11-11-11 in NYC. Plaid and BEMF Day 1

11-11-11 was a magical day for NYC’s music scene. Plaid and the Gamelan Dhara Swara played at LPR, it was the first night of the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival, Paco Osuna was spinning at Good Units, and MiM0$a was rocking out at Webster Hall alongside Alex English. Energy levels were high and HiFi was on a mission to catch as much music possible for the eve.

Le Passion Rouge was first on the list. We made our way through the doors with plenty of time to down a few Vodka-RedBulls during happy hour. As happy hour concluded, the Gamelan Dharma Swara took the stage. This 15+ person group performs the music and dance of Bali in the NYC area. Gamelan was dressed in beautiful authentic Indonesian attire and played a myriad of instruments that I can not name. An orchestra of percussion, woodwinds, and xylophone-like instruments was spread across the stage. Their structured tunes sounded atonal and chaotic, yet your ear could grasp the tonal center that remained audible through a maze of accidentals and modes. The group finished with two dancers acting out the story behind the music onstage. They were confronted by an evil daemon, but victoriously forced the daemon away.

Plaid took the stage next. I was unaware of what to expect from the avaunt guard Warp duo. They managed to deliver a very true representation of their studio tracks. The entire set itself felt like one long continuous song with very few rests. Much of the set had this distinct under water sound, which mirrored their opening video montage of a girl swimming and encountering a deadly octopus. Whimsical melodic lines were laid on top of structured rhythms and patterns. Soft synth lines ran back and forth from spacious simple sounds to dark and heavy drones. When looking out into the audience, their confusion was visible. Throughout the first 15 minutes of the set most everyone stood still. As time progressed, everyone started dancing to the tune of their own horn. It looked crazy, but it made sense. Plaid took the crowd on a symphonic journey through their heavy beats. A part of me wished they had jammed out in downtempo. The set was great, and overwhelmingly powerful, but the constant change from fast to slow became somewhat exhausting. However, the creation of tones produced put our ears in music heaven for the entirety of their set.

We left LPR and heading directly to Williamsburg for BEMF. Friday night was Cold. Quite frigid to say the least. We huddled on the subway for warmth all the way to the Bedford stop. After securing our wrist bands, we ran into The Cove for warmth and successfully succeeded with the disco funk beats pouring out from the decks by Nick Hook. We danced to his tunes and stared at the beautiful green lazers bouncing around the room. The Cove was not the only poppin’ place at that time. BEMF had taken over all of north Williamsburg, with showcases at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, Public Assembly, Cameo, and Zablozki’s. It was visibly obvious that The Cove was slowly but surely filling up, and by the time Hudson Mohawke took over the decks, you could barely move. The recognizable Shower Melody opened his set and the crowd went nuts. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a glimpse of Hudson, but knowing that I was dancing to a set curated Ross Birchard himself, made it all worthwhile.

In the midst of Hudon’s set, I fled over to the Music Hall of Williamsburg to catch the Fischerspooner DJ set by Casey Spooner and Lauren Flax. Casey looked dashing in his black suit with bright purple hair. He and Lauren plunged into a fresh remix Casey had made featuring Patti Smith. From there on out, deep house beats pulsated through the airwaves in the MHoW and it felt like we danced until the sun the came up. Or 3 AM. As the audience filed out, with exhausted yet elated looks on their faces. HiFi stuck around to chat one on one with Casey Spooner himself. Casey is a very kind and humble man. Sitting, talking, and drinking beers with an artist of his caliber was mind blowing, and probably one of the coolest things I have ever done. (The interview will be up in the next few days.) By 4:30 AM we stumbled back into our apartment and fell into a deep deep sleep.

11-11-11 was a magical day indeed. The music witnessed that evening was the perfect combination of the finest from BK and the UK. BEMF was as great success as well as the early show at LPR. We can’t wait for next year. Cheers.

