Tag: Colin Stewart

New Audio: JOVM Mainstay Art d’Ecco Releases an Incisive and Withering Look at Online Dating

Art d’Ecco is an enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter and grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett. In 2018, he emerged as dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam rock with the release off his full-length debut Trespasser.

Since Trespasser, the British Columbia-based art rocker has been busy: he played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Continuing a busy period, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed British psych rock act Temples right before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

Released yesterday through Paper Bag Records, the Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on two-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album finds d’Ecco further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic sees d’Ecco and his backing band pushing the sonic boundaries of glam rock as far as they can, as the material draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including 50s pop, psychedelia, , Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

In the buildup to the album’s release, I wrote about four of In Standard Definition’s previously released singles:

“TV God,” a synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths. 
“Head Rush” an infectious boogie that owes a sonic debt to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths. 
“I Am The Dance Floor,” a shimmering and strutting disco take on glam rock that may remind some of Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” Echoes-era The Rapture and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy. 
“Desires,” a jangling and densely layered glam anthem that sonically is a slick synthesis of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars. “A tale born inside the dark underbelly of old Hollywood, then repackaged and reimagined as a rock and roll tragedy,” d’Ecco said of the song in press notes.. “’Desires’ is about the entertainer at the end of their career — soon to be phased out by the next wave of rising talent, and shifting audience tastes. For the old guard, this spectre of change is a constant existential threat that will challenge their ability to keep up with the times and to remain relevant in this brutal industry of show business.”

In Standard Definition’s fifth and latest single “Good Looks” is a shimmering and slickly produced synthesis of classic rock, New Wave and glam influences — i.e., think Queen, David Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars — with the song being centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, four-on-the floor, crystalline synths arena rock friendly hooks and punchily delivered lyrics, But underneath the rousingly anthemic hooks, the song is a withering look at the artificiality and superficiality of online dating: The song specially points out that while we’re swiping left and right, we’re not actively taking part in the world.

New Video: Art d’Ecco Releases a Stylish and Noir-ish Visual for Anthemic “Desires”

The mysterious and enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter now known as Art d’Ecco is a grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett; but in 2018 he emerged as a dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam rocker with the release of that year’s critically applauded, full-length debut Trespasser. 

Since the release of Trespasser, the Canadian art rocker has played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Last spring, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed UK-based psych rock act Temples right before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

Slated for an April 23, 2021 release through  Paper Bag Records, the Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on two-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album will reportedly find the acclaimed Canadian art rocker further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly enough, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic pushes the boundaries of glam rock, as it draws draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including elements of 50s pop, psychedelia, Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

So far, throughout the year I’ve written about three of In Standard Definition‘s previously released singles: 

“TV God,” a synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths. 
“Head Rush” an infectious boogie that owes a sonic debt to Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths. 
“I Am The Dance Floor,” a shimmering and strutting disco take on glam rock that may remind some of Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” Echoes-era The Rapture and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy. 

In Standard Definition’s latest single “Desires” is a jangling, densely layered, glam rock anthem centered around rousingly anthemic hooks, blasts of twinkling synth arpeggios, soulful horn blasts, an angular bass line, strummed rhythm guitar and shimmering guitar solos and punchily delivered vocals. Sonically, the song is a slick synthesis of Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, Gary Numan and The Cars — all while being carefully crafted. “A tale born inside the dark underbelly of old Hollywood, then repackaged and reimagined as a rock and roll tragedy,” d’Ecco explains. “’Desires’ is about the entertainer at the end of their career — soon to be phased out by the next wave of rising talent, and shifting audience tastes. For the old guard, this spectre of change is a constant existential threat that will challenge their ability to keep up with the times and to remain relevant in this brutal industry of show business.”

Directed and edited by Brandon William Fletcher, the recently released video for “Desires” is a stylistically shot, noir-is black and white visual that features d’Ecco and his backing band performing the song — but underneath the stylish surface, there’s this sense of an artist fearful of being phased out by an indifferent and bored audience and industry. Certainly, as you get older in an industry that often values beauty and youth before wisdom and experience, those fears become increasingly real — and the desire to be relevant more desperate.

New Video: Art d’Ecco Releases a “Saturday Night Fever” Inspired Visual for Dance floor Banger “I Am The Dance Floor”

The mysterious and enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter now known as Art d’Ecco is a grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett; but in 2018 he emerged as a dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam rocker with the release of that year’s critically applauded, full-length debut Trespasser.

Since the release of Trespasser, the Canadian art rocker has played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Last spring, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed UK-based psych rock act Temples before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

The forthcoming, Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on two-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album will reportedly find the acclaimed Canadian art rocker further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly enough, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic pushes the boundaries of glam rock, as it draws draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including elements of 50s pop, psychedelia, Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

So far, throughout the year I’ve written about two of In Standard Definition’s previously released singles:

“TV God,” a synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths.
“Head Rush” an infectious boogie that owes a sonic debt to Man That Sold The World and Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths.

“I Am The Dance Floor,” In Standard Definition’s latest single is a shimmering and strutting disco take on glam rock centered around a rapid-fire four-on-the-floor, fluttering synth arpeggios, a funky and propulsive, dance floor friendly grooves, a regal horn sample and an enormous hook that may remind some of Bay City Rollers “Saturday Night,” Echoes-era The Rapture and In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy.

Directed by Wai Sun Cheng, the recently released video for “I Am the Dance Floor” features d’Ecco and his backing band under a glittering disco ball and on a giant, patchwork light up floor, made famous in Saturday Night Fever, beckoning the viewer — and of course, the listener — on to the dance floor, where there’s true liberation, if only for a three-minute song.

“I was picturing this alt version of Saturday Night Fever where the lead is this aging loner obsessed with dance, who every weekend shows up at different clubs around town and just murders the dance floor, and then disappears out the back door,” d’Ecco says. “There is a person from my home town who sort of fits this description quite well. I think every scene has their own version of Random Dancing Dude.”

In Standard Definition is slated for an April 23, 2021 release through Paper Bag Records.

New Video: Art d’Ecco Releases a Strutting Glam-Inspired Ode to Nostalgia

Although he’s a grizzled Vancouver music scene vet, who once played in a band with acclaimed producer and ACTORS frontman Jason Corbett, the mysterious and enigmatic British Columbia-based singer/songwriter now known as Art d’Ecco emerged as a dark bobbed hair wearing, androgynous and charismatic glam and art rock-inspired presence with the release of 2018’s critically applauded, full-length debut Trespasser.

Since the release of Trespasser, the Canadian art rocker has played a live session for Seattle’s KEXP and played more than 75 clubs and music festivals across North America. Last spring, d’Ecco opened for acclaimed UK-based psych rock act Temples before the pandemic struck. “Trespasser was the start of a two-year ride taking me to all sorts of places I’d never been to,” the acclaimed British Columbia-based singer/songwriter says in press notes. “Seeing how different cultures interact with entertainment was the genesis for In Standard Definition. A lot of this record was actually written on the road late at night in motel rooms – with the flickering light of a television in the background.”

Sonically, the forthcoming, Colin Stewart-produced In Standard Definition was recorded on 2-inch tape with a handpicked, rotating cast of musicians that featured jazz and blues-trained horn players, Victoria Symphony Orchestra string players, soul singers and his backing band on a 50 year old console at The Hive. Sonically, the album will reportedly find the acclaimed Canadian art rocker further establishing a sound that some critics have described as neo-glam. But interestingly enough, the album’s overall sound and aesthetic draws from a diverse and eclectic array of influences including elements of 50s pop, psychedelia, Velvet Underground-like art rock, Grimes-inspired electronics, Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie and Brian Eno among others. “I’m obsessed with tape, film, and sounds of yesteryear, so recording could only be analogue – in standard definition – the way entertainment was once created,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted to go back in time, exist in a different era and breathe my creativity through it.”

Thematically, the album holds up a mirror to pop culture and explores our obsessions with entertainment and celebrity. “No matter where you live or what language you speak, there’s an entertainment god for you,” d’Ecco explains in press notes. “Whether on TV or writing the books you read, it’s an odd sense of purpose we allocate to these humans whose talent is in distracting us from the doldrums of daily life. We’re constantly searching for something… glued to our phones… consuming various forms of entertainment. We feel less close with each other, and closer to the strangers who make us feel good.”

Last month, I wrote about “TV God,” a shimmering and strutting synthesis of ’77 punk, Ziggie Stardust-era Bowie and Pleasure Principle-era Gary Numan, centered around anthemic hooks, twinkling piano stabs, punchily delivered lyrics, soulful backing vocals, propulsive bass lines, a scorching guitar solo and squiggling synths. In Standard Definition’s second single “Head Rush” is a shimmering and strutting boogie that owes a sonic debt to Man That Sold The World and Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie, complete with an enormous horn line and glistening synths. Directed by Avi Glanzer, the recently released video for “Head Rush” features the Canadian art rocker in a sleek leather jumpsuit and acoustic guitar in a stylish, slick and trippy visual.

