Mira Calix interview (Part 2 of 2) Listen: 27:44 – I love to hear her speak, yet well I know that music hath a far more pleasing sound – S03 Ep02
Interview Date: September 11, 2012 @2pm EDT
Special Guest: Mira Calix - As far as Electronica artists go, Chantal Passamonte aka Mira Calix is much more organic, not only in the sounds she uses (through collecting field recordings, capturing analogue sounds, and working with chamber instruments and other ensembles), but also with the direction her music has taken, evolving away from a strictly electronic sound to incorporating classical orchestration and working in dance, film, theatre, opera, and within the visual arts. In this podcast we talk about the collaboration with Gavin Bryers on the Shakespeare sonnet “Nothing like the sun” , we discuss her work with Mark Clifford of SeeFeel, the album “Eyes set against the sun”, her famous award winning piece “My Secret Heart”, the recent Alfred Hitchcock soundtrack commission and much much more.. Check out more here: http://www.miracalix.com/
Mira Calix (Chantal Passamonte) mentioned the band My Bloody Valentine (MBV) as an influence during her interview, and they're a band worth a description here, although by now, they've gotten enough publicity and time to become more familiar to the world but, in their day in the early '90's, they were one of the best alternative bands you never heard of. They had a resurgence after they disbanded in the mid 90's and the strength of their sound kept them popping up throughout new music scenes and generations. I can recall reading a review in a university paper only six years ago about the the writer's "new find" they called a goldmine of a discovery, and of which they were extremely proud to find and relishing the music and describing with great amounts of ebullience, "especially when turned up loud." It wasn't the most brilliant writing, or thorough review, but what made it memorable, was that their music was being rediscovered and loved again as new and groundbreaking despite their disappearance from the scene, apart from the few tracks in Sofia Coppola's movie, Lost In Translation, but in the midst of approximately fifteen years passing and through new and contrary popular music scenes, their music still remains to enthrall new listeners.
Passamonte seemed a bit taken aback by referring to MBV and their ilk as counter to the mainstream, but this only reveals the difference in the music scene when one crosses the pond. My Bloody Valentine had better success in the UK, and perhaps was not so underground to her, but to the twenty-somethings in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (the land where Blackberries now rot on the vine) MBV were the darlings of the underground; you had to have connections to the scene in Toronto to be in the know. At that time, North America was taken over by Nirvana and The Red Hot Chilly Peppers; it was nearly impossible to hear anything else above the buzz.
And while MBV is great music to play loudly on your system, they deserve much more description than that. A good listen, or just a little research on the internet will reveal how original and intricate the band and their sound is.
But first off, some description of the leader of MBV, Kevin Shields, is in order. Something of the J.D. Salinger of the music world, he's reclusive, rarely talks to the media, and extremely meticulous with his sound. Deeply involved in every nuance, it becomes easily understood how such an innovative sound could have emerged from such fastidiousness and creativity. When he has opened up in interviews, he reveals himself an extremely artistic personality, but also a rare one countered with a heavy dose of wisdom - no doubt, something that's served him well in securing ownership of his music, although its led to difficult and perhaps underhanded dealings with record labels, but events which he eventually came out on top of due to his passion and persistence, and something he seems reflect upon without bitterness when his passion is checked by his intellect and maturity.
Speaking on the MBV sound, it's lush, layered, encompassing, and original. The guitar work had been something of a impassioned debate in the day. It was believed to be heavily manipulated through effects and massively reworked through the studio, yet, Shields attests, turns out to be rather simply, a guitar tuned to a chord with liberal use of a tremolo bar and run through an amp turned up to 11. The sound launched them into high critical acclaim, and heads of the Madchester, or "shoegazer" sound, but unfortunately record sales weren't as stellar to match the acclaim. They failed to chart in the U.S. That, plus inactivity led to members of the band falling away, yet it's the originality of the sound which makes them reappear and indelible on those who heard them in the past. And requests for more output, thanks in part to Sophia Coppola, has led to their immortality to the degree that rereleases and remasters, and new tours coming out, plus, although Shields has stated no firm date, he speaks of unreleased material finally finished and due out soon. While Shields may not follow most people's notion of time, his work is something to watch for when it does come. It's more than worth owning a seminal band who's been so influential to so many, Mira Calix included. His work has inspired more than one generation of music lover.
Next Week's Guests:
Audio interview - David J - bassist for the gothic rock band Bauhaus and Love and Rockets.
Written interview - Zia McCabe Keyboards, etc. from the Dandy Warhols.
Links to occupy your time and enlighten your soul:
John McLaughlin's new album "Now Here This" coming out Oct 18th!
“It’s the best thing I ever did, from the beginning until today” -John McLaughlin
"The best Jazz album yet this year" -GoingThruVinyl
COMING SOON: John McLaughlin will be coming on the show to talk about his new album!
I also wanted to congratulate Micky Hart on a great tour! Here is a link to some free live tracks; get them while they're still up.
