Tag: John Carpenter

Interview: A Q&A with Detroit’s Phaserland

JOVM chats with Detroit-based emerging synth pop artist Phaserland about his new single “Flip The Switch” and its accompanying video.

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New Audio: Magic Sword Releases an Epic Funky New Single off Their Soon-to-Be Released Sophomore EP

Magic Sword is a multimedia project heavily indebted to 70s and 80s fantasy and sci-fi: featuring three masked and cloaked members, only known as The Keeper, The Seer and The Weaver, who are also collectively known as The Three Immortals. Their ageless story of their role in the battle between good and evil is told through graphic novels and occasionally online by a character known as The Harbinger. Magic Sword’s musical output is the soundtrack to their graphic novel — and unsurprisingly, their debut EP Legend was the first chapter of The Three Immortals quest to find the chosen one. 

Slated for release this Friday through Joyful Noise Recordings, Awakening EP is the highly-awaited follow up to Legend. As the second chapter, the material continues the ongoing story of The Three Immortals’ quest to find the chosen one, the only one who has the ability to wield the power of the Magic Sword and defeat the Dark One. Now, earlier this year I wrote about the EP’s first single, the epic retro-futuristic John Carpenter-inspired soundtrack meets 1984-era Van Halen-like title track “Awakening.” The EP’s latest single “Lady of Light” may be the funkiest track on the EP, as it’s centered around a funky and strutting bass line, layers of shimmering synth arpeggios, reminiscent of Daft Punk — and much like its immediate predecessor, the track finds the act balancing slick production with a decidedly retro-futuristic soundtrack vibe. 

New Audio: Electronic Music Pioneer Patrick Cowley’s Posthumously Released, Early Experimental and Psychedelic-Tinged Electronica

Born in Buffalo, NY, the highly influential and forward-thinking electronic music producer and artist Patrick Cowley relocated to San Francisco in 1971 to study electronic music at the City College of San Francisco. By the late 70s, Cowley’s synthesizer and production techniques landed him a gig writing and producing songs for legendary, gender-bending disco superstar Sylvester, including the sultry and propulsive, smash hit “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” 

Around the same time, Cowley managed to create his own brand of party music, known as Hi-NRG, which was also dubbed “The San Francisco Sound” and by 1981, he had released a string of 12″ singles as a solo artist, including “Menergy” and “Megatron Man.” Interestingly, 1981 was an incredibly busy year for the legendary electronic music producer and artist: he co-founded Megatone Records, which released his debut album Megatron Man. 

During that same year, Cowley as hospitalized and diagnosed with an unknown illness. which would later become known as AIDS. Recovering for a brief spell he went on to produce Sylvester’s smash hit “Do You Want to Funk” and Paul Parker’s “Right on Target,” as well as his sophomore album Mind Warp. Tragically. Cowley died two weeks after his 32nd birthday from an AIDS-related illness.  Since his death, Patrick Cowley has become one of electronic music’s most influential and forward-thinking artists and producers.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, his previously released work has seen posthumous re-issues, including a re-issue of Mind Warp a few years ago. 

With growing attention on the late electronic music pioneer’s work, a collection of previously unreleased material written between 1973-1980 was recently discovered. Dubbed Mechanical Fantasy Box, the 13 previous unreleased songs will be released in tandem with Cowley’s homoerotic journal of the same name, and the compilation is a collection of Cowley’s work from the years preceding his meteoric rise as a pioneer of Hi-NRG dance music. Interestingly, these songs were written and recorded  before drum machines and programmable, polyphonic digital synthesis with the material being highly experimental. Sonically, the material flows from funk to kraut to psychedelic, ambient electronics inspired by Tomita and Kraftwerk. 

Some songs were mixed from 4-track stems by Joe Tarantino and all of the compilation’s 13 songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl edition comes housed in a black and white gatefold jacket Gwenaël Rattke featuring a photograph by Susan Middleton, liner notes by bandmate Maurice Tani and an 8.5×11 insert with notes. But more important, proceeds from the compilation will be donated to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation has been committed to ending the pandemic and human suffering caused by HIV sine 1982. 

Clocking in at just a smidge under 11:30, Mechanical Fantasy Box’s first single “Lumberjacks in Heat” manages to be a trippy synthesis of John Carpenter soundtracks krautrock-inspired prog rock and psychedelia as the composition is centered by layers of shimmering and fluttering bursts of synths and some propulsive and forceful drumming.   Interestingly, much like Kraftwerk’s legendary and influential work, this previously unreleased single manages to simultaneously be of its time and remarkably contemporary — as though it could have been part of the retro-futuristic wave. 

Reindeer Flotilla is a Los Angeles-based electro pop act comprised of Neal Harris (vocals, keys) and Josh Brown (guitar). The duo started jamming together in the basement of an Atwater Village wine store, playing covers of John Carpenter, Brian Eno and Elliot Smith, which helped them develop their own sound centered around synths and guitar.

The Los Angeles duo’s latest single is an eerily straightforward cover of Radiohead‘s “Lucky,” that’s a bit more atmospheric and shimmering than the original — but while retaining the original’s soaring and yearning quality.

