corporeal

Jon Kennedy’s Corporeal Remixed Part 2 Coming Soon

If you’re privy to these pages then you’ll know who Jon Kennedy is. If you’re not, then check out this interview I did with him just last week here and get back to me. No, just wait. Listen to what I’ve have to say, then you can go learn about the man and his music.

On April 6th Jon Kennedy releases Corporeal Remixed Part 2, another collection of great remixes of tunes off of Kennedy’s album Corporeal. The original Corporeal already sounded like a collection of funkified, groove-oriented dance tracks with hints of trip hop, dub, and even old school soul at times. With these tracks going on their second round of the remix treatment things are almost becoming transcendent. Part 2 is skronky and gritty, taking Kennedy’s original intent and taking things further out there.

Here’s what has been officially said about Corporeal Remixed Part 2:

This is the 2nd series of the original LP “Corporeal” remixed. The series has been handed over to some of the best producers in the bass, beats and electronic music scene inc: dbridge, Fila Brazilia, Spikey Tee, Jonny Miller, Marcus Intalex, JFB, Marc Mac(4hero), Young Einstein (Ugly Duckling)

The artwork itself has even been remixed, so to speak. Originally conceived by Beirut based Saeed Slippery Johnson Abu-Jaberr, it has been remixed by Montreal based fjopus7_grfk

Corporeal Remixed Part 2” comes with 2 bonus tracks on general release. The BANDCAMP release has 7 bonus / hidden tracks attached to the purchase ;) which is exclusive to BANDCAMP..

The bonus tracks are worth the price of admission alone. Killer, spaced-out, psych ambient going on. Sorta like if Can got it on with J Dilla and Flying Lotus was at the board. You get where I’m coming from, right? If you don’t, go do your homework.

Corporeal Remixed Part 2 will be available April 6th, 2015 through iTunes, Amazon, and anywhere else that sells music that matters. You’ll also be able to get it here. Click the link and check out a teaser of the album as well.

Or just hang, have a drink, and hit play right here.

Disasterpeace : A Talk With Rich Vreeland

I’d say it was probably a year and a half ago on a Sunday morning I happened across thisdisasterpeace little documentary called ‘Indie Game: The Movie’. It was a great little doc about the struggles of independent video game developers and everything they go through to create their art. One of the games they featured was called Fez. Now, at this point in my life I don’t really play video games. I don’t have enough time in the day to sit down and get lost in a good game. But, if I were still into playing Fez seemed like one I’d dig. It had the look of a new age Mario Brothers. It was filled with clouds, bright colors, and there always seemed to be the possibility of something darker underneath. It seemed at times to be downright existential in it’s on-the-surface lightness. Besides its look, another draw to Fez was the enigmatic music that accompanied it. I’d never really thought about the guy or gal that scores a video game, but it’s no different that someone scoring a film or television show. You need some kind of musical narrative to push the game’s narrative along. Some are better than others. In my opinion, the score for Fez is one of the best.

This past summer my cousin told me about Disasterpeace. We were sitting around listening to records and I played him Jakob Skott’s Doppler. He immediately told me about Disasterpeace. He told me Skott reminded him a lot of Disasterpeace’s music. My cousin is a huge video game guy and had played many games that Disasterpeace had done the scores for. One of those games? Fez. I was ready to dig in and check this Disasterpeace out, but that didn’t happen until much later.

A few weeks ago I’d read about the new indie horror film ‘It Follows’, written and directed by David Robert Mitchell. It’s got quite a buzz around it for its old school scares, great cinematography, and classic synth-y soundtrack. It has that John Carpenter feel that, along with the visuals, keeps you on your toes for the film’s 100 minute run time. Who did the score? Disasterpeace, that’s who.

And who is Disasterpeace? That’s the musical alias of musician Rich Vreeland. I reached out to Rich and asked him a few questions about his craft. He happily obliged.

J. Hubner: So where did you grow up Rich? When did you get the musical bug?

Rich Vreeland: I grew up in a musical household in Staten Island, NY. My step-father was the music director of our church, and he would have the band practice in our basement. I would go down there and play the drums. My mom sings and plays the piano, and my sister has been singing since she could speak. I fooled around for awhile but took up guitar by the time I was in high school.

