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dimanche 24 novembre 2013

Spécial Sonic City Festival

Sonic City Festival

Sonic City


30 NOV/1 DEC 2013



© Pitchfork Media
This trio features Portishead producer/multi-instrumentalist Geoff Barrow, bassist Billy Fuller and Matt Williams on the keys. Beak> headlined the '12 Sonic City edition curated by SUUNS and is curating this year's music fest. Beak> combines Krautrock and dub with sound effects and produces an original lo-fi sound that will blow your socks off once again. Band members Fuller and Williams are also part of Fuzz Against Junk and Team Brick, two bands that are signed to Barrow's Invada Records.



This all-female post-punk band has a blistering sound and noisy guitars. The London-based four-piece was formed in 2011 and consists of guitarist Gemma Thompson, singer Camille Berthomier (known as Jehny Beth), Ayse Hassan and Fay Milton on the drums. Soon after their formation they were picked up by Sigur Rós manager John Best, which rapidly resulted in the release of their double A-side single 'Flying to Berlin/Husbands' on the Pop Noir label. If you're into PJ Harvey & Siouxsie and the Banshees, you will sure love Savages.



The Black Angels are a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas. Their neo-psychedelic sound came together in 2004. Stephanie Balley (drums), Christian Bland (guitar), Alex Maas (vocals), Jennifer Raines (organ) and Nathan Ryan (bass) took their band name from the Velvet Underground classic ''The Black Angel's Death Song.'' The Black Angels are the undisputed avatars of contemporary psychedelic rock.



ADULT. is an American band from Detroit, Michigan. Integrating (female) vocals with drum machines, analog synths and punk elements. This husband-and-wife team Adam Lee Millerand and Nicola Kuperus became a trio when guitarist Samuel Consiglio joined forces for a short while. In 2006 Consiglio left the band again and ADULT. continued as a duo, gaining popularity in the USA and Europe after touring with Trans Am. Their last album 'The Way Things Fall' is already one of De Kreun's list of most played office tunes.



© Border Community
'British techno sorcerer and psychedelic shaman James Holden is a man of many talents: zeitgeist-defining label boss, trend-setting producer, hugely in-demand monster remixer, and last but by no means least, he can count himself amongst that very modern breed of dj's with a special knack for layering seemingly divergent records with an unparalleled musical ear. Founded in 2003 as a restriction-free outlet for his own music and launch pad for the production careers of his band of talented friends, James Holden's Border Community label is now firmly established as one of the foremost breeding grounds for fresh young electronic talent.'
© 2013 Resident Advisor Ltd.



Dirty Beaches is the project of Taiwan-born Canadian sound-smith Alex Zhang Hungtai. Dirty Beaches produces low-slung, lo-fi, post-rockabilly and released a number of EP's on cassette-only labels, before releasing 'Badlands' in 2011. Dirty Beaches started as a one-man band using sampling and has grown rapidly because of Zhang's long-time traveling. Having lived in Tapei, Queens, Etobicoke, Honolulu, San Francisco, Shanghai, Vancouver, Montreal and Berlin, we could say Dirty Beaches had a variety of influences, which brings about a sound that sounds both familiar and surreal.



© Jeroen Vranken
OM is an experimental drone/metal band from San Francisco, California. Formed as a duo in 2003 by the rhythm section of the stoner doom band Sleep, OM has now developed into a trio. The band has a strong live reputation (a 2007 concert in Israel lasted about 5 hours) and consists of Al Cisneros, Emil Amos and Robert Lowe. Prepare for some serious chanting.



Forest Swords is English producer and artist Matthew Barnes. On debut EP 'Dagger Paths' Barnes combines dub, psychedelics, dance and drone which resulted in being FACT Magazine's #1 album and 'Best New Music' on influential music website Pitchfork. Forest Swords' Debut album 'Engravings' was released by Tri Angle Records in August '13. Barnes produces sturdy loops, beats and guitar lines and fits them nicely into accumulating layers.
© Tri Angle Records



The Haxan Cloak is the project of London-based avantgarde musician Bobby Krlic. Signed on Tri Angle Records, The Haxan Cloak produces pure black magic. Fans of hybrid heroes Demdike Stare (played at Sonic City '12) will sure like the taste of this drone-influenced sound.



Pharmakon is the power electronics / death industrial project of Margaret Chardiet, which has been operating out of the Red Light District in New York since 2007. Margaret Chardiet is also a member of the project 'Throat'. Pharmakon has released a self-titled EP out on Bloodlust! in 2008 and the full-length 'Abandon' on Sacred Bones Records in 2013. Pitchfork gave Pharmakon an 8.0 for the latest Sacred Bones-release, read it yourself and be convinced.



The soft-psych project of Connan Hosford might be New-Zealand's most popular export product. Connan Mockasin has been touring in support of Radiohead and will release a new album in november. Perfect timing for a taste of this new dreamy material at Sonic City Festival.



Thought Forms is Charlie Romijn (vocals/guitar), Deej Dhariwai (vocals/guitar) and Guy Metcalfe (drums). Their second album 'Ghost Mountain' just hit the stores in '13. Thought Forms has toured with Portishead and is signed on Geoff Barrow's Invada Records. And as the Drowned in Sound-blog puts it: ''Volcanic sacrifice? Beachside offering? Spiritual ascendance? It could be anything. Coming back to labels: no-wave, drone, shoegaze, lo-fi, post-metal. This something-for-everyone 'Ghost Mountain' is hard not to like.''
© William Van der Voort



Vex Ruffin is yet another Stones Throw roster. Although it may not seem like it upon first listen, Vex's music is rooted in sampling and hip hop beat-making culture. Vex Ruffin is the first artist signed to Stones Throw Records on the strenght of an unsolicited demo sent through mail. Stones Throw founder Peanut Butter Wold recalls: ''It was kind of a fluke that I listened. I just liked the drawing on the cover so I decided to check it out. I called the phone number on the CD and Vex though I was a friend playing a practical joke.'' Vex Ruffin makes lo-fi punk with witch house influences. After playing SXSW and Coachella, Vex Ruffin will conquer the Sonic City audience in no time.



This Berlin-based band played at De Kreun before (support Dinosaur Jr.) and now these boys are coming back for more. Having played with Krautrock legends Michael Rother (NEU!, Harmonia) and Dieter Moebius, a lot has been going on with this trio. Camera sure is a force to be reckoned with, as one of their specialities is to sneak their way into highly official after show parties (German Film Prize, Echo Awrds...), arrange their portable equipment in a matter of minutes and play for as long it takes for the security to realize they are not part of the official program. That's just the way we like 'em!
© Alisa Resnik



ZZZ's is a Japanese no-wave/experimental/post-punk trio, formed in Brooklyn, New York in 2012. Currently unsigned, ZZZ's claim they're influenced by bands as Liars and Einstürzende Neubauten. Perfect Sonic City material, a band to discover, as they produce a crazy / intelligent experimental vibe that will sure catch your attention.



Father Murphy is a couple, a trio, a no-band. During live shows Chiara Lee, Vittorio and Freddie work together to play toy instruments, or to play instruments as toys. While Vittorio plays a kid-drumset and his old violin, Chiara puts together different sounds taken from any kind of old Chinese toy and Italian keyboards. And Freddie? Freddie is actually a reverend who sings a songs from this world and the other one. This trio moves around between New York, Berlin and Italy and will make a stop in Kortrijk for Sonic City Festival.



MXLX is Matt Loveridge. Living in Bristol, he has a swinging sack of projects on the stove at any one time. One of these projects is Team Brick, and has been going on for nearly a decade. You might also know Matt as a group member of Beak>, the 2013 Sonic City curators.



Tourette is a French noise project by Benjamin Clement who mostly uses pedals to make harsh, 'atmospheric' noise. He has albums out on Harshnoise and Audiobot including Un Vent Glacé & Une Ombre Étrange Dancé Dans Tes Yeux.
© CuttingEdge

