Unhappy Fly – Self Titled

UK hailing Unhappy Fly is described as a post punk and no wave supergroup but trust us that description of their sound is like simply calling the sea blue and vegetation green. As their self-titled debut album quickly reveals, every song from the quartet is a tapestry of flavour and temptation as diverse and vast as the landscape of those previously mentioned features of planet earth.

Across its eleven tracks every second of the Unhappy Fly album is a theatre of sound and drama woven from everything around that post punk/new wave intimation to folk, jazz, baroque, indie and rock and still we are missing a plethora of other spices in its creative recipes. The resulting fusion is brought with unapologetic pop instinctiveness as Unhappy Fly share one of the most enthralling and captivating moments of this year indeed of many before it and no doubt to come.

Unhappy Fly is the compelling coming together of vocalist/guitarist/pianist Xentos Fray Bentos and drummer/percussionist Richard Dudanski with musician/electronic instrument builder/vocalist Sarah Washington and saxophonist/flutist John Glyn. Those familiar with the four and especially the first pair will know of the varied experiences and adventures in their extensive musical histories yet it gives no real clue to the uniqueness of the Unhappy Fly album.

There is a pop perfection to every song within the release, each bringing a manipulative bounce and catchiness upon ears and body whilst weaving proposals as rich in styles and textures as a dressmaker’s wardrobe.  Now Alasdair Owns Me opens up the album and swiftly unveils its character of imagination and craft and the virulent temptation which flows through the release. Its gentle entrance on rhythmic coaxing amidst melodic strands is pure delight as too the soft tones of Bentos which as quickly tempt away. The song was already under the skin before it then erupted in pure animated and thickly assorted contagion. Few albums this year have made such a magnetic start as Unhappy Fly’s yet it is just the beginning of the bold adventure to come.

Boneyard follows and as its rhythmic pulse teased ears it too soon buried itself deep especially through its guitar spun hook. Melodic entangling of appetite continued to spread from the catchy heart of the song, keys adding a crystalline glamour as Glyn’s sax teases with relish. Infectiousness soaks every note and syllable, its mellow aside as thick in imagination and temptation as the rousing swing of the tracks persistently encouraging body. Such the majesty of songs it is hard to pick a firm favourite but this has a firm hand on the decision though successor Superfifcial does its best to muddy the waters with its flirtatious teasing of sound and Bentos’ inimitable ever enticing vocals presence alongside Washington’s similarly beguiling tones. Everything about the track is simple yet skilfully conjured and offered for two and a half minutes of pure pop pleasure.

The cosmopolitan tango of Holocene provides a jazz scented enticement which is again nothing less than full seduction, its funky breath and jazz folk hues an infestation of the imagination alone before Feet of Clay embraces the listener in a theatre of musical intrigue and stringed drama. Shadows and whimsical mischief equip the track’s irresistibility, a mandolin and richness of vocal dexterity accentuating its power and beauty.

Latest single, Electric Light is next and immediately had ears greedy and the body bouncing through its exuberant almost voracious catchiness. It is a pop song though unafraid to twist and turn through jazz lined surprises and fresh shades to its instinctive creative ebullience for one of the best three minutes heard this year.

Country bred sighs welcome Angry In The Head, continuing to colour its catchy swagger and emotive plaintiveness while Singing Flame and Hit ‘n’ Miss after it only ignite further pleasure being side by side with the release. The first has a sixties pop croon to its tenacious shuffle, Bentos and Washington providing a seriously magnetic vocal union against the gorgeous rhythmic manipulation of drums and bass, it all within a weave of sound which becomes more varied in flavour and dexterity by the second. It’s equally enslaving successor similarly has that nostalgic breath yet is all fresh and innovative in its diversely bred pop ‘n’ roll stroll.

The final pair of Big Picture with its fifties inflamed, seventies glam tinted rock ‘n’ roll and the moment of undiluted rapture that is Golden ensure the album leaves as memorably and hypnotically as it began. Both are as individual in presence as they are united in fascination and the inimitable prowess of their creators.

