Friday, May 20, 2016

Keanan Duffty To Host New Radio Show Called 'Rebel, Rebel' About Fashion, Music

Fashion Times The Latest News, Features and Trends from the Fashion World

May 18, 2016 05:52 PM EDT

Designer and musician Keanan Duffty was recruited by New York radio personality Delphine Blue —who serves as programming director for Little Water Radio — to host his own radio show. "Rebel, Rebel" will be hosted on the South Street Seaport's station every Tuesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. 
The radio show will focus on a mix of music and fashion and kicks off on May 24, WWD reported. Upcoming interview guests include Paper Magazine's Mickey Boardman, Nick Graham, "America's Next Top Model" host and fashion photographer Nigel Barker and Brother Vellies founder Aurora James.

The Little Water Radio station features a range of live on-studio performances, comedy, talk shows and more.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Tokyo Rebel

If you're looking for real Harajuku fashion, you've found it. Tokyo Rebel's mission is to bring the best in authentic Japanese alternative street fashion to the United States. What is Japanese street fashion and why do Tokyo Rebel sell it? Find out more here:

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Keanan Duffty to Host Radio Show

May 13, 2016

Designer Keanan Duffty is now taking the plunge into radio.
Duffty, who is also a musician, will host a new show, Rebel Rebel, on the South Street Seaport’s station Little Water Radio every Tuesday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. He will mix music and fashion on the show.
Upcoming interview guests include Paper Magazine’s Mickey Boardman on May 24, Nick Graham on June 7 and America’s Next Top Model host Nigel Barker and Brother Vellies founder Aurora James later in June.
Duffty was recruited for the show by New York radio personality Delphine Blue, who serves as programming director for Little Water Radio. The station broadcasts from a studio in the city’s Seaport District. The station features a range of live on-studio performances, comedy and talk shows and more.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Isao Tomita, Widely Considered the Father of Japanese Electronic Music, Dies at 84

           By MARGALIT FOX NEW YORK TIMES MAY 11, 2016

At the turn of the 20th century, when Claude Debussy sat down to write his haunting piano piece “Claire de Lune,” he had before him little more than pen, paper and piano.

Toward the end of the century, when Isao Tomita sat down to record the piece, he had before him a thicket that included a Moog synthesizer, comprising (among many other things) a 914 extended range fixed filter bank, two 904-A voltage-controlled low-pass filters, nine 901-B oscillators, four 911 envelope generators, five 902 voltage-controlled amplifiers, a 950 keyboard controller and a 6401 Bode ring modulator; several tape recorders, among them an Ampex MM-1100 16-track and a Sony TC-9040 4-track; two Sony MX-16 mixers; an AKG BX20E Echo unit; an Eventide Clockworks Instant Phaser; two Binson Echorec 2 units; and the electronic keyboard instrument known as a Mellotron.

Released by RCA in 1974, the resulting recording, “Snowflakes Are Dancing,” brought Mr. Tomita — who died on May 5 in Tokyo, at 84, and was widely considered the father of Japanese electronic music — international renown. Nominated for aGrammy Award for best classical album, the record, containing Mr. Tomita’s renditions of a string of Debussy pieces, sold hundreds of thousands of copies, an almost unheard-of feat for a disc at least nominally rooted in the classical world.

It also divided that world, much as the album that inspired it, “Switched-On Bach,” by Walter (now Wendy) Carlos, had done on its release in 1968.

Some critics commended Mr. Tomita for the “exhilarating glee” of his music, as The San Francisco Chronicle wrote in 2000, reviewing a rerelease of “Snowflakes Are Dancing.”

Others huffed and puffed. In 1975, discussing the release that year of Mr. Tomita’s rendition of Mussorgsky’s most famous work, Jack Hiemenz wrote in The New York Times:

“Tomita’s electronic transformation of ‘Pictures at an Exhibition,’ like the job he did on Debussy, will disappoint the more musically minded, though it will just as certainly titillate the quad nuts. It’s another four-ring circus, announcing its intent at the outset by having each note of the striding ‘Promenade’ theme issue coyly from a different speaker — a kind of four-point ‘instant antiphony’ that may well give a listener vertigo.”

Undaunted by reviews, Mr. Tomita continued his work, which was reported to have influenced musicians around the world, among them Stevie Wonder and the Japanese techno-pop group Yellow Magic Orchestra.

His success was all the more noteworthy in that he had had to come to terms on his own with the inscrutable behemoth that was his chosen instrument.

Isao Tomita was born in Tokyo on April 22, 1932. He spent part of his childhood in China, where his father, Kiyoshi, was a physician at a textile mill; the family returned to Japan in 1939.