Check out our interview with Micky Hart Here
Interview Date: September 11, 2012 @2pm EDT
Special Guest: Mira Calix - As far as Electronica artists go, Chantal Passamonte aka Mira Calix is much more organic, not only in the sounds she uses (through collecting field recordings, capturing analogue sounds, and working with chamber instruments and other ensembles), but also with the direction her music has taken, evolving away from a strictly electronic sound to incorporating classical orchestration and working in dance, film, theatre, opera, and within the visual arts. In this podcast we talk about her inspirations, how she got started, some people she has aligned herself with like Strictly Kev of the DJ food project, Radiohead, John Peel, the record labels 4AD and Warp, and we get into a few of her early projects. Check out here site here: http://www.miracalix.com/
Musicians in Any Other Form Would Smell Just as Sweet
We've mentioned before how musicians have a penchant towards turning their creativity to media arts. David Byrne, David Bowie, Ron Wood, Brian Eno, and of course Bob Dylan are well known for their paintings. These artists have been pretty established for their work outside of music, but Marilyn Manson, George Clinton and others you may be surprised to learn have tried their hand at fine art and have been getting some recognition as well.
What exactly prompts them to pick up another form to express their creativity is often debated with explanations ranging from simply monetary gain to the honest and legitimate burning desire to create in another manifestation.
We'll present some work here, for your consideration; give us some feedback, if you have any on which is worth merit on it's own or not.
David Bowie has stated in an interview with the New York Times that the difference between the art world and the rock-music world is that one has a brain. And while one could say there is different section of people each art form draws to itself, I would say that it's completely wrong to say that rock-music aficionados are altogether brainless. We have gathered a small sample for your consideration, and we don't require an art major for this, just state your interpretation of it's merit or not, and explain why. (Pretend that you're proving to David Bowie that you're not brainless. Hover your mouse over the artwork on the page for the artist's name.
Not altogether brainless, and in-fact, we're betting that some of you are pretty astute. Although some artists like Jerry Garcia never placed too much weight on his visual art, he did attend art-school, and for a time considered becoming an artist before music took hold of his life.
Others, specifically, Tony Bennett who paints using his birth name Anthony Benedetto or just Benedetto takes things a little more seriously, and apparently paints every day. It's paid off for him though, his work hangs in some pretty prestigious galleries and museums. He's given back though, and established an art school in his native Astoria, Queens, NY.
Perhaps, Brian Eno is the most well known amongst the "rock-music world" for the visual art that he produces, but take a look at the others and let us know of your impression.
Getting Knocked Out by Wanda Jackson (Part 2 of 2) – the Wanda Jackson interview [Listen 24:04] S03 Ep01
Interview Date: August 23, 2012 @1pm EDT
Special Guest: Wanda Jackson - has been called "The Queen of Rockabilly" and is by all accounts a Rock'n'Roll legend - she has a distinct style in both Rockabilly and Country (often bouncing between both styles on the same record). Credited as being the first women to record a Rock'n'Roll single; Wanda Jackson is a crucial figure in the Rock genre and the feminist movement. In this podcast we talk about the songs “Mean Mean Man,” “Let’s have a party” “Fujiyama Mama”, Ken Nelson, Buddy Holly, Joe Maphis,and Roy Clark.
Wanda Jackson has some "Unfinished Business" coming out a week from today; her new album is out October 9 and is produced by Justin Towns Earle (Steve Earle's Son) from Suger Hill Records. Check out more at: http://www.wandajackson.com/
Tribute to Joe Maphis
Joe Maphis, born Otis W. Maphis, known as "the King of the Strings," and his playing lived up to the title. His custom built double necked Mosrite guitar had one shorter, and strung to an octave higher. He could play between the two seamlessly. He could play multiple stringed instruments equally well, as he displayed for audiences shifting through banjos, mandolins, and guitars. He played with some of the greats including Wanda Jackson, and his influence spread further to Merle Travis, Jimmy Bryant, and Chet Atkins.
To those in the know, he's a respected guitarist, and one who's skill earned him recognition in the Country Music Hall of Fame, where his double necked guitar can be seen on display; to those who don't know him, he deserves a moment of your attention, where, he'll easily capture and hold it for the duration. He was known for having a bit of flair and absolute ease of application. What is strange, in that I've never seen it mentioned, is that you can see it in his smile. It's often there captured in his pictures; it's not arrogant, it's not cocky, but it's a little sly and knowing.
You can see that he took a good deal of enjoyment from his craft. He's not always captured with a smile on his face, but when he's on-stage, it's there. It's as if he seems happiest with a stringed instrument in his hands. His visual appeal quickly led to earning him frequent appearances on television, including the Jimmy Dean Show, and with Jerry Lee Lewis on National television. So, if you're not familiar with him, give him a listen. He's bound to impress. Familiarize yourself with this country great; he's bound to give you a thrill. He's another one worth diving into the boxes of records of your local record store (the ones they keep under the stacks.) Good hunting.
I thought I might put a link to Joe Maphis knockin' everyone out!