SnC 355 – New Year delve
We’ve something different this week with a bit of a delve into what is known on the western side of the Atlantic as EDM, Electronic Dance Music.
That’s after a few tracks from some fine artists who perform in traditional ways. I’m not saying that either is better but they are certainly both different! That’s just about what you’d expect from Suffolk ’n’ Cool eh?
Quite a few tracks and the albums they are on are available for free and legal download this week. Our collective thanks go to the artists in question.
Superglue – Heifervescent (Southport, UK)
Heifervescent is essentially the solo project of Andy Doran, writing, performing and producing each track. The music has often been classed as beautiful yet sullen soundscapes, laying strong simple melodies and chiming guitars onto a bed of ambient string and hypnotic electronic arrangements. This has certainly been the case of the latest offering Little Egg and 2005’s Pondlife Fiasco.
Way before Heifervescent, Andy Doran was singer/songwriter with Monkeyland, a 4 piece indie guitar band based in the North West of England.
Heifervescent is available on Jamendo
Oh Brother – Laurie Levine (South Africa)
For this intuitive artist, the next step is to pack up her songs and take them to audiences beyond South Africa, where it’s likely the wholehearted embrace she receives back home will be repeated by fans in search of a extraordinary music experience.
Since surfacing with her remarkable debut, Unspoken, back in 2007, Laurie Levine has meticulously crafted a career that has turned her into a singer-songwriter of real substance.
Over a trio of records and countless live performances, the South African-based artist has taken her original material to a growing fanbase, earning multiple accolades along the way.
Levine’s gift lies in her ability to draw on the deep roots of folk music, and mix it in with a myriad of other influences, including from America’s Appalachia region and her native South Africa. With the acoustic guitar as her main instrument, her recordings see Levine – and a host of superb musicians – deploy an array of instruments (pedal steel, dobro, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, strings) that add the kind of atmosphere and layers that propel her songs out of simple singer-songwriter territory.
The Hug – The Freak Fandango Orchestra (Barcelona, Spain)
The Freak Fandango Orchestra is a multi-ethnic band from Barcelona (Spain). The band exists since 2006 and is performing live since 2007. You can see them a lot around Barcelona but they also play at international venues, like for example at the New York Gypsy Festival 2011.
Their music is a explosive mixture of folk, polka, gypsy music from the Balkans and punk-rock. The band is composed by musicians with lots of different instruments (guitar, bass, drums, violin, saxophone, trumpet, accordion and percussion). They are influenced by artists like “Emir Kusturica And The No Smoking Orchestra”, “Goran Bregović” and “Gogol Bordello”.
In 2009 they published their first EP “Love, Death And A Drunken Monkey” and their second EP “Tales Of A Dead Fish” in 2011. All their song are under Creative Commons License and are available on Jamendo.
If you like their music don’t forget to join them on Facebook (www.facebook.com/freakfandango) or on Twitter.
A warm welcome to Chris from Insomnia Radio Canada – the latest new member of AMP.
Rich presented a new year special this week which is well worth a listen and Erk is upcoming on Monday with a brand new edition.
Burn - Grace Valhalla (Nancy, France)
From one of my all time favourite albums. The hauntingly beautiful Peak~ from Grace Valhalla. I can listen closely and get completely lost in the music or I can just have it on bringing energy to whatever creative endeavour I’m engaged in. Simply brilliant.
Grace describes this track, Burn, as: “un morceau un peu étrange à l’ambiance un peu mystique.”
Tracks have, quite understandably, been picked up by any number of film-makers and it is the most played track on the album. You can download the whole magnificent album from Jamendo at: www.jamendo.com/en/list/a2162/peak
Jools Holland and the White Heather Club or what?
Because of domestic circumstances, New Year 2013 was another quiet night in. Jools Holland’s Hoot a Nanny was given another go but I opted out of after half an hour – way too many ancient singers who really don’t have it anymore.
It’s sad really ‘cos Hoot the Nanny was invented to revolutionise the established approach to new year, typified by The White Heather Club (all Scottish country dancing and highland kitch) which was compared by a chap called Andy Stewart from 1957-68. www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyLXjPdBKEA
The problem is, I think, that Jools’ own audience / fan base is itself pretty set in it’s ways and the new year show has done nothing to refresh itself in the past 20 years or bring any new viewers in. Having said that, Jools is almost a national treasure so I can see it going on for a long time yet.
Channel 4 had an experimental special, “C4 House Party” with half a dozen DJs playing sets which ran from a bit before midnight until 6 am without adverts. Annie Mac’s session was good, but I didn’t think too much of ‘The Godfather of House’, Frankie Knuckles who followed. The pictures were pretty dire – although graphics were produced and vision mixed live but then there’s just not much to see when DJ is playing a set – just a lot of ernest knob twiddling. I suppose they’d be unable to afford any of the top names to play on New Years Eve. It was broadcast live (good) but from a TV studio with no audience thus no trace of real energy. Ibiza it wasn’t but certainly something worth building on.
