This week’s top mixes include Lil Data Live at Aisle 5, Peder Mannerfelt’s Voodooistic Brew and Ikonika’s Dizzying Joyride.
Lil Data Live at Aisle 5 Atlanta. A recording of PC Music‘s resident live coder and producer Lil Data live at Aisle 5, Atlanta. He performs Hard Attack Surface, which consists of dream-like visuals, as well as 40 minutes of glitched-out algorithmic melodies, electronic textures and big beats using the live music and pattern coding language TidalCycles. Stream and download above.
UKG Don Todd Edwards’s Clash Mix. UK garage don and splice king Todd Edwards is widely known for his role at the forefront of the original UK garage scene and the "sugar-sweet and bubbly chops" sound of his Grammy-winning productions. In his mix for Clash, he runs through a set of his own productions. Stream above, track listing here.
Lukid Playing Truant. With previous releases of his melodic and evocative style of house and techno released on labels like Werkdiscs, Ninja Tune and Liberation Technologies, Lukid celebrates his new EP, out via GLUM, with a mix for Truants that delves into the unexpected and surreal. Stream above.
Peder Mannerfelt’s Voodooistic Brew. The latest Dekmantel Podcast features an esoteric two-hour sound collage from Swedish producer Peder Mannerfelt. It contains "a voodooistic brew of shamanistic rituals, abstract noise and kinked techno that takes you to a dark foreign world," with tracks from Pinch, Errorsmith, Vatican Shadow and Machine Woman. Stream and download above.
Ikonika’s Dizzying Joyride. Following up on her Distractions LPand her recent rework of Kingdom and SZA’s ‘Down 4 Whatever’, Hyperdub and Planet Mu producerIkonika‘s debut Crack mix is a "dizzying joyride through robust kuduro, syrupy UKG, spacious funky and blissed out grime". Stream above.
SA Special w/ DJ Okapi & Dene Kadej-Ibarra. In the latest edition of Rush Hour’s Store Broadcast series of themed broadcasts, a South Africa special from avid SA music collectors DJ Okapi (Afrosynth records, Rush Hour) and Dene Kadej-Ibarra (La Casa Tropical), who play more than three hours of their current favourites. Stream above. Source: http://ift.tt/1UBq9jI
“The One to Wait” begins quietly, with a wash of guitar and a gentle breakbeat. And then Mary Jane Dunphe, a singer who always sounds like she’s announcing herself to the world, announces herself to the world, and CCFX sounds for a moment like the type of brilliant post-punk act that arrives like a summer storm to reorganize your thoughts about rock music.
The end result isn’t quite so dramatic, thankfully. CCFX is Dunphe’s collaboration with Trans FX’s Chris McDonnell, and the dream pop they conjure is the most luxurious environ she’s inhabited yet. On “The One to Wait,” her voice swoops and eddies through a tale of longing and indecision, her phrasing and tone almost sculpture-like in its exaggerated poses. The lyrics and puddled guitars suggest sadness, but the song’s melody seems to slope ever upward, never quite cresting. It creates a fidgety, nervous energy that carries the track as you wonder if Dunphe is going to let loose. She doesn’t, because some storms just drizzle all day long. –Andrew Gaerig
Like many JazzWax readers, jazz is my first love. But I also love rock, pop, folk, soul, reggae, bossa nova and anything else that’s great, no matter the genre. If you share my appetite, here are 10 new box sets that I’ve enjoyed and might be ideal as gifts for you or for others on your holiday list (to those about to email me, that’s not my system pictured)…
The Complete Prestige 10-Inch LP Collection of Thelonious Monk (Craft). Between 1952 and 1954, Monk recorded 21 songs issued on five 10-inch LPs. The albums were Thelonious Monk Trio: Thelonious (1952), Thelonious Monk Quintet Blows For LP, Featuring Sonny Rollins (1953), Thelonious Monk Quintet (1954), Thelonious Monk Plays (1954), and Sonny Rollins and Thelonious Monk (1954). This set’s five 10-inch LPs include sessions with Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Ray Copeland, Frank Foster and Julius Watkins, among others. For some reason, Monk always sounds best on vinyl. Go here.