Posted in Art, Concerts, DJ, Editorial, Events, Festivals, HiFi Cartel, Live Music, Local Flavor, Music News, Review

Stop The Virgens, The Aftermath

“A song can enter the solar plexus and activate a dream world. It can achieve the power of other forms of narrative—the novel, film, a play—in less than three-and-half minutes it recruits matter from the unconscious, the recesses of the heart, the heatlightning of the soul. When forty women are gathered in a room, singing these songs, another world is conjured, something not quite recognizable, not quite ours, and this is why art can be beautiful: because it has the power to transform us, to transport us to other places whether they be subterranean, molten, aquatic, or interstellar. So welcome to our planet where the scum runs deep, the speed tastes so sweet, and the Virgens run wild. Let’s begin at the end… “ –Adam Rapp

The curtain to the stage dropped and Karen O’s signature voice cautiously sang through the opening lullaby. The last words to delicately fall out of her mouth were “Let’s begin at the end.” As that message resonated throughout the theater, it became apparent that the end had already started. As the audience was ushered into the theater, we had to walk through a tunnel lined in translucent chiffon-like walls. On the other side of the walls were the Virgens themselves, whispering haunting phrases such as “the speed tastes so sweet” and “the scum runs deep” while pushing through the barrier and invading your personal space. This haunting thematic element set the tone for the eve.

This work can be the spark for hours of conversation, delving deeper into the thick of the plot. However, I dare not give away the story itself for that would diminish fragments of the theaters authentic magic. The classic battle of good versus evil runs deep through the spine of this tale and plays a pivotal role in Karen O’s character. While watching the scenes unfold, my mind danced back in time to a past Dramatic Literature course and I began to view this dramatic work as a jigsaw puzzle. Christian Joy’s imaginative mind worked its magic at full force and shined through the simplicity of the Virgens and Karen’s decadent attire sculptured out of hair and various loud fabrics and colors.  The “Players” were clad in midnight blue, almost black, nun-ish robes that resembled death, lies, and darkness. The “Virgens” could have stepped out of the first scene in Fischerspooner’s “Emerge” video. They were very bare; minimally clad in white cloth that resembled bandage wrap. The white cloth was also wrapped around their knees and elbows, possibly healing broken joints or holding them together?  As the snow fell from the sky in the end all I could think of was “Softness. Compliance. Forgiveness. Grace.” from “Angels in America.” A new beginning could now form post catharsis. (Also, take note that the trees in the opening scene are white in a black forest. In the closing scene, the colors are inverted.)

Watching Nick Zimmer play with such enthusiasm and passion was as much of a treat to be a part of. The chorus was lead by a live conductor while the band lined both sides of the stage. Every last detail of this work of art was carefully thought out and executed to perfection. If there were anyone in the world I could sit down and have drinks with, it would undoubtedly be Karen O. Her mind is a beautiful and brilliant mystery that birthed this masterpiece.

“Since the music was written it called out to be something more; even though I still can’t describe exactly what it is we have created, I can’t imagine it being anything else, nor can I see a more perfect collective of artists and friends answering that call.” Karen O

Posted in Art, Editorial, Events, HiFi Cartel, Review

Stepping Into the Creator’s Mind

“One must from time to time attempt things that are beyond one’s capacity.” Auguste Renoir

The Creators Project was the City’s best kept secret this past weekend. For those who are unaware, the Creators Project is an ongoing global arts and technology initiative created by Intel and Vice in order to support visionary artists, musicians, and filmmakers who are using technology to push the bounds of creative expansion. The energy and intent behind this event was clear and successfully executed. Boundaries were pushed into unknown fields. Numerous exhibits visibly left participants lost for words and musical acts conjured tears of joy and appreciation.

Saturday was nothing less of a quintessential fall day. The abundance of joy from DUMBO’s sea of guests palpably radiated off their skin and into the cool October breeze. Vice and Intel had strategically planned out every underlining detail for the day. The crowd was the perfect size (you never had to wait in line for anything and could move around freely without ever feeling cramped), security was tight and on-point, all of the pop up spaces were flawless and original, VICE’s onsite team was hands on and helpful, and the event truly revolved around the art. A wrist band and email RSVP confirmation were required to attend the event (Saturday only). Once the blue band was secured, you were allowed to walk freely to and from the various buildings housing installations.

