Tag: Kraftwerk The Man Machine

New Audio: Meridian Brothers’ Forward-Thinking and Adventurous Take on Cumbia

Eblis Alvarez is a Bogota, Colombia-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and creative mastermind behind the acclaimed and forward-thinking solo project Meridian Brothers. The act’s forthcoming album Cumbia Siglo XXI is slated for an August 21, 2020 release through Bongo Joe Records — and the album, which is the highly-anticipated follow-up to the act’s critically applauded (largely  acoustic) ¿Dónde estás María? furthers the act’s long-held reputation for relentlessly pushing their sound and approach in new and radical directions.

Inspired by Cumbia Siglo XX’s experimentation with traditional cumbia in the late ’70s and early ’80s, which led to a completely new form of the genre, Cumbia Siglo XXI sees the act employing a use of amultitude of guitars, synths, algorithmic software, vintage drum machines and other tech that Alvarez could get his hands on. Drawing a bit from Kraftwerk, the album reportedly is a sonic blend of EDM “sidechain” techniques and traditional cumbia.

“Puya del Empreasirio,” Cumbia Siglo XXI’s first single is centered around layers of fuzzy analog synths, off-kilter and propulsive rhythms, snatches of vocals is an hypnotic, infectious and completely left field take on cumbia that kind of sounds like The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk meets JOVM mainstay El Dusty — but with a mischievous sense of adventurousness. “Cumbia disintegrated into drum machines. AIs are fucking idiots, Puya rides the machine,” Alvarez says of the track. 

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Throwback: RIP Florian Schneider/Kraftwerk Forever!

Co-founded by Ralf Hütter and Florian Schneider in Düsseldorf in 1970, Kraftwerk initially began as part of West Germany’s krautfock for a handful of years before fully embracing electronic instrumentation. With the release of their seminal and commercially successful albums 1974’s Autobahn, 1977’s Trans Europe Express and 1978’s The Man Machine, the act honed and developed a self-described “robot pop” sound centered around hypnotic rhythms and minimalist arrangements. Copious amounts of ink have been spilled about Hütter, Schneider and company and their massive influence, including how the act has managed to influence a number of genres and styles of contemporary music including hip-hop, synth pop, post-punk, ambient, techno and EDM.

The fact that Kraftwerk isn’t in the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fame while Hall & Oates is, is criminally stupid and shows how bankrupt the thing is in the first place. So fuck you, Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall of Fane. 

Personally, Kraftwerk has been the soundtrack during my two trips to Europe. The first flight I ever took was a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt-am-Main — and on that long flight, I played their Minimum Maximum album on my iPod and while on commuter train rides between Frankfurt and my hotel in Bad Soden. Trans Europe Express was the soundtrack of my trip to The Netherlands. And oddly enough, over the past year I’ve been madly obsessed with the Tour De France album. 

Today has been a weird day emotionally. My mom had to have a hysterectomy as part of a course of treatment for uterine cancer. Because of COVID-19, I couldn’t stay at Mount Sinai with her, which had me feeling a deep and unrelenting sense of anguish.  I kept thinking of the fact that she was alone in that hospital. Thankfully, the procedure went well and she’s back home now. Before I picked her up, I learned that Kraftwerk’s co-founder Florian Schneider died after a brief battle with cancer. So I’m also a bit heartbroken. But i wanted to pay homage to Florian and his work; work that has meant quite a bit to me over the years. I stumbled across live footage of the band from the Minimum Maximum. Kraftwerk forever! Florian Schneider forever! 

New Video: Austin’s Memory Keepers Release a Lysergic Trance-Inducing Video

Late last year, I wrote about Memory Keepers, the Austin, TX-based electro-punk side project of The Sour Notes’ Jared Boulanger and Amarah Ulghani. And as you may recall, the duo released a propulsive synth and vocoder-based cover of Brian Eno’s “Uncle Third” that retained the original’s motorik groove while nodding at The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk. 

Building upon the attention they received from their Brian Eno cover, the duo released the “Faint Ink”/”Found Sound” 7 inch earlier this year. The 7 inch’s A-side single “Faint Ink” is centered around a trance-like motorik groove, layers of buzzing and arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, vocoder-fed vocals and an enormous hook– and while further establishing the duo’s retro-futuristic sound, the expansive single manages to simultaneously be lysergic and rousingly anthemic. 

Further emphasizing the song’s trippy, trance-inducing vibes, the recently released video features an analog, mixed media visual by Austin-based mixed media visual artist Sydney Quezada, a.k.a. Astral Violet. “They’ve worked with artists like MBV, Roky Erickson, King Gizzard and more. Astral Violet’s stunning visual projections found them on some of the best bills in town as soon as they moved here, which is how we came to meet them,” the duo’s Jared Boulanger says in press notes. “After they projected their light show on us at a few Memory Keepers gigs, we thought their trippy, visual experience would be the perfect backdrop to our new lyric video ‘Faint Ink.’ It feels good to be completely absorbed in their light, while performing on stage…I could honestly watch their visuals for hours, sync’d to many types of music and be totally lost in space.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release a Strutting and Shimmering Retro-Futuristic Boogie Blues

Over the course of 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) released five albums — with each album consisting of material in a wildly different genre and style from the other, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly prolific. Flying Microtonal Banana and The Murder of the Universe, two albums released within that incredibly prolific run found the acclaimed Australian act pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions. 

For a band that has been as productive as the Melbourne-based JOVM mainstays, not having much in the way of new music last year seems extremely odd but they were busy with several other things — including: a relentless tour schedule that featured a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic.

The band’s fourteenth album, Fishing for Fishies is slated for an April 26, 2019 release through their own Flightless Records, and the album reportedly finds the band creating a sonic world in which the organic meets the automated; where the rustic meets the robotic; where the past and future collide in the beautiful present, as the material is essentially boogie blues that struts, shimmies and stomps through several different moods and terrains. “We tried to make a blues record,” says frontman Stu Mackenzie. “A blues-boogie-shuffle-kinda-thing, but the songs kept fighting it – or maybe it was us fighting them. Ultimately though we let the songs guide us this time; we let them have their own personalities and forge their own path. Paths of light, paths of darkness. This is a collection of songs that went on wild journeys of transformation.”

“I didn’t really know who I was by the end of 2017,” Mackenzie continues in press notes, about the band’s incredibly prolific 2017. “It was a good kind of spent feeling though, as I like being busy. For most of the holiday period I was in the studio doing the last of the recording and mixing on Gumboot Soup. And as soon as it clicked over to 2018 I stopped worrying about recording for a while and started living instead.” 

Written primarily on piano, the material on Fishing for Fishies is reportedly centered around recurring musical motifs — piano, mellotron and synth flourishes, paired with vocals drenched in vocoder, and a plethora of creative U-turns. Now, as you may recall, the album’s first single, “Cyboogie” found the band pushing their sound in a completely new direction, with five of its seven members playing synths in a funky and strutting disco boogie with heavily vocoder’ed vocals that brought From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and DEVO to mind while actually being about a dancing cyborg from the future.  Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Boogieman Sam” is a retro-futuristic take on boogie blues that’s one part Marc Bolan and T. Rex, one part John Lee Hooker, one part prog rock freakout that struts and shimmies. 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard Release a Wild Disco Synth Boogie Track

Over the course of an incredibly prolific 2017, the Melbourne, Australia-based psych rock septet and JOVM mainstays King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, comprised of Stu Mackenzie (vocals, guitar, and flute), Ambrose Kenny Smith (synths, harmonica), Cook Craig (guitar), Joey Walker (guitar), Lucas Skinner (bass), Eric Moore (drums) and Michael Cavanagh (drums) released an incredibly prolific five albums — with each album consisting of material in a wildly different genre and style from the other, further cementing the band’s reputation for being restlessly experimental. In fact, some of their earliest output found the band blending elements of 60s surf rock, beach, rock, garage rock and psych rock with later albums being blends of film scores, prog rock, folk and soul — although two albums Flying Microtonal Banana and The Murder of the Universe found the acclaimed Australian act pushing their thematic concerns and sound in new, and darkly trippy directions.