dimanche 17 novembre 2013

Album de la Semaine : Vista Chino - Peace

Vista Chino


Interview de Brant Bjork, par The Obelisk

I’m going to go on a limb here and say that while it wasn’t their first choice and something that was brought about through a lawsuit from former bandmates, the name change that turned Kyuss Lives! into Vista Chino was a good thing. My reasoning is simple. Kyuss is a set entity. It’s in stone. It’s done. It’s been done for over 15 years now. There’s a legacy born out of the California desert that’s influenced thousands upon thousands of bands, and without Kyuss, that just doesn’t happen. They were an integral part of setting forth a movement in heavy rock that continues to this day.
The difference is they were and Vista Chino are. Even if vocalist John Garcia, bassist Nick Oliveri, guitarist Bruno Fevery and drummer Brant Bjork — who toured and wrote songs together as Kyuss Lives! – had been able to continue using that or just the straight-up Kyuss name, they’d be setting themselves up to fail, because even if original guitarist Josh Homme – who along with former bassist Scott Reeder brought the lawsuit that was settled with the moniker switch– had returned to the fold and they’d worked with the same lineup that resulted in 1992′s Blues for the RedSun, it never would’ve been the same. It may have been conflict that birthed it, but with the Napalm Records release this week of Peace (review here) as the first Vista Chino studio album, GarciaBjork and Fevery (Oliveri having left after recording his bass parts) are moving forward in a way Kyuss wouldn’t have been able to do.
It’s a question of freedom, ultimately, and where any output under the Kyuss banner would’ve resulted in an endless stream of comparisons set to the impossible standard of a decade and a half of lionization, Vista Chino are free to progress, both on a career level and creatively. Peace finds Bjork taking lead vocals on “Planets 1 & 2,” something that never happened in Kyuss (though certainly it’s happened plenty since), and works off a different, new instrumental chemistry and playing style from Fevery. The record isn’t about capturing something that used to exist and doesn’t anymore, and at its heart, that’s why it succeeds. I’m not sure Peace would’ve worked as a Kyuss album, but for Vista Chino, it stands not only as an excellent debut but a potential-filled sign of things to come. It makes the listener look forward to what could be and not back to what was.
So while it may have been plenty ugly getting to this point and of course no one knows what days ahead might bring, Peace establishes Vista Chino as a band with both a past and a future. In the interview that follows here, Brant Bjork discusses some of those prospects, particularly as relates to bringing in bassist Mike Dean from C.O.C. to fill the position vacated by Oliveri and held for a brief stretch by Billy Cordell, and also creating music for the first time alongside Fevery, the legal tribulations that made Vista Chino who they are, his relationship to Vista Chino as opposed to Kyuss, when he knew that Kyuss Lives! would result in new material, the group’s plans after the US tour they’ll soon start and much more. As he spoke, I could hear a desert wind come through the line in the background.
Complete Q&A is after the jump. Please enjoy.
How are you feeling about the album?

I’m very pleased with it. We went into this wanting to satisfy ourselves and accomplish what we set out to do and at the completion of it all, we’re very content and, dare I use the word, we’re actually quite proud.
Tell me about how it was going to back to writing with John again after so long.
Well, in relation to Kyuss back in the day, really the nucleus of the creative process in terms of writing songs was generally Josh and I writing together. It was kind of a yin-yang creative partnership where we kind of bounced our ideas off each other and wrote songs that way. That was generally how things worked in Kyuss, and then John would later put a word or two on it and of course Nick and later Scott would come in later and add their ideas to it. I knew going into this that obviously Josh is not here, I needed to develop a new relationship and that obviously would be with Bruno Fevery, and I knew that was the key to moving forward with our creative chemistry. John is not an instrumentalist. He comes up with melodies.
But for me, being part of a band is all about collaboration. It’s all about bouncing ideas off someone or everybody, and I knew I needed a partner. The first day I jammed with Bruno Fevery in 2010 – obviously he had played with Garcia Plays Kyuss and I was quite impressed with how he played the Kyuss material live, but I didn’t know how he’d fit as an individual musician – and within a minute of jamming with him the first day, I was like, “Oh wow, this guy is a true musician. There’ll be no problem in developing a writing chemistry.” I could feel it. So when it was time to write, Bruno and I just got together. He flew out to the desert, he hung out at my house and we just talked and jammed and just really got to develop a whole philosophical approach to being writing partners. That’s how it developed.
What was that philosophy? Did you find you guys were working from a similar basis of what you wanted it to sound like, or was it not even that thought out and the sound came out of jamming?
The creative process, for me, is always two things. It’s out of emotional necessity – I’m an artist and I’m always needing to be creative and express myself – and also, to celebrate. To celebrate my love of music and rock music in particular with other forms of music like funk or jazz or blues. So it was kind of a combination of those two things. Bruno is obviously a musician and he needs to express himself like everyone else, and also, he loves music. We decided to just sit down and see how can we together express our love of music and simultaneously express what we’re truly feeling. That was really just the foundation of us moving forward in the creative process.
When was that? When did you know you’d be doing an album?
John called me in 2010 and he asked me, “Hey man, I wanna put the band back together. Are you in?” I said, “Sure, man.” I’d been doing solo work for 10 years. I felt I needed a change. And for me, it was like going backwards to go forwards. We all knew Josh wasn’t gonna participate, so John wanted to get Bruno and like I said, I was familiar with him, and I said, “Okay, that’s fair, let’s get together and see what it’s like,” and as I said, we got to L.A. and we started jamming and I immediately knew like, “Wow, this is an exceptional guitar player. This isn’t just a guy who learned the Kyuss catalog. It’s a guy who has really studied and really embraced his instrument and is a true professional.”
I knew that first day of rehearsal, John and Nick and all of us said, “Hey man, we gotta record new material. We gotta move forward with this.” Because I mean, we’re musicians.
 That’s the challenge. We always want to challenge ourselves and that was a big challenge for us. We committed to it early on.

In terms of the arrangements, how did you taking on vocals for “Planets 1 & 2” come about?
That particular song just has a particular emotion. There is a similarity in rhythm to “Green Machine” in terms of the opening riff and it’s just kind of a classic riff to me that I always have in my back pocket. To me, even though it’s not a blues riff, to me it is a blues riff. It just perfectly expresses a certain emotion – an emotion of confusion, and frustration, and angst – and I just completely, 100 percent, embraced what it is and how it flows, and when it came time to present the track to John, I just had this feeling one night, and I got up in the morning and said, “Hey John, I think I’d really like to take a crack at singing this track myself. At least for the first half. It’s just a feeling I have inside and I think it would be really authentic if I sang it myself.” Certainly, with John’s blessing. I didn’t want to step on anybody’s toes. He was 100 percent, immediately like, “For sure, man. I think that’s totally necessary,” and of course we have John pick up the second half and put a cap on it. It all just kind of worked out.
That song’s obviously a standout because of the vocal change and all that, but it seems like a lot of the album is dealing with the lawsuit and that kind of stuff. One of the things I like most about the title Peace is you don’t know whether it’s asking for peace, arriving at peace, striving toward peace. Can you talk about how the title fits in your mind with the songs and where you’re at now?
Well, I mean, this was a very rewarding record for very many reasons, but it goes without saying that it was a challenging record to make. It did not fall off the tree, so to speak. A week after we started the creative process, Josh and Scott filed the lawsuit, and it took its toll. It was very hard on us. This whole record was conceived and arranged and written and recorded and performed while we were dealing with this lawsuit and lawyers and all kinds of legal stuff. It was very, very stressful. But creatively, it was an adventure. I simultaneously developed a writing chemistry with Bruno and I built an all-analog studio in Joshua Tree to press the record, and after it was all over with, it was like we had to title the record, and I just kind of said, “Hey John, what do you think about the title Peace?”
I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it, I put a whole lot of feeling into it. I needed a word that we could meditate on, that just didn’t have any significance super-detailed meaning. It’s very broad. It’s very general. It’s just a word that we can meditate on when we’re referring to the record, and it’s a word we needed to see and hear and feel because the whole thing was developed through conflict. John and I never wanted conflict, man. That wasn’t really in our cards. It was a war that was brought upon us and we just had to deal with it. In the end, we just want to make music. So that’s why we called it Peace.
In light of everything you went through, all the bullshit for lack of a better word, is your relationship to Vista Chino different than your relationship to Kyuss because of that?
Yeah. I haven’t had a journalist put it to me that way, but I think that’s 100 percent accurate. I have an entirely different relationship with Vista Chino than I do with KyussKyuss was a great band. I think musically speaking, we were an impressive band and I’m very appreciative of the people that have come to enjoy the music over the years, but something that I think a lot of fans don’t understand – and it’s actually better they don’t – is that Kyuss was a band just rife with dysfunction. We didn’t really get along all the time. We were four dudes from the middle of the desert, and we just couldn’t have been four more different guys. I think the most extreme example would be the relationship between Josh and I, which, ironically enough, happened to be the two guys that the chemistry was where a lot of the creativity was coming from. But Josh and I couldn’t be two more different guys. To me, it was always a shame, because as much as I loved Kyuss – I loved the band, I loved what we stood for and what we originally were – to me, Kyuss was a blues band.
It was a spiritual thing. I’m a very spiritual guy. My friends make fun of me, call me the hippie, you know what I mean? But I’m just like a spiritual guy, man. I don’t look at the world through linear eyes, man. I look at this world with my soul, man. That’s how I relate to the world. That’s how I hear and see and taste and feel things. And that’s what Kyuss was for me. And it wasn’t that for Josh. It just wasn’t a spiritual thing for Josh. It was an entirely different thing. So it just naturally didn’t last. Now Vista Chino is a band where we’re all spiritually on the same page, and I feel liberated. I feel like I can exercise my love of rock music with these guys who I love playing this music that I love and helped create. There’s this spiritual unity and I feel it’s awesome, and it was at the expense of the name, but lucky for me, I’m not in it for names. I’m in it for music.
Did you write that last riff at the end of “Acidize/The Gambling Moose” for that jam at the end?
The very last riff?