J. Hubner: So you’re playing guitar in high school. What bands were fueling your guitar playing? 

Rich Vreeland:  Bands like Tool and Rage Against the Machine were a big inspiration to me as a budding guitar player. I became heavily invested in playing pentatonic, odd-metered power chord riffs. As a teenager playing music for the first time, there was something incredibly spellbinding about distorted guitar. I also had a glorious amp, a Fender Vibrolux Reverb from the 60’s that I was dumb enough to sell about five years ago.

J. Hubner: So when did you make the move from guitars to synthesizers?

Rich Vreeland: I spent a couple of years making lots of guitar recordings before discovering synths and a more digital workflow. I would say those experiences were the foundation of my music education, although I did go to Berklee College of Music later and learned a ton there.

J. Hubner: I wanted to ask you about your music. What is your setup for creating and recording?

Rich Vreeland: I do all of my production work ‘in the box’, as they say. My software tool of choice is Logic. I am a self-professed minimalist, and I don’t like having lots of things around that I don’t use on the regular. I’ve had various instruments and synthesizers over the years, and I’ve sold just about all of them. I keep three MIDI keyboards: a tiny one situated at my desk, a huge one with piano keys and a middle-sized one stored away for the occasional performance. I also have an upright piano, and that is my prized possession. I find the difference between digital and analog synths is not noticeable enough to warrant me owning any keyboards, but I still go to acoustic instruments when that need arises.

J. Hubner: At what point did you start writing music for video games? How did you get into that world? 

Rich Vreeland: Not long after I started making recordings in 2003, I began to post my work on the internet. I found that there were many individuals more than happy to listen and provide feedback. Early on, this process was highly addictive; the dopamine/adrenaline of getting feedback hooked me, regardless of its quality or temperament. In 2005, while posting my music on an internet forum, I was contacted by a gentleman who heard and liked my music and happened to be the CEO of a company that made cell phone games. We ended up working on a few projects, and this was my first realization that I could get paid to write music.

J. Hubner: I’d never really put much thought into the music I was hearing as I played games like Castlevania, Kid Icarus, and Super Mario Bros growing up as a kid. But looking back that music was an integral part of the experience. 

Rich Vreeland: A great game can be a masterful culmination of many mediums and skills. I am often in awe of the amount of effort and talent that go into making a great game. I will always have a soft spot for games, and they have taken me to many different places creatively. Ultimately though, the driving force for me has been music.

J. Hubner: Can you give me a little insight into the process of scoring a video game? Are you sent videos of scenes? Stills? Are you given certain cues by the developer to hit emotionally?

Rich Vreeland: I have taken a very particular career path even within the niche of writing music for games. I tend only to work with small independent teams because they often make the best games with the fewest restrictions. I love the potential combination of informality and intense auteurism. I also hate red tape and dealing with large companies, because they never have your interests at heart. In dealing with a small team, there are no middle-men, and everyone is directly beholden to each other. It seems harder to strive for these ideals in film, but I do my best to work on projects where I have the utmost freedom. That being said, I’m also not afraid to take direction when someone has a clear vision. David(Robert Mitchell) was unquestionably in the driver’s seat when it came to the music for It Follows, and I was happy to help him channel what he wanted because we have a mutual respect.

J. Hubner: I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask you about your work on the game Fez. Watching Indie Game: The Movie, the process of creating that game seemed ripe with drama and disappointment. How was it on your end with the score?

Rich Vreeland: Working on FEZ was cathartic. Phil Fish and I were on the same page aesthetically, and it was smooth sailing the whole way. I also had tons of support from Renaud Bedard, the game’s programmer. Together we designed a music system that allowed us to do things I had only dreamed of doing in games before that point. I came onto the project about a year and a half before its completion, and I tried to stay out of the spotlight that surrounded the game and its past and just focus on the work.

