Welcome all to 𝗖𝗼𝗻𝗻𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆’𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗿𝗻𝗲𝗿, a series of weekly reviews by Charles Connolly - an artist in his own right. Here, Charles delves into the greatest brand new singles brought to you by the best unsigned artists on our electrifying and eclectic set of 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝘼𝙧𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙎𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 playlists.
𝙎𝙪𝙣𝙨𝙚𝙩 𝘿𝙖𝙙𝙙𝙮 - 𝘽𝙡𝙪𝙚 𝘿𝙞𝙧𝙩 𝙂𝙞𝙧𝙡
Charles quotes 10cc: “Art for Art’s Sake”
I had the privilege of seeing 10cc at the Royal Albert Hall, back in 2019 when things were normal and we could enjoy such things without wondering if we were threatening our health in doing so. We’ll get back to that form of life soon enough - just a matter of time. I told you this for absolutely no reason other than to tell you this (told for telling’s sake). But the band’s famous message, originally coined in the early 19th century in France (l’art pour l’art), really made me think. Art for Art’s Sake. Art for the sake of art. No statements, no morals, no politics. Just art to enjoy. Art to enliven the soul. Speaking of things returning to normal, I am hoping that when things open up here in London I will be able to visit a gallery or two. The artist David Hockney, has always intrigued and irritated me. I very much like how he started in the 60s with his Splash paintings, but then quickly went off him. For decades his art didn’t excite me. In fact, it didn’t really move me in any way - it was simply there, and my eyes drifted over and past it. What irritated me was actually the general public praising him for the mediocre work of his middle years. This century however, he has come back strong, starting with his tree paintings in the mid 00s (I say ‘paintings’ loosely as he mainly works digitally these days). He is a man of nature. Like the old greats (Monet, Renoir etc.) he is obsessed with light and feel. The passing of time, and how this changes our surroundings through the seasons. A splash of colour; a dose of light. This is pure art - art for art’s sake. I am hoping to see his new summer exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in the coming months. For those who don’t know, Hockney is an extremely famous artist from England. For those who don’t know, England is a country in Britain. For those who don’t know, Britain is also a country, because we’re weird like that.
This concept of art being simply for the sake of art, made me think of how this could be the case for music. Rage Against The Machine’s music is very much a political statement (even their very name). Band Aid’s Christmas jingle was to create awareness of world issues. And mainstream pop is frankly about making money. Sometimes though - more often than not - a song crops up that is simply music for the sake of music. I will now welcome Blue Dirt Girl with open arms. I will now wash said arms, for she and Hockney seem to have been experimenting with cobalt powder paint. The Vancouver-based band headed by Kathryn Sutherland takes art seriously. Or I should say, appreciates art immensely. To ‘take art seriously’ suggests one is sucking the life out of it with analysis. Their recently released EP, Nothing Is as It Was, demonstrates Kathryn’s thoughts, observations and feelings, almost as a retrospective clad in a warm coat of funky blues. One of my favourites from the EP is Sunset Daddy. A song that recalls Sutherland’s sunnier, brighter memories of her father, reminding us that within art lies beauty.
Blue Dirt Girl has attempted to make (and succeeded in making) a wonderful collaboration of music and art. An artist by the name of Kiki Yee (not to be confused with the artist Kiki Dee) has made a splendid series of drawings to accompany the project. BDG has also rounded up artist friends to react to their music in the form of art. We have been given diverse artworks and even evocative dance routines that emote the artists’ thoughts and feelings while listening to the band’s EP. I would advise you to join the craze, if you have a single strand of art in your veins. Make art from art. Go on, I dare ya.
Sunset Daddy is a somewhat 60s-styled blues number having a remarkably relaxed pace, yet with an insistent rimshot on the quarter note to propel us through the syncopated bass plucks. Like Stevie Wonder has taken Jim Morrison’s place in The Doors…! It grooves like a mother. Ach, I just thought of my mother ‘grooving’ - not the coolest of images. Maybe marginally better than my father ‘grooving’… Well the song is cool anyway. Then we take an unexpected turn into a more psychedelic 60s, akin to Jefferson Airplane, Marianne Faithfull and maybe even The Velvet Underground. Tremelo guitar chords, reverb on the saintly vocal, and a tiptoeing bassline awash with ride cymbal. That is the song. These two sections, taking turns. Nothing more. It needs no more. It puts you where Kathryn and chums want you to be. A bit like being forced to have a lovely brief holiday in a beautiful country. “Reluctantly, I accept”. Their sound simply sucks you in with its professional slickness, yet never for a moment does it seem anything more than casual. A difficult balance to undertake. I do hope they continue with this theme of combining music with art as it creates another dimension to our cultured pleasure.
Returning once more to 10cc, their cheeky, cynical riposte to “Art for Art’s Sake”, is “Money for God’s Sake”! And we’re back in the mainstream.
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