Free Music Collection: July 2010

Here it is.. the 2nd edition to the Free Music Collection, a library of all the free albums, mixtapes & eps that I’ve downloaded over the past month. Last week was the summer solstice so this collection is jam packed with sun crisped beach tunes mixed with synth drenched lo-fi.. shit to BBQ to or night cruising with the top down. Huge props to smokeDON’Tsmoke for digging these up. No music library would be complete without some tasty beats or electronic soul so make sure you grab the Dilla tribute mix and some retro-futuristic space funk.

I realized that the last collection was a bit overwhelming to navigate through so I’ve included fragmented descriptions of each links this time around. Let me know if this is helpful. I’d recommend bookmarking this so you can spread out the downloads.. there’s more than enough for a new album a day.. better for the soul than an apple. As usual if you need to be in the loop more than once a month follow me on twitter @thinkorsmile for links as they are found. Or like me on Facebook if your not into twitter.

Make sure to check out my mixtapes while your here or have a listen to the latest mix on the Soundcloud player in the upper right while your exploring. Enjoy!

Think or Smile | Free Music Collection: July 2010







Thought Orbs: A collage study

Until now I’ve not posted any of my personal work.. I’m in the process of re-organizing my portfolio of collages, photography and the like, which is taking forever. In the meantime I’ll be periodically posting studies in the Portfolio / Laboratory category. A lot of the work here will be experimental studies but I take the approach that as in science, not every experiment is successful, but all are useful.

I’ve been using old National Geographic magazines as a collage resource for years now and have recently started scanning them in for my digital collages and videos. I’ve been cataloging everything I scan for future use and decided to start cutting things up this past weekend. Thought Orbs is what evolved out of a few hours of cutting/pasting/painting. I went through a pile of full page cut outs and began isolating the figures, presenting them almost as a portrait. Next came the orbs that I cut out of the background left behind by the person. A small amount of black paint simply added form where missing.

After staring at these for a while I began to realize that the orbs represented very real thoughts the individual was experiencing. Because they’re removed from the environment, each person either has, will, or is processing the thought seen above their head.. even if it is merely a millisecond as they survey their surroundings. It’s bizarre to think that millions of these little images flash through our minds as we walk around all day. Displaying them isolated like this really lets you focus on one moment in time and possibly even analyze it a little deeper.

You can see them all on Flickr at a larger size if interested. They’re 9″x12″ on recycled paper. Feel free to contact me if you’d like to purchase any of these.


Human Nature: Debbie Carlos captures objects of knowledge

Human Nature is a study done by Debbie Carlos, a photographer with a background in psychology. The photos were taken at Chicago’s Field Museum and if you’ve ever been there you know how fascinating and equally strange it is. Its been several years since I was last there and had forgotten about it until these images brought it all back to me. They capture beautifully what I felt while staring into carefully recreated environments for 100 year old shells that were once exotic animals, a sense that we humans in the pursuit of knowledge do some strange shit. I think thats something that Debbie Carlos realized while making these images which quite possibly was influenced by her years of studying psychology. Her words insightfully sum it up best,

The first time I took pictures of the animal displays at Chicago’s Field Museum, I did so purely out of interest in animals. Framing my photos so as to imitate nature photography seemed natural in an environment where the animals, long dead, are themselves placed and positioned in scenes that recreate their habitats. Once I developed my negatives, the significance of the human world, science, and ownership seemed all of a sudden very apparent in the life-like death of the creatures on display. The murky quality of the lighting and the dark desaturated tones of the exhibits, convey a sensuality and romanticism at odds with the sense of stagnant death that lingers in the cracked skin of 100-year-old taxidermied animals and birds strung up as though in flight with fishing line. Inside the museum, nature is labeled, classified, and static, turned into an object of knowledge. These photos attempt to capture the mystery and romance of this very pursuit—the sincerity of the scientific endeavor, the pathos of its visible failure, and the beauty of the attempt to engage with nature.

I think this is another wonderful example of one field of study influencing another, much like MORPHOLOGIC‘s meld of music and marine biology.

You can purchase some of these as prints from her Etsy shop here. Show her some love.


MORPHOLOGIC: Marine biology turned abstract, surreal art

MORPHOLOGIC is a perfect example of what can be created when two seemingly unrelated disciples come together. Marine biologist Colin Foord and musician Jared McKay are collaborating to create works of abstract, even surreal art out of materials that in the past would have become a standard marine life documentary. Their laboratory is a certified aquaculture facility which sounds quite removed from most artists studios, but for the purposes of MORPHOLOGIC, thats exactly what it is, a studio. While each study is accompanied by a detailed scientific write up, these are so artfully composed you quickly forget they were filmed in a lab. For me each piece has a meditative quality, with its ambient soundtrack interrupted ever so subtly by imagined sounds of a creatures movement, sluggish motion of gills or sped up tentacles and colors found only underwater. Watching these I seem to consistently drift off in thought, replaying the same studies over and over noticing new details each time. Faced with extreme close ups of marine life that few people actually see I can’t help but appreciate how amazingly complex and beautiful nature is, which really makes me want to start utilizing my biology degree again. I’ve included a couple of my favorites above but I highly recommend checking out all the rest of them on MORPHOLOGIC’s Vimeo page. Happy drifting.


The Genius of Design: BBC documentary series exploring the history of design

Back in early May BBC began airing a five part documentary series on the history of design. Luckily, for those of us outside of the UK, episodes one and two have been posted to vimeo (with hopefully the rest to come.) The Genius of Design sets out to answer the question, what makes a designer, through analysis of the world of stuff designers have created for us to live in. I’ve just had the pleasure of watching episode one, “Ghosts in the Machine” which explores the origins of industrial design as we know it today – the time when man discovered that machines could be made to produce more, faster. A time that marked the beginning of the removal of soul from objects, yet put an even greater emphasis on the need for well thought out design.

BBC, as always, does a nice job of entertaining and giving you something to think about so I’m looking forward to watching the rest of the series. I’m still digesting some of the ideas presented and highly recommend you check it out if your even remotely interested in design or are in any creative field, music, photography, research, a lot of the principles carry over and you’ll come away with a new perspective of the stuff that surrounds your life.

UPDATE: All episodes are now posted for a limited time. You can link to them all here.


Think or Smile | Nathaniel Whitcomb © 2010