The Brilliance!


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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Launch day! INDISTR, Beta 1.0!

And it’s here… Nervous, absolutely. Excited, absolutely. Curious to see what first day sign-up numbers look like?! Honestly, I would love it if I could force myself NOT to look at those for like a week - cause I’m going to obsess over it for these first few days - and the truth is that, its small time organic growth with something like this, so it won’t be super huge. Even though it would be awesome if it was, ha. Either way, starting a ‘real’ business has been quite a trip. I have run really, really large web projects in the past - even some that felt like their own businesses - but none that relied solely on the public’s whims. Especially musician’s whims. So this once presents new challenges. I’d like to note to all that this is indeed our ‘beta’ and that being privately ‘micro-funded’ as I call it has its pluses and also has a few negatives that you might not think of. And no, I am never 100% satisfied with anything - and the design/interface if no exception to this rule - we are already working on phases 2 of this. Either way, I love it…this ‘beta’ will grow, change, stretch, bend, mold, and probably break a few times - but I really believe in it, and I am absolutely thrilled with the ‘engine’ behind the payment piece that I think artists will love. I got a handful tricks up my sleeve. Thanks to all who helped during the process - a huge thank you to my investors. So yeah…here is to risk, reward, and sleepless nights. ***alright Chuck or Virgil, post something today so this doesn’t look like such shameless promotion! This post was longer than I wanted it to be…

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Godfathers never die!

The thing about James Brown that was so amazing is that you can pinpoint his impact on music, without any sort of question at all. He’s one guy that people would literally steal his style or blatantly pay tribute and it was all together accepted. From a djing perspective the catalog of James Brown works in every djing arena there is, from Hip Hop kids to grown folks. I can’t count how many times those snares, rhythms and lyrics saved me. I was fortunate to play with Clyde Stubblefield, James Brown’s drummer for whom the term “funky drummer” came from. The stories he told were almost unbelievable. James Brown had depth as a person and musician and will be missed in his passing. Thankfully his music will last generations. Last Christmas I gave my Dad a James Brown performance DVD and just watching that in the living room had the family dancing. Pick any one of them up, you won’t be disappointed. Check out this Giles Peterson mix for a soulful work day on a much less glamorous keyboard.

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Fresh artists for 2007!!!

Happy new year! I always feel so refreshed in the beginning of a new year. Just feel like I can start things with a clean slate, change things up, take new approaches to work and life, etc… Anyways, I’m back to my posts about artists I love, and who better to start with than photographer Kalle Gustafsson. I mean, wow… truly a forward-thinking photographer. Kalle’s work really is just beautiful. The coloration of the photos, the classic, vintage feel, and for the life of me I cannot get over the first photo in the ‘travel’ section. Not much more I can say - you need to just look at the work for yourself and be wowed…Next up is Marco Cibola. Marco is a super nice guy first off - I met him last year in Toronto at Magic Pony Gallery…I’ve always loved his linework and portrait drawings, but lately I’ve been very intrigued by the patterns and colors he’s using as fills inside his work. The piece for TIME is just awesome - specifically #2 ‘Japan Takes Flight’. I love that…and the Arkitip stuff of course too. Really, all of it is great…Next up - and you’ve certainly seen his work before - Stanley Donwood. Stanley does a lot of the album art for Radiohead and most recently did the work for Thom Yorke’s “The Eraser”. He has some gorgeous prints available on his shop. The work he did for the ‘Hail to the Thief’ cover is one of my favorites…Lastly but totally not leastly (?), I’ve gotta give some love to my good friend Nigel Dennis of ElectricHeat. Nigel has been doing some of his best work lately in my opinion, and he’s sure to knock out even more awesome stuff this new year…look out for some collaborations between me and him too…Alright - that’s my little list for today. Preettttty, prettyy, preetttyyy…...pretty good.

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Thom Yorke video tracks…

Yeah, Chuck told me about these…but there was some other site that had some for free download or something that I missed. When I think of Radiohead and Thom Yorke – I think music snobbery right away – both sides. One, that says Thom is mainstream and he isn’t cool anymore. Two, that Thom Yorke being talked about on THE BRILLIANCE by that kid that always talks about hip-hop is just to show juxtaposition. Ha…maybe I over analyzed that. These songs, specifically ‘Videotape’, are perfect - check them on iTunes. Chuck and I have been talking about music quite a bit lately, specifically listening to music in context, which is how I have always consumed music. I guess you could say everyone listens to music in context – or you could side with Masta Killa that the ‘dumb are mostly intrigued by the drum’. When I listen to Radiohead and/or Thom Yorke its…always an experience. I listen to their music in the context of relaxation, spaced-out-ness, and for creative inspiration. And being able to watch Thom perform a song with just him and a piano but have it sound so multi-layered is a tribute to his ability to create soundtracks for your imagination. If you have any crazy unreleased b-sides or whatever, hit me up at our main email or my personal if you got it.

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Toyota’s FT-HS…keep this stuff coming!

