The Brilliance!

HTTP://WWW.THEBRILLIANCE.COM

We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.

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Radiohead’s new album, pay whatever you feel like!

Two things. (1) This is brilliant. Radiohead is independent now, and they are taking distribution and more importantly, ‘customer relations’ into their own hands. I can’t imagine Thom Yorke even saying ‘customer relations’ but you get the idea. Their physical vinyl + CD is like $80…but to download their album, you simply pay them what you see fit. In my case I gave them 10 pounds. Really brilliant. Beyond it just being a ‘neat way for your fans to get your music’...its really a fantastic marketing tool. I’m certainly not the only blog talking about this, right? (2) The execution could have been better. The web interface is slightly confusing at best…a bit hard to use. But hey - this is absolutely a step in the right direction. I can’t wait to hear the tracks. THE BRILLIANCE! loves the concept. ***Oh yeah, FYI, I’m re-launching INDISTR in about 2 weeks - stay tuned for more details.

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I want to go to New Orleans & stay at Loft 523!

Just found this place yesterday, and now I want to hit up the Big Easy. I honestly wish I could have experienced things before Katrina - what an amazing city. But by no means am I saying its now longer amazing - in fact, this hotel is proof of their vibrant creative culture still at work. Really, really beautiful spaces, amazing bathrooms with Agape bathtubs, crazy high ceilings, etc…just a really brilliant looking hotel. Excuse their oddly designed site. Decent rates too. This reminds me how much I like my Mom’s dirty-rice dish…so good.

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INDISTR Version 2, Oct 10th!!!

We’re back with it! So for those of you who follow THE BRILLIANCE often might remember a site a l launched about 8 months back called INDISTR.com. INDISTR allows artist to sell their music directly to the public, set their own prices and get paid 75% of earning instantly. It stood as my first plunge into the world of running my own project, getting funding, executing and building a brand. So 8 months later, how do things look? We made money!! Not a ton, but in this age of dot-com stuff, I was pretty happy to see the bank account edge up on the very first day. Yeah, the first day – then continue to do so! But along with that there were lots of lessons learned and its always harder than you think. Crazy to think this whole concept of music + the internet + artist getting the lion’s share STILL hasn’t been figured out yet. I guess that is good news to me – because INDISTR Version 2 is launching October 10th and we’ve got a lot more focused energy this time around. We’ve also got a fantastic new design, much needed enhanced searching and tagging features, cleaner checkout process, way better embeddable music players and more. And we’ll be updating with new features quite often. Thank you’s to my new head of operations, Kevin Hockin and the new design house we hired, Thought+Theory. Stay tuned!!!!

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Recent History Museum, Fruition LV!!!

Such a good atmosphere and even better back-story. I had the fortunate experience of getting to know young entrapeneurs Chris Jullian & Samantha Alonso last month in Vegas in their shop Fruition. I literally just camped out in the store and soaked it in the atmosphere. Make no mistake, there is true vision here beyond clothes on shelves. It feels way more like a curated view in to golden years of American POP-fashion rather than just vintage clothing. Of all the stores I have ever been in worldwide, the best could take a lesson on how to strategically place different pieces to tell a story. Let me step back tho. This shop carries the rarest and some of the most iconic & coveted clothes during the birth of hip hop and standout street fashion from the 90’s. Like Chalkine jackets, Nike Air Jordan stuff, LL Cool J Troop jackets, Coca Cola polos, classic Ralph Lauren, MCM bags, Dapper Dan Gucci and Vintage Dior. As well they pair it up with current designer wear like the hard to find Jeremy Scott designs. What’s funny about the place is some people get it and some people don’t. Of course its not for everyone, but for those that it is for, it’s a gold mine. And in one fell swoop when I think if Vegas I don’t think of MGM, rather MCM.

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Book: Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain!!

