Archive | August, 2009

Chrome Hoof + Magma = yet another awesome collaboration

26 Aug

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Celestial Mass – Magma/ JP Massiera/ Chrome Hoof

Curated by musical sage and crate-digger extraordinaire Andy Votel, this show brings together intense cosmic rock and psychedelic disco. A truly mind-expanding experience.

6 October 2009 / 19:30
Barbican Hall

Tickets: £12.50 / 15 / 22.50
subject to availability

Curated by musical sage and crate-digger extraordinaire Andy Votel, this show brings together intense cosmic rock and psychedelic disco.

French prog-rock Magma are unique – a truly visionary ensemble led by drummer and mystic Christian Vander, and are celebrating their 40th anniversary in 2009. Combining jazz, opera, minimalism and 20th Century classical, their work revolves around the imaginary planet Kobaïa, whose language many of their songs are performed in.

Magma are joined by another French pioneer, the legendary JP Massiera, whose freaked-out disco recordings from the 1970s now change hands for hundred of pounds. Completing the bill are the extraordinary ritualistic collective Chrome Hoof – the nearest thing to these prog masters that present-day London has to offer.

A truly mind-expanding concert experience.

Visit the Barbican website for more information.

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Subhumans UK tour in full swing

26 Aug

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Here are their remaining shows:

27 Aug 2009 20:00
Engine Rooms BRIGHTON
28 Aug 2009 20:00
Camden Underworld LONDON
29 Aug 2009 20:00
Seven NOTTINGHAM
30 Aug 2009 20:00
Royal Oak IPSWICH
1 Sep 2009 20:00
Racehorse NORTHAMPTON
2 Sep 2009 20:00
Sumo LEICESTER
3 Sep 2009 20:00
Bierkellar BRISTOL
4 Sep 2009 20:00
the Stockroom SHEFFIELD
5 Sep 2009 20:00
Soundhouse BOLTON
6 Sep 2009 20:00
Trillians NEWCASTLE
7 Sep 2009 20:00
Tunnels ABERDEEN
8 Sep 2009 20:00
Ivory Blacks GLASGOW
9 Sep 2009 20:00
Auntie Annie’s BELFAST
10 Sep 2009 20:00
the Cellar GALWAY
11 Sep 2009 20:00
Fibber Magees DUBLIN
12 Sep 2009 20:00
Pine Lodge MYRTLEVILLE[nr.Cork], Cork

The story of Evangelista

20 Aug

Evangelista has a new album called The Prince Of Truth. Here’s the story of Evangelista, so far. It started as a solo project, Carla doing a tour, playing mainly long improv versions of what eventually became the title song and name of the band, Evangelista, using only samples, voice and guitar. On one of these shows, in Montreal, Thierry and Jessica from Godspeed You Black Emperor/Thee Silver Mt. Zion sat in on the show and Efrim Menuck was in attendance. He expressed interest in recording the project in a more realized form. It was a conceptual piece from the onset, the concept being to deliver gospel and noise in the spirit of sound and love. Carla had been friends with Don and Ian of Constellation Records for a long time and pretty soon the ball just started rolling, seemingly by itself. Constellation Records took the project under their wing in the aforementioned spirit and have stuck by the project ever since.

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Figure 1. Carla solo. photo: wolfgirl

After recording the first record known as Evangelista— in an unbridled state of desire— Carla, while playing a show in San Diego, came across the magical pony Tara Barnes also playing that night—-in the truly sick and mystical Business Lady (Load). The bond was instantaneous, shy and tuff conversations accelerated into endless touring and the birth of what would be the title track of the next album, Hello, Voyager. This resulted in taking the name of the first album as a permanent band name based on Barnes’ and Bozulich’s collaboration. Hello, Voyager, contrary to the inward torment of the first album, was more invitational to confrontation and constructive chaos. This also ushered in the beginning of a new type of collaboration for Bozulich. Barnes brought irresistible lyrics to the table on albums Hello, Voyager (Truth Is Dark Like Outer Space)and [forthcoming third album] The Prince of Truth (On The Captain’s Side).

tarcarluminaire2Figure 2. Tara & Carla at London’s Luminaire.

Let’s talk about Dominic Cramp (Borful Tang, Qulfus). Tara Barnes corralled this pony in Oakland, Ca. over a cool beer and a hot band. Dominic is a sound artist and tickles the ivories. After seeing him laying down slabs of atonal drone fever with the trio Modular Set, she felt that his daunting sound and abstract compositional leanings would complement the now juggernaut velocity of the dark ship Evangelista. During constant touring through most of 2008 on various (2) continents, the trio moved towards making the third Evangelista album, The Prince of Truth.

