Nevermind The Posers

See ya in the pit.

BT: Laptop Symphony Live @ Mixx, Atlantic City, NJ on 8/26/12 September 10, 2012

Filed under: Concert Reviews — NVMP @ 8:36 PM
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Review Mark B.

In all the years spent going to clubs, concerts and festivals, I can’t recall many times that I have been over-elated or rabidly eager to hit the event as much as when I go to see BT.  Whether a simple DJ mix, live performance (meaning instruments, synthesizers, etc.) or laptop symphony, it’s always a great pleasure to see the live works of the great Brian Transeau.  So it was an extraordinarily rare treat when he finally found the time to make an exceedingly rare appearance within the tri-state area at Mixx night club in Atlantic City, NJ on a Sunday night of all nights.

Mixx itself is a smaller, cramped club with a powerful sound system that can be found dead center in the Borgata hotel.  Although everything in the casino literally revolves around it, the club somehow gives off an anonymous, almost exclusive feel so any guest will feel slightly special walking up the ramp to get inside, at least until you order your $8 beer.  I have read about how it is one of the best nightclubs in Atlantic City, with two floors of dance madness.  Unfortunately the second floor seemed to be off-limits for the evening, as all of us were relegated to the first floor.

The night was kicked off by DJ Paul Castro, spinning the expected mix of remixed top 40 cuts and other popular dance floor hits.  Although he rolled out a decent set, he seemed to be slightly off his game that night, as his mixing and transitions weren’t exactly the smoothest (not that any of the slowly trickling in crowd noticed.)  That being said, he certainly did a decent job of getting the non-responsive crowd closer to the dance floor than the bar over the next two hours.

Slightly after 1am BT magically appeared in the DJ booth, like being beamed in by the same extraterrestrials who supply him with his highly advanced array of musical equipment.  The crowd had hit its peak by then, which was smaller than one would assume for someone on the level of BT.  Then again, it could be considered a massive crowd for a Sunday night, and a fairly fun one at that.  Following the lead of his newly released first Laptop Symphony mix album, he led-off with his club hit collaboration with Adam K. “Tomahawk, ” a tune that quietly draws the listener in by slowly swelling into a glitched out dance assault, which instantly rocked the dance floor as it faded in.  And he would lead the receptive audience on a similar musical trajectory through the complex depths of his Laptop Symphony for the rest of the evening, constantly throwing up his hands at the crescendos of each song, dancing to the parts of the music the crowd barely reacted to and throwing up his hands in pure sonic bliss.  BT is a man who not just visibly enjoys what he does, but seems to crawl inside Ableton Live before a witnessing crowd and kick back during each performance.

And suddenly just 20 minutes after 2am, after throwing a prayer-handed bow to the audience, he was gone as instantly as he had arrived with Paul Castro picking up the slack to bring tonight home.  It was a set that was far too short (barely an hour and twenty minutes,) but one that brought me to another solar system and made me dance while I was there; I am grateful for that. Come back soon Mr. BT.


Warner Bros. Label and their Blatant Abuse of Copyright Law Enforcement September 15, 2011

Filed under: Can You Believe This?!,music news — NVMP @ 7:53 AM
Tags: ,

by Mark B.

What had been a random moment of scouring the Internet (Facebook in particular) during a boring period at work quickly escalated into a truly “Holy SHIT” moment, as before my very eyes I stumbled across a quick blurb from none other than BT at the very top of the Live Feed, featuring this very interesting piece of information.

Background info on following tweet from BT today:
– They’ve banned YouTube videos of mine they didn’t own!
– Not to mention emailed Warner Bros for 8 months about returning my masters to IMA & ESCM (both out of print for years.)  Guess what they did?  Warner Bros never responded & re-released both albums.
– Don’t pay Warner Bros for IMA or ESCM. I will release more complete new versions when I can.

What on earth was he talking about?  Who did what and why?  Thankfully, Mr. BT provided a link to help shed some light on this murky, yet increasingly intriguing post.  So without further ado, feel free to click on the link below and judge for yourself.

