Posts Tagged ‘Moog’

10 Sun Ra Albums to Blow Your Mind

May 22, 2014

Calling Planet Earth: Sun Ra, the Original Space Musician:
The 100th Centenary on Echoes Tonight

StarburstTonight on Echoes, we take a side trip to a different kind of space music to celebrate the Centenary of Sun Ra.

Upon hearing Sun Ra’s “Constellation” in a blindfold test Brian Eno said, “I wish I had done it myself. I’m extremely envious that somebody else did it. I’d give that five [stars] actually.”

Guitarist Syd Barrett reputedly blew his mind to The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra before launching Pink Floyd.

Guitarist Daevid Allen was inspired by Sun Ra when he formed the Daevid Allen Trio and went on to found The Soft Machine and his long-lived space band, Gong.

SUN RA was the original space musician, although when most people think of space music, he’s probably not the artist who comes to mind. A quick list of cosmic artists might include Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind and Gong. But probably not Sun Ra. Music from the Hearts of Space has never played him, but Sun Ra was creating cosmic fantasies since at least 1956 when he released his first album, Jazz by Sun Ra (later called Sun Song). But, Sun Ra wasn’t “chill” or “contemplative.” He didn’t float through space, he screamed. But he was also funny, funky, and free floating.

Szwed BookSun Ra was born this day, May 22, 1914, a date which wasn’t known until the mid-1990s when author John Szwed dug it up for his excellent book, Space is the Place: The Lives & Times of Sun Ra.   Tonight on Echoes, we’ll delve into the more contemplative side of Sun Ra, on his centenary. He left the planet in 1993.

Thirty Sun Ra albums have just been released on iTunes this week so there’s a great opportunity to catch up on these masterworks. Some of the albums below are in that release.

TEN SUN RA ALBUMS TO BLOW YOUR MIND

Space is the place 1 Space Is The Place
This is a middle period Sun Ra album from 1972 and it’s related to the film of the same name, but it’s not the soundtrack. The album is centered by the side-long title track, a chanting excursion with an insistent funk groove with Danny Thompson playing the baritone riff that anchors you in a series of free blowing excursions from saxophonist John Gilmore, altoist Marshall Allen and Sun Ra while singer June Tyson chants the lyrics of freedom in space.

Heliocentric-12 The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra Volume 1
This is the chamber jazz side of Sun Ra, a music that works with space of the musical kind. Using instruments like the bass marimba, Ra carves out an abstract world that’s about as serene as he gets.
Astro-Black3 Astro Black
This is probably the best example of Sun Ra’s Afrofuturism. The title track is another of Ra’s groove centered songs with heavy synthesizer washes while June Tyson unfolds Ra’s mythology

Astro Black Mythology
Astro Timeless Immortality
Astro Thought in Mystic Sound
Astro Black of Outer Space
Astro Natural of Darkest Stars
Astro Reach Beyond the Stars

It’s intoxicating music.

Solar-Myth V14 The Solar Myth Approach Volume 1
This is another one that uses a lot of space in the music, broken up by mind-fracturing improvisations. The first piece is a prototypical space work with Ra playing a trance pulse while horns drone in long sustained tones creating a mood of mystery and menace. For the flip side of sonic density, get the second volume.

End of the World5 It’s After the End of the World
If you have never seen Sun Ra live, then you really haven’t experienced him in full effect. Released in 1970, this combines two live performances from Europe and features the Arkestra at a peak of tightness and innovation.

Lanquidity6 Lanquidity
This is one of Sun Ra’s best produced albums and also his funkiest and spaciest in a more conventional sense. Among the usual Ra regulars was guest trumpeter Eddie Gale. Ra adopts a space age bachelor pad approach on tracks like “Lanquidity” and “Twin Stars of Thence” and gets downright spooky spacey on “There are Other Worlds They Have not Told your of)”

Montreux 7 Live at Montreux
This album might be overlooked, but it’s a transitional album where Sun Ra began reincorporating swing music into his repertoire. Along with tracks like “On Sound Infinity Spheres” he also plays a roaring version of “Take the ‘A’ Train.”

ra_space_soundtrack8 Soundtrack to the Film Space is the Place
This is a great place to start with Sun Ra. It’s the soundtrack to a science fiction film (what else?) he produced in the early 1970s. It features more muted versions of the title piece and “It’s After the End of the World” as well as Sun Ra themes like “We Travel the Spaceways” and “Outer Spaceways Incorporated.” This is as close as Ra gets to bite-sized.


Media Dreams9 Media Dreams
I cite this album, which I have on an original Sun Ra El Saturn Records pressing with hand-drawn artwork, for one track, the aforementioned “Constellation.” It’s one of the few times where Ra uses a drum machine, in this case a primitive one like you’d find on a home organ, but Ra amps up that groove, doubling it with baritone horns and leads it into a free-funk improvisation with a John Gilmore tenor solo that will rip your gut out.

Patch of Blue10 Impressions of a Patch of Blue by Walt Dickerson
This isn’t a Sun Ra album, proper. He’s a sideman to vibraphonist Walt Dickerson and it’s remarkable to hear him in a more restrained and supportive role, playing celeste and harpsichord against Dickerson’s melodic vibe inventions.

I’ve had a more personal relationship with Sun Ra than with most other musicians. Ra came to Philadelphia in 1968. I arrived in 1972. I saw Sun Ra dozens of times live and when I worked at WXPN I saw him in many studio performances and interviews, some of which I conducted. I produced a radio documentary on him in 1982 and in 1997 I produced another one for NPR’s Jazz Profiles, Sun Ra’s Cosmic Swing.

I’ve written liner notes for a few Sun Ra albums, including the reissue of Lanquidity on the Evidence label. In reading over those notes, I realized a lot of it was about my own personal journey with Sun Ra and probably the reason I felt compelled to do an Echoes show on Sun Ra, even though it’s not quite the sound we have on the program.

 Lanquidity Liner Notes

In the Germantown section of Philadelphia, there’s an anonymous stone rowhouse with little to distinguish it from the other rundown buildings on the block. But for 25 years, this home had an interior glow powered by a seismic engine of big band jazz, cosmic space music and intergalactic tribalism. This was the home of Sun Ra and his Arkestra.

It was an unlikely location for this “band from outer space,” but then, as Sun Ra confessed to me, “Earth is an unlikely place for me to be in the first place.”

