Saturday, April 28, 2007

Last post before Burnlab HQ ships off to the other side of the pond.

Somehow we failed to realize that Vitalic's annual Carte Blanche party in Dijon coincided exactly with our trip. Thanks to a little divine intervention, a dash of dumb luck (and mostly to Mr. McCarthy,) we will be concluding a week of food and culture by raving Dijon-style. Wooo!

See you in a week.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Speaking of Richard Meier, the 72 year old architect has opened his Long Island City studio/model storage facility to the public. The 3,600 square foot space contains a collection of study models which span some 40 years: form his early houses to the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Architectural models are often shoved into back rooms or even relegated to the scrap heap, given that architects don't necessarily want to show off their rough drafts. But, like outtakes from a classic film or early versions of a great novel, the models can be more interesting to students and architecture fans than the final product, since they offer a window onto the creative process.

"I realized I should really have people in because it just sits here," the architect said in a recent interview at the studio. "To have all this and have no one see it is kind of crazy."

The space, which can be seen by appointment only on Fridays, by no means contains the entirety of Mr. Meier's work; much of it is still kept at his 10th Avenue office in the West 30s in Manhattan. But there is a substantial sampling - about 300 models. "You see I don't throw a lot away" he said.

Starchitect cat fight!

Time Out New York: High-profile buildings like yours make neighborhoods more desirable, and then developers cash in with schlockier designs. Do you worry about how your work might change the character of an area - the one going up near Prospect Park, for example?

Richard Meier: We'll have to see about that. The area around the park is pretty well built out, so I don't see how it could change that radically. The important thing is to build to a scale appropriate for the surroundings, which is what we're doing in Brooklyn. I mean, it's not like the Atlantic Yards!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

"A hand through my ribcage..."

The Horrors kick off their first North American tour on May 15th with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The lads form St. Martin's College hit Detroit's St. Andrew's Hall on Friday, May 25th.

This looks like fun...

We're somewhat disappointed to be missing Justice at Coachella this weekend, but then again, getting as far away as possible from Rage Against the Machine (and that blend of testosterone, pot smoke, humorless quasi-political correctness, slap bass and body odor which follows like a low-lying cloud of the opposite of my idea of a good time) is priceless.

As no small consolation prize, fellow Ed Banger artist and purveyor of deconstructed and distortion-laden electro house SebastiAn is playing Monday night with Kavinsky at Rex Club in Paris.

The Nice Device is playing two shows in San Fran this weekend:

Friday night is a benefit for Our Conservatory: a non-profit organization that helps at-risk kids find their passion through music at Harputs Market, and Saturday night they're playing Pop Roxx at the legendary DNA Lounge. If you're in the Bay Area, do check it out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Ms. Toybreaker and I will be in Paris and London next week, so Lab Reports may be sporadic at best. High on our itinerary is the Gilbert and George exhibition at the Tate Modern. Click the link and view the fabulous video interviews. They're somewhat long, but totally amazing.

[Big thanks to Keith Kemp for the tip!]

A Dork's Guide to New York Nightlife

The end of an era is marked tonight as music encyclopedia, epicurious world traveler and tattooed dancing machine with a heart of gold Cowboy Mark bids farewell to both his 20s and to New York City: "I thought it fitting to end my ten years in NYC at the one venue that more or less started all of this... Lit [93 2nd Ave. at 5th St.] It's my 30th birthday, ten year anv in NYC and my going away party. All great reasons to have a party. Lets dance!" Joining Mark in Lit's stone bunker of a DJ booth tonight will be Brett Burton, Kim Ann, Dirty Jean and DJ Unknown. (For those wondering, Mark is moving to Canada to open a poutine stand and pursue a career in taxidermy.)

Thursday night at Loloita Bar [266 Broome at Allen] is a book party for When I Was a Loser: True Stories of (Barely) Surviving High School. There will be prizes for dorky yearbook photos, nerd trivia, and short readings from the book by contributors, plus an exclusive DJ set from our good friend Maxx Klaxon. (Also, don't miss Maxx at Galapagos Art Space this Sunday for the Splice 1 Year Anniversary Party.)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Yesterday's post about Prada's new Obvious Classics #1 tees triggered a bit of discussion over at Archinect.

