7.25.2007

Dirty Projectors /Lucky Dragons /Night of Inspired Appropriations

Whitney Museum "Summer of Love Series" July 21, 2007

[To approp
riate something involves taking possession of it. In the visual arts, the term appropriation often refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of new work.

The Dirty Projectors new release Rise Above due out in September is a conceptual tribute and not a cover release. The Rise Above tour presents interpreted compositions stimulated by memory of the band Black Flag’s influential 1981 album Damaged. Dave Longstreth's composed Rise Above by accessing his subconscious using a technique called automatic writing that was embraced by the Surrealists. They used it to expand their creative possibilities.

Lucky Dragons AKA Luke Fishbeck is a digital music composer, who applies a distinctive homage to the category of happening and performance art, utilizing digital music and video installation. Within the realm of digital music composition he has appropriately titled his latest recording Windows. Luke Fishbeck music is created with instruments, voices and sound discoveries that are transposed and altered digitally. His self awareness has enabled him to be an open receptor to the world around him, guiding his music composition to create inference and sound visuals.

It was very appropriate to see Lucky Dragons in a museum setting. The focus of his performance is to create a dialogue with the audience that fluctuates between voyeurism and direct participation. He set up large screen on the side of the stage setting and on the floor was a laptop connected to audio extensions that lengthen outward into the space. Much like an extension cord or that of an octopus with musical tentacles. These receptors convert sound through touch and movement.

The screen displayed portrait images whose lips opened to receive and release animated color, nature patterns that formed connective metaphors and geometric sequencing like a universal code all synchronized with the music.

Luke is a very tall and striking individual. He started on the floor sitting on his knees hovering over one of the receptors passing the signals of his body movements to alter the sound frequencies. We watched him personally and physically submit to becoming an integral part of the sound. Experiencing the music through him is the ultimate form of conduction. The set continued and his body contortions became convoluted as he ran microphone wire up, around, under his torso, through his legs and then up to his mouth. Never looking up at the audience he unabashedly was consumed in his personal ecstasies. I was a willing voyeur.

Suddenly the interaction with the audience began in a strange and unsettling way. He crawled and undulated forward to various people in the crowd still in his private cocoon rocking and darting blindly forward. Then he connected and unwound the colorful wires that were vibration sensitive and brought various audience members to touch the receptors and collaborate in creating a new music dynamic. The unexpected nature of participation is what informs the music at that point.

Lucky Dragon uses contemporary technologies that are generally removed from human contact to awaken pathways that touch the spirit through sound. . If you’re daring you will stay. If your open to new ideas, you will be inspired. I was.

The Dirty Projectors
played an eight-song set and one encore featuring five songs from Rise Above and
three songs from their release New Attitude. The four member outfit are Dave Longsteth the lead guitarist vocalist and musical director, Amber Coffman vocalist / guitar, Angel Deradoorian vocals / bass and Brian Mcomber on Drums.

The dynamic sound that this group creates is mainly the result of original and daring harmonies mixed with extraordinary guitar patterns and vigorous drumming. The electric guitar flutters with atypical leads and is coordinated with one note picking of the alternate guitar. Dave Longsteth’s voice reminds me of Prince and has the range of Rufus Wainwright. Sometimes it borders on soulful pop affectations and that alone could be cheesy but mixed with the other vocals becomes original. Without the aid of chord progression
the vocals remain on target. Their astute registers and informed pitch explore melody without boundaries, creating harmonic levels that astound.

Opening with Fucked for life Dave Longsteth’s rolling soulful singing is mixed beautifully with the strong harmonies of the female members. His guitar breakouts were especially effective during New New Attitude where the wild man came out and the three part blending of harmonies wowed. In the song Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie the vocalists created a round and the effect sounded like a modern version of yodeling. Each member taking on different measurements and blending them strongly to resonate. They ended the set with Police Story and the encore Depression. Aside from the utter beauty of the sound the set was energetic and exciting. Dave Longsteth and drummer Brian Mcomber really broke sweat while the women presented a calm focus necessary for acute harmonies.

These two music groups share sensibilities and are daring and open to the possibilities of moving music composition forward. There is no greater place to see them do this then in a contemporary art institution that prides itself on being the barometer of cutting edge direction in the visual arts.