Now, for a band that’s been as wildly prolific as King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, not having much in the way of new music during 2018 is a bit strange; but the band was busy relentlessly touring, including a headlining set at Desert Daze and three sold out-dates at Brooklyn Steel, the largest venue they’ve played in the States to date. Additionally, the band re-issued their first five albums on vinyl for the first time ever, and it created such a frenzied demand that the Flightless Records website crashed from the traffic. 

The first bit of new material from the Aussie JOVM mainstays, “Cyboogie” finds the band stepping in a wild new direction with five of its seven members playing synths in a funky and strutting disco boogie woogie paired with heavily vocoder’ed vocals that brings From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and DEVO to mind, as the song is actually about a dancing cyborg from the future — viewed with a decidedly retro-futuristic and prog rock-leaning. ” 

“Cyboogie,” is accompanied by a visual from longtime collaborator Jason Galea shot in a grainy VHS that has the band’s Mackenzie as a half-man, half-synthesizer who essentially plays himself (no pun intended here), along with the bandmembers. The visuals seem to undulate and pulsate with the synths, which is a wildly hypnotic and hallucinogenic effect. By the way, “Cyboogie” will be released on a limited-edition 7″ inch along with another new track “Arcane.” 

Memory Keepers is the Austin, TX-based electro-punk side project of The Sour Notes‘ Jared Boulanger and Amarah Ulghani.  The duo’s latest single is a propulsive, synth and vocoder-led cover of Brian Eno‘s “Uncle Third” that retains the original’s motorik groove — and in many ways, the original feels like pre-Autobahn-era Kraftwerk while the Memory Keepers cover feels like The Man-Machine

 

 

New Video: Renowned French Electronic Act KCPK Releases a Cinematic and Surreal Video Focusing on the Tumult of Early Adulthood

KCPK is a French production and electronic music trio comprised of Alexandre Brovelli, Fabrice Brovelli and Christophe Caurret, best known as pioneers of the Rémoise electronic music scene with the likes of  Yuksek, Brodinski and The Shoes; for creating PANIK, a club night known for hosting Groove Armada, Laurent Garnier and Amon Tobin; for collaborating with Woodkid, The Chemical Brothers and Two Door Cinema Club; and lastly for their work in advertising as creative directors of renowned firm BETC. And if you were frequenting this site last year, you’d recall that “Who Wants It,” their collaboration with Philadelphia, PA-based emcee STS managed to bridge enormous, festival friendly, tweeter and woofer rocking house music with swaggering, braggadocio-fueled trap-like hip-hop in a way that felt mischievous and fresh. 
Along with that, the Nicolas Davenel-produced video was featured on The Creator’s Project, was nominated for Best International Urban Video at the UK Music Video Awards and was featured as the racing for Louis De Caunes’ video for Yves Saint Laurent’s Black Opium digital campaign. 

The French trio’s latest single “The End” is a propulsive and dare I say, arguably the most sensual and dance floor friendly songs they’ve released to date as it features razor sharp arpeggiated synths, a rousingly anthemic hook and breathily cooed vocals — and interestingly enough, the song and its production sounds as though it owes a debt to Giorgio Moroder, The Man Machine-era Kraftwerk and Daft Punk but with a hyper modern touch. 

Directed by Luc Besson’s former Steadicam operator Andrieu and Director of Photography, Nicolas Loir, who has worked with Woodkid, Ghostpoet and Snoop Dogg, the recently released video for “The End” is a cinematically shot one, that focuses on the tumultuous psyche of a teenaged girl as she struggles with a dysfunctional relationship with her mother and an unreciprocated romantic obsession, capturing the uneasy yet profound transition towards adulthood. Interestingly, the  video pays homage to several 90s coming of age movies through its use of props, fashion design and art direction — with live action footage meshed with visual effects by David Danesi. As the video’s director explains in press notes. “It’s a coming of age snapshot. At this stage, the rules get rewritten. Your eyes open to what lies beyond family and school. It is the first time you’re seeing yourself in the world, but emotional reactions overwhelm your ability to understand and cope. This is the end of innocence.”

