Monthly Archives: August 2012
Eskimo Records’ disco superstar, Aeroplane, dropped his much anticipated August Chart Mix on Soundcloud this week, his first release in over two months. Formerly a duo consisting of he and partner Stephen Fassano (now The Magician), Aeroplane’s been flying solo since July of 2010. The Belgium native has continuously modified his style over the years, adapted to the split and impressing fans and critics over and over again. Over the course of 2012 however, he has openly taken a different path in his work as musician, and with some disappointment.
Aeroplane, also referred to as Vito Deluca within the confines of Earth, has stated on several occasions that his passion doesn’t lie within the context of EDM, but rather more classical, orchestrated styles. In an interview with Greg Bowler for Scion AV, Vito said he was put in a position where he had to put a dance-able twist on his compositions, and the ensuing formation of Aeroplane occurred. This just shines a dim light on the inner workings of his genius, openly producing some of the most acclaimed hits in modern electronic, such as the album We Can’t Fly, but with no background experience in the genres. However, the European synth-pop style unique to the Brussels-born duo has long since departed from his craft. With the Magician gaining instant success with his project after the split, Vito seemed to effortlessly bounce back on the scene as a new artist, starting fresh, both taking full advantage of their opportunity to pursue their own desired sound.
As we progress through 2012, his works are getting slower and deeper with the passing time. No exception to the liberty of artistic freedom, but it would almost seem that the producer is growing tired. Perhaps the recent sluggish and drawn-out mixes are an attempt to distance his work from that of the Magician’s, or, as Vito has implied, perhaps he is ready to pursue a style more adept to his fortes. One could argue that the change in pace over the last year could be attributed to the separation between him and Fassano, but 2011 saw some of the best releases from this artist yet. The release of In Flight Entertainment in fall of 2011 was unanimously viewed as one of the best electronic record releases of the year. His featured single “Save me Now” was a perfect blend of the synth-ridden choruses reminiscent of the old days, and the heavy club house sound he has currently developed with his production routine. But now its very apparent he intends to leave that behind with a new flightplan. He still edits in the low tempo realm, but contrary to his previous tracks he is dropping the familiar 80’s analogue vibe. His lethargic remix of Erica Springs “Happy at the Gate” utilized some prominent bass lines to build the song further and further upward, but never quite climaxed, leaving the listener hanging. Its no question that the split of the duo left two brilliant minds instead of one collective brainchild, and the potential result is twice the music. But will Vito carry on with the same funky force he did post separation?
Aeroplane is, and always has been a voice of his own; easily considered a spearheading influence on the exponential rise of disco/house in the past couple of years, and a master of the composed universe he has created. At this point its hard to say what path he intends to take in his career, but I am sure that everything he does is with a specific agenda.
Vito tours constantly abroad but he will be appearing at The Disco Biscuits’ City Bisco Festival in Philadelphia this October. Check out T&A for a review!
UK beat giants Ministry of Sound have teamed up with Nissan this year to bring you a more sophisticated form of sound luxury in your sub-compact. Featuring the loudest on-road sound system available, the new Nissan Juke with MoS will be released in Europe in September. Only 3,000 models have been produced and it’s a shame this won’t be available in the US. The car comes equipped with an 8GB iPod Touch and Ministry of Sound media packages to accompany the whopping 19,000 watt sound system. Produced in part by Martin Audio, the interior enclosures of the vehicle had to be cut specifically to house the juggernaut speakers. Definitely for both the driver and anyone with a few city blocks of the car, the 18 inch subs can peak comfortably at over 150 decibels. Read more at Ministry of Sound…
After a month long hiatus, Phish launched the second leg of their summer tour with their brief stay in the West Coast this week. Viewers at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center witnessed an epic climax to the first half of the 2012 Summer Tour, giving the phans enough time to make their way to southern California for the final stages of the nationwide run. Trey and the gang took the stage at the Long Beach Arena this past Wednesday for what turned out to be one of the most talked about performances yet. The atmosphere was dismal at first with the 13,500 capacity establishment not even filling up minutes before the quartet were begin playing, perhaps being one of the least attended shows in the last decade, but the intimacy gave way for some of the most revered jams played this summer.