I’m posting about a book I haven’t even read yet. But I will. I actually got tuned into this book from the latest issue of Wired - great issue, go grab it. Towards the back of the mag they have this ‘Chat’ section and they are highlighting Dr. Oliver Sacks who is the author of this ‘Muiscophilia’ book. He’s an interesting guy - openly talks about his use of psychedelic drugs, marijuana, etc during his time at med school,he’s a neurologist, and how they have similar effects on the brain as music does. The whole book is pretty much as the title would suggest - exploring how music interacts/affects the brain. Some really interesting stuff, really interesting actually. How rhythm can be therapeutic for people suffering from Parkinson’s and how music insights memories and recall ‘like nothing else’ in Alzheimer’s patients. I love this kind of stuff. Music is like an 16-18 hour a day thing for me. Ever present. And I’m huge into music for moods or work being done…as well as listening to music in context and the effects it can have. And thats my post.

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Layer Tennis tomorrow, me VS. Steven Harrington. ACE!!!

Advantage! Deuce! Tennis elbow! Smash! Lens Flare! Plastic wrap! PhOtOsHoP SkILL! These are all things that may or may not have to do with tomorrow’s ‘Layer Tennis’ match between myself and the talented Mr. Steven Harrington. Layer Tennis (formerly Photoshop Tennis) is an online event run by Coudal.com that takes two artists, designers, illustrators, etc. and puts them up against each other for 10 ‘volleys’ of 15 minutes a piece. The first person starts their serve with a piece they’ve worked on throughout the upcoming week, then the other person gets 15 minutes with that Photoshop file, uploads it, and so on. It’s quirky and unusual but really quite a fun, cool concept that has attracted a big audience. SO. Tomorrow at 2pm Chicago time, I will be working with/against Steven Harrington with commentary by Jason Kottke. The whole thing is semi-live (semi because you’re not actually watching or listening to real-time action…just getting updates every 15 minutes or so). People discuss everything that’s going on in the forums, so you can participate there or just observe. Anyways, check it out at LayerTennis.com. Bagel! Break point! Vibrazorb! Women’s doubles!

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A little server crash ain’t nothing to us!!

Yeah…so we are pretty much back up now after our little crash there. Big shout to our hosting company, that was real awesome to lose a bunch of data. Thanks…let us know when you want to do that again, it was a blast!! Sarcasm…snaps. But yeah, seriously, thank goodness for Google’s cached version of our site…or those posts would have been gone forever. We’ll be fixing the images and stuff here soon too…just trying to get back in action. Fortunately we are still REALLY, REALLY INTERNET.

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Common Projects, I want some.

Common Projects took such a perfect approach…keep it simple. Focus on the shape, easy colors, and quality. I don’t need a bunch of logos, straps, stitches, reflective materials, bullet-proof laces, tongues with ‘stash’ pockets, all-over prints, pictures of things, and my least favorite - knock-off Chuck Taylor toe-caps. Stop doing those, they’re not good…like, ever. Yikes, this is a little bit of a rant post. But I just love how simple Common Projects’ shoes are. Really beautiful. Love the little stamp on the back too, nice touch. My next issue…why does the stuff I like have to be so hard to find?? Minus snacks and Coors Light. Who knows where I can get these online??

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957,000 + Billion Dollar Remix! Hip-hop, a moment in time!

Just when it was getting boring and we we’re all retreating back to ‘the good old days’...hip hop comes around and does something proper for all its followers. Two things. (1) Kanye stepped on 50 cent. He’s certainly doing pretty hood in his pink polo. 957,000 albums sold one week. How many came from the ‘Ellen DeGeneres’ demographic? So brilliant. (2) The Billion Dollar Remix. I’ll be real honest, we didn’t hear the best performances from any of the artist on this track. But it’s a fantastic to see ‘a billion dollars worth of hip-hop’ on one record. In a peaceful display of the success these culture-shapers have achieved. I love these parts of hip-hop, seriously. And ha, the ending line from Jay: ‘I wouldn’t want to be outside of the bubble on this.’ ***Link to download the track below.

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The new word art: Who does this!?! *Follow-up!*

Thanks to the whole bunch of people who sent us emails about who is behind these awesome pieces of work. His name is Thomas Broome and you can check his site out right here - Thomas Broome. Awesome work…Check the link below for one of my favorites.