Tag: instrumental

Currently comprised of founding members Willy Vlautin (vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar) and Dave Harding (bass, backing vocals), along with Sean Oldham (drums, percussion, vibes and backing vocals), Dan Eccles (guitar) and Paul Brainard (pedal steel, piano, acoustic guitar, trumpet, backing vocals), the Portland, OR-based alt country quintet Richmond Fontaine can trace its origins back to 1994 when the band’s founding duo met at  Portland Meadows Racetrack, where they bonded over betting on the ponies and their mutual love of Husker Du, Willie Nelson, X, The Blasters and The Replacements, and they quickly decided to collaborate together. After a lineup change with the band expanding to a quintet, they developed  reputation for a sounda that frequently meshed elements of rock, country, punk, folk and Americana paired with Vlautin’s narrative-like songwriting, which resulted in praise from the likes of nationally and internationally recognized media outlets including UncutQ MagazineMojoThe IndependentThe Sun and others.

Interestingly, over the past decade, the band’s Vlautin has developed a reputation as a critically applauded and commercially successful novelist with his debut novel The Motel Life winning a Silver Pen Award from the State of Nevada and landed on the The Washington Post’s Top 25 Books of 2007 — and later, the book was adapted into the critically acclaimed motion picture, The Motel Life which starred Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson.  Vlautin’s 2008 sophomore novel, Northline was a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Bestseller. 2010’s Lean on Pete won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and was named Hot Press’ book of the year. 2014’s The Free continued an incredible run of prolificacy which included the band’s 9 preceding full-length albums, an instrumental soundtrack for Northline, two live albums and an EP.

After a three year hiatus from recording, the  members of Richmond Fontaine returned to the studio with their long-time producer and collaborator John Askew to write and record, 2016’s You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, which was released by one of my favorite labels, Fluff and Gravy Records across North America and Decor Records across Europe. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that I wrote about album single “Wake Up Ray,” a jangling bit of old school country-influenced alt country with Vlautin’s novelistic attention to detail, which managed to created a very real, lived in world in which the song’s characters wake up every single day to a lonely life and an even lonelier house that they’ve learned to hate — and yet they’re aware that because of the choices they made, that their position (if not, their very fate) is largely inescapable. But underneath the surface, is a wistful and mournful recognition of life and love’s impermanence.

Following the release of You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, the members of the band formally announced that it would be their final traditional album and tour; however, as the band’s Vlautin was putting the finishing touches on his fifth novel, Don’t Skip Out on Me which is slated for a February 13, 2018 release through HarperCollins, he was able to round up the band to record an instrumental, companion soundtrack, and while a digital download of the soundtrack will be bundled with the book, Richmond Fontaine’s long-time label home felt that it deserved it’s own release — February 16, 2018 with an extremely limited vinyl release both in the States and in Europe, through Decor Records.

Soundtrack single “Horace And The Trophy” while clearly nodding to classic, 60s and 70s Renegade Country, 70s AM rock possesses an obvious cinematic quality, as though it should be part of the soundtrack of a deliberate, thoughtful road trip movies, featuring rugged, heartbroken and rootless loners crisscrossing the continent, fleeing a troubled past or an uncertain future.

 

Advertisements

With the release of their critically acclaimed full-length debut La Allianza Profana and its follow-up, Serpiente Dorada, the Lima, Peru-based electronic production and artist duo Dengue Dengue Dengue, comprised of Rafael Pereira and Felipe Salmon quickly received attention for a sound that possesses elements of traditional cumbia, dub, dancehall and techno — and for being at the forefront of an expanding electronic cumbia movement.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of its eight year history, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Peruvian electronic production and music duo  — in particular Siete Raices‘ album singles, “Guarida,” a hauntingly ambient track that meshed ancient and traditional Peruvian sounds with contemporary, electronic production in a timeless fashion, and “The Enemy,” a glitchy and percussive track that nodded at El Dusty‘s club-banging, nu-cumbia but with a subtly menacing and uneasy vibe.

