Tag: instrumental

New Video: Public Service Broadcasting’s Thoughtful Tribute to the RMS Titanic

Initially begun as the solo recording project of its founding member J. Willgoose, Esq. (guitar, banjo, stringed instruments, samplers, synths) back in 2009, the London-based instrumental prog rock act Public Service Broadcasting expanded to a duo with the addition of Wrigglesworth (drums, piano, electronic musical instruments) — and as a duo, they released an EP, 2012’s The War Room, and two full-length albums, 2013’s Inform-Educate-Entertain and 2015’s The Race for Space, which established their sound — expansive prog rock centered around sampled news programs, field recordings, found footage, old movies (particularly from the British Film Institute archives) and the like; in fact, the band’s The Race for Space, which thematically focused on the Space Race of the 1950s and 1960s may arguably be their most critically and commercially successful album — the album charted at #11 on the UK Independent Charts, before reaching #1 later that week.

The band’s third, full-length album, last year’s Every Valley found the band expanding to a trio with the addition of JF Abraham (lugelhorn, bass guitar, drums, vibraslap and others), while featuring guest vocals from Camera Obscura‘s Tracyanne Campbell, and thematically the album’s material focused on the coal mining industry’s rise and fall in the Welsh Valleys between the 1950s and 1980s. Now. if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that earlier this year, the newly constituted trio was commission by the BBC to write and record four new pieces, centered on the story of the RMS Titanic, which led to their soon-to-be released EP White Star Liner.

Slated for an October 26, 2018 release through Play It Again Sam Records, the EP thematically and sonically tells the story of the Titanic from its construction to its early, tragic, demise. Focusing on the perspectives of those who built and salted her, the EP will further the band’s reputation for crafting a unique audio-visual experience that provides a new and very different perspective on well-known events. As the band’s J. Willgoose, Esq. says in press notes “I thought it was an interesting challenge to tell the story of the ship’s construction as part of Belfast’s proud industrial history, the spirit of optimism of the pre-war age that she represented, and then an abstract and, I hope, respectful depiction of both the sinking of the ship (represented by the repeated Morse code distress call, C – Q – D) and the discovery of the wreck in 1985.”

The EP’s first official single is the breezy and hopeful motorik-like “White Star Liner,” which captures a sense of hopeful excitement as the completed ship is just about to set sail for America. There’s the sense of a world slowly unifying after a brutal war, of the possibility of increasing world travel meant for the economies of cities like Belfast and others, as larger and larger ships were built. And for a brief moment, the future seemed glorious and full of possibility. The recently released video features the band performing live, cut with the stock footage they use during their live shows. 

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Comprised of Kristian Dunn (double-neck bass/guitar) and Tim Fogarty (drums), the Southern California-based post rock duo El Ten Eleven have developed a reputation for using a dizzying array of effect pedals and looping pedals to create a dense, complex, enormous and incredibly cinematic sound.  And if you’ve been frequenting this site for some time, you’d know that since their formation back in 2002, the band has maintained a steadfast DIY approach throughout their career; however, with their forthcoming, seventh full-length album, and first for Topshelf RecordsBanker’s Hill, the duo enlisted Sonny Dipierri, who has worked with Animal Collective and Dirty Projectors to produce the album, marking the first time that they’ve ever worked with an outside producer.

Slated for an August 10, 2018 release, the album reportedly finds the duo thematically exploring a number of contradictory yet important things — the paradoxical beauty in anxiety, the importance of family and familial bonds, especially in a world that’s gone absolutely mad, as well as the fleeting sensation of satisfaction. Earlier this summer, I wrote about Banker’s Hill first single “Phenomenal Problems,” a single that found the duo deliberately walking a tightrope between meditative introspection and a widescreen, cinematic quality with the composition being centered around  propulsive boom bap-like beats and drumming, enormous, arena rock friendly power chord-based hooks within an expansive song structure.

“We Don’t Have A Sail But We Have A Rudder,” is Banker’s Hill’s latest and last official single and the composition is centered around shimmering and expressive guitar lines, a propulsive bass line and four-on-the-floor drumming — and while retaining the meditative and cinematic quality that has won them attention, the track may arguably be their most straightforward, prog rock-leaning song off the album.

Throughout the fall, you can catch El Ten Eleven on tour. Sadly there aren’t any East Coast dates yet, but if you’re in the Midwest or the West Coast, you should check them out. In the meantime, check out tour dates below.

Tour Dates:
9/05 – Morro Bay, CA @ The Siren
9/06 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst Atrium
9/07 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
9/08 – Reno, NV @ Saint Bar
9/09 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s
9/12 – Bend, OR @ Volcanic Theatre
9/13 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
9/14 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile
9/15 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
9/18 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux
9/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge
9/20 – Ft. Collins, CO @ Washington’s
9/21 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
9/22 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
11/06 – St. Louis, MO @ The Old Rock House
11/07 – Indianapolis, IN @ HiFi
11/08 – Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
11/09 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Pyramid Scheme
11/10 – Chicago, IL @ ChopShop
11/13 – Madison, WI @ High Noon Saloon
11/14 – Milwaukee, WI @ Shank Hall
11/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
11/16 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
11/17 – Kansas City, MO @ Record Bar
11/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom
11/30 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
12/01 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah

 

New Video: French Trio Jean Jean Return with Creepy Visuals for the Cinematic and Anxious “Event Horizon”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the  Paris-based instrumental space rock/math rock/experimental rock trio Jean Jean, currently comprised of Edouard Lebrun (drums, samples), Sebastien Torregrossa (guitar) and their newest member multi-instrumentalist Gregory Hoepffner, and as you may recall although the act has gone through a series of lineup changes in which the band started off as a trio and had a brief period as a duo, before expanding back to a trio with the release of their self-titled debut EP and 2013’s full-length debut Symmetry, which they supported with hundreds of live shows across the European Union, Japan and the US.

Interestingly though, when the band was a trio featuring Lebrun and Torregrossa, they wrote and recorded a follow-up EP that they scrapped because they felt something — or someone — was missing. Lebrun and Torregrossa were initially unsuccessful in their search for a third musician to further flesh out their sound, until their longtime friend Hoepffner, who had been responsible for the band’s visuals signed up to join the band. And as Lebrun recalls in press notes, things immediately clicked. “He [Hoepffner] brought this glue linking the drums and the guitars, adding another level,” Lebrun says.

The band’s recently released album Froidpierre is the first featuring the band as a newly re-constituted trio, and the album, which was recorded in a cabin named Froidspierre (or cold stone) in the French Alps is reportedly a marked departure from their previously released work. “We were tired of complex and festive tracks; we wanted to avoid over-doing things, to stop doing patchwork and have proper songs with real hindsight. The songs are shorter because they were composed with a sense of urgency.” And while these were all very conscious decisions, it was also driven by a sense of urgency as the band’s Lebrun frequently had to take the first night bus from the suburban studio to his home in Paris. As the band collectively mentions in press note, as they were busily writing and recording the material that would comprise their latest effort, each individual member of the band recognized that they had a great creative chemistry and that while something musically powerful was happening during the sessions, something in the air wasn’t quite right.

During the third day of the recording sessions Torregrossa went out on the balcony to smoke a cigarette and suddenly he felt an uncontrollable sense of fear throughout his own body. With a racing heart, he rushed back inside without looking back. The next day, Lebrun managed to be in the exact same spot and he couldn’t shake the persistent feeling that there was a presence behind him. Just as he turned around, he caught what looked like a ghost out of the corner of his eye. Frozen in fear, he stared at this presence and got lost in its inverted human-like silhouette. As Lebrun recalls, it felt as though he were slowly sinking into quicksand until somehow he managed to get away; but he felt unsettled and uneasy throughout the rest of the night. Hoepffner felt a strong sense of discomfort as he was sitting in the studio’s kitchen — so much so that, after a few days, he made sure to never enter a room on his own. At night, he heard someone or something whispering his name. And while he spent time trying to convince himself that someone was trying to play an elaborate prank on him, Hoepffner couldn’t shake having impressions of a wasted life, without any rational explanation. The band’s friend and photographer Maxime slept in a room that was made entirely of stones and was once a former stable, and one night he heard a woman’s voice calling his name, and felt something lean on him, and a cold sensation overtake his entire body.

Sometimes, they all would hear strange noises and banging on the walls that kept them awake most of the night. They  all spoke about something with a beastly scream and of objects suddenly and unexpectedly being knocked down. Although it was only until after the recording sessions were complete that the members of the band shared their own experiences, the sensation of anxious, uncertain dread and fear, of being on the edge, of not being able to trust your senses and your reason. Naturally, these experiences whether consciously or subconsciously managed to influence the sound and tone of the album’s material; in fact, album single “Anada,” evokes an unshakably, dark, menacing, and inexplicable presence lurking behind you, felt but unseen. Froidspierre’s latest single “Event Horizon”  is an incredibly cinematic composition centered around shimmering, arpeggiated synths, buzzing power chords, thumping and propulsive drumming and a soaring hook, and much like its immediate predecessor, the composition evokes an anxious and creeping dread. And unsurprisingly, the gorgeously shot video filmed by the band’s longtime friend, photographer Maxime Leyravaud and the band further emphasizes the creeping dread in the song; of shadowy figures seemingly coming out of the dark — for you.

