“Grace,” the poet Frank O’Hara once wrote, “to be born and live as variously as possible.” Though early in his musical career, this ambitious but certainly worthy aspiration toward “variousness” might be said to be the defining characteristic behind the artistic output of Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp.
After all, not many people can claim to have curated and performed at New York’s downtown bastion of the avantâ€“garde, The Kitchen (where Laurie Anderson, Glenn Branca and Philip Glass cut their teeth), to have been DJ’ed by NY underground disco pioneer David Mancuso (at his legendary party The Loft), to have soundtracked a Chanel runway show per Karl Lagerfeld’s request and to have released an album of minimalistic classical music (Arp & Anthony Mooreâ€™sFRKWYS 3 [RVNG Intl]).
Perhaps best described as a pop album by an avantâ€“garde musician, MORE is an album that begins in one place and ends in another, melding bedroom artâ€“pop with avant-garde composition to create a world of heady atmospherics and melodic song craft over its concentrated 46 minute arc. Played almost entirely by Georgopoulos, MORE reveals an impressive grasp of style and vision, following a distinct narrative, dipping into 70s art rock, autumnal baroque pop, musique concrĂ©te, minimalistic piano epics, narcotic gospel, sound library atmospheres, and delicate space folk.
After touring The Soft Wave, Georgopoulos took a break from performing live, choosing instead to work on projects in the worlds of art and modern dance, creating sound installations at the Walker Art Centerfor hotly-tipped architect/designers ROLU, making a conceptual Flexi-Disc 7″ for White Zinfandelmagazine, contributing a track for a Sol Lewitt tribute album, scoring a dance piece for Merce Cunninghamdancer Jonah Bokaer, and most recently, performing a site-specific collaboration with visual artist Tauba Auerbach at Philip Johnson’s Glass House.
Although 2010â€™s The Soft Wave (a New York Timesâ€śNotable Album of 2010â€ť) may be his mostâ€“heard album so far, Georgopoulos’ 2010 collaboration with Englishman Anthony Moore may provide more appropriate background for MORE. Not merely content to espouse the voguish sounds of the day, Georgopoulos decided early in 2012 that he’d abandon his analog synthesizerâ€“centric abstractions in favor of something he’d never done, write songs. The better to challenge himself. As such, with MORE, he has made his first albumâ€“length foray into song.
The 12 pieces that make up MORE might best be heard as distinct scenes in a single film. And this being his first New York album, the city figures in significantly, both in scale and in character. â€śHighâ€“Heeled Clouds” locates its protagonist amongst the wellâ€“heeled, boutiqued mirages of Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, a lilting waltz and a tale of delusional souls and refracting mirrors. “Judy Nylon” is all highbrow primitivism, chugging forward on an adrenaline rush of Phil Manzaneraâ€“like fuzz guitars and locomotive rhythm, picking up speed as it builds. The otherworldly, baroque atmospheres of “A Tiger In The Hall at Versailles” are a tale in contrast, with the tension of the harpsichordâ€“led verses giving way to a lush, doeâ€“eyed chorus, akin to a shaft of light breaking through a sinister scene. “E2 Octopus” is the first of three candyâ€“coated morsels of musique concrĂ©te onMORE, revealing a love of innovators like BBC’s Delia Derbyshire and Bernard Parmegiani and tactile field recordings. Moved by the premature passing of Broadcast chanteuse Trish Keenan, “Light+Sound”is a delicate, moving ballad awash in Mellotron and harpsichord, calling to mind the kind of softly psychedelic, autumnal atmospheres Robert Wyatt has specialized in. “17th Daydream” begins in the open air of the country and travels, by air and rail, to the rising steam of the city. The very New Yorkâ€“inspired, minimalist miniâ€“epic “Gravity (for Charlemagne Palestine)â€ť is an alternate Empire State theme, an ecstatic pull portrayed by an alwaysâ€“ascending pillar of sound chugging on piano, cello and spiraling guitars. “More (Blues)” suggests a stoned choirboy fronting a gospel church group, Georgopoulos’ delicate delivery melding with the song’s narcotic sway. The misty mix of astral folk and beachâ€“influenced atmospherics of “Daphne & Chloe” is, simply, epic. Finally, closer “Persuasion” rides into the sun, a bookend in the form of overdriven fuzz guitars and Moog synthesizer.
MORE establishes Georgopoulos not as a stylistic shapeshifter but rather as a restless artist not content to stay put. Like a visual artist who works on a particular body of work within a larger body of work, he makes albums as complete wholes. And then he makes another. If MORE seems like quite a different beast from The Soft Wave or FRKWYS 3, as the dust settles, they will reveal an artist who follows his own trajectory, regardless of trend. If MORE proves we do not know what Georgopoulos might do next, his work is all the more compelling for it.
April 19, 2013Comments Off
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March 22, 2013Comments Off
For RocketNumberNine, capturing the spirit of the music is paramount and with their debut album, MeYouWeYou, the London-based Page brothers — Tom (drums) and Ben (synths) — invite you into their tribal Chingford roots, taking music forwards to reach where it came from. This is hard hitting, modern dance music played live without a single click track in sight. With a name taken from a song by space jazz crusader Sun Ra and musical influences from Detroit to London to Africa and beyond, RocketNumberNine, have spent the last eight years shaping, breaking and squeezing their sound into what it is today.
Before we get to today, let’s revisit the musical journey that got them here. While working with legendary drummer Steve Reid, Tom met Kieran Hebden (aka Four Tet) resulting in the band going on a short tour with Four Tet. By the end of this run, Kieran decided he must produce and release the bands 14 minute “Matthew & Toby” via his TEXT label. It was recorded and mixed in a day without so much as a sniff of a computer — a refreshing approach from the producer renowned for his electronic productions! This kick started a new era for RocketNumberNine as it saw them moving away from improvisation and condensing their electronic dance punk jazz mash up into bite sized chunks. Soon after, an early live collaboration with Four Tet and RocketNumberNine caught the attention of Thom Yorke who invited them to open for Radiohead at The Roseland Ballroom in New York in late 2011. At those shows, material started to take shape for what would later become the first collaborative release from RocketNumberNine and Four Tet, the “Roseland”/”Metropolis” 12″ (TEXT023).
This brings us to the present. The TEXT release has just hit, rumors are floating of a new collaboration with the enigmatic Miss Neneh Cherry, and, a long time coming, on May 21, 2013, their debut full-length, MeYouWeYou, is finally going to be released by Smalltown Supersound. 2013 appears to be the year RocketNumberNine crosses out of the shadows surrounding the darkest of live dance music over into the light that is the infamy of wider adulation. Thom Yorke, Four Tet, Gilles Peterson and Caribou can’t all be wrong!
LISTEN TO/SHARE ROCKETNUMBERNINE’S “ROTUNDA”
“‘Rotunda,’ from their forthcoming debut album, is raw and organic, with tribal rhythms and modern electronics combining for a track that feels both timeless and futuristic.” – Pigeons and Planes
04. Steel Drummer
06. Deadly Buzz
07. Black and Blue
08. Lone Raver
09. Matthew and Toby
March 22, 2013Comments Off
Hear JD Twitch of Optimo’s great remix of Carmen Villain “How Much”
March 1, 2013Comments Off
Finally back in stock! “Actions For Free Jazz” Tees in 3 different colors. The design is printed on American Apparel unisex t-shirts. Girls may prefer to order one size smaller, or the Jersey model. Design: Kim HiorthĂ¸y.
You can order them from our Superstore mailorder here
January 13, 2013Comments Off
Finally our new Superstore mailorder shop is up an running, thanks to our friends Robotstore in Bergen who handles the orders and maintains the shop. We have some new cool things in there, among others the coffee mugs designed by Kim HiorthĂ¸y on the photo above. Anyway, check it all out here.
January 13, 2013Comments Off
Check out Carmen Villain’s Lifeissin on Pitchfork here. You can also listen and share the track on the Soundcloud link below. Enjoy!
January 10, 2013Comments Off
Let’s get this out of the way right from the start. Carmen Villain used to be a very successful model. Her face has appeared on the covers of Vogue and Nylon, and high profile cosmetic ad campaigns. But as the shutter clicks and the palm trees sway, what’s a cover girl really thinking? Most models are expected to remain mutely anonymous, mere ciphers of a commercial brand. But it turns out, behind the scenes, Carmen Villain (aka Carmen Hillestad) was channeling her frustrations into a set of songs with a defiantly DIY underground free-rock sound. Now at last, she’s stepping off the glossy page and emerging as a new songwriting voice and multi-instrumentalist.
