Tag: Olga Bell

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Explore Reconciling One’s Sense of Self with Intimacy in New Single

Over the past handful of years of this site’s almost nine-year history, I’ve written quite a bit about the critically acclaimed indie pop act Pavo Pavo. And as you may recall, the band, which derives […]

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Release Cinematic and Feverish Visuals for Achingly Gorgeous New Album Single

Over the past couple of years of this site’s eight-plus year history, I’ve written a bit about the Brooklyn-based indie pop act Pavo Pavo, and as you may recall the band, which derives its name from the southern constellation Pavo (Latin for “peacock”) can trace its origins back to when its founding trio Eliza Bagg (vocals, violin and synths), Oliver Hill (vocals, guitar, synths) and Ian Romer (bass) met while studying at Yale University. And since their formation back in 2015, individual members of the band have collaborated with the likes of  Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others while the band has received attention both from this site and elsewhere for a retro-futuristic sound that draws from 60s psych pop, synth pop, prog rock and New Age.

Since the release of the band’s critically applauded debut album Young Narrator in the Breakers, the band has gone through a series of massive lineup changes as the band has become centered around two of its founding members — Oliver Hill and Eliza Bagg. Interestingly, much like Rubblebucket’s latest album, Pavo Pavo’s forthcoming (and long-awaited) sophomore album Mystery Hour is thematically and narratievly focused around the breakup of the duo’s six-year romantic relationship and the changing of their relationship; in fact, the album and its creative process began as a way for Hill and Bagg to process their breakup and what it meant both for them and the band — and in some way, it also became a feedback loop, influencing their separation and the new roles they would have in each other’s lives. And as result, the album manages to be a cinematic yet intimate mediation on relationships from different angles — but primarily on messy, incomplete endings between equally messy and incomplete people. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the album’s first official single, album title track “Mystery Hour” is an incredibly tight yet swooning pop song that recalls Sgt. Pepper-era Beatles, as its driven by a gorgeous orchestral arrangement, a soaring background choir arrangement, strummed acoustic guitar, and the duo’s haunting harmonies before a celestial fadeout; but the song is an acutely bittersweet and aching lament centered around the line “I realize love is to see every side of you/but mon cheri, I’m designed to be unsatisfied.” It’s a painfully sad reminder that eventually all things end — and we’re left to figure out some way to pick up the broken pieces and move forward. 

Directed by Harrison Atkins, the video is a vibrant and gauzy fever dream full of joy, ache, longing and regret in the wild and confusingly ambivalent mix that life throws at us. As Pavo Pavo’s Oliver Hill explains of the video’s treatment: “Our new record was written after Eliza and I were separating after a six–year relationship. For the title track, we wanted to make a video that introduced us as two characters meditating on relationships from all angles, while matching the romantic melodrama of the orchestra and choir with lots of cinematic action and narrative. John, the 7–foot protagonist of the video, is an angel of love and sex, and serves as a superhuman mascot for the record – he represents the search for intimacy and connection. The human heart tattoo on his neck is the core of his power, and within the tattoo lives us, Pavo Pavo, casting spells and guiding his movements as he makes out with everyone in sight.”

Mystery Hour is slated for a January 25, 2019 release through [PIAS] Recordings. 

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 Audio: Rafiq Bhatia’s Atmospheric and Soulful New Single

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: JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Return with Hazy and Dreamy Visuals for “No Mind”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 12-18 months or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based experimental pop/psych pop act  Pavo Pavo. Deriving their name from the name of southern constellation Pavo, which is Latin for peacock, the members of the band Eliza Bagg (violin, synths, vocals), Oliver Hill (guitar, synths and vocals). Nolan Green (guitar, vocals), Austin Vaughn (drums) and Ian Romer (bass) can trace its origins to when the members of the quintet were studying at Yale University. And since their formation, individual members of the band  have collaborated with the likes of a number of renowned and accomplished bands including Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others. Now, as you may recall their “Ran Ran Run”/”Annie Hall” 7 inch was praised by a number of media outlets and blogs, including Stereogum, who praised their sound as being “weightless pop music that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” Although, I’d mention that while clearly nodding at 60s psych pop and 80s New Age, just underneath the glimmering surface, there’s a subtle hint at unease, anxiety, rot and dysfunction. 
The band’s full-length debut Young Narrator in the Breakers was released last year through Bella Union Records and according to the members of Pavo Pavo, the material thematically describes both the magic and panic of adult life, with the understanding that much like getting caught in a vicious breaker while swimming at the beach, you have to stop fighting and ride it out until you can get to shore safely. And unsurprisingly, the album was met with critical applause with Pitchfork describing the album as “a lovelorn alien reaching out from the farthest reaches of the galaxy” and The Guardian describing the album to “Brian Wilson running amok in the BBC radiophonic workshop.” 

