God damn this is a catchy little record. Brandon Paul Crews (aka Fox Hill), lead guitar and vocals for Oklahoma folk heroes Mont Lyons (who are currently working on a full-length record!), abused some Nyquil one long, fever-hazed weekend a few years back, and ended up with what he calls The Orange Collection (perhaps it was Dayquil?) Here’s the album in its entirety (just hover over the album cover!).
Grant Eadie, aka Manatee Commune, has recently been dubbed “one of the most promising producers currently working in Washington State”, and I’d say it takes roughly a minute and a half of listening to “White Smoke”, track one on his April 2014 release Brush for you to be nodding your head in agreement. This is without a doubt my favorite album of 2014, and he is quickly becoming one of my favorite electronic artists to date. The music is incredibly ambient, euphoric, and atmospheric – it really takes you places.
He has also been dropping some killer remixes lately, most notably ODESZA‘s “Say My Name”.
What’s great about Grant’s sound, despite having only been in the game a few years, is that it has already become undeniably “Manatee Commune”, even in his remixes. It only takes a few seconds to pick out a Manatee Commune tune, and I mean that in the best possible way.
Here’s a short little Q&A sesh I had with Grant last week, along with a video of his Sarsha Simone “Sensations” remix, performed at the Nectar Lounge, Seattle on 10.23.14.
ND: First off, what have you been listening to recently? Any albums that you can’t get enough of as of late?
MC: Evenings, a super chill electronic artist on the Friends of Friends label, just released a new EP called Gardener that I’ve been way into. Also it kind of goes without saying that the new Caribou album is the best thing to happen to humanity in the last 100 years. Chrome Sparks’ EP Goddess has also been on my listening list for the last few months. It’s one of the most flawless albums of the year for sure.
ND: Which instrument was your first love affair? I absolutely love your use of the viola. When did that become a part of your arsenal of instruments?
MC: Viola was certainly my first love as an instrument. Had some of the highest musical moments in my life catching those sweet alto melodies in orchestra. Guitar was my next one in high school, and though I’ll never consider myself a guitarist, it’s definitely one the most relaxing instruments to just pick up and have fun with. I think my truest ‘love affair’ came with soft-synth designing and production though. Instrumentation is super important for understanding how individual parts function in a track, but I had never gotten my hands on fully composing parts for an entire production. The possibilities are limitless and that really struck me and still brings me back to producing everday.
ND: What usually comes first in your composing? Do you lay down the beats, guitar riffs, or play around with samples first?
MC: Oh man, I’ve been trying to figure this out forever. Inspiration comes from everywhere, whether it be emotional or I just have a sample that I’d like to drop into. Most of the time I start with something I’ve never done before. Grab new instruments, record some old guy I found on a record, stuff like that and just let my creativity have fun with it from there. I haven’t perfected the art of writing new music, and everyday I experiment with new ways to inspire myself. It’s an important personal goal of mine to stream line my ability to write new music without the anxiety of failing.
ND: I noticed that you kick off your shoes and play barefoot during your live performances. What’s that all about?
MC: Dude, I have no idea. I just always get this feeling of pressure before I play a show and the first thing I want to get out of is my shoes. Weird feels I guess, definitely helps to cool off though.
ND: What programs do you use to compose your tunes? And what about for live performances? How much of your live sets are built around the midi pad?
MC: Logic is my one true lover, I will always cherish her goofy software synths, muddy space designer, and confusing hotkeys. That’s what I do most of my recording and synthesizer design in. Ableton is my live DAW. I just drop audio clips into scene mode and hope for the best.
ND: So what’s next? Any new tunes or remixes on the way?
MC: Sylvan Esso remix is next up, hopefully releasing a couple singles in the next month or so. Trying to gather a bunch of vocalists to feature on some ideas I’ve got.
If you are anywhere near Bellingham, WA on November 16th, be sure to check out Manatee Commune open for Sylvan Esso at KUGS 89.3 FM’s 40th Anniversary Show.
cover art by Travis :: photo by John Westrock
- Luke Howard :: Liminal (Brambles Remix)
- Cock & Swan :: Animal Totem (Chants Remix) (3:53)
- Andrea :: Work The Middle (Kodak To Graph Remix) (7:57)
- Louis M^ttrs :: War With Heaven (Catching Flies Remix) (11:30)
- ODESZA :: Say My Name feat. Zyra (Manatee Commune Remix) (16:30)
Newdust Remixtape No. 5
Made In Heights is the combined product of vocalist Kelsey Bulkin and producer Alexei Saba, aka Sabzi. Their collaborative work is cerebral and challenging, yet always rewards the listener with memorable hooks and unique narratives. If their name speaks symbolically for their music, then many of Made In Heights’ tracks can be read as heavily polished, well cared-for pop songs with complex, internal messages. Bulkin’s quiet, concerned emotions pour out of previous singles “Murakami” and “Pirourette”, and the percussion that surrounds her stories gently guides the listener into a perspective that looks out at the world from a very specific coordinate. Sonically, Sabzi creates percussive melodies that are somewhere in between alternative hip-hop and moody R&B.
Surprisingly, the duo’s newest single swivels dramatically in a more extroverted direction. While Bulkin’s lyrics are still idiosyncratically concerned with personal reflection, “Ghosts” finds Made In Heights brightening the melody with a staccato rhythm and a glowing hum of synthesizer. The rattles and clicks that initiate the track represent the songs formal interest in embodying a dance track, yet also directly personify the song’s nervous, yet hopeful mood. Bulkin’s monologue splits between two poles as well; she’s equally focused on self-care and the hard work of fostering a relationship with someone else. The power of “Ghosts” exists in Made In Height’s creation of these powerful antinomies. When we look through the eyes of a song, there’s more to see than a simple story described by words. Sabzi and Bulkin’s collaboration find a balance between all elements that make up their music, and the result is something thoughtful and quietly revelatory.
:: Erik Alan Baily :: St. Paul de Vence :: Breaking The Spell :: Devon Russell :: Tony Kevin Jr. ::