Ahoy Maties, Nightdrive has been cordially invited to cover the 2012 edition of Bloc Festival in London!
Bloc is an annual music festival in the UK that brings together a potpourri of beat masters, DJs, and artists who inhabit the netherworlds of Techno, House, IDM, Hip-Hop and Dubstep. It is not without reason that this year’s edition of Bloc is one of the most anticipated electronic music events of the year considering that its line up is a veritable who’s who of the pantheon of modern music mythology. I look at Bloc like a mountain with a firm foundation in the UK Bass scene, including Joy Orbison, Hyperdub founder Kode9, Scuba, and Digital Mystiks amongst others. As you go up the mountain you will find a mix of the lauded newer DJs (Art Department, Jaime Jones), a dash of premiere Pitchfork electronica (James Blake, Nicolas Jaar, Battles) and other high priests of IDM (Four Tet, Apparat, Squarepusher). As you maneuver past cravasses towards the peak you encounter the behemoth A.T.O.L., a supergroup of the Berlin underground consisting of Modeselektor, Berghain resident DJ Dettmann and Shed. When you reach the summit you will find men of myth that require absolutely no introduction: minimal emperors Richtie Hawtin and Ricardo Villalobos, Detroit masters Jeff Mills and Carl Craig, Orbital and New Wave progenitor Gary Numan. Joining these EDM demigods are Amon Tobin and his reality-bending ISAM live show, Flying Lotus, G funk all-star Snoop Dogg and that venomous villian they call DOOM. … MORE
Cubenx is the brainchild of Gaudalajara-based producer Cesar Urbina. Like most modern masters of synthetic rhythms Urbina has a penchant for the interdisciplinary, fusing aspects of IDM, post-punk and techno to create vibrant aural experiences. Despite being relatively ignored by critics, his latest release On Your Own Again is an amazing piece of art that I highly recommend you check out. It’s a very interesting LP because of the sheer breadth of music you are presented with. The opening track “Locked” is highly reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine as it forms a comfortable yet melancholic aura while you are sedated by the airy guitars and keys. The insatiable “Adrift at Sea” on the other hand is a barrage of rolling bass and soothing IDM soundscapes. Another dance floor worthy gem is “Wait and See”, a track that has Nightdrive painted ALL over it. When you encounter ”Noir” Urbina diverges completely from the dance floor as he whisks you away to some alternate dimension inhabited by aliens with a taste for Vangelis and Brian Eno. Despite its genre hopping On Your Own Again is cohesive album that can best be described as a musical experiment that cleverly blends modern electronic genres with darker hues of 80′s pop as it do-si-dos between dance floor bangers, ambient soundscapes and indie-rock hypnotica.
I’ve gone ahead and included one trippy video and one artsy-fartsy video with lovely women walking around for you to feast your eyes on.
Tonight Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) will be making his way to the Bardot carpet for a live performance. Anyone who knows electronica, knows Four Tet. Going back to 1998, Hebden has a track record that only legends can boast. With influences ranging from hip-hop to folk, jazz to IDM, he’s remixed Aphex Twin, toured with Radiohead, collaborated with Burial and Thom Yorke and released seven full length albums and three remix albums.
In a last-minute celebration of tonight’s show, we’re giving away a pair of tickets to the 20th person who correctly answers this very easy trivia question:
This is my first post since my move to the Netherlands and might I add that I am particular excited about this one. I had the unique opportunity yesterday to speak with Scott Hansen of Tycho, a talented aural architect and San Francisco-based graphic designer who is signed to the likes of Ghostly International, a label of worldwide acclaim whose artist pool reads like a roll of honor.
The music Tycho makes is the kind of stuff dreams are made of. From nostalgic Boards of Canadaesque soundscapes to folk-influenced, electronic surf rock, listening to him gives you a sense of calm while activating your visual cortex. If you like things like the sky, waves, and sunny days outside, Tycho is right down your alley.