The Unhappy Fly album is a wonder of beauteous melancholy and shadow enhanced beaut. It also proved, to use the word again, pure rapture upon these ears and it is hard to feel we will not be alone in finding a greed for its thrilling adventure.

The Unhappy Fly album is out now via Emotional Response Records; available @ https://emotional-response-recs.bandcamp.com/album/unhappy-fly

Pete RingMaster 15/10/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Scott Gray – Raincoats and Other Short Stories

This month sees the exclusive re-release in the U.K. and Europe of Raincoats & Other Short Stories, the latest EP from US singer-songwriter Scott Gray. Featuring re-mastered songs and a bonus track, the seven song release is a familiar croon for the heart and a picture book for the imagination which provides a rather enjoyable companion for the ears too.

Nashville based, Gray takes inspiration from the likes of Sting, Leonard Cohen, and Jamie Cullum and like them instinctively crafts his songs as stories embracing the imagination and personal experiences seeded in the broad and intimate moments in life all in some way can relate to. Musically, these adventures further blossom from their creator’s infectious fusion of pop and jazz, a blend carrying a breath as soulful as it is melodic rock energetic. Certainly artists like Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr come to mind at times across Gray’s new release but more so it offers an eagerly captivating fresh and individual character.

Raincoats & Other Short Stories first embraces ears with Raincoats, a song which immediately got under the skin as the body bounced to its catchy lure of voice and piano. Gray’s fingers stroll over keys with smiling eagerness, his tones just as vibrant and enthused and almost grinning as they welcome the subsequent full spirited swing of brass and the summery sparkle of keys. The flames of the chorus add another virulent hue to the inescapably catchy encounter and thrilling start to the EP.

Maybe It’s You follows and is no less a flirtatious temptation, its more concentrated canter a joy of nagging bass and again balmy keys cast melodies. Harmonies and brass simply accentuate the track’s affectionate tale and persuasion, a growing classic rock hue another magnetic spice to its swinging heart and keenly sauntering demeanour. As its predecessor, the track quickly had us eating out of its enterprising hand before making way for the sultry charm and intimate jazz club climate of She Remains. Smoky brass joins melancholic keys alongside the reflective reveal of word and Gray’s ever alluring voice; every second of their melodic and wistful contemplation effortlessly beguiling.

Equally thoughtful and pensively mellow is Captured, a tale of dejection, determination and unstoppable romance. Though it maybe took a play or two more to tempt as those before it, the song emerges another ear and appetite ensnaring proposal persistently tempting with an almost gnarly throated sax, invigorating crescendos and Gray’s consistently potent and persuasive voice, the latter especially just as commanding and compelling within the following Someday, Gray’s latest single. Sharing a park bench with the listener watching life go by, it is a melodic musing easily embracing and sparking the imagination.

The lively infectious rock ‘n’ roll of Games You Play, a pop fuelled canter with a jazz rock bred personality and bounce that again needed little time to gain ears and participation, brings further variety to the EP before it closes up with bonus track, As If. An emotionally charged serenade of voice and sound with a fire in its heart, the song makes a fine end to a release which just grows and blossoms in ears and enjoyment play by play and is easy to see bringing a whole new audience the way of Scott Gray from this side of the big pond.

Raincoats and Other Short Stories is only available in the UK and Europe on iTunes @ https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/raincoats-other-short-stories/1451747753

http://www.scottgraymusic.com/    https://www.facebook.com/500HatsMusic/   https://twitter.com/ScottGrayMusic

Pete RingMaster 24/03/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

12 Stone Toddler – Idiolalia

Whilst it is hard to believe wishes generally do come true we have to question that when a long time hope has just been realised with the release of a new album from one of the UK’s most unique and irresistible bands, 12 Stone Toddler.