After World War II ended, the young Mr. Tomita became enraptured by Western classical music, along with jazz and pop, through radio broadcasts by the United States Army of occupation.

“I thought I was listening to music from outer space,” he told the English-language Japanese magazine Tokyo Weekender in 2013. “When I was a child, Japan was closed to Western music.”

As a student at Keio University in Tokyo, where he studied literature, he took private lessons in piano, music theory and Western compositional technique.

He began his career as a composer for Japanese films and television; his credits include the television cartoon known in English as “Kimba the White Lion.”

In the late 1960s, he encountered “Switched-On Bach.” Where that album offered a note-for-note recreation of Bach’s music on a Moog synthesizer, Mr. Tomita was determined to use the instrument to augment classical pieces far beyond the composer’s original intent. (And so he did: His recording ofBach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, for instance, includes synthesized thunderstorms.)

“For the first 20 years of my career, I was looking for some new instrument — there have been no new instruments since Wagner,” Mr. Tomita told The Los Angeles Times in 1999. “Then I discovered the synthesizer, and with that I could create by myself the sounds I wanted to have.”

He scoured the world for one — he could find none in Japan — and in the early 1970s imported a Moog from the United States. Then his troubles began.

“At Customs, they asked me what this machine was,” he recalled in an interview with the online music magazine Resident Advisor. “I told them that it was an instrument, and they didn’t believe me. They said, ‘Then, play it.’” Mr. Tomita continued:

“I wish it was that easy, but it takes a while to even generate something that’s not just noise, so I couldn’t play it in front of them. I pulled out an LP of ‘Switched-On Bach,’ which has a Moog on the cover, and they still didn’t buy it. Eventually I had to ask Moog to send over a photo that shows somebody using a Moog synthesizer onstage.”

Then there was the daunting nature of the machine itself.

“It was hell,” he said in the same interview. “I felt like I just paid loads of money for a big chunk of metal. If I can’t make proper sounds, it’s just junk!

“Also, since Moog was a new kind of instrument, I didn’t have a clue how it was supposed to sound because there wasn’t anything to compare it to. So I started emulating existing sounds, such as a bell or a whistle, and went from there.”

Mr. Tomita’s other recordings include electronic interpretations of Stravinsky’s “Firebird” Suite and Holst’s “The Planets,” both released in 1976, and of Ravel’s “Bolero,” released in 1980.

In later years, he staged live multimedia performances that he called “sound clouds” in cities including New York and Sydney, Australia.

Mr. Tomita’s death was confirmed by his family. His survivors include his wife, Akiko; a daughter, Rie Seno; a son, Masaru; a sister, Shizue Maruyama; four grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Among his best-known recent works was “Symphony Ihatov,” given its world premiere in Tokyo in 2012, with the composer leading the Japan Philharmonic and an accompanying choir.

The symphony’s featured soloist was the synthesized “diva”Hatsune Miku, a singing digital avatar created by the Japanese company Crypton Future Media, who sang and danced Mr. Tomita’s score.

In interviews, Mr. Tomita expressed his gratitude at being able to write for Miku, as she is familiarly known, a cyber-celebrity whose singing was by then garnering millions of views on YouTube.

“I had no idea that she was so popular,” he told Tokyo Weekender. “So I was very pleased that she agreed to work with me.”

Makiko Inoue contributed reporting from Tokyo.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Other Music Record Shop, Yielding to Trends, Will Close


Other Music has been a staple in the East Village since the mid-1990s.CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

When Other Music, the scrappy East Village record store, opened in 1995, it existed in the shadow of Tower Records, which ran the entire city block across East Fourth Street. By 1998, Virgin Megastore was a short walk away in Union Square.

Yet Other Music, known for its dedication to underground and experimental artists, outlived both — Tower shut its 89 American stores in 2006, while Virgin closed in 2009. In the face of a shrinking music industry, the longevity of this small shop could be seen as a win for the niche, the curated, even the slightly snobby. But it couldn’t last.

As sales of physical music continue to plummet, a no-frills independent record store makes increasingly less sense as a business: Other Music will shut its doors and mail-order service on June 25, more than 20 years after its debut in this once artistically vibrant neighborhood. (Other Music Recording Co., a label associated with the store since 2012, will continue.)

“We still do a ton of business — probably more than most stores in the country,” said Josh Madell, 45, a co-owner of Other Music, from behind the counter last week. “It’s just the economics of it actually supporting us — we don’t see a future in it. We’re trying to step back before it becomes a nightmare.”

Business has dropped by half since the store’s peak in 2000, when it did about $3.1 million in sales, said Chris Vanderloo, who founded the shop with Mr. Madell and Jeff Gibson after the three met as employees at the music spinoff of Kim’s Videoin the early ’90s. (Mr. Gibson left Other Music’s day-to-day operations in 2001.)

Rent, on the other hand, has more than doubled from the $6,000 a month the store paid in 1995, while its annual share of the building’s property tax bill has also increased.

Then there are the dreary industry trends: In 2015, streaming nearly doubled from the previous year while CDs sales were down 82 percent from their peak in 2001. And despite the resurgence of vinyl, which now makes up about 60 percent of Other Music’s revenue, up from about 20 percent in its first 10 years, there’s no real salvation in sight.

“Pre-Internet we were a mecca for people,” Mr. Madell said. “They would come to New York with $300 in their pocket because they’d heard or read about some records that they’d never seen anywhere.”

Mac McCaughan, a founder of the band Superchunk and the indie giant Merge Records, said that record shops were part of what brought him to the city in the 1980s. As they started disappearing, “Other Music was the perfect record store in a city that needed a record store,” he wrote in an email. “I always found stuff I was looking for or discovered stuff I didn’t know I was looking for.”

A staff knowledgeable about esoteric genres — ambient music, free jazz, ’70s German psychedelic, ’60s French pop — served as spirit guides.

“That’s what a place like this was all about,” Mr. Madell said. “But the customers don’t come in with the same sort of needs anymore. If they want to know what something sounds like, they just pull it up online.”

Along with its meticulous selection, Other Music made a name with its intimate connections to indie acts and labels. The store was early to champion local bands like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol and Vampire Weekend, selling homemade releases and hosting in-store performances. Elliott Smith and Neutral Milk Hotel also played there over the years.

Patrons browse the offerings at the store. Vinyl is big at Other Music, but streaming has taken a toll on business. CreditHilary Swift for The New York Times

“I felt involved in helping these artists reach an audience,” Mr. Madell said. “This is where you needed to be if you wanted to be on top of what was happening.”

Now physical products are often “an afterthought,” he added, even for larger bands like Radiohead, whose new single and album were released first digitally, with vinyl and CDs coming weeks or months later. The annual Record Store Day, in which artists provide stores with exclusive releases, can help only so much.

“The energy of music obviously has moved out of a place like this,” said Mr. Madell, who admitted that CDs now look “like floppy disks” to him.

The New York music scene has also moved across the East River. “When we opened, Brooklyn was not even on the map really for music culture,” he added. “Now that is definitely where you’re going to be.”

As Manhattan stores continue to close — notable survivors include Bleecker Street Records and Generation Records on Thompson Street, though both focus more on used titles — shops are opening in Brooklyn, though usually with more to offer.

Rough Trade NYC, a 15,000-square-foot spinoff of the London store that opened in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in 2013, has a cafe and a performance space, among other flourishes.

“From the very beginning, we’ve always been a record store,” Mr. Madell said. “It’s about people coming in here and getting lost in music, in new releases. We just never wanted to reinvent or dilute it as something else. For better or worse.”

A version of this article appears in print on May 10, 2016, on page C3 of the New York edition with the headline: A Haven for Vinyl Falls Victim to Trends. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Keanan Duffty on David Bowie's Fashion Legacy.

By Jean E Palmieri, Womens Wear Daily, March 29 2016.

NEW YORK — David Bowie was more than just a rock legend — he was also a gentleman.

“They always say, don’t meet your heroes,” said designer Keanan Duffty. “But Bowie was a gentleman and very funny, and working with him definitely changed me.”

Duffty, a British-born designer and musician, collaborated with Bowie in 2007 on a line for Target that was inspired by the entertainer’s music and distinct fashion sense. Bowie’s 
gender-bending, glam-rock style was a major inspiration and reference to scores of fashion designers over the years, including Alexander McQueen, Hedi Slimane and Tommy Hilfiger. He died in January at the age of 69.

In a presentation to students and industry figures at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Faces & Places in Fashion series, Duffty said Bowie died in “a creative burst of energy,” releasing a new album, working on an off-Broadway musical and an InstaMiniSeries on Instagram right before his death. “Bowie is a tremendous creative figure,” he said, “and, for me, a mystical figure.”

Duffty ran through the various stages of Bowie’s fashion life, starting with the Mod years, when he channeled the youth culture in London as he was starting out in his career. He then moved into the Hippie years, where he first stood out with his androgynous outfits, one of the most famous being the famous floral “man dress” made by Mr. Fish in London in 1971.