Despite being back from dead after a five year long departure from the scene, until recently, many had been left disappointed by the rock deities; predominantly lacking in the long improvised jams and transitions they were once hailed for. The anticipated reunion at the Hampton Coliseum in 2009 was a dark footnote in the bands history, playing 25 songs just the first night. Kevin O’Donnell of Rolling Stone wrote “There was nothing outlandish about Phish’s show last night at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia — except for the fact that it was the jam-band kings’ first show in almost five years.” Much of the sets that followed that year gave older followers the impression of a new band entirely. Although all masters of their forte, and still thriving in their niches, Phish seemed complacently apprehensive to breaking any boundaries in their jams, barely breaching ten minutes in most of the songs they played. The band improved in 2010(highlights included their first festival in years, Super Ball), but they still remained inconsistent. These performances didn’t disappoint per say, so much as they didn’t satisfy the expectations of their long running, devoted patrons. On the other hand, what good is a jam band without the jam?
All that is irrelevant when juxtaposed to the current summer tour however. Its basically 97′ all over again, and the band is on fire. Arguably the best tour these guys have played since their return, chock full of vitality and consecutive on-point executions. A seventeen minute Divided Sky jam in Portsmouth, VA during the first leg of the tour was a prevalent example of the bands commencing streak. Not only resurrecting their long overdue improvised segments, they played songs left in the freezer for almost two decades, like the first Shaggy Dog since 1995 played in Cincinnati. The West Coast opening show was undoubtedly one for the books. A rare and energetic Suzy Greenberg, the first time Phish opened with that song in 17 years, initiated the second leg. Just two minutes into the performance Page McConnell ripped into a fierce keyboard solo, throwing every pair of feet in the building into rhythmic calamity. Most noteable so far though was the 25 minute Long Beach Rock and Roll jam, the longest jam of 3.0 so far. The initial song was consistent in structure, but what followed was an expansion of one of the most engaging, thematic sequences of augmented jams I’ve heard, both in the context of the band’s modern era and music as a whole.
Immediately following the captivating RnR overture was a particularly border-crossing Ghost. Phish entered the intro with the low funky overtones characteristic of the song, but also as a transformation of the previous leviathan. Themes of the verse and choruses had a sort of anthem feel to them, which carried into an uptempo rock-funk bridge. The song quickly took a turn into a theme reminiscent of the bridge, with Trey laying out the rolling licks up the neck and Page heavy on the Clav in the background. It then settles into Mike Gordon taking the lead on bass with the others trailing in low pitches behind him. The jam slows and slows until until it eventually begins to climb back up, saturating more and more into a culmination of Trey’s wailing pitch benders and landing into a well placed Limb by Limb. It doesn’t just depend on the quantity of the jam though, the cover of Cities by The Talking Heads will attest to that notion. I don’t think David Bryne himself could have played a better version of than the one played in Long Beach; seven minutes of the sexiest and low down funky licks that I have heard them deliver with this cover. Few bands can surpass or achieve equal status with a rendition of a past icon’s work, one success is The Disco Biscuit’s cover of Pink Floyd’s Run Like Hell. The band has really turned the cover into a masterpiece of their own while still leaving the core elements intact, thus giving respect to their predecessors and in turn the right to bring it stage. Phish does this even better. They can really cover any song flawlessly and still give homeage to the creators.
Four people being together for so long and still maintaining that kind of chemistry is a genuine phenomenon, and an indisputable component to the force they’re playing with on this run. Trey Anastasio and Mike Gordon’s Guelah Papryus dance choreography antics at the Arena Wednesday were just a small example of the covalent bond they’ve shared for over twenty years. Any skepticism is left weightless in the wake of the second leg of this summers tour, and I hope it keeps. These guys are killing it and happier than ever.