The band created two of the last decade’s most essential albums for us in the 2007 released Does It Scare You? and its successor two years later, Scheming. They also uncaged a host of tracks which defined the inherent brilliance and unpredictability of their songwriting and sound including The Rabbit, a song which first had us deviously hooked on the band and has never escaped our personal playlist ever since. Though thickly wrapped in acclaim, the band never quite had the rich attention and recognition they deserved outside of their more local surroundings and subsequently seemed to step back into the shadows as its members explored other projects. It is a band though which we know has been the inspiration to a great many artists, all who will be rejoicing with us and fans at their return and a new album in Idiolalia which is 12 Stone Toddler craft and goodness at its most inimitable and mischievous.

With a new line-up seeing guitarist Helen Durden and drummer Robin O’Keefe alongside founder members and songwriters in keyboardist Ben Jones and bassist/vocalist Chris Otero, the Brighton hailing band has linked up with Freshly Squeezed Music for the release of Idiolalia. Immediately as its opener teases ears there is affirmation of what we already knew, the 12 Stone Toddler sound is impossible to pin down or make assumptions about. Musically the band embrace and indulge in strong flirtations with everything from and within rock, pop, and indie to swing, jazz, and more vaudevillian hued exploits; every emerging track individual in character and sound but united in the quartet’s one of a kind touch and imagination.

My Machine starts things up and once its mechanical workings are in order springs a swagger led stroll which needed mere seconds to get under the skin. With a steam punk like breath, the track continues to swing and sway on a manipulative rhythmic pulse, carnival-esque melodies escaping keys to spice guitar bred hooks as the familiar and potent tones of Otero provide a ringmaster like touch. It is an irresistible and irrepressible start to the album instantly setting down a rich marker in the second chapter of 12 Stone Toddler.

The following Give Me the Creeps is just as rousing and magnetic, building its own inescapable lure over a handful of seconds before casting an individual appraisal of life with melodic charm and fascination stirring enterprise. As with their music, the band has always conjured imagery and sparked the imagination with their lyrical prowess and as shown by the first two tracks alone they have lost none of that dexterity.

The animated surf swing of the outstanding Piranha just captivated and mastered inhibitions in hips and feet next while Mirrorball latches fifties seeded breeding to jazz nurtured devilment in its swingbeat flavoured gait for matching success. Add the insatiable rock ‘n’ roll of Just Enough Rope and the almost somnambulistic canter of Carried Away, a track which just blossoms by the listen with its melodic radiance creating something akin to Skylarking era XTC, and you have the kaleidoscopic nature and sound of 12 Stone Toddler in a beguiling nutshell and their ingenuity. The third of that foursome of treats is a wonderfully nagging proposal, its groove niggling away as keys squirt their melodic spicery across the fevered body infesting jive invading the passions.

Across the eager eventful waltz of Heavy Sleeper and the smouldering and increasingly heated melodic sunspot of Nice Surprise, ears are only pleasured by instinctive temptation. Both though still find themselves eclipsed by the following pair of Ride a Donkey and Runaway Train. Neither track was included in the promo sent our way but found to be joining the rest within the album and together providing another major highlight. The first teases with its air scything lures alongside Otero’s enticing vocals before the track’s swarthy landscape embroils country sighs with seaside town quaintness before its simply superb successor takes the listener on a journey of sound and voice escalating the intimation of its title note by syllable.

The final trio of tracks leave no second of sound or pleasure void of bold adventure and imagination, Dig a Hole kicking off the home straight with its virulent manner and step before the senses romancing saunter of The Borrowing Song serenades with the theatre and unpredictability you can actually expect from a 12 Stone Toddler offering. The album closes with one half of the band’s current double-A sided single, Heaven Was Closed, the other part of that teaser opening up Idiolalia. It is a warm and sultry piece of pop rock which simply seduced by the play.

It has been a long wait for 12 Stone Toddler to stir back into life but an intermission in their creativity well worth enduring as they are back as inventive, compelling, and intoxicating as ever.