From there, Bowie headed into his “science fiction outer space rock star” era when he released the Ziggy Stardust album, dyed his spiky hair red and painted a lightning bolt across his face, Duffty said.
“This was the dawn of glam rock and a seminal fashion moment,” Duffty said. “This is where he went from following others to taking the lead — not just in fashion, but in hair and makeup, too.”
It’s also the time when he worked with Japanese designer Kansai Yamamoto, who created avant-garde kimono-style outfits for the singer.

As his fame grew, Bowie moved to Berlin “and started dressing like a normal person,” Duffty said. This was the era of “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” the science fiction drama film, when Bowie opted for “stark and more sophisticated clothes. He embraced modernism and looked to the
an elder statesman of rock.”

By the time Duffty approached Bowie’s team about the Target collaboration, the rock star was leading a more private life. At the first meeting, the designer said he was expecting to see “a space alien,” but instead, met a man in Tommy Hilfiger chinos, suede boots by Roots and an ill-fitting sweatshirt who admitted he “wasn’t interested in fashion. But I told him I wanted to create a collection based on his fashion legacy.” Bowie agreed to cooperate although by this time he was a “wealthy global superstar” who didn’t need the publicity.

After Duffty had sketched out his ideas for the line, he brought Bowie’s albums to Target headquarters — the singer declined to make the trip — to show the executives the “rich tapestry” of his looks that illustrated the “evolution of what happened in fashion” over the years. And the Target team was all in.

Duffty related one anecdote about Bowie’s famous Moonage Daydream print that looked like a “circuit board” and was a favorite of the singer, who used it on a jumpsuit during his Ziggy Stardust years. Target didn’t buy that print, which Duffty had put on a T-shirt, but Bowie was insistent, saying, “They can’t take that out,” Duffty recalled. The retailer agreed to reconsider and add the shirt. “And the entire line sold out, except for the Moonage Daydream T-shirt,” Duffty said with a laugh. “You can find it on eBay for $5 now.

“The moral of the story is that a creative artist is not always the best judge of commercialism.”

While Duffty is obviously a fan, he said he’s found most people either love or hate Bowie — there’s no middle ground. “If you love him, you’ll be a fan for life. If you hate him, you can’t get over the mullet, the red hair and the one-legged jumpsuit,” he said. 

Friday, March 25, 2016

David Bowie will posthumously receive the Board of Director’s Tribute at the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards in June.


MARCH 24, 2016
In fashion, few were (and still are) as inspiring as David Bowie, who will posthumously receive the Board of Director’s Tribute at the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards in June.
Keanan Duffty was lucky enough to have worked with Bowie, and this coming Monday, CFDA Member will give a lecture titled “David Bowie: The Future’s Not What It Used To Be” at The Fashion Institute of Technology.  Duffty, a British fashion designer and musician based in New York City, plans to discuss Bowie’s legacy with an eye to fashion – and specifically how he looked to Bowie for inspiration.
“It started as a fascination from when I was a little kid seeing him on television in 1970s,” Duffty recalled. “To me, he was the doorway to creativity. He was the muse, the one who made me think it was okay to be creative.”
In the early 2000s, Duffty’s collection was heavily influenced by Bowie, and so he approached his muse’s  management with a concept for tour merch — but the timing was off then. He met his idol in 2006, and pitched him the idea to meet with Target about a potential collaboration. Duffty was naturally taken by Bowie.
“I was totally impressed by how he has this very otherworldly image in his performing career and, in person, was a real gentleman,” he recalled. “The thing that impressed me the most was his generosity as a collaborator. At one point, he said to me, ‘you have to make your name bigger.’ For a rock and roll icon and legend, that generous spirit made a big impression on me.”
The lecture is a nod to Duffty’s own fascination with Bowie. “Throughout the 1970s, Bowie was very much ‘the future,’” he said. “Whatever he did was a precursor to contemporary culture. He was a bit of a magpie for fashion. He grabbed what was around, used it and then moved on. In the process, he influenced people.”
Duffty himself learned valuable lessons from his Target collection. “I learned that the essence of what you are about has to be front and center,” he said. “We made a shirt that had the Moonage Daydream print on it. Target didn’t like the original style, but Bowie said, ‘That’s so Bowie, it has to be in the collection.”
He hopes the students will leave the lecture with valuable lessons of their own. As he put it, “The message of the lecture is for today’s students to find that inspiration for themselves.”
— Marc Karimzadeh

Homepage Photo:  Jimmy King/Philip Angert