***And extra props go to BT, as without him pointing out this travesty on a Facebook post, yet another MAJOR fuck-up by the industry at large would have skimmed by unnoticed, and the public might have missed the chance to witness a nail being hammered into the coffin of not just the music industry monoliths, but the entertainment industry.  Cash rules everything around us.


What tours or concerts are you excited about this year? January 25, 2011

What tours or concerts are you excited about that you know of so far this year?

I can not wait for The Get Up Kids to come around, their hiatus has been far too long and I’m dying to hear my favorite band live again.  Their new album There Are Rules was released today and I will share my thoughts as soon as I listen in.  I’m also excited for Flogging Molly’s Green 17 tour.  Opening acts this year include Money Brother and The Drowning Men.  As always, I am looking forward to Warped Tour 2011 and hope to see some great bands on the bill this year.

I think this year I’m most excited to see the line up for Warped Tour.  I’m not really sure what shows are coming up, or what other tours/festivals that will be held this year aside from the annual ones.  I have found I regularly check to see who is playing Warped to decide whether or not I go.  Moreover, considering the awesome time I had this past summer, I can’t wait to go.  On that note, I’d like to say I’m excited to see Tomorrows Bad Seeds again.  I haven’t been able to see them since Warped ’10 as they went back to California, but I’m hoping they make their way back to the East Coast soon so I can indulge my ear drums on their sweet musical stylings.

It’s too early into the year to say, but I’m stoked that the 3rd Annual Electric Zoo Festival on Labor Day weekend has been extended to a 3 day festival – which is awesome considering it’s the closest thing to  Woodstock for Electronic Dance Music junkies that we’re ever going to get.

After missing them this Holiday season, I’m going to be watching for when the Trans-Siberian Orchestra for comes back to the tri-state area, and of course we can all expect some American bastardization-laden attempt to re-create the fabled “Big 4” concert.  Personally, as amazing as it probably was to be at and witness live, I take a skeptical moment to say, “Remember Woodstock.”  Lightning will NEVER strike the same spot twice, no matter how much money and promotion is thrown at it.  Think about it…original Woodstock (1969) = celebration of peace, love and rock and roll.  The last Woodstock (1999) = Limp Bizkit’s rape and bonfire extravaganza.  Total 180 and disgrace to the memory of what Woodstock (’69) was.

I am excited about the return of Charlotte Martin (although I have to miss her first shows of the year) and the possibility of Dead Can Dance’s Brendan Perry bringing his solo tour to the U.S. at some point this year.  Hell, I am even kind of excited about Motorhead’s tour, and I don’t even care for Lemmy and Co., but hey, he is a musical legend that should be seen at least once.  And fingers crossed, perhaps BT will finally tour in the NY/NJ area this year, as he seems to be too good to hit the area (hear that B to tha T?? FUCKING ROCK OUT IN THIS AREA FOR FUCK’S SAKE!  PROVE ME WRONG!)  I am even keeping my finger’s crossed that Jim Lindberg’s kick-ass new project The Black Pacific will tour this year.


And Our #1 Favorite Musicians Are… May 7, 2010

TNT’s #1 Musician of All Time
1. Jerry Garcia – It’s extremely difficult to put into words why this man is my favorite musician of all time.  I consider him my muse, my musical mentor.  I have listened to the Grateful Dead since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until I was 15 years old that I actually heard his lyrics and felt his music.  It felt like a I had a musical stroke, confused about how my mind thought for so many years of this as my mom’s music and almost paralyzed with my own thoughts and theories.  Since that epic day, I’ve become obsessed with the man, his music and his life.  I remember the day he passed away, only being 9 years old and not understanding the loss of such a great man, mourning and misery consumed the world.  Luckily, his spirit lives on through his music, his art, and his followers.  We miss you Jerry.

Alex’s #1 Musician of All Time
1. Jimi Hendrix – From his lyrics to his haunting guitar solo’s, often emulated but never duplicated, Jimi made the guitar do something that nobody in history has done before, or since.  He made the fretboard sing in ways that even Les Paul didn’t know were possible, and he invented the electric guitar.  He may have only played one instrument, but he played it so well, it seemed as if he came from the womb with it, emerging into the world with a Stratocaster under his arm, strung upside-down and destined for stardom.