SunRaPosterPhiladelphia is often known as a spawning ground for innovative jazz musicians, but it’s also known as a city that musicians eventually leave. John Coltrane, Philly Joe Jones, The Heath Brothers and countless others headed up the New Jersey Turnpike to New York as soon as they garnered any reputation at all. As far as I know, Sun Ra is the only musician to reverse that course of jazz migration, moving to Philadelphia in 1968 and remaining there until he left the planet in 1993.

Lanquidity is one result of this often overlooked chapter in the cosmic annals of Sun Ra. His Arkestra’s gestation in Chicago and pilgrimage to New York City in the glory days of the 60s avant garde are the stuff of legend, but once Ra traveled south to Philadelphia, he might as well have taken a left turn into his hallowed home of Saturn. With long stays in Europe and the west coast and constant touring, he seemed to become a musician of the world rather than a local hero.

Sun Ra arrived in Philadelphia without ceremony, taking up residence at 5626 Morton Street in the declining Germantown section of the city. He said he came because “Philadelphia was the most evil place in the country,” but likely it was because the home was rented to the Arkestra by altoist Marshall Allen’s father. It looked like all the other rowhouses in the neighborhood, except they didn’t have windows covered with tin foil and psychedelic swirls on the door. But then, in the late sixties, that kind of decor hardly warranted a second glance.

Inside the darkened living room, Sun Ra’s electronic keyboards were stacked at one end while the Arkestra piled amongst the frayed furniture and surreal paintings of aliens and Egyptian symbology. Tucked amidst this clutter was an array of cosmic and spiritual paraphernalia. Ra would pull books off the shelf and floor, usually weighty philosophical-mystical tomes like “Book of Urantia.” A garish psychedelic oil painting of Ra, done by a fan, stared from the walls while the aroma of Ra’s vegetarian “Moon Stew” wafted from the kitchen in back.   Several members of the Arkestra lived a communal existence in the house, including tenor sax giant John Gilmore and most of the reed section.

You’d think they’d create a scene with the neighbors, but aside from around-the-clock rehearsals, no one was taken aback by Ra and the multi-hued raiment of his band members. Sonny would sit on the front stoop of the house, bantering with neighbors as they walked by on a hot Philly summer afternoon. And he was listed in the Philadelphia phone book just like them, under Ra, Sun.

Across the street from the house was an empty, wooded lot. When a tree there was felled by a lightning strike, Sun Ra had James Jacson get a piece of it to create the “Thunder Drum,” a centerpiece of Ra’s performances thereafter.

If you were on the Philadelphia jazz scene from 1968 to his passing in 1993, you couldn’t miss Sun Ra’s presence. Ra played concerts on a consistently irregular basis. In the early days, you might catch the Arkestra literally falling off the stage of Geno’s Empty Foxhole, their 18 plus musicians and dancers finding scant room on a minuscule proscenium accustomed to trios. Located in the parish hall basement of St. Mary’s Church, the Empty Foxhole, gave new meaning to the term “underground.” The first two rows were ripped out bus seats, the next few were old church pews and the rest were a motley collection of folding chairs. Yet, this was the Philly stop for The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Pharoah Sanders, Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers and other luminaries of the seventies avant-garde.

Sun Ra quickly outgrew the parish hall basement of the Foxhole and moved up to the actual church itself. St. Mary’s was one of many religious venues in which Ra performed in Philadelphia and although his music may have been sanctified, these churches never had an experience like this before or after. Playing a Halloween eve show at United Calvary Methodist Church in West Philadelphia, the altar/stage was bathed in a classic 60s liquid light show from Michel Polizzi’s Quasar Lights, while the Arkestra danced through the pews in a cosmic conga line. Ra would pull unsuspecting audience members out of their seats and shout in their faces, “Will you give up your death for me?”
But Sun Ra didn’t need churches or light shows for atmosphere. He transformed every place he played into a carnival, whether it was the cramped club Grendel’s Lair on South Street, the Painted Bride Art Center in Old City or the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Michel Polizzi's Quasar Lights

Michel Polizzi’s Quasar Lights

Because of Sun Ra’s residence in Philadelphia, it became the place to pick up his obscure, self-produced El Saturn sides. At Third Street Jazz & Rock, a record store at Third and Market Streets in Center City, Ra held a hallowed spot. The entire back wall was covered with John Coltrane albums, but the wall on the left was filled with the hand-painted covers of Sun Ra’s El Saturn label. Every few weeks or so, Ra baritone saxophonist and foreman Danny Thompson, would walk into the store, an armful of Sun Ra’s latest opus or two under his arms and negotiate a C.O.D. deal with store owner Jerry Gordon. Philadelphia fans heard Ra odysseys like Media Dreams and Disco 3000 that are rarities elsewhere, and classics like Live At Montreux debuted in Philadelphia on El Saturn years before they were released on “regular” commercial labels.

Ra probably never got as much radio exposure as he did in Philadelphia at this time. He appeared frequently on Temple University’s jazz station, WRTI and until the mid-1980s, Sun Ra sides were de rigeur on Blue Genesis, the nightly jazz show on the University of Pennsylvania’s WXPN. Sonny himself was a frequent guest, expounding on the universe as college DJs sat with a mixture of fear and confusion. I know. I was one of them.

“When you interviewed Ra, the questions that you asked really didn’t matter much,” remembers Russell Woessner, a DJ on WXPN and WRTI. “He’d respond with his own answers. He told me once he was an angel and that stopped me in my tracks.”

Often, Ra would bring up his books of poetry and read them on the air, as the DJ mixed in music from his albums.

I can remember more than one occasion with sixteen Arkestra members cramming into WXPN’s minuscule studio, Ra pounding on a creaky upright piano, the horns blasting and Ra dancers cavorting in the hallway while DJ/engineers Woessner, Jules Epstein and Kimberly Haas tried to wrestle the sound onto the air. After the last note had bleated away, Danny Thompson walked in the control booth and took the tapes, some eventually surfacing as Sun Ra albums like My Favorite Things.

bumperstickerAt one point, Ra tried to convince WXPN’s program director, Jules Epstein, to marshal 144,000 musicians to perform a sacred concert related to the coming biblical Armageddon. Epstein wasn’t quite persuaded, but Ra succeeded in convincing WXPN chief engineer Tom Buchler to record him for Buchler’s own fledgling Philly Jazz label, which you now hold in your hands.

