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Buenos Aires Music Scene (1)

First post of a series about Buenos Aires Indie Music scene. Thanks to Carlos for writing this. Published on June 29 2013.

  by Carlos

If I had to describe Buenos Aires’ independent scene with one word it would be variety. The contrast that you find from the modern skyscrapers in Puerto Madero to the colonial houses of San Telmo can be easily compared to the contrast in music.

Younger of musicians are still struggling with the presence of a strong past generation that succeeded not only locally but internationally, names like Charly Garcia, Fito Paez, Andres Calamaro (just to mention a few) still are very active in the scene. Independent musicians have developed a local crowd that shows themselves as loyal and supporting, the main problem is that Buenos Aires has an overpopulation of bands (the offer is greater than the demand), which creates lots of competition and leaves many musicians out, but also impulses the quality of the sounds artists compose in the city.

Probably the best way to approach indie music is by exploring the many indie labels that exist, they have taken a position where they are not only dedicated to produce an album but also work on creating a system for musicians to play around the city, usually this labels organize shows that bring together some of their artists, creating a collaboration circuit and a possible exchange of followers. Labels like “Estamos Felices” can be seen more as a collective than a company. Venues appear and disappear just like everywhere, but the city keeps holding some well established places from the very mainstreams like Niceto Club to more intimate bars like La Oreja Negra or Sitio Plasma, however the truly discovery is a very small independent kind of venue that feels more like someone invited you to listening to music at their place, spots such as La Playita or La Casa del Arbol really makes you feel close to the artist.

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Kabul Dreams: "Don't Listen To Anyone ..."

... about Afghanistan's first Rock band after 30 years ... Thanks Sabine for this great post. Published May 28 2013.

  by Sabine

Well, like most Europeans, I don’t know that much about Kabul. In my mind the name equals destruction, remnants from the war, women in burkas and the depression of a rigorous Islamic leadership. Presumably this is part of the real Afghanistan – but there is also another side of life: Colorful, creative and cheerful.

Kabul Dreams definitely belong to the beautiful side: They are Afghanistan’s first indie rock band in 30 years. Sulyman Qardash (songwriting, vocals, guitars), Siddique Ahmed (bass) and Mujtaba Habibi (drums) come from three different provinces of the country, belong to three different ethnic groups and speak three different languages. But they are united by their love for music, their intention to express themselves and to show the world a different face of their home country.

Although they have already been very successful with performing in their local languages, they also write songs in English. They started out by playing at regional festivals, but soon gained international attention by using the internet as source of promotion: In 2010 they performed at a student forum organized by the NATO, in 2011 they travelled to Estonia, Europe for the first time and finally, in February 2012, they started to collect money via Sellaband to produce their first album. It was produced by Sulyman Qardasch, singer of the band. Mixing and mastering happened in San Diego.

Read more: Kabul Dreams: "Don't Listen To Anyone ..."

Angie's Living Room Concerts

Thanks Linda for this article. Published on April 02 2013.

  by Linda

There is something magical that happens when a human sings, something comes over the spirit and transcends and transforms the very soul. Angie Arsenault is a Canadian singer/songwriter that is coming up in and bursting out of the Montreal music scene. Hailing from musically rich Prince Edward Island, Canada, Angie’s creative process is a deeply emotional, introspective journey that when introduced, enchants and captures the listener from the very first sound.

Angie Arsenault’s full length debut in 2009, ‘Once Upon a Dream’, was a crowd-funded project. She soon achieved her second crowd-funded target in November 2010 on Sellaband. With that, Angie was able to quickly get to work on the production of a new album and a short film featuring her new music. She set her creativity in a new direction and produced the new album herself, resulting in what is described as, “a mix of dark, industrial pop sounds with an emphasis on rhythms and electronic noise, along with her signature melodic vocal harmonies” (angiemusic.com).

Angie Arsenault is now sharing her enchanting music up close and personal by offering her ‘Living Room Concert Series’. A unique experience that honors the memories of loved ones lost to the devastating disease cancer. An amazing opportunity for one to invite friends, family and fellow fans to sit back, relax and revel in an intimate hour of songs and stories, and as an enticing treat, the host of the dinner party or pot luck gets to hear their special request. Angie Arsenault is a firm believer that music heals the spirit, so half of all net proceeds from her ‘Living Room Concert Series’, go to The Canadian Cancer Society.

On Tour With The Pentatones

Published on Oct 02 2012.

  by Mario

A solitary shed by a Lake. Surrounded by woods coated in ice. lt's the deepest winter and the Pentatones quartet finds itself in the deserted nature near the Baltic Sea. They are searching for sounds pulsating beyond instruments and machines. lnaudible Music this is, made sound by them only.

By night the four move over the frosted lake, play the clarinet and put themselves in a chilly trance. Months later they will remember dimly these moments in the woods and cast them atmospherically into their album debut "The Devil's Hand" with icy romance...

The Pentatones, the "Mosaique Beat Ensemble" hailing from Leipzig (Germany) are going to start a short tour this Friday.

