Every Friday, Dusted Magazine publishes a series of music-related lists compiled by our favorite artists. This week: avantgarde quartet So Percussion and anticon instrumentalist Dosh.
Listed: So Percussion + Dosh
So Percussion met at Yale. Four smart kids into smart music. Steve Reich, Xenakis, Cage. But a skosh more funky. New “new music.” Tastemaking label Bang on a Can dug them and released their debut. The inevitable move to Brooklyn came soon there after. Jason Treuting, Adam Sliwinski, Lawson White and Josh Quillen play a bunch of exotic instruments – glockenspiel, toy piano, vibraphones, bowed marimba, melodica, tuned and prepared pipes, metals, even an ethernet port (huh?) – on their new record Amid the Noise, out now on Cantaloupe Records.
1. Kneebody – This band is scary good. The rhythm section’s as tight as you can imagine and Ben and Shane on horns and effects over the top play just what you want to hear. Their first album on Greenleaf Music is self-titled, some would say eponymous. You got to check it out.
2. Daedelus – Just did a festival concert with him and it was pretty great to see him live- white tux, tails and all. He sounds fresh to me- kinda industrial LA as well. He experiments, takes chances and you can feel it when you watch him. Very cool.
3. David Lang - This guy is a genius and his music is great to listen to also. How often does that happen? His new album, Elevated, should be listened to and the DVD (with films by Bill Morrison and William Wegman) should be watched. He is writing lots these days. Great music.
4. Jerseyband – Doubled with these guys recently too. Hitting things along side Ted Poor is kickin’. And they were all wearing lab coats with afros. Have to see ‘em to believe ‘em.
5. Paul Lansky - He writes so much different music. His album More Than Idle Chatter is pretty crazy, his acoustic music is beautiful, and the chords that are sampled on Radiohead’s “Idioteque” are breathtaking. Last time we chatted, he was writing music for French horn, a remix for a hip-hop compilation, a double piano concerto and a laptop piece for five players. A day in the life.
6. Zakir Hussain - I think I can say we were all honored and scared to sit next to Zakir Hussain and play some music. He is a master of the tradition and an open collaborator and experimenter with new forms of music. He can sit down with anyone and make music. If you ever have a chance to see him play, take it.
7. Steve Reich - If you haven’t checked him out yet, start at the beginning with It’s Gonna Rain and keep on listening. When you get to Drumming, stop and listen a few times cuz it is worth it.
8. Thom Yorke - His new album is really great. Listen to it when you drive on an open road somewhere.
9. Fred Frith - We are just about to start working with him. He is a guy that can make music in any situation with anyone as well. Watching him play solo electric guitar is an experience. Listen to him with John Zorn’s Naked City and then check out his new CD of music for Ensemble Modern. He is doing everything.
10. Matmos - Can’t say enough about these guys. The most humble geniuses you’ll ever meet. Sharing the stage with them is awesome, and I finally got to see Martin play the rat cage. Took me long enough.
Martin Dosh is the pride of Minneapolis. OK, that might be pushing it considering the city’s musical history, but check out who’s on his new record, The Lost Take: Fog, Jel, Odd Nosdam, Neotropic, Andrew Bird, Redstart, Poor Line Condition, Lateduster, Why?, the Interferents and members of Tapes N Tapes (don’t hold the last one against him). Lumped in (willingly it seems) with the anticon hip hop crew, Dosh really doesn’t sound anything like the rest of the label. For one, he plays a Rhodes, melodically sometimes. He also hits drums and collects field recordings while straddling a few different lines. The Lost Take came out last month on anticon.
11 Reasons why I am Never Leaving Minneapolis
Ok, so I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was trying to figure what would make a good list, and I was thinking that as much as I am inspired by recordings, and films, and books, the thing that is the most inspiring is living in such a close-knit, musical town, going to shows and having my brains blown by a good live show. All my friends are in bands, and all these bands are good. Perhaps I’m delusional, but hey, I’m not planning on going anywhere. Thank you to all the artists who have stayed in the Twin Cities. (I've included St. Paul in this list, because… well, it's the same thing more or less.)
Jon Davis - My oldest friend in Minny, he plays samples, bass and bass clarinet, and goes by the name Ghostband. In the past year and a half, he has cranked out well over 200 pieces. The sonic quality keeps getting better, and his sound is approaching that of a full band; somewhere in between Lightning Bolt and Venetian Snares would probably be the best approximation. You wonder how he does this shit with no computers. Rather alarming, actually. www.myspace.com/ghostbandxxx
Mike Lewis - The boy genius of the tenor saxophone, he was playing with the legendary local jazz group, Happy Apple, when I moved back home from New York in 1997… I think he was 17 at the time. He picked up the bass a few years later, and darn it if he wasn’t killing on that as well. He was a bandmate of mine in Fog for a few years, and continues to play in Fat Kid Wednesdays (along with JT Bates and Adam Linz), Alpha Consumer and Happy Apple, as well as an insane amount of other projects. If he ever leaves this town, we’ll be that much closer to, um, Des Moines? (Not being that familiar with the local scene in Des Moines, I’m not trying to dis anybody, it's more of a Minnesota vs. Iowa thing) www.myspace.com/fatkidwednesdays / www.happyapplemusic.com
Andrew Broder - I think it’s pretty safe to say that if Mr. Broder hadn’t churned out his self-titled The Fog recording in the fall of 2000, I never would have had the motivation or realization that I could do it, too. His aesthetic sensibility had a profound impact on the way that I perceived music, which is to say that he helped me unlearn a lot of things. Playing in Fog is to this day the best working relationship I’ve ever had with any band, and it inspired all of us (myself, Andy, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Mark Erickson, and the aforementioned Mike Lewis) to push each other, and to not be afraid of trying out new things. In some ways, it was almost competitive, but not in the sense of winning or losing, just kind of always upping the ante. Always trying to find a new sound that we hadn’t heard before. www.fogtimewaster.com
Jeremy Ylvisaker - This man has what they call a resume. He has engineered or co-produced records for Fog, Hymie’s Basement, Hockey Night, and lots more that I’m not going to list here. And he can play the crap out of just about any instrument, with perhaps the exception of a tuba. And he has played in plenty of awesome bands. But the best thing about Jer is his own music. He spent years working on his solo stuff, calling it The Interferents, for a while anyway; recording and recording, finally assembling a band to perform the material, then rerecording the same songs with a band and releasing a record. It’s pretty dang great. They’re called Alpha Consumer. I hope he releases his “old” stuff soon. www.myspace.com/alphaconsumer / www.myspace.com/theinterferents
Ben Durrant - I'm willing to wager that not a lot has been written about this mysterious fixture of Northeast Minneapolis bars and fine dining establishments. What I can say is that without Ben, I'd still be kicking out self-released jams on my 8-track dat. He runs a little basement studio called Crazy Beast, and he is a ProTools master. He helped me turn my 8-track messes into songs, or at least somewhat structured messes. When I began working with Andrew Bird, I suggested he try demo-ing a few songs with Ben, and what do you know, he ended up doing the lions share of the new record with him. Look out. www.crazybeast.com
Wendy Lewis - I play in a band with Wendy called Redstart. We've done probably four shows in the past year and half. Everybody in the band has lots of shit going on. Wendy is a huge influence on me. Like me, she didn't really come into her art until she was "old"…I released my first solo record four months before I turned 30, and she didn't sing in front of a crowd till around the same time in her life. Her voice is f'ing eternal. It cannot be stopped. And she was in the room when my son, Naoise (nee-sha) was born. If you ever get a chance to hear her sing, make it happen. And keep your ears peeled for the new Redstart record, because it will happen soon. www.redstartgo.com
Erik Appelwick - This man leads a band called Vicious Vicious, and I play Rhodes for him. It's basically my country club gig, and I love it. No samplers, no drums, no 12 channels to mix at shows. I get to show up and do delayed/distorted Rhodes stuff and have fun. We haven't been doing a lot of shows lately. Might have something to do with the fact that Erik plays bass for Tapes 'n Tapes. He is an amazing multi-instrumentalist, engineer, producer, and in working on a few projects with him in 2004 (which I was drumming on), became convinced that I needed to capture my own drumming accurately (i.e. the sound of me playing a drumset in a room) on a recording of my own. For that I hold him directly responsible for part of the sound of The Lost Take. www.myspace.com/vicousvicous
Zebulon Pike - Why these guys aren't playing in front of 3,000 people, 150 nights a year is totally beyond me. Maybe it's the 14-minute compositions, maybe it's the lack of vocals… whatever it is, it's bullshit. These guys are the most punishing live band I've seen, well, probably ever. Picture two guitar players, tuned down, playing in perfect synchronicity, rarely harmonizing, just doubling parts, out of two huge stacks of amps (Marshall and Orange, I believe), a busy bass player echoing those same lines and a drummer smashing the crap out of the drums in time signatures that make your head swim. It's like prog at half-speed, or Black Sabbath meets The Kronos Quartet. These guys, along with Laddio Bolocko (sadly, not from Minneapolis) got me back into the idea of volume, and well, rock. Everyone should aspire to this level of rock. www.zebulonpike.com
Belles of Skin City - Holy crap. I swear to almighty jeebus, if I ever make enough money to bring a five-piece band on tour with me, these are the guys I would bring. I'm not even sure where to begin, but let me say that this band is like a clock: an old clock that creaks and grunts, but trust me, it stays perfectly in time. And when the cuckoo pops out to sing the hour, it knocks the air right out of you. Old casios, giant plastic drums, minimalist riffs played very loud on guitar bass and drums. And the lyrics and delivery of David Joe Holiday would be worth the price of admission if he was being backed up by a junior-high jazz band. Along with fog, the best live band in Minneapolis. www.myspace.com/bellesofskincity
Mel Gibson and the Pants - Don't be confused, these guys are a five-piece rock/hip hop/collage/electronic band. Since moving here from Eau Claire, Wis. en masse in the early ’00s, they have been the true "stay the course" mothers. I've probably seen them play 15 times over the years, and every show is twice as good as the last one. Manipulated vocals, crazed sequencers, and a solid-as-hell live rhythm section gives you a picture, but they are on a mission. A killing live band. www.totallygrossnationalproduct.com
Doomtree - I know POS gets all the ink, and he deserves is, cuz he's one of the nicest dudes in town, but this extended "crew" is pretty damn solid. My personal favorites are Cecil Otter, Sims, and Mike Mictlan… dudes can rap, and they actually have something interesting to say. When they do their whole "posse" thing, and everybody is on stage, trading lines and drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, you can truly feel the joy. and I miss that about hip hop in general. What could be more fun than rapping over a good beat for crying out loud. Gosh, I wish I could rap. www.doomtree.net
By Dusted Magazine