New Video: LCD Soundsystem Returns with Their Most Dance Floor Friendly Track in Several Years

Founded by frontman, multi-instrumentalist, producer, DJ and DFA Records co-founder James Murphy in 2002, Brooklyn-based indie rock/electro rock/dance punk act LCD Soundsystem along with acts like  The Rapture, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bloc Party, Radio 4,  Liars and a few others, are considered pioneers of a dance punk renaissance that saw its height at the early part of this century; but among that group LCD Soundsystem set themselves apart as one of the more commercially and critically successful acts of their era — 2005’s eponymous full-length debut, which featured their most successful single “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House” was nominated by a Grammy for Best Dance Recording with the album also being nominated for a Grammy Best Electronic/Best Dance Album. With a growing national and international profile, Nike commissioned Murphy and company to write and record a workout-inspired, workout-friendly album — 45:33 — as part of the Nike+ Original Run series. The members of LCD Soundsystem followed that up with 2007’s critically acclaimed Sound of Silver, which was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Electronic/Dance Album.  2010’s This Is Happening managed to be the act’s most commercially successful, as it was their first Top 10 album in the States; however, by the following year, the band announced it was breaking up and was celebrating a wildly successful run together with a series of farewell shows at Madison Square Garden and Terminal 5, with the events surrounding their final show together, chronicled in the documentary Shut Up and Play the Hits, and a live album, 2014’s The Long Goodbye, which Murphy painstakingly mastered. 

After LCD Soundsystem broke up, the members of the band went on to pursue a number of creative and business pursuits — Nancy Whang released solo material and DJ’ed; Tyler Pope spent a stint in the touring band of !!!,; Gavin Russom has released solo material under the moniker Black Meteoric Star, collaborated with Viva Ruiz in The Crystal Ark and recently came out as transgender and transitioning; David Scott Stone has collaborated with Melvins, Unwound, Jello Biafra, Mike Patton, No Age, and others; Jerry Fuchs went on with stints in The Juan MacLean, !!!, Maserati and MSTRKRFT; and Murphy arguably being the busiest of the band as he not only continued his production and sound engineering work, working with Arcade Fire during the Reflector sessions, he was in 2014 commissioned by the US Open to create a special set of remixes based on the actual sounds and events of the tournament’s matches. Along with that he remixed David Bowie‘s “Love Is Lost,” for an expanded edition of the legendary artist’s The Next Day and was known to occasionally DJ, including famously DJing to close out DFA Records’ 12th Anniversary Party at Grand Prospect Hall. He also participated in Canon’s Project Imaginat10n, a film project in which the folks at Canon invited 5 different celebrities to direct short films based on pictures uploaded by photographers and other creatives around the world to a special website, with the result being his directorial debut “Little Duck,” set in Japan. And in other non-musical pursuits, with the assistance of Blue Bottle Coffee founder James Freeman, Murphy released his own blend of espresso, and then he opened a critically applauded restaurant in Williamsburg, which he personally designed and chose the menu. And although Murphy had publicly stated that LCD Soundsystem’s breakup allowed him the time and ability to pursue an array of projects, he wasn’t able to do before, he also missed being in a band and creating music. 

Interestingly, in light of those comments, towards the end of 2015, there were rumblings across the blogosphere that Murphy and several members of the band were considering a series of reunion shows for the major festival circuit — and naturally, those rumors exploded upon the release of Christmas Will Break Your Heart,” which the band released on Christmas of that year, marking a big Christmas surprise for fans, who had been clamoring for new material and/or the possibility of a reunion for the better part of 5 years. Naturally, with the release of the single, Murphy and company confirmed that a reunion tour with appearances at several major festivals, a residency to  The Bowery Presents‘ newest venue, Brooklyn Steel and a new album, American Dream, which is slated for a September 1, 2017 release through Columbia Records/DFA Records. 

