The NBT Flagship Podcast : Caught You Looking

(to download right click on this red text link below and ‘save as’ or simply stream by hitting the arrow ‘play’ button on the cassette above!)

4th July 2011 NBT A

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Four VERY different acts

with one thing in common

they are all brilliant independent artists!

Tara Nevins

Peter Brynglesson

Oh My Darling

Radio Drive

The 24hr streaming NBT Radio
http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/
iTunes: NBTMusicRadio

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the New facebook page for the NBT streaming Radio

http://www.facebook.com/NBTMusicRadio

The NBT Review 117

Evi Vine reviewed by Martin Smit

Muffled Shine reviewed by Cobus Rossouw

 And So The Morning Comes – Evi Vine (independent release)

 This is before sunrise music, those eternal minutes where the darkness fools you that It’s never gonna leave, but somehow the lamplight is losing it’s power to soothe or distort (was it ever comforting really?)

This is music floating in that waiting world, where hope is not quiet born and sister despair is not as charming as she was just a few hours ago.

This is intimate, just you and the singer, the music the cool air you breathe as you conduct this personal conversation. You cannot imagine studio or electrics, cables and buttons and mixing desks, you cannot imagine close ups of strings and bows and microphones. You’re too busy being IN the song and the singer and her music is too busy being IN you.

And yet.

That said, it is also music that makes you want to betray that privacy, the second it is done, and tell others, so that they too can be lost, just them and the singer.

So tell us about the music, you plead, well its stripped down Mazzy Star, its the most fragile blues, its those thoughts you had when you fell in love and you knew you would one day fall out of love.

It can make all the beauty in the world a lonely frightening thing but it can also softly urge you to keep dreaming to dare not wake up right now.

I had this vision that as the music drifted into a bus full of noise and chaos, one by one those that heard it closed their eyes, warped slightly out of focus, let go.

Stops were missed, timetables forgotten, the future became flexible.

It really was that simple.

http://www.evivine.com/

 Muffled Shine – Just (Independent Release)

 In 2003 Frédéric Chaubin began a journey to document some of the Soviet Union’s incredible architecture. I stumbled onto the story of this adventure together with a sample of some of the photographs (click on Frédéric’s name above) and was immediately struck by how the architecture somehow conveyed a sense of the Cold War era while being very distinct from what was created in the US. The buildings have a close, claustrophobic feeling; even as they stretch creativity far further than the West did (well, mostly).

When I first heard this EP from Muffled Shine it immediately brought back the images of those buildings. Landscapes of graceful emptiness filled with architectural displays that are brutal, yet harmonic and somehow triumphant. This is a personal reflection though, and while I am sure that we cannot escape the effects of our environment I am also sure that Muffled Shine intends far more with this EP than to depict a fascinating past.

Gregory Khanin & Dmitry Gubin create music that falls within the “Industrial”, genre but it would sell their EP, “Just”, short if you tried categorise it that strictly. The reason for this is that “Industrial” so often conjures up the idea of grinding discomfort, agitation, angst, whereas Muffled Shine have produced something that is reflective and meditative without being mawkish or overtly spiritual. This album will not make it into a Tibetan monastery, but if it did they’d learn something.

The music is so evocative that it transforms your local landscape. With autumn fast approaching in South Africa it metamorphosed afternoon traffic into an epic adventure, a slow progress to some homecoming, some imminent arrival. It is such a familiar feeling that I listened to the album three times in succession without once feeling like I’ve heard it before. (I knew I couldn’t find the words to describe this feeling, so I’ll settle for “nostalgia”).

Since receiving the album for review I have probably listened to it more than twenty times, and I could listen to it again, right now and I know I’ll be moved. I also know that I’ll be moved in a different way, and that it will provoke an emotional response. This is my album for contemplation, for deepening the world, for delving inside.

 http://muffledshine.bandcamp.com/

  Both Muffled Shine and Evi Vine will be featured on the NBT DarkElectric and Flagship Podcasts going out on the 29th and 30th March respectively

 and both are playlisted on the NBTMusic 24hour Radio

 http://nbtmusicradio.playtheradio.com/

 

The NBT Review 102

Volume 2/Volume 3 – MaCu

Reflections – MaCu vs.Cezar (Independent Releases)

Outside all is dirty white mist, offering an unsettling stillness to the world. A world that seems to be waiting for a difficult soundtrack to lie upon it, lift it up, shift it from the ordinary into the serenely dangerous.

