SXSW: Disclosure

March 26, 2013

Disclosure – brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence – aren’t merely revivalists. What’s impressive about their music isn’t so much its fealty to golden-age two step, but the finesse they bring to their productions, suggesting the panache of far more experienced producers. They appeared more or less out of nowhere two years ago when their first MySpace demos were picked up for release on London’s Moshi Moshi label, and have continued to hone their skippy, melody-soaked take on house across a pair of EPs and their remix of Jessie Ware’s “Running” (one of my favorite tracks of all time). One listen and its universal appeal is immediately obvious: the effortless way they turn Ware and her co-producers Dave Okumu and Julio Bashmore’s elegant homage into zippy, synth-drenched soul feels like a particularly dizzying sleight of hand.



VIP remix:

I was lucky enough to see the duo perform a live set on Wednesday the 13th and a DJ set on the night of the 15th. The live set at Hype Hotel was breathtaking, featuring drum sets, electric bass guitars, keyboards, and mixers. The show pulled heavily from their most recent four-track release (The Face, perhaps their best and most varied record), delivering retro hallmarks and a high-energy mood that demonstrated their skill at crafting electronic pop songs. The vocal cuts in “Boiling” (featuring Sinead Harnett) and “Control” (featuring Ria Ritchie) were particularly good examples of their capacity to re-contextualize classic tropes into tracks with more modern sensibilities.

Though their DJ set on Friday was less exciting, featuring none of their own songs and no live instruments or mixing, it was still imbued with their trademark electronic croons and swollen synths. The darker rendition of their personal brand was a refreshing departure, especially as it took place in a small club (La Zona Rosa) that seemed to cater only to those few that had heard about the show through friends and friends’ of friends.

The Lawrence brothers are currently recording their debut album and participating as support groups for Hot Chip and SBTRKT in the U.S. and the U.K. At 21 and 18 years of age, respectively, Guy and Howard are only at the outset of a promising career in music production.

Be sure to check out more of their music here:

Post by Chloe Lula.

SXSW: Andy Stott

Andy Stott has always been a stylistically agile artist. His performance at Resident Advisor’s official showcase on Wednesday evening during SXSW was a dark and dubby representation of his techno-inflected approach, displaying much of his more recent remixes and Luxury Problem releases. Lo-fi production and dirge-like rhythms chugged along somewhere in the 100 BPM region, incorporating odd elements of existential dread that recalled old Joy Division records.

For those unfamiliar with Stott’s work, it is haunting and atmospheric. His 2012 album is laced with vocals from his old piano teacher, Alison Skidmore. In equal parts mournful and seductive – sometimes even operatic – she gives his music a sexy and haunting feel; her lyrics and Stott’s own applications of reverb and delay made his performance particularly wistful. While his melodic layering and deep basslines may not have been suited for everyone, those interested in techno (and experimental electronic music in particular) would have been taken with his live interpretations of his own work.

To fully appreciate Stott, it’s crucial to have subwoofers or a good pair of headphones cranked up to 11. The venue, Elysium, was perfectly suited to the artist’s visceral bass lines, and I was only able to garner a better understanding of his music by being immersed in that environment. That being said, listeners and newcomers to the experimental techno scene should still give him a shot. I recommend beginning with his remix of Blondes’ “Pleasure,” as well as his latest album release, Luxury Problems, which you can stream here:

Post by Chloe Lula.

SXSW: Photographer Peter Leeman’s Account of SXSW (Part Two)

March 24, 2013

The festival was an intense mix of exhilaration and exhaustion, a real adventure under the laid-back Austin sun. There were open bars, day parties followed by night parties, and a thriving, magnificent food truck scene to keep us going. We danced late into the night to solid dj sets, jumped around to dance music, we swayed to driving synthy darkwave and were reminded that punk rock will never die. No one wanted to rest for too long, for fear of missing something great.

Weary, sleep deprived and sore, we shuffled back into the van at the end of the week for our long drive home. We took in the beautiful weather one last time on one last rooftop, and hoped the drive would be quick (it wasn’t).  Once back in Pittsburgh, we reluctantly came to terms with the cold and snow. As we said our bleary-eyed goodbyes, it was apparent that we ended the trip with more friends, or better friends than when we first piled into the van 8 days earlier.

The open bar could be partially to blame, but at the end of the night, the crowd went wild for Icona Pop at the Viceland showcase.

Small Black performs at The Fader Fort, an expansive venue hosted by The Fader magazine.

Small Black performs at The Fader Fort, an expansive venue hosted by The Fader magazine.

Sitting down for a moment inside The Fader Fort.

Trinidad Jame$ gets the crowd popping at The Fader Fort.

Trinidad Jame$ gets the crowd popping at The Fader Fort.

Trinidad Jame$ gets the crownd popping at The Fader Fort.

A long line of people wait for their order at the Mi Jo Hungry food truck. Austin has an impressive food truck scene, with many eager patrons.

The Night Beats perform at Hotel Vegas.

Thee Oh Sees liven up the crowd at Hotel Vegas.

The Soft Moon bring a darkwave, synthrock feel to Hotel Vegas.

The Soft Moon bring a darkwave, synthrock feel to Hotel Vegas.

DIIV plays at the Blackheart Bar on Rainey Street.

White Lung brings some puck rock to Bar 96.

Bleached mix in a little psychedelic pop with punk rock at Bar 96.

Blue Hawaii plays at a showcase for bands from Montreal.

Nu Sensae adds a little high energy noise punk to the line-up at the Longbranch Inn.

Peter Leeman is a graduate researcher in field of atmospheric science. He is also a photographer and filmmaker.
<< SXSW: Photographer Peter Leeman’s Account of SXSW (Part One)

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »