Greetings again class. Welcome back for yet another enlightening session of music review of one of the latest extraordinary acts to visit Louisville. To recap our last meeting, on this topic, we learned of the incorporation of technology and ‘traditionally’ (instrumental) performed music in the form of the internationally renowned group Yeasayer.
Last Saturday, Yeasayer graced our fair city with their inaugural visit of tutelage in enlightenment and brilliance. For those 500+ who heeded my advice, you now should further marvel the integrations I was referencing. For those 10s of thousands of readers who didn’t, let’s start a bit further back with a chronicle to learn exactly what we are dealing with.
In 2007, the 3 core members first stepped on the scene at the annual South by Southwest (SXSW) festival of music, film and interactive technology. Quite fitting giving their musical incorporations, using traditional instruments and technology, that same year would later go on to yield their debut LP ‘All Hour Cymbals’. Remarkably, yet not surprisingly, this LP produced the track 2080 which has become a lasting fan favorite and the French blog La Blogotheque even has a ridiculously stunning acoustic version on their website. Feel the passion: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x4nq99_87-2-yeasayer-2080_music
Following numerous performances, tours, and further mind blowing illumination Yeasayer retreated back to the studio to create the 2010 release of ‘Odd Blood’, yielding further lasting fan favorites as O.N.E and Ambling Alp. I give these three songs such attention because they still generously perform them regularly, and while they had the most commercial success in the past, ‘Odd Blood’ even managed to crack into the top ‘Billboard 100 Albums’ in the US.
So here we are, a few days following their Louisville performance, in June of 2012 further discerning the upcoming release of their 3rd studio album ‘Fragrant World’. In preparation for this blessing, I was able to speak to 1 of the founding members, Ira Wolf Tuton (just the bass player man…). Well to start Ira is far from just the bass player. He also likes long walks with his dog, in Greenpoint (Brooklyn), while be interviewed by a weirdo in Louisville with an NYC 646#, enjoying silence after full day rehearsals with maybe some Gold Panda, and holding on to his hometown Philly mobile number (no I will never give it to you) like I do my NYC 646#.
When asked the obvious, of what to expect from the new album, Ira was humbly adamant about ‘cutting the answers from interviews about the previous albums and using the same responses.’ Not so much my style as you have noticed, but the message here resonates clearly. Yeasayer’s musical endeavor is really about ‘not wanting to repeat ourselves, striving for something new as there is a constant swift evolution in tools you can use to retranslate sounds into sounds that are new and different. That will always be a large part of how we make music. For us, first and foremost trying to do something new and interesting to keep our sanity and interest in the project’, and quite thankfully so.
Ira continues about the Yeasayer ‘sound’ (if you will) by focusing on ‘always having the opportunity to refresh and explore different elements of sound…at the heart, the music we make is ‘pop’ music but given that is such a massive umbrella for some to hide under, we explore the massive tunnel of experimentation. For example on the new album we’ve been able to turn vocals into digital sound waves, turning them into something fresh and mysterious, and try to use different vocal techniques in each song.’ Those in attendance can certainly attest to that and it the new material was astounding.
Hopefully, for the sake of this guy, Ira doesn’t have a Voltaire philosophy of ‘judging a man by his questions, not by his answers’ as I stumbled upon a track by an ‘up and coming’ rapper named Johnny Nelson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dB-7YumIfcw Oddly, it ‘features’ a Yeasyaer hook in the background, that Ira new nothing about. Jacking someone else’s hooks or loops is common today in the music world today. ‘They just took it I guess, but it’s cool that someone can take the music and retranslate it…we do it too, on a different level of course, but what are we going to do sue someone? If you try and fight it, it’s damaging to the reality you exist in. We all need to be aware of the realities that are around you and you can choose to take advantage of them or not.’ Amen to that…
Lastly, kudos always to 91.9 WFPK for their participation, to the crowd that packed Headliners that night, and especially to the graciousness of the band…I have never seen people wait around (and no not because I get kicked out for being a rascal, well as far as you know) to get merchandise autographed or a band even pacify such requests. All in, I’d confidently say that everyone left in the jubilation that the band intended and I can’t wait for the next time.
Photo credit: This guy (penalty for thieved photographs could be tying to the stake in our wondrous 100+ degree beat down of the sun)
Other credits: Al Gore’s internet