Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 26th
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


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

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


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location