J. Hubner: Listening to your work I can hear so many musical moods and echoes of artists, both old and new, that I’m very fond of. From film composers like John Carpenter, Fabio Frizzi, and Walter Rizzati, to newer artists like Oneohtrix Point Never, Com Truise, and Sinoia Caves. Has synth music had a huge impact on you in how you create? 

Rich Vreeland: If I didn’t admit that the prevalent use of synths in pop culture affected me growing up, however subconscious, I would be lying. By the time I was working on FEZ, I had a sense of what synths could do and what I wanted them to do. I don’t think that came from any particular artist, but just from a general exposure to synth music over the course of my life. When people told me FEZ sounded like Vangelis, I had to go look him up because I never listened to his music intentionally before. And yet, his style is such a staple of the 80’s that it’s impossible I hadn’t heard his music in some context before then.

J. Hubner: So what do you think the appeal is with synthesizers? How did this synthesizer renaissance come about? 

Rich Vreeland: I think there has always been some level of desire for non-orchestral soundtracks for film, but I think synthesizers have crossed the threshold from questions of datedness into potential for timelessness. Granted there is still a lot of 80’s tinge going around, and I am certainly guilty, but I think we are reaching a point where synth soundtracks can stand the test of time. All the waveforms and knobs (among other things) allow for an incredibly deep approach to sound design, and they’re also budget friendly. The barrier to entry is also thousands upon thousands of dollars cheaper than working with a live orchestra, so there’s that.

J. Hubner: So how did you get involved with ‘It Follows’. Was David Robert Mitchell a fan of your work prior to making the film? It looks like a great little horror film, and your score sounds amazing for it. 

Rich Vreeland: David loved the music from FEZ and reached out to me via e-mail. Our initial discussions were straightforward; we talked logistics and expressed our interest in working together. David touched base early, right before he started filming I believe, and then we fell out of touch for about a year. When he came back to me, prepared to start scoring, I had a lot of projects on the table and was a bit strapped for time. I think I turned him down a few times, but he could tell that I wanted to work on it, and I eventually gave in. I’m glad I did!

J. Hubner: Who were some influences on the music going in to write? Was there certain instrumentation discussed for the music?

Rich Vreeland: We initially talked about exploring an aesthetic with guitars and other acoustic instruments, but eventually we realized that by using synths we could make the scary parts and the not so scary parts still retain cohesion. David and his editors created a thorough temp score that became my bible for the film. The score featured cues by John Carpenter, Penderecki, John Cage, and even some of my pieces from FEZ. For scary scenes, I tried to make the music as dissonant and weird as possible and pull out all the stops to one-up the temp cues in every way I could. For some of the more melodic, ominous pieces, I was channeling Goblin a bit, especially for tracks like “Detroit”. David had a definite affinity for the music from FEZ, and we took steps to honor that aesthetic but also bring something new to the film. FEZ ended up providing a template for a few of the cues, which was not my favorite idea at the time but in hindsight I think it was a worthwhile and challenging exercise. David developed a serious case of ‘temp love’ for those FEZ cues. It was very difficult to steer him away from those initial pieces that he felt already worked well in capturing emotions he wanted to express. Referencing material from other composers was a satisfying process, but I will say that trying to reference some of my pieces was the most challenging of all. I release all of my music under the name Disasterpeace, so that trend will continue.

J. Hubner: Is film scoring something you’d like to explore further? You seem to have a real knack for it. 

Rich Vreeland: Thanks! I don’t discriminate when it comes to the medium. I truly enjoy making music in lots of different ways. I would love to work on another film. I’m also keen to work with live musicians more, and down the line I’d like to write the music to a play.

J. Hubner: I read one of your blog posts recently where you stated you were getting away from physical media, in regards to releasing your work. No CDs or vinyl, just digital platforms. As someone who’s concerned with our carbon footprint and what sort of world my children have to look forward to in 20, 30 years from now I get that and can appreciate that decision. As someone who buys music exclusively on vinyl I’m also a bit disappointed as well(laughs). I was wondering if you could talk a little more about that decision.