As a long-time fan of Both Prada and AMO/OMA, I really want this to be brilliant... but the more I look at this project the more disappointed I am that not only is the concept tired and flimsy, but terribly executed. If they just made some shirts with snarky slogans, nobody would give it a second thought. However, the audacious name and long-winded explanation invites critical discourse with open arms, and this would be ripped to shreds even in a first semester design studio.

A Test Of Will has some new construction pics of Polshek Partnership's Standard Hotel New York as it straddles the High Line.

[via Curbed]

Monday, April 23, 2007

Prada has teamed up with Rem Koolhaas again, this time adapting graphics created by his AMO think tank for Prada's Spring '07 runway show to $210 ironic tee-shirts.

No doubt they'll sell like hot-cakes, but are they really $182 more clever (or better looking) than what you might find at, say Urban Outfitters?

I enjoy reading Randy Cohen's The Ethicist column every Sunday morning afternoon in the New York Times Magazine because it helps restores my faith in humanity.

I enjoy reading Gabriel Delahaye's The Unethicist column every Monday on Gawker because it makes coffee blow out my nose.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Big congrats to Stab Wounds (Mr. Brett Burton, Mr. DJ Unknown and Mr. Cowboy Mark) for winning Klymaxx's remix contest. Check it out their nastied-up electro rework here.

I have a tendency to greatly exaggerate in order to render a point (especially in early morning reviews of the previous evening such as this,) but I'm not doing so here: Matthew Dear's live show last night was one of my top 10 concert experiences ever.

After we picked our jaws up off the floor of the Magic Stick, we decided to ditch all of our plans for the weekend and drive to Chicago today to see the second of a very select number of live performances in support of the new album Asa Breed.

Not only are the songs brilliant, but Matt has developed a stage presence perfectly balanced between confidence and humility. He comes off enthusiastic but never cocky, tremendously fun to watch and extremely accessible. His live vocals reminded me a bit of Peter Murphy... as in he is as good a singer, if not better... Forget everything you know about Matt Dear or electronic pop music. Both have been completely redefined. As Jon O put it, "our boy has become a man."

I've spoken recently about 2007 being a great year for music and being the year of "the new." '06 had its share of embarrassingly flimsy trends, such as nu-rave and prog-techno, but '07 is shaping up to be an exciting period of creative output that will stand on it's own merits and original ideas. Matthew Dear is leading the way to make the second half of this decade one of the most significant periods of pop history.

Friday, April 20, 2007

It's hard to believe I first started hanging out at Lit five years ago.

That's all.

Oh, and huge thanks to Cowboy Mark and Carlos D for more than you know.

Oh, and happy birthday Nikki!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

2007 Graduate Degree Exhibition
April 22 - May 11, 2007
ArtMembers' Opening
Saturday, April 21, 6-8pm

Established in 1932, Cranbrook Academy of Art's Graduate Program remains a "living studio of artistic invention" as envisioned by its founder, newspaper publisher and philanthropist George Booth.

Each April, as part of the requirements for earning either a Master of Fine Arts or Master of Architecture degree, the second-year Master's degree candidates present their thesis work in the annual Graduate Degree Exhibition.

Download .pdf of invite: front | back

Sneak peek - Installation in progress:

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Aside form the fabulous clothes and exciting new technologies like motor cars and aeroplanes, the Edwardian period (1901-1910) was considered a golden age for the arts, literature, culture and (perhaps most importantly) cuisine. King Edward VII loved to travel and loved to eat... a lot. He was a big guy who favored continental cuisine, especially French. The foodie king was largely responsible for the culture of dining out that metropolitans take for granted today.

BBC4's new program The Edwardians - The Birth Of Now "investigates, interrogates and celebrates the richness and excitement of this pioneering and world-changing time."

The most talked about episode is Edwardian Supersize Me, in which restaurant critic Giles Coren and comedian Sue Perkins eat as early 20th century well-to-do Londoners for an entire week. What is on the menu?

Porridge, sardines, curried eggs, grilled cutlets, coffee, hot chocolate, bread, butter, honey for breakfast (with Cuban cigars, of course)... oysters, foie gras terrine, roast cod with asparagus, mutton hotpot, pink Yorkshire rhubarb and clotted cream for lunch at Covent Garden... afternoon tea with fruit cake, Madeira cake, cakes and more cakes... picnics of lobster and foie gras on Hampstead Heath... and for dinner, you'll have to read on.

After the filming of the episode, Coren's doctor was less than amused with his spiked cholesterol, dangerous signs of dehydration (due to taking in considerably more alcohol than water) and 10% gain in body fat (though he only gained one pound,) and estimated that if he continued on this diet, Coren (37) would do well to live 'til 42.

