As you probably know, Moogfest 2012 is this weekend and we are sending two WUOGgers, JJ Posway and Daniel DeSimone, to cover the festivities. Here they preview some of their most anticipated acts.
Black Moth Super Rainbow
When hearing the name “Black Moth Super Rainbow” you likely conjure up some pretty fanciful, psychedelic imagery. Need more? The members: Tobacco (frontman, vocoder), The Seven Fields of Aphelion (keyboard, monosynth), Iffernaut (drums),Ryan Graveface (guitar), Bullsmear (bass). Fortunately for all of us their music lives up to their nomenclature. Hailing from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania the band wields relatively typical instruments while waving the flag of the analog electronic instrument and uses them all in incredibly unique ways. The five musicians overlap layers and layers of loops, tremulous leads, heavy rhythm, and soothing crooning vocals to create their effect that has struck me as scary, in a comforting way. Or perhaps pleasant in an uncomfortable way? Regardless, the band only weeks ago released their latest album Cobra Juicy, and it certainly fits with the catalogue. I personally anticipate a large amount of inclusion of the new album in the set (after all newborns need a lot of attention) but I doubt they will stray too far from their older songs either. Certainly these guys come from another world, one with cotton candy skies, overly bright sun, and fields of bubblegum. Whimsical, but perhaps whimsy reflective of internal violent insanity.
Moogfest patrons have the pleasure this year of having the eccentric, unclassifiable and legendary Primus grace the ExploreAsheville.com arena Friday, October 26th on the first night of this year’s festival. As if this in itself were not enough this concert falls in the middle of Primus’ innovate 3-D tour, a concept which I personally had to take a step back from and digest before going on the first time I heard it. The band has performed using this same technology before but never centered an entire tour around it. As they stand Primus’ shows (not to mention their album art and music videos) are a sight to behold featuring enormous inflatable astronauts, projector screens, and light displays, but this provides the potential to add an entirely new dimension (hah) to their outfit. Out of curiosity I looked up videos of how the tour has been but of course without the actual screen or glasses the effect was moot. Not only this, but frontman/bassist Les Claypool has been reported to have mentioned that each show will be unique and suited to the venue, so even accurate information would likely have been relatively worthless. Going back to the 3D glasses, though, this raises an interesting concern in my opinion. I along with many fans of Primus desire nothing more than to be packed like sardines in a sweaty heap of humanity moshing at the feet of the band, but this leaves little opportunity for the usage of 3D glasses. It would seem, then, that fans are faced with a choice that has never before been presented to such a degree: do they sacrifice a unique visual experience for a unique physical one or vice versa? I myself don’t have an answer yet but certainly neither is a bad choice. In regards to the band themselves, just over one year ago they released Green Naugahyde, their first full length LP since Antipop in 1999. The lineup still included (of course) Les Claypool and guitarist Larry LaLonde, but saw the reintroduction of drummer Jay Lane who had not been a member since the late 80’s. The time and lineup change certainly showed on the album, as the sound on Green Naugahyde erred more on the side of quirky and psychedelic as opposed to Antipop’s tendencies towards industrial funk. My question as a listener, then, is which Primus will show up to Asheville on Friday? I last saw Primus in the summer of ’11 anticipating the release of Green Naugahyde and so the setlist was very heavily skewed towards the album, but at a year old the newness has worn off and it is not a given that it will take center stage. With seven very unique full length LPs it is unclear wether they will delve deep into their back catalogue or turn their eyes to the more recent in accordance with their lineup. Knowing what I know about the band I feel I have been left with more questions than answers when it comes to this show and have therefore done the same for the reader, but if I knew exactly what I was getting myself into that would eliminate much of the fun. I will just have to be patient and eagerly await my chance to experience them live. No matter what happens, though, one thing is for sure. It’s gonna get weird.
One of my most anticipated acts of the festival is one of the closers. “Shpongle”, a broad word meaning good vibes, enlightenment, and euphoria, will certainly be an act worth experiencing. The English psychedelic-ambient-trance group blends themes of music from all over the world with electronica to yield their trippy sonic experience. Although Simon Posford (Hallucinogen) and Raja Ram of “The Infinity Project” both comprise the group most live performances are solo DJ sets by Simon Posford which is likely what fans will experience at Moogfest. “The Masquerade” that Shpongle is presenting refers to the latest in a series of custom stage setups (preceded by the “shpongletron”) built to employ video mapping: the projection of images on the surfaces of unusual shapes to create an effect of a tangible projection. The Masquerade itself looks somewhere between a mayan temple and a Japanese kabuto helmet, at least in the opinion of this author, and stands at a height that seems to be approximately 20 ft. What to expect at the show: a continuous stream of undulating psychedelia, vibrant morphing images, and a sense of beginning to question everything that you felt you knew about your own spirituality and possibly even your whole reality.
Leaking your album behind your major label’s back is not a wise career choice, especially when its album cover is a male member, emblazoned with the words NOWEBDEEPLOVE. Death Grips isn’t about wise career choices though, and they’re not really about categorization or breathers either. NOWEBDEEPLOVE is their second and most intense album this year, and they’re still narrowly avoiding any pigeon-holing besides vague punk-rap labels. Man, I sound like I’m writing a terrible one-sheet. Fronted by the relentless MC Ride, backed by Hella drummer Zach Hill and in-betweened by Andy Morin, they’re a sonic onslaught. A house of cards, but the cards are rusty axes. A box of puppies, but the puppies are hyenas. They’re probably pretty cool live too.
Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin
Two of today’s most important ambient artists join forces. The Justice League of drone. The Avengers of noise landscapes. It’s hard to say what their live performance will sound like, seeing as they’ve only given us a small taste of their upcoming collaborative album, Instrumental Tourist, but given their largely improvisational recording method, I imagine this will be a largely free-form affair. I can’t wait.
Julia Holter and Grouper run ambient-pop (as evidenced by their collab, “We Run Dis Shit” – Holter & Groupz). Give Dragging a Dead Deer Up A HillI a more orchestral feel and you’ve got something close to Holter’s excellent sophomore album, Ekstasis, released earlier this year. Quiet in its ambition, Ekstasis depresses dream-pop to a point where Beach House sounds frenetic. She’s ambitious, catchy and barely there. Listen to her.
Pantha Du Prince
Hendrik Weber is a Microhouse wizard. He’s got an album coming out later this year with the Bell Laboratory (5 Norwegian bell players) but he’s currently touring in support of his 2010 masterpiece Black Noise. Pantha du Prince is strangely lush in his minimalism; his repetition is pleasantly disorienting. Slow down and enjoy the scenery or something.
From his work with Fridge to his early idyllictronica, all the way up to his house flavored recent material, Kieran Hebdan is one of the most important producers of our lifetime. His most recent album, Pink, is a collection of singles released since his last LP, There is Love in You, released on his own TEXT label. Though it’s not a proper follow-up to There is Love it’s still a reminder of how entrancing Four Tet can be, in the studio and live. Having had the pleasure to catch him some months back in Athens, I can tell you his live show is just as entrancing. I look forward to seeing him again.
Have you ever heard “Creator”? Why would you not see Santigold?
If you see JJ Posway or Daniel DeSimone at Moogfest, remember to put them on your shoulders and make them some food!