Ra occasionally broke the surface of the jazz underground in Philadelphia. He performed on Philadelphia’s public TV station, WHYY and he was documented in local filmmaker Bob Mugge’s Sun Ra: Make A Joyful Noise.   Mugge couldn’t afford to bring Sun Ra to the great pyramids, so he filmed him in the Egyptian rooms of the Museum of the University of Pennsylvania.
The Mellon Jazz Festival was dedicated to Sun Ra in the year 2000, although I suspect Sonny, who always liked science fiction, would’ve preferred being honored in 2001, in keeping with Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. He certainly took Philadelphia on a trip.

Although he left the planet from his childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama, Sun Ra’s life effectively ended in Philadelphia after he suffered a series of increasingly debilitating strokes.

The house at 5626 Morton is a bit quieter now and other Arkestra members, including John Gilmore and James Jacson have also moved on to other worlds. Yet, the band continues on, now under the direction of Marshall Allen. Members of the Arkestra still live in Sun Ra’s home, and if you drive by you might still catch an echo of the music created there.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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Ascend the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit on Echoes.

October 17, 2013

Tonight on Echoes we talk to Ashley Capps,
Producer of the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit

logoThere are many electronic music festivals out there from the Detroit Music Festival to the Ultra Music Festival.  But none have the breadth of acts you’ll find at the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit, the successor to Moogfest in Asheville, North Carolina.  (Moogfest is slated to relaunch the end of April, 2014) The music ranges from the ambient sounds of The Orb to the new wave electronics of Gary Numan to the dark obsessions of Nine Inch Nails.  Tonight, I plug in with Ashley Capps, the festivals promoter and talk about ukeleles, Silver Apples and Halloween darkness.

Ashley Capps of Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit.

Ashley Capps of Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit.

There’s a lot of great Echoes acts at MOEMS including Ulrich Schnauss, The Orb, Jherek Bischoff, Gary Numan, Darkside, and Bass Nectar and a lot of bands I expect to blow my mind like Nine Inch Nails, Godspeed you! Black Emperor and Animal Collective.  I’ll be covering it all for Echoes, so check it out in the Echoes Blog, on Twitter @EchoesRadio, on Instagram @EchoesRadio and on Facebook @EchoesFans.

Find out about Mountain Oasis tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))
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Moogfest Gone? Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit Here?

December 10, 2012

A press release was just issued notifying us about a change at Moogfest, namely that it will no longer be called Moogfest, but the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit (MOEMS?)  I could be wrong, but if I’m to read between the lines of the release, I suspect that they couldn’t come to an amenable financial arrangement regarding the licensing of the Moog name.  Apparently it will still be held in Asheville, NC although the time of year may change.

Press Release Below.

KNOXVILLE, TN – AC Entertainment announced today that it will rename its multi-day electronic music festival in Asheville, NC, as the Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit for 2013, continuing to build on the success of the past three years when the event has been produced as Moogfest.

“The fans have embraced the festival with overwhelming enthusiasm during the past three years. They love the music, they love Asheville, and we are committed to continuing to evolve with them to create the very best festival experience that we can imagine, ” says AC Entertainment CEO, Ashley Capps.

From 2010 through 2012, Moogfest presented some of the greatest names in electronic music, hosting such artists as Massive Attack, Thievery Corporation, Orbital, Tangerine Dream, Jonsi, Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig, Brian Eno, and dozens of others. The event has featured educational panels, workshops, talks, installations, and art exhibitions in addition to numerous musical performances. Along the way the festival has received international acclaim from many publications, including NPR Music, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.

The re-naming of the festival comes in the wake of Moog Music Inc. electing not to re-license the Moogfest name to AC Entertainment. “We received a letter from them following this year’s festival, so we have no choice really but to re-name it. We have enjoyed booking, marketing and producing our event for our fans and want to continue with them on this creative journey,” explains Capps.”We’re taking this opportunity to rethink the event a bit and challenge ourselves. While we are still focused on Halloween weekend, that time of year has its difficulties and we’ve been encouraged to consider other options. This part of the world is a very special place – hence the name, Mountain Oasis. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished so far, and there’s so much more to explore.”

Details about Mountain Oasis Electronic Music Summit will be released in 2013.

AND don’t forget to vote in the Best of Echoes 2012 Poll NOW!

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

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Forty Years Since TONTO, the first Modern Electronic Group

July 25, 2011

A thread in the Progressive Ears Forum, got me thinking again about Tonto’s Expanding Headband, the pioneering electronic band that preceded Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre, Tangerine Dream and Schulz Klaus by a few years in creating a sequencer driven music.  It made me realize that this is the 40th Anniversary of their first album, Zero TimeSo with that in mind,  I bring you a 15 year old Echoes interview with Tonto’s Robert Margouleff and Malcolm Cecil.  You can also read my even earlier interview with Malcolm Cecil in the book, Synth Gods.

Malcolm Cecil & Robert Margouleff with TONTO

[This is an Uncorrected Draft Script]

It has been 25 years since Tonto first took flight on the 1971 album, “Zero Time.”  you may have never heard the CD, but it’s influence reverberated throughout space music and popular music. Just look at the credits on 70s albums by Quincy Jones, The Isley Brothers, Minnie Ripperton and many others and you’ll see the names of Malcolm Cecil And Robert Margouleff, the creators of Tonto. But their most important connection remains Stevie Wonder.  Wonder’s brilliant mid-70s quartet that includes Music Of My Mind, Talking Book, Innervision And Fullfillingness’ First Finale was mid-wifed by Malcolm Cecil And Robert Margouleff along with the Tonto synthesizer. We go  back to zero time with Tonto’s Expanding Headband.

SFX

In the Mutato Musica studios of Devo In Los Angeles, 60 year old Malcolm Cecil is negotiating a spaghetti of wires, cables and keyboards, hunched under the imposing presence of Tonto, an acronym for The Original New Timbral Orchestra.

SFX

It’s difficult to believe that this lumbering behemoth of knobs, buttons and blinking lights set off in 10 modular curved cases produced the sounds of the influential album, “Zero Time.”

