Tag: Boise ID

New Audio: Magic Sword Shares Dramatic “The Ending”

Magic Sword is a Boise-based multimedia project that tells the ageless tale of good and evil through an expansive — and ever-expanding — graphic novel, featuring The Immortals — The Keeper of the Magic Sword (red, keyboards), The Seer of All Truths (blue, guitar) and
The Weaver of all Hearts and Souls (yellow, drums) — accompanied by an original synth-driven soundtrack and immersive live performances. Combining three mediums, the Boise-based outfit creates an epic experience for those who are bold enough to bear witness and come away with a deeper understanding of the ultimate hero’s journey.

Rooted in a musical and visual aesthetic that is unabashedly drawn from ’70s and ’80s fantasy and sci-fi, the project’s followers are brought to another plane of existence in which that ageless struggle between light and shadow is very real.

Magic Sword’s The Immortals give a direct account of their vision — and of the overarching story of The Magic Sword:

“In the beginning, there was light… and darkness. A creation of perfect balance. As time passed, evil spread over the land like a plague, slowly consuming everything in its path. In the final moments before light was lost to the shadow for all time, a weapon of infinite power was created, the Magic Sword. Thus, restoring balance to the universe. The genesis of things are often small. As the single seed grows to a mighty oak, so too did the path of the Keeper begin as a single choice in an age long past. Once a humble king, they were manipulated into unknowingly unleashing the Dark One.All of reality was torn asunder as the Lord of Shadow was released from their ancient prison, having been bound only by the power contained within the Magic Sword.From that day forth, the King was cursed to be the immortal Keeper of this powerful key. He has been relentlessly compelled for millennia to find the Chosen One who will one day unleash the true power of the weapon and cannot rest until the grand design is seen complete with the Darkness bound once again. Little is known of The Lord of Shadow but death and decay. Since the release from his ancient prison by the hapless Keeper of the Magic Sword, he has pulled all of existence slowly toward himself in a vortex of darkness and destruction. Any wayward soul that he touches is corrupted to their ultimate demise. He uses his followers, acolytes of death, with no more regard than any other, for his reason of being is simply to end all things. Ensuingly, the forces of good have been searching for the Light to push him back into his eternal prison. The key to operating this cell is the Magic Sword; when wielded by the Chosen One, it has the power to return balance to the Universe.

The Keeper of the Magic Sword searches endlessly for the Chosen One. With the help of the other Immortals, The Seer of All Things and The Weaver of Hearts and Minds, they are ever trying to stem the tide of the Great Shadow from engulfing all life. Through time and space itself, The Immortals are pulled by the power of the Magic Sword to those who hunger for true justice. Whenever the need is great, they appear with the Magic Sword and a high-stakes proposition for those who are pure of heart, perpetually hoping that their search is finally over. This prophesied being contains the ability to wield the power of the Magic Sword and seal the prison that holds Dark One for all eternity. Only then will The Keeper, The Seer, and The Weaver be able to rest. Until the chosen one is revealed, the search continues in this realm and many others throughout all of time and space. In what form will the MagicSword manifest? Who is the Chosen One? Will it be you? Answers will reveal themselves as the need arises. A tale of high adventure as old as time itself.”

In the installment in the expansive Magic Sword universe, The Keeper embarks on a righteous quest to navigate a corrupt world where the sword has been abducted by an unfathomably foul evil. Amid the conflict, he seeks to find himself and reclaim what is rightfully his “Badlands.” Originally composed as the soundtrack to a feature film and conceived as a sort-of solo album for Magic Sword’s The Keeper, Badlands, which was surprised released through Joyful Noise Recordings tells the story of loss and rediscovery of the one’s self while being a departure from the band’s trademark synthwave sound. Instead, Badlands is lovingly indebted to John Carpenter and Ludwig Emil Tomas Göransson.

Badlands‘ latest single, the cinematic and slow-burning ‘The Ending” is built around layers of glistening, retro-futuristic synth arpeggios paired with propulsive four-on-the-floor and a relentless groove. The composition manages to set a dramatic vibe and setting for its protagonist, The Keeper: I can picture The Keeper finally encountering his antagonist — and having an epic battle in a Dali-esque landscape.

Rising  Boise–based electronic music artist and producer Morgin Madison initially started his professional life as a lobbyist before pursuing music full-time. He released his first singles in late 2017. That first batch of original material found the Boise-based producer quickly establishing a unique approach and sound that incorporated chilled out house and vast, hard-hitting set pieces.

Since those early singles, Madison has been remarkably prolific, releasing material through electronic labels like Colorize, Songspire RecordsPRGRSSN and even mau5trap. Interestingly, each successive release found the Boise-based producer’s sound moving increasing in the direction of progressive house. He says in press notes, he’s just getting started releasing music that he describes as “the most genuine, melodic dance music I can make.”

