Tuesday, December 21, 2010

7 Questions with Kemek



A&H: For the people out there who might not know what your background and history is, can you share a bit about yourself and your evolution as a producer?

My first releases were on Silent Records in the early '90s, back when ambient was the big thing. I released ambient music as Deeper Than Space as well as under a few other names, most notably 303 Terrorists and DTS, which were most techno-based. Listening to that music now, it sounds horribly amateurish and under-produced, but at the time I was just learning how to produce. The fact that it was recorded onto 4-track cassette with no reverb or compression at all, and that it sounds as good as it does, is pretty amazing. (Three of those Deeper Than Space albums are now available on Bandcamp: http://deeperthanspace.bandcamp.com/)

Before that I was making experimental bedroom noise and industrial stuff, trading tapes through the magazine "Factsheet 5" and such. Unfortunately I don't have any of those tapes any more, although I can't imagine ever listening to it. It would be too embarrassing.

A&H: How did you arrive at producing material as "Kemek The Dope Computer?"

My music output picked up again in 2001 when I pressed up a new-school breaks 12", "Future Modular/Are You Now?" and got it into the right hands. This was released under the name Kemek the Dope Computer and the music was done entirely on Reason. I had since given up on outboard gear as computer programs were getting better and better. I kept at it for a few more years, DJing as well, until I went back to school in 2005 to study Japanese. I had developed tinnitus by this point and pretty much retired from DJing, although I did play the occasional gig here and there.

Now I'm at it again, this time releasing dubstep or post-dubstep or whatever you want to call it. I'm now just Kemek and I'm back on Muti Music, with whom I released some music in 2001. So far there's been the Sine Language EP and the Certain Frequencies EP, which is getting some good press. In early 2011 an album, Itsuka, will be released. I've been working on that for five years so it's nice to have it finally come out. It's more ambient / down-tempo / whathaveyou, sort of a continuation of my http://deeperthanspace.bandcamp.com/ days but obviously much better sounding.

A&H: Talk about your process as a producer. How do you go about producing your material?

It depends on the song, really. Usually, if I'm making a dance track, I'll start with the beat and then develop a bass line. Those have always been the two most important elements for me. You can make a great dance song with just beats and bass. From there I'll add little bits, melody if necessary. I usually spend a lot of time on transitions and fills, and in making sure the song flows right. Dance music is all about conducting energy. You want to make sure the energy doesn't bog down in any one spot.

If I'm making ambient music, though, the starting point could be just about anything: a sampled sound, a field recording, a bit of dialogue from a movie. On my new album Itsuka, the melody was the most important thing. I also consciously limited what kinds of sounds I wanted to use, so I would start with a piano or Rhodes or marimba sound, something a little more organic, and go from there.

In terms of software, I've been using Reason for almost 10 years so I'm pretty fast with it. I'll usually start the song there, building loops up, until I have a framework I like. Then I'll export audio and import it into Logic, where I'll blow it out into a full song. Even if I happen to make an entire song in Reason I'll still export all the parts to Logic. It just sounds better.

I also have Ableton Live, which I use for DJing, but I have yet to crack the code for production. There's just something in the fundamental structure of it that I can't get my head around. The workflow is just a bit different than Logic and I end up hitting walls. I suppose I need to take a class or something.

A&H: I know that your work has taken you overseas. How has living in South Korea influenced you as a music producer?

So far, not much. I came to Korea to teach English and the bulk of my time has been spent learning how to be a teacher. I do miss producing though, so hopefully next year I'll be able to pick up some monitors and start making music again. I live in the countryside and it's very conducive to drones and minimal.

I have lived in Japan off and on for the last six years, though, and that had a direct influence on Itsuka. The title means "someday" in Japanese, and the album is full of longing to stay in that country.

A&H: What are your biggest influences musically?

Although I like a good melody, atmosphere and repetition have always moved me more. It's why I'll always prefer Neu! and Can to The Beatles, acid house to Detroit techno and minimal to Baroque classical, even though I like it all. Dub reggae is a big influence, as are bands like Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized. Brian Eno is another big one. I listen to his music almost every day.

A&H: Where can people go to find out more about you music?

The Kemek Diaspora:

http://dopecomputer.blogspot.com/

http://www.mutimusic.com/index.php/artist/kemek

http://soundcloud.com/kemek

http://www.mixcloud.com/kemek/

http://deeperthanspace.bandcamp.com/

A&H: What's your top 10 right now?

I haven't been keeping up with new music all that much lately, and usually when I get home I just want to relax so my listening habits have tended towards drone and ambient. Here's what I've been listening to lately:

Ryuichi Sakamoto: Among many other things, Ryuichi Sakamoto is a great piano player. I've been listening to his solo piano albums a lot lately. I'll actually get to see him play in Seoul in January. I'm really excited.

White Rainbow: There's so much good drone music happening right now, it's a little overwhelming. White Rainbow is consistently good. I especially like his "See Thru" album. It's great for reading.

Emeralds: Another excellent drone group, in the tradition of Tangerine Dream.

Harold Budd: An old stand-by. I love pretty much everything he's ever done.

Brian Eno: I wake up most mornings to "Music For Airports" and "Apollo." Bang On A Can have a great live version of "Music For Airports" as well.

Perfume: My J-pop guilty pleasure. The music is insanely catchy and the girls are cute. What more could you want?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Throwback Mondays 12/06/10 - Psychic TV: Wicked



Psychic TV (sometimes spelt Psychick TV) or PTV, is a largely electronic music group with occasional forays into psychedelic, punk, and experimental music. The band was formed by performance artist Genesis P-Orridge after his earlier industrial band, Throbbing Gristle, broke up in 1981. At one time Psychic TV was intended to be a super group that along with P-Orridge would include Ian Curtis, lead singer of the seminal English group, Joy Division. But unfortunately Curtis committed suicide on May 18, 1980. The band published 23 live albums in 1986 allowing them to enter the Guinness Book of World Records.

Contributions to Psychic TV have include artists such as Coil, Current 93, The Hafler Trio, The Cult, White Stains, Soft Cell, Master Musicians of Jajouka, Alex Fergusson, Matthew Best, Daniel Simon Black (http://www.dan-black.co.uk), Bill Breeze, Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson, Derek Jarman, Fred Gianelli, John "Zoskia" Gosling, Timothy Leary, Rose McDowall, Stephen Kent, Vagina Dentata Organ, Andrew Weatherall, Z'EV, and many others. Originally its cult-like fanclub, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (aka T.O.P.Y.), later turned into a full-fledged religion, long after P-Orridge abandoned it in 1991.