MUSIK Cybernaut

British born Malcolm Cecil was a classical trained bass player, turned jazz musician turned studio engineer. Robert Margouleff was a lapsed operatic tenor turned film producer.  When he needed music for his self-produced movie, Ciao Manhattan, he bought a Moog synthesizer and became the house synthesist at Media Sound Studios in New York where he met the house engineer, Malcolm Cecil. They began working together and slowly began acquiring electronic modules.  The Moog synthesizer was still a novelty in 1971, and Margouleff And Cecil, coming from straight music backgrounds, weren’t sure their first piece was even music.

MC: Yeah. Originally Aurora was 27 minutes long and it’s one of the pieces that Bob was working on when we met

RM: I said to him , Malcolm, I’m not even sure if this is music.

MC: It turned out to be a really, I suppose a very sort of primal piece. It’s sort of ageless.

After getting a label deal, Robert Margouleff And Malcolm Cecil began composing the music for Zero Time.  By now, their synthesizer had a name:  The Original New Timbral Orchestra or TONTO.  And that spawned the name of the group, Tonto’s Expanding Headband.  It was a reflection on the psychedelic culture at the time.

MC: Oh definitely. It was, that’s where the expanding headband concept was. I mean the play on words and that was the right out of the silver 60s. We were totally in to the psychedelic culture.

Musik

TONTO

Many of the elements we take for granted with synthesizers today, took painstaking and circuitous paths to accomplish with tonto.  Both Margouleff And Cecil would play the instrument simultaneously, one performing the melody, while another shaped the notes. Firing up TONTO, Malcolm Cecil gets Echoes producer Jeff Towne to play a bongo that is electronically linked to the synthesizer, while Cecil plays a keyboard.

DEMO, TALKS So [31:55 plays]. Very Tontosish I should say.

This is a rough and ready demo, but a more precise example can be heard on the piece “riversong” on which Cecil And Margouleff synthesized a voice.

MC: It was our attempt at voice synthesis where the, see Bob is trained as a tenor. He’s an operatic tenor. And he, so he has all the understanding of the vocal. The melodic lines were, I was playing on the keyboard and Bob was creating the words and we worked together to create the sound that ended up being the vocal which is somewhat unintelligible but it was sort of like, but we had terrible difficulty making consonants and Ks and the one thing that still irks me to this day that I’ve always wanted to fix was the line in there which is the whole major line of the whole thing. It says I’m the river, I’m the river, but I’m not the current. And, it comes out I am the errant. [Laughs]

MUSIK

TONTO would probably be a tiny foot note in modern music if one day, Steve Wonder hadn’t walked into the studio after bass player named Ronnie Blanco played Zero Time for him.

MC: He played the album to Stevie and who, he told Stevie that this was a keyboard instrument that he needed to check out….. Anyway, there was a ring at the bell and it turns out to be Ronnie Blanco. He says, come down here I’ve got somebody who wants to check out Tonto…. And anyway so we went into the studio and who walks in on Ronnie Blanco’s arm with our album on the other arm is Stevie. And he came into the studio.  And that first weekend we put down 17 songs.

MUSIK

Robert Margouleff And Malcolm Cecil would produce and play on the four quintessential Stevie Wonder albums, “Music Of My Mind,” “Talking Book,” “Innervision” And “Fullfingness First Finale.” They went on to produce hit albums for The Isley Brothers And  Minnie Ripperton, and then Margouleff went on to produce Devo’s “Freedom Of Choice” and Shadowfaxes “The Odd Get Even”.  Cecil had a longtime producing relationship with Gil Scott Heron.

Now they’re firing up TONTO again, trying to capitalize on the techno sound that they helped inspire.  Malcolm Cecil And Robert Margouleff are well abreast of contemporary technology, but they still think, 25 years later, there’s something special in TONTO.

RM: It’s an instrument, okay? And it’s one kind of an instrument. There’s no other instrument like it. It has its own process and its own thing and after all, there’s a few things you can say about instrument that was designed on a tablecloth, you know? It has its own kind of magic.

The first Tonto’s Expanding Headband album, Zero Time was re-released in its entirety along with tracks from a second album that came out in europe.  The collection is called “Tonto Rides Again” On Viceroy Records.

MUSIK OUT

Wikipedia also has a very good entry on TONTO.  Look for a Tribute To TONTO in the fall on Echoes

John Diliberto ((( Echoes )))

Moog-Minimalist Pioneer David Borden makes rare Concert appearance.

June 20, 2011

Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Co. Re-opens for Business.

Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Co. circa 1975

Back about 1972, David Borden founded the trio, Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece, Co.   They were arguably one of the first performing electronic ensembles and used Moog Modular synthesizers and other keyboards, all pre-computer, pre-digital and live.  They preceded groups like Tangerine Dream in creating, cyclical, sequencer based electronic music.   In fact, I recall the debut Mother Mallard album being paired in a review of two pre-Phaedra Tangerine Dream albums in Crawdaddy Magazine.    Borden has an expanded ensemble now and digital technology, but he will be performing his magnum opus, “The Continuing Story of Counterpoint.”  This is a rare chance to hear some mesmerizing compositions unfolded live by Mother Mallard.   Here’s a pretty grainy, but fascinating video of the band in their very early days:

They’ll be in NYC, on June 29:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @
ISSUE PROJECT ROOM
At the Old American Can Factory
232 3rd Street, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Telephone: 718-330-0313

Admission: $10 / $8 for members
http://www.issueprojectroom.org

You can get more info and voluminous notes, and many quotes from me from this press release.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Tangerine Dream Headlines Moogfest 2011.

June 1, 2011

MOOGFEST 2011, OCTOBER 28-30 IN ASHEVILLE, NC, ANNOUNCES INITIAL LINEUP!

THE FLAMING LIPS, PASSION PIT, STS9, GHOSTLAND OBSERVATORY, CRYSTAL CASTLES, CHROMEO, BATTLES, UMPHREY’S MCGEE, MAYER HAWTHORNE & THE COUNTY, M83, TIM HECKER, TORO Y MOI, AUSTRA, MATTHEW DEAR, GOLD PANDA & more to play this year’s festival.

In a battle of diametrically opposed electronics, German electronic/spacerock explorers TANGERINE DREAM to present exclusive US performance while punk/electronic iconoclasts SUICIDE to perform their legendary first album in its entirety. Electronic pioneer HANS-JOACHIM ROEDELIUS from Cluster will perform solo. This was a fantastic festival last year and this one looks even more Echoes Effective! You can read reviews of that here.

MoogFest 2010 MoogFest Day 1: No Devo, MGMTdoes Karaoke

MoogFest 2010 #MoogFest Day 2: A Massive Night with Massive Attack

MoogFest 2010 MoogFest Final Day:DJ Spooky, Hot Chip

MoogFest 2010 MoogFest Final Take

WEEKEND PASSES ON SALE SATURDAY, JUNE 4, AT 12:00 NOON EASTERN AT WWW.MOOGFEST.COM Here’s the press blurb:

June 1, 2011, Asheville, NC – AC Entertainment is proud to announce the initial lineup for Moogfest 2011, the annual festival of electronic and visionary music, celebrating the innovative spirit of Bob Moog, inventor of the Moog synthesizer. Taking place Oct. 28 – 30, in beautiful Asheville, NC, Moogfest’s Halloween harvest of musical delights builds on the tremendous success of last year’s reinvention of the Moogfest concept in the city that Bob Moog called home. This year’s Moogfest lineup highlights a remarkable synergy of classic electronic music pioneers, contemporary groundbreaking artists, and young upstarts who are further pushing musical boundaries. ‘70s innovators, including Tangerine Dream, Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Suicide, will present rare US performances as they join a lineup that includes the Flaming Lips, Passion Pit, STS9, Ghostland Observatory, Crystal Castles, Chromeo, Battles, Umphrey’s McGee, Mayer Hawthorne & The County, M83, Holy F**k, Matthew Dear, Twin Shadow, Toro y Moi, The Naked And Famous, Tim Hecker, Anika, Austra, Causing A Tiger, and Gold Panda, with many others still to be announced. The final Moogfest 2011 lineup will ultimately feature performances by over 60 internationally acclaimed artists in numerous venues throughout downtown, including the Asheville Civic Center Arena, the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium, and world-renown Orange Peel Social & Pleasure Club. The festival will also host workshops, talks, interactive experiences and art exhibitions and installations. “Last year’s reinvented Moogfest – the first to take place in Asheville – was an amazing experience – and the response from artists and fans alike was extraordinary,” says AC Entertainment founder, Ashley Capps. “We’re very excited and inspired to build upon that success for the 2011 festival.” Weekend passes for Moogfest 2011 will go on sale on Saturday, June 4, at 12 Noon Eastern exclusively at http://www.moogfest.com

www.moogfest.com, for more information.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

MoogFest Final Take

November 3, 2010

Three Days of Plugged in Sound (except Mountain Man): An Echoes Perspective

MoogFest 2010 wasn’t the first MoogFest, but it was the first of a new era of MoogFests that follows the programming pattern of alternative rock music festivals like Coachella, Bonaroo and the Pitchfork Music Festival.  There were over 60 acts in 3 days spread out over  3 main venues and two smaller rooms.  Because it’s indoors and up to a 15 minute walk between the two main venues, the Asheville Civic Center and The Orange Peel, it doesn’t quite have the communal feel of those events,but Halloween weekend definitely gave MoogFest a Tim Burton vibe you wouldn’t find at other events.  Audiences were in full costume all three nights and filled the streets of Asheville, a town that is hip and quaint, even under normal circumstances.

What MoogFest did have is a lot of leading edge dance and electronic music from the last 20 years or so.  Musically there were no revelations, and except for The Octopus Project, there were no artists really breaking out or charting new terrain.

There’s was a certain among of kvetching by people like me that MoogFest had a narrow definition of electronic music which left out a lot of sounds like progressive rock, space, ambient and avant-garde music, genres that share a deep history with electronics in general and Moog synthesizers in particular.  Another complaint was that there didn’t seem to be many people who had much to do with the Moog synthesizer.  Both remained true, but the spirit of Robert Moog filled the music and he got many shout-outs from the stage.  The festival did take chances on experimental projects like Saturn Never Sleeps and Emeralds.    I guess if you want that kind of festival, like Nearfest let’s say, you’ll have to start your own.  But this was a festival looking for 8,000 attendees, not the 1000 that will top out Nearfest.  However, Ashley Capps, the festival promoter, did attempt to book a few of them this year and is looking towards a couple of iconic German electronic bands for next year.  And it appears that there will be a next year. Despite being spread over 5 venues, virtually every event I attended was full or near full.

Hear a pre-Festival interview with MoogFest producer Ashley Capps:

Here’s a shot at some final MoogFest observations

The highlights of the Festival:
Massive Attack
The Octopus Project
Hot Chip
Mutemath
Saturn Never Sleeps (w/King Britt)
Jon Hopkins

Disappointments
Cancellation of Devo
Thievery Corporation ( I may be the only one who thought this, however.)

Best Restaurants
Flash: Posana Café
Funky: Jack of the Wood
Both had great food and service and vibe at opposite ends of the price scale

*The illuminated figures called Freddies, scattered across Asheville and this page, were freaky cool.

*Asheville has the nicest parking lot attendants I’ve ever encountered.
*Asheville has the nicest security personnel I’ve ever encountered.

*Festival attendees and/or Ashevillians smoke too much and allow too much smoking.  I’m not sure if it was because of festival attendees or Asheville itself, but I’ve never seen so many people lighting up on the streets.  It’s against the law to smoke inside public spaces, but there’s no such restriction on outdoor smoking. This wasn’t limited to the usual smoking gauntlet around club and restaurant doors.  The air was filled with a tobacco smoke haze.   I can’t remember a place, even in Europe, where I felt like I had to go inside to escape the stench.

*The audience was mostly in the 18-35 year old bracket.                                                                                                                             *There was about 55/45% male/female split.
*
It was one of the whitest audiences you’ll see outside a Taylor Swift show which was surprising given acts like Big Boi and DJ Spooky.
*There is electronic music without a dance beat.  Bring it next year please.

A nice chunk of the proceeds goes to the Bob Moog Foundation to preserve the legacy of this influential and pioneering inventor and enabler of all things electronic.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

#MoogFest Day 2: A Massive Night with Massive Attack

October 31, 2010

An Echoes Take on MoogFest 2010 Day 2:  Massive Attack assaults, Thievery Corporation raps, Jon Hopkins up-dates Techno.

It was Halloween Eve at MoogFest and there were many treats, no tricks, and some disappointments.   Unfortunately, an interview commitment prevented me from seeing several acts including Jonsi, Caribou and Mountain Man. But I have reports on a few of them from Echoes‘ Kimberly Haas.