The Lima, Peru-based duo’s latest album Son de Los Diablos (which translates into English as Sound of the Devils) derives its name from a traditional dance that was brought to Peru by the Spanish conquistadors, which consists of a procession of dancers and musicians taking to the streets wearing devil masks. By enlisting Lima’s sizable African slave population, this procession increasingly incorporated the rhythms and dance styles that would eventually become known as Afro Peruvian — one of the main elements of modern Peruvian music and culture, which also informs Dengue Dengue Dengue’s sound. Interestingly, Son de Los Diablos‘ latest single “Cobre” features breezy and minimalist production consisting of looped woodwind instruments and stuttering African percussion. While the song  evokes a slow procession of marchers stomping to a throbbing beat, it possesses a murky and menacing undercurrent.

 

 

New Audio: Introducing the Hypnotic and Cinematic Sounds of Nova Flares

Jason Wagers is a Berea, KY-born, Louisville, KY-based multi-instrumentalist and producer whose solo bedroom recording project Nova Flares is influenced by shoegaze and psych rock acts including Black Market Karma, Mystic Braves, Holy Wave, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, My Bloody Valentine and others — although interestingly enough, Wagers’ current project can actually trace its origins back to when he turned 18 and the Berea, KY-born multi-instrumentalist relocated to Louisville, KY with his previous band, The Corridors. And while in Louisville, the members of the band developed a reputation for crafting eclectic rock before releasing their full-length debut. Unfortunately, after the release of their debut effort, the members of The Corridors received a cease and desist letter from a British record label claiming to represent a band with the same name. 

Perhaps as a result of the crushing legal issues he had faced paired with a desire to start a project that was in a completely different direction, Wagers started his solo project — with a specific atmosphere and sound that he’s dubbed “surfgaze.” As Wagers explains in press notes, “The songs I create through Nova Flares are supposed to be very cinematic and capture memories and feelings from situations I’d experienced in my childhood and adult life, but these songs are also meant to be left open ended so that the listener could have their own personal sensory experience as well.”

Wagers goes on to say that the project is a next step up musically, as he sees the project as a way to further develop his skills as a multi-instrumentalist, composer and songwriter. His Nova Flares debut Gut Splinter is slated for a March 9, 2018 release, and the album’s first single sonically meshes jangling, guitar rock and shimmering, hypnotic shoegaze, complete with a sweeping, cinematic quality. In fact, the recently released music video further emphasizes the song’s hypnotic vibes as it features Wagers playing several different instruments superimposed over footage of birds flying and clouds in different color negative treatments and so on.

New Video: The Trippy Visuals for Trummor & Orgel’s Trippy “Metropolis”

Since their formation, the Uppsala, Sweden-based sibling duo Trummor & Orgel, comprised of Anders Ljunggren (organ) and Staffan Ljunggreen (drums) have developed a reputation for being one of their homeland’s in-demand instrumental duos, as they’ve collaborated with The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ Ebbot Lundberg, Weeping Willows’ Magnus Carlson and Peter, Bjorn, and John’s Peter Moren among others. Adding to a growing profile, the duo have played hundreds of gigs across the European Union, and they’ve had their music featured on a number of TV shows and movies.

“Metropolis,” the first single off duo’s forthcoming album Indivisibility finds the duo driven by the desire to create something completely original within the limitations of their instrumental setup of drums and organ. In press notes, the duo acknowledge that creatively speaking, freedom and limitation are “two sides of the same coin; music can become incomprehensible without a frame, but without freedom, it becomes fixed. Or if you want to, Yin needs Yang for unity. This has been the leading principle when working with the new album, to find the balance between the organic and the electronic, the dynamic and predictable, now and then; the balance between man and machine.”

Sonically, “Metropolis” finds the duo taking on a cinematic and retro-futuristic sound while nodding at jazz, jazz fusion and funk — but within an arrangement that has the duo walking a tightrope between the immediacy and looseness of two guys jamming in the studio and the deliberate nature of playing a written composition without betraying either. And interestingly enough, the composition also manages to evoke the movements of crowds of humanity rushing to and fro in a busy city. 

The recently released video features this duo performing the song underneath a heavily graffitied up highway underpass, as well as footage of ghostly figures suddenly appearing across the screen and footage of everyday pedestrians walking about a decidedly European city — all of which emphasizes the duo’s trippy sound.