 

New Audio: Magic Sword Releases an Expansive Retro-Futuristic Single

Centered around an ever-expanding graphic novel story and accompanying synth-led soundtrack albums, Magic Sword is a multimedia project heavily indebted to 70s and 80s fantasy and sci-fi: featuring three masked and cloaked members, only known as The Keeper, The Seer and The Weaver, also referred to as The Three Immortals, their ageless story of their role in the battle between good and evil is told through graphic novels and occasionally online by The Harbinger. 

Awakening, the follow up to the Legend EP is the second chapter in their tale of the search for the chosen one. In the story, the prophesied being is the only one who has the ability to wield the power of the Magic Sword and defeat the Dark One. Until The Chosen One reveals themself, The Three Immortals cannot rest. Naturally, the EP’s first single is  the appropriately epic and cinematic, EP title track “Awakening.” Centered around layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats, the song stars off as a sort retro-futuristic John Carpenter-inspired soundtrack meets 1984-era Van Halen intro — but closes with a funky, Random Access Memories-era Daft Punk-like coda. It’s decidedly slick while sounding as though it were part the soundtrack of that movie you thought you might have seen back in 1986. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Prettiest Eyes Pay Homage to John Carpenter in Visual for “Mr. President”

Over the past few years, I’ve written a bit about the Los Angeles-based synth punk act Prettiest Eyes, and as you may recall the act which is comprised of San Juan, Puerto Rico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based founding members Pachy Garcia (drums, vocals), and Marcos Rodriguez (bass, vocals) along with Ciudad Juarez, Mexico-born, Los Angeles, CA-based Paco Casanova (keys, synths vocals) can trace their origins back to San Juan, where the band’s founding members played in a number of local bands before relocating to Los Angeles to seriously pursue music. Casanova independently relocated to Los Angeles and joined the band to complete its lineup. And with the release of a couple of EPs and their first two albums,  2015’s Looks and last year’s Pools, the Los Angeles-based JOVM mainstays firmly established a reputation for crafting sleazy and primal synth punk that throbs with a muscular insistence.  

The band’s third full-length album, the aptly titled Vol. 3 was released earlier this year through Castle Face Records, and album single “Nekrodisco” was a off-center, post apocalyptic ripper, seemingly inspired by Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are DEVO!-era DEVO. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Mr. President” is a minimalist track centered around howled mantra-like lyrics, industrial clang and clatter and a relentless motorik groove that seethes with uncertainty and menace. 

Directed and edited by Andrew Frescas, the recently released video further emphasizes the song’s murkiness and menace — and interestingly enough, finds the video’s director and the band collaborating to pay homage to John Carpenter’s They Live!

Known as a member of highly-heralded, boundary pushing electronic act Sandwell District and the head of underground electronic music label Jealous God, Juan Mendez is an renowned Los Angeles-based electronic music producer, DJ and art director, known for aggressively pushing techno’s sound and aesthetic forward at least twice in his career, with his solo recording project Silent Servant; in fact, Mendez’s solo debut Negative Fascination is largely considered a game-changing modern classic.

Mendez’s sophomore Silent Servant soon-to-be released effort Shadows of Death and Desire reportedly finds Mendez’s song evolving towards a much more raw, abrasive and aggressive sound. In fact, album single “Damage” walked a tightrope between the chilly atmospherics of John Carpenter soundtracks and the tense, harrowing, industrial clang and clatter of Blanck Mass, as the track is centered around layers of arpeggiated synths and thumping beats, but while being dance floor friendly.

Slated for a December 7, 2018 release through Hospital Productions, Mendez’s Silent Servant forthcoming sophomore effort Shadows of Death and Desire reportedly finds Mendez’s sound evolving towards a much more raw, aggressive and abrasive sound; in fact, album single “Damage” walks a careful tightrope between the chilly atmospherics of John Carpenter soundtracks and the tense, harrowing, industrial clang and clatter of Blanck Mass. Interestingly, Shadows‘ latest single, cinematic “Loss Response” continues in a similar vein as its predecessor as the song is centered around an ethereal and atmospheric production consisting of shimmering and undulating synths, propulsive, tribal-like beats. And while moody and provocative, the track manages to nod at a bit at goth and industrial house

Perhaps best known as a member of heralded electronic act Sandwell District and the head of underground electronic music label Jealous God, Juan Mendez is an renowned Los Angeles-based electronic music producer, DJ and art director, known for aggressively pushing techno’s sound and aesthetic forward at least twice in his career, with his solo recording project Silent Servant; in fact, Mendez’s solo debut Negative Fascination is largely considered a game-changing modern classic.

Slated for a December 7, 2018 release through Hospital Productions, Mendez’s Silent Servant forthcoming sophomore effort Shadows of Death and Desire reportedly finds Mendez’s sound evolving towards a much more raw, aggressive and abrasive sound; in fact, album single “Damage” walks a careful tightrope between the chilly atmospherics of John Carpenter soundtracks and the tense, harrowing, industrial clang and clatter of Blanck Mass, as the track is centered around layers of arpeggiated synths and thumping beats, but while being dance floor friendly.