Rich Vreeland: I came to a realization that the numbers don’t quite add up right now. There’s no way for me to practice my desire to be respectful towards the environment while also mass producing plastics. If there comes a time when making vinyl is environmentally sustainable, then I will revisit the topic. I should say though that we are releasing CDs and vinyl for this film. I made an exception at the behest of the director, who thought it would be of great benefit to the movie. Sometimes I don’t feel like a decision is mine to make. I felt like I would be doing David a disservice by refusing his wish in this instance.

J. Hubner: So what’s next for Disasterpeace? How does the rest of 2015 look?

Rich Vreeland: Right now, I am working on a guest-directed episode of Adventure Time, and a minimalistic subway layout game called Mini Metro. After that, I’ll be diving into a Miyazaki- inspired dungeon crawler called Hyper Light Drifter, and a Flatland-inspired Japanese garden game called Miegakure. In case you can’t tell, I love how different those all sound and are!

 

It Follows hits theaters March 13th, 2015. You can preorder the vinyl edition of Disasterpeace’s score here. It’s available now digitally. Keep up with everything Disasterpeace here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Stephen Gere

Built To Spill’s “Living Zoo”

 

Featured image taken by Stephen Gere

When I heard that Built To Spill were releasing a new album this year I was ecstatic. I was latebts to the Built To Spill party, but once I got there I was doing metaphorical beer bongs and planning my new beard I was going to grow in honor of lead Spiller Doug Martsch. I was instantly enamored with Martsch and his guitar playing, not to mention his vocals that seemed ghostly and earthy at the same time.

The last album they released was 2009s underrated There Is No Enemy. And while it was a great record, six years is a long time in-between albums. Fortunately for us fans Doug and company weren’t completely off the radar. They toured, they lost a couple long time members in drummer Scott Plouf and bassist Brett Nelson, but they never hinted that they were done by any mean. Well today they have released the first single off of their new album Untethered Moon. The song is called “Living Zoo” and it makes me very happy. Really, it has the upbeat vibe of Keep It Like A Secret with the scruffy, fuzzy sound of You In Reverse. It’s, dare I say, a future Built To Spill classic. Jangly guitars, windy solos, and Martsch’s folksy and poppy vocals make this track one you want to keep hitting play on. Just like I have. And will continue to do.

Check it out below. Untethered Moon drops on 4/21 via Warner Bros.

past lives

A Minor Detour

Hello. How’d the weekend go? You did what? Why you dirty bugger, you. How can you evenme look at yourself in the mirror after that sort of behavior. You’re an adult. You know better than to do those sorts of things. You know, I’m not sure we can hang out anymore. Just,…just grab your things and be on your way.

Nah, I’m just pulling your chain. We’re good(seriously, you should see a therapist or something.)

Okay, so on this extremely cold Monday morning I thought I’d deviate from the usual bag of tricks and share something personal. Yes, it’s self-congratulatory time. It’s been awhile since I’ve jumped on the big internet machine and talked about my own artistic work. The reason being is that I’ve been taking my sweet time on that artistic work. In my older age the idea of hammering out an album’s worth of songs in two days doesn’t really appeal to me all that much. I still enjoy the spontaneity of improvised music and the thrill that comes with it, but this current piece I’m sharing with you today seemed to yearn to be sculpted and molded a bit more. It wasn’t as spontaneous and improvised as I thought it was.

Well my original intent for this little project was to take a three-day weekend and create a piece of music one day, then the next day make a video for the piece of music and post it the same day. I had the best of intentions, anyways. The music just didn’t feel complete to me after the second day so I held onto it. The next two weekends I added something here and there. Pulling back some tracks, while bringing others into the fold. The result is a 10-minute sound collage that seems rather cohesive to me. It feels like a dreamy, half-dazed journey. You get the feeling it’s going to be just this atmospheric piece with sounds coming in and out of the mix -and to a certain extent it is that- but at about the 5-minute mark something happens. I’m not going to say what. You’re gonna have to listen to it and find out for yourself. I’ll just say it’s a nice surprise and some fun mixing and engineering on my part.

