Inside Deadly Prey Gallery

Deadly Prey Gallery

Beautiful, hand-painted movie posters, or even mass-produced movie posters based on original paintings, have gone the way of the adult drama in Hollywood. The rest of the world is picking up the slack, though, specifically Ghana, home to some of the most incredible—and impressionistic—examples of hand-painted movie art in the world. Here in Chicago, Brian Chankin, owner of the underground video store Odd Obsession Movies (where, full disclosure, both I and The A.V. Club’s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky have worked as volunteers), just opened Deadly Prey Gallery, an art gallery specializing in Ghanian and other African movie art. Through his contacts in Africa, Chankin can even get you a custom poster by a Ghanian artist interpreting your favorite movie. There are also several books out there collecting Ghanian movie posters; Ghanavision: Hand-Painted Film Posters From Ghana is currently in print and a pretty good deal on Amazon. [Katie Rife]


Wreck & Reference, Want

Want, by California duo Wreck & Reference, would be no purist’s idea of a metal masterpiece. There are no guitars. Instead, one of the band’s two frontmen, Felix Skinner, relies on knobs and keys, creating swells of ambient sound, blasts of electronic feedback, or even (on standout track “Apollo Beneath The Whip”) infectious piano melodies. Yet when I went about putting together a list of my favorite metal records of last year—an annual ritual I perform, just for fun and almost never in a timely manner—I kept coming back to Want, which uses atypical instrumentation to capture the spirit, if not the traditional sound, of the genre. Part of it is the vocals, which alternate a Shellac-worthy murmur with a throat-shredding bellow. But it’s also a matter of mood, of philosophy, of the ugly feeling these claustrophobic anthems invoke: Wreck & Reference write tight little monuments to despair, wailing about drinking themselves numb and purging themselves of hope, and then wrap them in a blanket of oppressive menace. “We serve like flies,” the two men utter in unison, “with our hands out to the sky just to surrender.” That’s a pretty metal sentiment, even if it isn’t set to blast beats or power chords. Regardless of where you choose to file it in your music collection, Want casts a sinister spell. Slip on headphones and disappear into its dark corners. [A.A. Dowd]


Phil Cohran

I got hooked on Phil Cohran—composer, jazz multi-instrumentalist, harpist, onetime member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra—when I heard “The Minstrel,” the first cut on his 1968 debut album On The Beach, credited to Philip Cohran And The Artistic Heritage Ensemble. It’s a heck of a sound, fierce but earthy, with Cohran furiously plinking away at an electricified kalimba—one of his signature instruments—in a churn of rhythms and half-chanted vocals. Now (or, in my case, last summer) is probably the best time to get into Cohran, as smaller labels have started reissuing and compiling his super-rare recordings. I recommend African Skies, recorded at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium in 1993 as a sort of tribute to Sun Ra. (You can get a physical copy from Captcha Records.) 2012’s Kelan Philip Cohran & The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble—recorded with a band that includes eight of Cohran’s sons—is a treat, even if it’s less eclectic than earlier records like The Malcolm X Memorial (A Tribute In Music). At almost 90, Cohran still regularly performs live, mostly in Chicago; intrigued locals might wanna catch his semi-regular Friday gig at Ethiopian Diamond. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]