 

Despite going through a number of lineup changes throughout the years, the New York-based jazz outfit New York Electric Piano, currently comprised of founding members Pat Daughtery (piano) and Aaron Commes (drums), who’s best known for his work in the Spin Doctors, along with newest member Richard Hammond (bass), initially formed in 2003 as a piano jazz trio, based around the Fender Rhodes electric piano sound featuring founding members Daughtery, Comess and Tim Givens (bass). Interestingly, that collaboration can trace its origins back to when the founding trio met, playing in various bands in the NYC music scene during the 90s.

Their eponymous 2004 debut effort was critically applauded and was a commercial success, as it cracked the Top 20 of the CMJ Jazz Charts. 2005’s Citizen Zen and 2006’s Blues in Full Moon were also released to critical praise. And adding to a growing profile, the band began a long residency at the Cutting Room, which featured their tradition of inviting dancers on stage with them. However, by 2008, the band expanded into a sextet as they added Deanna Kirk (vocals), Till Behler (sax) and Leon Gruenbaum (keys), who’s best known as a member of Vernon Reid’s backing band — and as a sextet, they released the critically applauded King Mystery, which found the members of the then-sextet expanding upon their sound and approach with material that shifted between dance rock, jazz and wild freak outs.

By 2010, the band expanded once again as they added Teddy Kumpel (guitar), known as a member of Joe Jackson’s backing band and Erik Lawrence (sax), known as a member of the legendary Levon Helm‘s backing band. And as a nonet, New York Electric Piano began a long and very successful run at Zinc Bar, which they followed with arguably their most commercially successful effort to date, 2011’s double album Keys to the City, which spent a month in the Top 10 of CMJ’s Jazz Charts and received critical praise from the likes of PopMatters, Sea of TranquilityJazz Times, Drumhead and All About Jazz among others.

And although the band received quite a bit of commercial and critical success as a large ensemble, they reverted to the original format a trio — recruiting the aforementioned Hammond with whom they released Black Hole In One, an album which featured alternating instrumental compositions and vocal tracks. Unexpectedly, for the members of New York Electric Piano, the album received international attention, thanks in part to album single “Party On.” As the story goes, “Party On” was pushed by an Australian DJ, and eventually the New Zealand National Rugby Team, the All Blacks adopted the song as their theme song during their Rugby World Cup Championship run. Along with that, Lollapalooza artist Norton Wisdom did a live action painting to the song, and the video and song became the subject of a climate change conference at Penn State University. Adding to the unexpected attention on the album, album single “Who Wants to Know” features a verse about Crazy Horse. One of his descendants heard the song and sent it to family members, who were protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline — with the song becoming something of a rallying cry.

Recently, the members of the band have been playing monthly gigs at Rockwood Music Hall, and their extended, free-flowing jams were met with such tremendous audience approval that Aaron Comess immediately suggesting that they needed to try to capture the energy and vibe of their Rockwood shows on their next album — State of the Art, which is slated for a January 12, 2018 release through Fervor Records.

State of the Art‘s latest single “Road to Joy” is a loose and free-flowing jam that displays the trio’s uncanny simpatico, in which they all push and pull upon the other, teasing out ideas from one another, and much like the incredible Xylouris White, there’s a sense that the trio, musically speaking are dancing — with each member knowing exactly when to lead, follow. And although the composition begins with some stuttering discordance, the trio quickly finds a sustained, funky groove reminiscent of 70s era jazz fusion but with a contemporary touch.

 

 

 

 

Christopher Franzen is a Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, whose solo recording project Lights & Motion began back in 2012 during a frequent bout with insomnia — and during the extremely dark Scandinavian winters, Franzen took to restlessly sequestering himself in a studio, where he would spend his time writing and recording music as a way to help battle his condition, and as a much- needed emotional release.  Interestingly, since Franzen has started the project, he’s been remarkably prolific releasing four cinematic, indie rock-like efforts,  2013’s Save Your Heart and Reanimation, 2015’s Chronicle and 2017’s Dear Avalanche, as well as two albums as soundtrack composer, 2014’s Dreamweaver and 2017’s Phenomenon — all of which have further cemented the Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer’s reputation for crafting lush and cinematic material that balances a tightrope between melancholy and optimism.

In fact, Franzen’s latest effort Bloom, which be released through Deep Elm Records will continue in a similar sonic vein as its predecessors; however, thematically, the album focuses on rejuvenation and rebirth — and the album’s latest single “Vanilla Sky,” which prominently features twinkling piano keys, swirling synths, thundering drumming and power chords played through copious reverb around a soaring, arena rock-like hook that will remind some listeners of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, M83, Sigur Ros and others. And while the song evokes a pleasant breeze on a glorious Spring day; but just underneath, the song’s warm and ethereal air, is a bittersweet note, as though there’s the brief acknowledgement of life’s fleeting and impermanent nature.

 

 

Xavier Bacash is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based producer and electronic music artist, who writes and records with the moniker Sonny — and with “Some Velvet Morning,” the latest single off his recently released C.E. EP, Bacash’s sound features elements of retro-futuristic jazz fusion and slick electronica in a way that will likely remind some listeners of Floating Points, Bonobo and others, as the composition is a cinematic and elegantly lush soundscape featuring live, drumming from frequent collaborator Jim Rindfleish, a soaring string sample and subtly arpeggiated synths.

Unsurprisingly, the song is reportedly inspired by and evokes a breathtaking sunrise, just before a long trip out of the city and into the country.

 

 

 

 

New Video: Danish Electro Pop Duo Tan Returns with Dream-like Visuals for Their Chilly

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may come across a post featuring the Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo TAN. And as you may recall the duo comprised of Mathias Riss and Andreas Bengsten have had stints in several local post-punk and psych rock bands, which makes their collaborative project together a marked change in direction for them; in fact, their previous single “PANORAMA” found the duo leaning towards the chilly, retro-futuristic synth-based compositions of  John Carpenter, Umberto and countless others while subtly nodding at  early house music.

The Danish electro pop duo’s latest single “BARBARA” will further cement the duo’s reputation for crafting chilly, retro-futrustic synth compositions — in this case, the cinematic and radio friendly track is a bit more straightforward as it features shimmering, arpeggiated synths, propulsive drum programming and a soaring hook. And interestingly enough, the recently released video further emphasizes the single’s chilly and creepy vie, as it stars Danish drag queen PROXY, who the duo met when they saw her dancing during one of their sets. As the story goes, the duo realized that PROXY’S appearance is much more than just putting on a costume, and they wanted to capture that on film.

“In the video, PROXY gets a crush on a synth playing mannequin. Brought together by a mutual love of synthesizers, their attraction slowly grows to the point where it dissolves boundaries and norms into insatiable lust and attraction for each other. Love works in mysterious ways, and rather than trying to understand it, they just surrender and go with it.” As a result, the video possesses a swooning, dream-like logic.

With the release of his 2015 full-length debut Elaenia, London-based composer, producer and keyboardist Sam Shepherd and his solo recording project Floating Points quickly rose to international acclaim for a sound that effortlessly meshed 70s jazz fusion, free jazz and glitchy electronica in a way that simultaneously nodded at Return to Forever‘s Romantic Warrior and Bonobo’The North Borders. Shepherd followed that with the expansive, mind-altering yet accessible Kupier, featuring singles “Argente” and “Kupier,” which he performed live at KEXP last year.

Continuing a rather prolific period, Shepherd followed the release of Kupier with Reflections — Mojave Desert, a short film and soundtrack featuring a series of tracks recorded in (and inspired by) the Mojave Desert. His latest single is the sprawling, “Ratio,” a track that he’s developed  and refined as part of his solo, live electronic set at festivals he’s played around the world — and the end result is a slow-burning house music-inspired track that clocks in at a little under 19 minutes and features a production centered around glitchy and stuttering beats, pulsating synths and ethereal synths. And while arguably being one of his most patient compositions/productions, Shepherd’s latest effort reveals a patient, almost painterly quality as sounds are thoughtfully and gently layered upon one another.

The full track was officially released on all digital platforms and is also available on vinyl as a deconstructed mix with the A side featuring the track in two parts — the first nine minutes being identical to the digital version, followed solely by the organ section of the second half. The B side in contract will feature the beats, drum and baseline of the second half of the track in isolation. Releasing the track in such a fashion was deliberately done so that DJs could create their own mixes by bringing the song’s different elements together in whatever way fit their own style.

 

.