Last year, mau5trap released the Boise-based producer’s full-length debut Living the Phantasm. The album’s material was written during the course of 2020, when the rising producer, much like everyone else was confined at home as a result of pandemic-related restrictions. At the time, he was creating music for a time that to him felt like a distant, impossible dream. And with the music industry and everything else seemingly on the verge of collapse, Madison began to ask himself, “If this is it, what do I want to say before I go?” That question inspired a creative streak uninhibited by a concern for the future.

The end result, included the soulful and sensual Balearic banger “Feels Like,” which I wrote about last year. Since then, Madison has been busy: He has done a handful of b2b performances with label head deadmau5. And continuing upon the momentum of last year, the Boise-based producer started off the new year with his latest single “Drifter” feat. Dominque.

“Drifter” continues a run of nostalgia-inducing, Balearic-inspired house bangers: Centered around a thumping beats, glistening synth-driven melody, the production is roomy enough for Los Angeles-born and-based pop artist Dominique to contribute her plaintive vocals to the mix, making “Drifter” arguably the most earnest yet intimate song of Madison’s growing catalog. The song features a narrator, looking back at a one-sided relationship with an aching nostalgia — partially for the relationship, and partially for a loss of innocence as a result of that relationship.

“With ‘Drifter,’ I wanted to create a song that took my sound into a very intimate direction, while still holding onto my roots in progressive dance music,” explains Morgin Madison on his new single. “Once I teamed up with Dominique on vocals, the song became a beautifully nostalgic anthem about a one-sided relationship. While a lot of my music feels more vast and ethereal, ‘Drifter’ brings you in close for a bittersweet journey.”

Live Footage: Deep Sea Diver on NPR Tiny Desk (at Home)

Led by its accomplished, Los Angeles-born, Seattle-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and frontperson Jessica Dobson, the Seattle-based indie rock act Deep Sea Diver can trace its origins back to when Dobson was 19: Dobson, who has had stints  playing with a who’s who list of contemporary acts, including Beck, Conor Oberst, Spoon, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Shins signed with Atlantic Records. And while with Atlantic Records, Dobson wrote and recorded two albums that she wasn’t completely satisfied with — and Atlantic ultimately shelved the material and dropped her from the label.

After leaving Atlantic, Dobson wrote and recorded her official solo debut EP New Caves under the name Deep Sea Diver. The project expanded to a full-fledged band with the addition of John Raines (bass) Dobson’s spouse Peter Mansen (drums), Garrett Gue (bass), and Elliot Jackson (guitar, synth), who helped to flesh out the project’s sound. The band went on to release two albums and an EP — 2012’s self-released debut History Speaks, 2014’s Always Waiting EP and 2016’s acclaimed Secrets.

Last October saw the release of the band’s critically applauded third album Impossible Weight through High Beam Records/ATO Records, and the album followed after a busy year of touring with Wilco and Joseph. Sonically and thematically, the album stemmed from a period of sometimes brutal self-examination — a process that began for Dobson, not long after Deep Sea Diver finished touring to support Secrets. “We went into the studio pretty quickly after the tour ended, and I sort of hit a wall where I was feeling very detached from making music, and unable to find joy in it,” Dobson recalls in press notes. “I realized I had to try to rediscover my voice as a songwriter, and figure out the vocabulary for what I needed to say on this album.”

Stepping back from music and the studio, Dobson focused on dealing with the depression she had been struggling with, and soon started volunteering for Aurora Commons, a drop-in center for unhoused people, most whom are drug-dependent and frequently engage in street-survival-based sex work. “I spent a lot of time with the women who frequent the Commons, and it taught me a new depth of empathy,” she says. “They’re people who don’t have the luxury of going back to a home at the end of the day and hiding behind those four walls, so they’re sort of forced to be vulnerable with what their needs are. Talking with them and listening to them really freed me up to start writing about things I’d never written about before in my songs.”

Co-produced by Dobson and Andy D. Park and recorded at Seattle’s Studio X and The Hall of Justice, Impossible Weight finds Dobson and company digging far deeper emotionally than ever before — and pairing it with a bigger, more grandiose sound. While revealing Dobson’s dexterous and powerful guitar work, the album’s lush textures and mercurial arrangements allow room for Dobson to fully demonstrate her vocal range in a way that she hadn’t before. “’I’d never produced a record before and I started out with low expectations for myself, but at some point I realized, ‘I can do this,’” Dobson recalls. “I decided to completely trust my voice and make really bold decisions in all my production calls—just push everything to the absolute outer edges.”

