A mask can be used to view the world through - yet it also allows the world to observe you.
A Grave With No Name has recently become obsessed with masks, allowing it to re-shape his songwriting in curious ways.
The unique London talent is currently preparing his new studio album 'Wooden Mask', and it takes this imagery, and these metaphors, to new levels.
The songwriter explains: "Whereas my previous albums have been preoccupied with loss, Wooden Mask is a meditation on renewal, using ritual and ceremony as a means to explore this theme."
Out on August 12th, Clash caught up with A Grave With No Name to discuss extra-curricular activities in Culture Clash.
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I’ve recently finished reading ‘Lonesome Dove’ by Larry McMurty, an epic 850-page Pulitzer Prize-winning western, chronicling a cattle drive through the American frontier which is the first piece of art since ‘Friday’, (the 1995 movie starring Ice Cube) to bring me to tears. Film A crime drama from 2007 called ‘Frozen River’, about two single mothers – one white, one Mohawk – drawn into the world of border smuggling across the frozen St. Lawrence River. It’s a film of small, powerful gestures, and all the more affecting for it.
I’ve recently rediscovered the Mount Eerie LP ‘No Flashlight’. I’m drawn to artists who expand and refine the universe they have created with each release, meaning you can return to the shadowy, unloved corners of their catalogue after some time away from their work, only to find that the record that you didn’t take much notice of when you were last there, has grown in significance for you.
Unfortunately Phil's wife, Geneviève Elverum, a talented musician and visual artist, passed away recently, so my thoughts are with him and his family at this sad time.
Alaskan Bush People – a reality show on the Discovery Channel about a family living in the Alaskan wilderness. It’s completely fake, but then again who isn’t?
Since Chicago customs kindly smashed my old guitar on my way to Nashville to record my last album ‘Feathers Wet, Under the Moon’, I decided to buy myself a decent instrument for the first time, and ended up with a Gibson LG1, an acoustic guitar from the 50’s, and we have become inseparable.
I don’t play video games often, but my girlfriend has this app on her phone called Akinator, which is based on 20 questions – you think of a character from film, or TV; then a genie - the Akinator - asks you a series of questions; and then he guesses it correctly every single time without fail. The little motherfucker is undefeatable.
The exhibition that has stayed with me the most was a commission by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot in the Curve gallery at Barbican where the space was turned into a walk-through aviary for a flock of finches, furnished with electric guitars and percussion. The birds would settle on the amplified instruments, producing sounds inextricably linked to their movements and behaviours.
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A Grave With No Name will release new album 'Wooden Mask' on August 12th.