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M83 – You and the Night Original Soundtrack

December 6th, 2013
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Movie Musique

The art of film scores and soundtracks balances two roles—complementing and enhancing the plot, atmosphere, and aesthetic of the film, as well as standing alone as an individual album or piece of music. Not all soundtracks can or should straddle this line successfully, though, and that seems to be the case for M83’s original score for You and the Night, the first film by M83 frontman Anthony Gonzalez’s brother, Yann Gonzalez. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , , , ,

Bryce Dessner, So Percussion and Matmos, Live at Carnegie Hall

November 26th, 2013
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As part of the concert “American Patterns,” So Percussion debuted Bryce Dessner’s composition “Music for Wood and Strings” and provided a multimedia rendition of their most famous piece, David Lang’s “the so-called laws of nature,” at Carnegie Hall last Saturday, providing a virtuosic performance that pushed the limits of classical contemporary music into the realm of experimental electronics. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews, Show Reviews , , ,

Interview: Adam Sliwinski of So Percussion on John Cage, Collaborations and Experimental Music

November 24th, 2013
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The New York-based ensemble So Percussion has played venues across the globe and collaborated with the likes of Dan Deacon, Steve Reich, the Kronos Quartet and, most recently, Bryce Dessner of The National. In anticipation of So’s performance with Bryce Dessner and Matmos at Carnegie Hall on November 23, mxdwn spoke with percussionist Adam Sliwinski about the ensemble’s music and collaborations. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Features , ,

The Entrance Band – Face the Sun

November 19th, 2013
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Psychedelia for the Soul

Overcoming adversity is the overt theme of The Entrance Band’s new album Face the Sun, the band’s first full-length release since 2009. While the album never quite achieves a “sunny” optimism, it does confront a slew of the band members’ addictions and problems, serving as a psychedelic salve for the soul. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , ,

Luscious Jackson – Magic Hour

November 12th, 2013
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All Funked Out

Sometimes things end because they’re supposed to end, because their time has spent itself and drawn to a close. This seemed to be the case with Luscious Jackson, the New York-based indie-funk band that formed in 1991, naming themselves after former Philadelphia 76ers player Lucious Jackson. They had a good go of things in the ‘90s, releasing three albums after being the first band signed to the Beastie Boys’ label (a plus of having the Beasties’ former drummer Kate Schellenbach join the band). Then keyboardist Vivian Trimble left in 1998, and though the band continued until 2000, they eventually broke up. But in 2011, Luscious Jackson announced they were getting the band back together and they’d be releasing their fourth studio album, their first in fourteen years, since 1999’s Electric Honey.
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By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews ,

Kronos Quartet Plays Music By Bryce Dessner – Aheym

November 6th, 2013
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A Modern Classic

The collaboration between Bryce Dessner and the Kronos Quartet is, to use the cliché, a match made in heaven. You may know Dessner as the guitarist and mastermind behind The National, or from his numerous side projects working with the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Philip Glass, or even from his numerous curatorial ventures (like the MusicNOW Festival, Crossing Brooklyn Ferry and the Dark Was the Night compilation). Over the past few years, Dessner, who holds a master’s degree in music composition from Yale, has composed several pieces for the Grammy-winning Kronos Quartet, who you might recognize as the maestros behind the harrowing soundtrack to Requiem for a Dream. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews , ,

Radical Face – The Family Tree: The Branches

October 22nd, 2013
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A Family Affair

Concept albums are often scorned at, considered hokey gimmicks or forced attempts at creating high-handed, pretentious masterpieces. But The Family Tree: The Branches, the second installment in Radical Face’s Family Tree trilogy, is a concept album done right. The trilogy began with The Roots (2011), which lays out the story of a fictional family called the Northcotes in the first half of the nineteenth century. Radical Face (aka Floridian musician Ben Cooper, whose soft croon you may recognize from Electric President), explains on his website that he limited the instrumentation on The Roots to guitar, piano, a floor tom and vocals to reflect the Victorian era. The Branches, though, moves the narrative forward in time, pushing the music into a more modern realm as it follows the expanding generations onward. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews ,

The Head and The Heart – Let’s Be Still

October 16th, 2013
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Be Still, Be Calm

Let’s Be Still is a paradoxically appropriate name for the sophomore album from Seattle’s The Head and The Heart. The band won a record deal with Sub Pop after its 2009 self-titled, self-released debut essentially went viral, winning the band opening spots for big-name acts like Vampire Weekend, Death Cab for Cutie and The Decemberists. Let’s Be Still does show the band growing and developing their sound in new directions, but in a rather calm way, almost as if the album is carried along by a pleasant but unexciting inertia. Read more…

By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews

of Montreal – Lousy with Sylvianbriar

October 9th, 2013
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Pseudo-Blast from the Past

This twelfth album from the famously eclectic Georgian band of Montreal begins, appropriately, in medias res: twangy guitars charge into an upbeat melody on the straightforward, rocking opener “Fugitive Air.” Lousy with Sylvianbriar swings the band’s lengthy catalogue back around to its roots and back in time, eschewing the glitzy glam-pop of False Priest and Skeletal Lamping for a more organic, guitar-driven and approachable sound without losing any of the band’s distinctive lyrical panache.
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By Charlee Redman Posted in Reviews , ,

Mazzy Star – Seasons of Your Day

September 24th, 2013
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Reunited, And It Feels Good

This is how you make a comeback. California alt-rockers Mazzy Star, headed by David Roback and Hope Sandoval, formed back in 1989 and saw their heyday in the mid-’90s after the release of their debut album She Hangs Brightly (1990) and the mainstream success of the single “Fade Into You.” But after the release of 1996’s Among My Swan, Mazzy Star went on a long hiatus. Although the band toured in 2000 and again in 2012, Seasons of Your Day is the band’s first new material in seventeen years, played by the fully reunited, original Mazzy Star crew of Roback, Sandoval, Suki Ewers and Keith Mitchell, with a little help from Colm Ó Ciosóig (My Bloody Valentine) on bass and Josh Yenne on pedal steel guitar.
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By Charlee Redman Posted in High Fidelity, Reviews , , , ,