The success of WARMFest 2013 has expectations high for WARMFest 2014, and event organizers are not selling themselves short.
Running from Friday, August 29 through Monday, September 1, multiple stages will sprout up in Broadripple Park to feature an array of musicians from Indiana and beyond. Fountain Square’s Joyful Noise Records will also have their own stage featuring big names like Of Montreal, Why?, Sebadoh, Half Japanese, Guided By Voices and many others.
“WARMFest is pretty unique in that it’s able to have these big names and bring a full-size festival to Indianapolis,” said Festival Director Jack Shepler.
Though much of the music at WARMFest will oriented to the alternative rock scene, a dance music stage on Sunday will feature DJs from the recently-opened Deckademics DJ School, located on College Avenue. Instructors DJ Metronome and DJ Topspeed, as well as students from the school are scheduled to perform.
“They’re going to feature some of the people who have been in the DJ school that are ready to start performing in front of people,” said Shepler.
In addition to live music performances in Broadripple Park, hour-long boat cruises with live music will be offered on White River, known as the Wapahani River Sessions. Featuring musicians such as Sleeping Bag, Brandon Tinkler, Todd Park Mohr and others, Shepler wants raise awareness of White River as a recreational natural resource that is visually appealing.
“We raise money for the Indy Parks Foundation and the Carl G. Fisher Society,” said Shepler.
Shepler says the goal of the Carl G. Fisher Society is to improve the quality of White River.
“We want to see White River treated like the great resource that it is,” said Shepler. “Not just because it’s water, but because it’s a great place to hang out and go boating. A lot of people don’t think of White River that way. They just think of it as something they drive by on the road.”
WARMFest 2014, however, will still focus on local music from Indiana. Prominent acts such as Sugar Moon Rabbit, Busman’s Holiday, and DJ Kyle Long, amongst others, will be given the opportunity to showcase the musical talents that Indiana has to offer.
Organizing a festival of this size is no small task, and a lot is at stake for Shepler and WARMFest vendors and sponsors.
“Festivals aren’t cheap. This is a huge undertaking,” said Shepler. “We have a very aggressive marketing campaign with radio and web advertising. I’ve been watching ticket sales and we have people coming from all over the place- even Florida. A lot of people from Chicago, and obviously many people from Indiana will be there.”
August 29 – September 1
Big bass vibes were mixed with traditional Syrian melodies, emphasizing and embracing Madden’s Syrian heritage.
Madden’s violin sounded terrific with a strong and rich tone quality, while his melodies resonated with heavy reverb onto the dance floor. Madden displayed great energy and enthusiasm as he would control the production of his music on his laptop, and then quickly pick up his violin and play a very endearing melody.
Madden’s performance wasn’t exclusive to his Syrian roots, however. At one point, he included a sample from the song “Ghostwriter” by RJD2 from his 2002 album Deadringer. It was a pleasant surprise to hear the distinctive horns of “Ghostwriter” in Madden’s performance.
Madden’s interaction with the audience was especially enjoyable; it’s wonderful to attend a show and be able enjoy a level of interaction with the performer.
Madden’s violin melodies returned later on in his set. He played complex ascending and descending melodies, and it’s very clear that his technical skills are more than advanced.
Madden’s passion and extensive catalog into classical music and the violin, electronic and bass music, and traditional Syrian music all point to a truly genuine hybrid that kept the crowd energized late into the night.
Better yet, people like Madden have proven that different styles of music are more closely linked than many have previously perceived. If one is trying to determine how the violin might fit in with dubstep and bass music, seeing Govinda live would be a logical place to start.
Photos by Black Byrd Studio
Austin, Texas-based producer, Shane Madden, aka Govinda, is set to headline IndyMojo’s Altered Thurzdaze at the Mouse Trap on April 3. An avid bass music producer with an admirable following, Madden adds the unusually awesome elements of the violin and Syrian ancestral music to his productions.
Placed in violin lessons by his mother at the age of 8, Madden’s interest in the violin was sparked after hearing the song, “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, by the Charlie Daniels Band.
“I had to learn how to play that song,” said Madden in a phone interview. “I wanted to play the violin.”
