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The Dazed A-Z Guide to Austin
Dazed Digital, March 2014
Brad Barry

In honor of SXSW 2014, Dazed asked me to assemble an A-Z list of music and culture in Austin. 

Visit the Dazed Digital site for the tracklist and some commentary on the bands, people, and places I selected.

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As we press on into the hot, sticky days of summer here in Texas, I’m finding myself fixated on glacial imagery. There’s something mesmerizing about the organic patterns of wear from wind and water decorating the surface of something so monolithic. With this mix, I collected pieces that balance that feeling of something grandiose and slow-moving with the intricate detail and rough edges brought about by the elements.

Visit the Dazed Digital site for the tracklist and some commentary on the pieces I selected.

Surviving the Waco siege
Dazed & Confused, August 2013
Brad Barry

Earlier this summer I traveled to Waco, Texas to talk with Clive Doyle, a member of the Branch Davidian religious group who survived the 1993 siege of their compound. We talked about the 51 days he spent inside, his life in the twenty years since, and why he has chosen to stay in Waco and remain a follower of David Koresh.

The story, along with some amazing photography by Magali Pijpers, is part of Dazed & Confused's 1993 anniversary issue, which is out this month.

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Though I recently returned from my trip up the coast of California, I still can’t get the gorgeous views out of my head. Driving through the winding curves of Highway 1, every turn had the potential for an amazing ocean vista or a picturesque look into a mountain canyon. The tension of the occasionally white-knuckle stretches of narrow road was rewarded with the release of gazing at the truly breathtaking scenery. For this edition of C60, I attempted to recreate the feeling of slowly weaving your way through those coastal mountain roads.

Visit the Dazed Digital site for the tracklist and some commentary on the pieces I selected.

Sun Araw in Jamaica
Dazed Digital, July 2013
Brad Barry

I recently got a chance to talk with underground California musicians Cameron Stallones and Ged Gengras about their work with dancehall artists in Jamaica. We talked about their experience working with legendary roots reggae band The Congos, their new label Duppy Gun, and recording up-and-coming artists everywhere from bars to backyards to the beach. The result is up over at Dazed Digital.

Make sure to check out the beautiful photography and video from Tony Lowe.

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As we continue to explore natural environments through this mix series, I’m still thinking about the coast. But, this time, it’s not the sunny surf and sand that most people associate with summer. Living in Texas, where the summers are unbearably hot, I’m finding myself more interested in the bracingly cold water, overcast skies, and salty spray of a more northern shore. This mix is my attempt to evoke the feeling of an overcast day on a beach with dark waves, rushing tides, and an exhilarating trip into the ice-cold water.

Visit the Dazed Digital site for the tracklist and some commentary on the pieces I selected.

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In anticipation for an upcoming road trip to Big Sur and up the California coast into Oregon, I’ve decided to venture from my instrument-focused mixes and, instead, explore music that evokes the different landscapes I’ll be seeing in a few weeks. With this mix, I was fascinated with the idea of the forest; I chose songs that inspire visions of soaring trees, mossy paths, and filtered sunshine.

Visit the Dazed Digital site for the tracklist and some commentary on the pieces I selected.

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My latest mix for Dazed & Confused focuses on the long, resonant vibration of strings. Just like the piano, stringed instruments have been modified, repurposed, and co-opted to create a stunning variety of sounds — from the ancient harps and droning tamburas of Mesopotamia to the violins and cellos of Renaissance chamber music. Tapping into this rich tradition, the sustained, harmonically complex tones of stringed instruments provide a gorgeous palette for the modern underground musicians represented here. 

Visit the Dazed Digital site for the tracklist and some commentary on the pieces I selected.

The Double Life of Terry Allen
Synonym Journal, Issue 2
Brad Barry

Terry Allen doesn’t see the disconnect between recording an outlaw country album in West Texas and making fine art for a gallery in New York. At 69 years old, the Lubbock native has created art that jumps between genre and audience, but somehow remains authentic. In his 50 years as an artist, he has worked in sculpture, music, painting, installations, theater, lithographs, literature, performance art, and radio plays. And, to him, it just seems natural.

“As a kid I kept notebooks and I would make lists of what I wanted to be,” Allen explained from his studio in Santa Fe. “It would always rotate between writer, musician, and artist. It wasn’t until much later that I truly realized that I could do all of it — that it’s all just telling stories.”

It’s Allen’s prowess as a storyteller that prevents his work from feeling fragmented; his pieces, no matter the medium, are held together by detailed story lines. Like David Byrne’s 1986 True Stories, a film whose soundtrack Allen contributed songs to, he weaves individual, off-beat stories together into larger, united works. Allen’s pieces, whether theater productions, prints, or concept albums, are focused on making connections.

I’m starting a new mix series for Dazed Digital in the UK. With this first edition, I wanted to look specifically at the piano. Mostly through necessity, the piano served as the primary instrument for early experimental music. Even though we now have access to more instruments than those early composers could have dreamed of, the piano is still being used to create novel, surprising, and beautiful experimental music.

Visit the Dazed Digital site for the tracklist and some commentary on the pieces I selected.

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Boredom Precedes Action
Maxime Guitton on Curation and Consumption
Synonym Journal, Issue 1
Brad Barry

It turns out that Maxime Guitton is a fixture of the French music and art scene, but my introduction to the 35-year-old Parisian came in a much more pedestrian manner. 

Last fall, I discovered, and immediately fell in love with, a mix of late 60s and early 70s folk and Texas country that Guitton posted online. After some additional searching, I found a few more mixes, each of which was equally astounding. Somehow someone in France was finding great, obscure American records and presenting them in a way that was not only cohesive, but told a story. After exchanging e-mails and links to YouTube videos, it became apparent that Maxime Guitton might be the coolest person ever. 

In an e-mail interview, which he graciously conducted in English, Guitton revealed the scope of his artistic endeavors, discussed the difficultly of exploration in a world of huge archives, and dug into the responsibilities of both curator and consumer.