Posts Tagged ‘under the radar’

Mark Van Hoen at Under the Radar

Today, we’re pleased to premiere the video for “Bring It Back,” the latest from influential electronic composerMark Van Hoen (Seefeel, Black Hearted Brother, Scala, Locust, etc.). “Bring It Back” was taken from the albumNightvision, which is set for a November 13 release on Saint Marie. Below, you can watch the clip and check out upcoming tour dates. Connecting with us over email, Van Hoen was also able to share some in-depth thoughts about the song and video:

“The video for ‘Bring It Back’ uses a combination of analog and digital techniques – much like the music itself. There are multiple layers of video, from several ‘found’ sources, some of which were also used to generate the cover artwork for the album ‘Nightvision’. The image of the owl is a reference to Jon Wozencroft’s artwork for my 1996 album ‘Last Flowers From The Darkness’, present because some of the elements of the “Bring It Back’ were recorded during the sessions for that album. My music often draws from old recordings, sometimes dating as far back as the early 80’s. There are many experiments that were good initial ideas, but were never developed into full compositions at the time. It’s good to be able to use this pool as a source for new tracks, because it’s an opportunity to revisit a time and a place quite different from my current mode of working. The music here uses an alternative tuning scale, as I commonly used in the mid 90’s and the video features modulations applied from the music via both digital means (via VDMX software) and analog (via my LZX Industries Video Synthesizer). The vocalizations (found via an amateur acapella youtube performance) along with the other elements in the music and the video are intended to invoke the feelings you may get when having an intense dream or hallucination that makes no direct sense, but has some kind of net effect on your feelings nonetheless.”

 

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Fishboy at Under the Radar

And you thought a concept album about a deaf, dumb, and blind pinball player was silly. Well, get this: a pop-rock opera about the elephant that was publicly electrocuted by Thomas Edison’s Edison Manufacturing Company in 1903, in part to demonstrate the dangers of alternating current. Finally, you say, a piece of art that can bridge your love of power pop, large mammals, and the advent of electricity? Indeed.

Fishboy, the brainchild of Texas native Eric Michener, has been creating conceptual albums since its inception almost 15 years ago, but An Elephant might be its best. Musically speaking, the album is as good as power pop gets, from the trio of up-tempo ragers that begin Michener’s tale through the falsetto-laden “Dig a Grave” and the march-like “Bury My Body.” The narrative is as follows: the elephant (Topsy was his name in real life) is electrocuted, plans Edison’s demise, and attempts to stalk him from the afterlife. The elephant reminisces, meets a Jesus figure, gains perspective, and ultimately receives his proper final resting place, leaving the listener with some sage advice at the end.

Yes, I realize that all of this sounds monumentally absurd. Michener’s genius is that it works.  Very well, in fact. The music engages throughout and is sequenced to enhance the story. And the story draws you in, peculiarly so perhaps, the emotions of the deceased beast tugging at heartstrings while retaining a tongue-in-cheek humor and wink-and-a-nod presentation. And how can one go wrong with lyrics like this, all from the album’s first track: “Perplexing as the pachyderm harassment passes points of only being embarrassment; the outcome of the testing is clear, the end of its life is near” or “the underestimated intelligence of this five hundred pound living filament sparked an afterlife agenda that day, to haunt Edison to his grave.” An Elephant is a witty, whimsical treat, an unqualified success. That deaf, dumb, and blind kid’s got nothing on Topsy.

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Luxembourg Signal at Under the Radar

Los Angeles/London collective Luxembourg Signal is comprised of members of Aberdeen and Trembling Blue Stars. Their single “Distant Drive” sounds pretty much like what you would expect from two groups of that caliber. Prepare for shimmery, 90s-inspired guitars, a smattering of distortion, and a splash of sweetness. The band’s debut album will see the light of day in late summer of 2014 on Shelflife.

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