serene distortion, echoing electronics, resonant guitars, crackling delicate vocals, twinkling keys.
echoing electronics, resonant guitars, crackling delicate vocals, twinkling keys, serene distortion.
oh and of course, lots of loops.
8 tracks, laptops, computer software, tiny bedrooms, pissed of neighbours, garages, penny pinching, scuzz, a mass of wires all tangled beyond comprehension. home recording and lo-fi production have been the surprise stars of 2008.
with everyman and his dog picking up a modified synth, a broken drum kit and a tesco price guitar and having a stab at pouring their angst onto an 8-track or garage band, no mastering, and before long, it's on myspace for the world to share. i can't say i'm opposed to this, after all i run a tape label, i love the fuzzy punch of home recording and it has given me a lot more music to listen to too. some people have took the lo-fi sound and approach and ran with it, and have acquired many a more adoring fans than they had in previous years, no age, bradford cox and times new viking to name a few. some have tried and failed. i have a fair few pending requests that demonstrate this, i just don't have the heart to deny them, after all this isn't some polished, £1mil, pre-packaged jewelcase release, this is an extension of these people and who i am to judge them as people?
so aside from the big hitters and their new found record deals with sub pop or witchita, one italian born londoner has shone like a un-polished star amongst all of this, un-polised or not a star is a star non the less. his name is robert pulsan, it's not sorry, i couldn't resist. his name is actually alessio natalizia but you might know him better under the moniker banjo or freakout. he started recording his majestic art-pop a couple of years ago, surrounded by people he didn't know in his girlfriends house and without any sign of her showing up, he turned to her computer and began playing around on a music programme and not long later had written his first song, freak out. now, i can't speak for you but i'm certainly glad that his girlfriend never showed that night because since then alessio's music has grown from strength to resonating strength.
he gives himself just one strict rule when recording and that is that he always goes with the first take, of everything, including vocals. of course, he toys with the whole thing afterwards on his laptop, adding loops, and samples and all manor of other-worldly intricacies. the option to go with the first take gives his music a very punk-rock quality and with each new song or cover (upto date alessio has recorded 20 amazing covers of artists such as bob dylan, pavement, why?, amy winehouse, invisible congo people and even burial) that that he posts on his blog comes with a distinct lack of progression in terms production but a sense that he really is finding himself and his place as a recording artist.
below, is possibly the pick of alessio's original material, a track titlted '42' from his upside down ep. it brings together the resonant guitars, the twinkling keys, the serene distortion, the echoing electronics and the delicate vocals crackling away as allessio passionately lets the world know that "i'm not upside down". type banjo or freakout into any search engine and you'll be met with an abundance of interviews and mp3 blogs, which all suggest that he isn't upside down at all, in fact he is very modest and remains grounded despite his growing popularity. all the evidence suggests that 2009 could be a busy year for alessio.
keep your eyes peeled for his debut single 'mr no' out soon on the amazing no pain in pop.
banjo or freakout - 42 (upside down).mp3 (zshare)
banjo or freakout - the hollows (why? cover).mp3 (zshare)
check out banjo or freakouts myspace here
& no pain in pop here