Dim Mak Studios presented its weekly dance party tradition “Dim Mak Tuesdays” last night, this time with French Express Label throwing a one night disco marathon of back to back performances from Moon Boots, Perseus, Amtrac, and special guest Penguin Prison! Chris Glover, aka Penguin Prison, has formed quite a large following in the New York disco scene, and this week he spent the last few days leaving his mark in Hollywood.
The set opened with Dim Mak’s resident Bones, followed by Amtrac’s low-key, soul/house mixing, which segued into our man of the hour. Glover opened his set with a transition from Amtrac’s belittled closer into The Magician’s club heater “I Don’t Know What To Do, ft. Jeppe (Erkka Remix)”. He followed with his own collaboration, RAC’s “Hollywood (ft Penguin Prison)”, where he provided live vocals for his section. Typically I’m apprehensive to an act of this nature, MC’s have a stale and tacky attitude that interrupts the listening experience, but Glover has an advantage with his amazing voice, it just added a touch of organic charisma to the performance. Although predominately touring with his band, he can definitely hold it together behind the tables. His cuts were precise and the queues well executed. The set was a great mix of contemporary nu-disco chart hits and that Brooklyn DFA disco sound, rich in his heritage. The actual components of the DJ sets were short of revolutionary, basic Pioneer mixers and CDJ software shared by all the artists performing, but because Glover spins tracks that he can proudly stand behind as a producer, he has a lot more integrity than that of your typical resident jockey. At first the crowd was a frail, sparse gathering of teenagers spread across the club’s vast dance floor, cluelessly watching the resident and Amtrac until just before 11:00, when it evolved into a wall-to-wall assembly of Penguin partiers with their game faces on. His closing “I Wanna Be Your Lover” by the influential predecessor Prince, in which he also did a stellar vocal accompaniment to, threw the crowd into fifth gear. The night was far from culmination, Moon Boots and Perseus were basically given the crowd on a silver platter and they kept Dim Mak’s disco ball shining far beyond his Manhattan stylings.
When considering the turntable’s widespread assimilation into almost every establishment in the world that provides live entertainment, it’s essential to maintain intrinsic creativity and use the technology to exploit original ideas, not the ideas of others. Otherwise you’re just a device used for stimulation. Penguin Prison is a true artist in both the production and live performance aspects. He constantly devotes his time to the studio, and adamantly manifests those creations live. After the performance, I caught up with Chris for a brief interview:
T & A: Which do you prefer more, performing with your band, or doing DJ sets?
Chris: Definitely band. I mean, they’re two different things really. I’m trying to incorporate a live element in my DJ sets, singing while I spin, showing fans a good time.
T & A: Do you change up your sets from show to show on tour?
Chris: Yeah, I never know what I’m going to do. I don’t know, I guess I’m trying to do new things with my set everytime.
T & A: Do you improvise the sets or mixes at all?
Chris: Certain songs I like to play. I want to play my own songs, fans like to hear my tracks, so I try to show them that
T & A: Alex Frankel of Holy Ghost did some of the synths on your latest album, do you have a relationship with James Murphy or DFA as well? Have you ever considerd signing to the label?
Chris: Well I know some DFA artists, I’ve spent time in the studio with DFA artists. I have a lot influence from those guys. Downtown records is my label now, we’ve got artists like Major Lazer, Gnarley Barkley, Santigold, the labels good for the music I’m trying to make.
T & A: I know you’re really into playing the guitar, what kind of guitar do you prefer?
Chris: Fender Stratocaster. I’ve tried others, but I like the strat the best.
T & A: What made you stick with the disco-pop/electronic style? You’re style has ranged from punk to hip-hop over the years, and now this.
Chris: I think what I’m doing now fits my voice well. Talking Heads, Prince, Michael Jackson are all influences. I’m trying to give a modern take on them.
Penguin Prison will headed home for a DJ set September 12th in New York, and back here in L.A. early October for Filter’s Future Collide Festival. Self-titled album is out now, and be sure to check out Dim Mak on Tuesday nights! 1643 Cosmo st Hollywood, CA