"Psychic TV released early albums of acid house music, such as Jack The Tab (1988). After breaking up in 1998, Psychic TV formed into a new band known as PTV3 in 2003. In 2003 Genesis P-Orrdige changed his or her identity to Genesis/Djin Breyer P-Orridge along with life partner and PTV3 member Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge (a.k.a. Mother Jack/Miss Jackie). This change in identity allowed Genesis to become what is known as a real life "Pandrogine". Other projects by P-Orridge include sample project Splinter Test and spoken word, Troubadorian project Thee Majesty with Larry Thrasher (Thrasher Qawwal / Thessolonians)and Bryin Dall (Loretta's Doll."
Content from http://www.wordiq.com/definition/Psychic_TV

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Architects and Heroes Podcast #4



We've been toiling away in the music library here at A+H HQ in Los Angeles, and we're pleased to announce that we've been able to unearth some gems on vinyl that have been woefully neglected for some time. Also, and what we hope to be the first of many, we have our very first audio interview with Texas-based Blixaboy, aka Mwanza Dover, gives us the down-low on his new record and his newly found recognition from everyone from bass-music goddess Mary-Anne Hobbs to XLR8R to RCRD LBL. We also are putting some of our very own here at A+H on-blast. We've got a throwback from Zygote, as well as some brand-new material off of the Architects and Heroes Sampler (AH000) from Quiliuq and Burbank International.

We're going off the deep-end here folks, and we'd like to take you along with us. Thanks for your time.

Runtime - 1:08:09

DOWNLOAD HERE (PC Users, right-click and save-as...)

Playlist:

Tetsu Inoue - Inter link - World Receiver - Instinct Records
Freescha - Making Oranges - Freescha E.P. - Attack 9 Records (ATT001)
Marumari - Baby M - Supermogadon - Carpark Records
Rhygin Rockers - Spooky - Rhygin Records
Isopod - untitled - unreleased
Languis - If we never make it back
Dam Funk - Fonky Island Life - Adolescent Funk - Stones Throw Records
Stephan Mathieu - Raumgestaltung Eins.070300 Edit - Full Swing [Edits] - Orthlorng Musork
Therefore - Plausible Binding (2:37 excerpt) - The Bomb Grant - Sounds Are Active
Interview -Mwanza Dover of Blixaboy
Blixaboy (featuring Emil Rapstine) - Lion Eyes - Kliks and Politiks - Astroblaque
Aavikko - Superlake Beat - History of Muysic
Zygote - Monorail - Furture/Current Transportation 7" Split w/The Luxury Tax - Under The Radar Records
Quiliuq - Subluminal - A+H Sampler Vol. 1 - Architects and Heroes Records
Burbank International - The Other Side - A+H Sampler Vol. 1 - Architects and Heroes Record
Maps & Diagrams - Piedras Blancas - Glaciarc EP - Tundra Records

DOWNLOAD HERE (PC Users, right-click and save-as...)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cult of the DJ 10-17-10



It's a drizzly, gray, and chilly day in Los Angeles, so I'm holed up in my studio scouring the wires and wireless rabbit holes of the internet for something to listen to. I sent out the search party, and we've got some amazing dj mixes...

DF TRAM



This is an amazing ambient chillout mix recorded live
at the Plunge festival in Northern California, by DF Tram.

Plunge live by df tram


Tracklist:

Gewandhausorchester Leizpig- Im Abendrot ( Excerpt)
bernard herrmann -vertigo "df tram's hypnotize sequence"
icasol -ongou (idjut boys remix)
carlos nino-9 moons return
steve roach -arrival
johann strauss-On the Beautiful, Blue Danube
koss- negai
klf chillout edit
peter gabriel -powerhouse at the foot of the mountain with
miles davis - black satin
carlos nino -with azul featuring jesse peterson
goblin-suspiria
rei harakami -approach
nuno felipe -julia (irresistible force remix)
oh brother where art thou break
another fine day-life before land
peter gabriel -with this love (choir)
bj cole -Elle Sait Ou Elle Va
cluster and eno -fur luise
ronnie foster -mystic brew
three is a magic number (df tram remix)

_________________

ATOP

A dj mix filled with bassy, futuristic, contemporary, danceable, hardgroove ,neon, hypnorhythmic, amazing, freak scene tracks. Guaranteed to make your life better and to get you more friends and lovers. This is really happening. This is going on right now!

Download from Percussion Lab

Tracklist:

Demdike Stare – Regolith
Pearson Sound – Wad
Headhunter – 3 Mad P’s
Geiom – Six Times Seven
Eleven Tigers – Flux
Pangaea – Memories
FaltyDL – Truth
James Blake – Sparing The Horse
Untold – Fly Girls
A Made Up Sound – Demons (Reprise)
Zomby – Dripping Like Water
Neil Landstrumm – Little Help From Rustie
Fantastic Mr Fox & Rich Reason – Bleep Show
Sigha – Hold Your Heart Up To The Light
Starkey – Stars (Few Nolder rmx)
Boxcutter – Bad You Do (Halfstep)
LD – Mastermind
Hyetal – Pixel Rainbow Sequence (Peverelist rmx)
Shortstuff – A Rustling
Iknonika – Millie
Guido – You Do It Right
Simon/Off – Forever
DFRNT – Epitome
Al Tourettes – Dodgem
Goldmund – Dane Street
93...Akkad...777

_________________


TREYK47



Trey is an old school homie from OKC, who's been djing and making beats for a minute.

Raised by a family of musicians, and most notably DJs, Trey aka Trey K-47 was destined to go down the same spiritual path. In 2000 he purchased his first set of turntables and mixer. It didn’t take long before he was in a d’n'b DJ crew based out of Norman, O.K. (That One). A few years later in 2003, he teamed up with Pirate Audio Sound Sytem (est. 1991). From there, He learned more about new and rising genres other than d’n'b in the global electronica community, building up his skills in multi-media arts, computer repair, sound system care, and live performance set-up.

More Info Here: www.myspace.com/djtreyk47

Download from Sendspace

_________________

DJ PAUL V. (Bootie LA)





Paul V. is an LA institution. As a terrestrial radio DJ, a digital pioneer or his hosting of the highly popular bi-weekly mash-up club Bootie LA at the Echoplex, Paul's reach as a DJ and promoter knows no boundaries.

From Paul on FB

"A bunch of you have been asking where to stream or download some of my
DJ mixes, so here's a bunch of links to get you my music
:

THE SMASH MIX:
http://www.thesmashmix.com/
The site is pretty much dormant now, but there's still about two years of great mixes posted up there. PS - Ignore the "comments crash" message.

NEON NOISE MIXES:
Download from Divshare
Stream mixes in the player, and to download a specific file, just click on its name in the list at the bottom of the page, to get to the DL page

NEON NOISE SHOWS on Indie 103.1:
Download from Divshare
These are recordings of my show, with interviews/performances with
Robyn, Peaches, The Lady Tigra, Medium Medium, Little Boots and more
Same info as above on how to stream/download the files.

DJ PAUL V. MASHUPS:
Download from Divshare

MORE INFO ON PAUL V. & BOOTIE LA...

www.myspace.com/djpaulv_la
http://www.bootiemashup.com/la/

Monday, October 4, 2010

Monday Throwback Jams...

"Randy VanWarmer (March 30, 1955 – January 12, 2004) was an American songwriter and guitarist. His biggest success was the pop hit, "Just When I Needed You Most". It reached #8 on the UK Singles Chart in September 1979[1] after peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart[2] and #1 on the Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart[3] earlier that year. There are several cover versions of this song, including those by Dolly Parton and Smokie.

VanWarmer wrote several songs for the group The Oak Ridge Boys including the #1 U.S. Country hit "I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes." The song appeared on VanWarmer's 1981 album Beat of Love, which also included VanWarmer's 1980s style pop tune "Suzi Found a Weapon", which hit #55 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1981."

He died of leukemia, aged 48. In line with one of his greatest loves, his cremated remains were sent into space in 2007." (Ed. SPACE Motherfucker!)

Source http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Randy_VanWarmer

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mwanza Dover / aka Blixaboy on XLR8R



When I lived in Texas (post college from 2005-2008), one of the first people to book me to DJ was Mwanza Dover, aka Blixaboy. Dover has been a force in the music scene in Texas since the 90's, with too many bands to mention here. We're going to try and get an interview with him ASAP, but in the meantime, pop-over to XLR8R's web site and download "Sci-Fi Jack" from the Kliks & Politiks full length coming out on his own label, Astroblaque, on October 19.

Download "Sci-Fi Jack" here

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Summer Of Flux - Radio Anthems For The Newly Disenfranchised



We're very happy to announce that we're in production for the very first Architects and Heroes record, "Radio Anthems For The Newly Disenfranchised" (A+H001) by The Summer Of Flux. The band formed by Stephen Ruiz and Aaron Mobley, who met as undergraduates it SMU have been collaborating on music tother since the late 90's.

We will be releasing more information on the record over the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can listen to some demo tracks from the R.A.F.T.N.D. studio sessions on the band's Myspace Page, HERE.

Come shift paradigms with us



We are now here to share our social media fantasies with you. Won't you join us?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Throwback Monday - 09-13-10 - "Don't Stay For Breakfast" - Ströer



Not much for the video...since there isn't one, but this track is a classic proto-boogie burner that has been slept-on for decades.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Out Door #6 on Pitchfork



As much as I feel that Pitchfork misses the mark on some of their reviews and articles, "The Our Door" column is consistently amazing. The depth of research, the digging for, and finding of, bands and topics that would normally fly under the radar is impressive.

In this particular installment, underground internet music shops take center stage.


The Out Door #6 (via @pitchforkmedia)
The Our Door # 6 on Pitchfork

Monday, August 23, 2010

7 Questions with Kim Cascone



Kim Cascone has been a central figure in experimental electronic music for more than two decades. As an artist, he continues to explore sonic boundaries in his work. As a champion of the global electronic music community, he has provided outlets for other artists to collaborate and share their work. He is an alumni Berklee College of Music, he worked as music editor for director David Lynch, he launched the highly regarded ambient label Silent Records and worked as a sound designer/composer for Thomas Dolby's company Headspace. He produced and recorded under the moniker's PGR and Heavenly Music Corporation.

One not to rest on his laurels, Kim founded the microsound list and launched anechoic (named after his last Heavenly Music Corporation release), which he established in 1996, to release his work.

1. You've been producing music for quite some time now. What to you is exciting about the state of music in 2010?

KC: Well to tell you the truth I don't find much music all that exciting in 2010. I mean you have any number of software applications that wind up doing most of the heavy lifting in terms of creative sound design and composition and as a result of the 'anybody-can-make-music' trend I just don't hear all that much that I can call innovative or exciting. I've gone back to my roots and have been studying the Schillinger System of Composition. I feel pre-composition is severely lacking in most of the work that passes for 'experimental' music today. I admire the work of Earl Brown and Bruno Maderna very much so I've been listening to a lot of their work lately. There was so much done in the state supported radio studios of post-war Europe that still blows much of contemporary music out of the water.

2. Your record label, Silent Records, is widely recorgnized as playing a pivitol role in the evolution of ambient music. When your tenure as label owner came to an end in 1996, did you think that the label would have such an impact? 

KC: No. It's never apparent when you're in the thick of things. At that time we were reeling from a distribution deal gone sour and as a result were facing bankruptcy so there was a lot of anxiety and mixed feelings as we walked away. It wasn't until much later when the Silent Records tribute site went up that I began to realize what we had accomplished. Today I see there's a resurgence of the 90's style of ambient music -- which is odd since most of the kids producing it today were barely old enough to have lived through it then. Sort of like the hippie kids that still hang around on Haight Street in San Francisco. It must be a morphogenetic field or something.

 
3. Have you ever thought of recording more PGR or Heavenly Music Corporation material?

KC: No. I hate it when artists keep churning out the same material with slight modifications over and over again. It's like they have one trick and keep performing it to a bored yet polite audience. I find it more interesting and satisfying to continue exploring new ideas; or go back to old cultural ideas and see if I can do something new with them.

4. In terms of your production and compositional process, how has that evolved over the years? What was the impetus for this evolution?

KC: I studied music at the Berklee College of Music in the 70's and once I exhausted all the electronic music classes there I continued my studies in NY with a private teacher. I was in a very stimulating environment (NYC in the mid-70's) and hung out a lot at film and art schools (Parsons and SVA) where some friends were going at the time. This laid an important foundation for me and I ended up learning a lot about electronics and new music. I find that I have to continually move ahead, keep exploring. And when I see everyone headed in a particular direction I've learned to go the other way!

5. How did the microsound list come into existance? Can you talk about the community that's grown-up around the list?

KC: I started the microsound list because at that time there wasn't a central place where people interested in post-digital music and sound art could discuss theory and philosophy. I felt it was important to create a stimulant that could help propel electronic/digital music further, keep people thinking instead of just firing up the same software and making the same sounds as everyone else. A composer I know called it 'push button' music -- which seemed harsh at the time but maybe was more prophetic than we care to admit?

 
6. What's next for you as an artist?

KC: I plan to get more involved in environmental issues such as ocean noise and how it affects the marine life in our oceans. I started a festival based on hydrophone based sound art which I hope to help raise awareness of this issue. We did the first Hydrophonia Festival in Genoa, Italy last year with Jana Winderen, Domenico Sciajno, Alessandro Petrolati and myself. We also had bio-acousticians Gianni Pavan and Michele Manghi speak to the public about ocean noise. It was a fantastic time and very rewarding to help raise public awareness about this devastating problem.

7. What's your top 10 right now?

in no particular order:

Musica Elettronica - Bruno Moderna
Spiral I & II - Karlheinz Stockhausen
David Tudor - Rainforest I & IV
John Cage - Constructions in Metal I - III
Joseph Anton Riedl - Klangregionen 1951 - 2007
Jana Winderen - Energy Field
Earl Brown - Selected Works 1952 - 1965
Mika Vainio - Black Telephone of Matter
Francois Bayle - [various pieces I've collected]

Throwback Monday - 08-23-10 - "Detached" - DNA







"DNA was a No Wave band formed in 1978 by guitarist Arto Lindsay and keyboardist Robin Crutchfield. Rather than playing their instruments in a traditional manner, they instead focused on making unique and unusual sounds. Their music was described as spare, noisy, and angular and was compared to some of Captain Beefheart's output and even to Anton Webern.

DNA originally consisted of Lindsay, Crutchfield, Gordon Stevenson, and Mirielle Cervenka, and took their name from a song by another no wave band, Mars. Stevenson went on to play bass for Teenage Jesus and the Jerks; Cervenka was the younger sister of Exene Cervenka of X. This incarnation of the band was very brief, not playing even one concert. After the rapid departure of Stevenson and Cervenka, Lindsay and Crutchfield hastily recruited Ikue Mori—who at the time had little command of English and no drum set—to be DNA's drummer.

This lineup of DNA played occasionally at CBGB and Max's Kansas City and recorded one 7" single. Within their first year, they had cemented their reputation as a paradigmatic no wave band when Brian Eno selected them as one of the four groups documented on the No New York LP, the first recording to expose no wave groups to an audience outside of lower Manhattan. The other three bands appearing on this album were The Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, and Mars."

(content exerpt from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_(band)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Flying Lotus to Release New EP





There's a new FlyLo record, a seven-track EP called Pattern+Grid World that drops on September 21st. Get a taste of the new record at Pitchfork.

Flying Lotus to Release New EP

Monday, August 16, 2010

Throwback Monday - 09-16-10 - "Cavern" - Liquid Liquid





"Liquid Liquid is a New York City post-punk/post-disco band, originally active from 1980 to 1983. Since 2008 the band has reformed, playing in various venues across the globe. Their track "Cavern", from the Optimo EP recorded by Don Hunerberg, was covered by the Sugar Hill house band for the backing track on Grandmaster + Melle Mel's "White Lines (Don't Don't Do It)".[1] Since the band’s inception in 1980, the sounds of Liquid Liquid have been a mainstay in the clubs. The original records were pressed in very limited quantities on the 99 label, and can now fetch high prices. Though the pressings were small, the music has had a lasting and far reaching impact. The first three EPs, plus live material, were reissued in 1997 by Grand Royal (US) and Mo' Wax (UK). After the collapse of both these labels, Domino Records released the music from all three original 12"s plus extra tracks and early live recordings as Slip In And Out Of Phenomenon in 2008.
In October 2008 the band returned to the UK after a prolonged hiatus, playing at London's Barbican Theatre alongside the Glasgow-based DJ duo Optimo, who named themselves after the eponymous Liquid Liquid song and EP."

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquid_Liquid)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Architects and Heroes - Podcast #3



After a long hiatus, we have a new A&H podcast to share with you. We've gone deep on this one, bringing you some very rare gems. Our camp has had the Minimal Wave Tapes (vol. 1) in wide rotation since it's release back in January on Stones Throw, and it made us dig for more of the stripped-down synth-pop from the 70's and 80's. The results are some very rare tracks from Pink Industry, Autumn and Berlin Express. But we didn't stop there. Being the IDM geeks we are, we had to put some jittery, glitchy stuff on blast as well. We've got unreleased material from Abraxas and Constant Flux, as well as as well as some dubstep from Kemek The Dope Computer. There are also some nice surprises as well, but I'll let the playlist speak for itself.

Architects and Heroes - Podcast #3 - Playlist:

1. Single Cell Orchestra - Whatever Forever
2. Pink Industry - What I Wouldn't Give
3. Abraxas - Gimel
4. Oval - R-TicToc
5. Constant Flux - Noisy Pink Parts
6. Berlin Express - The 4-08 To Paris
7. OST - Track11
8. Games - Dance This Way
9. Kemek The Dope Computer - Vitamin Drumming
10. Headphone Science - The Search For Swans
11. J. Dilla - Sycamore
12. Gilbert O'Sullivan - Alone Again (Naturally)
13. Autumn - Close Rays Of Light Attack

DOWNLOAD HERE (51:29)

*note: We'll be posting the 2 archived podcasts here within the next few days.

Marco Paul – The Heavenly Music Corporation – The Passing of Icons



Check out this amazing mix from Dublab from Marco Paul, dedicated to the memories of Alex Chilton & Malcolm Mclaren.

Marco Paul – The Heavenly Music Corporation – The Passing of Icons

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

7 Questions with Riz Maslen (Neotropic / Small Fish With Spine)



Since the mid-nineties Riz Maslen has produced a complex and diverse body of work that spans 2 monikers, 5 LPs, 10 EPs, 5 films and more remixes than most super-star djs. She played keyboards for The Beloved, worked with 4hero and Future Sound of London, even singing on Top of the Pops with their top 10 hit 'Papua New Guinea'.

We caught up with the creative mind behind Neotropic and Small Fish With Spine.

1. What's going on in your world these days?

At present I have a few things going, juggling many balls! Rehearsing new live material and playing at the Aeon Festival at the end of the month. Putting together a remix album of Equestrienne and I have had some great mixes in from all kinds of artists. I put out an APB online looking for remixers and I got a great response. I am working on some new material, some more experimental and I have an idea for an installation which I really need to sit down and work through it.

Mixing and recording for other artists, Canytheif and Ajah which is great as I love to work with other artists and collaborate on their material. I released an album at the end of last year, Equestrienne and unfortunately it was only available as a download as I did not have enough funds to release a CD which was a shame as I would of loved that. I have also been collaborating with artists Maslen and Mehra on two film projects over the last 12 months which has been great, in fact a strange story in regards to this meeting of minds. I move into my new place at the begining of 2009 and bumped into one half of Maslen and Mehra and low and behold having the same surname we are in fact related, second cousins we think, so I have some Australian Relatives which is a bonus.

2. Has there been any thoughts of doing another Small Fish With Spine record?

I have considered the idea and have many fans who keep asking me and at first i was rather reluctant just because it was a certain time in my life and things had moved on since then, but who knows if people keep asking maybe I will!

3. Talk about your films a bit. Did film making evolve over the same trajectory as your music?

Kind of. I have always dabbled, wasn't very good at art but loved the idea of making art without the brush or pencil. Photography and film making seemed a great alternative and something I could experiment with. In the beginning when I first started out, especially in a live context I wanted to create a cinematic experience as often being solo on stage can be very static and not exactly enthralling for the audience, I used slides x 2 creating a backdrop of visual images, it then slowly progressed to film, Super 8 in the early days as I just love the aesthetic you get from film it just has this warmth you can always achieve with digital unless you spend hours in post production, which I like doing but it gets very time consuming. I still shoot daily, mainly photographs at present but want to get back into film, and this is something I am looking to do in the near future. I have done some more art based films over the last few months, getting selected for different art shows which has been great as I have wanted to venture into this for a while but been a bit afraid of entering that sphere but it has been pretty succesful and hopefully will develop in the coming months.

4. How about Neotropic? What's in the works?

Well the Equestrienne Remix Album is in the pipeline with mixes coming in from all corners of the globe, USA/Japan/Europe and UK so am definitely looking forward to that and highlighting some of the great new talent out there. Of course new material is always in the pipeline and really just doing that. Also, I am in a couple of books the 20th anniversary of Ninja Tune and Pink Noises by Tara Rodgers.

5. Are you touring now? Where can people see you live?

Gigs are hard right now to come by, and I love playing live but have only played a couple of times this year, especially now I have this great live lineup it just seems to have this great energy. I need to find a good agent, but I am playing the Aeon Festival on the 28th August which is in Devon and is a lovely little festival, so any west country folk can come check us out.I would also love to get back on the road but it is just about raising the finances to do it, or getting on a small tour with a few other artists.

6. Where would one go to find more information about you?

My website www.neotropic.net is a good place along with Facebook and Myspace

7. What's your top 10 right now?

In no particular order

1. No Shore is Home - Center Divider
2. All the world is green - Tom Waits
3. Turbine Womb - Soap & Skin
4. Strike - She Keeps Bees
5 Mack the Knife - The Psychedelic Furs
6. who are your trying to fool - Little Ann
7. Stay Tuned - Robert Wyatt
8.Dying - The Whigs
9.Scope J - Ute Lemper
10. Butterfly House - The Coralloads of film stuff on the following

Quetsi Tek from Neotropic on Vimeo.




La Prochaine Fois from Neotropic on Vimeo.



Inch inch from Neotropic on Vimeo.



More information on Riz Maslen:

http://www.neotropic.net/
http://www.myspace.com/neotropicmusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/rizmaslen
http://www.lovefilm.com/film/Lap/151832/

Monday, August 9, 2010

Throwback Monday - 09-09-10 - "Biting My Nails" - Renegade Soundwave





Debuting on the Rhythm King label with the "Kray Twins" single, their early records mixed together the sound of the then embryonic dance scene, east-end hip-hop, dub and electro-industrial noise. Later singles such as "Biting My Nails" (a cover version of a cabaret-pop song by Yé-yé girl Genevieve Waite, from her 1974 album, Romance is on the Rise) and "The Phantom" became early dance-floor classics,[citation needed] with "Probably a Robbery" eventually reaching number 38 in the UK singles chart in 1990.

A switch to Mute Records brought the release of the debut long-player Soundclash in 1989, swiftly followed by In Dub. The Japanese version of In Dub featured a second disc of the cuts, previously available only on their early Twelve Inch singles. At this point, Bonnie exited to pursue a solo career (citing musical differences), leaving Briottet & Asquith to continue as a duo. After two more albums, the group formally disbanded in 1995, leaving behind a legacy of four long playing albums and twelve singles.

The Chemical Brothers have cited RSW as one of the biggest influences in their sound.[citation needed]
In 2003, Layo and Bushwacka remixed "The Phantom".
2005 saw the appearance of a white label entitled "Robbery", which featured remixed versions of RSW tunes such as "Ozone Breakdown".

As of 2010, Gary Asquith runs the le coq musique record label along side Kevin Mooney formerly of Adam and the Ants and are also in a band called Lavender Pill Mob[1], both Asquith and Mooney have worked alongside electro artist Lee Simeone including a track written by Asquith titled "Ocean" [2] and Briottet is producing and recording/remixing under the name of Red Star." (*source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renegade_Soundwave

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Top 5 - 8/4/10

1. Seefeel - Quique - Too Pure/ Astralwerks


Quique (pronounced "Keek") is the 1993 debut album from Seefeel. Musically, the band "is situated at the intersection of dream pop/shoegaze and ambient techno/IDM," which made them a perfect fit for Warp Records, who they signed to in 1994. After an almost 12 year hiatus, Seefeel will be releasing a new record on Warp later this year.

http://www.amazon.com/Quique-Seefeel/dp/B000003RW1

2. Zola Jesus - Stridulum EP - Sacred Bones Records


This hypnotic goth-tinged neurotic-pop from Nika Roza Danilova (aka Zola Jesus) has caught ears of many "in the know" music publications, and for good reason. Her larger-than-life vocals are reminiscent of Siouxsie Sioux, and the dark-wave influenced production makes this record feel new and familiar at the same time.

http://www.amazon.com/Stridulum-EP/dp/B003A2A26C

3. Ras G and The Afrikan Space Program - Ghetto Sci Fi - Poo-Bah Records


This record has been in wide-rotation for me in the past year. Along with his LA beat-making comrades Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and Daedelus, Ras G has made a name for himself with his bass-heavy psychedelic sound. This record is a classic in the making.

http://www.poobah.com/ghetto-scifi-rasg

4. The JD's - An Education - Pretension Records


"Jack Dangers of Meat Beat Manifesto needs no introduction. He practically invented modern breakbeat music. His collection of vintage analog synthesizers and vocoders provides the foundation for the JD's sound. Jon Drukman of Bass Kittens is the digital to Dangers' analog. He brings his own electro-tinged philosophy to the proceedings. There is only one school on Planet JDs: the school of blowing your mind with sound. Step inside and get educated." (content from from electrobotiks.com)

The JDs - Album Sampler by basskitten

5. Madlib - Madlib Medicine Show No. 3: Beat Konducta In Africa


There's not too much I can say about Madlib that hasn't already been said. This is a great record, in a series. Click the link and buy this record. It's amazing.

http://www.stonesthrow.com/news/2010/03/madlib-medicine-show-no-3-beat-konducta-in-africa

Monday, August 2, 2010

Throwback Monday - 08/02/10 - "Typical Girls" - The Slits

Happy Monday! This is a post-punk classic from the frequently name-checked band, The Slits. The band's influence cannot be over stated. You can here the band's influence in everything from Bikini Kill to the Yeah Yeah Yeah's. If you don't know anything about The Slits, other than their being name-checked in "Losing My Edge," then do yourself a favor and find out more. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Slits







Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Top 5 - 7/28/10

Hello bleary-eyed new music seekers. In an attempt to expose some of our favorite bands and producers who are "under the radar" we will be featuring artists that we're excited about. This weekly list will include some new music, some old music, some extremely obscure music and some stuff you can hear on the radio. Our only criteria for our "top 5" list is that we have to be excited about it. So, without further ado....

1. Baths - Cerulean - Anticon Records



Baths has made quite a splash (ha ha, get it?) in the Los Angeles music scene this summer. His release on Anticon Records has garnered some amazing reviews, and for good reason. It's simply a great record.

http://www.myspace.com/bathsmusic

2. ROFLOL - Rolling On The Floor Laughing Out Loud - Audio Dregs



ROFLOL is the solo music of Jacob Ciocci, founding member of the internationally renowned art collective, Paper Rad. The music of ROTFLOL is a "best of" collection of Jacob's solo music from the past decade, soundtracks from videos and animations, as well as a selected discography of self released cassettes, hand made CDRs, 7 inch vinyl, and live recordings.

This is a highly recommended LP/DVD/digital (combo) release.

http://www.audiodregs.com/releases/adr076/

3. Cap'n Jazz - Analphabetapolothology - Jade Tree Records



This 1998 posthumous release (the band broke up in 1995) catalogues almost every song recorded and released by Cap'n Jazz. This influential band was formed in Chicago in 1989 by brothers Tim and Mike Kinsella, who were joined by Sam Zurick and Victor Villareal. After a number of name changes and the addition of guitarist Davey von Bohlen the band began to earn a cult following in the Chicago area and the Midwest.

The band is on a reunion tour now, and while I cringe at reunions as a rule of thumb, this one I'm hyped about.

http://www.myspace.com/capnjazz

4. Cut Chemist - The Sound of the Police



You're probably no stranger to Cut Chemist, but if you are, click here. This master of the turn tables has a new project out where he uses one turntable, a loop pedal, a mixer and Ethiopian/Afro-Brazilian records.

You can stream the whole record at KCRW here:

http://www.kcrw.com/music/programs/ap/ap100719cut_chemist_sound_of

5. mathewdavid - Disk Collection - Leaving Records



This 2008 collection of "post-psychedelic" tracks is fantastic. The limited, packaged in hand-crafted 5 1/4″ floppy disks is sold out, but you can hear a sample of the record at the Leaving Records link below. Get anything and everything you can from this artist...

http://leavingrecords.com/handmade/matthewdavid-disk-collection/

http://www.plugresearch.com/artists/matthewdavid/

http://www.myspace.com/matthewdavid

Monday, July 26, 2010

Throwback Monday - 07/26/10 - "Me And My Rhythmbox" - Adrian Sings (Liquid Sky)

Happy Monday! This is a scene from the cult classic "Liquid Sky" that features the amazingly angular and stark track "Me And My Rhythmbox" by Adrian Sings (*side note: if anyone knows what happened to Adrian Sings, please email me). Schematic Record's act Phoenecia sampled the track The film itself is an exception document of the New York underground scene in the 80's, not to mention the face that film has a really interesting back story.





Sunday, July 25, 2010

Tragedy at Love Parade Festival in Germany

Tragedy at Love Parade Festival in Germany

Between this, and the death in Los Angeles at a recent "rave," you have to wonder how promoters should handle these kinds of parties.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

7 Questions with: Tobacco - Managing the Meat of Maniac's



It's no secret that we're fans of Tobacco and Black Moth Super Rainbow. Following the trajectory of Tom Fec's creative endeavors has been an exercise in watching an artist create and evolve on his own terms. His video edits for BMSR and Tobacco, the creative direction of the live performances and a relentless experimentation with his production methods have made his work resonate with more and more people.

We recently had a chance to catch up with Tom (Tobacco) in the wake of the release of his Anticon release "Maniac Meat."

How did Tobacco become your primary project? Is BMSR over?

Really it just became the main and only thing i'm working on. Whatever i'm working on at the time is my primary project. The whole idea behind bmsr and being in a band had me burned out. Especially after eating us, it seemed like I had let it get too far and kind of lost the ability or motivation to rope it back in. The tobacco stuff is just really fun to work on and show live. With all that being said, i don't think bmsr is over, but it was definitely overdue for a long break.

Maniac Meat is a departure from your work with BMSR. What was the turning point for you?

I wrote bmsr songs knowing that people would hear them and building my own expectations on top of them. I didn't want to do anything too stupid or really embrace some of the more off-putting urges that I wanna explore in music sometimes. The breaking point for me was being on tour for eating us and realizing I was playing music that I couldn't stand. Don't get me wrong, I'm the only one to blame for that, but sometimes I get something in my head and just have to see it through to see if it works, whether it's right or not. And sometimes it takes a minute for me to realize that the little awkwardness I'm feeling might be part of something bigger.

Maniac Meat especially was about wanting to get back to when it was 100% about entertaining myself, like in high school when I knew no one gave a shit about what i was doing. It wasn't even meant to be an album released to the public. It was my jogging soundtrack.

Beck makes an appearance on this record. What's the story behind that?

Shaun at Anticon knew Brian Lebarton, who's beck's music director. They got to talking and brian mentioned they listened to fucked up friends, and right then i happened to be finishing up this jogging soundtrack that was becoming a real album. So the stars aligned.

Fucked Up Friends 2, the video companion to the record, was an amazing collection of videos you put together. Are there plans to do the same thing for Maniac Meat?

Probably not. It seems like a lot of people are on to the idea of splicing 80s/90s footage to music now, so there's no real need for me to do it anymore. Maybe something more grand in the future, but i don't know what that is yet.

On the topic of the visuals you use, what's the inspiration behind your aesthetic?

Pretty much just pure gross entertainment. I like stuff that looks like it was made for what i'm doing and maybe reminds people how fucked up shit was when they didn't realize it.

What are your touring plans with the new record?

I'll go out for all of september on the east coast, and then keep on throughout the u.s. and hopefully europe through next year.

(Yes, I am aware there is only 6 questions.)

More Info:

http://www.myspace.com/tobacco
http://www.facebook.com/maniacmeat
http://www.youtube.com/user/hairycandy

Friday, May 14, 2010

Coachella 2010 > Here is your (pitch)fork



As a content provider of one, and true believers make no doubt about this fact, I am my own camera man, editor, director and talent of all of my own online endeavors; I have to say that the video above was of one very ambitious and one VERY sleep deprived Stephen R.

After almost 2 weeks after the fact, I can tell you the following...

Pavement


Pavement rocked the main stage during the daylight hours. It was as if I was there when "Punk Rock" became "Alternative." And maybe I was... it was a miracle.



And that's all... Thanks for this year Coachella. See you in 2011.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coachella - Day 3 - Show Reviews







Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Day two of the festival was a humid day in the desert, and the shows rolled-on nonstop. Today was a definitive day of electronic and dance music. Now, while I'm not a Tiesto fan (not one bit), it was telling that for the first time since the festival's inception that a DJ/Electronic music producer headlined the main stage. It looks like 13 years after "electronica" was supposed to take over the popular music landscape, it finally has. But enough with waxing on about the changing landscape of music, and on with the reviews.


Craze and Klever

This was the day's jumping off point, and it set the day off with a bang. These two DMC champions went head-to-head in the dance tent to an electrified crowd of over 15,000. The pair dropped a set that went from uptempo 140 bpm bangers, with mad scratching on top, to rock tracks (Nirvana and Metallica specifically), then they flipped the script and went into a deep dub set that lit the crowd up.


Craze & Klever at Coachella 2010 from Taylor Doms on Vimeo.





The Raveonettes

Next on the agenda was Danish garage/psych duo The Raveonettes. As with a number of bands booked at Coachella coming from overseas, the Volcano Eruption in Iceland kept members of the band from making it to the show. This didn't stop the core duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo from soldiering on and playing a fuzzed out set of garage goodness. This paired-down performance still conveyed the weight of songs, which is really a testament to not only their talent as performers, but their talent as songwriters.


Hot Chip

This was my second time to see Hot Chip. The last time I saw them perform was in 2006, during their tour for The Warning, and their live show has improved dramatically! Where the earlier performance was them standing behind their keyboards a la Kraftwerk, this performance was with a full band. The performance was fantastic. See for yourself.






Major Lazer

Having followed Diplo's career for the past 6 years, I've seen him perform a number of times in all types of venues. What I saw at Coachella with Major Lazer, the project he's doing with DJ Switch, was the culmination of all of the parties I'd seen previously. It was truly an awesome performance, complete with dancing Chinese street dragons, acrobatic performers and Skerrit Bwoy, a truly magnetic front man. When I'd seen Diplo before, you could tell he was on a mission. Taking his across-the-board brand of globally-influenced club music to the masses all over the world has been quite an accomplishment. Before it's over, it would be great to see Diplo/Major Lazer and his cohorts take over mantle that has been for too-long occupied by the Oakenfolds and the Tiestos of the dance music world.

Watch your back, because the Mad Decent train is rolling through.






Flying Lotus

Los Angeles based producer Flying Lotus continues his ascension into the mythical pantheon of electronic music royalty. As the artist who's evolved the legacy of Warp Record's tradition of putting out artists that have pushed the art of electronic music into another dimension, FlyLo has pushed the boundaries Hip-Hop to it's logical extreme. With complex and layered music, sometimes the studio magic doesn't always translate into a compelling live performance. This isn't the case with FlyLo.

To see the crowd of almost 20,000 riveted to every single note, and literally taking the same journey as the artist live was an amazing sight. His accompanied video performance was every bit as compelling as his music. And for this artist who's musical legacy is already a thing of mythology, it is only the beginning.



Sunday, April 18, 2010

Coachella - Day 3 - Second Day of the Festival





Our third day in the desert, and the second day of the festival, was another day of amazing performances. On the DJ/Electronic front there was Craze & Klever, Hot Chip, Major Lazer and Flying Lotus. In more reunion news, Faith No More and Devo took the stage in addition to The Gossip and The Dead Weather.

With the realization that it's next to impossible to do detailed show reviews and keep my sanity while at the festival, I've opted get all show reviews posted in the wrap-up. We'll also have out Flickr site updated as well.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Coachella - Day 2 - Festival Kick Off



SHOW REVIEWS:

Sleigh Bells

Day 1 of Coachella started off with the Sleigh Bells. A boy/girl electro-punk act that takes all of the brattiness of the Ting Tings, and drops a dirty south beat and electric guitar into the mix. Upon a first listen, Sleigh Bells could be written off as a knock-off of 20 other bands that takes boy/girl indie rock template and rehashes some well-worn territory. The biggest difference between this act being a cliche, and being something different is how they do it.

The live show was something of a high-energy event, blending driving beats and feedback-heavy guitar to a sweaty throng of festival revelers. Not exactly a game changer for music, but a fun time and a great way to get the festival started.

(The Sleigh Bells)




She and Him

M-Ward and Zooey Deschanel's 60's throwback pop music is great for listening to while not actively listening. There's something that is so instantly familiar when you hear it, that it's as if the music that's always been there. There's a certain shimmer to what these two produce. It's deceptively simple, until you realize how well thought out the music really is. It's methodically engineered to make you like it, which is no simple task

The problem which She and Him, it that's it simply doesn't translate live. Zooey Deschanel's delivery was lack-luster at best. All of the charisma and charm that she radiates as an actress simply doesn't work when she's the focal point for a band. While I'm sure that Mrs. Gibbard will continue to produce well-crafted pop songs with M-Ward, the band's live performance is it's not strong point.


The Specials




One of the highlights of the day was seeing The Specials. In a year where iconic bands seem to be dusting off their long-dead monikers, and are taking their acts on the road, the announcement of The Specials reunion tour was something I was very much looking forward to. There are many bands that are reunited that simply shouldn't have. (I'm talking to you, The Who) Fortunately, The Specials were not one of these bands. Their performance was amazing. They prowled around the stage like kids half their age, they had complete control of their instruments and ultimately were one of the highlights of the day.


Gil-Scott Heron

Gill-Scott Heron is an icon. For those of you only know him from his shout-out on "Losing My Edge" from LCD Soundsystem, do yourself a favor and find out more. It can be argued that GSH's spoken-word delivery in his music from the 70's and 80's laid the ground work for Hip-Hop, and his politically-charged lyrics made some dub him the "black Bob Dylan," but that simply does not do him justice.

Live, he sat down at the keyboard and proceeded to go to work. His somewhat improvisational set was an experience in soulful force. It's rare at these festivals that there are meditative moments, but GSH's performance did just that. Many of bands on the festival roster could take notes on how an excellent performance is executed from this elder statesman.


(Gil-Scott Heron)




LCD Soundsystem

With the announcement on the DFA website that LCD Soundsystem was going to break-up, and that they were playing the main stage at Coachella, it was big news. Their performance was a fantastic run through their self-described "dance-punk," with James Murphy making sometimes rambling announcements in between songs. I question the logic of whoever made that decision of the band's performance slot right before Jay Z. I managed to work my way to the front of the stage, and overheard a number of folks who only knew of a few LCD tracks, and I even had one "indie bro" (more about this later, it's too funny) ask me if this was going to be a DJ set...sad.