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Figure 3. Dom w/Professor Crinkle, the tour-machine

Arriving in Montreal in the dead of winter, the band intended, as in the past, to compose and improvise half the album right then and there in the studio. Several songs were sketched out in rehearsal rooms around the city with the likes of Nadia Moss, Thierry Amar and Jonah Fortune. Ches Smith and Shahzad Ismaily flew in for the occasion. Some songs came together in various whimsical ways. For example, much was accomplished in the pivotal Lisa Gamble’s little kitchen, complete with organ, drums, amps that clip on to your belt and musical saw. The bones of The Slayer, Iris Didn’t Spell, Tremble Dragonfly were all put together there sans Bozulich…. and there is a reason.

Whereas this write-as-you-go approach had worked for the first two records, this time Carla got hella sick, so hella in fact, that it was pneumonia and this fucked up the whole plan. When the band and various cohorts went in to the venerable Hotel2Tango studio with their longtime engineer Efrim Menuck, Carla had to drop out of the session early and the rest of the basic tracks were recorded with Tara and Dominic guiding the special guests. While Bozulich’s input was there for the structuring of the tunes it was absent for much of what was put to tape.

princeoftruth_coverFigure 4. The Prince of Truth cover art: Jesse McLoskey

Carla then took the tracked recordings from the studio to Los Angeles where she joined up yet more fantastical musicians such as Nels Cline, Devin Hoff, and Jessica Catron, and continued working on the album. Much of the album, including vocals was recorded in her bedroom. With Carla in LA and Dominic and Tara in Oakland, the three passed tracks back and forth over the internet as the final form of The Prince of Truth came together. All that was left was the artwork and Jesse McClosky, responsible for much of the art on The Geraldine Fibbers’ albums was recruited. He handed over some beautiful wicked stuff which maybe you are looking at now!

With the release of Prince of Truth there will be a typically massive amount of touring and re-invention as the shows progress. As of now the excellent drummer and Tara’s bandmate in her group Duchesses, Mike Tracy, will be playing with the band on upcoming shows. No doubt new songs will be shaping up as the touring progresses. Constellation Records is at the helm of this project and the shameless band will go anywhere for almost any reason. We shall see what happens. Fun. Sad. Dark. Sometimes, uncharacteristically prim. Evangelista.

eagle tavernFigure 5. Debut of drummer Mike Tracy at SF’s Eagle Tavern, July 17, 2009 photo: Karl Dotter

And now, in closing, a word from the band—:
Like ghost birds in an unfinished form, we offer music that is more than a token of escapism, rather we hover in an intermediate plane, sending messages that take form in the mind of the listener. Messages that shoot to and fro, bouncing off the listener’s own skewed perspective and back onto the imperfect mutating musics, creating somehow an eminent salvation from the demons of the real world, not of God. Creatures- lift your faces to the sound of the sky, defiant and gentle as a kneeling mantis before the kill. Evangelista is a mutable beast, borne from the stormcloud.

Bozulich, Barnes and Cramp.

People that have been caught in the net of Evangelista shows/recordings since we joined forces with Constellation:

Adam Baz .. drums
Agathe Max …..viola
Alberto Fiori .. keys
Allesio Boasi .. drums
Andrea Serrapiglio .. cello
Anni Rossi……viola
Ava Mendoza .. guitar (Mute Socialite)
Becky Foon–cello (Silver Mount Zion)
Bobb Bruno (Polar Goldie Cats, Goliath Bird Eater, a million more)
Brooke Crouser .. organ (Hrsta, Jackie-o Motherfucker)
Carla Kihlstedt (Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, 2 ft yrd +++)
Ches smith (Xiu Xiu + Every band and collaboration in the world),
Chris Corsano…drums (Bjork)
Corey Fogal…drums (Gowns)
The Dead Science persons– Jherek, Sam and Nick
Emily Beezhold ….organ (Timmy Straw)
Ezra Buchla…viola, voice (Gowns, Mai Shi, exploratory sound weirdo)
Francesco Guerri .. cello (classical improviser from Bologna)
George Chen …guitar (K.I.T., Chen Santa Maria, 7 Year Rabbit Cycle)
Glenn Kotche (he’s in Wilco and he’s a remarkable percussion improviser/composer)
Ian Ilavsky…bass (Sofa, Silver Mt. Zion)
Jason Van Gulick …drums (Dega)
Jeremy Drake….guitar (Eleni Mandell, undergound improv soulja in L.A.)
Jessica Catron…cello (The Night Porter, Voco)
Jesske Hume…bass (a great los angeles improviser)
Jessica Moss …violin (Silver Mount Zion)
Jim Brown…contrabasso (Holloy)
Lisa Gambletron .. drums, ideas, scurryings, crittering (Clues, Hrsta +++)
Luca Bernard .. contrabasso
Luca Tilli…cello
Madigan Shive….cello (Bonfire Madigan)
Marika Hughes (2 ft yrd, Charming Hostess)
Mike Tracy …drums (duchesses)
Mikeal Jorgenson (Wilco)
Mirko Sabatini….drums (infamous Italian improvisor)
Nadia Moss …..organs (The Witchies, Franki Sparo)
Nate Wood….drums
Nels Cline….guitar (The Geraldine Fibbers, Scarnella, Nels Cline Singers, Wilco)
Okkyung Lee amazing cellist and hater of adorable nice cute people who smile at strangers and love everything that is total crap
Sarah Bernat….coronet, voice(Limosine, Work, 16 Bitch Pileup)
Shahzad Ismaily…everything (Secret Chiefs 3, Marc Ribot, 2 ft yrd, Lou Reed, Lori Anderson, 3 Dog Night)
Sophie Trudeau….violin (Godspeed, Silver Mt Zion)
Spencer Yeh…. violin (Burning Star Core)
Steve Noble …. drums (a bad ass UK luminary)
Thierry Amar….contrabasso (Godspeed and A Silver Mount Zion)
Todd Sickafoose (a great jazz and pop contra-bassist and composer–Todd Sickafoose Group, Ani DeFranco)

plus a bunch of people that randomly joined us on a song or two from the opening bands or just some cool person from the city we were playing….

Catron, Drake, Gamble, Cramp, Barnes at the smellFigure 6, At LA’s The Smell: Another extraordinary line-up. (going clockwise in a circle from the left side) Ezra Buchla kneeling with viola, Jessica Catron – cello, Jeremy Drake – guitar, Gambletron – drums, Tara Barnes – bass, Dominic Cramp – samples and keys, Bobb Bruno – drums, Carla Bozulich laying on the ground singing

Thank you to Tara and Carla for supplying this wonderful story.

Upcoming on Kranky…

12 Aug

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For many years now, Kranky have been consistently delivering stunning records by forward-thinking artists who craft vast musical landscapes and push the boundaries of electronic music far beyond perceived limitations of the genre. Gregg Kowalsky is one such artist, Tim Hecker another, and I could go on for hours listing bands from their past, present and future rosters but importantly here I want to focus on the latter specifically. Their upcoming release schedule boasts the return of some brilliant artists including White Rainbow aka Adam Forkner and To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie as well as new signings Felix who hail from the UK (specifically Nottingham). So here is a summary of some of the key new CD releases that we can expect from them before the end of the year…

Nudge, As Good As Gone

Nudge returns with a slow burning full-length of sounds perfect for the dying KRK134_300dpidays of the summer’s swelter. The varied stylistic shifts of previous material have garnered their fair share of comments regarding a schizophrenic nature, but here the experimental lean of the group is placed to deliver it’s most cohesive sound to date. Masterfully blurring the music’s entangled live and programmed approaches to the point of imperceptibility, layer upon layer of synth, guitar and vocals are draped over skeletal pop structures and anchored by dub bass-lines born of resin-stained fingers. Covered in an electric blanket of atmosphere that can surely only come from years in outer space memorizing the top of one’s shoes, the gothic trappings reveal themselves as hard-earned circles beneath the eyes as opposed to poorly applied hot topic nail polish. As Good As Gone is a proper album whose arc is intended to be absorbed stem to stern.

To Kill A Petty Bourgeoisie, Marlone

Marlone is the second album release from the oddly monikered duo To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie. They are a pop band of sorts, in that their songs can worm their way into your head and not leave, but theyPicture 1 arecertainly not a group to be lumped in with the top 40 prattle that dominates the airwaves nor the mediocrity that smothers the interwebs. Quite different from their other releases, Marlone is a more organic and open work, allowing breathing space for the songs to unfold and evolve; witness the slow, sinister burn of both “Villain” and “Turritopsis”. And in quite a change of pace for the group, they even deliver a straight ahead pop song with the brisk romp of “In People’s Homes”. What they assuredly are is a group that continually explores the union of the light and the dark, the sweetness of the female voice set against the salty backing tracks, always searching for the fine balance between the calming and the equilibrium challenging.

Ethernet, 144 Pulsations Of Light

144 Pulsations of Light is the debut full length release by Tim Gray under the name of Ethernet.

KRANK136_5x5_300dpiTim states: “Based on my research and experience in using sound for induction of meditative states, I set out to apply trance-inducing sonic effects to drone-ambient music. I recontextualized the deep bass kick sound used in techno dance music as a subdued hypnotic pulse to accentuate the textures. An unprocessed analogue Roland TR-808 was used for this pulse, as well as binaural beats and spatial effects processing to create music to facilitate deep meditation. I blended layers of synthesized textures with organic field recordings made in Central Japan in ’00-’01, and Northern California between ’03-’08. The intent of the album is to produce an introspective sonic environment conducive to self-healing work and voyaging into new states of awareness.

While Tim’s description may read as somewhat dry and technical, the sonic landscapes that he composes are anything but. He sculpts textural washes of sound to create immersive, constantly shifting aural psychedelic environments. Hazy, gaseous atmospheres that are alternately arid and humid float above, in and around the muffled pulses used as rhythms. The experience is not unlike that of landing on an alien planet, stepping out of a spaceship, and surveying new terrain.

White Rainbow, New Clouds

The tracks on New Clouds are a tug-of-war between stasis and change, the desire to meld the meditativeKRK137_300dpi effects of a near static drone with the uplifting trip of free-flowing compositions. Slowly melting fluorescent sunsets morph into drapes of psychedelic fog, rumbling over cacophonous rhythms. A few things have changed for Adam Forkner since his last White Rainbow album from 2007, Prism of Eternal Now. A national tour with fellow Kranky heads Valet and Atlas Sound, and countless hours jamming with Portland avant-music collective Rob Walmart inspired him to hunker down and dig deeper into his personal vision of what head music can be. Forkner has turned White Rainbow into an even more spontaneous and open-ended musical project and has shaped this new double album into a dense, lengthy exploration of the relationship between hypnotic, circular, fourth-world drum rhythms, acid-boogie guitar, and drifting sheets of fuzzy psychedelic drone.

Felix, You Are The One I Pick.

The focus of the album is Lucinda’s askew stories, and the subtle conversation between her piano and the KRANK139_5x5_300dpiguitar accompaniment of Chris Summerlin, an intuitive discussion that speaks volumes by not saying too much and while never stepping on each other’s lines. The songs themselves are delicate and spare chamber pop. They are understated and deceptively simple, but deliver an emotional impact that mere decibels cannot. Lucinda’s tales of woe concern the banality of domestic life, small animals, and the desire to keep the forces of the world at bay. Lucinda Chua is a classically trained pianist and cellist, has been a touring member of Stars of the Lid, and is an accomplished photographer. Chris also plays guitar in the rock band Lords. This is the first extended release for Felix following a split single with Chris Herbert on the Low Point label.

For more information on the label we strongly recommend paying their website a visit. Well, what are you waiting for?…

Vic Chesnutt is the real deal

7 Aug

060CDcover_300dpiVic Chesnutt is a man who lives for music and who has tirelessly deployed his impish, surly, witty, unflinching perspective in hundreds of songs featuring brilliantly unique wordsmithery and a profound playfulness that thumbs its nose at a life of seriously hard knocks. Vic’s prolific writing – chock of full of real irony, wonderful turns of phrase, humour, rage and tenderness, brutal literalism and ornate observation – constitutes a truly original voice and reflects a truly indomitable spirit. Chesnutt has worked with many collaborators over his twenty-year music career, notably with Michael Stipe (R.E.M.) who produced his first couple of records in the early 1990s, and over the past decade with musicians and groups as diverse as Widespread Panic, Lambchop, Bill Frisell, Jonathan Richman (with whom we has toured many times over the years) and Elf Power.

Since 1990, Chesnutt has released 15 critically acclaimed records; been covered by a number of artists on the tribute album Sweet Relief II: Gravity of the Situation (including R.E.M., the Smashing Pumpkins, Madonna and Sparklehorse); was the subject of the 1992 PBS documentary Speed Racer and appeared in the Oscar Award-winning film Sling Blade. His first album for Constellation, North Star Deserter (2007), was also his first collaboration with Thee Silver Mt. Zion (among other label-affiliated musicians in Constellation’s home town of Montreal) and Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, in sessions orchestrated by mutual friend and celebrated New York filmmaker Jem Cohen.  This same troupe reunited for Vic’s second Constellation album, At The Cut (2009), once again recorded by Howard Bilerman at Hotel2Tango in Montreal and which will be coming out this Autumn. For an album so overtly shaped by ruminations on mortality, by a man from Athens, GA who certainly knows of what he sings (having survived a car accident at age 18 that confined him to a wheelchair and has subjected him to an endless cavalcade of complications, procedures, emergencies and towering medical bills ever since), it is both refreshing and unbelievably heart-warming to hear how Vic Chesnutt side-steps any of the obvious Southern Gothic tropes, lyrically and musically. No vaulted arches, gaping abysses or burning fields here – no ‘voicing’ of the preacher or the devil, no putting on airs. Vic manages to sing so authentically and wholeheartedly from and about his sense of place (the South, the wheelchair, 21st century America) because he refuses to sentimentalise any of it and rails against his personal fate without bitterness, without apology, with a poetics of the passionately humanist and secular variety: wholly framed by the back porch, championing a humble wisdom and a natural literateness, certainly permitting a wisecrack or three, but never allowing for anything hackneyed or cornball or fake.

We think At The Cut is a bona fide classic by a man better positioned than most to sing it strong and true.