Harvesting #10: We’re hungering for Branes! [Part II]

Everything can be said, but not everything should be said. In Harvesting, we say it all. There’s much more coming your way and you’ll like it very much. As we continue to venture in the deep minds of others, in search for music that can be fine-tuned to your liking. Or, yeah, there’s no modification to this kind of thing, but I’m trying to expand it genre-wise. It should be for everyone and it would be great to attract more readers that like different underground genres. There have been a lot of focus on minimal wave, synth, industrial, power electronics and cold wave so far. I have also been eager to display some of the finest post-punk bands out there and just started to venture into the morbid hands of the goth and death rockers. Therefore, in this part of the tenth edition, you’ll see this: The Humanoids, Automatic Writing and Wazu. You’ll also get some more of BRANES and Bruzinski, which I have asked some questions to this part of the “anniversary” of Harvesting. Hopefully you’ll like this one too, because it will expand your mastermind even further. Soon we’ll take over, it’s just a matter of time. But, yeah, I have no plans for that more than musically. Check this one out and spread the word!

The Humanoids – The Humanoids

It’s a catchy ride from rockabilly to the intriguing sibling which name would be psychobilly. Starting with the first track on their first release “Reptile Man“, is a melodic and very rhythmic piece that instills every part of your body in such a mood that you just want to swing along. The tempo is great and it’s actually an instrumental song, a short one at that too. I sense some punk in this song too and it delivers with every means it’s got. There’s also a sense of the wild west within the song with sets the premise for the whole sound-scape, as if you’d be in a bumpy ride somewhere in those times. Maybe robbing a train or something and then riding away on a horses back.

Second songNeon Death” is more in the way of a punk-oriented song, which concentrates on the vocalists efforts to indulge in the crazy ride that is The Humanoids. She really times everything right and it goes in the tempo she wants it to go, like a borderline psychobilly, yet concentrated rockabilly punk song. The best song on the album would be their cover of the famous song “House of the Rising Sun“, which they pull off with an instantaneous creativity and interesting approach. The only thing I would like them to refine would be the sound-scape as a whole, but I guess that’s what keeps the punk going in it. It’s almost as if some instruments are higher than the others and that the drums don’t really get any love in some songs. But otherwise I think it’s a nice approach and it’s a great introductory for me, since I’m a novice within that genre too. Remember, a challenge is always fun.

I’d suggest that you’d buy their album from their bandcamp. Currently, it can be downloaded for free but you should tip them some cash. Recorded on the 20th of September, with 10 tracks, ranging from one minute to two minutes in the time-span that they’ve offered themselves.

Automatic Writing – Falling/Continuous

Forget about everything I’ve said, at least when it comes to the word “bombastic“. This piece of utterly eclectic and interesting electronica deserves that word more than anything else. With the first track “Falling“, I delve into a microscopic landscape of dreamy synths that push the barriers of sound rather than embrace the tiny space they’re within. It sounds like the rhythms want to push out of the box they’re trapped within, a sense of belonging that is beyond the world they’re compromised to live within. I love the analogue feeling to it and the absolutely outrageously loud synths both heard in the back and front of the sound-scape. One of the more interesting songs released this year, and also one of the more experimental when it comes to the sound-scape itself.

Not in the sense that they could be put off as “experimental”, but I think they’re a bit daring on that part of it. There’s no control of the boundaries for this electronica and that’s what make it beautiful. As if this wasn’t enough, the second track “Continuous” push the boundaries once again. A kind of dark mixed electronica with a more rough texture to it, laden perfectly in harmony with the more melodic parts of the darker textures. Almost as if they’re part of a symphony, playing every tune to get in control of the darkly and majestical sound from multiple sources. I am finding myself liking the chorus of the song and the vocalist is absolutely marvelous, his voice goes after the melody and fit the premise, on the spot. Touching, reverberating and multifaceted electronica – both right in your face and at the same time shy.

Buy this piece of art from their bandcamp and you’ll also have the remix of the second track. Three songs and a wonderful cover to put your eyes on, with aesthetics that hit my spot where it should. You’ll get a physical edition of the release for 5 pounds, limited to 200 copies. Get your own quickly, get it now!

Wazu – Robobo

I haven’t really had borderline electro on this blog for ages, if any at all. So I decided that Wazu would fill that place perfectly. A very talented duo from New York. Their latest release only has one available song and I’ll try my best to review it in the way I see fit. Their only song available, “Councillor“, is a landmark example of how electro and darkwave can be combined to create a great end-result. With almost no-wave tendencies at times for the vocals, that both of them operate with their wonderfully fit melodies, that interact with the harsh drums and fluorescent synths in the foreground, make for an excellent combination. At times, the repetitiveness gets to me and flings me into their sound-scape. I try to find anything wrong with it, but I simply cannot. Even though the song isn’t that long, it feels like it’s on for an eternity. There’s no boring passage in this song, with the exception of some seconds by the outro, but I can live with that.

There’s almost an aristocratic feeling to this, as if they’re battling the “emperor” with his own means. It reminds me of some of the old future-pop and borderline electroclash (yes, a misused term, I know) mixed up with the likes of Soho Girls (to some degree) and Ladytron. But Wazu manages to pull of their own thing, with both modesty and aggressiveness when it comes to the harder electronic beats. I know that it’s a paradox, but they’re a great paradox for all I care. Too bad that there are no more songs available for my listening pleasure, because I’d love to listen even more to it. This opening song, however, is a good indication for what I’m going to hear on the rest of the album. Hopefully they’ll surprise me even more with their excellence, and I hope that it will be sooner than later.

