Tag Archives: thomas bangalter

DAFT

There’s more interesting things to read elsewhere on the internet, whether it’s this sequel to Complex’s Alchemist sunday sessions or a debate about whether Politic borrowed Palace’s VHS aesthetic. You could also watch a collection of demonstrations of Errolson putting on jackets and strapping up bags extra precisely, including the 2004 video. Or you can watch the “holiday shout outs” section of these 1990 Elektra party footage, where everyone looks super young and has amazing jackets. Remember when we Brits couldn’t get Air Force 1s and had to marvel at them on folks’ feet from a distance? I still don’t understand the ill will towards the mids, but I’ll concede that they look their age (even though they’re 12 years older than the other heights) highs and lows are still the ones, ever since I obsessed over the black soled highs in i-D back in the early 1990s that were stocked in Passenger on Beak Street.

After they arrived at Foot Locker in the UK and JD Sports in a slow rollout between 1998 and 1999, the explosion on UK shores was significant, reaching an apex with JD’s 2004 and 2005 exclusives. Seeing Vans Eras with tracksuits still throws me a little, but they seemed to invade the AF1 market in the UK. Any rumour of the shoe’s demise can be batted away by the fact the white on white and black are still some of the bestselling shoes in Nike’s business and that whereas the Dunk’s hype was largely fueled by a late 1990s fixation beyond a core few and subsequent retro, the Force had only been totally unavailable for a couple of years during its lifespan, giving it some serious sub-cultural credentials. Bizarre to think something that looked so space age on it’s debut, became a superior “dad shoe” of sorts after it hit 25.

I still think the canvas 1995 SC versions and the 1996 SC (which I’ve long believed stood for “Sports Classic” unless anyone wants to shoot me down on it) snakeskin duo of Air Force 1 are legendary, regardless of your opinion of the shoe. Who made the snake colourways back in the mid 1990s? How were colourway and retro departments being operated? The Ivory and Obsidian editions with the ‘NIKE AIR’ are still objects of desire for me and before they went robotic, but not before the masks went on, a January 1997 Daft Punk photoshoot featured Thomas Bangalter sporting the Ivorys (Guy sticks to black Stan Smiths). If these had an Ivory outsole, just as the Obsidians had the matching sole, I’d have spontaneously combusted.

Daft Punk never cloned these for their Bapestas (though there were plenty of other similar Bapestas) and their stockists and availability eluded me until I saw them a few years later, shrink wrapped and out of my budget. Truth be told, if I had them, I’d never wear them, so some things are better left as objects-of-desire than dusty owned items taken from their golden, glowing pedestal and sat in a black and red box with the other 999+ shoes I don’t wear very often. Still, it was one of the shoes that convinced me that simplicity beats gimmickry and it distracted me from my 1995/early 1996 preoccupation with the original Air Ndestrukt for good.

EIHT IS ENOUGH

No visit to the USA is complete without bringing back some kind of preoccupation as a psychological souvenir. That was the case after a trip to Los Angeles. Obsessed with gun-toting rap from the safe distance of a provincial part of the UK, attitude was only one part of the package – those outfits were the next. Chucks, Cortez, Dickies, Pendleton, Cascades, and Carhartt. And white tees. Lots of white, pressed tees – that’s how you pull off basics with aplomb. The love of cheap workwear that runs through this blog with irritating repetitiveness isn’t the byproduct of a site informing me of the wonders of Americana or some Japanese bible of utilitarian brilliance – gangster rap made me do it. But the current boom in workwear has made picking up gear significantly easier with an explosion of stockists. It doesn’t quite match visiting a clothing store in the middle of god-knows-where browsing stiff short-sleeve shirts with monkey labels while a shopkeeper eyes you quizzically.

The main style king? MC Eiht. MC Chill was, well, cool and all, but Eiht wore the quintessential left coast uniform like no other. The only swagger to match was King Tee – especially in shotgun toting ‘Act A Fool’ mode. The cover of 1992’s ‘Music To Driveby’ looking down at the two MCs, sans Slip in presumed jack mode, with the record in your hands in the back seat, creating some kind of infinite driveby effect is one of the greats. June 1994’s issue of ‘The Source’ (alas, ‘Zino crept into that gangsta rap summit) homaged it well, with occasional collaborator Spice 1 and Scarface in the driving seat. One of the most effortless transitions from lyrical persona to screen in ‘Menace II Society’? For sure. It was good to see Supreme reproduce the cap he wore on MTV Raps a few years back. Every good west coast production feels culled from Compton’s Most Wanted – Cube and company made entire tracks from the funk and soul loops that were implemented for mere seconds on ‘Straight Checkn ‘Em’ and ‘Music To Driveby’. DJ Slip doesn’t get his dues as a pioneer. At all. Respect to Peter Dokus (who also shot Above The Law and NWA) for that art direction and photography. Team Life Sucks Die were quick to pay tribute to the 1994 solo opus ‘We Come Strapped’ album’s lettering and composition. Rightfully so – nice watch too.

Take a snippet of Gwen McRae, mix it with Isaac Hayes and throw in a denim shirt worn better than you ever could and you’ve got a classic promo…

Sadly Japan’s version of ‘Lowrider’ magazine exited recently on its 98th issue – there’s still something touching about a final issue that bids the reader farewell. It’s less jarring than a no-show, rumour then confirmation from the publisher. Fortunately help is at hand – a couple of months back, Jae Bueno recommended a new publication from the Far East – ‘Roots’ magazine. Sal Barbier and Vans Syndicate are in the content page of the debut issue too. Only in Japan, as the print industry crumbles around us, could a niche publication like that spring up, fully formed. It’s something to celebrate and support.

Seeing as I’ve been dwelling on the early ’90s, it’s time for a spot of retro offsetting. Gasper Noé’s ‘Enter the Void’ looks stunning from trailers, Thomas Bangalter is assisting sonically and it looks like a significantly less grounded affair than ‘I Stand Alone’ and ‘Irréversible’ – BUF’s computer animation work is unbelievable. Check the effects footage reel here. WARNING: The much-discussed sex scene shot of a penis during intercourse from a vagina POV is in there. Don’t sue me if you get fired.

Looks like 21st stoners/nutmeg drinkers/acid munchers just got their own ‘Altered States’ or ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ – suddenly Gasper’s Kubrick preoccupation shines through more overtly. Can’t wait for this one.