David Bowie: A New Career in a New Town (1977-1982) (Parlophone). This is the third in a series of remastered boxes covering the Thin White Duke’s recording career. This 11-CD box (or 13 vinyl discs) includes Low, Heroes, Lodger, Stage, Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) and Re:Call 3 (a collection of singles) plus new mixes. The first three albums were recorded in Berlin, Stage was recorded on tour and featured his Berlin recordings, Scary Monsters was recorded in New York. Online carping about the box’s mastering are addressed here. (Go here)
Johnny Mathis: The Voice of Romance. The Columbia Original Album Collection (Sony Legacy). This 68-CD "cinder block" set includes all of Johnny’s 67 albums plus his new Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook. The box features a 200-page booklet with notes and photos. I had a chance to interview Johnny recently. He’s a wonderful-wonderful, friendly guy, as you might imagine. (Go here)
Jazz Cosmopolit: Swedish Jazz History Vol 11 (1970-1979) (Caprice). As you can tell from the volume number of this set, Sweden has produced its share of great jazz recordings. The music on this set is wide-ranging from hard bop to ballads but nearly always beautiful and pensive. You can sample tracks here. (Go here)
Elvis Presley: A Boy From Tupelo—The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings (Sony Legacy). This three-CD set allows you to hear the early evolution of an artist in the innocent years prior to his electrifying emergence as a national phenomenon in ’56. Good looks and a captivating delivery were only part of the story. Presley worked tirelessly touring and winning over crowds during these years. The set includes a 122-page book with photos, notes and recording details. (Go here).
Bob Dylan: Trouble Me No More. The Bootleg Series Vol 13 (1979-1981) (Sony Legacy). Someone who was born on the day Sony released its first Bob Dylan bootleg set would be 26 today. The recordings in volume 13 cover much of Dylan’s born-again Christian years. His studio albums of the period were Slow Train Coming (1979), Saved (1980) and Shot of Love (1981). The material on this set consists mostly of live recordings as well as unreleased session demos and outtakes from the three studio albums cited above. As always, Sony does a terrific job archiving, researching and packaging Dylan’s work-product over three narrow years. (Go here for the two-CD set and here for the 8-CD/1-DVD deluxe set).
Woody Guthrie: The Tribute Concerts (Bear Family). When Woody Guthrie died in 1967, folk lost its founder. To pay tribute to Guthrie, whose dusty songs of Depression-era injustice and hardship, folk artists who had been inspired by him gathered for two concerts—one at Carnegie Hall in 1968 and another at the Hollywood Bowl in 1970. Now Germany’s Bear Family has issued a three-CD box featuring the two concerts plus newly released material that never made it onto the original releases in 1972. Artists include Judy Collins, Bob Dylan, Richie Havens, Arlo Guthrie, Tom Paxton, Pete Seeger and Odetta as well as Ry Cooder, Rambln’ Jack Elliott and many others. (Go here)
The Eagles: Hotel California, 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Asylum). When this album was first released in December 1976, disco was on the rise. For those uninterested in the hustle and didn’t care much for urban dance floors in general, Hotel California became a folk-rock alternative. The album was No. 1 for eight weeks and won two Grammy Awards. The line-up of songs on the album was staggering (the first three are Hotel California, New Kid in Town and Life in the Fast Lane). This anniversary set includes a remastering of the original album. The second CD features 10 live tracks recorded during the band’s three nights at the Los Angeles Forum in 1976. The deluxe edition includes a DVD. (Go here).
The Ramones: Rocket to Russia, 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (Rhino). In November 1977, the Ramones released their third studio album, Rocket to Russia. It would become the last album featuring all four founding members, since drummer Tommy Ramone left soon after. Songs include Rockaway Beach, Sheena Is a Punk Rocker and Teenage Lobotomy. (Go here)
No sooner had Brighton’s Grace Carter appeared on the Breaking More Waves Ones to Watch 2018 list on the back of just one song, there’s a second one to add to the collection. The follow up to Silence, Ashes is a soulful electronic cut that deals with the frustrations of post-relationship mental anguish and not being able to get someone out of your head, even although it’s over. As Grace sings of drowning the memories and being unable to lay the love to rest it’s clear that things are still pretty raw here, even though the delivery is utterly composed and sophisticated, the equivalent of musical satin. Ashes has drawn in some big guns to work with Grace; the track was produced with Mike Dean who has worked with the likes of Frank Ocean, Beyonce and Kanye West. Grace Carter – Ashes
“If you can’t be a good influence, be a good cautionary tale.”
Words of wisdom from Storm Large, lead vocalist of Pink Martini, dazzling human being, and teller of tales extraordinaire.
Emerging from the back of the crowded synagogue at 6th and I, Storm Large sauntered her way to the front of the audience, highlighting her plunging blue ball gown and the “LOVER” tattoo blazing forth from her exposed back, and spent the next two hours guiding us through her holiday ordeal.
A yearly tradition for Storm, every year she puts on a bawdy holiday show for her traveling family, as she calls her audience, bringing people together into an intimate environment and sharing her holiday spirit with a lucky few.
These holiday ordeals involve songs and tales, all in the spirit of the holidays (even if they’re not directly Christmas-related). She started things out with a couple of classics, including “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” as well as Cole Porter’s “It’s All Right With Me” and then a song about Mary and Joseph – Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” (small town girl meets city boy…). In between, Storm told us about some of her favorite Christmas miracles, one of which included an incredible story about how when she was a little girl she befriended a nice man she met who was living out of his white van on the beach. Through happy coincidence she found him again after forty years and learned that he’d followed her career and she’d made a huge impact on his life (an impossibly happy ending, especially considering the fact that it included a white van.) She finished up the first half of the set with an original song about hooking up with a stranger on Christmas eve which included the lyrics, “Come all ye faithful”, “Let’s make a joyful noise together” and “When Santa comes you can go.”
Coming back from a quick intermission, Storm dazzled in an exquisitely sequined, green, floor length gown that made her look like a glittering Christmas tree lit up in all its glory. Working her way through “Sock It To Me Santa,” “Hallelujah” and “Forever Young,” she ramped up the energy in the synagogue until finally she had everyone, from child to octogenarian, on their feet bellowing “Won’t you find me somebody tooooooooooooo loooooooooooooooooove” right along with her. In between she told stories about her childhood, growing up with a mom who had a mental illness, and all the people who filled her unconventional childhood with love and happy memories.
More than a religious experience or a concert or a night out on the town, it felt like this warm and open and wonderful woman inviting us all into her house for a holiday celebration.
In The Wall Street Journal this week, I interviewed French chef Daniel Boulud, owner of 13 restaurants, five of which are New York, including Daniel (go here). Chef talked about growing up on his family farm near Lyon in the late 1960s and early ’70s. He also mentioned the food item he dreams about most but can’t get it in the States. His most recent book is Letters to a Young Chef.
Also in the WSJ, I interviewed Time Warner executive vice president Olaf Olafsson on living in Iceland as a child and trying to make sense of the Beatles’ Norwegian Wood (go here). He didn’t speak English then and had to run off to use his father’s dictionary to figure out the lyrics. Olaf’s new novel is One Station Away.
Don’t forget, the holidays are closing in fast. Order your paperback copy of my book, Anatomy of a Song: The Oral History of 45 Iconic Hits That Changed Rock, R&B and Pop. You’ll find it in the U.S. here and in the U.K. here. Or order my book, Why Jazz Happened,here. If you love JazzWax, support the writer behind the posts.
Terry Teachout is many things. He’s the Wall Street Journal’s drama critic; culture critic for Commentary; author of biographies of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, among others; writer of an opera libretto (The Letter); and a playwright (Satchmo at the Waldorf). Now Terry has written his second play, Billy and Me, which had its opening night on December 8. If you plan to be down in Palm Beach, Fla., be sure to catch the show ("Tennessee Williams and William Inge: two great American playwrights, one turbulent friendship"). For more information, go here.
Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse All Stars. Richard Salvucci sent along this clip of bassist Howard Rumsey leading his Lighthouse All Stars on Frankly Jazz, an early 1960s Los Angeles TV jazz show hosted by Frank Evans. The players here in 1962 are Bobby Bryant (tp); Bob Cooper (ts); Forrest Westbrook (p); Howard Rumsey (b) and Douglas Sides (d)…
Two noteworthy albums…
Bianca Rossini’s Vento do Norte (Apaixonad). Born in Rio de Janeiro, the singer-songwriter currently lives in Los Angeles. This album features Rossini’s sultry voice and original songs, all sung beautifully in Portuguese. A beach vacation without ever leaving home. Go here or listen at Spotify.
