David Lynch Foundation Presents
The Big P.A. & Spins
Fri, January 29, 2016
Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm
Music Hall of Williamsburg
$30 advance / $35 day of show
This event is 18 and over
*all proceeds support the David Lynch Foundation
The non-profit David Lynch Foundation funds Transcendental Meditation (TM) programs for at-risk students; veterans with PTSD; women who are survivors of domestic violence; American Indians suffering from diabetes; the homeless and incarcerated.
The Foundation also funds research on the effects of the TM on academic performance, ADHD, anxiety, depression, substance abuse, cardiovascular disease, post-traumatic stress and diabetes.
The Foundation’s programs have been researched at the medical schools of Harvard, Stanford, and Yale, and have received support from the National Institutes of Health, General Motors Foundation, the Chrysler Foundation, the Kellogg Foundation, the American Indian Education Association, Indian Health Services, and several school districts and state departments of corrections.http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/event/1032249/
But Flying Lotus has never been one to lead the people on a simple journey.
With You’re Dead! he has managed to create a shamanic pilgrimage into the psychedelic unknown of the infinite afterlife. At once reflective, restless, heart wrenching and joyous, this is a melodic ode to those who have died young, suddenly and unexpectedly – those who have passed away into another realm completely – while also existing as a comfort to those mourning the loss of a loved one, those left behind in our here and now. You’re Dead! serves as an exploration, a eulogy and a portal between these parallel domains.
“My perspective comes from having lost a lot of people. A lot of my family members passed, but a lot of my colleagues passed away too soon,” says Flying Lotus. “I felt like in my own experiences, I wanted them to have this same sense of self.”
Musically, the album treats death as a transition from one experience to another, from one dimension of sound to another. Masterfully, Flying Lotus bathes death in the sensitive, affectionate light of a storyteller.
Flying Lotus takes listeners on a consciousness-fracturing journey as they follow those who’ve passed away as they embark on their tender new existences “on the other side.” This life in the new dimension is rife with excitement, adjustments and reconciliation for some who are struggling to make sense of how they got to the other side in the first place.
“The album isn’t about the end,” says Flying Lotus. “It’s really the beginning. It’s the beginning of a new experience,” he says. “It’s not hey you’re dead,” he says somberly. “It’s hey you’re dead!” he says with an uptick of enthusiasm. “To me it’s a celebration of the next experience. Also, it’s the transition and the confusion,” he adds. You’re Dead! is a hefty undertaking, but Flying Lotus aptly creates an engaging sonic delight, part spiritual carnival, part melancholic symphony, all the while coaxing listeners out of their fears of the unknown – and sometimes indulging those same fears. This aural procession through the afterlife does not trade on our clichéd catalog of pop-culture references to extinction. You won’t find grim reaper-referencing rote drama, or the pallid somber palette of reverential muzak. This is a sonic, visual and metaphysical fusion of technological innovation and technical virtuosity that amounts to a transcendent, mind-expanding plasm that could only exists between our world and another.
Land of History & Future
Always existing simultaneously as an insider and outsider in the great lineage of jazz, here Flying Lotus has taken up the mantle of a generation. “I really wanted to do something that came from the jazz spirit instead of a beat record,” he says.
In thus in the spirit of the great fusion collectives of the 1960s and 70s, so has Flying Lotus’ universe of supporting cast expanded and evolved to encompass incredible musicians, visual artists and personalities, young and old. “I recorded every instrument individually. There was never a set band,” he says. “I can’t write sheet music, so it’s better for me to work with each person and perfect each part.”
“I had so much fun making it because I got to try different techniques. I got into all kinds of techniques; I tried to bring in techniques from old jazz records and psychedelic rock records into how I mixed things and arrange things.” Flying Lotus credits his work with Thundercat on previous work for opening him beyond the more solo work of the beat producer to collaborative work with musicians. “I’ve never been so open to the process as I was with this album,” he says. Thundercat co-produced several songs and wrote the eerie “Descent into Madness.”
The gravity of this musical utopia has been growing ever stronger over time, and so it attracts very powerful travelers. Here, this includes Kendrick Lamar and Snoop Dogg. These living legends provide a recognizable lifeline from the hallucinatory turmoil of the afterlife back to present-day Los Angeles. In fact, when Snoop, Kendrick and the cunning Captain Murphy are present you’re privy to an evolutionary triptych of the history and future of Los Angeles hip-hop mould-breaking.
Speaking of history and future, the pairing of jazz legend Herbie Hancock and Flying Lotus is a supreme highlight of You’re Dead!. Playing the Fender Rhodes, the iconic electric piano that Hancock himself popularized over myriad essential recordings, the meeting of two generations of jazz fusion innovators is a historic occasion.
It was the coolest,” says Flying Lotus of working with Hancock. “In the middle of a take he’ll tell you a story about Miles Davis for 20 minutes. I was really flattered that he wanted to be a part of my music.”
The twosome challenged themselves. “We were trying to figure out how to make a jazz record that feels new. We said, what if Miles came and they showed him all the jazz records made today. We wanted to have a jazz record that would fuck him up.”
The album’s opening piece is a pure sonic manifestation of the moment of ending. This wrenching into a new and unfamiliar setting quickly ushers in “Tesla”, a searching for equilibrium in new and impossible surroundings. “Cold Dead” finds metaphysical eternity and futuristic fusion jazz locked in an acid-fried shredding match for the prizes of minds and souls. “Never Catch Me” is a sprint through a netherworld as Kendrick Lamar flaunts death with equal parts world-beating confidence and introspective conviction. “Life and death is no mystery and I’ve won against it,” raps Lamar.
“Dead Man’s Tetris” plays with the pogo stick harmonics of the nostalgia-inducing video game and features Snoop Dogg and Captain Murphy trading verses about flirting with death and those musical legends who now reside in the hereafter, in which they find themselves upon the mic.
“Stirring” maintains this sense of vertigo as it slips into “Coronus, The Terminator.” This screwed soul dirge drags itself past the ghosts of ATLiens and Soulquarians while splicing the DNA of the classic sci-fi film with the saga of You’re Dead!. “Siren Song” sees Angel Deradoorian lead a wordless incantation over a chiming mystical backdrop, seamlessly morphing into the fourth-world tumble of “Turtles” and onto “Ready Err Not” a creeping radiophonic transmission which marks the mounting curiosity of the journeyer around the idea of death.
“Descent into Madness” features Thundercat and highlights the heavier side of this exploration with a heavy dose of kaleidoscopic soul operatics, while on “The Boys Who Died in Their Sleep” Captain Murphy scours prescription meds for the right cocktail to “take the pain away”. Slipping into the album final suite of songs there is much resolution and yet much that is left to the listener to internalize, questions to be answered by looking inside.
You see, no one likes talking about death.
But Flying Lotus has never been one to lead the people on a simple journey.
Until now, Jon Hopkins has been an elusive character, known to most as an expert producer, Ivor Novello-nominated composer of film scores, remixer and long term collaborator of Brian Eno and Coldplay. Yet as Hopkins freely admits, the fact that his solo albums to date (Opalescent, 2001; Contact Note, 2004; Insides, 2009) have been rather overshadowed by his work with others has meant that he’s been able to quietly develop his own identity, style and sound. Some of the ideas for Immunity have been in his mind for a long time, but there’s never been a rush to get them out there. It’s part of his mission to make music that feels as natural and unforced as possible. Yet from the moment you hear that key turn in the lock, Immunity announces itself as a powerful, multi-faceted beast, packed with the most aggressively dancefloor-focussed music Hopkins has ever made. Initial indications suggest his first foray into riffs and grooves is paying off. See first single from the album, ‘Open Eye Signal’, where a high pressure hiss gives way to burbling, insistent rhythm – a chrome express train accelerating through a sunlit landscape. The track got its first outing courtesy of Apparat at a DJ set in Japan on New Year’s Eve – an email from the German musician informing Hopkins that the room had erupted made for a great late Christmas present. Or ‘Breathe This Air’ with its graceful build and huge contrasts in mood via uppity rhythms, mournful piano notes, and stirring choral drones. And then there’s ‘Collider’, the album’s peak and the track that Hopkins says is the best he’s ever written. A ten minute techno monster, ‘Collider’ is underpinned by a constant, pounding bass pulse and a sinister texture that could be a harshly taken breath inside a gas mask. The towering central riff makes for a mournful, dystopian aesthetic, cinematic like black rain over neon. Yet the bleak euphoria that suggests a knees-up at the end of the world is only half the story – the compelling 4/4 rhythm and hint of a human vocal give this a massive twist halfway through.
Hopkins deliberately structured Immunity with this colossal banger in the middle. The whole album, therefore, works as an idealised soundtrack to a massive night out, peaking with a huge, lost-in-the-moment climax that feels like more than mere hedonism, warm endorphins swilling around the mind. This desire to create dancefloor-focussed music that was a step up from the slower tempo ambience of his previous solo albums was largely inspired by months spent in clubs and at festivals touring Insides. This gradual absorption of anything from the futuristic oddness found at LA’s Low End Theory club night (at which he has made several live appearances) to sterner European techno seeped out in the studio, shaping his mission to find new melodic routes through what were for him uncharted rhythmic territories. What makes Immunity so intriguing, however, is the methods Hopkins used to do this. A curse of contemporary clubbing is the audible strain of laptop-DJd and computer-made MP3s through powerful PA systems. Hopkins, on the other hand, went out of his way to make music that sounded like physically built things with layer upon layer of depth, a long way from the cold CGI artifice of much entirely computer-derived electronica. This desire to use physical, real-world sounds (anything from tapping a piano and drumming on the desk to a two quid tambourine and salt and pepper shakers) as the basis for many of Immunity’s rhythms also comes from Hopkins’ frustration with the ubiquity of certain synthetic drum machine samples in much contemporary dance music. In the corner of his studio sits the piano that he has had since he was eight-years-old, and the instrument features throughout the more nostalgic second half of Immunity… but not always as you’d expect – Hopkins also uses it to explore new methods of sound generation. On ‘Form By Firelight’, for example, the pedals provide the beat, and the strings are struck for chiming tones. Hopkins’ intent throughout was to be open to the world around him finding its way into the music, wherever he was. These happy moments of unintended creation included the reverse alarm of a lorry outside his Bow studio hitting a certain note during a recording session, serendipitously leading the chord sequence down a different path. The whistle and pop of fireworks emanating from the nearby Olympic Stadium were captured and slowed down, to sound like the echoes of a distant battle. Life and grit came from actively boosting things that aren’t supposed to be there, such as the rattle of window frame at every kick drum hit. This method of looking inside the music for interesting details to pull out and tricking the brain with technically incorrect recording methods might have most studio engineers tutting, but here helped to create a mangled reality. In Hopkins’ studio everything can be melodic, and nothing is wasted.
With this sense of place, Immunity is also a sketch of real experiences and memories absorbed by Hopkins over his thirty-three years. These he now tries to reflect and respond to in his music. This might be the quest to recapture the sound of a perfect chord made by water running through pipes in a New York hotel room, or the light reflecting off the surface of the Thames at certain times of the year, the random patterns of nature. This not only makes the album deeply personal to Hopkins, but is key to one of his main inspirations in recording it – the desire to slow down or alter the brainwaves to help us reach different states of mind, whether via hypnosis, music, or drugs.
Self-hypnosis is a longstanding personal fascination that Hopkins wanted to bring into his music, yet it was only on Immunity that he felt he had the technical ability to actually try and make it happen. The quality control that decided whether or not tracks were finished was to come into the studio in the morning, and if the track started sending him off into another world, it was done. Similarly, when it seemed that Immunity might be ready for mastering, Hopkins tested it by lying on the studio floor, hitting play, and seeing where his mind ended up. With a stated aim to see if this music might have a similar effect on those who encounter it, Immunity feels like the accompaniment to a journey of creativity, a trip inside Hopkins’ mind. That keys-in-the-lock recording that begins the album might usher the listener into the studio to be present at the moment of the music’s creation, but it has a counterpoint in the thrilling album closer, and the song that gives the album its name. ‘Immunity’ is built around rhythms that creak and mutter like the workings of an old watermill joined by a simple, elegiac piano part and indecipherable vocals by King Creosote, as if to paint an inverse to the techno tumult that dominates the album’s first half. The very natural-sounding rattle and dying piano notes at the record’s end show just how far we and Hopkins have come on one of the most human electronic albums you’ll hear this year.
Adams, a Mancunian with an appetite for Guinness and United, is the ultimate artist and producer manager (for THREEE) whose travels and Instagram feed makes your VIP access look like GA.
Spinella is a walking encyclopedia of music and a cycling machine who holds reign as a director at Pandora, with a history at Rolling Stone and AOL Music.
The Big P.A. and Spins have graced the decks at private events for noteworthy names like Ringo Starr, Rick Rubin, Manchester United Football Club and David Lynch, while also operating as a monthly staple to the Communion showcases in NYC that regularly feature breakout acts like Catfish & the Bottlemen, Walk The Moon, Magic Man and many more.
Between the two of them, they know everyone in music - from the artists and the managers and agents, producers and songwriters, suits and lawyers, doormen and ticket scalpers to the fans that follow every artist's move. And more importantly, they hear every track before it hits the airwaves so they're on top of curating the best new beats.
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211