After graduating with a degree in music composition from the University of Texas, Madden soon discovered electronic and bass music, and began to apply his technical skills in the violin and classical music towards electronic music production.
“I blended that further with some of my ancestral music from the Middle East,” said Madden. “My family is from Syria.”
“I have that kind of Middle Eastern flavor in my style,” said Madden. “So I blended all three together and it started to sound like Govinda.”
“I’m fascinated by the futurism movement,” said Madden. “I also love things that are very old, classic and ancient.”
“So I have this kind of modern-primitive thing going on,” said Madden. “It makes for a good contrast in the art.”
Madden prefers to use a traditional wooden violin with a pickup placed on the violin’s bridge, also employing a number of effects, including reverb and wah-wah.
“It’s an acoustic violin because I like to retain the wood quality,” said Madden.
Madden has played with big names such as Thievery Corporation, Tipper, Bassnectar, Shpongle, Cheb I Sabbah and STS9. Madden has also appeared at numerous music festivals including Coachella, Lightning in a Bottle, Sea of Dreams and SXSW. This Thursday should be just as good, and Madden will surely become a seminal act to headline Altered Thurzdaze and visit the Mouse Trap.
Disclaimer: I know Scott Archer from high school and over the years he has sent me clips and recordings, asking for advice and critiques for his various music projects. As a thank-you for giving him advice over the years, he added my name to the album credits.
Though Rocketbot is defunct, its legacy continues on as Arlum Village. Described as a musical collective with roots in Indianapolis and Chicago, front-man Scott Archer has teamed up with ex-members of Rocketbot and current members of Indianapolis-based alternative rock band, Great Future to record a new EP, The Ballad of Paka. A conceptual recording alluding to the early and “wild west” days of the World Wide Web, the EP follows a man named Paka who battles wolves and his own mortality.
The Ballad of Paka starts with a strong clapping rhythm and distant and echoey harmonies sung by Archer. A nice mix between a glockenspiel and an Omni chord can be heard before delightful electronic and synth rhythms enter with marching-like qualities. The lyrics are somber, and Archer sings about Paka, who describes a violent death by wolves. Archer’s lyrics are clever and whimsical and follow a smart rhyming scheme. “They are the wolves, but I am a man. They have their fangs but I have my hands,” sings Archer. The marching-like rhythm adds heavy and introspective emotions to the scenery of something that would normally be quite unpleasant, like fighting off violent wolves.
A smooth transition is made using a bright and playful electronic melody that clearly returns to the roots and influences of Archer’s old band, Rocketbot. Distorted guitars provide a fluid harmony as the electronic melody and a hearty bass rhythm drive the momentum of the song. Even with that momentum however, Archer’s lyrics continue to take a more somber tone and continues to make violent allusions. In a way, it makes it odd for the theme and tone that “Young Pup” has taken, though Archer’s lyrics also reflect a positive outlook. “The gods’ll make me whole again, please take me back. I wanna go back, to where I’ve been,” sings Archer. What’s interesting about that line is while the violent imagery would imply a sort of disruption to the natural cycle of life, the assurance of becoming “whole again” seems to resolve the disruptive setting, bringing a surprising amount of solace as “Young Pup” concludes.
The instrumentation here is perhaps some of the best on the entire EP. Light and delicate piano melodies are accompanied with the low-key but meaningful percussion of Gary Koers. Again, the lyrics become more somber, as Archer sings, “I can feel my bones aching, but I can’t stay awake”. These lyrics work well with a very beautiful electronic melody that enhances the mood of the song. Slow but heavier percussion emerges as harmonious and impassioned vocals sing atop the electronic melody and cello provided by Brett Byron. The percussion and cello persist, very reminiscent of the instrumentation of Brent Knopf from his days in Menomena, particularly from their album Friend and Foe. Even when Archer sings, “Oh this can’t be real,” not only does he obviously take influence from Brian Scott from their days in Rocketbot, but there is also very noticeable and admirable influence from Knopf in terms of vocal delivery.