Adam Rudolph’s Morphic Resonances (Meta). Adam defies categorization. To me, he carries on the spiritual work of Yusef Lateef and Rahsaan Roland Kirk while charting his own path forward. As Adam says for the album’s liner notes, "Everything is vibrating in the universe. So, we’re sitting on this planet. We’re sitting on these chairs. We’re bodies, but when you move into the finer elements of vibration, we can talk about it as thought or even feeling or spirit." To Adam, spirit isn’t religion but mystery. His new album has a classical feel and is abstract in the finest sense of the word. I love his music. Go here or listen at Spotify. Here’s Adam’s Orbits, performed by the Odense Percussion Group…
Jon Hendricks. Sid Gribetz sent along a link to an hour-long clip of the Duke Ellington Orchestra playing A Concert of Sacred Music at the Grace Cathedral in San Francisco on September 16, 1965. Catch Jon Hendricks on In the Beginning God…
What the heck. How hip was the late Mundell Lowe? Dig his score for Love on a Rooftop, a TV sitcom that aired from September 1966 to April 1967. Whoever uploaded it to YouTube disabled the embed feature. So, to access, please go here.
Oddball album cover of the week.
Why schlep a real harp onto the set of a photo shoot when someone can just draw one badly, on sheetrock. Not sure why there are exclamation points on the illustrated harp, why some woman is pictured with a real harp inside the "o" in Harpo, or why Harpo has flowers tucked behind his ear. Mercury wasn’t big on cover design other than making sure the word "stereo" was as large as possible.
In honor of the deluxe vinyl reissues Jimmy LaValle released on his new Eastern Glow Recordings imprint this week, we thought we’d ask the decades-long lynchpin of the San Diego underground to look back at all of his work. Not just the solo and group efforts he’s cut under his popular alias The Album Leaf either; we’re talking everything from the synth-laced grindcore spasms of The Locust to the influential post-rock pieces of Tristeza.
Check out the full breakdown in the exclusive feature below, along with dates for the Album Leaf’s upcoming winter tour….
GUYVER-ONE GUYVER-ONE (*INCHWORM., 1996)
This was the first official ‘record’ I made. The core of the band had been together about a year before Kory [Ross] and I joined on guitar, so most of these songs were written before then. But the opening track, “Blurden,” was the first hardcore punk song I wrote. We recorded this record in about four hours at the infamous San Diego studio called Doubletime run by Jeff Forrest. He did most of the San Diego hardcore records back in those days; you can hear him say “rolling” on the first Antioch Arrow LP (1993’s The Lady is a Cat).
Anyway, I was 17 when I joined Guyver and did my first tour out to Michigan Fest and back during the spring break of my senior year in 1996. It was eight dudes all under 21, piled in a van with one bench seat and a loft. Those super dangerous ones from back in the day, too—i.e. plywood and 2×4’s with the gear packed underneath it, so in the event of an accident, not only are you a human missile towards the windshield, if the van flipped, you’d be underneath all the gear.
This tour definitely changed my life…. Seeing the country for the first time, meeting different kids from different hardcore scenes, playing in basements, living rooms, youth centers, and I met Christopher Sprague and Jimmy Lehner who I’d later form Tristeza with. This would be the only tour I did with Guyver. I only played in the band for a couple months as I was also playing in the Locust at the same time.
THE LOCUST LOCUST / JENNY PICCOLO 5” (THREE ONE G, 1996) LOCUST EP (GOLD STANDAD LABORATORIES, 1997)
These were good times…. 17 years old, screaming at the top of my lungs, and playing very precise NOISE. The beauty of the Locust is all of the songs were always intricately written and thought-out. There are a lot of chaotic noise breaks in these songs but we we’re all playing the exact same notes very quickly…. I also think my keyboards brought a strong melodic element to the band; it helped them cut through. This was actually the first band I played keyboards in. And the first time I did a full US tour and toured throughout Europe. Each time I toured, I felt less and less isolated. Meeting people from all different walks of life, experiencing different cultures, and being exposed to a lot of music from many communities…. I also got my first tattoo in the basement of a house show we played in Ogden, Utah: “Locust” inside my lower lip.
THE SWING KIDS
My time in the Swing Kids was very short lived. I was brought on to play second guitar to fill out the sound of the last handful of shows they played. I believe it was only 2 (Koos Cafe in Santa Ana and the Che cafe in San Diego) I was a HUGE fan of the Swing Kids so this was a giant honor to play with them. The records they made, sounded so clean and the songwriting was amazing. it was a punk band that you could make sense of. Also of bands back then sounded really noisy live while the swing kids sounded spot on all the time. I started going to their shows back in 95/96 and definitely looked up to them. Meeting these group of people has shaped my music career.
