Friday, January 21, 2011
#6 Vampire Weekend: Warm Muted Bubblings
Today I'm taking a look at Vampire Weekend's 2010 release Contra which was named the number six album of 2010 by Pitchfork. Since it's snowing (again), I decided to focus on the track with the most obvious use of African pop elements to try and forget the wintry mess here. And while using African elements is sort of their M.O., this track with its overlapping, dampened guitars really stood out.
"White Sky" by Vampire Weekend (2010)
The colors for this track were overwhelmingly warm, mostly oranges and yellows, and they seemed to float up out of sight in irregular shapes, like strange effervescent bubbles. What was also incredible was how the dampened guitar strings sort of muted my whole perception. While the finger-picking gave it that bouncy and bright lightness, the dampening also created a kind of hazy background to the whole thing, like a grey-blue sky. This painting really captures it: VERITY mixed media abstract by Christina Romeo $560
It became a challenge finding fashion pieces that were similar because the floating shapes were so irregular and fabric prints are always so regular. Also, the mixture of bright and muted colors was hard to come by. But finally I stumbled across this dress and it really captured both elements:
Yellow floral silk 'Edythe' pleated dress by Diane Von Furstenberg from Bluefly $239
Another really spectacular visual element of the song was the chorus section, the "aahoooooaah" with the crashing cymbals. These sections didn't interrupt the bubbling motion of the rest of the song, but they would superimpose it with flashing bursts of a pure yellow. This is mostly a result of the cymbals, but the electronically altered voice also has a very bright timbre. Imagine something like this blouse appearing over the other more muted colors:
Sun yellow hand draped halter top by Elika Designs $220
So whether or not you like Vampire Weekend, especially since they became synonymous with holiday car ads, for me this track was at least a refreshing change from the cold white expanse outside my window.
GET THE LOOK: VAMPIRE WEEKEND This band's look is really based on the definition of New England: blazers with solid-colored collared dress shirts and the occasional sweater. Frankly, it's a look that is pretty boring which is surprising considering the vibrant traditions from which much of their music is pulled. That said, on a woman it can be a little more charming, going back to the whole menswear look I've been crazy about lately.
Here are a few vintage pieces to help create the look. The key is mostly neutral colors, tapered trousers, blazers that hit the hips and have the sleeves rolled, and some other menswear touches like plain leather belts and boots. Enjoy!
Vintage camel wool Pendleton blazer from ikoh ikoh $36 Vintage 1970s Brazilian tan oxfords from Catapult Vintage $32 Vintage 1970s collegiate knit vest from Clever Nettle $29 Vintage Levi's 505 straight leg jeans from Le Saispas Vintage $24