Tyondai Braxton is not one to let the grass grow under his feet. The former Battles loop guru / singer has worked with Philip Glass, performed his 2009 record Central Market with orchestras worldwide, and has written commission pieces for artists including Kronos Quartet and Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Now Braxton is taking over the Guggenheim. His new piece, Hive, which is part art installation / part music performance, will have its world premiere on March 21 in New York.
With its new EP, Wax Fang offers four pop-rock tunes that draw from decade-spanning influences. Today’s premiere has a bit of a retro flavor mixed with post-punk simplicity — capped by a one-word vocal hook and a rock-‘n’-roll solo.
For more than two decades, Depeche Mode front-man Dave Gahan was content being the impassioned voice behind the songs of bandmate Martin Gore, whose edgy, genre-stretching synth pop dominated the ’80s club scene and landed unapologetically on ’90s alternative-rock radio. But since 2003, the singer’s distinctive baritone also has served a more personal purpose, fueling the release of his first two solo albums and, in May, his first collaboration with English production duo Soulsavers.
For Gahan, the evolution may have been inevitable.
During the 28 days of February, hip-hop-influenced composer Son Lux was tasked with writing, recording, and arranging an entirely new full-length album. Read how he accomplished the feat while applying a sampler’s process to his unique brand of genre-bending.
Within the relaxed confines of Stillwater, Oklahoma, indie/chamber quintet Other Lives worked tirelessly for 14 months to craft and perfect its sophomore album. The finished product, Tamer Animals, is a delicate blend that balances orchestrated compositions with indie-folk arrangements. Interpretive vocals carry each track to the next, and minor-key melodies provide a peaceful backdrop throughout. Below, frontman Jesse Tabish elaborates on crafting Tamer Animals, its underlying theme of human relationships with nature, and his classical influences.
You used a more personal/private approach in producing Tamer Animals. How did this process alter the making of the album and, more importantly, the outcome?
The time constraint is the biggest thing that comes to my mind. Laying down a guitar track or vocal or whatever it may be in the studio, you have a limited amount of time to get it right. At home, we really tailored everything to the exact sound that we wanted, and if we didn’t know a sound, we had the luxury to search for it. So we spent a lot of time searching out not only new tones and sounds, but we also needed the time to find new approaches to songwriting. So it was a combination of those two that I felt we needed to take it in this direction. The fact that we worked on it until we were happy with it…I can relax. And I had my hands in all aspects of it, so I very much enjoyed it.
Can you expound on the specifics of recording the album?
The initial idea for a lot of these songs came really quickly to me, sometimes in a day or a matter of hours, and I would do my own demo of it. Then the actual, proper recording came about, which took loads of time. It was a real process for every song; it was literally piece by piece, track by track. It was a lot of building, rather than a band going into a room and hashing out a tune. So it was building from the ground up.
Unlike the rest of the tracks, “Dark Horse” is devoid of guitar and bass, and it barely features piano. Why open the record this way?
I felt like [“Dark Horse”] was the first song where we were able to really get away from those core instruments, and in some way, it’s my ideal song off the record because it is free from the path. It was one of the earlier songs, and it was the first song that we did. After that, we realized that we could do the record on our own.
It’s rare to think of tranquil music as “unlistenable,” but Austin, Texas ambient musician Cory Allen’s latest album, Hearing Is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Hears, arguably challenges the listener’s concentration because it is so easy to listen to.
With the ambient piano and keyboards of Hans-Joachim Roedelius and the production and electronic manipulation of Tim Story, Roedelius/Story creates a soundtrack to a Socratic dialogue, an existential debate in which all paths of argument lead to fecund silence.
Announcements are made for new albums from Irepress, Karl Sanders, Black Moth Super Rainbow, and Staff Benda Bilili — a group of paraplegic Congolese street musicians.
Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey releases its new studio album for free; Secret Chiefs 3 announces a concert DVD; Les Claypool announces an outstanding mini festival that will be in a town near you. This and more after the jump.
ALARM columnist Sean-Michael Yoder shares his first five electronic picks in 2009. The list includes Aether’s “melodic” Artifacts, London’s John Tejada with Fabric 44, the pop/dance beats of Hercules and Love Affair’s self-titled album, a Lollapalooza mix, and Jaga Jazzist leader Lars Horntveth’s 37-minute song, “Kaleidoscopic.”