Thursday, January 20, 2011

#7 Joanna Newsom: Blue Horizons and Caramel Skies

Today we have Pitchfork's #7 album of 2010, Joanna Newsom's Have One on Me. I chose to take a look at the track below mainly because it has less of her and her harp and more layers of other instruments giving it a richer visual connection. Have a listen.


"Good Intentions Paving Company" by Joanna Newsom (2010)

The driving, repetitive bass in the piano really grounds the whole track and gives it a sense of constantly moving forward, even when the vocals seem to wind and get lost. To me it appeared almost like a deep blue horizon, disappearing into the distance while the vocals, horns, and other instruments became a sort of hazy, caramel-colored sky.

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The sky seemed to ooze like a heavy syrup, as though the entire atmosphere was a vat of caramel being stirred, and the different tones were a result of adding in more ingredients and stirring again, so that the caramel was rich beautiful swirls of different colors.

Golden Caramel Drop Pendant Necklace
Golden caramel drop pendant necklace by Glitterbird Glamour $22

The dark blue horizon, on the other hand, seemed to race by.  It was as though you could dimly make out the edges of a road ahead reaching out to the line of the horizon, but by the time you even noticed those edges, you'd already driven beyond that point.  

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Blue origami petal skirt by Minx Shop $110

All in all, aside from the more gentle middle section when the piano line drops out, Newsom's song creates a tremendous sense of rapid speed and oozing flow, without being either of those.  The song is pretty mellow, certainly not fast, and the singing and horns are actually fairly disjointed at times, rather than syrupy and smooth, making this particular visual relationship that much more remarkable.

I opted not to try and create a look based on Joanna Newsom, only because her earlier woodland nymph days have morphed into a more hard-edged, modern fashion aesthetic and as she goes through the transition, it's hard to pin down a specific look. So instead I decided to focus on her instrument of choice (the harp) and see if I could make a look based on it's structural characteristics.  Hope you like it!

1960s vintage TWEED TIE WAIST coat

Vintage 1960s tweed tie waist coat from greatest friend $124
Layered cocoon dress by BCBG Max Azria $95
Baroque carved heel shoes by Miu Miu

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