THE CRIMSON CURSE GREATEST HITS (THREE ONE G, 2001)
While still in the Locust, Justin Pearson (The Locust/Swing Kids), Mike Cooper (drummer of Guyver-One), Christopher Sprague (Constantine Sankhati/Tristeza) and I formed The Crimson Curse. We wanted to offend people at shows; we wanted them to be nuts. There are a lot of crazy videos on YouTube of this band. Christopher and I wrote the majority of the music (Mike Cooper wrote a handful of songs, too) and we didn’t do much touring outside of California. I’m not sure why, but we were pretty short lived. We put out our full discography on a single record and called it Greatest Hits.
TRISTEZA FORESHADOW / SMOKE THROUGH GLASS 7” (CAFFEINE VS. NICOTINE, 1998)
Christopher and I were playing and writing together in the Crimson Curse and were also roommates. In 97, we started listening to Nick Drake and Red House Painters and that inspired us to get into alternate tunings and arpeggiated guitar playing. In the Crimson Curse, it was all about punk, so we’d stay up late playing guitar writing a whole batch of songs and started Tristeza. We played our first show in our living room with our friend Joan of Arc from Chicago in the summer of ’97. Early in 1998, we recorded our first 7-inch that our friend put out for us. That started an immense amount of touring. We’d be out for six-to-eight weeks at a time. Rent was cheap, gas was cheap, sleeping on living room floors was free, so we made it all work.
SPINE AND SENSORY (MAKOTO RECORDINGS, 1999)
During the fall of ’98, we spent a week in San Francisco recording Spine and Sensory with Tim Green at his studio, Louder. It was in his basement in South San Francisco, and was the length of the entire house. This was really the first time I ever experienced having time to make a record. We had been playing a lot of the songs on the record for a very long time so the idea came up to have me record my piano version of “Cinematography.” This is kind of the first song I ever recorded solo in a studio. Aside from the synth chords, I recorded all the parts on this song. It’s nice to listen back to this and while realizing it was my first solo recording in a studio.
DREAM SIGNALS IN FULL CIRCLES (TIGER STYLE, 2000)
After years of solid touring and signing to Insound’s newly started label Tiger Style Records, we decided to spend two weeks in Chicago at Dave Trumfio’s Kingsize Sound Labs Studio to make the Dream Signals record. While Louder Studios was great, being in this studio was a very exciting experience. It had a lounge, multiple mix rooms, a large wooden tracking room, a tricked-out control room, etc. And it was the first digital recording on Pro Tools we made. It felt like a studio you’d see in magazines.
We were also huge fans of the Chicago music scene. Bands like Tortoise, Sea and Cake, UI, US Maple, and Isotope 217 had a huge influence on us, so being there—hanging in the bars and going to shows while making this record—had a huge effect on us. This was the last album I made with Tristeza and I feel like it was a huge shift in my career. The band started to get recognized, we toured a lot, we started to sell out shows, we were on a label from New York, etc. It felt very real—like we did something right and were finally getting noticed and respected by peers and other bands we looked up too. This was really the first record that I did a lot of overdubs and adding things like doubling melody lines on a Moog synth. “City of the Future” was actually finished during mastering. We had recorded the idea, looped it, and I did all of the overdubs in the mastering room. I learned a lot about making a record during this session.
This was maybe the funnest band I ever played with, and single handedly affected the rest of the music I’ve made. Mike Vermillion and Ashish Vyas were the brains behind this band. They were older, and their music knowledge was deep. I was introduced to more important records and bands by them than anyone else to this day. I played drums in this band. The way we wrote songs was literally by recording our practices to a Fostex 8-track tape machine. We would just “jam” in Mike’s living room and those would be the songs. Later, we’d add the other parts and pieces—guitar overdubs, vocals, keyboards, whatever. The records I made with them included The Things We Need, the “Song For Video” 7-inch, a split LP with Syncopation, and a split CD with 90 Day Men.