Idiolalia is out now via Freshly Squeezed across most major stores.

http://www.12stonetoddler.com/   https://www.facebook.com/12stonetoddler   https://twitter.com/12stonetoddler

Pete RingMaster 06/10/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Hardcore Anal Hydrogen – Hypercut

When covering The Talas of Satan, the last album from Hardcore Anal Hydrogen we called a particular track a “beautiful meshuga.” It was a suggestion which undoubtedly applied to the whole release and is even more apt for the French outfit’s new wild adventure, Hypercut. Both halves of that description has been escalated within the new album, a release which it is best not to try and make sense of but one to just sit back before and immerse its crazed manna and manipulation.

Hardcore Anal Hydrogen is the manic creation of vocalist/programmer Sacha Mouk (Sacha Vanony) and guitarist/programmer Martyn Circus (Martyn Clement), a project emerging in 2009 and releasing debut album Fork you :​(​)​{ :​|​:​& };: that same year. Two years later, its successor Division Zero was unleashed with the band’s truly eclectic sound fully fledged but still growing and evolving as the mighty theatre of The Talas of Satan showed in 2014. As expected, things have not stood still since then, the pair’s imagination never taking a rest as they boldly breach another plateau in suggestive sound, diversity, and craziness with Hypercut, a release not so much schizophrenic as simply loco.

Everything from electro to rock, jazz to every shade of metal you can think of and more is entangled in Hypercut, much of which colluding to make album opener, Jean-Pierre, vigorously irresistible. Tenacious beats and electronic squirms grab ears first, guitars and rhythms swiftly involving their rapacious coaxing before the vocals of Mouk bounce in like a demented cartoon character. Raw metal trespasses burst as the song throws its self around dervish style; riffs, hooks, and grooves colliding like wayward atoms as keys conjure suggestion. Unsurprisingly twists and turns come at a rate of knots too, keeping the imagination dancing like a cat on a hot tin roof. It is a stunning start, prime but fresh Hardcore Anal Hydrogen offering up essences of artists such Pryapisme, Aphex Twin and Cryptopsy in varying degrees.

If the first is a tangled web, the following Coin coin is spaghetti of sonic wires all twisted up like the knack iPod headphones have when in the pocket if only for a few seconds. Circus’ guitar is a creative thrashing of enterprise yet with a composure and coherence which paints individual pictures as around it jazz flames and psych rock tendrils ignite and explore.  More progressive hues similarly escape the metal nurtured cage, Jean Michel Jarre-esque elegance honing an atmospheric landscape as wildlife voice their involvement before the track eventually drifts into the sunshine.

The Cajun opening of La roche et le rouleau is a deceitful prelude to rock ‘n roll time in the asylum;  a wacked out stomp again involving an array of flavours in its contagion and even managing to keep feet and hips involved as it slips into a sultry noir lit jazz detour, coming out the other side with even more certifiable zeal. It is a madness which is even lustier within Paul, a track which has fifties in its breath, dark gothic theatre in its air, and blackened dementia in its heart. Many bands weave a tapestry of diversity but as this track alone echoes, few can rival Hardcore Anal Hydrogen in the organic fluidity it comes in or the bedlamic mastery.

Next up, Blue Cuts provides a piano spun jazz saunter for a relatively ‘normal’ caress of the senses while Charme oriental creates a Mad Capsules Markets like sonic holler in a carnivorous extreme metal dissonance, but a fusion as infectious as it is invasive especially once Eastern hues join the musical curiosity. Both tracks simply enthral but are still eclipsed by Phillip. It is a sinister slice of musically and emotionally suggestive espionage; dark drama and deeds soaking every note in every twist and turn. In a moment in time where spying and death is headline, it manages to be a perfect echo yet has an intimacy of inner threat and turmoil just as potent. Its eight plus minutes conjures a cinematic tale in thoughts, no doubt one again sure to be individual to each listener but a rich one all the same.

Through the rhythmically tribal and aggressive spectacle of Murdoc and the glorious vocal and musical delusion of Entropie Maximum, one already lustful appetite just could not stop drooling; the second especially incendiary with its mischievously screwy, seriously catchy, unhinged romp. It has the body bouncing, spirit racing, and shoulders hunched in puzzlement; pure bliss.

