Above & Below

We travelled to New York, Moscow, Los Angeles and London to discover some of the most innovative street musicians on the planet.

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David “Prints” Aguilar is not your typical New York musician. A self-proclaimed “wandering beatmaker and DJ found playing in the most unlikely of locations,” he can often be seen performing to an audience of commuters, tourists and late-night revellers in New York’s labyrinthine Subway system.

With a virtuosity matched only by his inventiveness, this classically trained musician’s stock-in-busking-trade is perfectly timing his sets to fit between trains arriving and departing on the platform. Using samples, speakers and an iPad, he creates moments in time that will lift the spirits of even the most jaded traveller.

“On the platform, timing is so important because you get this little window of people’s attention,” he says. “That’s my moment to connect with people. They may be waiting for there for their train in three minutes but I want to share something in that three minutes.”

Prints was the first subject of a series of short films focusing on street artists going to innovative lengths to get heard in an increasingly crowded arena.

From New York, we travelled to Los Angeles where we met Harry Mack plying his trade on Venice Beach. His stock-in-trade is an open-invitational flow, in which he says what he sees with witty invention and impressively off-the-cuff wordplay. A video of his particular brand of interactive freestyle rap went viral and he’s since earned major props from Joey Bada$$, was invited onto The Ellen Show and has received global acclaim.

For our next episode, we went closer to home to meet drummer Alba Villarig Alegre. A Spanish émigré who came to London to make her mark on the music scene, Alba subsequently discovered a love for street performance and has been bashing, banging and busking ever since.

From there, we visited Moscow, the home of electronic artist Anton Maskeliade. Having established himself as an innovative and creative artist who motion-controls music and projections, the flow of the city is a huge source of inspiration.

“The first time I played a set on the Elektrichka train using gesture control was a really funny experience,” he says. “Russians are really closed people and often get angry with things they don’t understand. But that time everything went fine, even football fans sitting in the same car gave me some respect!”

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