June 12, 2009
One part of the sports world that I had never paid attention to prior to moving California, was extreme sports. I always thought of that type of stuff as quasi-sports, a sideshow spectacle. However, living so close to the annual Summer X-Games changed all that for me, and after seeing it live, in person, I came to realize that these were athletes, not just adrenaline-junky punks (well, maybe they are all adrenaline junkies…but still). After getting more into extreme sports, I also learned that the culture really (more than any other sport) incorporates art and music. Perhaps it’s because skateboarding, bmx biking, etc is kind of an art in itself, but it seems like skate videos always have cool artwork, great music, etc. and that the participants all care a great deal about it – and nobody embodies this ideal better than Ed Templeton, an extreme sports/arts renaissance man.
ESPN recently featured Ed on their website, and you can watch the video segment below to learn more about this amazing skateboarder/artist/photographer/entrepreneur. In addition to his award-winning photography, his own skateboard company, and his arts magazine, Ed still manages to be actively involved in the skate community, and as you can see, the man can still tear it up on the board. My assertion that extreme sports seem more connected to music is also affirmed by the choice of music in Ed’s segment (I doubt these were accidental choices) as they used Minus the Bear’s “When We Escape” right at the beginning, as well as Castaneda’s “You Can Do It” (which starts with about 3 min, 22 seconds left on the countdown).
Minus the Bear has obviously built a huge fanbase over the years, and if there was any doubt as to whether the band would still have “it” after losing multi-instrumentalist/producer Matt Boyles before the latest album, I think “When We Escape” puts it to rest. The lush instrumentation, smooth transitions, and slick implementation of poly rhythyms is all still here, and the band is sounding as good as ever.
Castaneda isn’t quite as well known as Minus the Bear, but I feel as though it won’t be long before they are. Hailing from the Los Feliz neighborhood here in LA (home to endless great indie rock acts past and present), Castaneda combine electronic music with the driving guitars and beats of many bands like Talking Heads, Joy Division, The Strokes, etc. I think they have the best use of synths this side of MGMT, so make sure to check them out, too.