[Mouths the riff].
Oh no, that’s a Bruno Fevery riff, and then I think it blossomed into another riff that might’ve been mine. But Bruno and I worked really close. I’d say that was a Bruno riff for sure.
How did bringing Mike Dean in come about?
To go to the top of that story, you know, when we got hit with the lawsuit, Nick really tweaked – no pun intended. He really freaked out and left the band. We had some obligations that we were already committed to. We were basically like, “What do we do here, man? We’re really getting beat up. Do we just fold or do we move forward?” and both John and I were like, “Fuck it. We’ve got Bruno, he’s down. He wants to do this. We’ve committed. Let’s move forward. We’ll call in a friend to play bass, take care of our commitments,” and that’s what led us all the way up to the making of the record. That particular bass player just wasn’t cutting it in the studio, so we ended up calling Nick. He was kind of getting in touch with us around that time. Things just all worked out. Nick came out to the desert, blew out all the tracks. He played wonderfully. I think the bass on this record, as far as Nick goes, is some of the best bass playing I’ve ever heard him perform or record, and everything was awesome. We patched up all the BS, and got back to our love and then we were getting ready to go down to Australia, which was a really important gig for us, man. A really important tour. It was the last tour that we were legally getting to do as Kyuss Lives! It was a tour that was financially very important – we had to pay off all our legal and pay off Josh and Scott with all that shit. It was a tour that was mandatory. It had to happen.
About a week before we left, we just couldn’t get ahold of Nick and we needed to get his visa sorted out. We were really in bad shape, and it turned out Nick got into some problems in his personal life again, and he wasn’t gonna be able to go to Australia. We were in a serious pinch and I was like, “Oh my god, bass players are driving my life crazy.” So I just said fuck it. I had a glass  of wine and I shot for the moon. I said, “You know, my favorite rock bass player ever is Mike Dean. I’ve known Mike for years. I’m just gonna fuckin’ call him up. I’ve got nothing to lose at this point.” So I called up Mike, and he’s been jamming with us ever since. In a lot of ways, I feel like he’s always been there. He’s a wonderful guy, an amazing bass player, a great musician. And Nick. I love Nick. I feel like Nick’s always going to be a part of this. This is a home for him. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Nick, but to be honest, right now we’re in a situation where we’re really stoked and things are working. Things are working really well right now with Mike, so we’re just going to roll with it. We’re all very content.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the band yet, what does Mike bring to the material on stage?
Mike’s a very musical bass player. He’s got a lot of groove. He’s got a great pocket. I think he’s the funkiest bass player of the two, meaning Scott and NickNick plays with a pick and he’s very conservative, very tasty, very respectful of the tune. Scott is a very tasty bass player. He pushes the envelope as far as showboating, but he’s got great swing. He was a drummer to begin with, so he’s got good rhythm. Mike has a very unique style. I had always enjoyed – even when I was younger and listening to a lot of Corrosion of Conformity and stuff, especially the Animosityrecord – I always enjoyed the confidence and authority that’s a real authentic approach to the bass guitar with Mike. He had a character. There’s a character there. I always believe that every musician, their musicality perfectly represents their personality. Mike is just a really cool, grounded dude. He’s got a really pure, rad, rounded outlook on life, and he’s all positive. He’s a very positive dude, and I hear that and I see it and feel it in his bass playing, so when we’re on stage now, to go back to what I was saying, it’s a really nice, groovy, positive vibe that’s happening literally in the music. It’s really, really awesome and very powerful.
Could you see yourself writing new Vista Chino material with Mike on bass?
Oh, 100 percent. We talk about it all the time. At this point in our careers and lives, we’ve all got wives and families and kids and we live in different parts of the world, so having that ability to come in and hang out in the garage and drink beers and jam all day, we don’t totally have that luxury now. It’s just a matter of our yearly schedules jiving. Mike’s still spearheading Corrosion of Conformity, they’re an amazing band and we certainly want them to exist, so it’s just a matter 
of getting our schedules to jive, and if we can get our schedules to jive, I don’t see any reason why we wouldn’t start moving into new material all together. We’ll just see how it works out.