I have found that soundtrack.

This music captures the thoughts of ghosts drifting. The ghosts of machines throbbing, thrumming, forgetting what they are for moments in time then sighing back into sequence, the ghosts of children, girls women searching, finding, inviting. This is a waking dream, where the willing listener floats (standing upright) through the opening Wasteland.

This is the imagination of the young factory worker, romanticised slowed down, manipulated. It is also the sound of a dead disco long after the night’s seduction, the souls trapped there still burning hedonistically, equal measures of despair and longing.

In Hollow (which is nothing like that title, or shallow, or momentary) the ghosts become industrial whales crying through the ether.

Yes this music is all about desire. It is a diary of the search for identity, the search by a fragmented soul, for that elusive whole.

There can be no detachment here from the characters created, the scenes that unfold, we are part of every breath, every stutter, and every step towards another doorway into another unknown.  The song titles often contradict; play with our senses, our expectations. Nothing is obvious but almost every damn thing is rather beautiful.

Even when co creating with others, the composer never loses her unique sense of the intimate making this become a halcyonian view of the disturbance just out of sight. Her music is not about words or actions, but what goes on BETWEEN those words, those actions.

A startling, major musical find.

Explore for yourself:

http://macu1.wordpress.com/

Tracks from these releases will be played on the NBT darkelectric this week

http://www.nbtdarkelectric.podbean.com/

Oh and NBT has finally joined Facebook, do go ‘like’ the page if you would be so kind

http://www.facebook.com/NBTmusicproject

The NBt Review 101

All this cool music. There may be a crisis within the music industry, but the independents are sure doing their best to make it a vibrant exciting world of sound.

All reviews except where noted are by Martin Smit of the NBT Project.

Fever Changing –WarTapes (Independent Release)

Hurtling forwards the music the singing is twisted and detached, look for the poignant hidden behind the frantic modern hustle. This machine gets dirty gets rusty, rumbles and roars and the humans who drive it through to us, are flawed, vulnerable, brave, continually invigorated by the power of the melody, the impact of the thoughts.

It is only PoP isn’t it?

Or do these fierce songs display a lot more? Simple answer:oh yes.

The title track screams into existence, all piercing industrial guitar slithering over a dense mix, the beat shuffles shy, hesitant, the girl almost lost in the roar, but it is this subliminal purity easing its way out, that touches us.

We start to think we know what will come next, but the band gleefully throws out their very best curveball (Silhouette) and suddenly we aretaken back to an innocent new romantic dance floor, memories of pastel tinted videos and hooks to dream about. While personally preferring the WAR in the Wartapes, I can imagine many a radio programmer latching onto this track with a sigh and even a giggle.

For me though, the twitchy beguiling hit of the oncoming winter will be the nervous buzz of ‘Do You Ever Think Of Me,’ a song blessed with a melody as catchy as anything Saint Etienne ever created.

All in all this a set of songs that will appeal to the timid first time traveller into the indie world (welcome dark cool days ahead!) and to those fine hedonists that crave just another spoonful of edgy.

http://www.facebook.com/wartapes

Marco Mahler – Design in Quick Rotation (Full Album)

A review from Cobus Rossouw on Marco’s earlier release.

A review on his latest can be found here

My previousreview of the Marco Mahler instrumental efforts talked to the musical qualities of the album. The major difference between the two efforts is, obviously, the addition of vocals. It would therefore seem that the review would be as simple as commenting on the vocals and this review would be done. Perhaps. But then life happens.

I have been pondering this review for a couple of days. I thought about writing about similar vocal styles (Tindersticks’ Stuart Staples, Lou Reed et al, the fragile honest vocals some of us need to remind us that it’s not always about the technical ability). I thought about describing my unending love affair with lo-fi… but, honestly, it would sell the entire experience short, simply because a mechanistic description of the vocals or a blatant attempt at showing off how much I know about music would ignore what music is about. It’s how it makes you feel, and it’s easy to forget when you’re reviewing.

