Tessa Dolt

Courtesy of Prince Rama

I was way into Xtreme Now‘s album art before I knew it was inspired by energy drinks and Taraka Larson’s prophetic vision of people base-jumping off planes while the Mona Lisa smiles back at them from their parachutes, but now I have even more of a reason to love it. I like to interpret artists’ works without knowledge of their intentions for the most part, but there are exceptions to this when the inspiration for a work of art feels quintessential to my own understanding. Xtreme Now is one of those exceptions.

I first discovered the Brooklyn-based duo through Anders Rhedin, better known as DINNER, when I found out that they went on tour together earlier this year. My first thought was, “This makes sense –just a few oddballs who make spirituality and performance art part of their spectacle.‰” Reading up on the Larson sisters was the best thing I could have done to end finals week because, now, they are oddballs that I have grown a genuine appreciation for.

Prince Rama and Dinner, taken on 4/3/16 at Barboza

Before reading about Taraka and Nimai‰’s time spent off the coast of Estonia on a remote island, VéÇrmsi, to live with a black metal utopian commune, I really had no idea as to what their vision was for this album. They‰’ve given life to the genre of ‰extreme sports‰’ where they communicate the intensity of emotions through speed. I guess that‰’s what happens when you have a near-death experience in an ancient Viking ruin. But I still wondered, why the Mona Lisa tights? Taraka mentions the Mona Lisa in her retelling of an experience in which she felt time-schizophrenia, feeling as though her existence was in both the medieval ages and the year 2067. This is where Taraka envisioned the aesthetic inspiration for the album cover:

“In the year 2067, I witnessed an aesthetic landscape where art museums are sponsored by energy drink beverages and beauty is determined by speed. I saw a vision of ancient tapestries stretched across half-pipes and people base-jumping off planes with the Mona Lisa smiling up from their parachutes. I saw art merge with extreme sports to form a new aesthetic language of ‘Speed Art.’ I realized that time travel was possible via the gateway of extreme sports, and I wanted to make music that would provide the score.”

Courtesy of Carpark Records

So, after reading up on this vision and taking into account that this album was produced off of dangerous consumptions of Monster Energy drinks and watching videos of extreme sports, I can see how this translates into Mona Lisa tights and sports gloves — and it‰’s perfect. It pays a tribute to Taraka‰’s manifesto called “Now Age‰” where aesthetics communicate with their environment in a way that creates an exchange of energy. One where neon gloves reflect light and feed it back. I know this is all a *bit* pretentious, but I can‰’t help but love how much thought went into the concept of this album and its cover. I don‰’t know if I really believe that they‰’ve created this new genre of extreme sports, or whether they‰’ve communicated through a new aesthetic language of ‰speed art‰’, but I know that I love what I see and I‰’m glad I have this newfound understanding of what I‰’m really looking at.