Rob Garza & Eric Hilton @ MoogFest

My night started with Thievery Corporation who brought a large live band with horns and multiple singers.  Their first three songs played off the down-tempo mood that dominates their recent anthology, It Takes a Thief, with an appropriately intoxicating take on their dope anthem, “Lebanese Blonde” sung by Sista Pat followed by a dreamy “Shadows of Ourselves,” sung in sultry French Chanteuse mode by LouLou.  From there, they took a turn into the rap and toaster configurations that have dominated much of their music over the years.  Energy levels were much more amped up than on CD and once they got going there was no return to the more downtempo dreamy moods.  Instead, it was a rap rave-up powered by thundering drums and bassist Ashish Vyas’ deep bottom growl that stalked the music the way he stalked the stage.  The rapping and toasting quickly grew tedious for me, especially as it was lost in the cavernous reverb of the Asheville Civic Center which was packed to the back entrance with fans who found it the perfect soundtrack for their Halloween Eve.

3D of Massive Attack @ MoogFest

Massive Attack redeemed the night with one of the best sets of the Festival.  It was similar to their shows a few years ago with the addition of tracks from their latest album,  Heligoland. While Thievery opted to play to the revved up expectations of an arena festival crowd, Massive Attack maintained fidelity to their sub-down tempo moods.  But make no mistake, this music thundered with a pair of drummers (electronic and acoustic), booming bass and easily the best guitar work of the festival as Angelo Bruschini laid down burning solos on several tunes and added a serrated edge to the electronic orchestrations.  Vocals rotated among several singers including Robert “3D” Del Naja and his mumbled monochrome voice of doom, Grant “Daddy G” Marshall’s soulful croon and Horace Andy’s equally soulful, but nasally  Jamaican cry.  But it was Martina Topley-Bird who lit up the stage every time she

Martina Topley-Bird @ MoogFest

came out.  Made up looking like a Nightmare Before Christmas Fairy corpse she brought her sultry voice to bear over the dark beats of “Babel,” “Splitting the Atom” and “Teardrop,” a song originally sung by Elizabeth Fraser.  Topley-Bird doesn’t have her kind of pipes, but she brought the song into her own, intimate range.

Massive Attack used the same LED backing of parallel bars that spit out words, slogans, facts and figures.  It’s a dazzling display that accentuates their powerful, dramatic music. Massive Attack can be overwhelming in their moodiness.   One festival goer commented, “That would have been great if I had some heroin.”

Jon Hopkins @ MoogFest

From the arena sized assault of Massive Attack, I ventured to the cozier Moogaplex, essentially a large, vendor-style conference room where Jon Hopkins was already in motion with his update of pure techno music.   There were no synthesizers in sight.  Instead, Hopkins played tracks off his computer and manipulated the sound live.  It was a pounding pure metal beat set as Hopkins did a finger dance on his two KAOS pads, stabbing and dragging his fingers across the touch screens to alter the sound with slurs, stutters and altered attacks.  Up against Four Tet, the Disco Biscuits and Massive Attack, it was a small, but ecstatic audience who raved to every breakbeat and tempo shift with hand-waving enthusiasm.  If you were wondering where all the aggressive sounds on Brian Eno’s new album, Small Craft on a Milk Sea were from, you could hear it here.

Angelos Bruschini of Massive Attack @ MoogFest

On our way home, we decided to catch the end of Four Tet’s set.  The Orange Peel was jammed to capacity and they were turning people away.  Inside, Four Tet, aka Kieran Hebden, stood behind a couple of computers, spinning sounds from his catalog. I’m sure the music was raging earlier, but we heard him go out on a pretty, serene note.

Echoes’ Kimberly Haas was more fortunate than I and caught several acts I missed.  She thought the dream pop band, School of Seven Bells, played an energetic and engaging set although they seemed to use an inordinate amount of backing tracks.  That might have been because one of the two identical twins, Claudia Deheza (her sister is Alejandra) left the band a couple of weeks ago.

Kimberly was blown away by Jonsi who played a totally immersive concert based on his Go album and the tour he’s been on for most of this year with expansive dynamics and more energy than the album.  Jonsi was completely consumed in his performance, tapping the deep emotions of his music. He brings a detailed sound to the stage and it was good to see him in the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium rather than the cavernous Civic Center arena.

Kevin Kissinger & Theremin @ MoogFest

Kimberly also caught the most anachronistic act of MoogFest, the Vermont based female trio, Mountain Man.  They played a charming set, with sweet three-part harmony with just one acoustic guitar passed between the members.  They gave a gorgeous performance of “Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies” providing an old time contrast with the ultra-modern high tech festival.

John Diliberto & Theremin @MoogFest

During the day, I checked out events at the Moogaplex, including a Theremin performance and demo from Kevin Kissinger.  I also gave a shot at this instrument which is harder to play than you might think.  Michelle Moog-Koussa centered a panel talking about the Bob Moog Foundation, and revealed some of the early Moog recordings made before the instrument was even an instrument.  The Foundation is benefiting immensely from the festival, getting a cut of the action on tickets and Moog Filtered Ale, created for the event by local microbrewery Asheville Brewing Company, a lot of which was being imbibed.

I’m hoping for surprises in the final day, which, except for DJ Spooky, isn’t exciting me.

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

MoogFest Day 1: No Devo, MGMTdoes Karaoke

October 30, 2010

Devo Cancels.  MGMT does Karaoke. King Britt travels the Spaceways. Mutemath does Back-Flips

The first day of MoogFest consisted of tough choices made easy by disappointment.   The disappointment was the late-news that Devo would not be performing. They canceled their entire US tour after guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh sliced his thumb to the bone.  But disappointment yielded opportunity.

