Music Hall of Williamsburg
The Crystal Ark

The Crystal Ark

AVAN LAVA, Kim Ann Foxman, DJ Sean B (Spank / Best Mate)

Wed, May 30, 2012

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Music Hall of Williamsburg

Brooklyn, NY

$10 advance / $12 day of show

This event is 18 and over

The Crystal Ark
The Crystal Ark
The Crystal Ark is producer Gavin Russom's deepest foray into rhythm, physicality and movement.

Inspired by music he heard during a 2007 trip to Brazil, Russom returned to his Berlin-based studio and composed the first Crystal Ark songs, which drew upon both his love of psychedelic rave tracks like "Inner Light" by Phantasia and his long and deep interest in Latin rhythms. Though those intricately woven, vivid early instrumentals were compelling in their own right, Russom continued to seek out elements that would push the music’s arresting energy forward. The group truly took form when he invited filmmaker Viva Ruiz, whom he met by chance as she was passing through Berlin on tour, to add Spanish lyrics and vocals to the raw tracks. Ruiz’s fevered vocalizations on the Crystal Ark’s first single, “The City Never Sleeps,” helped heighten the song’s already visceral intensity through to its pulsating end. Alberto Lopez, Russom’s long-time friend and high school collaborator, joined the outfit shortly thereafter, contributing live percussion to follow-up “The Tangible Presence of the Miraculous.” That track, filled with polyrhythmic drumming and a persistent acid bassline, is an intensely affecting musical sojourn made all the more rapturous by Lopez’s drumming.

Following DFA’s release of those two 12”s, Russom returned to New York City, a move that further informed the sound of the music. Like New York itself, the Crystal Ark’s output – with its cross-blend of genres, languages, and sounds – increasingly reflected the intensity, physicality and sexuality that pervades the city in which it was made. Russom and Ruiz continued expanding the band for live performances, and to further enrich and enliven the Crystal Ark’s music on recordings. The lineup has grown to include vocalists Jaiko Suzuki and Sokhna Heathyre Mabin, both of whom previously collaborated with Ruiz, as well as electronics master Matt Thornley and bassist Tyler Pope, with whom Gavin worked during LCD Soundsystem's farewell tour. This incarnation first appeared on the Crystal Ark’s third single, “Touch,” a song that melds funk basslines, Afro-Carribbean percussion and Ruiz and Russom’s vocals into a singular inducement to dance. Live performances further the band’s body-centric agenda by seamlessly integrating dance and visuals into a vivid multimedia performance: Dancers Irene "Discos" Deros and Alberto Cortes make expressed the physicality implied in the group's sound, while video artists Bec Stupak and Johnny Woods transform performance spaces with color and movement.

The stunning results of this collaboration can be seen in the Crystal Ark’s live performances during their upcoming tour of Europe and the United States, and heard on their DFA album debut, to be released in early 2012.
AVAN LAVA
AVAN LAVA
There is one guiding belief for the members of AVAN LAVA: Be present. Burnished by years spent on stages around the world and refined on sweat-slicked dancefloors, AVAN LAVA is a movement without the self-aggrandizing rhetoric, a distillation of what is important, a celebration of everything that has ever happened to you, and everything that ever will. That this presence is set to AVAN LAVA’s rave-up-wrapped pop only enforces the connection between the mind’s machinations and the body’s revolutions.

“Being engaged, always being present – it’s about maintaining a certain kind of energy. It’s all inclusive – there’s room for everybody,” describes multi-instrumentalist Ian Pai of the intraband state AVAN LAVA constantly aspires to. In many ways, AVAN LAVA is bigger than their parts and their sum – central to the band is the communing with their fans. “Our whole thing is the audience. It doesn’t happen without them.”

It was this realization that first drew the core members of AVAN LAVA – Pai, producer-musician Le Chev and lead singer Tom Hennes – into each other’s paths. The three had spent years orbiting each other in the New York music scene, with Le Chev even auditioning for Pai, who was with performative electroclashers Fischerspooner at the time. (“It’s still the only audition I’ve ever done,” says Le Chev.) When he eventually joined that outfit, Pai and he discovered their shared adoration of Daft Punk was only the beginning, and the two began collaborating on an undetermined project. While Pai and Le Chev found the music came easily, Pai was haunted by the voice he imagined singing over their tracks. “It’s a certain kind of tone that cuts through everything, because of where it sits in the frequency range,” Pai says of what he kept envisioning. Around that time, Pai saw Hennes perform in The Last Goodbye, a musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet set to the music of Jeff Buckley. “As soon as I heard him sing, I knew that was it,” recalls Pai.

Within days, Hennes came in to sing on a few tracks, and the final piece of AVAN LAVA snapped into cosmic alignment. With Pai amidst the tidal pace of touring, departing and returning for stretches of time, Le Chev and Hennes put together Vapors, AVAN LAVA’s first EP. On the strength of that offering, the group began lighting up audiences and garnering critical attention (prompting The Village Voice to call the band “lush, sparkling”). With 2012’s Flex Fantasy EP, the band built on their unique alchemy of soulful vocals laced through dime-stop beats, launching them on a trajectory that hasn’t stopped. The band embarked on a year-long string of sold-out shows in New York and a US-wide tour with Little Boots, all while managing to spread the AVAN LAVA gospel globally, as when the Seoul Institute of the Arts commissioned the band to put up a full-scale staging of their live show with 100 students. Their reputation as a transportive, over-the-top live act grew, with Noisey raving in a show review "You need these guys in your life!"

The Flex Fantasy whirlwind saw the release of 3 videos, including the acclaimed video for “Sisters”, shot on location in Sao Paulo. The band also collaborated with world-renowned photographers Inez & Vinoodh, composing music for several of the duo's fashion campaign films.

The notion of a full-length took shape over the course of 2013, as the trio amassed more and more tracks, and expanded upon their soundscapes. Lead single “So Fucked Up” stutters to a start over an off-kilter synth line, which only serves to underscore the vocals, which Hennes manages to deliver sounding both vulnerable and swaggering. “It’s a big R&B beat, which makes it a weird beat for us,” says Le Chev of the song. “I got my heart broken, and wrote some lyrics. I needed [Le Chev and Pai] to be like, ‘That’s a little too far,’” says Hennes, highlighting two of the components central to AVAN LAVA’s relationship: a sibling-like closeness, and the trust that relationship engenders. Elsewhere, the band charts more indie-pop territory, as on “Freight Train,” a driving track wherein everything – with the exception of Hennes’ steadfast vocal – seems to tremble. “With ‘Freight Train’ we all have slightly different narratives of that song,” says Le Chev, citing the Rorschach effect of three different perspectives creating one piece of music.

At the core of AVAN LAVA is the trust between its members. “Part of the group is about really believing in people,” Le Chev says. “Part of modern society is that because there are so many people, people are replaceable. Or the idea that you have your laptop, so you don’t need anyone else. For me, this is about believing in people, and trusting them.” This internal practice of trust and belief extends beyond AVAN LAVA, into everyone who sees them, into every corner of every room they play. “We want it to radiate,” says Pai. “To inspire people. It’s not the kind of thing where we know something, and we want you to know what we know. It’s that we are learning from you, so if you start learning from us, the flow happens.” Pai smiles broadly. “Then we have crazy shows, and people go nuts.”
Kim Ann Foxman
Kim Ann Foxman
There is one word to sum up Kim Ann Foxman when she is behind the turntables...classic. Having started her career in dance music in the mid-90's performing in various electronic music acts. She essentially grew up on the sounds of English ex-pats the Wicked Crew (some of whom transformed into disco sensation Rub-N-Tug), Los Angeles legend Doc Marten and the many Chicago house djs that came through San Francisco during the period. These heavy hitters provided an education that she carried through and still does when finding music. Moving to New York she became involved in Hercules and Love Affair, touring with them for 3 years, appearing on two Hercules albums and various singles. Pushing forward, she dropped her debut Ep Creature/ What You Need in 2010, featuring remixes by James Curd and Faze Action. In 2011 she collaborated with Kink &Neville Watson on a track called A Saturday In Nov released on Your House is Hour Rush. She has also done remixes for artists such as Max Essa, X-press 2, The Opiates, and more. Kim Ann Foxman is now concentrating on her solo works, and side projects while appearing on various albums from prominent artists that will be released this year. Keep your ears peeled for her solo works, remixes, and collaborations. Booking her means three things: the party will be deep, classic, and go off!
DJ Sean B (Spank / Best Mate)
DJ Sean B (Spank / Best Mate)
Djing in NYC clubs since 1996, at spots including Le Bain, Chelsea Hotel, Mr. Black, Santo’s Party House, APT, The Limelight, Element, Bar 169, and 205 Club Sean B now helms two of NYC's most well regarded underground gay parties –Spank and Xanadude. His multiple mixes for THE FADER magazine (including the much loved Suite 903 DJ mix series) brought him attenention across the U.S. and gig's in Berlin, Tokyo, London, Vienna, Lisbon and Porto have followed. Look out for remixes and original production as Best Mate and Apokalipps.
Venue Information:
Music Hall of Williamsburg
66 North 6th St
Brooklyn, NY, 11211
http://www.musichallofwilliamsburg.com/