I figured it’s a while off either way.
What’s the status of your solo stuff? Will you do another Brant Bjork and the Bros. record?
Yeah. Music’s my life. It’s all that I’ve ever done. So I’m always recording, always demoing, always writing, always dreaming, and I’ve got a lot of solo material on the shelf. I’m gonna release a record, I may at the end of this year, a solo record, and it’s called Jacuzzi, just kind of an instrumental record of some tracks that I cut through years ago. It’s just stuff that’s really celebrating my love of funk and breakbeats and jazz and stuff like that. I plan on getting back to my solo work for sure and I’m really, really eager to do so. I’m feeling a lot of inspiration and just really inspired right now, but I’m focused on Vista Chino, which is a really important thing for all of us. We’re committed to it and we’re committed to supporting this record and we want to quickly make another one, so we’ll just see. We’ll see how everything works out.
Having your own studio is probably handy in the meantime.
That was 20 years in the making, man. That was a dream realized. I’m really stoked on that. That’s going to be a major, major factor in my ability to put out some awesome shit.
Do you know what Vista Chino’s doing after this US run? Will you go back to Europe this year?
As soon as we’re done with the North America run, we go back and do a fall hard-ticket in Europe. It’ll be our full-on European tour. It’s like six weeks. It’s a whopper, but it’s a beautiful-looking tour, and I think it’s gonna do really well. The tour we just did in Europe a week and a half ago was fantastic. The fans are great, the response was amazing. And that was without the record out, so I think it’s gonna be a really, really awesome tour.
Any last words to add before we wrap it up?
My last thoughts are, I know that Vista Chino is something that evolved out of conflict, and I know that’s kind of a drag. I know that with conflict, people seem to just naturally pick sides and stuff, and that’s just a real drag to me, but that’s the nature of things. Really, Vista Chino is not for people who have fear about what we’re doing, it’s about people who don’t have fear. Kyuss is a band that a lot of people love for a lot of different reasons. It’s genuine love and I appreciate that. But where there’s love, there’s also fear. People don’t want change. People want to fantasize about something and romanticize it. So the people that fear what we’re doing, Vista Chino’s not for them. The people who don’t fear what we’re doing, that’s what this is all about. This is for them.

Line Up :
John Garcia
Brant Bjork
Bruno Fevery

Label :
Napalm Records

Tracklist :
  1. "Good Morning Wasteland" - 0:59
  2. "Dargona Dragona" - 4:47
  3. "Sweet Remain" - 3:10
  4. "As You Wish" - 5:01
  5. "Planets 1 & 2" - 6:32
  6. "Adara" - 4:39
  7. "Mas Vino" - 1:26
  8. "Dark and Lovely" - 6:14
  9. "Barcelonian" - 3:31
  10. "Acidize...The Gambling Moose" - 13:00
Bonus Tracks
  1. "Carnation" - 4:14
  2. "Sunlight at Midnight" - 3:49

