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Saturday, 20 October 2012

Visual and auditory senses come together when LUNGS take shape

Forgive me Father, it's been a while since my last post......

What sins do you wish to confess Young Crusty.... (I live in a delusionary state)

Well where to start. My posts generally start off by saying "Bands tend to fall into your lap on Twitter" Never did I expect to get an opportunity like this. It's already been an interesting journey getting to the point of writing this post. Many questions have come and etched a groove in my thoughts. Not just about the music but about OUR role in helping Spread The Word about Independent music and the artists producing it.

The subject of this post is a "Project" rather than a band. LUNGS. Even before I decided to write this post, the name struck me as intriguing and after talking about this post to Fishie, and emailing the members. It becomes evident that they have chosen the name to conjure up an image, an all encompassing image of life springing up from the intake of oxygen that feeds our minds and soul. Its the most organic process our body completes without us thinking about it.

LUNGS sprung from a meeting of two artists preforming in different fields at the same venue. Suzie a  photographer, Magrão preforming on stage. Common interests in cinema helped them spend hours cementing a bond.  

Magrão (A member of the highly acclaimed Guillemots) had been dipping in and out of a side project for the last 6 years. This bond with Suzie has helped LUNGS evolve into something "whole" allowing it to see some light, so we can share. The music brings to me a very trip hop feel, taking me back to Tricky, Portishead and early Massive Attack. The voice reminiscent of Belinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine) mixed with Micky (Lush) and Toni Halliday of Curve. I wont pull any wool, I found it hard to connect to the music at first. It's not light and breezy, it feels weighed down and to draw an analogy, when listening I struggled for breath. To the point where I thought I could not write a post. Something inside wouldn't let me move on.... I kept being drawn back to the tracks on Soundcloud. With every listen the air, the oxygen flowed easier. It was time to say we would like to do a post and tell LUNGS our style and would they be happy to let us do our thing. They agreed, reluctantly. I felt my throat constrict, what now...... Its difficult, we have our Indie Dunes way. Would we / could we let go of our vision? To help spread the word for another. 

It was only then I actually noticed that LUNGS twitter account tweeted image after image, things started to weave together. The images are striking and technically fantastic. Now I'm not going to pretend to know the first thing about photography, so I will pass onto you the wisdom of LUNGS to help describe the technical intricacies.

Suzie says "all of the artwork is produced by either Magrão or myself. We both prefer working with analogue and both use a lot of double exposure in our image making. Playing around with expired film and doing parts digitally is also fun!"

This was more than just a band, this was art attempting to connect on multiple levels. They want the strands of their creation to work their way into your consciousness. Not play on past triumphs from a previous incarnation. The creation is the focus not the creators. 

It's not easy, but nothing worthwhile is. With the sound and imagery playing like a memory or movie in your head, its dark, complex and strangely beautiful. Take the time to let the concept wrap around you and hopefully you will see what I have and continue to see

LUNGS recently received airplay on Australia's eminent alternative music station Triple J, and my personal opinion is that this isn't going to be a one off event. 


I posed a question earlier "Would we / could we let go of our vision?" The answer is obvious and with good fortune, growth will be achieved on all fronts.





LUNGS fill with vital oxygen, feeding the brain and the heart, so we can go on feeling and seeing the depth of the journey.......




Friday, 5 October 2012

Jugando con Kurt


If you haven't been to Barcelona yet, you should. You will be humbled by the great works of Gaudi, drink champagne while the butcher slices off ham which hangs above your head (yes, butcher by day, champagne tasting by night), if you are there to celebrate the New Year, you will have a mouth full of grapes (the tradition is - as the clock starts to count down to midnight - for every second - you have to stuff a grape in your mouth. key to survival? small grapes, just sayin...), or just chill out sipping carajillo (the Irish have Irish coffee - Spaniards have carajillo, and carajillo wins).

Jugando con Kurt is a Spanish Indie Pop band from Barcelona, formed in 2010, when Antonio R (guitar and vocals) and Carlos M (guitar and vocals) met and started playing together. They quickly discovered that they have very similar musical tastes making it easy for them to start composing.

The first few months of their collaboration planted the seeds of their current songs, but they wanted to give their songs more rhythm and bass - the search for a drummer and bassist was on - bringing Carlos B (drummer) and Gustavo H (bassist) into the final line-up.



They have since played in festivals which cater to emerging bands in Barcelona - like the well known 'Surface' festival. They are currently recording their first EP - which will be released in November 2012.

Their main musical influences are bands like Radiohead, Sigur Ros, The Cure, The Flaming Lips, David Bowie and Spanish bands like Los Plantas, Lori Meyers and Vetusta Morla. Their non musical influence - which has woven its way into the ambiance of their tunes is the location they chose to play in - an abandoned factory, in their own words, and with the helping hand of Google Spanish to English translator:

Among the debris and shrapnel that flood the rooms of the old abandoned heavy weapons factory, you can hear the faint strumming of a guitar that accompanies the incessant noise of thousands of pigeons that populate the highest corners of walls as old as the war itself.

"That space is very important to us, the old abandoned factory undoubtedly influences the sound. Sometimes it seems that we will be crushed under the failing roof, but, nevertheless, we love to play while watching the rain falling through the broken glass. "

Jugando con Kurt sing in Spanish - although you will find a tune in English called 'She' which first caught my attention on soundcloud. I, like most of our readers, gravitate towards bands whose lyrics I understand - English and Serbian in my case, but that always makes me feel that I am missing out on thousands of bands out there who should not be passed up just because I cannot sing along. Lyrics are important, that goes without saying, but when you do not understand them - the singer's voice transforms into another instrument, his/her delivery makes you aware of the emotion, you get it, you understand, you connect on another level. Just listen.





OK, I have to ask - what does Jugando con Kurt mean?

Jugando con Kurt (in English Playing with Kurt) is a two-way name: Playing as "play music" and Playing as "play with toys".

We are beginners in this world, so we are playing to make some music. And Kurt can be whoever you want. Kurt can be Kurt Vonnegut, or Kurt can be Kurt Russell, or maybe Kurt Cobain, or whoever you are comfortable playing with. 

Kurt is an alter-ego of our happiness, Kurt is our religion, Kurt is our family and friends, Kurt is the Fate, Kurt is the Luck, Kurt is the Random, Kurt is God, Kurt is The Evil, Kurt is you, and me and everyone we know. 

Kurt is Kurt.


November Update:


New songs and recordings are now available on the band's official website! http://jugandoconkurt.es/


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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The XX factor and the emotional connection to music

I don't know how many times my lovely wife has told me Steve "Gawd this album / song is depressing" and its not just her, good friends of mine won't listen to the stuff I suggest because its going to be depressing LOL.

I never hear a depressing song, I hear songs which bring to life, emotions. I hear a song gifting you a moment to reflect, lifting memories from deeply hidden places. letting them wash over and through you. Enticing them closer to the outer shell we present to the world. Thats musics gift, it presents you a little opening. Then its up to you to see how far you want to expose yourself (ohhh errr, not in a rude naked way. But then once listened to Barry White one night and....... Ummmm different post is needed for that one ahemmm)

Its an interesting concept and its one Ive thought about on and off for years. It's the old chestnut. Does the mind rule the body or does the body rule the mind? Ohhhh I don't know!!!! But I'm going to phrase it differently.

Does the song make you miserable, or could it be your life experience which we attach to it, is music just the lubricant? I know what I think, what are your thoughts? In the words of the enigmatic wordsmiths The Flight Of The Conchords....Think....think about it.

Ive been a long time Smiths listener, and I adore everything about the Smiths, the guitars, the rhythm section, the voice and of course the lyrics. The Smiths encapsulate all that music can and should be. That band helped me through some very hard emotional times, I never felt alone when I had them with me. Its not just me with The Smiths though, many people think of their favourite bands as good friends.

What got this idea for a post kicking around in my head was the new release from The XX - Co-exist. Every track gently worked up something from deep inside me.



The XX the "to cool for school" band....Nothing seems forced, they aren't even phased by the dreaded 2nd Album syndrome. I didn't read or hear any whining about, its so hard!! its was difficult to make something better than XX, they just coolly got on with it. There is something so pure about this band. I think its in making the music sound so effortless. They know what they are good at and there is no variant to the journey, Steve from @SGSN Blog (Great blog go read it) pondered if the music would blend into the abyss, I quickly jumped in with "I didnt think so". My opinion hasn't faltered in the slightest. I think its going to be a regular on my play list for a very long time.

The first track Angels, took me back, did it take me back to me meeting my wife? My first lover? No it bloody took me all the way back to Junior Primary school days 10 yrs old <rolls eyes> Crazy isn't it. I'm imagining this 10 yr old bucked tooth kid, and all the things I wished I had the courage to say and felt. As an adult, I wear my emotions on my sleeve, be them lovey dovey happy as Larry or grumpy as hell, there's no hiding behind a facade of feakness. As a child though....that wasn't the case. As I type this, I can picture him now. I don't think my world would be a different place if I had spoken of how I felt. But I wonder, why does a song in 2012 take me back all those years?

Unexpectedly, I then had a brief conversation on Twitter about sad songs and nobody seems to like happy songs anymore. Do we like the sadder songs because we know there is someone out there who felt or feels exactly how we have felt? There is a schism in this place, there are more humans on the face of planet and yet lots of us feel lonely at some stage. In the words of another great sage(ess) Mrs Agnes Brown, You can be lonely in a room full of people if the person you are missing isn't there...Music puts that person in thoughts reach....almost close enough to touch. A memory can be a stronger way of connecting, more than a momentary tactile touch. With touch, you feel a warm and a sensation. With thoughts you feel those same sensations but the whole environment leaps to your mind. The air, the temperature, a picture of everything around becomes vivid and clarity wrenches at the heart for what you miss and search for once more.

One song speaks to me on this album like no other, Sunset...track 6. Such an emotive track for me. Recently preformed on Jules Holland show also, go check it out. Its a break up song, but it goes beyond the initial hurt. For anyone who hasn't been lucky enough to lose the person they love unconditionally, this song could be even related to by the ending of a heart held friendship. If you notice I said "lucky to lose" I have always learnt more about myself from the loss in my life. Possibly the reason I still have some of the most treasured friendships/relationships is because of the ones I lost previously. You always learn more from your losses, but can a lost love be categorised as a failure? I think not. The words in this song, pull at my heart. I listen to this and emotion swells to the surface, generally a tear wells in my eye. Does this mean I'm sad or "depressed" NO, it means I'm a big sookie la la, a human, that has been touched by a connection found in music.

What The XX do perfectly.....They "play" the spaces, the silence between notes, giving you a moment to connect, time to think and bring yourself into the experience of listening. That's an invitation I never want to pass up.....


 

TICP - Volume 5 - Sadly the last one


IndieTernational - Germany

IndieTernational - India

Grab It: Cross Wires #supportindie

IndieTernational - Greece

IndieTernational - Italy

Debut: Blockhouse Bay #supportindie

M O S C O W M E T R O - COSMOS

IndieTernational - Finland