hel·low (ˈhelō/) exclamation. A salutation embodying the vibrant energy found in the color yellow.

20 November 2013

An Icelandic Audio Odyssey, Finally We Are No One

Before I understood maps or geothermal currents, I pictured Greenland as a land of trees, plants, and vegetation--greenery--and Iceland to be a frozen tundra, frigid and white--icy. This naivety led me to believe the opposite. The namesake of Greenland and Iceland are almost polar opposites, for while they are both near the North Pole, their climates are immensely varied. Iceland is a land of extremes--from volcanic thermal heat to icy glacial coldness. Despite the extremes, the small island has a fairly moderate and consistent temperature. It is a beautiful place filled with many natural wonders. It is a place for the imagination to wander and reflect. It is only appropriate that the nation has produced artists representing this personality.

múm is an Icelandic experimental music group. Adopting a dreamlike quality with their unique concoction of sounds creates a refreshing brand of music that resonates with an imaginative spirit. In their 2002 album, Loksins Erum Við Engin (Finally We Are No One), this creative sound pushes the listeners' thoughts to places often untouched or forgotten, such as the ability to truly imagine and reflect from within oneself. Finally We Are No One is a playful odyssey of the subconscious. As as a whole, the simple but unique form of the art and music is found in the sound. The childlike voices reflect the peaceful innocence of exploratory thoughts. Like the naivety of a child, such as my ignorance surrounding the ecological states of Greenland and Iceland, the album celebrates these virgin thoughts, not tampered by adult actions and concerns.

When listening, the album elicits a unique feeling that is not often excited by music. It is not a "pump up" sound or nostalgic tune or bluesy act of sad emotions, but a gentle touch on more tender feelings. It draws upon the small things, subtle details and little sounds. It is pure and difficult to express in another medium. While the soft voices convey the pureness of innocence, the pattering of varied sounds embodies the minimal amount of emotion necessary to touch the listener. The slow cadence of the music is calming, putting the listener at peace to encourage introspection. It balances delicately on a small wave of feeling that moves between the small troubles and ripples of hope. It is ideal for reflection and cannot fit in varied forms, which leaves it appropriately perfect.

Finally We Are No One strips away the titles that  border one's subconscious. Removing the clutter from the mind, it lets a gentle wave wash over tender thoughts and carry them to new shores.

13 November 2013

A Style is No Means to a [Tr]end

Not only in fashion, but in technology, language, behavior, and design, there is a clear distinction between trends and style. Trends are always changing, but style is timeless. Specifically in fashion, trends change with the seasons. New lines of clothing roll out in advertisements as the trees lose their leaves. As celebrities set new bars and companies put out new lines, trends dictate the decisions of society. Perhaps a ploy of a consumerism, trends keep people spending their time and money on conforming to the latest change. New smart phones slip into our pockets with trivial changes in speed or new aesthetic value to the interface, new shoes slip onto our feet as the laces make minuscule alterations, and new words slip between our lips as Internet and TV icons develop fresh lingo. There are stages to this construct, from ignition to burning out. Initially, influential members of society, be them celebrities or anonymous people we cross paths with, set the trend. They update the ever-changing indicators of what is relevant. These individuals or groups hold an incredible power of suasion, and once they define the new “in”–be it with intention or not–the new line is set for the masses. The second stage in the life-cycle of the trend is acceptance. Once adopted by the general public–or a specific community–the trend becomes commonplace. Those who embrace it are seen as aware, and those who do not are irrelevant. The third stage of the trend is death. Trends typically have a short life, but the process of death may vary in length. Sometimes, trends may perish overnight, but in others, the death may be a slow process of decay. Those who are trendy know when a trend is on the decline and jump ship to avoid the look of ignorance. This is the stigma trends create.
Style deflects this.
Styles is a matter of personal choice. True style can withstand the test of time and conditions, and while it may be influenced by both, it is dependent on neither. Style, be it in any industry–fashion, behavior, or design–is a form of expression and art and something that is eternal. It is an outward display of personality and originality and gives a unique edge over the masses who conform to the current trends. Styles cannot be “out,” and therefore, cannot ruin an image. In a broader sense, it is an immortality and speaks louder and stronger than any trend. While trends are means to an end, style is a sustained source of identity. Developing a style is a practice of developing character and forming something that cannot be destroyed. Although many styles may be created in physical mediums–things that can be lost or destroyed–the spirit behind the idea lives on.
Invest in style, it doesn't go "out."

06 November 2013

Arachnid Architecture

A small part of me dies when I see something being destroyed. Watching a vase shatter, a tree being cut down, a city laid to waste. When hiking through a forest, where spiders have woven their webs between branches, letting them dangle overhead or in my face, I cannot bring myself to tear them down.
Spiderwebs are spun to capture insects, to entangle them in their adhesive silk until the weaver of the web comes to devour them. It is essentially a death trap, a weapon, and a prison, but so beautiful. Perhaps the purpose of the spiderweb is not important, but the design and construction of it are what matter. Spiderwebs are an architectural feat of natural art. A sturdy and intricate web is spun by dozens of tiny threads, coordinated to enact a single purpose of entanglement. The beauty of all these small parts working together, orchestrated by an eight-legged mastermind, is spectacular. To me, it is like a wonderfully-designed building,  but a living and breathing monument artistically crafted with intention.
Spiderwebs are not cobwebs. Rather, cobwebs are former spiderwebs gone dormant. Merriam Webster defines a cobweb as “the threads of old spider webs that are found in areas that have not been cleaned for a long time.” Cobwebs are ancient  structures built and abandoned by spiders. To compare, spiderwebs are like modern structures–such as the Eiffel Tower or Empire State Building–whereas cobwebs are ancient ruins, such as the Mayan Pyramids or Great Wall of China. As these webs are strung with individual threads to create a collective piece, when these pieces are combined, entire metropolises can be formed.
As networked beings, spiderwebs should appeal to our natural tendencies. Our bodies are a system of complex networks–with veins and blood-vessels, complex organ systems, muscles, etc–we travel across lands on networked routes–highway systems, rail-lines, flight paths–and most of our world is a series of webbed connections–water pipes, electric wires, cable lines. It is only logical that we are drawn to interact in webs, especially in the Information Age and opportunities created by the Internet, the world’s largest web. Social networking sites embrace our webs of social connections–our networks. Spiders embrace networks as well. They take advantage of the potential power provided by their webs and rely on them for survival. As humans, we must also rely on our networks. We need to be connected with others, not only for physical support–such as transport, utilities, etc–but for social and emotional fulfillment. Webs are beautiful things, and it is a travesty to lose them. Even if they are spiderwebs.