Under the Snow
The sentiment is very sweet and heartwarming, accompanied with clean guitar and glockenspiel melodies. The song appropriately signals the end of the EP, as Archer sings, “I’m going home, under the snow. If it’s time to say goodbye, then goodbye.” An electronic and synth harmony almost electrifies the air which really contributes to the emotion of the song as Archer sings, “I am not a perfect man.” The high harmonious vocals provided by Carmen Oneida are especially bittersweet, which adds complexity and sincerity to the song. Archer concludes the song and EP by simply singing, “I am not afraid to die”, paying tribute to The Unicorns’ final album, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?
With the success and influence that Scott Archer forged with Rocketbot, it should be no surprise that The Ballad of Paka would continue to exert that kind of influence and creativity within the music scenes of Chicago and Indianapolis. Archer has employed a very talented ensemble of individuals to record this EP and tell this story, and future stories ought to be highly anticipated.
Check out Arlum Village SoundCloud.
Fresh from the UK is Oli Brand, aka Beaka, who is releasing his debut self-titled EP on the influential Montréal-based label, Infinite Machine (IM022). Brand has a lot to deliver in a surprisingly hearty 25 minute EP, and fans of UK-Bass and house music can appreciate the creativity and production brought to the scene by this promising producer.
The bass influence is initially rather subtle in this song, emanating as the rhythm fluctuates in tone and texture. The overlapping textures seem to wash over the bass rhythm periodically, alternating as the bass rhythm periodically ascends and descends in pitch. The rhythm grows in complexity as a vocal sample is added, echoing in the midst of a steady and very strong house/bass rhythm.
The main bass rhythm changes while the clean rhythm is submerged in atmospheric noise, almost rising in pressure. The altered bass rhythm closes out to return to the main theme. The rhythm is very driving, and even if the rhythm isn’t “fast”, it packs a ton of energy for a house/bass influenced track.
The opening rhythm is very deep and atmospheric ambiances along with lighter and cleaner rhythms reverberate to serve as a counterpoint. A light electronic melody descends before the rhythm becomes more clearly defined. The rhythm sounds like a dubstep song, but is muddled with the persistent, minimalist and texture-heavy bass. A deep vocal sample is included to enrich the melody; before a cleaner and higher pitched electronic phrase enters and echoes in and out of the deep bass rhythms. That lighter electronic phrase was unexpected and it was very pleasant to hear.
The bass rhythms get very deep and distorted as a clean and new electronic melody enters in syncopation to counterpoint the deep bass rhythm. The cleaner rhythms drop off as the syncopation continues, but not for long until the bass rhythms are reunited with the cleaner, dubstep-influenced rhythms. The rhythm takes longer pauses towards the end of the track before first light electronic melody returns to close “Killjoy”.
“Subconscious” opens with a relatively simple bass rhythm accompanied by more complex and deliberate rhythms. This rhythm is particularly nice because it sounds as if it’s ending its phrase with very soft and subtle synth tones. The synth alone seems to have taken influence from the likes of Mount Kimbie or perhaps Maths Time Joy. Brand is very deliberate in his rhythms and they work very well when deliberately deciding which rhythms and which tones reverberate in the song.
A female vocal sample periodically surfaces before a very delightful synth harmony kicks in. Brand plays around with the bass rhythms, allowing them to reverberate in the synth’s harmony. The harmony is very reminiscent of Maths Time Joy’s “Hideaway” EP. The bass rhythm remains as it’s submerged in an atmospheric ambiance, though it exists very minimally and is deliberately placed within the song.
The final track starts with a soft and introspective harmony, before Brand begins to carefully layer his rhythms as they begin to grow in complexity and substance. The harmony remains as the main rhythm asserts control of the track. The rhythm is particularly complex in “Timelapse”, carefully employing elements of bass and UK-Garage.
The rhythm seems to work in phrases too, allowing for atmosphere and texture to take the lead in certain points in the track, before the rhythm returns to dominate the overall mood and theme of the track. One of the best features of the texture is a clean and possibly reverberating synth that works very well as a counterpoint to the diminished bass rhythm.
