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KAZU and the Cradle of Elba | Vortex Music Magazine

Taking exile from city life, Kazu Makino of Blonde Redhead is reborn as a solo artist on ‘Adult Baby.’

“I needed to do an album that was all mine, far from the dynamics intrinsic to being part of a band.” To that end, the album is an exploration of sound, mixing synthesizers, Moog, gauzy and trance-like vocal loops, gentle percussion, sparse liquid pianos and elevated cinematic movements from The Art Orchestra of Budapest. Recorded in New York, Berlin and Milan, Adult Baby  is both island and city—moving from intimate spaces to vast expanses and back again, like Makino who split her time on three-month visas, living between Elba and New York during the process. The songs sound like whispers coming off the coast of a foreign somewhere, of traveling the sea at night, the warmth of a window ledge open to the sun, and moments of isolation and experimentation, like shining light on deep, dark water and diving under.

READ the rest at the Source: KAZU and the Cradle of Elba | Vortex Music Magazine

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The Color of Sound | Vortex Music Magazine

Myles de Bastion of CymaSpace and Audiolux Devices lights the way for inclusive encounters with music through his groundbreaking technology.

Sound, as it happens, is mathematical. The circle of fifths is like a songwriter’s magic shortcut, expressing the relationship between keys and simplifying chord creation. Mapping this to colored lights allows de Bastion to see what notes are being played by various instruments when improvising, which, more importantly, enables him to turn music into multi-sensorial compositions.

“People want the ‘cool lights’ but we use it as a conversation starter to greater inclusion and accessibility for those with disabilities,” he says. This work not only helps events to be more accessible and inclusive to the deaf and hard of hearing but makes a sensory impact on everyone in attendance.

READ the rest at the Source: The Color of Sound | Vortex Music Magazine

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‘You, Sir,’ Must Hear Abbey Hendrix Find Her Voice | Vortex Music Magazine

After years of making music, whether in school, bands or the industry, some encouragement from producer Adam Brock and Lenore.’s Joy Pearson helped push Abbey Hendrix to finally realize her full-length, solo debut of jazz-influenced folk.

You, Sir opens with a tender and twinkling piano waltz of a song called “Enough.” Hendrix’s voice lilts here and there like Mozart’s starling, while on others, you hear the strong jazz-influenced folk of Joni Mitchell (in the style of Court and Spark and Blue). Vocals soar and stack into choral symphonies and dissolve into classical compositions with jazz sensibilities—there are some decidedly expressive and cinematic soundscapes in this collection of songs.

READ the rest at the Source: ‘You, Sir,’ Must Hear Abbey Hendrix Find Her Voice | Vortex Music Magazine

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Fake Fireplace: ‘School Spirit’ [Video Premiere] | Vortex Music Magazine

The former Willamina High School in Willamina, Ore., is in the middle of a transformation into the West Valley Community Campus, a new community center for arts and culture. In a state of somewhat disarray, what better place to film the new music video for Fake Fireplace’s “School Spirit”?

…making appearances in the video are all the visually poignant details of attending school in the ’80s—the chalkboard traced with penmanship lines, the sentimental grind of the pencil sharpener, jamming books into an overflowing locker, writing documents to a floppy disc drive, the IBM Standard Issue Clock ticking away endless hours, the world globe, and the school dance.

READ the rest at the Source: Fake Fireplace: ‘School Spirit’ [Video Premiere]

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Moorea Masa & The Mood ‘Shine A Light’ | Vortex Music Magazine

After touring the world with k.d. lang, the soulful 25-year-old is set to release her debut record on May 11.

All life seeks balance. Without an opposite—a contrary or complementary state—we cannot appreciate the cycles of nature and the way we move through life as people. All those negative and positive forces of change are illuminated on Shine A Light, the first full-length release from Moorea Masa & The Mood . . . Shine A Light is a collection of 10 songs reflecting a cycle of internal exploration and external conversations. It is equal parts personal and political. The album tackles the heavy topics of sexism, police violence and abuse, while balancing them with a profound sense of self, expectations, love and letting go. It is the essence of strength and vulnerability of a woman living in our very current and collective reality.

READ the rest at the Source: Moorea Masa & The Mood ‘Shine A Light’

 

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Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower

The first time I heard The Quebe Sisters, I was standing in the woods on Pendarvis Farm in Happy Valley, Oregon at the Pickathon music festival. It was a private session of stripped-down songs, played in a quiet setting away from the larger stage and big crowds—and very intimate, except for the film crew and microphones jammed into the 10 by 10-foot concrete and wood pumphouse. I didn’t actually see them directly until they emerged—but what I heard instantly transported me to another time. It was the romantic and sentimental song, “Going Away Party,” by Texas songwriter Cindy Walker. The sound coming out of that little shed was so pitch-perfect and golden-toned, I thought it had been pre-recorded and auto-tune processed. It was as if the Andrews Sisters of the 1940s had emerged from the fires of time with their close harmony style and dropped down to the forest, fiddles in hand.

READ the rest at the Source: Sister Act | The Quebe Sisters bring their sweet sounds to the Tower

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White Devils and ‘Sacred Nights’: In Conversation with David Bazan

In the darkest time of the year, perhaps even, in our culture and our larger world, Bazan invites us to “admit your despair to safe people in your life this Christmas. Be a safe person for others. Feel better. Jesus Christ, you guys.” It’s an honest Christmas wish we could all find some truth and light in.

David Bazan has been remixing and remastering a lot of different things lately. His music. His workflow. His life. He’s been incorporating old songs and sensibilities into new endeavors, like releasing his first music video, embarking on a documentary about his “existential, artistic and family life,” and touring with a very unlikely holiday album collected from annual yuletide song releases, dating back to his Pedro the Lion days.

No matter the sound—from guitar strings to symphonics or synthesizer—nor the venue—whether it’s a house show or concert hall—one beautiful consistency remains in Bazan’s music: his raw, emotive vocal delivery of difficult topics, from faith to politics and all the human faults in between.

READ the rest at the Source: White Devils and ‘Sacred Nights’: In Conversation with David Bazan

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Moorea Masa & The Mood: ‘The Garden’ [Song Premiere]

On Moorea Masa’s debut collaboration with J. Most, she moves into her R&B realm with a clean, crisp, almost symphonic song with plenty of room for fingersnaps, strings and sumptuous harmonies. Finding space to grow, listen now and stay tuned for more new sounds from Masa.

Every garden goes through its cycle of life. There’s the zenith of growth in summer, a gentle decline and falling away in autumn, a death or mere sleep in winter, and rebirth again in spring. So it has been for folk-soul singer Moorea Masa herself and her newly released track, “The Garden.”

Seeds of this song have been sown in various forms beginning with an acoustic performance set in a field of wildflowers as part of Chuck Johnson’s Humboldt Live Sessions in the fall of 2015 . . .

READ the rest at the Source:  Moorea Masa & The Mood: ‘The Garden’ [Song Premiere]

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A Conversation of Collaboration: Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop Burn ‘Love Letters’ Together | Vortex Music Magazine

As the duo return to Portland to perform their love songs at a sold-out show on June 3 at the Aladdin Theater, Vortex chats with Jesca Hoop about the co-creation of an album of duets with Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam.

Some love letters we keep to remind us we are loved. Others, we burn to forget that we were broken by another. But the inspiration behind Love Letter for Fire, a collaborative album between Sam Beam of Iron & Wine and singer-songwriter Jesca Hoop was not to remember or to forget—it was to reinvent. In this case, a 13-track album full of love song duets.

Like most loving endeavors, it began simply and in earnest—Beam and Hoop were fans of each other’s music. Beam had always wanted to make a record like this one with a female partner as an homage to the classic duets he grew up hearing on the radio. He went through Hoop’s catalogue on iTunes and was struck by the album Kismet. Meanwhile, Hoop was finishing her fourth record at the time and had never co-written. Hoop admitted familiarity with Beam’s music “because it had cleaned my house many times,” she remarks. So after a proper amount of mutual admiration, Beam decided he wanted to get to know Hoop better and invited her on tour, and the album was subsequently written throughout 2014.

READ the rest at the Source: A Conversation of Collaboration: Sam Beam & Jesca Hoop Burn ‘Love Letters’ Together | Vortex Music Magazine

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Indigo Girls: Song, Spirituality and Social Justice | Vortex Music Magazine

In their 30-plus years as a band, Indigo Girls have increasingly turned their attention to social causes.

Indigo Girls have been in the music scene since the ’80s, experimenting with their sound, enduring worldwide touring, and outlasting many of their female acoustic-based folk rock contemporaries. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers boast a long-lasting girlhood friendship, 16 albums, more than 35 years of writing, arranging, recording and performing together as a duo, and a Grammy for their self-titled album, which contains their signature song, “Closer to Fine,” featuring earnest lyrics and finely woven vocal harmonies delivered with equal parts fire and grace—a distinctive quality that longtime fans have come to cherish.

Separately, they’ve released solo albums and embarked on successful personal projects—Ray founded a record company and a nonprofit organization that promotes independent musicians, while Saliers scored a film, opened a restaurant and cowrote a book with her father. But their accomplishments have expanded because of the music they make together—and beyond it—into the realm of political activism. Indigo Girls’ commitment to social justice issues, humanitarian concerns and environmental causes can be heard in their musical themes and seen as personal action. Together with Winona LaDuke, Ray and Saliers founded the nonprofit Honor the Earth to raise awareness and financial support for indigenous environmental justice.

READ the rest at the Source: Indigo Girls: Song, Spirituality and Social Justice | Vortex Music Magazine