(James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem)




Public Image Limited

In anther move this year that co-opted my formative years and brought back some of the icons that blazed a trail in the alt music world, Public Image Limited has reformed. With this year's Coachella line-up in "throw-back" mode, it was really no surprise to see PIL on the roster. The band's performance was everything you'd expect from a band who's peak was almost 30 years ago. They performed a very solid set, and it's really interesting to hear one of the originators of "dance-punk" (and punk itself, in regards to Johnny Rotten). The bass player, dropped the signature dub bass lines (Jah Wobble was a no-show for the reunion), while Johnny belted out the lyrics and gave his best scowl, but something in the performance was a bit off.

While I was completely in awe of having the chance to see this legendary band perform, I was primarily interested in seeing Johnny Rotten singing on stage, so I could check it off my musical "bucket list." At the end of the day, punk rock does not age gracefully. It was a bit sad to see an iconic figure like Johnny Rotten using a music stand to hold his lyrics and referring to it periodically during the show. Along with the posturing and snide comments, it seemed as if Johnny Rotten has become a parody of himself. With the passing of Malcom McLaren, and with the echo of 1970's punk and new wave becoming more and more faint as new bands and reinvent and evolve the sound, it seems like the baton has long since been passed. Some might say that PIL coming out of retirement was nothing more than a money-making play, the new "Rock and Roll Swindle." For the band's sake, I hope it it.

(PIL Then)


(PIL Now)





Jay-Z

Jay-Z played. It was awesome. Beyonce made a guest appearance. There was fireworks.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Coachella - Day 1 - Ramp Up



Day 1 in the desert.
We were In "ultra-lounge" mode on Thursday, getting ready for the 3 days of music and chaos. We stopped by the ACE Hotel for the Desert Gold warm-up party with The Gaslamp Killer, who we chatted with a bit before his set, which just was sick as always with the GLK.

Great start to the maddness...




Wednesday, April 7, 2010

DJ Mixes for Spring 2010

In anticipation of launching the new Architects & Heroes podcast series in May, as well as preparing for a new series of "proper" mixtape coming down the pipline, I've cleaning out the virtual archive, dusting off some mixes from our not so recent past. We've got three very special mixes for you here. Feel free to listen, download and share with friends.



SPACE LOUNGE 2010


Space Lounge 2010 by dj stephen r.


ARCHITECTS & HEREOS Vo1. 1 - Notes from the Laboratory


Architects & Heroes Vol.1 - Notes from the Laboratory by dj stephen r.


ARCHITECTS & HEROES Vol. 2 - The Chronicles of Low Frequency



Architects & Heroes Vol.2 - The Chronicles of Low Frequency by dj stephen r.

Coachella After Party!!! Wow...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

In The Trenches..Live: Tobacco/Nice Nice/Hood Internet in San Diego: 3/24/10



I can remember the first time I heard Black Moth Super Rainbow thinking that these guys were some hybrid strain of Boards of Canada and the Manson Family. Or, more appropriately, if the Boards of Canada had taken their psychedelic cult persona to it's logical extreme, packed their shit in a van and took the circus on the road, it might come off something like BMSR. But, with Black Moth Super Rainbow, there was something a bit more visceral about the music. Something that was darker, that didn't hint at an agenda, but actively engaged with your senses. Less Scientology, more Jehovah's Witness. Can you hear that knocking on your door?

Tobacco, the one-time front man for BMSR, has pulled a Bobby Brown and has gone solo. I'd seen BMSR at the Troubadour in LA, complete with crazy, low-fi, culty video, bizarro hype man in a Chinese hobo mask and Mike Watt jumping on stage for a couple of numbers. I wasn't sure what to expect from a Tobacco live show, but I was pretty sure it wasn't going to be your run of the mill gig. And it wasn't...

One of the nicest surprises of the evening was Portland's free-form noise pop outfit Nice Nice, that opened the evening. I'd never heard the band's music before, so I had no expectations. Their improvised, beat-driven, noise loops we're something to behold. The band has been active for 10 years, and have been signed to Warp Records, which speaks for itself. They have a unique sound that lands somewhere between Black Dice, Steve Reich and Trans Am (who, incidentally, they are going to be touring with April.)


(*Nice Nice live at the Casbah in SD)
Picture 154

(*Nice Nice video for Everything Falling Apart)




The next part of the evening took the whole night in a radically different direction. One of the DJ/Mash-up artists from The Hood Internet played a full-on dance-party mix, and out of nowhere a gaggle of Tween Hipsters were writhing to the sweet beats, facial hair, leg-warmers and sunglasses all in a hot mess, showering each other with PBR! It looked like a scene out of Lord of the Flies! Now, I like a hipster dance party as much as the next guy (in fact, I've been know to throw a few of these parties myself), but it did seem like a bit of an odd pairing...until I knew the back story. As it turns out, The Hood Internet dudes dropped an AMAZING mixtape that pairs up Aesop Rock with tracks from Tobacco's Fucked Up Friends record. Now, Aesop appears on the Tobacco track Dirt, so this was much more of a natural fit than I thought.

Just as quickly as the dance party crowd was front and center, they dissipated when Tobacco came on, and the psychedelic-loving freaks were front and center waiting for the weird, and they were not disappointed. The show opened with a weird video mix of "found" footage and Chat Roulette (which is creepy enough by itself).


(*Tobacco's Fucked Up videos)
Picture 167


The next 45 minutes was a audio and video assault of the best kind. With Tobacco's solo work, you still get the complexity and layers of sound that BMSR is know for, but it is a lot more paired down and utilitarian. With visuals from ‘Fucked Up Friends 2,′ a blu-ray/dvd set of the band's collected weird videos, running everything from B-horror films to E.T. having sex, the show was one-part psychedelic freak-out and one-part hip-hop show.


(*Tobacco's Chinese Hobo Hype Man)
Picture 166


As the band ran through the tracks off Fucked Up Friends, and a few from Maniac Meat the most noticeable difference in how BMSR and Tobacco work live was the band. It was stripped-down, a bit more of a raw and direct experience, which in my opinion is really the essence of the music. While BMSR live was excellent, it felt like there were more people added just to augment the core. With Tobacco, you get right to the core of the music. It's a more immediate and visceral experience. In a lot of ways, it's kind of the same kind of experience as early hip-hop. Raw, direct, immediate, a little dirty and in the case of Tobacco, just a little bit evil.


(*Tobacco and his Fucked Up Friends)
Picture 172


For Tobacco, this is a jumping-off point. With his forth-coming record Maniac Meat coming out next month, which includes a guest appearance from Beck on 2 tracks, and having the first single "Sweatmother" in rotation on radio stations a month before the record drops, it's clear that Tobacco is poised to do some interesting things this year. If the live show is any indication, then it's going to be an incredible, awesome, dirty, evil thing.