“No Mind,” Young Narrator in the Breakers’ latest single is a deceptively straightforward track. Although it hews very close to hazy 60s psych pop, the song is a swooningly wistful and lovelorn song that seems much more bittersweet than their previous releases while retaining their incredibly crafted sound centered on Bagg’s and Hill’s gorgeous boy/girl harmonizing, soaring, vintage analog synths and sharp hooks. “No Mind” may arguably be the most human of their tracks, as there’s a real ache over 

Directed by the band’s longtime friend Jon Appel, the video started as a concept devised by the band’s Eliza Bagg. Bagg’s concept began as a take on the prototypical performance-based music video; but featuring an abstract narrative and dance choreography. Reportedly, she pictured a bleak, digital space with her own character being a sort of rebellious siren of truth, dancing and singing songs of real connection while the rest of her band grew increasingly complacent and robotic within the video’s highly artificial and colorful confines. Appel guided Bagg and her bandmates through the process of adapting and bringing her ideas to life — and as a result, the video builds off the characters of the other videos off Young Narrator, an amalgamation with Bagg returning to the sunshine on a white cloud chrysalis. And while being a hazy, almost lysergic-tinged dream, the video possesses a tender and surreal beauty. 

Live Footage: Pavo Pavo and Friends Pay Tribute to Manhattan Inn with a cover of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based experimental/psych pop act Pavo Pavo. Deriving their name from the name of the southern constellation Pavo — Latin for peacock —the members of the band Eliza Bagg (violin, synths, vocals), Oliver Hill (guitar, synths and vocals). Nolan Green (guitar, vocals), Austin Vaughn (drums) and Ian Romer (bass) can trace its origins to when the members of the quintet were studying while at Yale University, and since then individual members have collaborated with the likes of Here We Go Magic, John Zorn, Dave Longstreth, Porches, Olga Bell, Lucius, Roomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others. Adding to a growing profile, their “Ran Ran Run”/”Annie Hall” 7 inch was praised by a number of media outlets and blogs, including Stereogum as being “weightless pop music that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” And while nodding at 60s psych pop and 80s New Age, just underneath the glimmering surface there’s a hint at unease, anxiety, rot and dysfunction.

Released during the last few months of 2016, the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Young Narrator in the Breakers was released to critical praise across the blogosphere for material that thematically speaking — according to the members of the band — described both magic and panic of adult life. Conveying the understanding that much like getting caught in a vicious breaker, the swimmer has to stop swimming and fighting against the tide; that on a certain level, they have to go along and ride it out while sonically speaking album singles like “Ruby (Let’s Buy The Bike),” “Ran Ran Run” and “Annie Hall,” real a band that specializes in dreamy, minimalist and escapist synth-based pop that manages to be simultaneously retro-futuristic and utopian; but just under the surface, there’s a sense of anxiety and rot.

Interestingly, when the members of Pavo Pavo — which also includes members of the Swimmers art collective — heard that the renowned Greenpoint, Brooklyn venue Manhattan Inn was closing, they all decide that they should call up a bunch of musician friends and film a video at the last minute to commemorate and celebrate the space, as the space had a special connection for the band and for countless numbers of musicians across Brooklyn. As the band said to the folks at Brooklyn Vegan “Manhattan Inn was a rare place, a place where bands felt free to step out of their routine of Playing-The-Set-In-Rock-Clubs.” The members of the band went on to describe seeing some incredible, once in a lifetime/only in New York live music; but more important, that the venue was where they played their first New York area live show, where they met their manager, where they played an impromptu night of Bowie covers, upon learning of his death — and where they collaborated with a ton of musicians across Brooklyn. They go on to explain that All Things Must Pass is one of their favorite albums and that “Wah Wah” seems to suit the collective, experimental and joyous atmosphere of Manhattan Inn.