THE ALBUM LEAF
The Album Leaf started from me recording songs on a borrowed Tascam 4-track in my bedroom. I started it while playing in The Locust/Crimson Curse and continued through Tristeza. I did release a tape in 1998—maybe only 20 copies. A friend actually has one. I sold them at Tristeza shows for $2. That was my first official release as The Album Leaf.
AN ORCHESTRATED RISE TO FALL (MUSIC FELLOWSHIP, 1999)
So…. While I was playing in GoGoGo Airheart and rehearsing at Mike Vermillion’s house, I would stick around to hang with him and listen to music. He had a Rhodes piano in his living room and I would just start playing it and he would record me improvising. This is what started and turned into this record. I would later go back and overdub drums (you can hear they are off a lot as there was no click track) and Mike would work on the songs too. We unknowingly made a record. I had written a couple songs on guitar for Tristeza that didn’t end up working so they ended up on this record. I recorded “Airplane” sitting on Mike’s porch. He lived in the flight path so you can hear a plane flying over while I was tracking. Teri and Ben (both in GoGoGo at the time) also played on the record.
There was a lot of experimenting with vintage gear. This started a huge love of vintage gear for me. We used a Crumar Perfomer string synth, Roland SH-1000, a Roland CR-78, Space Echo, etc. All improvised. We sped up tape and dumped everything to cassettes. I recorded “A Short Story” in the dining room of my old house on a 4-track and did the overdubs on it later at my friend Rafter’s home studio. Rafter Roberts was one of the first to have a computer set up and was the go to for mastering in town. I learned a lot from him as you’ll hear about below.
So after Tristeza finished Spine and Sensory and were “shopping” the record, we had a lot of offers from a handful of small labels. One of them was the Music Fellowship from Salt Lake City. Darren and I connected musically very well and while Tristeza went with someone else, I offered him this improvised, experimental record I made as the Album Leaf and he released it on CD. With that, I was officially a solo artist released into the world.
ONE DAY I’LL BE ON TIME (TIGER STYLE, 2001)
I actually consider this the first Album Leaf LP I actually wrote. I worked on it for a year or so. I had received a small recording advance after signing with Tiger Style, so I bought a small home recording studio setup. It was the first time I really learned about recording. My setup was only my Rhodes (I actually traded a Fender Twin for the Rhodes I used on Orchestrated, and I still have and use it today) a Casio Casiotone MT-45, my Fender Mustang and a Fender Twin.
I recorded the In An Off White Room EP to essentially learn how to record. After I finished it, and well into my writing for One Day, Rafter (Roberts) opened a recording studio in downtown San Diego and started a business doing music for commercials, he hired me as his first composer and I ended up with my own studio within the space. I was able to utilize the gear there to finish the record. You can clearly hear Rafter and I talking to each other in the beginning of “Storyboard.” The live room was still under construction and was just a concrete room. So we set up some mics, opened all the doors, and that’s how I tracked the song. I also recorded the drums for “The MP” and “Asleep” in the same room. Did “Gust Of…” in my little studio room with a Fender Twin and an AKG c414. Also, Jason Soares from the band Physics was the one who first introduced glitchy electronic drum programming into my music. He was very ahead of the time then, really into the glitch scene and doing amazing electronic music. He did the programming for the song “Vermillion” (Also named after Mike Vermillion, who recorded Orchestrated) I used a bunch of my own samples I’d chopped from various places in FruityLoops to do my programming (“Audio Pool,” “In Between Lines”). “The Sailor” was recorded in my apartment in one take as it rained outside. So I put up a microphone in the window and recorded it. I definitely felt like I made something cool with this record….
The roar that greeted Avey Tare and Panda Bear of Animal Collective as they took the stage underlined how far they’ve come since they released their breakthrough album Sung Tongs back in 2004. Back then, they were a fringe act playing DIY spaces and art galleries; now they’re the standard-bearers for pop-conscious experimental rock music, and one of the most popular indie bands in the world. Playing through Sung Tongs front to back—plus a selection from their 2005 collaboration with freak-folk icon Vashti Bunyan and “Covered in Frogs,” which has never been released as a studio recording—felt like a victory lap.
With the band stripped down to the group’s original duo, and set aside their usual arsenal of gear in favor of acoustic guitars, a drum, and some looper pedals, it was a remarkably intimate performance from a group whose made complexity one of their trademarks. The effect was heightened from the VIP viewing area just to the band’s right, which was set at the same height as the stage, and featured its own dedicated P.A. stacks for a sonically sumptuous listening experience. From there, surrounded by lucky Virgin Mobile winners and the cream of New York music cognoscenti, Avey Tare and Panda Bear’s performance felt almost like traveling back in time to one of the more humble, stage-free shows from the Sung Tong days—that is, aside from the massive mob of fans singing along to songs like “Who Could Win a Rabbit” and “College” that have become modern classics in the nearly decade and a half since they were first released.
Producing one-of-a-kind experiences like that is what Virgin Mobile’s Member Benefits program is all about. In keeping with Virgin’s history of promoting great music, its Member Benefits program offers members access to anything from sold-out arena shows to super-intimate private performances featuring a wide-array of talent.
Pitchfork’s 21st showed just how powerful those experiences can be. As a celebration of one of the most influential music publications of the digital age—and a demonstration of how far indie rock has come since Pitchfork launched—it was a smashing success. But by the end of the show, all of that had taken a backseat to the sheer joy that Animal Collective inspired in their audience, and the memories fans would take out into the night with them.
As 2017 winds down and we sift through the dust that hasn’t quite settled, we’d like to shine a light on one of the year’s many essential left-field LPs. Released a few months back—just in time for Halloween!—Ninos Du Brasil’s Vida Eterna was inspired by vampirism and made with “an almost impenetrable forest” in mind. And while that may sound melodramatic, it’s actually a rush of blood to the head and feet, driven by humid techno hooks and an invigorating blend of woodblocks, gas cylinders, shopping carts, congas, maracas, and timpani drums. Oh, and Arto Lindsay also stops by.
Explore it all in full below, right alongside a loose track-by-track commentary from the Italian duo….
Vida Eterna, as with every other Ninos Du Brasil’s album, is conceived as a journey. This journey is a nocturnal one through an animated forest.
The beginning of the journey through a landscape were even the natural elements seems to follow you had to happen in the ‘middle of the night’ (“No Meio da Noite”) while the ‘wind is calling your name’ (“O Vento Chama Seu Nome”). These tracks were written as two chapters of the same story, suggesting running in no direction while looking behind.
Just a moment in which you are standing, your hands are closed to your knees and your breath slowing down while starring at the ground and it is already time to run again feeling condemned by a language (“Condenado por un Idioma Desconhecido”) that you don’t know or understand. We had a title in mind and somehow that helped us to open up our sound to new sonorities.
“Algo ou Alguém Entre as Árvores” is a slower track. The ritualistic drums and the voices open the scenario to more human presences other than yours.
“O Som de Ossos” is basically a march starting with a warning sound. Obsessive and repetitive like bared feet stomping the humid muddy ground.
“A Magia do Rei, Pt. II” is built on a thick bass line. We had phenomena in mind while working on it. Noises of groups of insects’ wings over malignant whispers.
“Em Que o Rio do Mar Se Torna” seems to suggest that the end of the journey is near. The darkness and its creatures are still resonating in the air but somehow they seem on the back but not following and, all of a sudden, light (“Vagalumes Piralampos”) in the form of fireflies to indicate a path, a way to move out. The voice of Arto Lindsay; this is the first time words have a meaning in a Ninos Du Brasil’s song, as those echoes you hear in a state of high fever.
Fake Fabric discovered in Shanghai, mental health support for musicians and the world’s smallest analogue synth.
Fake news. Someone has unearthed the fact that a knock-off Fabric club, complete with a copycat logo, has been operating in Shanghai for years. Read more here. Fuck Spotify? "The music world continues to be exceedingly vulnerable, and there are looming questions that desperately need to be addressed." In an article for The Baffler, Liz Pelly argues the giant music streaming platform is consuming the music industry as we know it and repackaging it for the commercial gain of corporate brands. Read it in full here. #saveourculture. The Berlin city government has pledged €1 million to help protect the city’s clubs and venues. Full story here. Sane in the membrane. As mental health issues are discussed more and more, it’s great news that a 24/7 service has been launched specifically for music industry professionals. Find out more at the Music Minds Matter website here.
Size matters. Is the new Trueno the smallest analogue synth in the world? The manufacturers behind the three-oscillator USB stick think so. Find out for yourself here. Pay to play. In a bid to raise more revenue, YouTube are thought to be launching a new subscription service called Remix in March. Details here. Source: http://ift.tt/1UBq9jI