dimanche 10 novembre 2013

Album de la Semaine : Baron - Columns



Review de l'album, par Mat Colegate de The Quietus

At five in the morning, when the seafront is empty of everything apart from the scattered remains of bonfires and the odd sleeping drunk, and the bruised sky melts between the gaps in the terraced houses, Brighton can feel like a way point between worlds. The town's history of unfettered excess drapes across it like a moth-eaten curtain, mingling with a thousand day-afters' worth of regrets as the shell of the West Pier creaks like an arthritic limb: a throbbing reminder of when good times seemed limitless and the pain never came to stay. Baron's Columns evokes that liminal time. The five am of all-too-clear thoughts, chilled hands cupping lit cigarettes and heavy, unshakeable regrets.
Baron's sharing of members with untethered progressive stallions Diagonal had me expecting a riot of galloping tempo changes and nostril-flared sax runs, but while progressive rock is still very much a part of Baron's DNA (or elixir vitae, as seems more appropriate) it's a different strand that is being evoked here, with Columns harking back to Vangelis's Earth, Traffic's late and almost totally unlamented Fly Like An Eagle and even Talk Talk's Spirit Of Eden. It's a subdued, slow-burning record where the vocals are crooningly intoned and the instrumentation washes across the song instead of jabbing and spitting at it.
Columns is full of shaded space, the keyboards taint everything a deep, dark blue while saxes rise nomadically from the murk like Terry Riley's pink elephants. It's deep hued and heavy of brow and paces forward steadily rather than breaking into a gallop. That Baron hail from Brighton feels right: the album sounds like a stumble down the seafront during twilight - during the creaking hour - with a heavy heart, as a bottle of Lucozade turns into a magic wand in your hands.
Indeed, when Columns breaks from this mode - most noticeably on the second track, 'Comea' - it serves to pull the listener out of the experience a little. Its spider dance of a riff calls to mind the great desert landscapes of more conventionally caped and sorcerous fayre: bands with names spoken of but in lore, such as Greenslade and Crabby Appleton. But the rest of Columns is a very different, very, dare I say it, urban, experience. And its hushed and reverent atmosphere, its morning-after grey pallor, is the principle reason for its charms.
Yet, this is still prog, with all that that entails, including the occasional pleasingly ripe lyric. "Into the mouth of a demon messiah / Into the trance from which I never tire" croons Alex Crispin (why must the wise one speak in such confounding riddles?!) "When the prophet speaks/ He keeps more to himself than his tongue…" he sings, no doubt to a chorus of 'verily's from some imaginary mead-quaffing throng. Occasionally the mixing of these two strands produces hallucinatory results - images of urbanised wizardry, dusky rituals on top of Devil's Dyke, divining the future from the seagull innards splashed down West Street - occasionally it brings to mind Morton Harkett fronting a night-side King Crimson, which is, let's face it, even better.
There's regular loveliness as well, especially when 'SSI's fizzing synthesisers and harmonised, angelic coda slip weightlessly past into the seven-minute-long closer, 'Miracle', in which keyboards jangle conspiratorially over prowling bass and drums and Crispin drops a reference to a soothsayer into the first line. Indeed, the final track sums it all up extremely well: totteringly laden with import, heavy in atmospheric detail and pleasingly, daffily pretentious, it represents the album in miniature and it's a total blast.
Line up :
Alex Crispin, Luke Foster, Peter Evans, Blue Firth
Label :
Tracklist :
01 – Gload
02 – Comea
03 – Hearth Shell
04 – Sinner
05 – New Follower
06 – Prov Nom
07 – Orgecca
08 – S.S.I
09 – Miracle
10 – Bile