In turn Sproutch savages the senses, electronics and metal at their carnivorous best and though only thirty seconds long leaves an unforgettable impact before the cosmic ingredients of Daube carotte unite with barbed hooks and hellacious metal in another rousing incitement, though it too has some intimation fuelled downtime where the imagination is even more stretched and pleasure overfilled.

Automne 1992 provides a slow prowl through rain drenched scenery and darkly shadowed threats. It did not quite grab the senses as its predecessors fair to say but has plenty for the imagination to weave with, 6:33 coming to mind once or twice while Bontemmieu brings the other side of climate with its summery charms and ethic festivities, though again there is just a tease of darker flirtation.

The album ends with Alain, l’homme télévitré, a track just epitomising Hardcore Anal Hydrogen eccentricity and their bizarre craft. Yet there is much more to it, as all tracks, a truly smart and inventive core which twists the listener around physically and emotionally whilst providing all the tools and ingredients for them to paint their own pictures and tales. It is not going to be for everyone but Hypercut is simply creative manna, the fullest sonic ambrosia yet from Hardcore Anal Hydrogen.

Hypercut is available now via Apathia Records @ https://hardcoreanalhydrogen.bandcamp.com/album/hypercut   or https://apathiarecords.com/en/releases/hypercut

http://hardcoreanalhydrogen.com    https://www.facebook.com/hardcoreanalhydrogen

Pete RingMaster 10/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

We Are Band Nerds – Forget Me Nots

When something is self- described as “Deftones meets Outkast” you just have to have a sniff but it was a mighty lung full we subsequently grabbed when diving into the debut album from US outfit We Are Band Nerds. That description certainly fits the Dallas sextet’s sound, though we would also suggest The Kennedy Soundtrack at times in their blend of alternative hip hop and nu metal, yet there is so much that is individual to the band that it is one imagination grabbing adventure within a debut which just demands plaudit loaded attention.

We Are Band Nerds consist of Brandon Cross (Lead Singer/Rapper), Tony Lucas (Rapper/Vocalist), Dorian “Scullie” Thomas (Guitarist), Carlos “DJ Sol*Los” Juarez (DJ/Sampler), Stephen “S Dot” Bonilla (Drums), and Santos “Sandman” Johnson (Bass). They all bring individual craft and loves into a united sound keenly embracing further diverse styles from jazz, metal, electronica, rap, and varied rock music. Within their first full-length, Forget Me Nots, it quickly proves to be a fascinating mix. Lyrically too the band transfixes, never pulling their punches whilst showing honesty fuelled insight and craft which whether with subtlety or force bewitches as firmly as the sounds around them in songs exploring the depths of everything from relationships to racism, poverty to life’s experiences.

From opener Hunger Games it grabs ears and imagination, electronics almost teasing as they suggest and lure before embracing a current of metal nurtured riffs, dancing beats, and the vocal prowess of Cross and Lucas. The snarl of the guitars is gripping and portentous; vocals matching their angst and irritability with the pair of singers and their individual styles a magnetic union.  All the while the melodic instincts of the band add a mesmeric glaze to veins of creative suggestion and the encounter’s natural rawer rapacity. It is a compelling mix of threat and contemplation in word and sound and a gripping start to the album.

The following Whore has an instinctive catchiness from its first breath of voice and bass, their natural swing controlled but bold and setting the tone for the outstanding track. Like a clock, each note ticks by with consistency and intimation, vocals matching their gait yet all the time volatility in the song’s belly is brewing and stirring, never truly erupting but adding a rousing trespass between the crystalline breaths and organically bred emotions. Like Palms meets Mudvayne in an unexpected way, it is simply glorious and reason alone to check out band and album.

Fake In You similarly has a relatively calm climate within which turbulence and intense shadows lie, essences which burn bright at times but are tempered by the atmospheric glides of the keys and the smooth blend of rap and clean vocals. That tempestuousness does take hold momentarily towards the song’s close but again is dampened down by the tranquillity and beauty of melody before Dreamer opens its heart and diminishing hopes through elegance, grace, and corrosive intensity. As with all songs, hindsight brings a sense of familiar hues within the inventive drama but there is no chance of predicting the landscape and enterprise of each encounter as hearts are shared and thoughts turned over.