Octopus Project @ MoogFest

I missed Dan Deacon so I could go to the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and catch all of The Octopus Project, a band out of Austin.  They set the bar precipitously high with an energized, mostly instrumental set that was a bit like Devo meets Mono, sans vocals.  They rocked through songs with complicated,  head-snapping time signatures, minimalist patterns and that soft-loud guitar attack favored by Mono.  But they do it with an ear toward pop infectiousness.   All the musicians switch off on keyboards, guitars, bass and drums, although the focus seems to be Yvonne Lambert, stage center at her keyboard station.   It was Halloween weekend but Lambert didn’t have to wear a costume.  She was dressed in her usual stage attire of an exaggerated flip hairdo and 50s-era party dress.  She played the minimalist keyboard riffs and on a couple of songs caressed the air around  a Moog Theremin.  Unlike most contemporary bands who use it for whooping space effects, Lambert did her best Clara Rockmore impression.  While her band mates bobbed across the stage, she stood stock still, making tiny hand movements to play simple but precise melodies.  But she whooped it up a few times as well, to good effect. The Octopus Project manage to be effervescent even when sending out industrial chaos with metal beats and buzzsaw synthesizers.

At the end of their energized set, TOP was joined by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerry Casale, the two frontmen from Devo.  On short notice, TOP inventively backed them on “The Girl You Want” and “Beautiful World.”

Next door at the Ashville Civic Center, I caught a bit of Big Boi’s groin pummeling live set with multiple rappers, horn and rhythm section and lots of dancers.  The full house was bouncing to their precisely rendered rap although it carried a lot of dark undertones.   I thought the black power salute was an interesting touch to deliver to an all-white audience.

I stepped out of that into the more peaceful redoubt of Bonobo.  He  did a DJ set in place of Devo and he was spinning some entrancing down-tempo moods when I stopped in, but with Devo out of the picture, I was more in the mood for live music, so  I opted for the 15 minute hike down to the Orange Peel for King Britt.  The experimental hip-hop artist has been working a kind of electronic homage to the spirit of Sun Ra for the last year called Saturn Never Sleeps.  He’s played this in Philadelphia with a large band and extensive multimedia productions but he brought a stripped down version to MoogFest.  It was just Britt on various electronic manipulators and Rucyl, an original member of The Goats, singing, playing keyboards and processing her sound.  Based on tracks that Britt seemed to have in his laptop, they moved through slow dirge beds of turgid, glitched scrawls with Rucyl singing mostly wordless vocals, tossing her voice into reverb and echoes and occasionally breaking into a chanted chorus singing lines like, “Give me love,” making her sound like Donna Summer in a fever trance.

Twenty minutes in, Rucyl informed us it was all improvised on the spot.  But that was no news as the music marched engagingly over shifting moods and textures with Britt mashing up tracks in real time. Rucyl is a compelling singer with a smokey, sensual voice, but her vocalise often meandered with a limited palette of wordless vernacular.  Yet, they entered some fascinating spaces including one haunting piece with a train whistle, alien crickets and the growling approach of a dark dawn.  Much of the music attained a certain zombie-lounge groove, perfect for Halloween.

After their set, we rushed back to the Civic Center to catch about half of MGMT.  It was evident immediately that they hadn’t adjusted to the cavernous space.  Their sound bounded off the walls with muddy bass, indecipherable vocals and highs that scalped your head off.   The highlight of the second half was the 12 minute “Siberian Breaks,” the magnum opus from their Congratulations CD.  The song alternates between dreamy exposition and slamming grooves and is their most ambitious composition with a heavy dose of 1960s Brit pop including The Hollies vocal harmonies, The Small Faces pastoral idylls and a nice touch of Pink Floyd space guitar.  They followed it up with one of their two big hits,  “Kids.”

MGMT reportedly had lofty goals from their second album, refusing to release singles from it and claiming there weren’t any  radio friendly hits, as if that was something to be disdained.  So were they being ironic in playing “Kids” as a complete Karaoke song with all of the musicians abandoning their instruments except for a couple who banged on percussion while the synth track played on.  Even the vocals sounded artificially reinforced.  The audience didn’t care.  Decked out in their Halloween makeup and costumes, they bounced up and down, spinning and waving the supposedly-banned glow sticks in the most carefree rave fashion while the infectious rhythms pounded out from the speakers.   MGMT took the song home, however, with a pure psychedelic rave-up of twisting guitar.  There was a mass exodus after that, the crowd apparently having gotten their two hits, with “Time to Pretend” played earlier.

We skipped Van Dyke Parks.  Was that wrong?

Instead we took a break and then settled back in at the Orange Peel for Mutemath.  This New Orleans quartet has been around since 2003 and should be garnering more attention, if for nothing else, their electric live set.  Frontman Paul Meany looks a bit like Perry Farrell and has the same kind of energy, extolling his earnest songs with a showman’s sensibility and a jazz pianist’s chops.  He played mostly Fender Rhodes but also stepped out on a battered Keytar, but with none of the showboating usually associated with fuzak bands.  Guitarist Greg Hill was a wonder on guitar, creating the textures behind Meany, ripping out bluesy space slides,  power chord leaps and Byrds-like jangle.  Darren King is a power house drummer, slamming his undersized kit while wearing headphones with a chin-strap to keep them on his spinning head.  With his below-the-shoulders-hair, beard and 70s sunglasses, bassist  Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas looked like he stepped off the cover of The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore.   And he laid down an intricate and booming foundation just as solid as that band.  Mutemath careened through their set culminating in Meany doing handstands and backflips on his Rhodes.

Day one is over.  On to day two.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Devo Cancels.  MGMT does Karaoke, King Britt travels the Spaceways, Mutemath does Back-Flips
The first day of MoogFest consisted of tough choices made easy by disappointment.   The disappointment was the late-news that Devo would not be performing. They cancelled their entire US tour after guitarist Bob Mothersbaugh sliced his thumb to the bone. http://www.billboard.com/news/devo-postpones-2010-tour-dates-due-to-injury-1004124223.story#/news/devo-postpones-2010-tour-dates-due-to-injury-1004124223.story
But disappointment yielded opportunity.  I missed Dan Deacon so I could catch all of The Octopus Project, a band out of Austin.  They set the bar precipitously high with an energized, mostly instrumental set that was a bit like Devo meets Mono, sans vocals.  They rocked through songs with complicated, but head-snapping time signatures, minimalist patterns and that soft-loud guitar attack favored by mono.  But they do it with an ear toward pop infectiousness.   All the musicians switch off on keyboards, guitars, bass and drums, although the center seems to be Yvonne Lambert at her keyboard station, a stage center.   Although she wore a mask atop her head as a Halloween concession, Lambert was dressed in her usual attire of an exaggerated flip hairdo and 50s-era party dress.  She played the minimalist keyboard riffs and on a couple of songs, played a Moog Theremin.  Unlike most contemporary bands who use it for whooping space effects, Lambert did her best Clara Rockmore impression.  While her band mates bobbed across the stage, she stood stock still, making tiny hand movements to play simple but precise melodies.  But she whooped it up a few times as well, to good effect. The Octopus Project mange to be effervescent even when sending out industrial chaos with metal beats and buzzsaw synthesizers.
At the end of their energized set, TOP was joined by Bob Mothersbaugh and Bob Casale., the two frontmen from Devo.  On short notice TOP inventively, backed them on “The Girl You Want” and “Beautiful World.”
I caught a bit of Big Boi’s groin pummeling live set with multiple rappers, and horn and rhythm section and lots of dancers.  The full house in the Civic Center main room was bouncing to their precisely rendered rap although it carried a lot of dark undertones.   I thought the black power salute was an interesting touch to deliver to an all-white audience.
I stepped out of that into the more peaceful redoubt of Bonoboo.  He  did a DJ set in place of Devo and he was spinning some entrancing down-tempo moods when I stopped in, but with Devo out of the picture, I was more in the mood for live music, so  I opted for the 15 minute hike down to the Orange Peel for King Britt.  The experimental hip-hop artist has been working a kind of electronic homage to the spirit of Sun Ra for the last year called Saturn Never Sleeps.  He’s played this in Philadelphia with a large band and extensive multimedia productions but he brought a stripped down version to MoogFest.  It was just Britt on various electronic manipulators and Rucyl, an original member of the Goats, singing.  Improvising based on tracks that Britt seemed to have in his laptop, they moved through slow dirge beds of turgid, glitched scrawls with Rucyl singing mostly wordless vocals, tossing her voice into reverb and echoes and occasionally breaking into a chanted chorus singing lines like, “Give me love,” making her sound like Donna Summer in a fever dream.  Twenty minutes in, Rucyl informed us it was all improvised on the spot.  But that was no news as the music marched engagingly over shifting moods and textures with Britt mashing up tracks in real time. Rucyl is a compelling singer with a smokey, sensual voice, but her vocalise often meandered with a limited pallette of wordless vernacular.
Yet, they entered some fascinating spaces including one haunting piece with a train whistle, alien crickets and the growling approach of a dark dawn.  Much of the music attained a certain zombie-lounge groove, perfect for Halloween.
After their set, we rushed back to the Civic Center to catch about half of MGMT.  It was evident immediately that they hadn’t adjusted to the cavernous space.  Their sound bounded off the walls with muddy bass, indecipherable vocals and highs that scalped your head off.   The highlight of second half was the 12 minute “Siberian Breaks,” the magnum opus from their Congratulations CD.  The song alternates between dreamy exposition and slamming grooves and is their most ambitious composition with a heavy dose of 1960s Brit pop including The Hollies vocal harmonies, the Small Faces pastoral idylls and a nice touch of Pink Floyd space guitar.  They followed it up with one of their two big hits,  “Kids.”
MGMT reportedly had lofty goals from their second album, refusing to release singles from it and claiming there weren’t any  radio friendly hits, as if that was something to be disdained.  So were they being ironic in playing “Kids” as a complete Karaoke with all of the musicians abandoning their instruments except for a couple who banged on percussion.  Even the vocals sounded artificially reinforced.  The audience didn’t care.  Decked out in their Halloween makeup and costumes, they bounced up and down, spinning and waving the supposedly banned glow sticks in the most carefree rave fashion while the infectious rhythms pounded out from the speakers.   MGMT took the song home, however, with a pure psychedelic rave-up of twisting guitar.  There was a mass exodus after that, the crowd apparently having gotten their two hits, with “Time to Pretend” played earlier.
We skipped Van Dyke Parks.  Is that wrong?
Instead we took a break and then settled back in at the Orange Peel for Mutemath.  This New Orleans quartet has been around since 2003 and should be garnering more attention, if for nothing else, their electric live set.  Frontman Paul Meany looks a bit like Perry Farrell and has the same kind of energy, extolling his earnest songs with a showman’s sensibility and a jazz pianist’s chops.  He played mostly Fender Rhodes but also stepped out on a battered Keytar, but with none of the showboating usually associated with fuzak bands.  Guitarist Greg Hill was a wonder on guitar, creating the textures behind Meany, ripping out bluesy space slide guitar, power chord leaps and Byrds-like jangle.  Darren King is a power house drummer, slamming his undersized kit while wearing headphones with a chin-strap to keep them on his spinning head.  Bassist  Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas laid down an intricate and booming foundation, With his below- the-shoulders-hair, beard and glasses, he looked like he stepped off the cover of The Allman Brothers Live at the Fillmore.   They careened through their set culminating in Meany doing handstands and backflips on his Rhodes.
Day one is over.  On to day two.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

MoogFest-Too Many Choices

October 29, 2010

Getting ready for MoogFest tonight and already faced by insurmountable choices with overlapping bands in venues separated by anywhere from 5 to 20 minute hauls.

Devo's Mark Mothersbaugh in Echoes Interview

The pleasant pop of Kuroma and The Octopus Project each overlap by half an hour, so I’ll start out with TOP but Kuroma will have to depend on how good or bad TOP perform.

I’d love to catch Nortec Collective but TOP ends at 7:30 and Nortec starts at 7:15 at the Orange Peel, a venue about 20 minutes alway, which would mean I’d miss Devo at 8.    I first saw Devo 33 years ago at The Hot Club in Philadelphia.  It was a memorable set and I’m looking forward on both a nostalgic and artistic level at seeing them again.

But then I have a choice between Saturn Never Sleeps, King Britt’s ambient surreal Sun Ra project and MGMT doing their big-time Indi pop, again at venues separated by about 20 minutes with overlapping time.  The only way I’ll catch that is if Devo really sucks, and I don’t have that expectation.  I think it will be a game-time call whether I want another dose of electro-Pop or if I want to have my mind blown.

I’ll probably catch Van Dyke Parks at 11 although I’ve never been a big fan of his arch take on pop.  Then it’s a tough choice between Girl Talk, Panda Bear, and Mutemath.  I’m leaning towards the power pop of Mutemath even if he does play a keytar (one of those keyboards you sling around your neck so you look like a dork).

Anything I should see that I’m overlooking?  Big BoiDan Deacon? Clare & the Reasons?

John Diliberto ((( echoes )))


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