So if long form instrumental pieces filled with hazy atmospherics(and possibly some fuzzy psych rock shoved in the middle for good measure) isn’t your cup of tea, I do apologize(no I don’t.) On the brighter side I’m working on something completely different as well. I have a project in the works that’s definitely more in the pop-oriented realm of things. My good friend and Cambodia Highbal collaborator Shane Darin Page is helping me out with some beats for some songs and so far it’s sounding really good. I look forward to sharing those songs, just as soon as I finish one.

For now though, give this new song a listen if you don’t mind. I’m digging it, and maybe you will, too. I’ll be back tomorrow with a great interview with musician Rich Vreeland, otherwise known as Disasterpeace.

Happy Monday.

snarks

The Snarks : Night at Crystal Beach

The Snarks Night at Crystal Beach is a firm reminder to my ears why I loved bands like Richardsnarks Hell and the Voidoids, Television, and Talking Heads so much. Much like their post/punk forefathers, The Snarks make aggressive, angry music that feels just as thought out and tailored as a Genesis album from 1974. There’s nothing tossed off about their songs. Night at Crystal Beach is post-punk jangle for both those that remember the beginnings of post-punk, and those just now learning of it. A reminder that great rock ‘n roll is still being made.

The four songs contained on The Snarks EP are in and out quicker than you can Hilly Kristal, but that’s the point. No song is going to wear out its welcome here. “Circles” comes barreling out of the speakers like a caffeinated Dead Boys. Johnson’s vocals rip through the guitars like a razor through tissue paper. There’s a messy guitar solo that puts one in mind of classic Robert Quine. “Fever Shakes” is less about speed and more about attitude, with the band channeling Bikini Kill. “Suntanning Bitches” is equal parts menace and sly humor. It should be playing on college radio stations across the Midwest(college radio still exists, right?) “Human Sacrifice” starts out like a Mudhoney b-side before the band punches up the speed into something like The Germs and early Blondie. Four songs. In and out. There’s nothing left to do but hit play and do it all over again.

There’s a new sound brewing in the Fort. It’s tough and precise. It’s volatile and well-contained. It’s brash and subtle. The Snarks are, on the surface, a punk band with at times regal tendencies. They wear the spirit of punk proudly on their sleeves, but Kendra Johnson, Bart Helms, Zach Kerschner, Dan Kinnaly, Dan Amos, and former drummer Ben Hoeppner are doing more than just punk rehash. They’re forgetting that the 90s and pop punk ever occurred. The Snarks are going back to where punk and post/punk collided. Their new 7″ EP Night at Crystal Beach is a love letter or sorts to those forefathers that emerged from the grit and grime of lower Manhatten in the mid-to late 70s. Richard Hell and the Voidoids, Television, Talking Heads, Devo, as well as UK post-punk mavericks Wire play a big role in shaping the jangle and jagged riffs The Snarks create. If this 4-song EP is any indication, we may have a post-punk renaissance on our hands.

Metavari_Press2015-1

Metavari’s Moonless Journey

by E.A. Poorman

Metavari are a group of friends and Fort Wayne, Indiana natives that make the kind of music you can simply get lost in. It has a dream-like quality to it that allows you to let the outside world disappear for a little while as you become enveloped in their hazy electric piano, synths, and subtle beats.

Plus, there’s some really cool visuals at their shows to help you disengage from this reality as well.

Metavari are Nate Utesch, Kyle Steury, Ty Brinneman, and Andrew McComas and has been for a long time. They seem to be one of those great stories about a local band that worked hard, put in the shows, put in the miles, and made all the right choices about their music and art. And now, after many years of writing and honing their skills the hard work is paying off. They are releasing their new album Moonless this month and are having an album release show on March 7th at The Phoenix, followed by an after show party at The Brass Rail, both in Fort Wayne. I caught up with the band to get the skinny on the album, what they’ve been up to since we last heard from them, and what the future holds for Metavari.

E.A. Poorman: So catch us up with what Metavari has been doing since we last heard from you guys?

Nate Utesch: Here’s the cliff notes edition of what we’ve been up to since our last full length in December 2009. Prepare for some horn-tooting.

