Thursday 17 Apr
CD reviews

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

SXSW: Buffalo Lounge: Daniel(((s)))

How bass-heavy chiptune blew my mind

By Stephen Carradini March 14th, 2012

Credits: Stephen Carradini

Every great event has a singular moment that sticks in the mind and inevitably cements the happening as "that one time." That moment in the Buffalo Lounge show by Daniel(((s))) will be remembered (at least by me) as "that one time he played the bass harmonics."

Daniel(((s))) is one man who plays a brand of chiptune electronica. This loosely means that a majority of the sounds come from or evoke video games, especially early 8-bit and 16-bit ones (think the original Nintendo). Daniel(((s))) augments these pre-made songs with live bass playing, an instrument on which he is wildly talented. The songs he creates have playful, optimistic melodies from the chiptune elements, coutermanded by complex, grooving bass lines. When he feels it appropriate, he punches a footpedal and kicks the bass guitar up four of five octaves, putting its tones almost in the chiptune range itself. These wordless compositions were intricate and unique, and I deeply enjoyed them.

But the moment that blew everyone's mind was almost an aside to the rest of a song. In the midst of a tune, the high melodic elements dropped out, leaving only the bass and underlying synths. Daniel(((s))) proceeded to recreate the sound of the chiptune elements he had just removed by playing only harmonic tones on the  bass. This is incredibly difficult to do even once, and he strung together a series of incredibly precise tones into its own ethereal melody. At first the audience (which included me) couldn't tell what was happening; once we figured it out, we started cheering it on as the guitar solo it was. In the midst of an otherwise wordless and largely applause-less set (he played long songs), it was absolutely stunning.

Daniel(((s))) operates in a niche genre, but I deeply enjoyed his tunes. His musicianship was a surprising and memorable in a genre that I'm not too familiar with. He cut through the trappings of the form and made songs with emotive power: that's all I ask of any artist. Thoroughly impressed. 

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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