Recently I happened across a video being created for the title track of Johnny Cash's final studio album, Ain't No Grave, which was released posthumously this year. The video is a collective effort at www.thejohnnycashproject. com. All comers are invited to upload their portrait of Cash to the site – the images are then woven into a video for the song. They've already made versions, but it will continue to evolve as more images are submitted. It sounds gimmicky, but on the version I watched it was quite impressive and moving – it helps that the song is great.
Chris Morris ramped up the emotional impact of the final scene of his satire Four Lions by soundtracking it with Aphex Twin's stunning "Avril 14". The minimalist piano piece comes from the producer's 2001 LP Drukqs. The track has now been repurposed by Kanye West: in his short film "Runaway" there was a song called "Blame Game", which sampled Aphex Twin's delicate piano loop. It has yet to appear on Kanye West's Good Fridays free music offerings, but you can find it at ind.pn/dynzaK. Before you cry sacrilege, I think it sounds pretty good in this new setting. That said, as with Cash (see left), "Avril 14" is such a fine work, it could survive most appropriations.
Skinner returns to Twitter
Last week, Mike Skinner, aka The Streets, returned to Twitter (@skinnermike), exactly a year after he had last posted. He linked to a video on his newly revamped website, the-streets.co.uk. The video was for "Trust Me", a galloping electro jam he had previously leaked on Twitter in 2009: the video itself looks nice but is fairly unremarkable, though its appropriation of modern art and design is somewhat Kanye West-like.
Meanwhile, the site has a countdown clock in the top-left-hand corner: it began working its way down from 101 days. Some music bloggers have done the maths – it leads to the 7 February. Perhaps a new album will arrive on that date?
Crystal Castles find a cure for love
I am taken with a new track by Crystal Castles. They covered "Not in Love" by the Canadian new wavers Platinum Blonde for their second album released in the summer, and now they've revisited the song with vocals by Robert Smith of The Cure. The song is great with the Canadian duo's electro noise working perfectly with Smith's distinctive voice. They're releasing it as a single, but you can download it at ind.pn/agwPpB.
The whole thing is a little head-spinning though: the Canadian electro goths combined with a new wave goth covering Canadian new wave – like a strange doom-laden indie Venn diagram.