Buy their digital-only release of this record for 7 dollars from their bandcamp. Which I reckon they deserve for putting on such a show with the first and only song you get to pre-listen to. I’d say it’s worth a buy even though you only know it by the song “Councillor” which I reviewed above, but it’s worth it, because that song is effin’ great.

I asked some questions for the interesting band with the unusual name of BRANES.

What did you do before BRANES and how did you go from performance art to musicians?  

– We are still performance artists. A large part of BRANES is the live aspect of the show. We like to have themes for our shows and dress accordingly. We make all of our own set designs and like to use props. It’s harder to do all of these things when we’re touring on the road, but when we play local shows this is definitely an important aspect of our art. Before BRANES became a focus, we were involved in other music projects and costume design. We’ve always been creative people needing an outlet and this currently happens to be that outlet for us.

How would you define what you do?

– We are doing what we want. You know that Devo song “What I Must Do”? We’re doing that. No, we’re not.

So, you’ve got some pretty fascinating aesthetics when it comes to different outfits – but where does one find your influences when it comes to aesthetics?

– We find that our personal aesthetic is applied to all of our artistic endeavors, be it costumes or visual art or lyrics. It seems to be more of a philosophy that influences us. We are most influenced by that fringe reality of “nothing next”. This is a broad reflection of the whole picture, and so we find inspiration in many different places. The absurdity of it all is a major part of our sense of humor, which majorly influences us. When we get ideas for costumes or themes we jot them down. We have a lot of lists of notes and ideas. Lots and lots of lists. So many lists. We love lists.

Could you tell me about the making of your latest album “Perfection Condition”?

– The songs for Perfection Condition were written in 6 different cities over the course of a year and a half. We toured around the US a few times before sitting down to produce the album in Los Angeles. The record was produced in 3 months and picked up by Burger Records in July. We had the fortunate experience of working with Vahe Manoukian of Nu-tra who shared the same vision as us for the album. There were a lot of late nights in the studio crammed into our already busy schedules. It was a lot of hard work but we feel that the end product is something that is a genuine reflection of ourselves.

I asked some questions for the wonderfully talented artist Burzinski, whose real name is Laurent.

Who are you and what makes Burzinski an excellent choice if you want to listen to music nowadays?

– I’m a french guy, living in Paris, inspired by indie, cold wave, post-rock music. Well, generally speaking; melancholic music. I’m dealing with guitars, vocals, basses, synths and pianos, drum programming inspired by hip hop sampled beats (even if it doesn’t sound hip hop at all). And black and white photography for artworks. My musical project really started in 2010 with the release of my first album, Untimely Tales.

I started photography at the same time and it’s now a strong part of what I’m doing, photos inspired by music, music sometimes inspired by photos. I’ve also been lucky to meet online talented people who made videos for some of my songs, relying on the same black and white, melancholic spirit. So I guess if you’re into melancholic, dreamy music, with a hint of darkness, listening to it might be a option.

I saw that you haven’t released anything for quite some time – but how did you go by when creating your albums?

– Well, I’ve been quite busy with other stuff the past months, so I didn’t find enough time to be totally involved in what is going to come after the Ghostly Female Faces EP. A shame. I actually recorded a Cure cover and a Lamb remix this year, but it’s not new material. Been also involved into playing live a little bit. The creative process might sometimes sound like a bunch of trials and errors, but it always starts with writing the songs. I mean simple songwriting, with an acoustic guitar and vocals.

When I feel comfortable enough with the structure of the song, I can go and work on the next steps. For recording and arrangements, I’ve always been focused on the idea to define an overall sound, so I don’t work on one song after another. I really need to find a mood, by choosing types of sounds and instruments I’m going to use on all the songs. Then I focus on drums first, then basses, then the other parts.

How have the trip been so far with Burzinski – what sort of things have you encountered since you started out?

– First of all I’ve had the opportunity to meet nice people thanks to it all, something which would have never happened otherwise. The mastering engineer I work with lives in Los Angeles, italian friends shot wonderful videos, I played an in-house acoustic gig in Sweden this year, met a fellow musician friend whereas we started to talk on a music forum seven years ago, had dinner here in Paris with a portuguese blog owner… and so on… Quite amazing… The other surprising fact which comes to mind is how the music world changed.

The DIY way is something fascinating and the way to go for me. No need to spend months anymore in trying to find a label in order to release something. Music comes first whatever happens. Of course nice opportunities come along sometimes (the Ghostly EP released on Moon Palace records for example), but it’s not an issue anymore. I actually got lost a little bit with this old process, but it’s no longer so. Of course some might complain it’s harder and harder to be heard, that music incomes are stalling. But I guess the good point is more and more people can write and record music, and distribute it. I’m sure nice niche music will appear thanks to it, with one and only thing in mind: how can a song be written and recorded the best it can at a given moment. Nothing else matters, imho.

Are you releasing anything new before the year comes to a halt or do we have to wait until next year?

– Afraid I won’t be releasing anything this year, even if I’m working on the next album at the moment. It always takes more time than expected to record. It takes on average a month to finish a song, considering music is not my main job. Hopefully I’ll be quicker this time, so it won’t last too long. But I’m quite confident because the songwriting is done (it’s been done for a year or so, actually), the drum beats are set and I started to record some bass lines and a couple of arrangement ideas.

Thank you for wanting to be featured in Harvesting! What have you harvested musically in the last couple of months?

– You’re welcome, glad you found me out somehow somewhere.

The more I’m into music the less I listen to other stuff, so I didn’t harvest much. I bought the last Sigur Ros and Soap & Skin albums, just took my tickets to see The Soft Moon live in November, I’ll also probably see Beak> playing, and I can’t wait to hear the next Crime & The City Solution album to come. They just started a new tour after 20 years, too bad they don’t come and play here in Paris, hopefully they’ll find a way later.

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