New Video: Immersion Returns with a Krautrock-Inspired New Single

Last month, I wrote about the Brighton, UK-based art rock duo Immersion, and as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of husband and wife duo, Wire‘s Colin Newman and Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel can trace their origins back to when the duo initially collaborated together in the early 90s on a handful of Colin Newman’s solo albums and later as Immersion.  Slated for a June 15, 2018 release, Sleepless is the follow up to 2016’s critically applauded Analogue Creatures Living on an Island and the forthcoming album is reportedly both an extension of its predecessor’s sound and a leap forward sonically. While still deeply influenced by Tangerine Dream and Popal Vuh with a textured, painterly approach, Newman and Spigel have expanded their sonic palette, to incorporate guitars, drums and bass with analog synths; and in fact, the album features the duo collaborating with Holy Fuck‘s Matt Schulz, and Hexenschuss‘ Gil Luz and Asi Weitz.

“Microclimate,” Sleepless’ first single was an lush yet atmospheric composition consisting of gently arpeggiated synths, simmering guitar chords, swirling electronics and a stuttering bass line — and while being meditative and dreamy, the song possesses an cinematic quality, as though it should be part of the soundtrack of a futuristic, sic-fi-leaning drama. The album’s second and latest single “Propulsiod” is a decidedly krautrock-inspired affair, as it’s centered around an appropriately propulsive, motorik groove with squelching and trembling synths and electronics. As the duo says about the song, “The roots of Immersion lie in abstract techno but somehow over the years we’ve acquired the motorik of krautrock without ever consciously deciding on that direction. ‘Propulsoid’ is a kind of propulsive mythical beast, an unholy alliance of Klaus Dinge’s beats and acid squelch filtered through the ever present MS-10. We guess it’s a kind of dance music! The video was made by us in the same spirit as we make the music and write these words. It’s about speed, light & repetition.” Unsurprisingly, the video features footage of relentless transpiration, movement sped up and occasionally in reverse, which emphasizes the sense of repetition and endlessness to it. 

Newman and Spigel will be touring to support Sleepless and it includes a July 14, 2018 stop at Rough Trade. Check out the rest of the tour dates below.

New Video: Wire’s Colin Newman and Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel Team Up on a Lush and Painterly Track

Comprised of Wire’s Colin Newman and Minimal Compact’s Malka Spigel, the Brighton, UK-based art rock duo Immersion can trace their origins back to when the duo initially collaborated together in the early 90s on a handful of Newman’s solo efforts and later with Immersion. Sleepless which is slated for a June 15, 2018 release is the follow up to 2016’s critically applauded Analogue Creatures Living on an Island and their forthcoming album is reportedly both a logical development and a leap forward — while still deeply influenced by the likes of Tangerine Dream and Popal Vuh with a textured, painterly approach, Newman and Spigel have expanded their sonic palette, to incorporate guitars, drums and bass with analog synths; in fact, the album also features guest appearances from Holy Fuck’s Matt Schulz, and Hexenschuss’ Gil Luz and Asi Weitz. 

Sleepless’ first single, album opener “Microclimate” is an atmospheric yet lush and upbeat composition consisting of gently arpeggiated synths, shimmering guitar chords, gently swirling electronics and a stuttering bass line — and while being dreamy and thoughtful, it’s a decidedly cinematic track that possesses a mysterious quality. 

Live Footage: Rafiq Bhatia Performing “Breaking English”

Rafiq Bhatia is a Hickory, NC-born, New York-based composter, guitarist and producer of East African Indian descent. Before joining Ryan Lott and Ian Chang to expand renowned indie act Son Lux from a solo recording project to a fully fleshed out band, Bhatia released two critically applauded solo efforts — 2012’s Yes It Will and Strata. As a guitarist and producer, Bhatia has worked with an impressive and diverse array of artists including Olga Bell, Sam Dew, Marcus Gilmore, Billy Hart, Heems, Helado Negro, Vijay Iyer, Glenn Kotche, Valegir Sigurðsson, Moses Sumney, David Virelles, Lorde, Sufjan Stevens and others. Adding to a growing profile, he’s recored with the chamber ensembles International Contemporary Ensemble, JACK Quartet and Alarm Will Sound, and he’s had work appear on the soundtracks for the major motion pictures The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, Air, and Afflicted.  