2010— we added a fourth member: Kyle Steury. Kyle was a long-time friend and multi-instrumentalist from the band, Darkroom.
Between 2010 to 2012 we went on one US tour, two US/Canadian tours and played 163 shows. Our first show out of the country was to a sold out audience at Casa Del Popolo in Montréal. We were stunned! To make things more unreal, Andrew and Ty met one of the guitarists from Godspeed You! Black Emperor moments before the show. They quickly shared tour stories (at the time we both had the same tour van—our now RIP, Chevy Beauville). And as if that wasn’t thrilling enough, he then ended up running sound for our set. It was goosebumps-all-over all night The second time we made it back to Montréal the website, We Are Post Rock, came and filmed the song “Twilight Over Akaishi” from our set. You can check it out on our website.
We finished two non full-length releases—
2010 – Studies vol.1: Loosen the Bands (an experiment taking field recordings from the US tour supporting Be One of Us and Hear No Noise and turning it into a 17 minute, 1-sided LP)
2011 – volume 24 of Flannelgraph Records’ Excursion Monthly (fives previously unreleased b-sides and rarities)
And then in March 2012, Moonless commenced. We hit pause on all shows and touring and launched into a three-year writing coma. During the time it took to write Moonless Metavari had two weddings and four babies.
E.A. PoormanLet’s talk about the new album Moonless. Electronic music has always been a big part of Metavari’s sound, but Moonless completely embraces it. Can you tell me about the direction of the album and the making of it? Who were some influences Metavari pulled from for the making of this album?

 

Nate Utesch:  We quite consciously made an effort to dream up this next record without letting anything we had written previously influence its direction. We wanted to almost exclusively use analog synthesizers and sequencers. We wanted a fully “electronic” record. We own a Moog Prodigy and at the time we were borrowing the Korg MS2000 and a Yamaha DX7, but had a wish list of dozens and dozens of synthesizers and sounds we needed to make this a reality—the Oberheim Matrix 1000, Roland TR-707, Roland SH-101, Korg Wavestation…the list is endless. We made a couple friends in Los Angeles and incredible ally from Berlin who we paid a fraction of the cost of the physical equipment to record and supply us with a massive catalog of hi-res sounds from almost every synthesizer we’ve ever dreamed of owning. Raw waves we can tune, modulate, filter, etc. from within Ableton. Most of the synths even have multiple oscillators. They were recorded in multiple octaves so that we aren’t grossly twisting the sounds from their original. Yes it’s blasphemous, but we wouldn’t be using it if we weren’t extremely happy with it. And the best part is that we can take these libraries with us on the road.

