Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Feb 11th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Skype Hunt

music_BlondeRedheadTracking the elusive Blonde Redhead in Winnipeg
As we all know, technology—more specifically, the rise of the Internet—has given birth to all sorts of new modes of communication that have made sharing ideas much faster and easier, in a strong sense, bringing all corners of the globe closer together. But technology can also be a real pain in the ass.

Winnipeg’s a lucky place. Not only has it just snatched an NHL franchise from Atlanta, but it’s also the first stop on Blonde Redhead’s current North American tour—the New York shoegaze-y three-piece comes to Big Sur’s Henry Miller Library, this Sunday. Because the band is up in Canada, their cell phones don’t work, and thus vocalist and frontwoman Kazu Makino has to call me via Skype. This goes fine for about two minutes, before we get disconnected.

 

After a couple failed attempts to reconnect, the band’s manager calls me from the Winnipeg venue’s land line, and we get it sorted out. However, there’s a great irony I can’t help noting, in the fact that Skype played a facilitating role in the recording of Blonde Redhead’s 2010 album, Penny Sparkle. While Makino headed to Stockholm, Sweden to work independently, she kept in touch with her twin bandmates Amedo and Simone Pace via the social networking application.

“I was eating lunch in Sweden one day, and I’m pretty sure the guy sitting next to me was actually the inventor of Skype. I said, ‘Oh my God,’” recalls Makino—for the record, the co-inventors of Skype are indeed Swedish. “But it’s really good. You can actually see each other, play something for someone on the camera if you need to.”

The album was recorded in sessions at three different locations: rural upstate New York, Brooklyn and Sweden. Though albums are rarely recorded in a single studio session nowadays, and Blonde Redhead had recorded in Europe before, this process represented the band’s desire to pare down some of their musical arrangements.

“It was really nice to hear everything in a different environment,” says Makino. “It felt really natural—it didn’t feel weird at all being in different places.”

This had two effects: one, being that Blonde Redhead’s formerly noteworthy swirling guitars and other ambient qualities were now absent or receding. In fact, the album swerves pretty hard toward trip-hop. The other, is that there are, apparently, existing “rich” versions of songs, at least one of which (Penny Sparkle’s title track) will see a release on an upcoming Japanese benefit compilation being put together by Makino.

“That is partly because we were working in so many different places,” says the singer—who is of Japanese decent and grew up on the island—of the lush versions of songs. “We’d work on one version of a song for a while, but then when you change places, the mood changes.”

Penny Sparkle wasn’t necessarily received as well as some of the band’s previous material—being derisively compared to ‘radio-friendly Portishead’—and it’s definitely a shift in directions for the international trio (the Pace twins originally hail from Italy). However, it’s an album that only suffers from the awkwardness of beginning anew—Blonde Redhead isn’t rehashing itself, it’s finding its feet in new territory.


Blonde Redhead performs at 7 p.m., Sunday, July 3, at Henry Miller Library, Hwy 1, Big Sur. Tickets are $30 in advance. For more information call 667-2574.

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Heart Me Up

In defense of Valentine’s Day

 

“be(ing) of love (a little) more careful”—e.e. cummings

Wednesday (Feb. 10) is Ash Wednesday, when Lent begins. Friday (Feb. 12) is Lincoln’s 207th birthday. Sunday is Valentine’s Day. On Ash Wednesday, with foreheads marked with a cross of ashes, we hear the words, “From dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.” Reminding us that our bodies, made of matter, will remain here on Earth when we are called back. It is our Soul that will take us home again. Lent offers us 40 days and nights of purification in preparation for the Resurrection (Easter) festival (an initiation) and for the Three Spring Festivals (at the time of the full moon)—Aries, Taurus, Gemini. The New Group of World Servers have been preparing since Winter Solstice. The number 40 is significant. The Christ (Pisces World Teacher) was in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights prior to His three-year ministry. The purpose of this desert exile was to prepare his Archangel (light) body to withstand the pressures of the Earth plane (form and matter). We, too, in our intentional purifications and prayers during the 40 days of Lent, prepare ourselves (physical body, emotions, lower mind) to receive and be able to withstand the irradiation of will, love/wisdom and light streaming into the Earth at spring equinox, Easter, and the Three Spiritual Festivals. What is Lent? The Anglo-Saxon word, lencten, comes from an ancient spring festival, agricultural rites marking the transition between winter and summer. The seasons reflect changes in nature (physical world) and humanity responds with social festivals of gratitude and of renewal. There is a purification process, prayerfulness in nature and in humanity in preparation for a great flow of spiritual energies during springtime. Valentine’s Day: Aquarius Sun, Taurus moon. Let us offer gifts of comfort, ease, harmony, beauty and satisfaction. Things chocolate and golden. Venus and Taurus things.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Making Dreams

Coen brothers salute vintage Hollywood in sly comedy ‘Hail, Caesar!’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Pub Watch

Mega gastro pub-in-progress at the Old Sash Mill, plus the best pasta dish downtown

 

How do you know love is real?

When you feel the groove in your heart and you’re inspired to dance. Becca Bing, Boulder Creek, Teacher

 

Temple of Umami

Watsonville’s Miyuki is homestyle cooking, Japanese-style

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster