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Song of the day: Classik Swiss Choloate

Hello songers,

Sorry for my absence yesterday I was running around for TEDxPlainpalais. Yesterday was the big day and all of our Organizing Committee were really happy and proud on how it went and very thankful for all the help and support (speakers, sponsors, volunteers and audience of course).

Anyways the entertainment act for the event was Classik Swiss Choloate. Classik (Luvanga) was born in Geneva but has Congolese roots that clearly have influenced him. Born with music inside him this led him to teach himself how to use synthesizers using YouTube and to experiments with all types of tricks. Thibault at Colors Record (respect to him for bringing some life and music into Geneva by creating his own label) with the help of Theo quickly saw talent and all three are working on his soon to be first album Be Quiet to be released mid-April at Le Chat Noir. 

I met with the tall bar of dark chocolate and he made my heart melt with his smile. Humble yet strong and clearly talented, Classik doesn’t make much of a noise when you first meet him but just wait till he gets behind his equipment. I was really impressed by him and we were honoured to have him at TEDxPlainpalais and the crowd loved him. I’ll post the video as soon as we have it.

For now stop complaining about how there is nothing going on in Geneva and support him and his label. Here is his track Get Down

If you like it go check him out, he’ll be at L’antidote with his band on the 28 of February.

Oh when I asked Classik if he wanted to say anything his answer: I like Chocolate.

Concert Review: The XX//Salle Metropole//Lausanne, Switzerland//1 December 2012

So it is no secret to anyone that I adore The XX. I have given them out several times as song of the day and I even wrote a special long review of their new album because I enjoyed it so much. I also reviewed their performance at Open’er Festival. However both times that I have seen them has been a festival (the other time was Primavera 3.5 years ago). So it was good to finally catch them at their own dedicated show.

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The concert was held at Salle Metropole in Lausanne. It was my first time there and I was quite surprised that they had invited the XX. The venue is reserved for big shows (Cirque du Soleil) and classical concerts. I was expecting more a venue like Les Docks for this type of band. But I think that after the huge success of their first album, serious money was pumped into their second tour and they probably needed a venue with high technical offering to fully maximize all their equipment.

The venue foyer is beautiful, there are three levels and large circular holes in the middle of each of them with a massive light. It really gives a grand theatre Titanic-era glow to the place. It’s one of those venues with a standing floor and a seated upper level for concerts, just like Olympia (Paris). And to be fair although I struggle with the task of sitting during a concert, the XX is a type of concert some people may feel more comfortable sitting to enjoy.

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The show started in a beautiful gloomy atmosphere with a thin black curtain covering them and a white visual being projected onto it. However a close claustrophobic faint situation unfortunately made me miss the first two songs so I cannot comment more.  Anyways two minutes to gulp some water, take in some fresh air and I’m back in to find a pretty vibing crowd for Switzerland standards. People are cheering the band and I’m impressed that we managed a semi enthusiastic crowd. The first song to really strike me is Our Song, the last one off their new album Co-exist.

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That is a secret favourite of mine. It really accentuates how raw and vulnerable Romy and Oliver make themselves when they sing from the very bottom of their body. It also highlights just how much they are the masters of minimalism. I’m sure I’ve written this several times but this band really makes every single song so incredibly perfect, clear, and impactful. They are also the kings of control. Songs start generally slow, speed up, beat up, build up, crescendo but never quite get out of control or break loose. It may be this beautiful restraint that gives The XX their signature sound. That and the BOOMING base that they love to abuse so that the entire ceiling, lights and every bone in your body vibrates.

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Just like in Open’er this show accentuates is just how much Jamie Smith (known as Jamie XX) has grown and how important his contribution is to the group has become. Not only did Jamie create the majority of the beats LIVE on the millions of machines and instruments he had layered out behind the two vocalists/guitarists, he also mixed and interlinked song to song in a completely original way. This made it possible to really feel we were living a unique experience as songs were tweaked; their tempo and accents mixed up and stitched into each other, keeping the audience on their toes.

On a few songs (Reunion, Swept Away) Jamie finally literally got the limelight he deserved when a huge spot lit up above him to bring clarity to his important contribution. I was hypnotized by his fingers moving all over some magic buttons during Hearts Skipped a Beat. However I was shocked he did not come centre stage at the end to partake in a proper bow.

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Although Jamie received more attention than in the past, the star of the show was Oliver. His confidence has grown immensely from when I first saw him, just after the release of their first album. He struts backwards and forwards on the stage, throws his body in different angles, and continues to have his signature way of playing his bass guitar: in a very swinging flowing motion almost creating an eight as he strums the strings. His voice is as powerful yet clear as ever. However although Romy nailed every single guitar solo to the split second and mesmerized us all with the vulnerability in her voice, she hid in the shadows in this performance.

But the most amazing addition to the show was by far the LIGHTING. WOW. To begin with the XX’s music is naturally mystical, their look is dark and mysterious and even listening to them in my room takes me to another magical land. But boy did they maximize this with the lighting. At first very simple and gloomy: mainly black and white. The engineers know not to underestimate the power of shadows. They then added three very powerful ‘windmill’ type of lights cutting the stage horizontally and made us standing crowd feel like we were in a dark marsh. The light then turn vertically and created waves of light that Oliver danced through. Very effective. Slowly they introduced colours. First a sunset ray feel, then some very powerful green rays that broke on the singers head. It really felt like being on a different planet.

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This came to a climax and the end of the first part when a curtain was lifted to reveal a huge X at the back of the stage. The crowd cheered like mad. Then the band disappeared off the stage as the huge X filled up with smoke. Surprisingly enough they came back up for an encore (something I have never seen them do) to the relief of the screaming crowd. The encore was long 5 maybe 6 songs and by the end of the show they must have played nearly every song on the two albums. Oliver continued to assure us in his calm, near depressed voice that they were very happy to be here with us. Although it’s hard to feel it in his spoken voice, we all heard it in their singing, in their instruments, in their presence and in the atmosphere created that they had generously and sincerely gave us a little part of their magical far away land.

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Concert Review: Julia Stone//The Rocking Chair//Vevey//11 October 2012

Charming.

That’s the one word I would use to describe last night’s concert. I would recommend Julia Stone as the official definition for this adjective on Wikipedia. Or something of that type.

Let’s start from the beginning. First the venue: The Rocking Chair in Vevey. Vevey?!? I hear you ask. That’s right. This beautiful ghost town does occasionally do more than reminisce about the good old days of Charlie Chaplin and act as a Pleasantville for Nestle employees.

Earlier this year it hosted the wonderful Nox Orae festival which I raved about a lot. And again it had the pleasure of hosting the grace of Julia Stone. It’s a small intimate room but they seem to manage to get some serious gems. And I am sucker for small intimate concerts so did me just fine.

Anyways, so the concert started with the supporting act named Paul Thomas Saunders. At first as he peacefully strum his guitar and sang to a slow sad song accompanied by his blond bangs shy vocal companion the first thing I thought is, he’s got a great clear voice. But then to be honest it all just merged into one very depressive 30 minutes all about heartbreak and disaster and the girls which he use to like when he was 16 (when he seems only to be 17). It really peaked when I was starting to think that slitting my wrist was what he was trying to get me to do and he began a song with lyrics along the lines of: today is a good day my father died today. I realized at this point it’s too much for me. There was no variety, it was all very sad and with only a guitar to add something to the atmosphere and it all ended up being flat.

Hopefully as he grows up he’ll learn to develop his talent with a little more light and shade and depth.

Now onto Julia. Oh darling Julia. I had seen her about a year ago with her brother Angus at D!Club in Lausanne (you might know their famous Big Jet Plane, which surprisingly enough she did not sing). And they had been such a sweet duo. Angus, brilliant and shy and Julia skipping around the stage and melting everyone’s heart with her endearing personal stories and adorable geek style giggle. Even though they sang a couple songs together it was clear already back then that they were more two solo acts using each other for a boost and companionship. So it was no surprise when Julia started touring on her own this year.

Nothing much has changed, Julia is still as cute as ever. However the added sound of a 3 piece band behind her is really powerful and complementary (especially the piano – although I have a bias). She starts with a sweet charming song and then second up ahead is what I came to watch. She sang Blood buzz Ohio, a cover of The National. As I hold The National on a very high pedestal (and so does the general Indie public) I would be very wary of trying to cover the song. But she definitely does it justice and does what every good cover tries to achieve: she makes it her own, it’s different, it’s new, it’s original. And she delivers it oh so powerfully.

Talking of covers she also does her famous Greece cover of You’re the One that I want that is oh so cool. She also does a solo on the piano of one of her older song called Chocolates & Cigarettes that really shows of her raw talent. Her voice and her on the piano, amazing. Another highlight was the wonderful Let’s Forget All the Things That We Say and It’s all Okay.

I am once again amazed that her voice has such a distinct tone and resonance. Sometimes it seems that Julia’s voice is a cave and the sound echoes first in her mouth and then through the whole place. She makes it looks so easy to careless sing and put on a beautiful melodious show but every now and again she breaks from her sweet, innocent cartoon voice and really BELTS it out. And that’s when you realize just how much power and control her voice has and shivers go up my back.

She also still has her adorably sincere love stories. Julia doesn’t stop at bewildering our ears with each song, she steals our heart  in the breaks with her oh so honest and charming failed love stories. They mainly revolve around her feeling very strongly for a guy (lucky bastard in my opinion) which leads her to write a song for him. Then he either doesn’t understand it’s about him and sends her back a random song, or his new girlfriend shows up as she is about to perform it to him. Poor thing. However she so refreshingly admits and basks in her imperfection and embarrassing moments which is so rare in stars and singers these day, all interjected with her loud, uncontrollably geeky humor that we all can’t help but fall in love with her.

And so we all clap loudly after every song and especially just before the encore to get her back smiling and giggling back on the stage.

We tried a second time to convince her to come back, but didn’t manage.  So no Wasted for me.

And so as we drove back home with her resonating in our ears and pieces of our heart.

Song of the day: Will you be jamming in the forest tonight?

Dear Songers,

So tonight is another great opportunity to go to the For Noise festival.
There is none other than German Digitalism.
These guys were in the forefront of blurring indie rock music with indie rock. Similar to the Klaxons or LCD Soundsystem.
I’ve already given you their best songs: Pogo and Circles.

Today I give you Stratosphere

Hope to see you tonight dancing in the forest nearby. Buy your ticket here.

MasMusic
I wish I could make a soundtrack to my life and breathe in the notes every day

Song of the day: It's my part & I'll play it how I want

Hello kids,

Are you excited for tonight? I am. Of course I am going to Nox Orae Festival to see Kill it Kid and Fanfarlo!
But let’s feature a band that will be playing on Saturday at the festival.

Its Jonquil, from Oxford. We love their happy clappy tunes and their uplifting beats.

Check out It’s My Part

And then come watch them live on Saturday.

MasMusic

Song of the day: Every time you come around, the warning sign in my head just gets drowned out

Hello everyone,

So continuing to give you reasons why you should go to Nox Orae Festival this weekend I give you the featured Gravenurst.
Gravenhurst is a the music group name for british singer-songwriter, record producer and multi-instrumentalist Nick Talbot.
He’s already on his fourth album this year with the release of The Ghost in Daylight.

A famous single from that album is The Prize

Like it? Then go watch him on Saturday.

MasMusic
I wish I could make a soundtrack to my life and breathe in the notes every day

Concert Review: Ben Howard// D!Club// Lausanne// 27 June 2012

Posted on

Hello kids

So you should remember Ben Howard back from a few months ago when I gave you The Fear as first sample (also my favourite song – check out the lyrics).

So last night I went to see Ben Howard at D!Club Lausanne – the second time in a week. Not bad.
I was really happy to see him in a dedicated concert. It reconfirms my opinion that artists you really love you should see at their own concert vs. a festival.

Don’t get me wrong, I like festivals – but the performance never compares.
Last night’s performance was 10 steps above that of Hackney Weekend.

Beni is a superb live act. Not only does he build up and drop the song at ten times the intensity of the recorded version but he also adds lots of amazing variations and twist with his voice. His voice is close to perfection and the control and range and power with which he executes his songs is nothing short of breath taking.

His three disciples were not bad either. The multi-talented percussion player, whipped out a cello, a guitar and then a drum. And the bassist juggled strumming his base and hitting some drums in the same song. I admit to not being really focused on the drummer.

The band really managed to keep a high grip of the audience all the way through by mixing folky songs and more rocking songs. Changing the instruments up. Slow and more upbeat songs. And most importantly dramatic build ups and drops 3/4 into the song to create suspense for the big finish (something in my opinion they abused a little bit – but hey I’ll give it to them it’s very effective).

So all in all wonderful concert. The crowd definitely agreed as there was loud shouting and cheering the entire way through. He mistakenly admitted that he was very happily surprised by the support as he had been told the French part of Switzerland is rather boring (true but not necessarily the right thing to say). And also that he had tanned in his boxers with his fellow band member on a boat on the lake the whole day and resembled a gay couple. haha.

So why don’t you listen to his wonderful song The Wolves.

But just know it’s not even close to as good as it was live.

However I do recommend check this out if you want to get a feel for how he uses his guitar as a drum.

Put my name on it – this guy is going to be huge.

MasMusic
I wish I could make a soundtrack to my life and breathe in the notes every day