Tag Archives: dance

REVIEW: Paul Kalkbrenner // Icke Wieder

The newest Paul Kalkbrenner offering is something magical. The German electronic musician/ actor weaves a strangely unsettling, yet beautiful acoustic tapestry in his eighth full-length, Icke Wieder.  The opening track “Boxig Leise” is driven mostly by a gorgeous sprawling synth-heavy effervescence that gets you in the mood for dancing, yet flirts with a dark final section, giving an ominous contrast to the happy tune. In fact, the album seems to straddle the best elements of dark and light, the sensual and the surreal, and Kalkbrenner seamlessly transitions between these polarities. One standout track,“Des Stabes Reuse” is downright unsettling, sounding like something caught between a celebration of life cut short in a war-torn place. Kalkbrenner’s no cynic though, as best heard with “Gutes Nitzwerk,” a harmonic electro symphony of the same anthematic proportions of Swedish House Mafia. (Paul Kalkbrenner Musik/ Rough Trade)

Advertisements

INTERVIEW: HOLY GHOST!

FOR THE BLOCK MAGAZINE
Static on the Wire, by Holy Ghost!, is arguably one of the best combinations of deep funk, ferocious percussion and pillow-talk lyricism sure to make the most uptight of British nannies drop their panties.  Loaded with satin romance driven by fat, bass-heavy disco beats, Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser, the mortal beings behind the music, have deep sensibilities lining their hearts. The electronic duo, hailing from Brooklyn, could easily be described as the epitome of the American dream—from two kids running amok in the streets of New York to two glowing beacons of creative prosperity.
Frankel and Millhiser met at an elementary in Manhattan, and instantly became friends. “I don’t remember exactly the first time we met, although it was in the second grade. I suspect we met somewhere in the hallway,” Millhiser says, before taking a long drag on his American Spirit cigarette. He’s quick to correct the assumption that him and Frankel were partners in juvenile tomfoolery. “We were pretty good kids. Everybody thinks it’s so crazy we grew up there, but none of my friends did crazy drugs or got pregnant or anything. We had so little time to get bored or get into trouble. I think boredom breeds serious trouble.”
Twenty minutes later, singer Frankel tells a slightly more familiar story of parental tough love. Raised in a strict Jewish household, Frankel’s early life set the bar for high expectations. “Our parents didn’t tolerate any bullshit. Especially from me as their first kid. When I got to high school I did my share of NYC hooligan antics, but growing up, school was definitely important.”
Partly planned, and partly accidental, Frankel’s conversation angled itself more and more like a therapy session. While much of their music is dirty, suggestive and infectious on the dance floor, the duo is incredibly grounded, despite having achieved huge successes early in life. With doting parents, the band’s choice to be professional musicians was not always the easiest family conversation.
“When I was in another band with Nick, we got a record deal when we were 17 years old, with Capitol Records,” Frankel says. “We got the deal during senior year, and I was like “Fuck college!” but my parents were like “What? We just spent 17 years of private school tuition for you to be in a band?” So they were a little skeptical at first, for sure.”
Now that Frankel and Millhiser have achieved critical acclaim from all over the world, their parents have mellowed out. Both of their parents come out to all their shows in New York, and even dance up storms at their DJ sets. “Now they say they supported us the whole time, that being musicians was their idea!” Frankel laughs, flicking the ashen embers off his preferred Camel brand.
Much of the Holy Ghost! sound comes from pure, unadulterated production. Abstaining from the digital-heavy equipment that has often become the recording norm, the electro group’s silken disco sound is instrumentally authentic. Millhiser even abstains from listening to music on headphones. “I hate the way modern rock records are recorded,” he says. “Everything is super compressed, every take is edited to perfection, and everything is autotuned. Everyone knows autotune and it’s like everything’s gotta be perfectly on key. To me, it sounds horrendous and it just sucks all the fun and spontenaiety out of it.”

CANCELLED SHOWS, DEADMAU5 HOSPITALIZED FOR EXHAUSTION

Canadian DJ Deadmau5 was hospitalized for exhaustion after collapsing at a club last night in Washington D.C. The illustrious house musician, whose real name is Joel Thomas Zimmerman, was rushed to the hospital following a bout of vomiting and exhaustion, his Facebook management page read.

The following shows have been cancelled:

August 1st Osheaga Music & Arts Festival, Montreal Canada
August 7th Summersonic Osaka Japan
August 8th Summersonic Tokyo Japan
August 12th Cream at Amnesia Ibiza
August 13th Cocorico Riccione Italy
August 14th Papaya Summer Festival Croatia
August 15th Sziget Festival Budapest Hungary
August 17th Cavo Paradiso Mykonos Greece
August 18th Opium Mar Barcelona Spain

Deadmau5’s career has been a blaze of production over the last two years, with four full-length albums released and tireless touring. His 2010 album For Lack of a Better Name won him a Juno Award in 2010 in the category of Dance Recording of the Year.

Miike Snow/ Delorean

Miike Snow

A Miike Snow concert is truly the best remedy for the tedium of a Monday night. Morphing into sexed-up animals, the crowd was delighted by the electro pop anthems and pounding bass soundscapes emanating from the Swedish trio.

Spanish indie rockers Delorean raised the bar for Miike Snow with their blistering performance. With singer/ bassist Ekhi Lopetegi looking like something of a mediterranean Jesus, the band’s sonic dreamscapes were faintly reminiscent of the eclecticism of Animal Collective.

Dominated by white beams of light and intense smoke clouds, the stage nicely complemented Miike’s Nordic, glacial aesthetic. After baiting the crowd with smoke and mirrors for some time, the band came out wearing creepy white masks, raising intrigue and anticipation. Kicking off the show with a five-minute psychedelic jam, they transitioned into “Cult Logic,” arguably the most infectious and anthematic track off their album. Satisfying the ravenous crowd, the trio played favourites like as “A Horse is Not A Home” and “Black and Blue,” remaining true to the album but sounding less processed and more spontaneous. Tearing off the white plastic mask, frontman Andrew Wyatt completely killed it during “Plastic Jungle,” a song about the brutal, military-likeness of postmodern life.

Stockholm-natives Wyatt, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg have garnered much deserved acclaim for their self-titled debut, which came out last year. Rich with layered, complex synth rhythms and salacious lyrics, the band’s sound is also surprisingly dreamy and introspective. Added last minute to the SXSW bill, this group is adding a much-needed cool, Scandinavian touch to the electronic music scene. With a sonic formula that combines beauty, strangeness and the sublime in perfect proportion, Bjork could learn a thing or two from these guys.

Oh, and for those who didn’t know, Karlsson and Winnberg have previously worked together as Bloodshy & Avant, a songwriting team that has created songs such as Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and have worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Kelis and Madonna.