Thursday, November 09, 2006

None Shall Pass

Anticipating a small window of opportunity, my brother G and I headed out Sunday at 6 a.m. in hopes of catching a brief reprieve in the otherwise stormy winter conditions that have been hitting Oregon lately.

Lack of surf and the inevitable jonzing-induced optimism that comes with it, prohibited us from reading any writing on the wall with regards to the realistic potential for surfable surf. Perhaps our most telltale sign that today was not the day to go surfing was the big branch that had fallen across our usual path to the beach.

Not to be deterred, G and I pressed on until we reached our usual spot-check point. With dense fog covering the entire beach, spot-checking had to take on the sonic varietal.

“Definitely sounds like there are waves.” Said G.

Giving new meaning to “You gotta go to know”, G and I suited up and paddled out into the abyss. There were definitely waves - an endless wall of 15 footers and white water to be precise. We made it no further than the inside reforms.

Adding injury to insult, my bro’s “wave”-of-the-day ended with him being surprised to see me emerge from the white water which caused him to accidentally shot the nose of his board into the side of my face in an effort not to run me over. God bless the 5-mil hoody.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Rain Delay

Thanks to a little help from my friends, I was finally able to move the half-pipe I bought over a month ago from the previous owner’s barn to my backyard. Unfortunately Mother Nature wasn’t as helpful as my fellow soon-to-be shredders so the bruises and breaks will need to wait until things dry up a bit.

Gracias Chum, Nash and brother G.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

A sell out and proud of least for now.

The latest LCD Soundsystem’s album has received critical acclaim. Pitchfork, perhaps the most discerning indie hipster in the crowd, gave the album an 8.0, the literary equivalent to a worship bow. While it’s little surprise that an LCD album should be well received by the critical masses, it is surprising that this particular album has been.

The album, titled 45:33, was commissioned and released by Nike, meaning that LCD aka James Murphy, created an entire album that bares his name and is branded with a Nike swoosh, a fact that has not been lost on the critics. In fact, nearly every critic has addressed the topic of “selling-out” in their write-ups but subsequently have gone on to evaluate the album for what it is, a decent 45 minutes of electronic music.

I find the critical acceptance of 45:33 quite comforting. Primarily because I work for Nike and I’m responsible for cranking out more albums baring the names of top artists along with the Nike swoosh. The acceptance of this album invariably makes my job easier. The album along with Murphy’s sincere album notes outlining his creative approach and impetus for doing this project, has shown that an artist does not have to check his soul at the door of corporations provided it’s the right opportunity.

In this specific case, the opportunity was to combine Nike’s running insight with Murphy’s musical genius to create 45-minutes of music for runners. To do this we (Nike) commissioned Murphy and provided him with a brief outlining the general structure of a 45 minute run, i.e 8-10 minute warm up, 25-30 steady drive, and a 8-10 minute cool down. In the briefing we said something along the lines of “Think of this like you would playing to a packed club, you want to take them up, keep them up and then bring them back down.” It was clear from the get-go, however, that Murphy didn’t need a musical reference, he understood the task at hand. After the briefing, Murphy went away and did what he does best: made great music and thus 45:33.

The other reason I find comfort in the way that 45:33 has been received is that it makes me feel a little better about the fact that I have worked in the corporate world for the past 10 years (all at Nike). While I’m by no means an artist like Murphy, I do have the occasional artistic tendency and/or ambition and have often toiled with the idea that I should be doing something a bit more…er…artistic.

10 years ago I abandoned my dream of playing professional soccer and signed up with Nike. Over the years I have dabbled in various creative endeavors (writing mostly) but my livelihood has always come by way of my work at Nike, work that has always demanded a combination of creativity and athletic insight. On good days, I see my job as a continuous articulation of the music brief we gave LCD, i.e. my job is to create something inspirational and useful for athletes. On bad days, I see my job as a glorified shoe salesman. The critical acceptance of 45:33 has helped make today a good day.

Related articles:
The Year 'Selling Out' Broke
The Daily Californian
By Tyler McCauley