Without quite stirring the passions as thickly as those before Under Water still holds attention tight with its evocative drama in sound and word amidst rapacious metal encroachments while American Trash springs from an electronic breeze of an interlude/intro into a heady windstorm of sonic manipulation and lyrical dissonance, though never breaking from its restraints to truly create a blistering tempest.  That control just makes the song though, ensuring its portentous air is a tantalising harassment behind more of the stirring blend of mellow and ire sealed vocals.

The industrial bent Hagel Trumpf is a prowling predator breeding addiction and lust for its senses preying beauty lit with nu metal stalking while Savage borders on the carnivorous, in comparison, but too holds its ferocity in an embrace of suggestion soaked harmonics and melodic intrigue. Both are mutually unique and magnificent, just two more reasons to be excited about their creators and lustfully keen to recommend the album they grace.

Forget Me Nots concludes with Fade Away, a scalding slice of rap and rock infused metal which is the band at their organically rawest on the album but once more infused into a searing irradiation of melodic beauty. It is a compelling end to an album which we can only repeat, must be checked out especially if those comparisons at the beginning hit the spot but equally atmospheric metal/rock in general.

Forget Me Nots is out now via Pavement Entertainment across most stores.

http://www.wearebandnerds.com/    https://www.facebook.com/wearebandnerds/     https://twitter.com/wearebn6

Pete RingMaster 09/03/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

TaxiWars – Fever

Kris Dewitte

Kris Dewitte

We will be honest, jazz is an intriguing mystery to our usual musical investigations as too the possible inspirations to the new TaxiWars album, but there is no secret hiding an irresistible sound and provocative prowess within Fever. Offering ten mouth-watering adventures, the album, to use the term found in the release’s press release, flits between jazz and the avant-garde. It persistently provokes the senses as it flirts with the body and sparks the imagination like no other encounter heard this year.

TaxiWars is the inspirational collaboration between dEUS frontman Tom Barman and saxophone player Robin Verheyen, the pair joined by the just as absurdly creative bassist Nicolas Thys and drummer Antoine Pierre. Their self-titled debut album swiftly nurtured critical acclaim in 2015 and all we can say not having heard it, yet, is that if it matches up to the ingenious eclectic beauty of Fever, it deserved every breath of praise offered.

Fever opens with its title track, a proposition which alone makes the album worthy of attention. Instantly Verheyen’s sax is seducing ears with its intoxicating strikes, the metronomic beats of Pierre soon in close quarters as rock ‘n’ roll brews in bass and the creative tones of Barman. A flirtation for hips and feet alone, the grooving slice of dark jazz ‘n roll soon infests body and psyche alike becoming almost shamanic in its lure and tone with a relatively restrained yet salacious dance in its heart. At times and increasingly bordering on the deranged, the track is pure suggestive alchemy setting off the tone and instinctive seduction of the album in masterful style.

The following Soul Repair is similarly groove bound and imposingly suggestive; blending flirtatious energy driven by the tenacious throaty enterprise of Thys’ bass with mellower though no less gripping twists. Once more the imagination is as inspired as bodily involvement, its smoky shadow teased canvas a sure lure for creative thoughts and the lyrical and vocal imagination of Barman.

taxiwars_2_cover_RingMasterReviewBridges is next, coaxing attention like a mix of Dizraeli & The Small Gods and Charles Mingus; teasing ears with its melodic seduction and the ever sultry warmth and incitement flaming from Verheyen’s ingenuity. Rhythmically just as addictive with Barman alone an incitement to hang the imagination upon, the exceptional track is more than matched by the flirtatiously prowling Soliloque (Sans Issue). Sung in French, the song is even greater bait for language restricted thoughts to weave their own ventures; escapades further shaped by the brass coaxing of Verheyen and prompted by the noir lined stroll of the rhythms.