This interview is particularly important to me because not only is Tycho on his first Trans-Atlantic live tour, but he is also one of my favorite contemporary American electronic musicians, graphic designers and the creator of the ISO50 blog, a seamlessly executed music, culture and design blog that is the only blog I turn to on a daily basis besides Nightdrive (of course ).
I skyped down with Scott as he was driving through the highways and byways of swampy central Florida with the hopes of gleaning some insights from the auteur.
You seem to be a jack of all trades. Apart from Tycho you are also a graphic designer and the creator of a blog with the same name, ISO50. What is ISO50 and what was your reasoning for creating it?
I mainly wanted to have a way to update often about my new design and music projects. Jakub, my manager suggested a transition into in a music and culture blog and it slowly became an opportunity to be more than just a platform for my expression but also a way to present the work of other artists and aspects of culture that tie into our aesthetic.
Though you are touring as a musician, via your blog posts on ISO 50 you really get sense that design and form really drive your artistry. How do your two passions, music and graphic design, tie into each other?
I wouldn’t say they are separate things. My work in design and music grew out of each other. Although they are different they are not a separate projects. Both ISO50 and Tycho are moving toward a single vision, kind of like a movie, you wouldn’t watch a it with only the sound on.
Talk a little bit about the A/V aspect of your show, as it seems to be the synthesis both your musical and visual capacities.
I created the visuals myself but I am working with Charles Bergquist, a director who is also a contributor to the ISO50 blog. We are redoing it all in HD to incorporate different posters and design elements you see in the blog. It will be similar to our old A/V show but I want it to have more of a real narrative. We actually showed the rough cut of the HD visuals but I think by the time we get the Europe the live show will be in its true form.
I use VDMX for all A/V sequencing. It gives us the ability to manipulate and render the video you see at our live shows in real time via the instruments. We have triggers on the snares and kick drums so when we can manipulate everything you see on the fly.
Eventually, I want the music to be a soundtrack to a visual experience where both the audio and the visual aspects of the live show are equally important to the audience.
This is your first tour with a live band. Listening to Dive you can still feel the Tycho sound but there seems to be a more organic approach to it. Was there any major difference in the recording ethos between Dive and your previous efforts?
Yes. It was not a conscious decision but there was a natural progression in the sound. When Science of Patterns came out back in 2002 I just knew keyboard. I learned guitar about five or six years ago and then I started working with acoustic drums and electric bass.
Current technology allows us to do a lot of awesome things while producing near studio quality sound live. I like to use a lot of analogue in the studio but that kind of equipment tends to be impractical for long tours because it is heavy and their age tends to lead to reliability issues. Thankfully the emulation software we use on the road, though not perfect, works great live.
How did you start producing music? Did you start out in electronic music and move to bands or vice versa?
I didn’t make music until I was 20 or 21. I never was in a band and was just messing around until Science of Patterns came out when I was 23. I started only with keys and computers and slowly progressed.
What is your opinion of the current trend in the music scene where blogs — though a useful way for artists disseminate their craft and individuals to share the things they like— are leading to the “pitchforkification” of music? In the past music lovers would pick up albums, enjoy them as complete pieces of art, and listen to them years later with the same passion. In the present it seems that some people are obsessed with listening to the hottest bands/producers/DJs that are being hyped then moving on to the next ‘cool’ band one month later
I grew up in a world where physical media was still dominate so I definitely see what you call the “pitchforkification” of music. Blogs have become the dominate way many people understand and consume music.
Definitely, it really seems people can’t seem to remember anymore and are outsourcing certain brain functions to the cloud, allowing computers and technology to remember and choose for them
That is just the way things are now, for some music has become a disposable art. The idea behind what I am doing is trying to create music that steps outside of that boundary and fits in the moment, giving it a little bit more longevity so people can have more of a personal attachment to it.
And finally, how has the tour been so far? has the live band and new A/V format been getting a good response from audiences?
Definitely, it has really been amazing. To be honest this is our first long term tour as as a live band after doing a stint with Little Dragon earlier last year. Starting in Chicago, moving towards Montreal and down the east coast, we are now we are in Florida and enjoying the scenery so…it’s going to be nice.
Tycho will be playing at Bardot in Miami this Saturday January 28th, you can buy tickets here. He will be
continuing his tour to Europe throughout February and will be doing at least SEVEN showcases at
SXSW this year so, all you Austin kids better be there or be square!
This is the story about a young Austin-based producer hailing from the Southwestern suburban kingdom of Phoenix, AZ who through his sheer will and determination has established himself as a rising star within the electronic music scene, all at the tender age of 19. I am talking about a Mr. Jacob McNaughton, known to us as Galapagos.
McNaughton is what some may call a ‘prolific’ producer. He has been producing music for less than a year and has already released four EPs and has received rave reviews from reputable blogs like XLR8R and Altered Zones (RIP). From the depths of America’s suburban desert wasteland Galapagos brings to the table a unique synthesis of electronic music, a genre that has experienced a massive influx of participants and words used to describe them. Some may label him as IDM and others might call him post indie-wave-chill-step or ATX Garage, but to the me Galapagos makes straight up JAMZ that any discerning listener can enjoy.
With all these things in mind I sat down with the lad for a fireside chat to examine who the man behind the tiger mask actually is.
So, how did this all start?
I was raised in the hardcore suburbs in this town called Mesa. For what its worth Phoenix, AZ is a giant conglomeration of upper middle-class angry white folk… very angry.
My dad got me my first guitar when I was 10 which I was really into for a while. Funny enough he actually was an electronic musician. He sampled stuff like Prince and sang over it. He never made it big but he was into bedroom production using a four-track tape deck and a program called Cool Edit Pro (later becoming Adobe Audtion). This was the first digital production program I got into as a teenager. I was first interested in folk music but the more I recorded myself, the more I got interested in electronic music.
In 8th grade I was into Postal Service like everybody else alive and was really turned on to electronic music after listening to a collaboration between Ben Gibbard and Styrofoam, a producer signed to Berlin-based Morr Music. From there I got into artists like Isan and Lali Puna and the rest is history.
Has music been your only avenue of expression?
When I was in high school I made flash cartoons and got really close to attending the Ringling School of Art and Design but couldn’t afford it.
When and how did you become Galapagos?
Halfway through my senior year I got Abelton live. It wasn’t until the summer (2010) that I mastered it. This past December I dropped “The Gleaming“. I sent it to a blog called Life Aquatic that I liked and you know how blogs work…it trickled down, word spread and people liked it.
What would you say is your modus operandi to music production and preforming live?
I make music that I think I would like to listen to because I really enjoy listening to my own music. When you hear a song you enjoy and you understand where its coming from and how it was made, it gives you a better appreciation for the final product. I preform live every once in a while when I can but I want to become mastered at music production before I really go hard in the paint about playing shows.
I can say from experience after seeing him over a half dozen times live that Galapagos is, in fact,
AMAZING. I was blessed with seeing both Galapagos and his Chill Mega Chill Records label mate
Corduroi once more when they played at my going away party in Austin, TX this past weekend. As
usual their sets were simply ruthless. I am certain given time, dedication and energy both of these
talented Austin transplants will be playing at a venue near you in the not too distant future.
Galapagos – Feel Things Inside
Because this is my last post as a foreign correspondent for Night Drive Miami in Austin, TX, I would like to give a shout out to Sebi De la Mata, Sarah Megan Ross, The Skanky Possum Family, East Side Isle and the Applied Pressure crew for blessing me with their friendship and guidance throughout my time in Austin while showing me the best music that the ethereal city of Austin has to offer. Though I am moving to Europe soon be certain I will be keeping the world informed about ATX…. Pucho out.