minimal // melodic // laptop folk
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electronica // swanky lounge
Oozing with provocative charm, Bitter:Sweet‘s music is a s’mores of sexy melodies and chocolate-covered lyrics – each bite more delicious and mocking an endless craving. Turntables seduce a harp; strings and drums beckon basslines; while Shana’s voice is smoldering and sly, always teasing and pleasing, gently kindling before it ignites. Their tantalizing tendencies explore your innermost desires by fashioning sound as comely exotic dancing fire that casually mellows then miraculously rages.
It’s no surprise they’ve highlighted numerous tv shows and movies since their debut, and seeing them live is a sensuous delight. Supported by a full band, they arouse shagadelic sincerities luring souls to dance with a touch of mystery emanating from their presence. Clearly, they’ve mastered their craft of making music that’s playful and seductive while translating this to a fantastic lounge experience.
Be sure to say hello afterward; they’re some of the nicest folks I’ve met. And get there early for a warm-up by DJ L.C. mixing the likes of Rod Stewart, Genesis, and The Doors over danceable hip-hop beats that would make the RZA smile. Outstanding. Here’s photos I took during their show at Revolution Hall last week, and two aurgasmic songs from their latest album, Drama.
vocal cabaret jazz // swing
So much music from the Netherlands and Sweden stays landlocked and never breaks past political borders. Luckily, a member of the Aurgasm community tipped us off to the incredible Caro Emerald, a singer, with a full jazz band, from Amsterdam. Her music has a nostalgic 40’s feel to it, but is infused with an energy that drives the melody, and your feet, to the beat. (thx zeno van der kist)
singer-songwriter // blithe folk pop
Between toned white noise, spherical raindrops whet the aural palette. A “precisely manipulated diva wails; soon balancing the harsher static sounds. The drop is wonderful, with static omitted and replaced by driving 4×4 rhythm that is equal in prominence to the pad arrangement, whilst vocal clips fill atmospheric gaps“.
latin pop // tropical // vallenato puya
When you find yourself wanting to sing along with this catchy tropical tune, I’ve got you covered.
Also: I’ve been trying my darndest to keep all of aurgasm’s songs online, but I’ve finally run out of space. So before I start deleting the old stuff, hit up the archives and listen around. There’s some damn fine music in these past couple months: [Sept],[Oct],[Aug],[Nov].
SXSW Day 4: March 21st 2009.
After 3 days packed with music, food, and more bands than you could count, SXSW ended with a bang (and some flashing lights). The packed day started with the SxSeattle day party/show which featured up-and-coming bands from the Seattle area. The rest of the day included the Hotel Cafe/Blue Mic event at the Gibson Showroom and two day sets at the Convention Center (with Aurgasm favorites: Ferraby Lionheart and Wallis Bird). There was an afternoon showcase in a park, and a big mix up on my part between the three different Emo venues on 6th Street (Emo’s, Emo Jr’s, Emo’s Annex). I caught the last bit of Elizabeth and the Catapult at the Ale House, then ended the night with some phenomenal performances by Little Boots and Ida Maria (as well as a short surprise set by Kayne West) at the Dell Lounge/Perez Hilton party.
SXSW was a phenomenal experience, with far too many bands playing in too few days. Maybe next year I can find a way to clone myself, so I don’t miss anything! :)
Some bands from Day 4 you may want to take a peek at:
Hey Marseilles: They started off the SxSeattle day party set, and was a complete surprise. I had not heard of them before, and was impressed by their performance at The Palm Door. The violin and cello brought a unique edge to what could easily have been a typical “folk pop” sound. Throw in a trumpet, mandolin and you’ve got a pretty pleasant way to start the day. Not too shabby for a band that’s never played outside Seattle until this week!
Hey Marseilles’ MySpace
Chris Pierce: Chris Pierce played a stripped down set at the Hotel Cafe/Blue Mic day event. Surrounded by guitars, the Gibson Showroom was an eerily appropriate setting for his soulful vocals and blues-inspired guitar melodies and riffs. He brought up Brother Sal to accompany him on piano with the rousing and upbeat, “Keep On Keepin’ On”, even getting the small crowd to sing the “whoo hoo” callbacks!
Chris Pierce’s MySpace
Wallis Bird: We’ve already featured her, but Wallis’ performance was one of the most charismatic and engaging shows I saw yesterday. Backed by her full band, Wallis played with a frantic and seemingly limitless energy at the Convention Center that afternoon, breaking a string on her guitar on the first song (and continuing with some hilariously ad-libbed lyrics, “I am so professional, playing with a broken string”) and not missing a beat. While her studio work is phenomenal, it was an unbelievable treat to see her live.
Wallis Bird’s MySpace
Matt Hires: The Florida native played to a growing crowd in Brush Square Park, for the Atlantic Records/Chop Shop day party. His sparse acoustic folk was a breath of fresh air, playing a short set of sweet and endearing melodies, including “Honey, Let Me Sing You A Song”.
Matt Hires’ Myspace
I was asked to DJ a one-hour set, though I had no previous DJ experience. I didn’t know how to beatmatch, transition smoothly, use Ableton or Traktor, and neither do you. You just have to be comfortable with being a laptop DJ.
- Know your audience
- I had never been to the venue and from what the outside looked like, I figured inside was a bunch of dusty overweight 30-year-olds with massive facial hair. I took a weekday evening trip over and had a beer inside, scoping out the clientele. I learned that from the balcony dj booth (!), I’d be playing for an affluent, educated set of 20- and 30-somethings that weren’t necessarily music nerds, but seemed receptive to different sounds.
- Determine the theme
- I thought about what music has moving me lately. While I wanted to do an all out electro-rock-dance-indie set with jams like Wolfmother’s “Woman (MSTRKRFT Remix)” and Madonna’s “Hung Up (Diplo Remix)”, I instead took influence from the very summery flavors of Nickodemus and Captain Planet.
- Select your songs
- I went through my entire music collection picking out the best tunes that fit the afrobeat/tropicalia/soul/funk vibe. If your audience won’t be earnestly dancing, don’t pick vocal-heavy tunes. Keep a mental picture of the venue inside your head as you listen to your potentials.
- Narrow down your picks
- After my first sweep, I ended up with 60 tracks, clocking in at 3.75 hours–far more than the one hour I was given. Toss anything that will garner significantly more or less attention than the rest of your set. I had to let go of some classics like Barrett Strong’s 1962 hit “Money”.
- Cut it down to size
- After tossing half my selections, I still had nearly an extra hour of music. Time for the surgery. I went in using audio editing software (CoolEdit and Audacity work) and cut out extra pieces: extra repetitive choruses, needless verses, instrumental solos. I wanted to keep the song lengths between 2 and 4.5 minutes to keep the energy level moving. [As this takes a bit of know-how and technique, this step is completely optional.]
- Put them in order
- I used Traktor to help identify the BPM of all the tracks. If you don’t have any audio software, just manually gauge the energy level on a scale of 50-150 for an approximation. My set started with my lowest BPM (79) and gradually worked its way up (with a few tweaks) to finish with my quickest song (126bpm).
- Configure your crossfade
- Using winamp? I suggest the SqrSoft crossfade plugin. Using iTunes? Even easier; if you left the default settings, your crossfade is already working, though you may want to tweak it in Preferences.
- Play it!
- Run through it at least once, in its entirety. Watch your levels, some songs are louder than others. iTunes has a fix for this called ‘Sound Check’; try it. Write on a notecard which songs have levels that stick out so you can tweak ’em with your mixer. Otherwise, you’re ready to go!
Well it’s about time for a finished product!
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