We all love electronic music and are massive fans of a lot of the same artists—old classics like Kraftwerk and Giorgio Moroder, the artists that raised us like Aphex Twin and Daft Punk and new classics like like Ford & Lopatin and The Tough Alliance. We deconstructed the production of old Chris Hughes and Mike Howlett records and Hugh Pagham-era Genesis and Phil Collins records. We learned some of the sequencing and arpeggio patterns used on our favorite Tangerine Dream records. Scoured the earth for the Linn LM-1 drums used in old Prince records. And we are so deeply inspired by the saxophone in Angelo Badalamenti and Al Regni’s work on the Twin Peaks soundtracks and Will Gregory’s work on Songs from the Big Chair. 
E.A. Poorman: Moonless was a crowd-funded album. How was that experience? Is it something you guys would consider doing again?
Nate Utesch: Kickstarter was a dream come true and an ongoing nightmare wrapped into one. There’s no denying how insanely grateful we are for the thousands and thousands of dollars our friends, family and fans gave us to write Moonless. But we are four excitable, impulsive dudes who didn’t think everything through to the end. Although we raised as much as we asked for—we needed (and ultimately spent) more than three times that amount. For that reason Metavari bookkeeping has given us all ulcers. We’d probably go that route again for sure, but not without some better planning.
E.A. Poorman: Can you tell me a little about the record company Metavari signed with, Vital Shores? How did the band get hooked up with them?
Nate Utesch: We sent Moonless to 10 record labels around the world. Three of them politely thanked us for the record but said “no thanks.” Three of them listened to the demos but didn’t respond to our emails. Two of them didn’t open our email. And the remaining two volleyed with us for over a month about what the future might look like before ultimately turning us down. So we did our homework, put in the hours and started our own company. The future is—as always—unknown, but for now we run our own international digital distribution, music publishing, limited physical distribution in the US and act as our own publicist as Vital Shores Electronic Music Company. Physical copies of Moonless will be available in New York, Chicago, Austin, Seattle and throughout Indiana—for now!
E.A. Poorman: March 7th is the release show for Moonless. Tell me about the show and what you guys have planned for that? There’s also an after-party as well at a different location. Where are these shows going to be? Will you be selling vinyl copies at these shows?
Nate Utesch: We are so pumped for this show. The release show itself will be at The Phoenix and in addition to us will include sets from our friends in Heaven’s Gateway Drugs and Wickerwolves. We’ll be playing Moonless from start to finish—vocals, sax, sequencing, the whole shebang. We’ll also be featuring a new synchronized light show and video projections for each of the tracks on the record. We’ve enlisted the help of cinematographers and experimental video artists for help in our live set. To name a few, some of the artists include a dude from Singapore who experiments with ferrofluid, magnetism and milk; an artist from Poland who created feedback using analog video effects; an artist from Los Angeles who gave us digital extractions of experiments he created on VHS almost 30 years ago; and two artists from Amsterdam who used macrophotography to record various positions in a liquid light show.

Immediately following the release show we’ll high tail it across the street to The Brass Rail for the after party. If The Phoenix was the wedding, this is the reception. Metavari will DJ a quick set to kick off the night, then one of our most favorite humans, Sankofa, will do what only he does so well. Fresh Ben will wrap up the night and DJ us into the next morning.
E.A. Poorman: Any extensive touring planned to promote Moonless? Any shows already in the works you’d like to tell us about?
Nate Utesch: We’ll be touring Moonless this Spring. We just signed with a booking agency called Sweet Love Touring who is run by the singer from one of our most favorite bands, The Appleseed Cast. Until then our weekends will be filled with one-offs and quick jaunts around the Midwest. We hope to do some in-stores in Indianapolis and Bloomington. We’re also working on release shows in March and April in Chicago, Detroit and Indianapolis.
E.A. Poorman: Moonless is a beautifully-produced and orchestrated record. Lots of dance and synth hallmarks can be heard(from both present and past artists), but it still retains the wandering and expansive sounds of your earlier work. Do you think this is a direction the band has always wanted to head towards? It seems that so many bands that have been tagged with the “post-rock” moniker don’t particularly care for it. Lots of connotations come with that moniker. Does Metavari have that same love/hate relationship with the post-rock label?

Nate Utesch: We started Metavari in 2006 with five members (3 of which were on electric guitar) and an incredibly eager yet novice understanding of sequencing and electronics. So no matter how we littered our songs with beats and arpeggios, the instruments we were most comfortable on became the loudest voices. And on paper those voices equaled, “post-rock.” We are fans of post-rock for sure, but from day one I think we wished we were better at all the things that make this band who we are today. That makes Moonless really exciting for us.

Additionally, there’s singing on this record! Of the twelve tracks on Moonless, seven of them have vocals. Five performed by us and two by our good friends, Burke Sullivan and Chelsey Scheffe. Burke sings on track one, “Heavy Love,” is from Bloomington and makes music under the pseudonym “New Terrors.” He’s an incredible electronic musician and songwriter and the marriage of our production styles is something we’re really proud of on the first track. Chelsey Scheffe sings on track 3, “See Again.” Chelsey is an artist and songwriter from Seattle. She’s a good friend of ours, has an incredible voice and we are huge fans of the projects she’s been a part of in the past: Seattle’s Beat Connection and T|nes.
E.A. Poorman: So what does the rest of 2015 hold for Metavari? Can you see new music coming from you guys in the next couple of years?
Nate Utesch: During the course of Moonless we built the home studio we’ve always dreamed of. Writing is the funnest it’s ever been and we have a lot planned this year. Without over-promising (another lesson we learned from our Kickstarter adventure) we can at least tell you there’s an EP coming yet this year. That said, we’ve been cooped up writing this record for three years saying “no” to so many shows. We cannot wait to play live this year.



Nate and the rest of the Metavari guys seem like a bunch of super nice, down-to-earth fellas. They’re a musical crew that are making some of the most interesting and exciting melodic, pop song-structured electronic music my ears have heard in a long while. Moonless is an incredible record. It’s dense, pulsing, and incredibly catchy electronic music for both the folks that like some depth and layers in their electronic records and those that, well, just wanna move their bodies.
Come out March 7th to The Phoenix for Metavari’s record release show, then follow them across the street to the Brass Rail for the after-party and buy the guys a shot. Head over to http://shop.vitalshores.com/ and order a copy of Moonless. Or if you get into great conversation and the company of fellow physical media lovers, head over to Neat Neat Neat Records and grab a copy from Morrison.

 

 

APTBS

A Place To Bury Strangers : Transfixiation

Transfixiation is the best album A Place To Bury Strangers have made. That’s not to say anythingAPTBS that came before it wasn’t worthy of hurting our ears. But this time around Oliver Ackermann has given the already harsh, dark sound he creates something it really needed: a groove. It’s not all about the numbing squall of a hundred different effects pedals(though there’s still plenty of that), but there’s equal time for the drum and bass duo of Robi Gonzalez and Dion Lunadon to beef up the tracks with some heavy rhythm and backbone.

But there’s still plenty of numbing squall. In droves.

APTBS has a wooziness to their music that is both intoxicating and overwhelming. Usually after about three songs on any one of their records and you start to get the feeling everything is just about to explode. Ackermann is all about sensory overload and he does it like a champ. On Transfixiation, however, he’s honed the aural insanity in and creates direct hits with each song. “Supermaster” and its intensity is in its holding back. Drums and bass carry the song with whisps of guitar noise coming in and out as Ackermann’s subtle singing says “What have I become/What is it that I have done”. It’s a pretty stellar way to open the record. Then “Straight” blows out of the speakers like a bull on fire with some killer drums and bass. Ackermann has the swagger of Mark Sandman in his vocals, which adds to the New York cool of this track. “Love High” sounds like My Bloody Valentine had a love child with The Jesus and Mary Chain. A perfect blend of shoegaze dreaminess and post-punk jaggedness. “What We Don’t See” is nearly hallucinogenic till the drums kick in and then the song almost sounds like a Modern English track run through a tremolo pedal and a blown out speaker cabinet. Then we get to the ominous “Deeper”. Imagine Leonard Cohen fronting Suicide in 1976 and you might have an idea what this song is about. You can almost see Travis Bickle driving around grime-covered Times Square mouthing the words “If you f%#k with me, you’re gonna burn.” This is a dirge of a track.

I’ve always heard a bit of a connection between Ackermann’s songwriting and engineering prowess and that of Trent Reznor. “Lower Zone” is that connection I think. The song is subtle, heavy on bass, and big on distant squall and squeal. It’s short and instrumental, but something I could hear Reznor pull off perfectly. Both guys are studio wizards and are masters at manipulating sound. “We’ve Come So Far” is frantic, loud, and as romantic as I’ve ever heard APTBS get. As romantic as desperation, tension, and trash-strewn city streets can get. “I’m So Clean” is an old school grinder that sounds like The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “The Living End” covered by The Stooges. It’s an impenetrable wall of noise and it’s glorious. “I Will Die” is the most overblown, in-the-red song on here. There’s almost no discerning bass from drums from guitar. It’s just a massive wall of fuzz covered in metal shavings as Ackermann screams from the center of it.

Transfixiation feels like the album where A Place To Bury Strangers have found that balance of noise, melody, restraint, and release. The addition of Robi Gonzalez on drums has put the band over the top, and given them the beating heart they needed. With just a few palpitations here and there.

8.2 out of 10