Mark’s #1 Musician of All Time
1. BT – Where do I begin?  This man isn’t so much a musician as he is a sonic sculpture, molding mathematics, musical notations and multiple audio technologies and theories at his finger tips together, to bring to life hundreds of Mona Lisa equivalent audio pieces, each with their own distinct places among the stars of the audio planes.  He is the Leonardo Da Vinci of the music world, really, a tireless multitasker dabbling in all forms of music and technical wizardry to better himself, his music, and maybe even you.
RECOMMENDED: IMA, ESCM, Movement in Still Life, Emotional Technology, This Binary Universe

Angela’s #1 Musician of All Time
1. Amanda Palmer (of her own solo project and the Dresden Dolls) – Amanda Palmer is, in my opinion, an amazing artist.  She’s passionate, witty, down to earth and despite all her fame hasn’t changed the way she interacts with her fans since the first time I saw the Dresden Dolls before they were anything.  Her style of writing, both music and lyrics, is unique and refreshing.  Not to mention every time I see her live, either solo or with the Dolls, the show is ALWAYS amazing.  I am never disappointed at the mixture of performance art and rock and roll.

Klone’s #1 Musician of All Time
1. Blue Man Group (1987 – ) – I will begin by fully admitting that a group is not a single musician, and by choosing Blue Man Group as my #1 musician of all time, I have cheated.  I fully admit that I have bent the rules on this, but I feel completely justified in doing so.  The amazing thing about Blue Man Group is that they are a group with a single identity.  The organization, as it is a group far larger than the three members who perform each individual show, was formed by Phil Stanton, Chris Wink and Matt Goldman, based in Manhattan at the time of its inception.  The group is now an ensemble of musicians who rotate into the three-man performance positions on a show-by-show basis, but the performing trio always appears the same: Blue painted faces and hands, no ears or hair, and no voice.  The other unique characteristic is their focused use of percussion in their music and performances, most notably tuned instruments made out of PVC piping.  Since none of the performing trio are ever introduced by name, or speak at all during the show, the Blue Man Group is effectively a conceptual identity, casting the individual identities of the ensemble aside and allowing the audience to focus solely on the music and the experience of seeing them perform live.  The group’s unique brand of instrumentation not only mesmerizes audiences in their use for Blue Man original pieces, but enhance any songs the group ever covers, but giving a completely new audio perspective to the selected pieces.  My favorite example is their cover of The Who’s classic “Baba O’Reilly”, which can be heard and seen on their 2008 DVD release “How to be a Megastar Live!”, which was accompanied by a CD featuring the tracks performed in the show.  Blue Man Group is an evolution of both “the musician” and “the rock band” into a new level of being.  Welcome to the next level.


Charlotte Martin Interview at World Café Live October 16, 2009

If watching the latest MTV Music awards has illustrated anything (and not just Kanye West’s “outburst”), it’s that today’s music scene is a world full of jaded, over-pampered, attention seeking, product hawking, uptight musicians, or as everyone else calls them, dicks.  Thankfully, we have someone like Charlotte Martin, who has proven to be a sonic savior, an artist who has delivered fresh and inventive music into the gag-inducing music scene for 10 years running. Her compositions float seamlessly between pop, electro, dance, and singer/songwriter, with her powerful opera-trained vocal chords leading the charge, paired with a piano playing dexterity that has the fury of a monsoon delivered with the delicateness of a soft caress. She is a music industry veteran who has clocked a decade in the field; from her humble beginnings in local Los Angeles clubs, to going through the trials and tribulations of a major label record contract and living to tell about it, to the present challenges of motherhood and gaining the freedom to guide her own career. And rather than enjoying the fruits of her labors, she chose to tough it out by launching the “Mad Fast Acoustic Tour” in the middle of recording a new album, with family in tow. 