Here are the tour dates:

  • Oct 05 @Centrum, Erfurt; support: Stereofish live!
  • Oct 06 @Horns Erben, Leipzig
  • Oct 07 @Stille Post, Görlitz
  • Oct 10 @HBC, Berlin; Support: Ruede Hagelstein & Noblettes
  • Oct 12 @Fabelhaftes Konzert @Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin

We will accompany them with a tour blog here on 50K MUSIC over the next week. So stay tuned for more...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While waiting for the band to come to your city you can watch their latest video "The Devil's Hand"

 

 

Fleur Jack: The Calm Before The Storm

This post has originally been published on May 30 2011.

  by Mario

It's been a while since Fleur's last write-up. So I asked her to update us about the album production. And here it is ...

Last time I wrote for 50K MAG, I wrote about how making an album seems to take forever and can drive you totally mad while you wait for it to take shape. I suppose in some aspects, I'm still far from finished but this time, the album is starting to sound like an album and all but the vocals are recorded.

I'm sitting at 'Sloth' studios at the moment and my Stepdad Andy Tait is loading up the next track to record vocals on. We started the project at one of New Zealand's top studios 'The Lab', with their top engineer Oliver Harmer and the band tracked live for three days at the end of April. In between recording the music and recording the vocals, I've been on my third tour of Melbourne, Australia with my other band 'The Twitch' and we had our best shows there yet. I think going back to places you've played is really important to create a decent following, even if the first couple of times you go, you don't have packed out shows. Being our third time to Melbourne, the shows were really pumping and we took some footage from the shows and have made a little tour video which is up on our Facebook page. While there we did television performances and radio interviews and we're really starting to come out from the underground over there. Hopefully we can get back there before the year is out. As well as going to Melbourne, The Twitch have released a brand new video for our song 'Greenlight' which looks really professional and we're currently working on servicing that to television stations all around the country. In promotional news, I've just made myself my first ever website which is really exciting.

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Lille Mulder: The Travelling Girl

This article has originally been published in 50K MUSIC MAG # 13 in March 2010

  by Pete Strobl

I made the switch from gym rat to studio rat when I realized that breaking fingers on the basketball court didn’t add much to a bass track. So I hung up the old sneakers, grabbed my bass with both hands and took my gym rat mentality with me into any studio with a good espresso machine. What can I say? The things I would forego for a chance to be in the room with the guys and gals is a very short list. And that is why I jumped at the invitation to travel to Holland to work on Traveling Girl with some good friends who also happen to know their way around a recording studio. I was picked up at Amsterdam’s Schipol airport by the Traveling girl herself, Lille Mulder. As we knew each other only by email, we both did a few laps around the terminal before the process of elimination successfully put us into the car together. The two hour drive to Dick Kemper’s Studio in Doetinchen gave us a chance to tell our life stories and lay the groundwork for the two week’s work ahead. S&K Studio reflected all the know how of the seasoned musician/engineer/producer that is Dick Kemper. Dick toured the world as the bassist of Vandenberg sharing major concert venues with Metallica and Ozzy and that experience combined with the intervening years of recording have served to create a consummate studio pro. I was here to work with Lille only on the vocal tracks but a quick tour of the studio and a listen to the basic tracks told me that she would have plenty of inspiration to draw upon when it was her turn on the other side of the glass. As good as Dick is at his job, any engineer or producer will tell you that they are only as good as the talent holding the guitar or bass, or in the case of Nico Groen, hitting things with sticks. And in this department Dick had plenty to work with. The producer of The Traveling Girl is my good pal Casper van Vulpen and Casper started the project off with plenty of wind in his sails by choosing great songs to record and the right combination of players to make the magic happen. This project was truly an international effort as Casper had gathered the forces of a Russian from Poland, a Polish songwriter from England, a British writer from London, an Austrian from Los Angeles, a rhythm section from Holland and one of the best singers I’ve worked with in years. Lock the doors and get the coffee going. This was going to be more fun than a pick up game at the Fourth Street cage in the Village. Lille was a dream to work with. Many singers can be temperamental, moody or demanding. Lille was all of these but in a very unique way. Where some singer’s moods or demands are driven by insecurity, inability or lack of preparation, Lille took full responsibility and her demands were only of herself. And where some singers might hit the wall of their endurance or storm out of the room blaming it all on the headphone mix or the color of the pop filter, Lille forced every mood directly through the microphone and into her vocal performance for upwards of eight hours at a stretch. The main focus of my involvement was in creating authentic and sincere vocal performances with a singer in English as a second and sometimes third language. Regrettably, I only know how to say “Goddammit” “Two Beers” and “Screwing in the kitchen” in the Dutch language but Lille and I were able to work together in German as well as English. I find sincerity to be the most attractive element of any vocal performance and this must be based on not only a thorough understanding but also a convincing belief in the lyrical content of a song. Whenever studio rats get gather in the temple of sound they follow a timeless ritual. Everyone let’s everyone else know who they know, which new plug-ins they use, choice of recording software, past, present and future drug, alcohol and gambling profile and whatever other factoids seem pertinent to the session. It’s just a bit of canine butt-sniffing really, but it serves to lubricate the initial get-to-know-you period better than passing out resumes. We already knew each other via the internet so the circle sniff was just a bit if handshaking and joke telling. Before I hit the pillow that first night I felt warmly sniffed into the pack. My second day in Holland Lille and I went to work in earnest. As we went line by line dissecting the finer points of pronunciation we also discussed the inner meaning of every phrase. Sometimes when writers create in a foreign language they might say something that makes perfect literal sense but loses symbolic meaning or poetic value in the translation. There were a few corners to smooth over in this department and we changed a few words or phrases to insure that Lille was portraying the feeling behind the meaning with belief, conviction and precision. I had initially thought to coach Lille into a strictly American pronunciation but her delivery has a certain international charm which we certainly did not want to lose. So we concentrated on clarity and those areas where letter sounds differ between Dutch, German and English while retaining the feel and passion which went into the original demos of the songs. On a technical level, most problems arise when losing the distinction between voiced and un-voiced consonants. Using the word “Love” as an example, the ‘V’ must have pitch. Dutch and German speakers pronounce the word as “Luff” because their ‘V’ is our ‘F’ and so “Live” becomes “Life” and “Very” becomes “Fairy.” Another pitfall is the American ‘TH’ sound which doesn’t exist in many European languages. To make the sound one must extend the tip of the tongue between the teeth and blow out a puff of air. Euros tend to replace the ‘TH’ with either the hard ‘D’ or the sibilants ‘Z’ or ‘S’ as in “Vaht do you Sink about ziss.” And, as the sentence indicates, even our ‘S’ sound has voiced and un-voiced versions as does the ‘TH’…hear the difference between “This” and “Think” “What’s” and “Was.” And then there is our ‘W’ which is their ‘V’…so our “Was” would be pronounced “Vass” two corrections for the price of one on that one. The key was to make the corrections seem effortless and allow the vocal performance to be driven by Lille’s amazing sense of phrasing. As I got to know her day by day I learned that Lille is fierce when it comes to learning new things. She was hell-bent on mastering whatever I suggested and made notes on the lyric sheets, wrote on the leg of her jeans, pounded the table and repeated the ‘TH’ sound until I had to cover my coffee cup. But I didn’t want her to obsess so the best and most efficient learning came through simple conversation. We decided that when in the studio we would speak only English and I would try to catch and correct every mispronunciation as it happened. There are many structured exercises aimed at engaging the diaphragmatic-intercostal musculature but none is more efficient than uncontrolled laughter. Being among new friends gave me a fresh audience for the jokes that elicit groans from my stateside friends and I took full advantage. Teaching the jokes to Lille was also a way to practice Americanized idiomatic pronunciation. What seemed to be breaks in the work were actually quite useful and her delivery of the songs as well as her complete understanding of the intent behind them improved at a fast clip. Two weeks later my job was done and Lille dropped me at the airport where she had first found me. We were in the studio every day and the two weeks seemed like one long session. Working with Casper, Kostek, Dick Kemper and especially Lille had made the time go much too quickly and on the Los Angeles bound flight I wished that we had been making a double album. The musicians played their asses off, Lille sang her ass off, Dick engineered his ass off and now my ass was off for home. Traveling Girl will be available online and represents the hard work of very talented people from all corners of the globe (yes, I know that the globe doesn’t have corners, just go with me on that one). It was a ton of fun to be involved with the project, the music and, most importantly, the people. I hope you all enjoy it. This post is taken from Pete Strobl's blog on www.petestrobl.com

Lucia Iman: An Atmosphere Of Musical Velvet

This article has originally been published in 50K MUSIC MAG # 10/2009 on Dec 13th 2009 - With an introduction by Daniel Ward-Murphy

  by Daniel Ward-Murphy and Mario

Lucia Iman seems to embody what Sellaband was made for – giving talented and deserving artists the opportunity to record their album. From the first time I heard her voice and her song writing I passionately believed that she was both talented and deserving and as a lover of music I looked forward to owning a professionally recorded album of her songs. Lucia’s journey to $50,000 bore many similarities to my own. It was slow and steady and she often got overlooked when it seemed fashionable to ensure other artists got to the target ahead of her. I confess I found that all a bit strange and I furrowed my brow and revisited her music to check I wasn’t imagining what I felt to be obvious talent and the foundation for a great album. I think throughout this journey she has conducted herself with dignity throughout. Despite the obvious temptation she hasn’t traded on her looks and she has remained humble and uncomplaining when being repeatedly overlooked. From afar, I have witnessed her struggle to touch a wider audience with her music and this has resonated with me. So it is with great pleasure that I write this introduction for ‘Tame The Night’. As with all artists than have great ability and potential, you always have concerns that the album may not adequately showcase their talent, that it may be delivered in such a way that leaves you feel frustrated and underwhelmed, but I really need not have worried in this case. Lucia has delivered an achingly beautiful album.

Read more: Lucia Iman: An Atmosphere Of Musical Velvet