Romancing ears next is Trash Metal Ballad, a smouldering slice of creative beauty with Barman enticingly strolling scenery of gentle but insistent and evocative rhythmic coaxing courted by the hazy poetic flames of Verheyen. The song is glorious, an exploration at times on the verge of Shatner’s Bassoon like bedlam but always pulling back to slip back into the smouldering foxy fascination it emerged with.

As gentle as the song is, it is a livelier proposal compared to next up Airplane Song, though it too has infectiousness in its minimalistic invention which is as spirited as anything within Fever and cored by another simply enslaving bass jaunt from Thys. The song epitomises the tapestry of sound and suggestion woven by all four elements of the band perfectly, each as creative and essential as the other in an inescapable flirtation of body and emotion.

As calm and aurally reflective as the previous pair are, Controlled Demolition is a tenaciously energetic and dynamic proposal. Bedlamic and punky with an array of seemingly random twists and turns fuelled with schizophrenic urgency, the track is a powerhouse of invention and individual craft leading the listener on a hectic race against time and far too short given its ridiculously addictive fertile innovation.

Living up to its name, a compelling dose of the blues comes with the shadow rich Honey It’s The Blues, another suggestive noir lit encounter providing street corner light on a jazz room romance in thoughts, both centred on the blaze of Verheyen’s sax and Barman’s hazily coated descriptive prowess as an organ colours the surrounding depths.

That quality to inspire the creativity of thoughts is an ever present within Fever and again at eager play within En Route, its bass nurtured repetitive but persistently imaginative rhythmic engine a road trip for the senses through a landscape of brass drawn scenery and vocal intimation with a backing lure simply impossible not to get hooked on.

The swarthy atmosphere and climate of Egyptian Nights brings the album to a sublime close, TaxiWars dancing with the imagination as African rhythms and exotic textures surround the vocals while infusing their playful romance into keys and sax.  It is a memorable and lingering close to a simply wonderful release, Fever a drop-dead treat of sound and imagination capable of igniting the passions whatever the once preferred flavour of sound.

Fever is out now via Universal Jazz across all stores.

https://www.facebook.com/taxiwars/    http://www.taxiwars.be/    https://twitter.com/taxiwarsmusic

Pete RingMaster 13/12/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Creative espionage and inventive intimation: an interview with Aiming For Enrike

 

Photo: Marius Mada Dale

Photo: Marius Mada Dale

Without doubt, one of the year’s most exhilarating and inventive propositions has been Segway Nation, the new album from Norwegian duo Aiming For Enrike. The encounter is a fascinating instrumental adventure in sound and captivating aural suggestiveness; a multi-flavoured infectiousness created by drummer Tobias Ørnes and guitarist Simen Følstad Nilsen. Offered the chance to learn more with the duo, we set about discovering the creative heart of band and album.

Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.

First of all can you tell us about yourselves as individuals?

We are two quite calm persons; a guitar player and drummer. We love making and playing music, so we spend a lot of time in the rehearsal space, practicing, jamming, and composing.

When did you first meet and what sparked the idea to form the band?

We met in 2010, when we attended a music school in Oslo. We were both into experimental noise rock music. After seeing some mind-blowing bands like Monolithic and Zu, we wanted to do something like that as a duo. By using loops we managed to get a huge sound even though we were only two. In the beginning we had more of a noise/prog sound but over the years the songs developed into more conventional song structures where we have incorporated a lot of influences from electronica, funk etc.

Is there a specific meaning behind the band name?

Yes, but not worth sharing 😉

Photo © Haakon Borg / Magpie

Photo © Haakon Borg / Magpie

It is wonderfully difficult to pin down the Aiming For Enrike sound for us, how would you describe it to newcomers to the band?

It’s an adventurous band with good melodies, cool grooves, and lots of energy. It has a very distinct sound, but still the music can go in many different directions.

What and who have most inspired your musical ideas and subsequently sound would you say?

Our sound is kind of schizophrenic and has a lot of layers because of a wide range of influences. Of course we can be inspired by other things in life, but I think it is only music and music gear that have a direct influence to our sound. Aiming for Enrike is the result of two people and sounds like something none of us would have made by ourselves.