In short –this album makes me happy. I’ve had a tough few weeks and maybe this has nothing to do with you, dear reader, but if you need some music that’ll take you away, somewhere other than where you are, then Marco’s got the remedy for you. I’d get into the car and drive away from the hospital, turn on the music and select track 3, “Orange Chinese Car”. In a matter of seconds I am already feeling better, I know things will be ok and I can come back again tomorrow and face it. That’s worth the price of admission.

Somewhere in the tapestry of themes Marco has tapped into something healing and I thank him for this personally.

This album will not be for everybody. It’s not overproduced, it has no star names, no rousing choruses, no drum or guitar solos, there’s no spandex or big hair but there’s heart and soul in plentiful supply. I can’t single out any other tracks, because from Think Tank through to 1’s and 0’s, Go Crocodile and theother 6 they all dish out the same medicine, albeit in unique and interesting ways.

I want everybody to buy this album. Come on, reach into your pocket and buy it. Buy it because the Marco Mahlers of the world must keep on making music.

http://www.marcomahler.com/

End Of An Era – Carta Marina (Independent Release)

Let’s be thankful there are still bands making this sort of uncontrived anthem, slow building tunes full of heart and song craft. Songs that first time lovers can slow dance to and those weary few can get past their heartbreak with. This is a gentle youthful often rocking rolling set that is easy to dive into, sing along to.

The production is crisp and charming, the refined jangle of the guitar placed foremost in the mix, the voice soothing seemingly effortless, the lyrics( never getting anywhere near to angst) deal with matters of the personal with a commendable lightness of touch.

But if I give the impression that this is a swim through the mainstream, think again, sure some of the songs ARE a brand of alt rock that will please and soothe the masses (and this is NO bad thing), but then there are others like the two long instrumental compositions ‘Death Blossom’ and the title track which melds a delicate ambience onto elegantly restrained workouts, creating a satisfying tension anddrama.

As with the best music of this type, it is the surprises, the subtle gifts given each listen that make this EP so rewarding

http://cartamarina.bandcamp.com/

Hear trax from all these albums on Podcasts going out in November on NBT (the 12th,
18th and 25th)

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

Oh and finally NBT is on facebook.. go and ‘like the page already!

http://www.facebook.com/NBTmusicproject

The NBT Review 99

Marco Mahler –Design in Quick Rotation/Laptop Campfire Speed(the Instrumental Versions)

Another review from Cobus Rossouw creator of 88 Kilos of Sunshine

The Visual is one of the Kinetic Sculptures created by Marco Mahler: Kinetic Mobile 60-1-640

These two albums, available as free downloads from http://marcomahler1.bandcamp.com represent a large volume of
work from Marco Mahler. This is the kind of output that most artists only manage in a 3 year period and yet Mahler seems to be able to produce at an incredible rate.

One might therefore be tempted to think that such output would represent castoff tunes with little thought given to
arrangement. One would expect work that was one-dimensional and bland. In this case there’s a substantial surprise waiting. Dense layers of guitar music overlay sensible percussion and perfectly weighted melodic instrumentation, accenting counterpoints that add to the melodies, expanding the ideas, teasing out themes. It’s the stuff of dreams,

The truth here is that I got this a while ago, and the review was due some days ago, but the music distracted me, I’ve
had it buried in the car stereo for most of my time and Marco’s music has travelled most of South Africa’s Northern provinces with me, and it has been the best of company. In fact, if you know the bushveld landscape you’ll understand the feel of the music. It is music for open spaces and wide skies, for thorn trees and riverbeds, tunes for campfires and cold nights, warm days
and sunshine, dust and sudden rain. It’s music for road trips and David Lynch films.

The music is instrumental and intended for soundtrack use, which would be sensible destination, but it is also meditative
and elusive, with some of the hidden qualities opening up with repeated exposure. The albums are also heralds of the released full albums and I must presume that the albums are fully fleshed songs, vocals etc. added, and it is a measure of the quality of his music that it stands on its own, as instrumentals, each a comprehensive theme and variation excursion that is beautiful and complex at the same time.

