Wednesday 16 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Astro boy

Astro boy

Astronautalis tries to flip the script of his rap sheet by shaking indie hip-hop free from its creative doldrums.

Chris Parker March 16th, 2011

Astronautalis with Sims and Algebra
7 p.m. Tuesday
The Conservatory, 8911 N. Western, 607-4805

Astronautalis hails from what might be the last generation of indie hip-hop. The 29-year old Florida rapper came of age in the late ’90s as a bevy of underground artists emerged, seeking to redefine a mainstream style that’d become stuck in a locked groove of guns, drugdealing, bitches and boasting.

Astronautalis, aka Andy Bothwell, honed his rap skills in his bedroom, to the point where his freestyles were “8 Mile”-tight. Like Eminem in that movie, Bothwell would travel to dangerous urban areas to do battle in clubs and basements, where he was the only white boy spitting. People wanted to beat him up, and one combatant drew a knife. So Bothwell gave up rap, except for college parties in Dallas, where he’d regale theater friends by rapping about any subject they’d toss out. It helped pull him back in.

He has an equal love of indie rock, manifested on his three adventurous albums, for which rap is only a jumping-off point. The low-key pace and textured arrangements have more in common with Death Cab for Cutie than Wu-Tang Clan. See for yourself Tuesday at The Conservatory.

OKG: You tend to tour more with indie-rock acts, and on your current tour, you have a live band backing you.

Astronautalis: I didn’t do any rap touring, because rap fans come to a rap show expecting rap. And if they’re not given rap, they’re disappointed. I don’t feel like that’s wrong, but that’s one of the reasons I checked out the rock community: “I’m not going to be able to give you guys what you want, and you don’t like what I’m giving you. So let’s go our separate ways, and we’ll buy each other drinks when we see each other.”

OKG: You’ve worked with producers in more of a rock manner rather than simply as a provider of beats.

Astronautalis: I feel a lot of rappers would benefit from that, because a lot of rappers don’t have a lot of outside input, and that really kills them over the course of a career. They figure out one way to do things and their vocals all sound the same. There really aren’t any dynamics to the record. They’re relying on content, as opposed to actual sound quality and song craftsmanship. So if their lyrics don’t remain relevant, they don’t really stand a chance.

OKG: What should we expect from your fourth album?

Astronautalis:I have every hope and expectation of taking a really significant departure for the next record.

There’s more emphasis on simplicity. This is the first record I’m working more like a traditional rap album, where I’m getting beats from other producers.

The stories are all inspired by my last seven years spent on the road. I wanted to do a record that was supremely autobiographical. There are still a lot of elements of history in there. I’ve been really interested in scientists from the Age of Enlightenment.

So there are a lot of parallels between the risks they took as scientists and the risks I feel like myself and people in my circle are taking with their lives, to do things differently.

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