We’ve got some momentum with these cars – let’s keep it going…honestly! This one is quite nice, while its not totally electric like the Tesla – it’s a great step forward. A hybrid sports car that doesn’t looks ridiculous – actually that’s a matter of opinion on this one, but I love the hard lines on this one. Not a huge amount to say on this without reading the article, which I just briefly read at the grocery store, but the main idea is that you have an amazingly fast (400bhp) hybrid, great design, some crazy interior treatments, and an interesting launch proposal. What makes the launch of this car interesting is that it would replace Toyota’s Supra (their relatively non-green flag-ship sports car) with a hybrid. They would be the first car company to do such a thing…good for them. I would prefer a totally electric sports car, but until the prices of batteries come down its going to be hard to convince someone with an entry-level Aston budget to get an exhaustless ride.

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This UNIQLO magazine thing!!!

Gap, J. Crew, Banana Republic…welcome to a game of catch up. WOW. I knew Uniqlo was on point but this look book/magazine is just fantastic. This stuff couldn’t be any less expensive. They make the most basics of basics POP with their presentation and have a swagger that is very fashionable. The prices are almost too reasonable. I didn’t see anything I wanted that was over $80. As cool as H&M is I don’t think they can do the un-stylistic, timeless thing nearly as clean. I guess a company that has Masamichi Katayama buildout the flagship store is smarter than the average. I really hope this brand has a larger impact. The standard of American everyday fashion is moving in the right direction but Uniqlo’s investment in the US raises the bar of ‘boring fashion’.

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Safari anyone?

This is concept retailing at its finest. F. M. Allen is a one-stop shop for all things safari related on Madison Ave in New York. As you can see by their website they are not playing around. They can cater to the interior designer, safari fanatic and extreme vacationer all at once. You can actually book a trip to Botswana and get outfitted for the trip all in one afternoon. All of the resorts they book look spectacular. You gotta wonder what the price tag is on one of these trips to the bush? I think just convinced myself I need to go on a safari one day…so nostalgic. I can see it now, Purdey elephant gun (just for looks…shooting animals is barbaric to me), linen safari shirt, pocket watch, brass telescope, and one of those hats….day dream….I fell asleep amongst the flowers…

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Diller Scofidio, on the move with ICA!!

How ironic is it that I found out about this super modern building while watching This Old House, my Saturday morning non-cable routine. Laugh it up. But they did a construction walk-through of the ICA which are always as cool and sometimes better than the finished product. What make this building stand out is the HUGE cantilever balancing over the riverwalk. You could tell from the renderings that that is gonna be an awesome space. The interior is super impressive with natural light in the galleries and crazy tech’ed out features. The whole discussion among the architecture vs. the artwork in them is that architects need to back off and not outshine the art, but I think both sides need to really push their limits and give the people a memorable experience, not what they expect. Whether or not that architecture is good needs to be hashed out within architecture. I am feeling this project tho. The Diller Scofidio US portfolio is definitely on the move.

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Magazine love!!!

Sorry for the huge lack of posts from me for the last few weeks! I have no excuse except that work has kept me overwhelmed, busy, and completely occupied the entire month of December. Sometimes I forget that posting here on THE BRILLIANCE is supposed to be a break for me from that stuff and should alllow me to think about and share things that aren’t work-related…Plus, my man Shawn over at Sony/BMG threatened my life if he didn’t start seeing some new posts from me on here. I owe him anyways… annnnnywaaayyys…. Magazines. What can I say? I spend a considerable amount of time in bookstores…kind of a bookstore junky…most of the time I end up with a literal pile of magazines and I thought I’d touch on a few of my favorites, specifically three I subscribe to…Dwell, National Geographic Traveler, and Islands. Dwell really needs no introduction. Probably the most wonderfully designed, substantial magazine on shelves in recent years. Truly an inspiring magazine…seeing beautiful, clean, modern design blending seamlessly with efforts to inspire and create more sustainable, affordable, and environment-friendly things… Next, National Geographic Traveler. My fiancee got me a subscription to this magazine last year and I must say, my eyes have since been opened to a world (literally) of new places I want to visit. Amalfi Coast in Italy, Namibia, Palawan in the Philippines… Always great narratives, reviews of places, and amazing photography…which transitions nicely into the last magazine. My “sweet tooth cure” magazine so-to-speak, and I know Ben would agree…Islands. There is nothing like looking through Islands magazine on a cold, icy, December day in Chicago. Seriously. Nothing like it…your mind just wanders uncontrollably. Another magazine that has led me to want to travel more and more. Places like Rarotonga, Christmas Island, Bohol(!!!), the Yucatan Peninsula, and of course Bora Bora (which I do believe I’ll be visiting in August!). Anyways, let your mind wander with any of these magazines…so much inspiration and excitement to be found… ***Agreed, Islands magazine never gets old, my favorite issue is the one with Palau on the cover - benjamin

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Dov Charney sells American Apparel!

An interesting move…no? I mean, yes – almost every business owner has a number they will sell their business for, in this case it was around $260M. And acquisitions can be great for a brand. But I just didn’t really see Mr. Dov selling his company…he seems so ingrained in it, part of his whole personality. He’ll stay CEO, but from what I understand he is quite the entrepreneur – so what’s next? I heard there is mad money in the internet these days – if you can make a site where people can share photos or talk to each other you’ll be rich!!! Ha. Either way, congrats to Dov…fun fact for our readers, he was one of the first people we were going to interview. Had a phone call with him and everything…didn’t pan out. It’s okay, I still love their nylon track jackets and new striped tees.