Being somewhat fussy about these things—actually, about everything—I found looking for a bike for my then-soon-to-be-six-year-old son Leif to be less than fruitful. At my moment of despair, having seen numerous overbuilt and predictably ugly offerings from other mainstream BMX brands, I stumbled across SE Bikes’ 16” Lil’ Ripper. I owned both the PK Ripper and 24” Floval Flyer back in my BMX days, so I had to have it. I mean, he had to have it.
The bike’s big daddy, the PK Ripper, is the most legendary of BMX frames. Named after Perry Kramer, a famed pro BMX racer of the late-70s, the PK stood out with its aluminium construction, flat/oval (or “floval”) maintubes and looptail
—Chris Noble, 18 October 2011
Andy Jenkins should need little introduction to the Level reader. His ‘Glimpses’ pages were a regular highlight of this magazine’s print incarnation and a fair proportion of you will know him formerly as Art Director/Master Cluster member at Wizard Publications “back in the day” and/or currently as Art Director and virtually founding member of Girl Skateboards.
In addition, his artistic endeavors will be familiar to many through his gallery shows across the globe, published works (such as his illustrations currently gracing the pages of The Skateboard Mag) and his less-credited artwork for a few good Hollywood movies.
Jenkins has a stubborn bent for print publications, having cut his teeth living and breathing them under Bob Osborn’s encouraging gaze, and his self-made, self-published
—Chris Noble, 28 July 2011
Cult Cargo: Salsa Boricua De Chicago, the latest compilation released by Grammy-nominated archival record label Numero Group digs deep into the history of Chicago’s little-known salsa recording industry. Focusing on releases from Carlos Ruiz’s storied Ebirac imprint, accompanied by detailed liner notes and a lot of dope photos, the project maintains a composed sense of history that these guys have become best known for.
This is a really cool record, what was the inspiration for developing this compilation?
No one even knew there was a salsa recording industry in Chicago whatsoever. Discoveries are what drives a lot of our directions. I was calling extremely knowledgeable salsa collectors and stumping ’em with these releases.
How did you first learn about Carlos
—Omar Almufti, 06 April 2011
A wheelchair-bound Rick McCrank barks, “Do you need to be touching my horse?” It’s only halfway through the trailer of Machotaildrop and I’m already wondering, What the hell is this, and how was it born?
Duo Corey Adams and Alex Craig are the creative force behind the curiously strange and fascinating story of young Walter Rhum and the Machotaildrop skateboard company. Adams filled us in on a few of the details that helped this strange beast of a film come to life.
How did the Machotaildrop film come about?
It was the result of winning a contest called “The Fuel Experiment”, presented by Fuel TV. Ten filmmakers were given a hundred thousand dollars to make a short film. One of
—Anthony Smith, 15 March 2010
Terry Gilliam is a director that you have probably already decided whether or not you like. His past works have all teetered between genius and madness with varying rates of success. In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, which is incidentally Heath Ledger’s last film, Gilliam gets his Wizard of Oz / Alice in Wonderland on. It’s a dark tale of good versus evil and the triumph of imagination—and Tom Waits plays The Devil?! Does casting get any better than that?
—Roy Christopher, 23 February 2010
It seems like cover records come in three flavors: cop-out, contractual obligation-fulfiller, or rookie mistake. Well, that’s just not the case here. While I must admit to hating this record upon first listen, I can now say with honesty that it is good. Damn good. The first thing that struck me was that two of my favorite things about Peter Gabriel records—besides the lengendary genius that is Peter Gabriel, of course—were missing: the drums (Peter Gabriel records always have banging drums) and Tony Levin (King of the Low End). Scratch My Back is just Peter and an orchestra. I realize
—Roy Christopher, 23 February 2010
You’re never going to believe what’s on the horizon from Fuji. It’s the launch of an all-new film camera. Not just film, but medium format no less. Foldable and compact, the new GF670 Professional is capable of shooting either 6×6 or 6×7 format and accommodates both 120 and 220 film. A coupled rangefinder, exposure compensation, manual exposure and aperture-priority automatic modes compliment the 80mm Fujinon EBC lens. If you need to light it up, the GF670 has flash sync speeds ranging from four seconds to 1/500 of a second via hot shoe mount or PC socket.
Some may question the relevance of Fuji’s new film camera, but many photographers do still crave the product and process of shooting film and
—Anthony Smith, 11 February 2010
When Antipop Consortium threw down the progressive hip-hop gauntlet on 2002’s Arrhythmia they didn’t expect to have to reunite several years later to pick it up—but they did. Their recent Fluorescent Black answers every challenge presented on Arrhythmia and then some. It’s weird, it’s word, and it’s war. The lyrics are abstract but tight and the beats are quirky but banging—and the whole package will stomp a mudhole in your ass.
—Roy Christopher, 08 February 2010
Anyone who has hired a graphic designer or other Apple geek today might wonder why it’s all gone a bit quiet. If the bewildered employer asks, they might get told anything but the truth, which is that the designer is too busy wetting himself—a ‘herself’ will likely be much less distracted—over Apple’s new Next Big Gizmo to recycle any second-rate, wishy-washy design right now, sorry.
It’s the iPad’s fault.
The iPad is a whopper iPhone without the Phone, a pumped-up netbook computer without a physical keyboard (though one can be docked on), an eBook—sorry, iBook—reader and something that an awful lot of people are going to accidentally drop on their polished concrete floors because they bumped their elbow on the arm of
—Chris Noble, 27 January 2010
Twelve years into their career, Andy Cato and Tom Findlay show no signs of sitting pretty on their already huge successes. With three million records sold worldwide, a Grammy nomination for their seminal track Superstylin’ and now on their sixth studio album (Black Light, due for release late February), the British powerhouse that is Groove Armada storms on. GA have completely reinvented their sound for Black Light in a way that can’t help but win over a new audience and gain respect from new ears. They’ve stepped away from the funk-driven beats of Superstylin’ and laid-back grooves of At the River and moved over to a darker side.
Working on the album for the past 14 months, Andy and Tom’s strong
—Tom Bunning, 18 January 2010