“It’s a song about the head rush of our youth – nostalgia is a powerful drug, it distorts and reframes the past, often reconciling our memories into one place for easy access and to better suit our current disposition or state of mind,” d’Ecco explains. “I wanted all the hallmarks of a classic rock song – the kind of music that used to blast from the kitchen radio at the summer jobs I’d worked at as a teen. Guitar solo? Check. Drum solo? Check. Big horns and sparkly synths? Check.”

In Standard Definition is slated for an April 23, 2021 release through Paper Bag Records.

Now, if you’re been frequenting JOVM over the past couple of months, you might recall that I’ve written about the  Victoria, BC-based quintet Astrocolor. Comprised of Andrew Poirier (guitar), Anand Greenwell (saxophone), Chris Mackenzie (drums), William Farrant (bass), and Piers Henwood (guitar), the Canadian quintet decided that they wanted to tackle traditional and familiar Christmas songs for their latest recoded effort, Lit Up: Music for Christmas.

Featuring guest vocals from KandleRykkaJets Overhead‘s Antonia Freybe-Smith, and Abi Rose and co-produced by the Canadian quintet and Colin Stewart, best known for his work with Black MountainDan Mangan and AC Newman, the compositional and sonic approach was largely inspired by jazz great Stan Getz’Getz Au Go-Go, as well as Massive AttackAir and St. Germain. As the band explained in press notes, Stan Getz’s rendition of “Summertime,” “became a jumping off point for what we were trying to do, taking the classic ‘summertime and the livin’ is easy’  hook and reshaping it into an exploratory piece. We too wanted to create a sense of familiarity and exploration within the context of a Christmas album.”

The album’s first single “We Three Kings” was a noir-ish and moodily atmospheric song that managed to sound as though it owed a sonic debt to jazz, as much as it did to dubstep and trip-hop as Abi Rose’s seductive, jazz standard vocal stylings were paired with a mournful horn line, swirling electronics, angular, funk guitar and bass and plinking keys submerged in layers of reverb to craft a cinematic and sensual rendition of a familiar and beloved holiday song. The album’s latest single is a dubby and jazz-leaning rendition of “Sleigh Bells” that pairs Rose’s husky, jazz standard vocal stylings with angular bass lines, twisting and turning guitar chords played through gentle amounts of feedback and wah wah pedal, and warm blasts of expressive horns and subtly slows down the song’s familiar tempo and melody to create a trippy and breezy rendition of a beloved Christmas song we’ve all sung at some point — while sounding as though it drew influence from the Josh Roseman Unit‘s dub-leaning rendition of Burt Bacharach‘s “Long Day, Short Night.” And it does while reminding the listener of the song’s playful nature.

Comprised of Andrew Poirier (guitar), Anand Greenwell (saxophone), Chris Mackenzie (drums), William Farrant (bass), and Piers Henwood (guitar), the  Victoria, BC-based quintet Astrocolor decided that they wanted to tackle Christmas songs for their forthcoming album Lit Up: Music for Christmas. Featuring guest vocals from Kandle, Rykka, Jets Overhead‘s Antonia Freybe-Smith, and Abi Rose and co-produced by the Canadian quintet and Colin Stewart, best known for his work with Black Mountain, Dan Mangan and AC Newman, the approach to the album was largely inspired by jazz great Stan Getz’s Getz Au Go-Go, as well as Massive Attack, Air and St. Germain. As the band explained in press notes, Stan Getz’s rendition of “Summertime,” ” became a jumping off point for what we were trying to do, taking the classic ‘summertime and the livin’ is easy’  hook and reshaping it into an exploratory piece. We too wanted to create a sense of familiarity and exploration within the context of a Christmas album.”

“We Three Kings,” the first single off Lit Up: Music for Christmas is a noir-ish and moodily atmospheric song that sounds as though it owes as much of a sonic debt to jazz as it does to dubstep and trip hop as Abi Rose’s seductive, jazz standard vocal stylings are paired with a mournful horn line, swirling electronics, angular, funk guitar and bass, and plinking keys submerged in layers upon layers of reverb to craft a rendition of a familiar song that’s hauntingly mournful and cinematic — while being simultaneously intimate and sensual.

I’ve played the song a number of times before writing this post, and every time I can picture the three kings with their gifts riding through moonlit, desert skies to Bethlehem to see the baby Christ. But perhaps more important, it puts a modern spin on to a song that many of us have heard so much that its meaning and importance has been reduced to background music at the mall or in a commercial.