Seeing us through to the end of the year we’ve reached out to a number of our favourite artists and cultural creatives to join us in celebrating good things. A bunch of five things that make their world go around, inspire them or just need celebrating for what they are. There’s no theme here. It’s no kind of “best of year” round-up. These are just five things of the many things identified as making the world a better place to be. We’re all about positivity. Almost all of the time. We promise…
Monde UFO are an LA based duo comprising Ray Monde and Kris Chau. Mixing jazz with otherworldly sounds from analogue synths and singing bowls theirs is a unique low-fi psychedelic space groove which founds its way out of our speakers via their fantastic debut album 7171. One half of the magical Monde UFO has chosen today’s bunch of five. Take it away Ray...
Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman, Marion Brown, Eric Dolphy, Jackie Maclean, John Lurie. Seems to be the saxophone people just chance upon it and it holds them for life. Student models, plastic ones etc. I have my brothers from when we were in Catholic school. This thing has been abused by generations of kids who are pissed they have to carry more shit to school. But something about the lineage you just can’t beat.
Without a doubt no type of surfboard has held my mind conceptually more than the Displacement Hull. Basically an outdated design since the early 1970’s, this is the true beginnings of the “short board revolution.” The concept qualifies somewhat more as a short longboard (endless summer) than a contemporary hi-performance short board (Kelly Slater). Hulls are disk-like in shape with highly refined paper thin edges, crazy contours, and a rounded belly entry that displaces water like an actual ship instead of planing directly on top. Ask anyone who “can surf” (rippers) they will tell you “those things don’t work.” And honestly they do not really work. You will never see one surf on an Olympic level. But it must be said there truly is something in the feeling of doing a bottom turn on a Displacement Hull that feels like nothing else in surfing. The way these surfboards feel the curvature of a wave, and the unique approach they command of you when actually surfing consistently fascinates me. Not to mention the design aspects. Very complicated foiling, unique outlines make the the various forms of hulls visually amazing to look at. But like any true love, after a prolonged period of time they drive me crazy. Hulls suck surfing backside, turn like shit and don’t really work well in critical surf (which I am not in often). Cultish as they say, I am resigned to this Catholic guilt of surf boards never quite removing them once and for all from my quiver.
The Magician from Riga! The 1960 Latvian world chess champion. Known for his improvisation and unpredictability. Some consider him the most creative and daring chess champion to ever live! Lover of sacrificing his queen, boozing, and smoking cigs. Tal was an esteemed chess writer. Sort of like a communist beatnik character or like the dude version of Queens Gambit. I would say the ultimate goal in playing style. It has been said that "Every game for him was as inimitable and invaluable as a poem.”
Football in Italy. So much weird mayhem! Constant financial irregularities (Rubentus). Pilgrimages to the Vatican by bicycle for non relegation (Nicola). UFOs over stadiums (Stadio Franchhi). The oddity is a constantly stoked fire. Though by blood I'm only a quarter Italian or a half assed Italian (American) as my grandmother would say. Culturally its been the most prevalent in my life. Growing up on the east coast a couple hours outside of New York City will have its impact. Some of my earliest memories are watching my favorite player Roberto Baggio (Il Divin Codino) on our “Greatest Goals 1994 World Cup” VHS. I eventually became an AC Milan supporter and suffered through the worst Champions League final ever in Istanbul 2005. But outside of the Champions League and the World Cup, calcio is fairly scarce in the United States making my take somewhat twisted. Unfortunately like most weirdos I fell into a punk/sports hiatus for a good decade. I got into doing drugs, playing weird music and distancing myself from athletics. Something about the community bonding sports have re-sparked my interest. With the rise of streaming and podcasts in recent years I have been able to follow Milan and Serie A in a way I never have been before. Games start between 6-11:30 Am. So low key, to have a coffee and watch a match like Torino and Udinese on a Monday morning rules. My friend Niccolo who runs Quindi Records in Florence is a calcio referential genius. Consistently sending iconic goals, propaganda against Juventus or some sexy George Weah clips. The top players in the world may no longer be in Italy but something about how it is a safety net for the freaks (Zlatan, Mourinho etc) gives it the edge for me over any other league in the world.
Witness of Another World
Due to the band name Monde UFO I feel like I have to address a bit of UFO’s…And in my opinion this is the best UFO doc ever made …by far… Honestly my UFO intake has greatly halted since I watched this doc. It was like a cadence I didn’t think I needed in my understanding of the phenomena. First of all it has Jacques Vallee. Who is my personal favorite ufologist. The first Monde record has a bunch of homages to him including the title “7171” which is an entity he had contact with. For pop culture cred, the French guy in Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” is based on Vallee. Most UFO docs create this atmosphere of paranoia (that I kind of enjoy TBH lol) but isn’t always necessary. This doc is far from that. It addresses human nature in way that all people can relate with. Themes of misunderstanding, loneliness, and depression take precedent over say fear or government intervention. Let's put it this way, I’ve never felt like crying during a UFO doc until this one. When ever people ask me what to watch when it comes to aliens I always reply WITNESS OF ANOTHER WORLD!
Monde Ufo can be found on Bandcamp where you can get their very highly recommended debut album in case you missed it. There’s a great session with them over at Aquarium Drunkard where they play Fugazi covers and their most recent release is the 4 Songs EP which is streaming now.