Whatever. Sign me up!

Also see: 60 Things Worth Shortening Your Life For

[Thanks Adam at BFW Local 734]

Matthew Dear will debut his new [capital L] Live show at Detroit's Magic Stick this Friday night and Chicago's Empty Bottle on Saturday - both nights with DJ support form the legendary Nice 'em Up Boys. We're really looking forward to this.

Listen to the fab new single "Deserter" here and read the Metro Times story here.

2007 has been a real treat of a year for music thus far, with (to name just a few) old friends and favorites such as ADULT. and Matthew Dear putting out their best work yet, and recent finds such as Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip and our newest obsession Franz & Shape.

Franz & Shape is a duo from Italy who could be described as the bastard child of Front 242 and Vitalic. Their debut LP Acceleration was just released on Germany's Relish Recordings and features an all-star cast of guest artists including G.D. Luxxe, David Carretta, Matt Sims and Detroit's own Perspects. Inthemix says, "This is tough and rigid electro... custom built for dark rooms with leather walls where everyone dances in motor bike helmets. It smacks of sexual hedonism and narcotic revelry and you can smell the stale sweat as every track licks your ear... basslines rev like an angry Ducati, synths whip the air like rusty motor bike chains, and kick drums pump like filthy pistons."

On a total tangnet: what is not a treat is the nearly $9,000 self-employment tax (on top of normal income taxes) I was smacked with by the feds yesterday. Isn't this supposed to be a "culture of entrepreneurs" or something? Way to encourage small businesses! The IOU is in the mail...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Owen Ashworth Has a Posse

Urban exploring with CFTPA and Cowboy Mark by Toybreaker.

One more on the board for Los Angeles: Murray Moss to open store on Melrose Avenue.

Time Magazine Style & Design 100

Good stuff.
Special congrats to BLDGBLOG.

Gas masks and formal wear never go out of style.
[shoot by Steven Klein for L'Uomo Vogue]

I just heard a track that unexpectedly blew me away "Sun Lips" by Black Moth Super Rainbow (get it and other Mp3´s of theirs here). Imagine how amazing a collaboration between Air and Boards of Canada would be and you get an idea. Also check out their collaborative efforts with The Octopus Project (also available on the BMSR website)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Flood Maps combines Google Maps with NASA elevation data to display potential flood regions at various sea level changes.

At a 10 meter rise for example, Red Hook, Greenpoint and Alphabet City are pretty much screwed.

Read more about it here.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Weekend Agenda

Tonight: JAK The Ripper featruing Traxx at the Bohemian National Home

Saturday: Machines That Feel II featruing Casiotone For The Painfully Alone at CAID

All the details can be found at

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Volume Display using Laser Plasma Emission

"Keio University and Burton Inc. noticed a phenomenon that, when laser beams are strongly focused, air plasma emission can be induced only near the focal point. Thereby, they succeeded in the experimental fabrication of a device displaying 2D-images in the air, which are constructed from dot arrays produced using a technique combining a laser light source and galvanometric mirrors. To further form 3D-images in the air, the scanning of the focal point in the depth direction along the laser optical axis is essential. However, for such a purpose, the quality of the laser and the technique for varying the position of the focal point must be improved, and thus as yet there are no 3D display devices."

Gotta love the Japanese.

Design Like You Give a Damn

Architecture For Humanity co-founder Cameron Sinclair speaks tonight at the WIRED Speaker Series at Cranbrook.

Cameron Sinclair is the co-founder of Architecture for Humanity and an authority on sustainable development and post disaster reconstruction. He has made guest appearances on BBC World Service, CNN International and NPR. Most recently, Sinclair was named as one of three winners of the 2006 TED Prize. Join Cameron as he discusses how a new breed of designers is responding to humanitarian crises and rethinking the social and economic future of the more than two billion people currently surviving in sub-standard living conditions.

Thursday, April 12 | 7:00 pm
Cranbrook Art Museum/deSalle Auditorium
39221 Woodward Avenue
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 48303

$6 non-members, $4 seniors and students with ID,
free to ArtMembers@Cranbrook

So it goes

Kurt Vonnegut, whose dark comic talent and urgent moral vision in novels like "Slaughterhouse-Five," "Cat's Cradle" and "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater" caught the temper of his times and the imagination of a generation, died Wednesday night in Manhattan. He was 84 and had homes in Manhattan and in Sagaponack on Long Island.