Here are some names: Miles Davis, Josh Homme, James Brown, Nels Cline, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Greg Saunier, Hot Snakes, Glen Branca, Mike Patton, Moha…

I am no expert on the broad expanse of the Norwegian music scene right now, generally coming across the diversity of metal and rock bands from there, but I get the feeling that your music is a one of a kind there; something unusual to the Norwegian landscape of sound. Is that the reality and if so how have they taken to it?

In Norway it is very common to have musical collaborations across genres. If you look at the jazz and improvisational music scene, you have lots of artist who play music that have more in common with pop, rock/metal, electronic music than traditional jazz. In jazz festivals you can go and see pop acts, and in commercial festivals there are jazz bands playing. So I think in general people are very open to new stuff.  Most artists are not so focused on sounding like the other one. It is a good thing to be original, and have your own thing going. We don’t know of any other Norwegian band that sounds like us but way more people than we would have guessed have been positive and open to it.

You have just released new album, Segway Nation; a release which had our imagination as busy and enthralled as ears and feet. Where does a ‘typical’ Aiming For Enrike song start composing wise?

We always start by just playing. We spend a lot of time just improvising, or trying out different kind of ideas. It is important that we are inspired when we play, and that there is a fun factor. We try to follow our intuition, and not doubt our choices too much. Then we record our ideas and make tunes out of them.

Throughout the album, there is an organic freedom, almost as things were created, played, and improvised in the moment. Tell us about the recording of Segway Nation; were songs already AimingForEnrike-SegwayNation_RingMasterReview2400written before recording them or was there an element of conjuring twists and turns there and then?

Everything is played live in the studio, without any click track. That might create a more «free» or improvised feel. On Segway Nation we composed all the songs before we recorded them, but there are some parts in the songs where we improvise. It can be open sections, or written parts played in different ways. That keeps it interesting for us, and hopefully for the listeners. Some of the more «free form» songs like Minitrue and Phone Phobia are the result of some improvised recording sessions.

Another great aspect to the album is the way it inspires the listener’s imagination to create its own adventures. Can you tell us about some of the actual themes and inspirations to the tracks and their suggestive dramas?

We didn’t have any specific plans for this. But it is a good thing if the listeners make up their own adventure in the music. I don’t think there are any specific themes to the songs, but there are specific inspirations to some of the songs. It can be a groove, melody, riff etc.

The past few years has seen some impressive and ear striking duos emerge with varying styles and dynamics within their union. Often it seems that the slimness of personnel allows a band to bring its live presence much more easily to recordings. It is the same with you guys; there is a feeling that listening to Segway Nation would be like standing in front of you on stage. Do you think there is some validity in that thought from your perspective; less bodies and minds leads to less of a leaning on technology and tricks when recording music?

There is more space in the music when you are a duo, and that makes it easier to follow your intuition and play in the moment. Since we record our music live in a room, the recording becomes very representative for us as a band. There are very few options sound wise with only a guitar and a drum kit, so I think it is hard to lose the live feeling in the recording.

Marius Mada Dale

Marius Mada Dale

Tell us about your live side; how you translate the dynamics of songs to the stage?

It works really great! We played the songs live many times before we recorded them. So the recording is not much different from a live performance. With the live performance you will also get the visual aspect and a bit more playful approach to the material.

What is next for Aiming For Enrike now that the album is out and earning acclaim and new hearts?

We are working on new material, which is turning out really good! And we have some festivals coming up this summer; first there´s Nattjazz festival in Bergen, then Øya festival in Oslo. We are planning a European tour in the fall! So lots of cool stuff coming up!

Once again many thanks for giving your time to us. Anything you would like to add?

Check out our album Segway Nation, and also the live in Rohdos garage videos on YouTube.

Read the review for Segway Nation @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/aiming-for-enrike-segway-nation/

https://www.facebook.com/aimingforenrike    http://www.namemusic.no/aimingforenrike/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 04/06/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright