac (you may know On The Road) and it made me think of my own generation.

I was born in the early nineties, a few years before the multimedia expansion. As people who were born at the same time, I was ranked among the “Y Generation”. I recently learnt that Y stand for WHY (it seems logical but in French, there is no link between the letter and the pronoun.), therefore we are the generation wondering about the meaning of things, of life. When the general question is “how?”, we are the teenagers asking “why?”.

For a while, I have thought this was true. What is the meaning of life? Why do we have to suffer? Does happiness exist? These are questions I have asked myself. And I thought this was the same for all teenagers, at least for those from the “Y Generation”.

But now, I feel like teenagers care no more, even I care less. We have Internet, we have phones, we have (virtual) friends. Is there any need to know why we live? Isn’t it more important to simply live? 

 

Please, feel free to comment, I would love to get your thoughts about this.

Nostalgia

Tonight, I looked back at what I have accomplished so far (studies, writings, travels) and I’m quite proud.

I was reading old poems and stuff I had wrote last year and I couldn’t believe I had written them. It looked like it was written by someone I even didn’t know. A stranger, a usurper. When I think about it, it seems normal. We grow up. But I don’t want to.

I want to remain the child who has fun with a stick of wood, the child who draws outside the lines and doesn’t care, the child who isn’t depressed, scared, worried, unhappy,.. nostalgic.

*****

Nevertheless, I think the child still exists. He survives, well he tries. Sometimes, when I am alone, he can come out and play, draw without caring, dream. (I look crazy now) I am worried though… I am worried that as I grow up, he disappears, and leaves the “old me” alone with my sorrows, my fears, my memories, my nostalgia.

I have been writing

As I have been on holidays for a few days, I tried to use my free time (and there is a lot) to enjoy the magnificent forests around me but mostly, to write.

I haven’t published for a while, even though I have thought of essay topics or poems. The reason is that I am trying to write something longer than an article. I don’t really know where I am going to exactly, but I am just enjoying the present. 

I may publish some pieces of this work if there is something interesting or if I want some advice. 

I’m still thinking about life and as I am still a dreamer too, you can expect a new poem very soon.