Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Holy F**k!

Well travels, work, laziness, and frankly, concern - or lack there of - about the relevance or interest Pitch2Voltage might offer anyone reading this, have prevented Mr. Hanle and I from maintaining the blog. In an attempt to wrest credibility from a 6 month hiatus, I'm posting this, which I had intended to post in May.

Have you ever seen Cornelius perform? I had the good fortune last Monday. On tour to promote his first album in five years, Sensuous, the Japanese music genius-madman, Cornelius, aka Keigo Oyamada, and his band came to Park West - a befittingly European styled club with leather seats and a disco ball - to melt the minds of the hipsters and aging gen-Xers who populate Chicago's north side. I may only speak for myself, but leaving the concert I felt as if I were coming down from a week long LSD trip - without any of the side effects. I have not the authorial capacities to adequately describe this aural and visual spectacle without trivializing it. So I won't make the attempt.

Opening was the oh-so-cleverly named Holy Fuck, who I had not the good fortune to enjoy, my friend, however, was screaming their name repeatedly during Cornelius' set... I usually, I think for good reason, keep a distance from humorous writing...See Cornelius, if you have the chance.

If you've never listened to Cornelius I recommend starting with the album Point, which is fantastic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


So lately I’ve found myself listening a lot to Lucky Dragons’ new album Widows. Lucky Dragons is Luke Fischbeck, a one man sound collager/musician from Prividence, RI who cuts and pastes clips of sound to make some of the most simultaneously beautiful and abrasive music I’ve ever heard. Field recordings abound in his music, mixed with a deft electronic hand with odd blips and bleeps and the occasional acoustic riff that compose the backbone of his sound. He has the amazing ability to create rhythms and beats out of the everyday sounds of our lives, a method which is best showcased on the collection of his material released last year on State's Rights Records, entitled A Sewing Circle. His new album focuses on the softer side of his music- analog acoustic dabblings intermingling with beeps of a digital origin. This album washes over you in waves, and every once in a while you are jolted by the calculated beauty of it all.

His live shows are not to be missed and are always interesting. See video evidence here.

Listen to New Alium, off Lucky Dragons’ new album Widows.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Burn Sand and Make Music

In some forest outside of Portland, Maine, Angus Maclaurin, a music teacher and a particularly strange fellow, recorded an album in the basement of his log cabin. The album is called Glass Music, and it is, befittingly, an ambient work in which, save for one or two tracks, Maclaurin uses strictly glass as his instrument. I have no clue what he did to or with the glass, but the result is quite beautiful.

My initial reaction was that although the concept of the album sounded 'cool', upon actually listening I would find that the work would not transcend its gimmickry. I was wrong, however; the album is damn good. If you're into ambiance or long form experimentation, check it out and be wow-ed that you are listening to glass.

click here to listen

Monday, March 26, 2007

Losing My Edge

Mark Kozelek is one of my favorite singer/songwriters around right now, and I've posted about him before. But somehow - I just can't seem to stay hip on all this new music - I was unaware of his latest release, (a live album entitled Little Drummer Boy which came out in the fall), until fairly recently. Regardless, the album is great. Kozelek has an uncanny ability to not only write some very beautiful music, but also to rework other artists' material, turning even hard rock into acoustic brilliance and drawing out seemingly shallow lyrics into poetic profundity. On the album, you'll hear Kozelek, with his guitarist Phil Carney, perform some of his solo work, including Modest Mouse and AC/DC covers, a bunch of Sun Kil Moon songs and earlier tracks from his first band the Red House Painters. Worth at least downloading? If you're a fan of Mark Kozelek, well then you probably already have it, but if you don't, give it a listen.

If you have never heard Mark Kozelek, check out the song "Glenn Tipton" off of Sun Kil Moon's second album, Ghosts of the Great Highway.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why Dosh Is Pretty Cool

I’m often on the lookout for new music by artists with whom I am unfamiliar. Recently, I’ve been on an electronic music kick, and I’ve come across some pretty decent stuff - both IDM and ambient. Dosh’s newest release, The Lost Take, is one album that has particularly captured me in the last couple of months.

I had never heard, nor even heard of Martin Dosh (perhaps this betrays some greater ignorance) but I came across his new album by chance a couple of weeks ago. Dosh (which is his recording name) is an experimental multi-instrumentalist out of Minneapolis who creates electronic music in the vein of B. Fleischmann (this website is in German...sorry). His quirky, melodic, and sample-filled songs lend themselves well to both a soothing experience (great for reading, I have found) as well as close listening, as his songs are layered with eclectic instrumentation and interesting samples.

With the Lost Take, Dosh impressively demonstrates his ability to write pretty melodic lines, weaving in bits of interesting musical accompaniment and catchy rhythms. What is also exciting is that a few other big Midwestern independent rock names join Dosh on the album, including Andrew Bird.

This is an album I would recommend checking out, especially the song “Um, Circles and Squares.”

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Lost in Shallowness

I liked Lost In Translation – liked it quite a bit in fact – but my infatuation with Coppola is slowly dwindling. Marie Antoinette was an aesthetically beautiful, magical, slow, meandering, and ultimately confusing film. Why did Coppola make this movie? I have no idea (although I think I could speculate). Be that as it may, the soundtrack to Coppola’s newest film does not disappoint.

It is populated with a selection of some of my favorite songs by New Order and Gang of Four, and Coppola, once again, admirably demonstrates her ability to blend picturesque images with pretty music, Although it is done in much the same fashion as in Lost in Translation, (see: Bill Murray riding in a limo with the city light of Tokyo washing over his face in the window while my My Bloody Valentine layers over the image vs. Kirsten Dunst riding in a carriage with the reflections of the French countryside washing over her face).

Enough has been said about the mediocrity of plot and the shallowness but aesthetic beauty of Coppola’s new film; leaving this aside, the soundtrack is fantastic – check it out (the trailer also deserves some kind of award by god).

Dig: “Age of Consent” by New Order off of their album Power, Corruption and Lies.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Punk Rock is Just Around The Corner

Last Thursday John and I had the good fortune to see Ian MacKaye - the legendary icon of DC hardcore - perform in his new band, The Evens, in New York City. There have been many mixed emotions about this band since their inception in the Fall of 2001. Is MacKaye going soft? To my mind, the Evens are the logical progression for the middle-aged punker – the Evens champion soft simplistic songs complimented by Mackaye’s baritone guitar and Amy Farina’s quiet but rhythmically sound drumming. The lyrics are befittingly simple yet politically charged, and they are sung by a more reserved sounding MacKaye than one hears in his earlier bands (Fugazi, Minor Threat), and Farina, whose breathy but sweet voice fits nicely over Mackaye’s.

The Evens performed in a fairly small venue, and by MacKaye’s request, the lights remained on for the duration of their set. Such an ambience is indicative of his philosophy towards live music: the audience is as important as the performers themselves. He urged us to come close to the stage, sing a long, and to ask him if the sound balance was off, for the “band members were also the sound guys.” MacKaye’s attempts to bridge the gap between the audience and the performers in order to create a more communal and collective experience fell somewhat flat on the New York hipsters known for their propensity for shoe gazing (but it was appreciated by Pitch2voltage nonetheless).

As a Fugazi fan and a native to Washington DC, I enjoyed the set quite a bit. MacKaye’s passion and energy, despite his sitting down, was assuredly contagious. Every time his voice began to break into the deep scratchy yelling so descriptive of Fugazi, the hair on my arms stood on end. But the Evens maintained a degree of lightheartedness and reservation, allowing one to sit back and enjoy, rather than quietly smirk at a 40 something punk rocker head bang on stage.

Dig: “Around the Corner” off of the Evens’ first album which is self-titled.