Sunday, June 25, 2017

Boris, Reddit & Fruit Salad Club

Weekly Update 2017-26: Grunge rock from cult-classic Japanese rock band Boris, navigating the black-hole vortex that is Reddit, and hanging out in Portland with Fruit Salad Club.

Music: Boris
I am becoming a cult-listener of a lot of obscure bands lately - the latest instalment a three-piece called Boris from Japan. With only 30,000 monthly listeners worldwide (via Spotify), this band has a fan following that takes the music very seriously. Labelled as sludge/doom rock and with heavy inspiration from the Melvins, their heavily downtuned guitar and bass tones mixed with very slow tempos will relax you in only a song or two. Especially since their albums have been heavily experimental, with 60+ minute single tracks filled with drone exploration or minimalist/phase-style music.

They are more easily digested (at least at first) with their 2016 album Pink, which is really growing on me. Check out the song Farewell, and continue on with the whole album if you like it. Electric is also a great, short but sweet little diddy.

I have taken in all the sights and sounds of Portland in the last week, and I am just as enamoured as I was the first time I visited this amazing and weird city. On the design side, I visited six different design/creative studios (special shoutout to you guys for hosting me at all your wonderful spaces), ate about six meals and walked more than 20,000 steps each day (it all levels out, right?), saw the World Naked Bike Ride, took in an indie concert, drank spiritual tea, visited the international rose test garden, and so many more things. This goal of moving to the city feels more tangible now, I was even subconsciously picking out neighbourhoods that would be good to move to as I explored the city.

With all of the inspirational design studio tours done, I'll be reflecting and planning this week about some of my mid-to-long-term plans professionally. It'll be good to think about where my career is going next with this new perspective from such inspiring people.

Random Thought: Reddit for Beginners
Known as the front page of the internet, Reddit is the black hole of any and all information about everything (the more obscure, the better) you could ever want to know.

As a person who isn't a heavy user of Reddit, I do find it has its uses. Music festivals are a particularly good topic if you want to get all of the dirty little facts about how best to enjoy your experience - there are always the diehard festival heads who know the ins and outs of the event. But beyond that, while I do have eclectic and somewhat varied interests, I find it hard to navigate the site to get the information that is interesting or relevant to me. I have a theory as to how to find these subreddits:

1) The easy part: think about a passion you may have, like soccer, design, music, video games.
2) The hard part: narrow down your passion to the most specific version of it that still applies. Video games: what console is your favourite? Still not narrow enough; pick a game franchise or game company. Perhaps still not narrow enough; how about a subreddit that only discusses easter eggs hidden within that game franchise or company? There's your subreddit.

Reddit users (redditors, I gather) have varying opinions on how good a subreddit can be based on the amount of subscribed redditors. Too many (think like 25,000) and your posts will be lost in the influx of constant stream of posting. I don't really mind that though, since I'm more of a content consumer than a producer. What with internet trolls, I generally don't post unless I have a specific question that I am sure hasn't yet been addressed by someone else. And it usually has.

On the other hand, if a subreddit has less than 1,000 users, unless there are some devoted users keeping the discussion fresh, you may have gone too niche and might have to bring yourself back into the generality a little.

I am by no means a reddit expert, so if you have any suggestions on how to find the right subreddits, let me know!

Inspiration: Fruit Salad Club
Last Wednesday night in North Portland, I had the joy of acquainting myself with Libby and Jillian from Fruit Salad Club. The two talented lades, Libby an artist and designer and Jillian an illustrator, have taken it upon themselves to create a sort of clubhouse/gallery/workspace/party room out of an old tobacco shop and have opened their doors to all sorts of creatives and creative events.

On this particular evening, Fruit Salad Club opened its doors for its inaugural doodle night. I got to hang out in their beautiful space, doodle, chat with other creatives from Portland, and have some laughs as well.

I'm a member!

Put in a token, get an enamel pin!

Even the plants have googly eyes.

The studio's social media bios describe them as “unapologetically silly”. This is something I can get behind. Check out their site here.

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