     Mark from Nevermind the Posers had the chance to sit down with Charlotte at World Café Live in Philadelphia, PA on the first night of her 4 date tour (September 30, 2009) to discuss the fans, family life, music, the horrors of post-nasal drip, and her new instrumental release Piano Trees. 



M (Mark):  You’re a working mother who’s charting the course of her career, in the midst of recording a new album, and you have just completed a side project. With so much going on, why choose to launch a mini-tour in the midst of all of this?

CM (Charlotte Martin):  I don’t know… because I’m insane. Honestly, I just want people to know that I am still able to tour; it’s really hard to tour with a baby, but actually mine is really easy [being that] he’s a good kid. The only thing that’s difficult is the extra gear [pointing to all of the baby gear]. I can’t do as much anymore, not all at the same time.  I’m multi-tasking as a mom, and trying to run a house, so much that I can’t work on a record and tour at the same time.  And the reason that this side project came out is because I have awesome people that helped me put it together. I wouldn’t have been able to do that by myself; I fully give props. As far as the writing goes, I’m still a bit slow. I mean we’ve recorded about 6 songs; most of it is written, but I am kind of at the mercy of Ken’s [Ken Andrews, Charlotte’s husband and producer] schedule, because I want to work with him.  When we get back from these dates he’s going to work pretty much for a solid 3 weeks, so I am hoping to finish it by the end of the year… [by] early January, because my team wants to try to put it out next year.

M: On this tour you are releasing a side-project called Piano Trees and I read that you wrote it specifically to inspire other artists.

CM: I did. It didn’t seem like I was. I was actually going to write a book called ‘Word Trees’, because I write a lot of my songs from these lists that I have been brainstorming, broken thoughts and words, I call Word Trees. And I have 20-30 something books now; I was going to make a coffee table sort of art book, and the Piano Trees CD was going to go with the book, but it’s ridiculously expensive to make a book. So, when I figured out my record probably wasn’t going to be done this year, I figured [that] I have got to give everybody something, so why not? And fast forward from 2005 ’til now, lots of dancers dance to my stuff on all of these shows, which is amazing. 

M: Like ‘So You Think You Can Dance’?

CM: Yeah! Tons of dancers, painters, photographers, actors and other musicians, and I thought “this would be really good for people”. Then the point became very clear that it might be cool for people if they are in the process of writing something. Honestly, you can’t write music to it, but if you’re a musician… I write lyrics while listening to my favorite bands all of the time, which is probably why the song “The Kick Inside” by Kate Bush is in the song “Up All Night”.

M:  I know a lot of people ask you about your influences. You’ve name checked artists like New Order, The Cure, Kate Bush; I was wondering who are some of the other artists that you listened to that inspired you while you were making Piano Trees?

CM: A band called Stars of the Lid, a band called Explosions in the Sky; I’m really, really into M83, Radio Department, this piano player named Dustin O’Halloran; his music is pretty similar to Piano Trees except that it’s way sweeter, almost more proper classical. It’s all of my Shoe-Gazer stuff that I don’t sound like but that I want to be [laughing]. I really love it all, I just never do that… ever.

M: Along with past tour releases Darkest Hours, Veins, and the Rarities series, Piano Trees is also being released on tour, why release such a steady amount of material during tours?

CM:  I feel like it gives me an excuse to tour because I have something coming out, otherwise I don’t know if I would tour just to tour. It’s for fun; I feel like it’s my obligation to give you good new music if you’re going to buy a ticket to come see me play.

M: A lot of other artists milk the same thing for years.

CM: No, I have never done a record cycle for longer than a year, because the records weren’t quite that huge. You know, on my level you have to release a lot of material to make a living… and I am blessed that people buy it, but I have got to release a lot. I’m just really lucky; I mean they are the reason that I have a job. 

M: One of the things that is noticeable about the shows, in addition to the growing crowds, are the familiar faces that I see. What effect has having such a dedicated fan base had on your writing and career? 

CM: Everything. I write thinking, “Is this going to bore people? Are people going to be into this”? I mean, I write for myself too, but I’m very conscientious. I know that there is a lot of my fan base that wants me to do a solo record, and honestly I feel like saying, “You think that you want that for a whole record, but I don’t think you want it that… stark”. Even On Your Shore was in a lot of ways as dense as Stromata, it was just orchestra, but there were lots of layers. People think they want [another] On Your Shore because it’s sparse, but it really isn’t, it just has sparser moments.