As my colleagues mentioned, their early Brooklyn Steel sets featured material, which would appear on their new album, including the atmospheric, “Call The Police,” which features Murphy’s archly ironic lyrics and manages to sound like a mesh of the sound of This Is Happening and their incredible cover of Harry Nilsson‘s “Jump Into The Fire” and “American Dream,” a slow-burning track featuring shimmering synths but subtly nods at “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” thanks in part to Murphy’s dramatic crooning, 

“tonite,” the third single off the soon-to-be-released album is arguably one of the more dance floor friendly singles they’ve released to date as it features an unrelenting and propulsive beat paired with wobbling, house music-like bass synth and twinkling keys, and Murphy’s ironic observations on the state of contemporary music, human relationships in the age of constant connectivity and his own random musings. And interestingly enough, despite the 5 years apart, the band manages to sound as though they haven’t missed a beat; in fact, it sounds as though it were the song and the album that they would have made regardless of breaking up — all while subtly nodding at Man Machine-era Kraftwerk. 

Directed by Joel Kefall, the recently released video for “tonite” features a handful of members performing the song, while others look cooly detached, reading or staring into space on a spinning stage, lit by explosively bursts of concert lighting. And the entire time, the band’s frontman sings with a tape recorder strapped to him. 

New Video: The Psychedelic-Tinged Visuals for DBFC’s Anthemic and Urgent Track “The Ride”

Over the past 15-18 months or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Paris-based electronic music and production duo DBFC. Now as you may recall, the duo, comprised of Manchester, UK-born, Paris-based David Shaw and Paris-born and-based Dombrance, the duo emerged onto the French electronic music scene with the release of a handful of singles during 2015-2017 through renowned indie label Her Majesty’s Ship Records — including “Autonomic,”a track that channelled  Kraftwerk’s “The Man Machine,” and  Primal Scream‘s “Autobahn 66” — but with a trippy, hallucinogenic vibe.

Along with that, you’d also likely remember that the duo, building upon a growing national and international profile through that same batch of early singles,  released their full-length debut Jenks earlier this year through Different Recordings/[PIAS] Recordings. Unsurprisingly, the album’s last two singles, “Sinner” and album title track “Jenks” further cemented the duo’s reputation for pairing slick, dance floor-friendly electronic production with live, organic instrumentation in a way that nods at the classic Manchester sound of Primal Scream, New Order and others but while possessing a larger, universal theme — that sweaty clubs, strobe light and a propulsive grove can indeed change your life for the better. 

Jenks’ latest single “The Ride” finds the band meshing the classic Manchester sound of singles like “Jenks” and “Sinner” with the tight motorik grooves of Kraftwerk and others; in fact, when I first heard “The Ride,” I immediately thought of Primal Scream’s “Autobahn 66” and The Chemical Brothers’ “Star Sitar” — but underneath the slick, dance floor friendly sound is a song, much like its predecessors, that comes from a series of extensive jam sessions, and as a result, it possesses a loose yet immediate “you were there in the studio” vibe. Of course, along with that the single echoes many of the themes on the album — in this case, a swooning romantic and unbridled sense of possibility, making it one of the more upbeat songs the duo has ever released.

The recently released visuals for “The Ride” employs a relatively simple concept — the members of DBFC performing the song in a small rehearsal room with their instruments and their electronic gear in front of a wild and dizzying array of colored strobe light, extreme close ups of the musicians performing their hearts out, and rapid fire cuts. And while capturing the immediacy of the song, the video’s directors MDS-HMS employ the colored lights to create a strong visual identity — “visualised here as a rainbow tornado.” 

New Video: Pattern Language Returns with Retro-futuristic Visuals for Kraftwerk and John Carpenter-Inspired New Single “Le Choc des Etoiles”

Last month, I wrote about the Boulder, CO-based multi-instrumenalist Chris Frain. And although he’s arguably best known as a keyboardist in indie pop act The Giranimals and the bassist in power prog rcock trio Tanuki, Frain can […]