Interestingly, for Dobson redefining the limits of her artistry goes hand-in-hand with deeper identity issues that came up while Dobson and her bandmates were working on the album. “I was adopted and just recently met my birth mother, and found out that I’m half-Mexican and half-Jewish,” Deep Sea Diver’s frontperson explains. “Discovering my heritage and learning things about myself that I never knew before really fed into that question of ‘Where do I belong?’” Simultaneously, Dobson rediscovered the sense of possibility, adventure and joy that she first felt when she started out as a 19 year-old.  “I think being signed at such a young age messed me up in terms of the expectations I put on myself,” she says. “Somewhere along the way I lost confidence in my own vision, but after making this record I feel a much larger freedom to go in whatever direction I want with my music.”

With Impossible Weight, Dobson hopes that others might reclaim a similar sense of freedom in their emotional lives. “Especially right now when the world is in disarray and there’s so much fear, I want this record to give people room to feel whatever they need to feel,” she says. “I hope it helps them recognize that it’s okay to fall apart, and that they’re meant to let others in instead of trying to work through everything on their own. Because the point is that the impossible weight isn’t yours to carry alone—that’s why it’s impossible.”

Now, if you were following this site last year — bless you for that, seriously — you may recall that I wrote about a couple of the album’s singles:

“Lights Out,”  a track that contained multitudes, as it was deviant and anthemic yet delicate. Centered around Dobson’s expressive guitar work, a thunderous rhythm section an enormous raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worthy hook and Dobson’s equally expressive vocals, the song featured a bold and fearlessly vulnerable, who seems to say to the listener “It’s okay to admit that you’re not okay and that you may need some help to get you out of life’s dark places.”
Album title track “Impossible Weight,” a track that’s one-part New Wave and one-part arena rock with enormous hooks, twinkling synths, Dobson’s expressive and explosive guitar work rooted in heart-fully-on-sleeve songwriting. And while revealing Dobson’s unerring knack for crafting an anthemic hook, the song captures a narrator on the emotional brink with an novelistic attention to psychological detail. A guest spot from Sharon Van Etten, managed to add an additional emotional punch.

Deep Sea Diver recently filmed a NPR Tiny Desk (at Home) Concert in a space that the band built to recreate the iconic Red Room in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.  “There were countless times this past year that I wanted to be transported out of my house and into a different world,” says frontwoman Jessica Dobson. “One of my favorite and most inspiring worlds is that of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, which was filmed very close to where I live in Washington.The band is joined by Joseph’s Natalie Schepman and Megan Closner, who contribute backing vocals for three songs of the live set — and there’s a guest appearance from Dobson’s adorable beagle Henry, “the one being that was happy we weren’t touring,” Dobson says.

The live set features joyous and heartfelt versions of the aforementioned “Lights Out” and “Impossible Weight,” as well as “Wishing” and the standalone single “Stop Pretending,” which was named one of NPR Music’s 100 Best Songs of 2020 — and evokes the despair and unease we’ve all felt over the past year or so.

Initially starting his professional life as a lobbyist, the rising Boise–based electronic music artist and producer Morgin Madison eventually pursued his passion for music as a full-time gig. Madison released his first singles in late 2017 — and those singles found the Boise-based producer and artist establishing a unique dance music sound that ranged from chilled house beats to vast, hard-hitting set pieces.

With releases through labels like Colorize, Songspire Records, PRGRSSN and even mau5trrap, the Boise-based artist and producer has been prolific releasing material that has found Madison’s sound moving towards a progressive house direction. As Madison says in press notes, he’s just getting started releasing music that he describes as “the most genuine, melodic dance music I can make.”

Building upon a growing profile, Madison’s full-length debut Living the Phantasm was released today through mau5trap. The album’s material was crafted last year, when the rising producer, much like the rest of us, was confined at home as a result of pandemic-related restrictions: at the time, he was creating music for a time that to him felt like a distant dream. With the music industry and everything else around us collapsing, he began to ask himself “If this is it, what do I want to say before I go.” Naturally, the question inspired a creative streak uninhibited by a concern for the future. The album’s latest single “Feels Like” is a Balearic-like house banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, thumping beats, a sultry vocal sample and a euphoria-inducing hook. While being sleek, the song is a soulful and sensual take on house, that may remind some of Octo Octa.


Interview: A Q&A with David Mikkelson and Nathan Hope of Boise, ID-Based Indie Electro Pop Act, Shades

Comprised of Louie Bash (synthesizers, samplers), David Mikkelson (vocals), Nathan Hope (drums) and Tom Racine (guitar), the Boise, ID-based electro pop quartet Shades derived their band’s name from the concept of synesthesia, the neurological condition in which stimulation […]