Thank you to
Brooklyn Vegan for posting the show and the Whitney for curating this line up.

Listen to Lucky Dragons'
New Alium.

Listen to the Dirty Projectors'
New New Attitude from the Day Trotter Sessions.



Dirty Projectors and Lucky Dragons Perform at the Whitney Museum

7.18.2007

Blogging For Exposure








T
estimonial Obsession Collection is celebrating! One Year up a running! Thank you.
This has been a year long endeavor that has been thrilling, gratifying and at times frustrating. All the many musicians and bands that I have seen, heard and written about have been a source of joy. The primary reason I write about them is to give them more exposure so that they can continue their pursuit of recording and performing. Some of this is selfish motivation. I am hoping that the music I get obsessed over won't just go away.

This is a vast world of music and sometimes great music can be overlooked and not nurtured or supported. I will continue to write thoughtful and well written reviews that are descriptive and informative, with the main focus always being the music. I hope that this Blog Site will gain more readership, and I am working hard at achieving that goal. Thank you to all the wonderful musicians I have met, their friends associates and fans and all the virtual friends that have taken the time to communicate and share.
Love Artifact

7.12.2007

Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned / ambitious appearance at the Trash Bar

From Albany New York the Sgt. Dunbar and the Hobo Banned is an ambitious and talented outfit, that is inspired by the classic band Neutral Milk Hotel.

While exploring the vast world of the Internet,
I came across their page and kept going back. The music is derivative but has originality and a smorgasbord of instrumentation. On their profile they display their influences (Neutral Milk Hotel) without apologies.

So I took it upon myself to see them live at The Trash Bar in Brooklyn. This is a group of fine musicians. Aside from
some technical difficulties with the banjo hook up, they did a nice job presenting their material. The diversity of sound has unique possibilities because many of the members can interchange roles and instruments for different songs and even during songs.

This is a five-member band of guitar, bass, two trumpets, coronet, french horn, sax, accordion, ukulele, percussion/drums, bow/saw and banjo. The trumpet player Tim Koch sings and plays the ukulele and can pound on a drum piece changing roles without a hitch. I couldn't take my eyes off Dan Pardee. He played the saw and bow masterfully, accordion, trumpet, drums and even the typewriter. I admire his work ethic and acumen . Alex Muro the lead vocalist and guitar player was strong at the helm and affable. The brass section nicely supported his vocals harmonizing with him in between blows.

They are a very ambitious band, and given time and experience performing, their delivery will meet up with their ambition. I really enjoyed the set. My only criticism was that when they performed an obvious cover by Neutral Milk Hotel the whole band went into overdrive and was animated and exciting to watch.
Their original songs sounded fine and there were moments when they were equally enthralled, but not as charged and confident. Hopefully with more experience their original songs will thrive as well.

They are planning an east coast tour in the fall and I think they will develop their stage persona and work out some of the kinks. They are almost there and that is a good thing for a young band.

After the Show I purchased their release While Waiting for the Space Age
that has wonderful instrumentation, great song order and selection and is quite multi layered. There are some obvious "Hotel" segments on the recording but there is originality in the songwriting and arrangements. It also brings to mind the band Beirut but with more folk elements. Originality will develop with time. Inspiration and ambition are nice ingredients for the development of great music.


Myspace Site Enjoy

Picasa Web Album Link

7.09.2007

DAYTROTTER, Music's Sensory Destination

Daytrotter!!
home page
I finally found a music site destination that I consider home. Venturing to seek out music on the Internet, I sometimes feel like a weary traveler. But this traveler was immediately enticed to stay and explore an original, innovative and beautiful site. In lieu of photographs, Daytrotter displays original illustrations that are elegant, quaint originals. The artistic format is the bait and the hook is the content and the music.

Daytrotter's music selection reflects their acute taste that formally presents alternative music of quality. A standout feature is the signature "Daytrotter Sessions" that capture two recording sessions a week by selected touring bands. The bands record exclusive, re-worked, alternative versions of songs and unreleased tracks that are available for free download. One click on an illustrated band image leads to four original one of a kind tracks. Accompanying the sessions are literary articles that offer a highbrow approach to the written word, that are
sometimes followed by a quirky offbeat interview style.