Carmen Villain was born in the USA, lives in London, and is half-Norwegian, half-Mexican – a cocktail of ice and fire that can be heard throughout Sleeper’s tempestuous, dreamlike music. Throughout this debut album, lyrics are plastered over loose, abrasive instrumental tracks, on which Carmen plays guitars, bass, drum machines, keyboards and percussion. Sleeper’s distinctive production was halved between herself and Emil Nikolaisen (Serena-Maneesh), who also played drums and keyboards; and she also collaborated and co-produced one track with Prins Thomas, who sequenced the album. Most of the songs are about escaping an unsatisfying world, with references to sleeping, not being present, displacement, anxiety, feeling trapped, but longing for something more.
Carmen draws on a lineage of sprawling, taboo-busting lo-fi rock: Sun City Girls, Sonic Youth, Royal Trux, Broadcast and Bikini Kill, but equally admires This Heat and the cut ‘n’ paste productions of J Dilla and Wu-Tang Clan.
Carmen Villain’s Sleeper will be released March 11th on Smalltown Supersound. Prior to the album’s release, the label will release two 12″s with remixes by Prins Thomas and Optimo. The “Lifeissin” 12″, featuring the Prins Thomas remix, is out 5th of February. Carmen’s remix of Neneh Cherry & The Thing’s “What Reason Could I Give” was featured as part of The Cherry Remixes, out last fall on Smalltown Supersound.
01. Two Towns
05. Made A Shell
06. How Much
07. Light, See
09. It May Well Die
12. Demon Lover
December 30, 2012Comments Off
SET THE TONE : TASTER’S CHOICE /// NEW YEARS 2013 MIX
COMPILED by Alexis GEORGOPOULOS & Frank LYON
You can download the mix here
PT I /// SMALL TALK
RALPH HALDENBY Wide World 1982
MARIAH Shinzo No Tobira 1983
ARMAND FRYDMAN Jungle 1981
HAROLD FALTEMEYER The Discovery 1984
RYUICHI SAKAMOTO & DAVID SYLVIAN Bamboo Houses 1982
BILL NELSON Tender Is The Night 1982
LENA PLATONOS Makros 1985
COATI MUNDI Prisoner Of My Principles 1983
ROBERT WYATT The Age of Self 1985
PT II /// COMING UP
PARACHUTE Kowloon Daily 1980
HELEN Twoness Twoness (Deep Trouble Edit) 1985
JOHN TALABOT Zanzibar (80s Tapemix) 2012
ELITE GYMNASTICS Omamori 2012
MIHARU KOSHI Scandal Night 1983
GARY GLITTER Hooked On Hollywood 1978
FLEETWOOD MAC Empire State 1982
BAGARRE Lemonsweet (Vocal Version) 1982
PT III /// BEEN CAUGHT PEAKIN’
TATSURO YAMASHITA Love Talkin’ 1982
GOODY GOODY It Look Like Love (Dim’s Compiled Edit) 1978
CANDY FLIP Space (Funny Mix) 1990
THE DANCE KINGS Climb The Walls (Extended Climb Mix) 1991
DONNA SUMMER Working The Midnight Shift 1977
52ND STREET Express 1982
SESSION VICTIM Good Intentions 2011
PT IV /// LATHERED
MAXMILLION DUNBAR Polo (Lauer Remix) 2012
MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS The Police 2011
DAVID CASSIDY Romance (Let Your Heart Go) 1985
YOKO ONO I Love All Of Me 1985
CHRIS & COSEY October (Love Song) 1982
VANITY Romantic Voyage 1986
SAVAGE Don’t Cry Tonight (12″ Version) 1983
BRIAN BRIGGS Aeo (Pt. 1 & 2) 1980
INSTRUCTIONS Don’t Say Love 1980
PT V /// EYES ROLLED BACK
PHANTOM BAND Rolling 1980
TODD RUNDGREN Healing Part I 1981
FINIS AFRICAE Suite AmazĂłnica 1990
TEREKKE Pf Pf Pass 2012
LAID BACK Cozyland 1982
JEREMIH Fuck U All The Time Ft. Natasha Mosley 2012
DIFFERENT SLEEP Want U 2 Know 2012
PLUNKY & ONENESS The African Sunset 2002
GIUSTO PIO Ostinato 1982