Thing of the Day


January 15th 2011

.  A gathering together in one nice neat place of loads of things from 90’s Chicago noise band Big’n…  Read more...

A thing of the day, once a day, every day, that’s the thing, and today the new VESSELS album has landed. Helioscope is the name of the new album, first impressions are good Shepard Fairey Obama wall, Photo by Sushiesqueones, expansive post-rock euphoria done the Vessels way, those build-and-break dynamics, and more words than you might be expecting, not just an instrumental band. The new Vessels album is a thing for another day though, seeing as it comes out on March 21st; we’ll kick in with some radio play this coming Sunday, that’s how we like to spend our Sundays, kicking in with radio play. We’ll hit you with an album review in a few weeks time, we're likeing what we hear first time around.

    I was kind of looking forward to the Shepard Fairey copyright court battle showdown thing, all kinds of interesting argument there. For what it is or isn’t worth, it turned out that acclaimed street artist Fairey was right to believe (and still believe) he was in the right. Seems that Shepard and Associated Press, owners of the photo that the Obama Hope artwork evolved out of, have come to an agreement.  This statement has just appeared on the websites of Shepard Fairey and The AP:

   "The Associated Press, Shepard Fairey, and Mr. Fairey’s companies Obey Giant Art, Inc., Obey Giant LLC, and Studio Number One, Inc., have agreed in principle to settle their pending copyright infringement lawsuit over rights in the Obama Hope poster and related merchandise.
   Mr. Fairey used an AP portrait photograph of Mr. Obama in making the Hope poster.  Mr. Fairey did not license the photograph from the AP before using it.  The AP contended that Mr. Fairey copied all of the original, creative expression in the AP’s photograph without crediting or compensating the AP, and that Mr. Fairey’s unlicensed use of the photograph was not a fair use.  Mr. Fairey claimed that he did not appropriate any copyrightable material from the AP’s photo, and that, in any event, his use of the photograph constituted a fair use under copyright law.
   In settling the lawsuit, the AP and Mr. Fairey have agreed that neither side surrenders its view of the law.  Mr. Fairey has agreed that he will not use another AP photo in his work without obtaining a license from the AP.  The two sides have also agreed to work together going forward with the Hope image and share the rights to make the posters and merchandise bearing the Hope image and to collaborate on a series of images that Fairey will create based on AP photographs.  The parties have agreed to additional financial terms that will remain confidential.
   “The Associated Press is pleased to have reached resolution of its lawsuit with Mr. Fairey,” said Tom Curley, president and CEO.  “AP will continue to celebrate the outstanding work of its award-winning photographers and use revenue from the licensing of those photos to support its mission as the essential provider of news and photography from around the world.  The AP will continue to vigilantly protect its copyrighted photographs against wholesale copying and commercialization where there is no legitimate basis for asserting fair use.”
   “I am pleased to have resolved the dispute with the Associated Press,” said Mr. Fairey.  “I respect the work of photographers, as well as recognize the need to preserve opportunities for other artists to make fair use of photographic images.  I often collaborate with photographers in my work, and I look forward to working with photos provided by the AP’s talented photographers".
  The AP’s copyright infringement lawsuit against Obey Clothing, the marketer of apparel with the Hope image, remains ongoing.”

There’s an interesting comment on the Vandalog pages:

   While Shepard claims to still believe that he is in the right in this issue due to fair use, both this settlement and his post-lawsuit behaviour says that he is, at least, being much more careful about appropriating imagery. It sounds like the settlement may result in a series of licensed AP/Shepard Fairey collaborations and Shepard has recently been giving photographers credit for basing his work on their photos and starting to call the work collaborations between him and the photographers, so I’m guessing that he’s licensing those images.
   For artists, it’s too bad that this didn’t end up in court as a test of fair use, but the suit certainly wasn’t helping Shepard, so it’s no surprise that he is now working towards a settlement.
   But it looks like it isn’t all over, with a separate lawsuit continuing against Obey Clothing for pretty much the same reasons. Perhaps the issue of fair use will be sorted out there.

(Obama Hope wall photo by Sushiesque)

Vandalog is always a good place for your daily slice of world-wide street art flavoured news and such -

Would have liked to have seen the outcome and who would argue what in court between yer Obey man Fairey and AP, but then again do we need art cluttered up by arguments like this? Whatever the ruling, rules are there to be broken, right. All art is theft isn’t it? No, all theft is art and well, no, not quite - using a photograph as a source isn’t theft is it? Or is it? Would have been interesting to see what the beak would have had to say. Enough of lawsuits, vandals, vessels, beaks and the rest, on with today’s Thing Of The Day. Today’s Thing is the new BIG ‘N album we briefly mentioned a few days back, here it comes now…

Big N coverALBUM: BIG‘N – Dying Breed (Africantape) – Back then, back when big abrasive noise was flowing out of Chicago (and over here things were lurching in Camden), back when Scissormen were slicing over here, Jesus Lizard over there, when violent skin burning abrasions were happening everywhere and noisestorms of alternative guitar bands were brewing up under every stone you turned, back then, in the early 90’s, there was a band called Big‘n.  Now, Big‘n were a relatively well kept secret to most, part of what can now be described, in a tongue in cheek kind of way, as pre-post rock - that big distorted noise-rock sound that boiled up in the alternative 90’s. Never as big as say Tar or Naked Raygun, Chicago’s Big’n took what you might say was an already proven formula and shoved it all right up there to the maximum. 
   They made some great records back in the 90’s; they kind of fell apart before the support systems of the internet and such really got there to carry the word out like it does for these kind of commercially unrealistic bands now – beautifully uncompromised noise bands that no seriously record company was ever going to bankroll. Those electric networks do carry the word now though, bands can’t actually completely die in these days of the internet, and it seems word of this scathing noise juggernaut that was (and is) Big’n has spread enough to warrant this collecting together of some singles, some unreleased tracks, things off compilations and such. That’s right, sixteen slices of now difficult to find Big’n abrasive knee-skinning goodness gathered together in one neat convenient place. 

   Actually, this all sounds very fresh and very now, not a million miles away from that new Poino album that came out a couple of weeks back, not a million miles to a lot of bands making their early moves now. This is serious bass-heavy discordant (yet well made) noise rock of the highest order, think Colossamite style big blackess, think bign band photonon-stop rumbling roll of riffs and throaty screams for vocals, think SkinGraft noise, think classic left-field Chicago noise rock that always make like some kind of optimist club. This is a collection of edgy recordings made between 1990 and ’95, jagged recordings, awkwardly shouty recordings, car-wreck-good and pecking at your head in the most passionate of ways. All the songs from the early seven inchers remastered from the original tapes along with some demo versions of album tracks and those two massive AC/DC covers that came out as part of the SkinGraft series of four way split seven inch tributes to Angus and company – how outrageously deranged is that filthy version of TNT! 

Most of the time Big’n deal out a low-end discordant rolling rumble of a sound, it is a familiar sound now, lots of bands do this, but they were one of the early wave and they still sound fresher than most. Excellent sixteen track compilation, if you know them already then you’ll be delighted to have these things thought lost all gathered neatly together. If you never heard of them then this is as well worth investigating now as Big’n were back then… Dirty deeds indeed, fine fine band that we almost forgot about, fine fine compilation that pulls it all together in an excellent way.        

DYING BREED is out in Europe on Africantape on February 7th 2011

Big'n 1996  photo by Kim Ambriz

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