His death was reported by Morgan Entrekin, a longtime family friend, who said Mr. Vonnegut suffered brain injuries as a result of a fall several weeks ago.

Mr. Vonnegut wrote plays, essays and short fiction. But it was his novels that became classics of the American counterculture, making him a literary idol, particularly to students in the 1960s and '70s. Dog-eared paperback copies of his books could be found in the back pockets of blue jeans and in dorm rooms on campuses throughout the United States...
-New York Times

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Our friend Jorden Haley [Bird Ov Prey + Karbine Labor Industries] will be exhibiting new large scale design work at Ad Hoc Art in Brooklyn. The reception is this Friday, April 13th from 6-10 PM. Do stop on by.

Speaking of, here's a whole buncha steampunk Star Wars drawings and downloadable desktops.

The Inbox Of Nardo Pace, The Empire's Worst Engineer

Subject: carbonite transport device
From: Boba Fett
Date: A Long Time Ago 3:17 PM
To: Nardo Pace

I am currently transporting a bounty that has been frozen in carbonite with a device you created. I have been told to direct any questions or comments I might have your way.

This is obviously a new technology, but might I suggest adding a few security measures to the transport device's control panel? Right now anyone can walk up to this thing and flip a few switches to release the frozen prisoner. I'm thinking a number pad with a secret code would be great, or heck, even a plain old key.

Just a friendly suggestion. Oh, and thanks for the modifications you made to my rocket pack. That "ignition" button square on the back of the pack where I can't reach it is great.

[via DataWhat?!]

DethLab and Machines That Feel II featured in this week's Metro Times

Michael Doyle and Bethany Shorb look a bit tired, understandable given that they've just returned from a New York weekend hopping from ballets in Brooklyn to museums in Manhattan followed by parties, afterparties and after-afterparties in each borough. They saw daylight only briefly, they say, as they walked at murky sunrise across the Williamsburg Bridge.

But the pair - who call their Detroit-based performance project Dethlab - should not be mistaken for mere rave- or rock-culture vampires. They say they'd rather be known as bloodthirsty carnivores - and prove as much by each ordering titanic identical half-pound burgers topped with bacon and blue cheese. They look resplendent, if pale, dressed in layers of bruise-colored clothing, biting into juicy meat and ketchup-soaked fries, as they sit against the dark sapphire upholstery in the lounge of Royal Oak's Redcoat Tavern...

[words by Walter Wasacz]

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone featured in this week's Real Detroit

Is a Casio keyboard a real instrument? Of course they physically exist, but would a musician consider one a "real" instrument? Owen Ashworth, a.k.a. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone thinks so. He started making music with only a Casio keyboard and his voice. It's one of those great ideas that seems so practical and simple, yet totally ridiculous at the same time...
[words by Deleano Acevedo]

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone perform at CAID this Saturday, courtesey of Burnlab/Dethlab.

Monday, April 09, 2007

"Morpho Towers - Two Standing Spirals" is an installation that consists of two ferrofluid sculptures that moves synthetically to music. The two spiral towers stand on a large plate that hold ferrofluid. When the music starts, the magnetic field around the tower is strengthened. Spikes of ferrofluid are born from the bottom plate and move up, trembling and rotating around the edge of the iron spiral. By Sachiko Kodama and Yasushi Miyajima.

[via Future Feeder]

Ferrofluid sculpture portfolio by Sachiko Kodama here and more video action here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

It's Friday Night Videos!

Tonight's focus is on the uber-super-duper German indie-electronic label Tomlab.

(Yes, one of Tomlab's best selling artists is Casiotone For The Painfully Alone, who we are bringing to the CAID next Saturday for their first Detroit performance. Don't think of it as blatant self-promotion. Think of it as Burnlab trying to provide broader exposure for artists whom we greatly respect and believe deserve it.)

Without further ado...

Montreal might eat its young, but Montreal can't bring us down.
Pure magic. There should be more music videos set in dinner theaters.

Same song as above, live in Saskatoon.
For those unfamiliar, Final Fantasy a.k.a. Owen Palette is like a much geekier Matthew Herbert: every sound is created by violin, then processed, distorted and sequenced on the fly to create dense, loopy compositions. Last year he won the Polaris Prize - Canada's equivalent to the Nobel for music. He said he'd use the $20,000 prize to "pay off my boyfriend's student loans, and give the rest to bands I like."

