Desaparecidos – Mall Of America

Regular readers will have noticed that I’ve got what could be described as a bit of thing for Conor Oberst. Behind Ben Gibbard, he’s probably my most mentioned musician (there’s an award the NME could give Pete Doherty most years).

Oddly though, it wasn’t through Bright Eyes, far and away the best known of his many projects and guises, that I first came to know of the multi-talented Omahan, but through his now all but forgotten teenage (even then) side project, Desaparecidos. Way back when in 2001, Oberst released their blistering and brilliant examination of consumption, commerce and morality, Read Music, Speak Spanish.

Named for the first two instructions on a list that Ernest Hemmingway made himself, it was essentially a concept album about how Omaha was changed by the arrival of chain stores and mega malls in the Nineties. The album is 10 tracks of raging post-hardcore interspersed with sampled interviews with airheads talking about shopping, men and their ambitions (or lack thereof). Mall of America is sub-Chomsky in its politics, but I’ll let that off for the brilliance of its music!

So I thought what better music to accompany the first image from a new project I have been trying to put together for the past few months, using images of Westfield shopping centre, edited to look like a model village. I won’t lie and say this is all my own idea, the inspiration is Sam O’Hare’s utterly stunning The Sandpit stop motion animation of New York City. I’m trying to recreate the look for a similar film (but much shorter and much much worse I’m sure). That work is long delayed, so I thought I’d use the above as a sneak preview and to try and spur myself into action! The effect is much more, um, effective if the image is enlarged, so please click through for a full-sized version.

Although the CD seems to have been discontinued, you can buy Read Music / Speak Spanish second-hand from Amazon here, or download it from Desaparecidos - Read Music / Speak Spanish

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