Step aside Kanye, there are new cats in town.
Jason Maek & Zaena flawlessly display that they are the new creative visionaries for 2016. Their latest creation ‘Fashion Week’ is a visual album combining big screen cinematography and expertly crafted music into a full narrative experience.
Jason Maek & Zaena share small moments of the record in behind the scene interviews.
Inspired by fashion designers, the duo collected of pictures, quotes, and other bits of inspiration to create mood boards for every song on the album. By visually mapping out each track, Maek & Zaena were able to seamlessly meld the visual and musical voices into a coherent, powerful testament to creative vision.
I spoke with Jason Maek on the mood board process.
“[Making mood boards] was interesting because we approached this project as designers rather than musicians. We changed our complete process to make this process as authentic as possible. We learned so much from them and using vision boards. They really helped visual map the songs before creating them. I think it helped create an overall better product than anything we have ever worked on. I think Zaena and I would use this process again actually. It helped us be better artists.”
The two were particularly inspired by mannequins, and use various mannequins throughout the album arc to comment on how society perceives models as “walking mannequins”.
Maek & Zaena also shared that the entire production was made on a small budget with lots of favors and donated time by people who believed in their vision. Maek spoke, “Relationships are everything. I’ve learned that if you have a great idea, people will get behind it. People that care about art really want to help. We are so thankful to all the filmmakers, Maek staff, dancers, reviews, and people that take their time to bring this vision to life.”
‘Fashion Week’ takes you deep into a world of style and sleekness, polished with electronic beats and pop-inspired vocals. Jason Maek & Zaena transform traditional electronic music by flawlessly fusing various electronic genres with gospel, hip-hop, and synthpop. From the moombahton riddims of ‘Get Up’, to the trance-inspired grooves of ‘Walk the Line’, and even beyond the minimal house loops on ‘Rain on Me’, the album is full of a certain energy reminiscent of a mid-2000’s Kanye West. The production quality and care for arrangement of each track is unique and impeccable.
Using expert cinematography and edgy visuals, ‘Fashion Week’ delivers as much visually as it does musically. To be honest, when I heard about the project I expected some animated fractals or trippy visuals like on a festival LED screen. I was pleasantly surprised to see real actors and razor-sharp choreography explode onto each frame. Each mini-movie tells its own story, my favorite being the stop-motion ‘Fashion’. Using a a combination of toys, bright colors, and claymation, the track narrates the social obsessions of class, beauty, and perception in a humorous way.
There’s a certain beauty and aesthetic to the dancing within each video. It’s elegant like ballet, but raw and visceral like the music it expresses.”We wanted to use something completely different than what you would expect, especially in electronic music,” Jason further explained to me. “That is why a lot of the tracks have contemporary dance.” The push and pull between beautiful movements and edgy cuts paints a strange, yet familiar world of music that captivates the watcher and steals their words.
Witness ‘Fashion Week: The Visual Album’ in it’s full majesty.
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Zaena | Tiwtter