I really shouln't need to tell you about (nor can explain) Khan.

Les Georges Leningrad at Zoo Bizarre.
Yeah... French Canadians put all of us weirdos to shame.

Eat it!

Don't trust CGI skeletons.
Xiu Xiu.

CFTPA just last week in Claremont, CA.
Dang. I can't wait until next weekend.

CFTPA in London lat year.
Owen Ashworth fucks up his own vocal cue here... but he's still the most gifted songwriter our generation.

Baby, it's you.
Dada films and battery powered keyboards... this was the one that got me hooked.

Reminder: tomorrow evening Cyberoptix TieLab is having an open studio night/trunk show: featuring the new Whiplash and Concealed Weapons collections, plus a full range of ties, ascots, scarves, jackets, accessories and one-off couture pieces for sale and view.

Come for the fashion, drink the wine, eat the cheese - and meat of course, stay for the music (provided by DethLab and Friends) and buy the goods.

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

New Balance Joy Division

[Thanks Trevor!]

Meat is neat.

Value Pack is an alphabet made of raw hamburger. Each character hand-shaped, packaged, and photographed individually.

[Thanks Rob!]

Press week is in full swing at the New York Auto Show. Tune to Jalopnik for full coverage.

The Ford Flex mini-van-cross-over-wagon thing is one of the more interesting new products. The web site, albeit very slow loading, is fun and uses Vitalic's song Wooo in the design section.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Liz Copeland is featured in this week's Metro Times Cribs (pictured above with hubby Clark Warner at the WDET studios.) Photos and words by Doug Coombe.

You can listen to archives of Liz's last few shows on WDET here for just a couple more days. The final show (3/31/07) is spectacular. Do yourself a favor and listen to it - again, for many of you. (And thanks Liz for opening with Tones On Tail!)

It's taken me a while to comment here about the cancellation of Alternate Take. I wanted to talk to Liz in person first, and frankly, it's been difficult to come to terms with the loss this means for the city, and myself and all regular listeners personally. With the firing of fellow purveyors of local and international cutting edge music Jon Moshier, Mick Collins, Chuck Horn, Ralph Valdez, etc., WDET managed to go from arguably the best public radio station in the entire country to almost strictly generic syndicated programming in an incredibly short amount of time.

The nights won't be the same, to say the very least. As Coombe put it, "[Liz's] heady nocturnal mix of sweet sounds, from classic techno to Curtis Mayfield to Nick Cave to Alice Coltrane, provided a perfect soundtrack for insomnia, all-nighters and hookups." One thing I'm certain of is that Liz will move on to much bigger and better things. I think Rob sums it up for all of us here at the Lab.

Although we didn't hang out in high school, Liz and I have been friends since the early '90s (hey, Royal Oak is a small town! I'm not going to mention the glory days of City Club or National Coney Island or Off the Record... oh shit, I just did.) Anyway, as Rob said more or less in his blog post, the Liz Copeland you know on the radio is the same Liz in person: kind, personable, and so intelligent and so schooled in music that you don't feel lesser, but are inspired to push yourself to dig deeper, enhance and expand your own musical repertoire. These are characteristics of great radio personalities and great persons and great friends.

This is four years old, but it's still teh awesome and somehow has never been posted here: Der Sheriff, DAF's tribute to Dubya and pertinent sequel to Der Mussolini.

The impact the current administration has had on the world opinion of America in a very short period of time is pretty blatant when a band that calls itself Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft (German-American Friendship) makes a video like this.

This may or may not be old news, but listen to Year Zero in it's entirety.

Anderson Cooper outed by Out. (Sorry, girls.)

In February we wrote about the SAVE ME! Design Charrette, created to present realistic design solutions that could save the Marcel Breuer designed Grosse Pointe Central Library from the wrecking ball. Archinect follows up with Virtual Activism, the first of a three part series by charrette organizers, the Modern Architecture Protection Agency (mapa).

(Speaking of design charrettes, we have lots of photos from last weekend's adventure with Thomas Gardner and Matt Miller's RISD architecture students waiting to be uploaded. Hold tight.)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Monday, April 02, 2007

One of my favorite songs of the year thus far, Thou Shalt Always Kill was released today on iTunes and Bleep, including an electro-industrial-stomper of a remix by Knifehandchop. tag: HUGE