You can get the mixes on the C4 House party site at www.channel4.com/programmes/house-party-nye/articles/house-party-nye
However, all that said, it was a big improvement on Hootenanny, which featured Adam Ant trying to resurrect his career and Petula Clarke and The Dubliners partly proving that they’re not dead yet. (Don’t worry if you’ve never heard of this two, they were old even before I was born-ish).
Illusion of Choice – Gramatik (Slovenia and Brooklyn)
Gramatik has always been an early adopter. It began at the age of 3, when his mother would catch him glued to the radio in his older sister’s room, checking out the cassette tapes with American funk, jazz, soul and blues. He started making his first beats on an early PC by the time he was 13, and soon the kid from Portoroz, Slovenia figured out how to harvest the power of free file sharing to build a following throughout the US & Europe. Tracks spread, hype grew, tours followed, and before long his digital persona forged the initial inroads into the US market, landing him both a label and an agency.
Gramatik landed on US soil as a fully formed artist who knows how to do things his way. He signed to a label, Pretty Lights Music, that gives all of its music away for free, which went hand in hand with his own philosophy about ”freeing music by making music free”. Soon after, he scooped up his hometown crew and moved to Brooklyn, NY.
With over 100,000 tracks sold on Beatport.com, topping all kinds of genre charts, Gramatik has clearly matured into a world-class producer. He earned nominations for “Best Chill Out Artist” and “Best Chill Out Track” at the 2010 and 2012 Beatport Music Awards. More recently, after posting a clever remix of Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”, he shot to number 1 on HypeMachine in a matter of hours, and has been since appearing in the site’s ‘popular’ top 10 chart with every new release. Within the US, it’s been a huge year of growth for Gramatik, performing at festivals across the US and alongside labelmate Pretty Lights, including epic sold out shows at Red Rocks. This summer promises even more high-profile appearances, including gigs at Lightning in a Bottle, Wakarusa, Electric Forest, Camp Bisco, Wanderlust and many more.
You can find Gramatik’s music on Pretty Lights at www.prettylightsmusic.com
Rising and Falling – Layo & Bushwaka! (London, UK)
From the fourth and, sadly, last studio album from Layo & Bushwacka! It’s destined to secure their status as one of the most esteemed duos in the techno / tech house world. Although Layo Paskin and Matthew Benjamin will be missed, this is indeed a great long player to part ways with.
Some of the most talked about names in the deep house / tech house movement of the moment (Guti, Guy Gerber, and Martin Buttrich) have also done remixes for the single packages available. This definitely demonstrates that Layo & Bushwacka’s long history hasn’t served to tire out their sound, but they continue to produce cutting edge material attracting not only the techno / tech house audience but also the most recognized up and coming producers.
Unsurprisingly, Layo & Bushwacka! are bowing out in a wave of cosmic club-house glory, in what Benjamin calls the duo’s “most grown-up” and “most electronic” album, perfectly nailing a balance between refined headphone indulgence and blissful dance floor fodder.
Rising and Falling is out now on Olmeto.
(read more here on Societe Perrier).
Dance It, Dance All – The Easton Ellises (Montreal, Canada) and Funkt
I played Stereomovers on Suffolk and Cool a long while ago (actually somewhere back in 2007). Then a couple of years ago they got in touch with an update:
“After years of trying to break traditional music business, in un-traditional ways we have come to the conclusion that the 1886 Bern Copyright Convention is out of touch with the reality of the internet, and an incompatible way to govern music on the web. We have therefore decided to put an end to the Stereomovers project, and re-start with a new adventure, with a new intellectual property organization. Not copyright, copy-left! The Stereomovers are now The Easton Ellises and we believe that creative commons as a better way of managing our music on the web.”
The Easton Ellises, name inspired by the American novelist Bret Easton Ellis, is a combination of rock and electronic music. The energy is coming from their electronic background, blended with a touch of pop rock. It is the club scene years meeting the studio years . Some synths, hard and soft, some guitars, a pearlescent drum-kit, an SM58 and lots of red wine have been the main ingredients for the new project. Voilà !
To mark the occasion, the band launched a successful 30 day fan funding (a.k.a. crowd funding) campaign in order to collect the funds necessary to press a vinyl record.
Today, they’ve popped up again, and they’ve not been wasting their time.
Dance it, Dance all is the 10th Easton Ellises creative commons single.
A producer pack was put up on the web for artists to remix and submit their own versions of the song. The response was phenomenal and “Dance it, Dance all” remixes were submitted from all over the world. Due to the limited amount of play time available on a vinyl record, only the original version, a Motel Costes Mix and the bands 6 favourite remixes were pressed onto the record and officially released in Montreal, Canada.
Included in this “Dance it, Dance all” release are the 12 cuts that the band really wanted to press on the record and you can download the whole album free at:
First, a bit of the original single, then the remix by Funkt.