The verbose writing informs the desire to hear the music of new and unknown music groups. This is a sample of Sean Moeller’s writing, about the music of singer songwriter Elvis Perkins........ Listen closely and you can hear all of the intricacies that make Perkins unlike all other manners of fare and ilk. There are fireflies in these songs and there are warm touches..................

I stumbled upon Daytrotter while writing a review about the band o’death, and found their SXSW recorded session. I was pleased to discover the recordings of bands I have written about including, Two Gallants, Langhorne Slim, Willy Mason, Illinois, Trainwreck Riders and many others in my personal collection.


I have permanently bookmarked this site so that it is always close to home. Daytrotter succeeds in designing a consistent quality experience that authentically represents their vision. I marvel at the future possibilities of this website. As it evolves, I hope it broadens the musical culture beyond the boundaries of mediocrity.


o'death sessions
Langhorne Slim sessions
Willy Mason sessions

Daytrotter signature session archives

7.05.2007

Kickball / Clara Clara / Francois Virot / Altenative Venues















Kickball MP3

I started Obsession Collection one year ago in June. Having spent the last couple of years seeing live music and devouring recordings that blew my mind, I thought that maybe others would like to hear what I was getting so excited about.

The last week in June a Garage Show, reaffirmed what I always believed, that there is nothing better then hearing great music performed live. Sometimes it does
matter where you see it.

This particular garage show was outstanding, because of the line-up selection, order and timing of the sets and the wonderful crowd of friends and fans, getting together to enjoy music.


Up first was a punk girl group Vivian Girls a three-piece from NYC playing guitar, bass and drums. They played a short sweet four-song set. They are fairly new and were very enjoyable performing catchy punk with nice drumming.


The crowd decided to sit on the
concrete
floor to fully appreciate the acoustic set by Francois Virot, an expressive lo-fi alternative folk singer songwriter from France. His vocals were unplugged. The mic was situated under the guitar to pick up his beating, strumming, picking and right hand hammering (Kaki King style) up the fret.

Francois sings and records only in English. His distinctive voice patterns and range convey a variety of emotional levels. There is a shaky quality and muffled aspect in his vocals as if he is holding something back. Suddenly he grunts and his distant voice rises and squeaks with intense and chaotic abandon. His folksy
eccentricities are creatively accompanied by his irregular guitar patterns. He is very original and captivating. The audience was absorbed with his intimate presentation.

I was surprised when the next band Clara Clara from France came on with Francois Virot in the drummers seat. This band has an intense sound using the keyboard (Amielie Lambert) as the melodic
digital force, chaotic /psychotic drums and frenetic electric bass (Charles Virot) relying heavily on distortion. Clara Clara plays hypnotic jams with occasional moments of sing along type phrasing. The sound is explosive, erupting with rhythms and very loud distortion. The crowd moved in a trance like motion of ecstasy until the last song, leaving a sweaty musty residue in the garage cocoon, to get some oxygen.

The air being a
necessity, was a lost cause, when Kickball a band from Olympia Washington came on. They are an infectious trio of guitar, bass and drums. The band has the perfect mix of strong lush indie pop, catchy sing along punk and dance propelled grooves.

The lead singer and guita
rist Jacob Wilson has a distinct voice that has a very appealing range. He vocalizes like a Cantor in a clear high pitch, and sings every syllable in broken phrasing patterns like; Ev/ er/ y / things / a / mir / a / cal. He stutters to find a word and then holds it for effect. With the guitar he creates memorable intricacies that ebb and flow between Adam Oelsner's creative bass line. Lisa Schonberg the drummer plays expressive energetic percussion and is a charismatic force in the band, communicating between her band mates.

The crowd of ravenous fans loved and craved the old favorites and embraced the newer recently released songs. Their bodies were in constant motion, sweating profusely, singing along and displaying admiration and love for Kickball. The band was at a point of exhaustion but the audience finagled two more songs. They obliged with enthusiasm. Kickball has energy and awesome chemistry. Seriously no one wanted this show to end.

This was a great night. There were no annoying drunk patrons, just music fans, as it should be.
"everything is a miracle
nothing is a miracle everything is" buy on Kickball myspace site


Kickball / Clara Clara / Francois Virot / Garage Show

Francois Virot filmed by LaBlogoteheque

Francois Virot filmed by Big Purple Van Club


Clara Clara Live Berlin