A few of photos from the galleries are displayed below, yet these mirrored images do not serve the sculptures justice. ORIGIN, for example, morphed into a glow in the dark rubix cube once the sun set in the sky. Hundreds of participants were found laying down on the floor of the installation, absorbing the vibrations of the sounds and looking into the sky of changing colors. ORIGIN is open through the 23rd of the month, we urge you to go check it out! The musical shows we were able to catch moved us beyond words. The archway was a treat of venue- hosting a very European, outdoor and natural aroma. The shape the arch created its own echo and captured lingering sound beautifully. The masterminds behind the soundboards knew how the manipulate this as A$AP ROCKY + CLAMS CASINO, Four Tet, and Florence + the Machine all hailed high from the stage.

This was one of the most put together, well organized, and artfully mesmerizing events I had experienced in a long while. Click here to check out the full photo gallery here. We can not thank VICE and Intel enough for the opportunity to be part of the Creators Project and we can’t wait for next year!

R&Dazzle is an asymmetrical, graphically camouflaged structure that hides within it an inverted kaleidoscope of color and fractured light. Using simple materials like wood and paper in their constructions, SOFTlab pioneered a new design practice that is perfectly in step with the future.

DISKINECT: By Team Diskinect
DisKinect explores the disconnect that exists between virtual and physical reality. Using a hacked Kinect controller, users contral a four-foot puppet suspended in mid-air. The puppet mirrors the user’s movements in an imperfect symbolic gesture that references the way our digital representations take on lives of their own.

SIX-FOURTY BY FOUR-EIGHTY By: Zigelbaum + Coelho
What if pixels could break free from the confines of the screen and into our physical environment? That’s the idea behind Six-Forty by Four- Eighty, an interactive lighting installation composted of magnetic, physical pixels. The pixels change color in response to touch and communicate with each other using the body as a conduit for digital information.

STRATA #4 By: Quayola
Quayola’s Strata series studies the visual language of classical paintings and architecture , using custom software to analyze and deconstruct the improbable tensions and collisions existing between the old and new. In this multi-channel immersive video installation Strata #4, he takes inspiration from works of Flemish masters like Rubens and Van Dyck, creating an unlikely harmonious dialogue between classic and digital aesthetics.

ORIGIN By: United Visual Artists, with music from Scanner
Origin is UVA’s latest work in a year-long project from The Studio, which begin with the re-design of Coachella’s main stage. There, UVA presented a moving mass of light, metal, and sound, before transforming the same sculpture into two more forms. Now, they present a 30-foot audio-visual cubic lattice- the largest interactive work they’ve ever created.

SOIL By: Cantoni +Crescenti
Soil is a multi-paneled seesaw from Brazilian Creators Cantoni + Crescenti. The piece is a reactive, aluminum floor installation composed of 50 planes that undulate as you walk across, throwing your world off-kilter. The duo custom design every component of their interactive projects-from nuts of bolts-creating pieces that are stunning to both see and physically experience.

Chairlift performing at the Archway.

A$AP Rocky + Clams Casino performing at the Archway.

The packed crowd at the Archway during Fourtet.

Posted in Art, Concerts, Editorial, Events, Fashion, Film, HiFi Cartel, Live Music, Music News, Photo Gallery, Travel

Pitchfork and Bowery Presents Bring New Multimedia Festival to New York

This February, Pitchfork Media will bring a new festival to the five boroughs. Focusing on the intersection of music, art and gaming, Forms seeks to promote collaboration between artists that might not ordinarily interact and to create a space that existing conferences have yet to provide. The work of musicians, visual artists, and videogame designers will be presented throughout the city, in venues not necessarily typical of the content: “bands in galleries, artists in clubs, games everywhere in between,” according to the announcement on Pitchfork’s website.

Pitchfork is partnering with music promoter The Bowery Presents, with local galleries and museums participating as well. Gaming arts magazine Kill Screen is also part of the venture; expect exposure to new video games from lesser-known independent creators during the festival.

