RUSSIAN CIRCLES TOUR 2014
03/03 Boise, ID @ Neurolux #
03/04 Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s *
03/05 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
03/07 San Francisco, CA @ Great American Music Hall *
03/09 San Diego, CA @ The Casbah *
03/10 Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey Theatre *
03/12 Phoenix, AZ @ The Crescent Ballroom * also w/ This Will Destroy You
03/13 Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad *
03/14 Oklahoma City, OK @ The Conservatory *
03/15 Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar *
03/16 Chicago, IL @ Metro *
# w/ KEN Mode, Inter Arma
* w/ Helms Alee, KEN Mode
"One theory put forward by researchers, based on the study, is that we come to music to experiment with identity and define ourselves, and then use it as a social vehicle to establish our group and find a mate, and later as a more solitary expression of our intellect, status and greater emotional understanding".
This is a very enlightening article published by Cambridge University discussing the deeper implications of identification through music taste.
Cumbre Tajín festival, Papantla Veracruz, Mexico. 03/2014
Tool, Puscifer, Primus, Tomahawk and Björk on the one line-up. I need a teleporter set to Mexico, I can make my own way backhttp://cumbretajin.com/2014/
I wasn’t going to post this but I have no choice, it’s absolutely stunning! This is Nordic Lake Sounds Vol. V, a label sampler from Denovali Records. It’s beautiful, minimalist, textural, and features the likes of Poppy Ackroyd of Hidden Orchestra and Floex/Tomas Dvorak.
Listen to it here:
Download it FREE here:
5 track album
No sooner had I posted the last slice of Reinhart festive cheer than the man released the follow up.
5 track album
Okay, so last December Nick Reinhart made this lovely little Christmas EP and released it on Bandcamp. I think this is pivotal to Yuletide festivities, give it a listen by the fire. The fire of your house burning down while your best friend’s still-beating heart pulses in your hand, blood dripping from your mouth and tears of joy coursing across your fetid cheeks.
Just a reminder that this is happening in February… Japanese instrumental math-rockers LITE are playing Elektrowerkz (y’know, that place attached to Slimelight in London) on the 15th February 2014. They’re being supported by Brighton’s own experimental rock titans The Physics House Band, making this performance unmissable.
Hidden Orchestra supported by Floex @ Scala, North London on 20.11.2013
A few months ago I “discovered” Hidden Orchestra after a recommendation from a friend, and I was amazed by the scope and energy behind the music. Hailing from Edinburgh, Scotland, the group create music which features skilful blending of nu-jazz, hip-hop, classical and electronica. Finding out they were touring Britain, I had to attend one of their shows to find out how they performed their music live, so I took the plunge.
I discovered they were being supported by Floex, a group which had flown under my radar but after a bit of digging I discovered Tomáš Dvořák- the Czech composer of the wonderful Machinarium soundtrack - was at the helm, which gave me high hopes for the performance. The set began with otherworldly percussion and ambient textures which reminded me a lot of the Machinarium soundtrack, and witnessing Dvořák's music performed added a whole new element to the experience. During the performance various instruments were played, sampled and mangled through Dvořák ‘s Akai MPD 32, Which was highly entertaining. The musician also performed on an electric xylophone-esque device while his band featured live percussion, various wind instruments including a wind-controlled MIDI controller and emotive vocals. The set was backed up by enchanting visuals, which changed to reflect the theme of the songs. At one point a piece was performed which was an interpretation of a childhood dream of being hunted by wolves in a forest, which was lovely to experience with the storybook visuals. A highly professional and genuinely humble experience, Floex put on an amazing set and as it was their first in London, I was honoured to take part.
Once Floex had taken their bows the stage was set for Hidden Orchestra, the solo project of Joe Acheson,who composed and produced the band’s material. Live drummers Tim Lane and Jamie Graham had their drum kits set up facing one another and 24 circular screens were revealed from behind a backdrop which were lined up with a projector. The stage featured four cameras which would project and blend with visuals ranging from ripples in water to wavering candle-flames to hypnotic effect, and worked beautifully to provide visual character for the music. The show was described as a Full Live AV Show, which was designed alongside Lumen, a visual artist based in Bristol. I was surprised by how compact the band was, but the sound they made belied their relatively small size. A mixing desk, bass guitar, electric violin, keyboard, two drum kits and the occasional clarinet (provided by Tomáš Dvořák who co-wrote Hushed from Hidden Orchestra’s second album, Archipelago) filled Scala without deafening onlookers, with sonic textures swirling and dancing around the hall, while each musician performed multiple roles. Poppy Ackroyd was capable of morphing her violin into ambient bells and otherworldly plucked sounds, while producer and bassist Joe Acheson would be intermittently tweaking knobs and faders to hone each element of the piece. The two drum-kits provided such a lot of energy and excitement, as each would play off the other and set infectious grooves for the crowd. At times the players would seemingly battle one another in an enchanting game of call-and-response, which, combined with innovative electronic pad work, led to a well-deserved ovation mid-song
The atmosphere in the venue was relaxed and everyone was clearly having a great time. This was a very special night and my adoration of Hidden Orchestra has deepened, now that I’m better able to appreciate the sheer talent of the young men and women behind the project. Having seen Tomáš Dvořák/Floex perform has fueled a hunt for his back catalogue, and a desire to hear more in the future. If you haven’t heard them, get on it now and if they play near you, make it your mission to see them. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s that time of year again. The air is sharp with chill and breath leaves the mouth in clouds of steam. At University, hundreds of thousands of students are busy preparing and creating work which will define their futures and themselves. Whenever I need to knuckle down to some research or writing, my iTunes is steered towards my favourite ambient music, as I find it a perfect accompaniment to deep thought. Textural forms over explicit statements.
During a discussion on ambient music in class a couple of weeks ago I mentioned an album by Future Sound of London of which I had forgotten the name. The album was Lifeforms and in particular, the song Flak stands out for me. It was part of a greater soundtrack that defined my first year at uni, getting on that bus from Wellingborough every day and reading the AB Guide to Music Theory on the way.
As far as Biosphere goes, my favourite album is Substrata, the one which contains Kobresia, the song we listened to in class. However, the song I meant to play was Poa Alpina, perhaps the single most profound piece of “music” I have ever heard.
Not sure if you’ve heard of them but Gas released a fantastic album called Gas 0095 which contained the song Microscopic, an incredible piece of ambient synth work which makes me feel something truly profound every time I listen.
Finally there is Global Communication who released an album titled 76:41, which contains the song 14:31. This is a song which makes me feel emotions I can’t even describe, something close to sadness but more heartfelt.
Not sure if you have the time to listen to these but if you need some time to reflect I urge you to give them a go.
A fantastic documentary exploring the history of the Moog modular synthesiser patented by Dr Robert Arthur (Bob) Moog in 1964. While not a musician, Bob Moog saw the growing need for flexible instruments and the incredible influence synthesised sound would have on music.
Still a wonderful album, after all these years. I think of it as a Summer album, one which blends with the intoxicating haze of the sun. It works well with the chilly Winter mornings too.
I really enjoyed this album, both for the music and the concept. After speaking to the artist his appreciation of bands such as Tera Melos, The Mars Volta andHella began to show through in the music, though there is plenty of individuality in these compositions. Somehow, the lack of human performativity works well with the frantic musings of its math-rock inspirations, as this kind of music definitely has something robotic about it.