M: Around the time of On Your Shore, you started collaborating with a lot of dance acts; you did a song with the Crystal Method (“Glass Breaker”), with DJ Tiesto (“Sweet Things”), and most recently, I was ecstatic to see that you collaborated with BT on his next album. how did that come about? How was the recording process? Was it any different than what you are used to?

CM: Well, he sent me a track, and I recorded over it and sent it back to him.  

M: So that’s pretty much it with BT then? 

CM: Yeah.  I really don’t know what he’s doing right now. He’s been working on it for a while, because we did that song 2 years ago. It’s called “Feed the Monster”, it’s slammin’…  it’s Garbage, meets Shiny Toy Guns, meets BT.

M: Each of your records seem to have its own distinct sound and atmosphere, how do you determine which sonic direction that you want to take during the recording process?

CM: Well, with Stromata we decided pretty quickly. With this new record, the writing, or the actual song itself tells Ken and I where it should go. I mean we do get stumped; there is this one [song] now that is called “Everything is Tied to Little Strings” that we just can’t crack. We actually asked Greg [Greg Edwards of Autolux and Failure] to work on it because it’s super weird. It’s a really tough nut to crack, but I have had songs that were tough to crack before. I mean “Every Time It Rains” is a simple pop song, and this [new track] is way more complex than that… like this is arty art. And that took us years to finish the album version of “Every Time It Rains”, I mean I have 5 versions of that song. We wrote it in the studio while cutting it,  it was always evolving.

M: Being that you’re an independent artist with a still flourishing career, how important would you say that word of mouth has been in the development of your career? 

CM:  It’s all. It could be a lot more too, because what I have is all people… it doesn’t get any more grassroots than this. I’ve never had a break, I just slugged it out and toured… and I’ve had some good tours; Liz Phair’s “Chicks with Attitude” tour and Howie Day. 

M: I was surprised to read about in your newsletter is that you allow your shows to be taped. Why do you allow it?

CM: I have a lot of international fans. I have been doing this for 10 years and it’s been tragic that I haven’t made it over to tour, especially in Japan, where On Your Shore did okay on import. I don’t know how to do that yet, so I’m just like “tape it all”.  And if they can remain a fan and connect to me that way, then go for it. 

M: Something like that ties into the fact that a lot of the praise coming from your fans is your personal interaction with them. During shows, I know that you make faces at people, you’ve made faces at me; and on this tour you took another step [with fan interaction] and you invited your fans to post song requests on your websites message boards. 

CM: I’m going to do my best… I rehearsed a lot of them, and there were A LOT of requests. It’s finding that balance, because I am going to play a couple of new ones, and I want to play a couple that I know people want to hear, and then there’s the fans that want to hear everything obscure, and I don’t think that would make for a good show, personally.  

M: My last question could be directed at both of you [Charlotte and Ken]. There was a project a while back that both of you were supposed to be involved in called Digital Noise Academy. I know that it involved a lot of your collaborators and friends, and I was just wondering whatever became of it?

[Ken Andrews joins the interview] 

KA: Well, it exists…

CM: A whole record. 

KA: No one’s heard it except the band, because we haven’t had the time to organize a release. I know that that sounds ridiculous, but it’s actually true. With everyone’s projects, and the baby, and one of the other members also having a baby… that this project even happened at all was amazing. And now the fact that it is sitting there waiting to be released is kind of a bummer, but we’re pursuing it. We’re just looking for the right way to release it, because it’s not a real band in the sense that we don’t play shows all of the time, and it’s not like we’re going to tour on top of the release. 

CM: And we’re not going out for a big record deal. We’re all doing our personal artist careers, production careers… we all have our own things. But it’s a very artistically fulfilling project. 

KA: It’s going to come out 

CM: It’ll come out. It makes me sad to think of it not coming out.

Photos and interview by Mark B.