[identity profile] cabaretlights.livejournal.com


:20
Artist: Zambri
Album: S/T [EP]
Year: 2007
: When Julie and I were in Portland, we went to this amazing store/gallery called Cannibals. We got to chatting with the woman who owns it, and she happened to ask if I was an artist. I was about to shake my head frantically -- when Julie cut me off with a firm "YES."


The past couple weeks have consisted of the same conversation, multiplied by however many people have asked what I'm teaching this year: "I can barely draw stick figures and I'm teaching children about art." I feel like I've cheated, somehow, gotten to a position that so many actually certified in Art education teachers would be scrambling for. But this has nothing to do with my teaching prowess -- let's be serious; very few teenagers actually take art because they want to be professional draftsmen -- and everything to do with how uncertain I am of myself as an Artist.

Here's the long and short of it: I can't paint. I can't really draw. I'm not what you'd call a visual person, though I desperately love and appreciate all styles of art. But creating it -- a different story. Because my medium involves clicking a mouse instead of using my hands, because I have no training, because I have never been displayed and because I'd have so many issues with copyright even if I was ---- I'm so hesitant to say that what I create is art.

BUT. But.
The feeling I get when I open PaintShopPro7. The way I can't stop to eat or talk or do anything other than switch layers and up the contrast. The rush when an image works, just works; when I look at a final product and am proud.
And: the way I can only listen to one song until the piece is finished. Every digicollage I make is the product, really, of a song (and often I'll stick a tributary lyric in somewhere). The songs with the highest counts on my iTunes are the "graphic art" songs. This piece was the Yeah Yeah Yeah's Maps (play count: 52). This was Nicole Atkins' Love Surreal (play count: 43). This was Placebo's Infrared (play count: 67). &c, &c, &c ----- and this was Zambri's :20.

I've been waiting and waiting to properly introduce you to Zambri; IT IS TIME. I first heard them in Fall 2008; they opened for Does It Offend You, Yeah?, and live, they were abhorrent. But, when I blocked my ears to get rid of some of the distortion -- gasp! Was that a MELODY hidden beneath that terrible live playing? Their EPs were being sold for $5; what the hell, I thought, let's give this a shot. Good thing I did, because a) the EP is fucking amazing [especially Aliens, which is among my Top 15 Songs Ever], and b) they have 'reinvented' themselves, and you can no longer find their two pre-reinvention EPs anywhere to download or buy.

Zambri is two sisters from New York + other people. Their reinvention is of a completely different, equally awesome but more experimental & electronic ilk -- but this EP has its own brand of weird going on. The pairing of vocals, in this song especially, is often haunting and quite strange. It works, though; that tension creates something beautiful and desperate, something that pulls you into their swirling headspace. The melody and the arrangment absolutely whirl, pulling you in, building up -- their voices are raw and their cries are so honest (something that I'm realizing is really important to me in music). That whirling, back in the first week of September 2008, back at the beginning of Education, had me so inspired I didn't know what else to do other than make something out of it.

So I listen to these graphic art songs, to :20, after feeling SO alive and SO vibrant and SO RIGHT, there in front of my computer with my layers and layers of pixels ----------- and there is a niggling in the back of my head: maybe, just maybe, I should stop thinking so hard about what defines people as "artists", about all the pretentious fuckers who claim to be creative, and just Make Art. Maybe, just maybe, Julie was right.

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