It’s a wonderful collection of tracks, each one unique and yet definitely part of a collective, go get it, and remember,
you heard about it here.

http://www.marcomahler.com/

Hear trax from these albums on the NBT show
going out on the 18th November 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com

The NBT Review 92

Delicate Dangerous Cool part one.

A whole bunch of great music to give my thoughts on today (its going to take two blogs i think) so without messing around lets just get right to it.

First up is the new single Summer by Elika, from the upcoming Snuggle Bunnies

This is the summer of static, the hope within the thunder storm, this is a summer indoors under the shifting club lights. The summer of beauty within the chaos a dreamy collision ‘tween 60s harmony pop, and the frantic longing of the shoe-gaze bubblegum. This song proves that gentle need not be insipid, that loving need not be bland. A song for your soon to be lover, but here is the twist, it is as much a song about leaving, losing, as it is about giving, accepting. The sadness in the crush, the absolute thrill of the now.

http://www.elikamusic.com

 2010 – Orange 1

 This is the soundtrack to watching the people move in slow motion, standing on the outside looking in at the ordinary day as it floats past, the drama of the seemingly typical, the zoom in, the noticing of every small movement, every indrawn breath, every controlled bit of anger or delight.

It is the detached view of the human fever, how the normal becomes sci-fi. In this music as we watch and we listen, all becomes movie, all becomes epic. Put these songs on your player, go to your mall or city centre, press play and watch the world.

 http://orange-1.jimdo.com/music.php

 Various Songs – Magic Panda

 Leave the safety behind, there is danger in this sweet discovery. This is the music the wineglass hears as it shatter suicides against the cold-hearted floor. Soundtrack the sparkle from a knife as it glides through space, here is the eternity of the journey, the anticipation of the contact, the thud to come.

This magic is not in the dense or the obvious, the self made terror of the darkness, rather this is about the bang of the bright, the calm in the cold. It is music that manages to be both serene and complicated, ambient with shiny hooks.

 http://soundcloud.com/magicpanda

 you can hear tracks from all these artists on the NBT Dark Electric Podcast going out on Wednesday the 22nd Sept

http://nbtdarkelectric.podomatic.com

The NBT Review 86

Face The Fact – Opus 1 (Westbound Media)

Insightful, refreshing, Opus 1 pulls no punches, as the finger clicking jazz guitar leads him into ‘Failure’, we realize this will be no empty brag festival, no false bravado, no self pity for his hard luck adventures. This is something different, pretty damn unique, brave even, because running the risk at being taken at face value, some may miss that this is a message of hope. That if you are AWARE of the Hell you may be stuck in, (some of that hell made by your own perceptions and faults) you can and MUST escape from it.

Mashadena squelches forward on the back of 80’s sounding synth and vocoder morphing slowly into a tense jive apocalyptic ice cool soundtrack, with shivering of dread. And yet so very danceable!

In Abstract Jazz, Opus 1 raps that his,’’ perspective is reflective of reality’’ and it this way he has of viewing then writing and singing about the world around him, the thoughts surrounding him, that elevate the tunes above so much that pours out these days in the modern pop universe.

Stand out track, No Love deserves to be a hit not only in hip hop clubs, but could easily find a home in alternative and adventurous rock clubs across the nations, it has that bold crossover appeal, embracing the intellect and the soul.

All in all each track here offers layers of thought provoking lyrics sown into a subtly produced bed of melody and instrumentation. The hooks creep up on you and the mood takes hold for ages after the last bass howl and strut has faded.

I for one certainly look forward to much more from this artist.

Listen for yourself here

http://www.westbound-media.com

http://opus-1.bandcamp.com/album/face-the-fact

Opus 1 will be featured on the NBT podcast going out on the 17th August 2010

http://nextbigthing.libsyn.com/

If you use Internet Explorer you can stream snippets of a couple of the Tunes here

                               http://www.nextbigthing.co.za

  (After the intro Click on the ‘#Just want to look around# text it will take u thru to next page)

   A chart made up from browsers rating and listening to the song streams can be found here:

                                      http://nbttopten.podbean.com/