Beaka’s self-titled debut EP is nothing to underestimate. Brand employs very impressive production skills and is able to deliberately craft exquisite and meaningful rhythms while very tastefully employing texture to counterbalance those rhythms. This is a very smart EP with driven and sincere production. Brand is very lucky to debut such a great EP to a deserving label like Infinite Machine. Beaka has a bright and promising future as a musician signed to Infinite Machine.
Dubstep understandably gets a lot of negative attention these days, and generally it seems quite difficult to find people who absolutely love the “wub wub wub” style of dubstep anymore – with its excessive build-ups and massive drops around every corner. Instead, it’s worth noting that the very broad genre of dubstep also has its own alternative scene that’s not contrived and casts electronic music in a refreshing and enjoyable light. While UK-Garage took much of its influence from 90s house music along with R&B and early jungle music, Future Garage goes past UK-Garage to also incorporate elements of dubstep, 2-step garage, IDM and techno into its music. These are some of the musicians you ought to be following along with some prominent labels carrying the some of the best electronic musicians to date.
Mount Kimbie – Would Know – Crooks & Lovers – Hotflush Recordings (HFCD004)
The 2010 debut full-length LP by London-based duo Dominic Maker and Kai Campos starts off strong with a handsome rhythm with deep bass influence. The rhythm is light and delicate, influenced by 2-step garage music and isn’t overly saturated by the bass. Yet the bass still exists in the background, awash in an ambient sort of atmosphere and texture. The use of field recordings is apparent throughout Crooks & Lovers, and in the song “Would Know”, they are used to build and excellent layer of rhythms that sophisticate and liven what would normally be very boring bass or dubstep-influenced music.
Check out Mount Kimbie on SoundCloud.
Burial – Kindred – Kindred – Hyperdub (HDB059)
Burial and Hyperdub Records are two household names that anyone into electronic music can appreciate. London-based William Emmanuel Bevan has established a firm and well-respected reputation within the electronic music community and music critics. Much like Mount Kimbie, the bass influences remain, but Burial instead chooses to incorporate elements of ambient, 2-step, UK-Garage and even some Future Garage into his music. His rhythms are light as well, yet are carefully and quite tastefully saturated with bass elements bringing his music back to the essential elements of dubstep.
Burial’s 2012 Kindred EP is obviously no exception to that. Nearly eleven and a half minutes long, the title track, “Kindred”, starts with a beautiful ambient entrance with soft female vocals. The 2-step rhythm begins, sounding very clean. Not to oversaturate the rhythm, a deep bass begins as a counterpoint to the main rhythm. The bass eventually levels out to provide long and droning bass harmonies that really add substance and life to Burial’s music. The bass mostly subsides and the ambient harmony takes over to close out possibly one of Burial’s best tracks from one of his best EPs.
Sepalcure – He Said No – Make You – Hotflush Recordings (HF039)
Take the best of Praveen Sharma (Praveen & Benoît) and Travis Stewart (Machinedrum) and you have a really fun electronic duo known as Sepalcure. Their 2011 debut self-titled LP is highly recommended, but their latest 2013 EP, Make You, takes the 2-step and bass influences (is it even dubstep at this point?) and combines it with light and dreamy field recording vocals. The 2-step influenced rhythm doesn’t really focus on the bass, and it’s quite refreshing instead to hear simple guitar melodies take its place. Yet you still hear that bass rhythm in the background, which adds substance to the listening experience.
123mrk – Unrest – Noname EP – Infinite Machine (IM004)
Marseille-based producer 123mrk has really made a name in the Future Garage music scene. His 2011 debut EP, Noname, utilizes powerful bass rhythms that are vigorously refreshing. In particular, “Unrest” blends manipulated vocals with deep and forceful bass harmonies. The rhythm in the track is great, but it’s that blending of vocals with the bass that really makes it such a wonderful song. Supported by the up and coming Montréal-based label, Infinite Machine, Noname is no doubt one of Infinite Machine’s strongest releases to date.
Check out Infinite Machine on SoundCloud.
Anyone feeling as though they had been cheated out of their drops and build-ups should look elsewhere to get their fix. The music listed here is smart, fresh and does things with elements of bass and dubstep that are unparalleled to even the biggest names in mainstream dubstep.