Monday, July 23, 2018

El Ten Eleven, The Flat Lay & Bike Party

Weekly Update 2018-30: The instrumental awesomeness of El Ten Eleven, exploring the meaning behind the flat lay and attending a Toronto Cruisers Bike Party.

Music: El Ten Eleven
I believe I first heard the music of El Ten Eleven through Gary Hustwit's 2007 film Helvetica, the first in a three-part docuseries on design. The LA-based postrock duo make music that sounds like there are many more musicians behind it, layering all sorts of sounds for something full and enveloping. I also like that their music is largely instrumental, making it suitable for all sorts of concentration-based tasks.

I remember the last time the band toured Toronto was on my birthday in 2014, which I regrettably missed. They are releasing some new music, so perhaps I'll have another chance soon.

El Ten Eleven is featured on my No Words playlist, featuring music without vocals.

Last week was full of fun summer activities, I am slowly working down my bucket list for the hot months. I went to a classical music concert at Koerner Hall on Thursday, saw a Drive-In movie on Friday and rode in a Bike Rave on Saturday.

I also took a bit of time today to sit in Ireland Park and watch the boats on the water. It was super peaceful and breezy.

This week is the Beaches Jazz Fest, which means lots of crowded and high-energy drumming shows this weekend. The Street Festival part is actually a pretty cool spot, quite a lengthy walk down Queen St E, which I never otherwise go to. Check out the lineup and see my band TDot Batu!

Random Thought: The Flat Lay
Say what you will about Instagram, but it cannot be contested that the platform brings about new and interesting trends in photography every once in a while. Take the now-classic flat lay for example. Lay out some everyday objects in a haphazard arrangement on a single-colour table background, preferably beside a window. Position your iPhone parallel above the table, you'll probably have to stand on a chair. Bonus points if you can get someone's hands in the shot. Soften the shadows in Photoshop, and voila:

Circles are another prevalent theme.

Technically, you'd need two iPhones for this one.

A post shared by Chloe Silver (@chloesil) on
I even made one - valentines from my coworkers last year.

Other than the pleasantly round shapes and soft colours, I wondered exactly what was so alluring about these photos, both to arrange and capture and to view. I think it's because they tell such a strong narrative, and it immediately envelops the viewer in the first person. The items are arranged to suggest a narrative like sitting in a coffee shop or having breakfast or costructing a flower crown, and they're arranged at an angle that suggests that the viewer of the photo is the one at the center of the narrative. It's really quite an intriguing thought, when applied while gazing on a photo.

That aspect of the photography style lends itself well to tutorials, such as the ever-popular Buzzfeed Tasty video series on Facebook. Watching someone prepare and cook food in first person view gives a sort of fake feeling of accomplishment to the viewer, imagining that they are the one who made the food. Gosh knows I've saved enough of those videos on Facebook only to have them collect dust in a digital folder in a dark corner of the internet somewhere.

Inspiration: Bike Party
After coming so close on so many occasions, I was finally able to attend my first bike party in Toronto. 50 or so people and their bright light-adorned bikes showed up to Christie Pits Park on Saturday night to ride all over the city. We biked 30km and I truly felt that we were able to overtake the roads in ways I could never do on my own. It was very empowering. Riding in a pack certainly has its advantages.

The event was completely free, and boasted nothing more than a good old time biking around at night with some pretty lights. Simplicity at its best.

Follow Toronto Cruisers to join the next one!

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