dimanche 3 novembre 2013

Album de la Semaine : The Gathering - Afterwords

The Gathering


Interview de The Gathering, par Christos Doukakis de Subexistance

The Dutch trip-rockers The Gathering need no further introduction. In the very interesting interview that follows, Frank Boeijen  talks, among others, about “Highlander”, the departure of their previous singer Anneke and their career’s landmark album “How To Measure A Planet”.Here is the interview for subexistance.
Tell us the most recent news regarding the band?We are now currently working very hard to finish quite a number of new songs. The plan is to release them in some form this spring (2011).The new songs are still in development but they sound very adventurous and is touching areas where we’ve never been before.
What do you remember back to the days when you were watching “Highlander”? Which are the main differences between then and now?Haha, that is actually a long time ago! When we started the band in 1989 when I was 16 years old!! So yeah, you can say that there is a whole new world now if you compare it with those days. Nowadays there is of course the internet, so if I want to watch highlander, I just watch snippets on youtube. Back then, there was a friend’s friend who had the movie on VHS cassette. We just went over there and watch the movie together. Because of the internet, things have changed hugely, I think.. Also in the music industry, it’s much tougher now to start a band from scratch. There are so many bands, so many acts nowadays. In this modern technical age you can easily record and release your own music on the net, which makes it also very interesting as well. Everybody can have an artistic expression and share this with the audience with a few mouse clicks. It makes the amount of bands (or any other artistic discipline) really enormous but you are also able to listen (and not miss) al this great art.
Do you still communicate with Anneke? In what way, if so, did her departure affect the rest of the band?No, we don’t have that much of contact any more. Furthermore, because she does not live in our town anymore (Nijmegen). Of course, it had some impact when she left, but we are all over that now. Also because it’s already some time ago.
How was the experience of opening the live shows for bands like Samael, Morbid Angel and Death?Haha, again some time ago! J But what I do remember was that it was good! In general the American bands were (and still are!!) very hard workers! I remember the gigs as very friendly experiences. Trey Azagthoth later on became a huge fan of The Gathering (he liked the HTMAP album especially) Also the gigs with Samael were great! They are still really good! And we are still good friends with them nowadays.
Pls characterize each album you have released with 3 adjectives. Which one, if you had to choose one, do you think has been the most vital for your career so far?
Always.. :young, spontaneous, naïve
Almost a Dance: happy, eager, naïve (again)
Mandylion: serious, grown, genuine
Nighttime Birds: rushed, forced, dreamy
How To Measure a Planet: fresh, exciting, best
If_Then_Else: organic, loved, underrated
Souvenirs: transparent, new, dark
Home: sad, hopeful, ending
The West Pole: fresh, wild, searching
Well, for our public career Mandylion was the most vital. We really reached a wider audience with that one.
How was the recording experience of your most recent album “The West Pole”? Tell us also a few things about your new singer Silje Wergeland.We felt we had to come back with some urgency in our music. We really wanted it to sound fresh and new to let people hear that we are still there and that we are still very inspired to write new stuff. Silje fits in perfectly! She has a lot of feel for our atmosphere and she became also a very good friend. The fact that she is living in Norway doesn’t make it always easy, but it is worth all the hassle to have her in our band!
Fed up by the music industry you established your own label Psychonaut Records. In the first place, why did you get fed up, and what does the future hold for the label?Well, I think it’s a misunderstanding to say that we are ‘fed up’ with the music industry. We (like every other band) actually need the music industry! The thing we got fed up with was the fact that we often were pigeonholed in I typical corner we didn’t feel that good. Especially some people at our former label (CM) tried to push us into a kind of direction which was far away from what we really were. Of course they did also a lot of good stuff for us like promoting and creating possibilities, but at some point we wanted to try things for ourselves.
Your double album “How To Measure A Planet?” is still being considered by a lot of fans the milestone in your career. Do you share the same thoughts? Why do you think it’s being considered as your most significant moment?I have to agree that it is indeed one of our best and most successful albums (on an artistic perspective). We worked with a new producer Attie Bauw. He really had a total different view on things, which helped us a lot in songwriting and sounds. We (Attie included) were also into a lot of really good new albums those days (Radiohead’s OK Computer, Massive Attack’s Mezzanine, Portishead). All this new music had a great influence on us, and how we could express ourselves. All these resulted in a double album, which was looked up on really strange by a lot of people in the beginning. But later the album’s value was understood by a lot of people.
Describe us a typical ‘Gathering day’, when the band is not on tour….Well, most of us are having other jobs as well. So it depends what you mean with typical. But when we are not playing, we mostly are working during daytime and rehearsing and recording stuff in our little studio at the evening/night.
Which are your top-5 Dutch bands for the time being?Well there is a lot of new talent lately in NL! The bands I’m going to mention now are in a randomly order (don’t want to rate them, because each one has a unique quality). The Black Atlantic, De Staat, Moss, Lola Kite, Blaudzun.
Give us your top-5 records for 2010.1:Teen Dream – Beach House
2:High Violet – The National
3:Swim – Caribou
4:Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter
5:Forget – Twin Shadow
Which are your plans for 2011? Any chance visiting Greece?Like I said we are planning to release something new in spring. After that we try to tour quite some bit, and of course we hope to end up in Greece as well!
Feel free to send a message to our readers.Well, I wish all the readers a happy and healthy new year with loads of new good music! Have a great time! 
Thank you.Thank u 2!!!! Was a pleasure!

Line Up :
Silje Wergeland
René Rutten
Marjolein Kooijman
Hans Rutten
Frank Boeijen

Label : 
Psychonaut Records

Tracklist :
01. S.I.B.A.L.D.
02. Echoes Keep Growing
03. Afterwords
04. Tuning In, Fading Out
05. Areas
06. Gemini III
07. Afterlights
08. Sleep Paralysis
09. Bärenfels