For the past few months, I seem to have been in denial of my age. Whether it is the teenagers that I work with at my part time job, or the freshmen that dominate the campus each September, it just feels as if time is moving too fast. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that anyone older than I am should be feeling this way - it just seems as I have arrived at this stage quicker than expected. However, after attending Ernest Greene's (Washed Out) Paracosm Tour in Toronto two nights ago, and Lucy Rose's show almost a week before, did I slowly become at ease with my age. Having attended concerts since my teens, I was used to crowds of pushy teenagers fighting to get to the front, arguing over nothing at all. Thus, attending shows with age limits will still be new to me, even with a few years in. The crowd is more mature, we're all basically taking a break from our busy schedules to have a good night and to enjoy some good music. With that thought, my insecurities that come with being in a field of intense competitiveness drifted away as I realized - once again - that my main goal is to be me, to continue to grow and become a better person, as is everyone else. I guess the ethereal feeling that lingered around the venue after Washed Out's performance really made a lasting impact on me. The album Paracosm helped me step out of the idea that the older you get, the more chained down you are by obstacles. I need to view these obstacles as opportunities and the more that I tackle down, the closer I get to attaining my dream job.
It's safe to say that I adore the idea, cover art, and overall vibe of Paracosm. While Google defines the title as "a prolonged fantasy world invented by children; can have a definite geography and language and history," Sub Pop! Records described it as:
"...a phenomenon in which people create detailed imaginary worlds, and the idea of escaping is all over Paracosm’s music and lyrics. Paracosm finds Greene reaching beyond the computers and synths that filled Washed Out’s previous recordings, expanding his sonic palette to include over 50 different instruments, the most significant of which turned out to be old keyboards like the Mellotron, Chamberlin, Novatron, and Optigan." -Sub Pop! Records
It is always fascinating to find out how musicians and designers started with their creations. Watching Greene sample all kinds of instruments on The Creators Project was certainly eye opening. I was equally as thrilled to find out who the designer of the Paracosm cover art was. Sara Cwynar, currently a designer at The New York Times Magazine, is an alumni of York University's BDES Honours Program. Here's what she had to say about the cover (view cover in the video below):
“Ernest (the man behind Washed Out) really wanted the art to look natural and low-fi. He wrote all the songs in a house in in the country outside Athens, Georgia looking out into a lush natural setting and wanted the art to reflect the surreal, natural landscape where the songs were made, and also the warmer, analog instruments he used for this record as opposed to the digital feel of the last one.
I worked with found images of flowers from the New York Public Library and manipulated the images in photoshop and with some hand drawing to push the illustrations to look more surreal than the found pictures, then I layered them into the pattern to create the cover.”
I am always looking forward to learning new techniques to create, thus it was interesting to find out how Cwynar went about to execute this project. Overall, I'm thoroughly impressed with Paracosm. This month has been filled with good music and I'm looking forward to seeing Bastille on the 25th... and possibly more music induced self reflections, oh boy.