Bhatia’s third solo album Breaking English is slated for an April 6, 2018 release through ANTI- Records, and the album reportedly finds the renowned composer, producer and guitarist, who has long been influenced by Jimi Hendrix, John Coltrane, Madlib, as well as mentors and collaborators Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, meshing avant-garde jazz with textured and sculptured electronic composition and production. Because of his experience as a first-generation son of East African-born, Indian Muslim immigrant parents, who can trace their ancestry back to India, and the influence of mentors like Vijay Iyer and Billy Hart, Bhatia sees music as a way to actively shape and represent his own identity, not limited by anyone else’s prescribed perspective.  Interestingly, the album’s overall theme and its title were inspired by a 2008 trip to India that Bhatia took with his sister and parents — the first time he had ever seen the ancestral homeland. “We were driving towards the Taj Mahal, and noticed as we approached that there was an alarming number of signs advertising ‘Shooting Ranges.’ We grew increasingly curious and concerned about why these signs, which were written in English, were so prevalent — could they be targeted towards American tourists and their obsession with guns?” Bhatia recalled in press notes. “But eventually, we realized that ‘shooting’ was intended in the photographic sense. We had a good laugh about it, but then my dad turned to me quite seriously and asked ‘Eventually there will be likely more English speakers out here than there are in the West. At that point, who will get to decide what constitutes a proper use of English?’”

“’Breaking English’ is a ceremony of a song,” Bhatia continues. “Its central theme revealed itself to me in an improvised performance, fully formed, as though it had always existed. The cyclical form of the piece allows it to shed its skin and present itself anew in successive iterations, even as the core idea — or problem, or experience — stubbornly persists.”

Breaking English‘s latest single, album title track, the atmospheric and soulful “Breaking English” which features skittering drums, a sinuous bass line, blasts of bluesy guitar and a wailing chorus — and in some way, the composition nods at an incredible synthesis of the work of JOVM mainstay Nick Hakim, J. Dilla and Flying Lotus but with a soulful weariness and ache.

New Video: Up-and-Coming Finnish Electronic Music Producer and Artist NightStop Releases Creepy Visuals for Brooding Album Single “Under the Killing Moon”

Last month, I wrote about the  Jyväskylä, Finland-born and-based, up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist Ere Ek, who started the 80s cyberpunk soundtrack-inspired project NightStop back in 2012. Since then, Ek has seen a growing profile across Europe and Russia’s tight-knit DIY scene, steadily touring and releasing both cassette and vinyl releases. Now, the Chicago, IL-based label No Trend Records, the label home of Ganser, Absolutely Not and others will be releasing a vinyl edition of NightStop’s most recent effort, Dancing Killer on March 30, 2018 — and as you may recall, although the album has already seen a digital release, Ek included a pulsating John Carpenter meets Umberto-like single “Phantasmagoria,” as a bonus digital track for the album. Interestingly, while that track cemented his reputation for crafting brooding and cinematic retro-futuristic electro pop; however, it may arguably be one of the most dance floor friendly tracks he’s released to date. 

Building upon the buzz surrounding the vinyl release of Dancing Killer, the up-and-coming Finnish electronic music producer and artist recently released the incredibly creepy, stop animation based video for “Under the Killer Moon,” by Tommi Niukkanen. As far as the single, it’s a retro-futuristic and broodingly cinematic track featuring layers of shimmering, arpeggiated synths and thumping beats — and while clearly being indebted to the aforementioned John Carpenter and Umberto, it may also be the most menacing track of the entire album. 

New Video: Acclaimed Instrumental Canadian Act Shooting Guns Release Gorgeous Visuals for Atmospheric Album Single “Vampires of Industry”

With the release of their six full-length albums, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada-based instrumental psych rock/heavy psych/heavy metal act Shooting Guns have developed a reputation as a critically applauded, multi-award nominated act, known for work that’s largely inspired by Black Sabbath, Spacemen 3, Pink Floyd and others — and for touring over 60,000 miles across their native Canada without international touring.

While their previously released material was the sort of heavy and saturated sounds that was well-suited for horror-comedy files, Flavour Country, the Saskatoon-based instrumental act’s sixth and latest album  which was produced and recorded but the members of the band at their own Pre-Rock Studios features arguably some of the band’s fastest, heaviest and most visceral material they’ve written, recorded and released, as well as some of their most atmospheric; in fact, the album’s latest single “Vampires of Industry” consists of a slow-burning and moody drone paired with twangy and shimmering guitar chords that immediately bring to mind Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan,” Directions to See a Ghost-era The Black Angels, and the Silber Records catalog — but with a cinematic, sweep.

Directed by Parker Thiessen, the recently released video for “Vampires of Industry” features a flowing and shimmering, metallic piece of cloth, overtaking  the surrounding forest in a way that evokes the creeping of industrialization over nature in a way that’s gorgeous, surreal and unsettling.