Forms will take place February 1-4. Four-day passes, and tickets for individual performances, will become available shortly. Some events will be free to the public. Prices and lineups have yet to be announced, but we’re keeping our ears open.

Posted in Art, Events, Festivals, Music News

Stop The Virgens: A Psycho Opera Co-Created By Karen O

Murmurs starting surfacing of Karen O’s psycho opera, Stop The Virgens, a few months back. However, details were kept to a minimum leaving curious imaginations to run wild. Karen O, best known as the front woman of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and her for audacious fashion statements, has never been shy when it comes to expressing her true self. Musically, she has received Grammy and MTV VMA nominations for her work with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs,  scored tracks for feature films Where the Wild Things Are and Jackass, and played alongside Bjork, The White Stripes, and The Strokes. But does she have what it takes to make a successful opera? This traditional classical music genre is rarely depicted in the main stream. Yet, the standard definition of an opera is ‘an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work combining text and a musical score’.

Of course she has what it takes to make this perform piece phenomenal. Karen’s partner in crime, Christian Joy, is responsible for creating the costumes for the show. Her designs are imaginative, inspiring, and make you wish you could take a walk through his brain just to get a glimpse of how she views the world.

Karen stated: I have a pretty good idea of what the psycho opera is about but I wouldn’t dare try and put it into my clumsy words. I’m hoping to create an original live experience, it should feel like a psychedelic ride laced with catharsis. There is emotional cost to our narrative so we’re aiming to engage the audience, this piece isn’t aiming to be all about spectacle or abstraction though there is good helping of both in the production. It’s aiming to have all the good stuff of escapist entertainment with a few sucker punches to the gut along the way. I’m in the camp that needs to discover and take risks, sometimes it’s with the promise of something special and new, sometimes it’s to stay awake, either way it’s much more stressful with all the uncertainty but worth the pain in the end.

Stop The Virgens has been described as “an assault on the tragic joys of youth, fever dreams drenched in visual seduction, a cathartic spell spun through a cycle of nine songs”. The psycho opera is being produced by The Creators Project and will be taking place October 12-22 at Saint Ann’s Warehouse in DUMBO. Tickets start at $45. Click here to purchase tickets.

Co-created by Karen O & KK Barrett
Music Direction by Sam Spiegel & Nick Zinner
Directed by Adam Rapp

Featuring Money Mark, Jack Lawrence, Patrick Keeler, Brian Chase, Nick Zinner, Jason Grisell, Gillian Rivers, Yuiko Kamakari, Justin Kantor and Lili Taylor

Choreography by Mariangela Lopez
Choir Direction by Debra Barsha
Costume Design by Christian Joy
Make Up and Hair design by Mike Potter
Projection Design by Darrel Maloney
Lighting Design by Keith Parham
Sound Design by Andres Velasquez

Posted in Art, Editorial, Events, Extracurricular, Fashion, Film, Travel, Up & Coming

The Creators Project Returns to NYC this October

This fall, The Creators Project is returning the place where it all began – New York City. From October 13-16, The Creators Project will take over DUMBO in Brooklyn to bring us a wild mix of art installations, film screenings and musical performances, including a Karen O psycho opera. The New York event will cap off a global tour that started at Coachella, and continued to Lyon, Paris, São Paulo, Seoul and Beijing.

I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to my love for The Creators Project, but I definitely think it’s one of the coolest arts initiatives of our generation, and you’d be a fool to miss it. More details will emerge as the event approaches. In the meantime, follow @CreatorsProject on Twitter for the latest updates.

Posted in Art, Events, Film

Fool’s Gold Opening: N° 536

Last Friday afternoon, heavy rain clouds were pulling the sky down, far below my 26th floor office window, casting a black shadow over Times Square. I was sitting at my desk, praying the rain would hold off for just a few more hours, or better yet, hoping it wouldn’t touch down in Brooklyn. A few days ago, HiFi had received an email inviting us to the opening of No 536, Fool’s Gold’s first retail store. Luckily, I was the one who had the pleasure of attending the event. As the clock struck 5 o’clock, I rushed out the door and onto the subway, sporting a giddy smile. I switched from the F to L, and exited the Lormier stop just as the rain was beginning to hit the ground.