The end result was 24 musicians, including members of Lucius, Delicate Steve, San Fermin, Alpenglow, Uni Ika Ai, Wilder Maker, Antibalas, Underground System and others performing a straightforward yet gorgeous cover of George Harrison’s “Wah Wah,” off his critically and commercially successful All Things Must Pass.

New Video: New JOVM Mainstays Pavo Pavo Release a Surreal and Old-Timey Video for “Ruby (Let’s Buy the Bike)”

Now, as you may recall the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Young Narrator in the Breakers was released last month through Bella Union Records and thematically, the material according to the members of the band describes both the magic and panic of adult life — with the understanding that much like a getting caught in a vicious breaker, you have to stop fighting and ride it out until you can get to shore safely. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Ruby (Let’s Buy The Bike)” consists of gorgeous falsetto boy/girl harmonies, a strummed and slightly ragged guitar-led melody, off-kilter percussion and soaring synths. And the result is a gorgeous and trippy acceptance of time’s passing and a swooning love song to a beautiful motorcycle named Ruby. Part of the song involves the hopes and plans the narrator has for the bike; some of which picturing himself riding around on the badass bike, potentially getting into a gruesome accident and dying — but saying “man, for the bike, it was fucking worth it.”

The video was shot, directed, produced and edited by the members of the band and as the band’s Oliver Hill explains in press notes about the video “Pavo Pavo’s Oliver Hill talks about the video, saying “There’s a great Kenneth Anger documentary about a biker gang called Scorpio Rising that peers into all the death-obsessed symbology in these gangs, and the whole bizarre environment piqued my interest. For the video we went up to Pleasantville, NY, which is both me and Ian [Romer]’s hometown, and tried to make something that captured that special type of suburban-high-school boredom where groups of friends rove around and try to find little adventures – a sort of reimagined biker gang. We directed it ourselves and shot it on Super 8, which has such a beautiful and cool character – so in a way the whole enterprise was a bit like a group of high school friends, making something on a spare Saturday.”

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you’ve come across a handful of posts featuring the Brooklyn-based experimental/psych pop act Pavo Pavo. Deriving their name from the name of the southern constellation Pavo — Latin for peacock —the members of the band Eliza Bagg (violin, synths, vocals), Oliver Hill (guitar, synths and vocals). Nolan Green (guitar, vocals), Austin Vaughn (drums) and Ian Romer (bass) can trace its origins to when the members of the quintet were studying while at Yale University, and since then individual members have collaborated with the likes of Here We Go MagicJohn Zorn, Dave LongstrethPorchesOlga BellLuciusRoomful of Teeth and San Fermin among others.  Adding to a growing profile, their “Ran Ran Run”/”Annie Hall” 7 inch was praised by a number of media outlets and blogs, including  Stereogum as being “weightless pop music that sounds like it was beamed down from a glimmering utopian future.” And while nodding at 60s psych pop and 80s New Age, just underneath the glimmering surface there’s a hint at unease, anxiety, rot and dysfunction.

Now, as you may recall the band’s highly-anticipated full-length debut, Young Narrator in the Breakers is slated for a November 11, 2016 release through Bella Union Records and thematically, the material according to the members of the band describes both the magic and panic of adult life — with the understanding that much like a getting caught in a vicious breaker, you have to stop fighting and ride it out until you can get to shore safely. Interestingly, the album’s latest single “Ruby (Let’s Buy The Bike)” consists of gorgeous falsetto boy/girl harmonies, a strummed and slightly ragged guitar-led melody, off-kilter percussion and soaring synths, and the result is a gorgeous and trippy acceptance of time’s passing and a swooning love song to a beautiful motorcycle named Ruby that the song’s narrator stumbled on to at a bike show. Part of the song involves the hopes and plans the narrator has for the bike; some of which picturing himself riding around on the badass bike, potentially getting into a gruesome accident and dying — but saying “man, for the bike, it was fucking worth it.”