Toro Y Moi: “Rose Quartz” Live at Lollapalooza (Video)

Toro Y Moi’s set yesterday at Lollapalooza 2012 included five new songs.

The video for one of them, “Rose Quartz,” is below.

The band is touring in August and September (dates below).

Toro Y Moi- Touring schedule
8/26 – Brooklyn, NY – Afropunk Festival
9/26 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall
9/27 – Asheville, NC – Orange Peel *
9/28 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm *
9/29 – Fairburn, GA – Counterpoint Music Festival
10/13 – San Francisco, CA – Treasure Island Music Festival

* = w/ The Choir Quit, Can’t Kids

5/30: Amy X. Neuburg debuts at the Stone

This month, Gyan Riley is curating for New York venue the Stone. One of the San Francisco residents that he’s invited to visit the Big Apple for a gig is avant-cabaret artist Amy X. Neuburg, who performs there tonight (details below).

Neuburg eschews the usual instrumentation of a cabaret performer, instead using an electronic drumset. But the music isn’t isolated to percussive utterances; rather the synth drums serve as a control surface with which she can trigger live recording and overdubs. Thus, a drum hit might ‘sound’ like drums, or it might just as easily trigger backing vocals or synth patches.

Using this setup, Neuburg often creates multiple loops, each with its own place in the sound field. Her set at the Stone (her first appearance there) will introduce some new works, but also revisits her back catalog, updating several pieces to accommodate this ”spatialized” aesthetic.

Amy X. Neuburg at the Stone

May 30 at 8 PM

The Stone,

Corner of Avenue C and Second Avenue


Tickets: $10 at the door

Zammuto: S/T LP (Review)

Zammuto S/T LP

Temporary Residence Ltd.

Best known as half of The Books, an indie duo that incorporated both electronica and classical crossover signatures (before the latter was cool!), Nick Zammuto recently released his first solo LP for Temporary Residence.But rather than being a ‘music minus one’ presentation, a recording in which part of a distinctive collaboration is sorely missed, Zammuto has a distinctive sound all its own.

Its leadoff track, “Yay,” underlines that point with an interesting use of vocoder, crafting layers of beat-boxing in counterpoint to skittering live drums and sustained organ lines. Modified vocals are instead employed as longer melodies swaths on “Groan Men, Don’t Cry,” where they are set against syncopated guitar riffs, prog-inflected synth work, and funky percussion fills. “F U C3PO” combines appropriately sci-fi-sounding effects with saucy vocoder singing, taunting the droid mocked in the song’s title.

While this frequent employment of synthetic vocal production could, and, in other settings has, become a gimmick, here Zammuto uses it to provide a distressed, glitchy alternative to the lush sonic palette found on his records as part of the the Books. And don’t assume that the arrangements on Zammuto are only about gadgetry. One need only check out the bass line on “The Shape of Things to Come,” not to mention its varied array of percussion, imaginatively deployed and performed with zesty elan, to belay that notion.

Whether within the Books or as a solo act, one looks forward to many more interesting sounds from Nick Zammuto.

Yay (via Tumblr)

Long Distance Poison: Gamma Graves (Cassette Review)

Long Distance Poison

Gamma Graves

Ecstatic Peace Cassette

Gamma Graves is a prime example of the kind of release that has helped to fuel the cassette resurgence on the indie/experimental music scene. Produced by a variety of sources, from bedroom DIY collectives and small tape-only labels to established imprints like Ecstatic Peace, the audio cassette format, long thought extinct, is back. Tapes have been unassumingly encroaching their way onto the shelves of connoisseur collectors and music critics (no less than Steve Smith is a devotee): even record sellers such as Insound and Other Music have made room for them again.

The Brooklyn triumvirate of synthesizer performers Nathan Cearley and Erica Bradbury and prepared guitarist Casey Block comprise Long Distance Poison. Armed with vintage gear by Moog, Arp, and Roland, they create experimental soundscapes with a sense of history, referencing everyone from David Borden and early Philip Glass to Keith Rowe, Alva Noto, Ryoji Ikeda, and Derek Bailey. Drone-based foundations are overlaid with coruscating ostinato loops and distressed with pointed interjections.

Gamma Graves is the type of music that would have been just fine to distribute digitally (or via CD). Indeed, some purists might argue that cassette is an inherently inferior audio format to hi-res digital played through good equipment (by no means do most consumers play their MP3s through good equipment). So, why do I like having it on cassette? I find the noise imparted by tape and deck to do no harm to this music: in fact, it adds another, subtle, layer of drones to the proceedings that is consonant with the musical intentions of the work.

The tape as artifact yields something important too. Limited runs of handmade cassettes are often lovingly attired with artwork more expansive and, obviously, more tangible than any JPEG can provide. They are a reminder of a bygone era in which the physical release WAS the release, in which tape-trading and digging in bins for rarities was a hobby to enthusiastically pursue: not something simulated in online forums and furtively grasped at brick and mortar outposts now few and far between. Long Distance Poison (and Ecstatic Peace) acknowledge their debt to history not only via musical reference points, but through the resonances found in a cassette as relic and artwork. Try finding all that in a computer file.

Frkwys Vol. 7 (CD Review)

Frkwys Vol. 7

David Borden, Daniel Lopatin, Laurel Halo, Samuel Godin, James Ferraro, synthesizers

RVNG CD/LP/Digital

The seventh edition of the RVNG’s Frkwys series features intergenerational electroacoustic collaboration. David Borden, one of the pioneers of analog synthesizer performance and founder of  Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece, the first all synth ensemble, teams up with some of the young pups of indie electronica, members of bands such as Ford and Lopatin, Oneohtrix Point Never, and the Skaters.

While, traditionally, these two eras’ musicians may not share the same marketing demographics, they do share a love for vintage gear: for the warmth that analog keyboards can impart. Another mutual interest is ensemble improvisation. This common ground was extensively explored in a two-day marathon of recording sessions. On the Frkwys release, listeners are treated to unadulterated cuts, sans overdubs. But Borden and company do fine “without a net,” creating imaginative soundscapes. At times ambient and at others verging into more experimental terrain, the prevailing language here extols a minimal harmonic field, slowly evolving textures, and a plethora of drones.

Apart from the twelve and a half minute long “People of the Wind, Pt. 1,” most of the cuts are under ten minutes in duration. If one had a quibble about the release, it might be that this collective could use more time to stretch out and develop their ideas. Maybe a future meeting will allow side-long compositions to emerge. But in the meantime, there’s some heady music making to be heard from this initial encounter between analog improv’s old school and emerging wing.

Mother Mallard visits Brooklyn on 6/29

David Borden and his all-synthesizer ensemble Mother Mallard’s Portable Masterpiece Company will be visiting Brooklyn on Wednesday (details below). They’re presenting excerpts from Borden’s The Continuing Story of Counterpoint and Easter, his minimalist epic for Moog synths.

Gear heads: beware of missing out. Among their keyboard arsenal are a vintage Mini Moog and its more recent cousin, the Moog Voyager.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011 @


At the Old American Can Factory
232 3rd Street, 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11215
Telephone: 718-330-0313

Admission: $10 / $8 for members