As the press release rightfully stated, this is “Your one stop for music, merch and more from the Fool’s Gold family of artists, including brand new product collaborations, collectable items, and surprises.” The store itself blends perfectly between its two neighbors, and from the outside looks like an old school saloon. Any other day of the week, I would have passed this clandestine store without a second glance.  However, on Friday, the sidewalk was over flowing with men in black clutching DSLRs and hipsters exhaling Marlboro smoke.

But rightfully so, since A-Trak himself was sitting only a few feet away, speaking into a camera on behalf of KarmaLoop TV. Right behind him, his brand new shop was bustling with life. I walked through the doors and was pleasantly surprised by the décor: simple, bare, minimalist, with a modern yet vintage touch. A yellow printed pastel paper plastered all four walls of this small room. The right wall hosted a series of framed vintage posters, strategically placed into an accidental pattern. The left wall was the home to the product. The first thing that caught my eye was the series of to-die-for graphic Fool’s Gold shirts, all custom made. Duck Sauce collectables and TMA-1 DJ Headphones. Adjacent to the first exhibit stood the gold. CDs, 6”, Vinyl (music in all tangible forms) were out in the open to be handled by the buyers. The antique checkout station along the back wall was giving away free cocktails made with the A-Trak friendly, Bushmills Whiskey.

The overall vibe was of pure optimism. A-Trak was also speaking about the up and coming web series, Tight Space. Fool’s Gold Records and G-Technology by Hitachi are partnering up for broadcast live performances by Fool’s Gold artists in this Williamsburg storefront. Chromeo, A-Trak, and Treasure Fingers will be giving the first performances starting mid-July. (Watch them live at Facebook.com/GTechnology.)

We are excited to see what comes next from the Fool’s Gold crew and wish them the best of luck with this new expansion of their brand. If you live in the greater New York area, we highly recommend you stop by this store and check it out.

Posted in Art, Editorial, Events, Fashion, Music News, Review

TONIGHT: The Creators Project Returns to NYC

The Creators Project launch party last June was arguably the most epic event we’ve ever attended, so imagine our delight when we learned that they’re kicking off year two with an event tonight.

Tonight’s event will not only celebrate the start of a new year of creativity, it will also launch The Studio, an arts initiative that will facilitate the production and dissemination of art through creative grants. CLICK HERE TO RSVP for the event, which will feature “special guest performances” and complimentary food and drinks. No artists have been announced, but we have full confidence in The Creators Project’s taste.

And if that weren’t enough excitement for one day, a little exploration through The Creators Project website revealed that they will be setting up shop in France this June, first in Lyon from June 1-5, then in Paris from June 8-11. Could this be the rebirth of the Salon de Paris? Be still, our hearts.

Posted in Art, Events, Travel

The Creators Project Conquers London

Last Saturday, The Creators Project held their second of five global events at the Victoria House in London. The exhibitions, screenings and panels were open to the public during the day from 12 PM – 6 PM, followed by a private party in the evening, which featured an array of musical performances and DJ sets from 9 PM – 3 AM.


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Posted in Art, DJ, Events, Extracurricular, Film, Live Music, Photo Gallery, Travel

Contest: Fly to London for The Creators Project

If you missed out on the party of the year (or if you were one of the lucky few to attend), here’s your shot at redemption: Jetsetter is giving away a trip for two to London – including travel and hotel accommodations – so you can experience the Creators Project overseas. London is the second stop on their five-city global tour this summer. In addition to numerous art exhibitions and film screenings, the event will also feature performances by Mark Ronson & The Business INTL, Kele Okereke (Bloc Party), Filthy Dukes, Trevor Jackson, Mumdance, Flats, Yuck and Hudson Mohawke.


Posted in Art, Concerts, Contest, Events, Extracurricular, Film, Live Music, Travel


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