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World

Time: 
07:00 pm
Band name: 
Per Tengstrand
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/PerTengstrandPiano/
Venue name: 
Scandinavia House
Band email: 
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L'Rain "Find It" in mesmerizing live set

After lighting up a thick stick of incense Taja Cheek a/k/a L’Rain (by day Ms. Cheek is a curatorial assistant at the MoMA PS1 contemporary art center) turns to manipulating a number of electronic modules alongside her bandmates and their guitars/keyboards/drums/digital thingymebobs (taken together the collective itis also named L'Rain, try to keep up here!) as they ease into a musical piece called “Find It” weaving together a sonic tapestry that's built layer-by-layer starting with celestial washes of synth and other ambient clouds of sound eventually joined by percussion with brushed cymbals and tom rolls and then some guitar harmonics produced by hitting the backside of his instrument with a drum mallet and then some cresting waves of saxophone with its trilling tones fed through a swampy layer of echo—with the band enmeshed in a spider’s web of electronic gear, effects pedals, and wiring which they manage to engage in tandem with their more conventional instruments—and then five minutes into the whole thing of building up an entire sonic sculpture, L’Rain, the woman, not the band, leans into the microphone and sings a short vocal line going on to loop her voice in harmony with itself as she continues singing which creates a spinning/spiraling Spirograph-like pattern against which L'rain adds bass into the mix with a melodic winding line (all this twisting and turning is mirrored in the POV camerawork winding in and out of the individual players) and the opening lyric: 

“How did I collect these clouds / from rain that fell for days / feel bad just to feel sane / my mother told me / make a way out of no way / make a way out of no way” and that’s exactly what the musical composition itself does as it builds out its own structure from the inside out, starting from the barest bones and building to criss-crossing patterns of polyrhythms, like an bug spinning a cocoon from within before emerging fully-formed. And it this isn't the perfect musical representation of “making a way out of no way” then I don't know what is. 

And this is just the start of L’Rain’s mini-set, taped for Seattle's KEXP as part of their KEXP At Home series, recorded live in L’Rain’s own Brooklyn environs. The album “Find It” is taken from is called Fatigue and it was released late last month and it’s interesting to compare the two versions studio vs. live. But never mind that because you’ll wanna listen to the album in its entirety asap whether for comparative purposes or not because it’s a heavy, heady, head-spinningly immersive album co-produced between Taja and fellow L'Rainer Andrew Lappin). And it also contains “Two Face” which is the other song heard in the live set above. Returning to the notion of making “a way out of no way” the whole record is a sonic and poetic exploration of the struggle to make sense of the senselessness of the preceding months or years or centuries (take your pick) and to emerge out the other side with something of beauty that's ready to take flight. 

So whether you're already into SAULT or Solange or simply music that's both soulful and boundary-breaking in equal measure then here you have another one for the listening queue. And then for more L’Rain in audiovisual form you can check out some of the clips below, but most of all go listen to Fatigue in its entirety because somewhat contrary to its name it's a galvanizing ride even while taking listeners into the heart of darkness. (Jason Lee)





World

Time: 
19:00
Band name: 
BLKBOK
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Facebook.com/blkbokmusic
Venue name: 
Rockwood music Hall
Band email: 
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World

Time: 
19:00
Band name: 
BLKBOK
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
Facebook.com/BLKBOKmusic
Venue name: 
Rockwood Music Hall
Band email: 
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Paula Maya Stays True To Her Roots in “Corcovado”

Brazilian music standout Paula Maya stays true to her roots in her new single “Corcovado- Ao Vivo.” Her dynamic vocals are accompanied perfectly by light percussion and jazzy, acoustic guitar. In the world of contemporary music, there’s so much pressure to be “modern” and assimilated to current trends, yet Maya proves that you can still be grounded in tradition while displaying originality and uniqueness. 

Given the quality and nearly flawless execution of the recording, it’s hard to believe that Paula Maya’s latest release is actually a live performance. This decision ultimately enhances the listening experience of “Corcovado.” The faintly audible sounds of chatter amongst the audience makes the listener feel like they are at some hip, Jazz cafe on the streets of São Paulo. Releasing this single as a live performance is admirable not only because of the impeccable vocal delivery and tone, but also because of the overall ambience that enables you to be transported into an alternate reality. 

One of the ways in which Maya straddles the line between contemporary and traditional is by singing half of the song in Portugese and the other half in English. It would be easy for her to be a purist and only sing in Portugese to satisfy cultural norms, but singing in English as well makes her music more accessible to a wider audience. Not to mention, she sings in both 

languages quite beautifully. 

Additionally, Paula Maya’s band deserves a huge round of applause for their utilization of dynamics, subtlety, and flat-out skill. The percussionist plays soft and smooth, without missing a beat. The bass and keyboard players know when to take a back seat to the vocals and when to showcase their talent. And the guitar playing is a perfect example of why Brazil is home to some of the most underrated guitarists in the world. The jazzy chords and mesmerizing guitar solo are reminiscent of Brazilian greats, such as Yamandu Costa and João Gilberto, the latter being the original songwriter of “Corcovado.” The musicianship surrounding Maya undoubtedly accentuates her talent even more so. 

Paula Maya’s spin on “Corcovado” embodies the classic saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Clearly, traditional Brazilian music is an exceptional form of art as is. Maya and her band know that they don’t need to overly modernize the music that represents their culture, yet she uncannily conveys a sound that is fresh and worthy of being played on contemporary streaming outlets, even in the United States. Paula Maya knows exactly what type of artist she is and she absolutely owns it.

 

-- Quinn Donoghue

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