Tag Archives: m83

Grapefruit – Freeway Romantics

Technology and modern electronics have the eerie ability to both feel warm and connect us with the world as well as cold and distant, isolating in pure design. It’s a Catch 22 which appears to be the Holy Grail for any creative mind ingenious enough to create a synthesis between the two extremes. While, on a technological note, this process appears to still be ongoing, Charlie of Kill Rock Stars appears to have made a bold new step in this development within the ambient, electronica genre. Under the name Grapefruit, Charlie has released his instrumental synth wanderings in the form of “Freeway Romantics

As described by Gnar Tapes, the album is, “pulsing and vibrating, like hearing lights pass through crystal. As much outside as it is in. Is the freeway out in space, or is it in your mind?” A little on the new age side but hell, I guess you have to be a little to indulgence in this album. This is not intended to be a put down however: rather, this music has a spirtual sort of feel to it by design. Perhaps I am too reliant upon these groups to help vocalize what I am unable to articulate however with a combination of soundwall aesthetics as displayed by M83‘s “Fields, Shorelines, and Hunters” and an attention to 8-bit culture the likes of Gatekeeper gives Grapefruit‘s “Freeway Romantics” a, well, romantic feel. And I mean this in the purest sense: a romanticism which takes what appears to be a dark and grim world of alienating technological feats and create a warmth unknown to many in their own physical lives.

The ramblings of a tired fool, perhaps. However, while I do love his previous projects, I find this release such a personal journey without the gimmicks of traditional ambient electronica that it just feels enlightening. Take a listen and grab a download ($7? Why the hell not, plus I believe they sell tape copies as well for those so inclined). I recently read an article which believed that A Brave New World was a far more believable dystopia than 1984. For while the government attempts to subdue its population by withholding information in 1984, the government in A Brave New World does not care about withholding information but rather to drown it out through perpetual pop culture and media distractions. Welcome to the Brave New World. Enjoy.

Grapefruit – Freeway Romantics

– Cliff

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Big Sir- Before Gardens After Gardens

Singer/composer Lisa Papineau has made an impact in the indie-pop scene with such contributions including Air and M83. Bassist/composer Juan Alderete has been making a career of spacey-noodley psych rock with his work at Mars Volta. Combine the two and you get something known simply as Big Sir. Premiering the second track from their forthcoming new album off of RCRD LBL, “Our Pleasant Home” features fellow Mars Volta alumni Cedric Bixler-Zavala on drums and provides a timely introduction to the unheard momentum of their album, “Before Gardens After Gardens“, due February 7th, 2012. This will be the second track already released for the album, with “Ready On the Line” already released a little under a month ago.

Born in the late 90s, Big Sir is a enigma of electronic and analog beats, with Alderete’s fretless bass and Papineau’s dynamic voice sewn in seemlessly. “Before Gardens, After Gardens” gives listeners samples of danceable pop the likes of Billboard 100, yet at other moments, it can come across as haunting, like visiting an old car-crash site. Furthermore, as Sargent Records states, “the fear and uncertainty that we all face in contemplation of death, and the varying ways we all make peace with it is the basis of the album’s overall concept.” With such an introduction, I can only expect how epic this album could be, like Big Sir’s answer to Arcade Fire’sFuneral“. Yet this theme spreads far more sublimaly then one might think. As Lisa Papineau explains, “the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ speaks to the death of pride,” She continues by stating that, “the death of believing yourself to be omnipotent, and how joyful and sweet this humble giving-in can be. So, on our album, Death is a ship, and her name is The Calico.”

Before Gardens After Gardens” is said to host a whole string of appearances including Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala on drums, Broken Bells’ bassist Jonathan Hischke, multi-instrumentalist Matthieu Lesenechal, violist Heather Lockie (Mike Watt, Listing Ship), Matthew Embree (ME & LP), Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks, and even bonus tracks featuring Money Mark Ramos-Nishita and David Sims of Jesus Lizard. Between the unabashed pop hooks of “Ready On the Line“, to the shimmering organ and lightly brushed drums of “The Kindest Hour“, to the plaintive piano that leads “Born with a Tear“, it is clear that “Before Gardens After Gardens” will be an album of subtlety creative instrumental harmony and vocal melody. And with a combo like Mars Volta and M83, my question is: why not?

Tracklisting:

01) Regions

02) Ready On The Line

03) Infidels

04) Right Action

05) The Ladder

06) The Kindest Hour

07) Old Blood

08) Born With A Tear

09) Be Brave Go On

10) Our Pleasent Home

11) 1 Thousand Petals

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– Cliff

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