When I went to Shepard Fairey’s Number One studio on Saturday night, I was not sure what to expect and I wasn’t even sure whether ‘Cross my Heart and Hope to Die’ was the name of a photographic and sculptural exhibit or the name of a band or both… Actually the exhibit is called ‘Vita E Morte’, and Cross My Heart and Hope to Die is an art collective whose members practice visual art and music at the same time. So as they do it often for an opening reception, CMHAHTD played a short concert in the courtyard, just behind Fairey’s studio. There was a lot of mystery surrounding the performers, who turned to be Dj Muggs (Cypress Hill’s DJ), Andrew Kline (from the hardcore band Strife), Brevi (mostly known for her contribution on 50 Cent’s ‘Be My Bitch’), and Sean Bonner, who is …. I am not sure, because if you go on his website you will read ‘It’s rather difficult to explain what Sean Bonner does exactly, it’s kind of a secret in fat. A mystery actually. To be honest we don’t like to talk about it much’….
So with this in mind (or not yet in my mind because I had to do some research afterwards of course), I attended the mini concert after attempting to look at the art in the gallery, zigzagging between people sipping their cocktails. I still have to make a connection between what I saw and heard, but it was surely a high-concept project, as a lot of untold and unseen things seemed to be going on. Also, the fact that it was their first show ever, made the event even more interesting…
I actually enjoyed their music and noir mise-en-scene quite a lot. Brevi appeared with a black lace masking half her face, and she looked and sounded like a sexy cabaret chanteuse, half James Bond seductress, half dominatrix Eartha Kitt-style. She just looked interesting and dangerous, singing with a compelling voice, while always smiling behind her veil. The music was a sort of a cross between Massive Attack and Amy Winehouse, spreading a dark vibe, electronics producing a menacing drone, and Brevi’s commanding voice above the trip-hop atmosphere. Add to this a video showing death-obsessed children burying dead crows in small wooden caskets marked with the exhibit’s crossed heart logo, and you will almost have the full experience of the evening.
Is the band trying something different, making people intrigued by visuals in order to introduce new music? They have actually hidden some of these weird music boxes (with the cross-heart) in cities around the world (Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo, Rome, Belfast, Prague, and Vienna), but very little is known about them, except this four-track EP available on iTunes, and a second EP entitled ‘Vita E Morte’, which will be available on iTunes very soon (July 29th)… the exhibit runs through August 23rd at Subliminal projects but I have no idea when Cross my Heart Hope to Die perform again.
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