Datashock is a ritualistic “neo-hippie-spook-folk” collective from Saarlouis, Germany. There is no constant lineup, as the group is joined by new members every now and then.
Their music is defined almost entirely by psychedelic multidimensional live-improvisations stemming from 70ies krautrock influenced by contemporary electronic music and psychotic dronescapes. As a result we find complex layers of sultry muffled vibrations met by heavy waves of electronic sound experiments and strangely disfigured images. Here and there reality-distorting bits of whispers and cut-up voices are woven into the texture of these alien patterns of sound. Every step here is like nervously stumbling through the swampy ground of a jungle. Here every look is like a secret glimpse at a hidden ghost-train world.
If, however, you would want to use other bands from past and present as a reference, names like Tangerine Dream or Sunburned Hand of the Man might come to mind. Datashock’s music has a similarly warm and organic feel to it. Labels like “spooky psychedelic-post-krautfolk” are at the same time graphic description as well as missing the point altogether.
During the band’s four-year history one of the highlights has been this year’s (2007) release of a live-collaboration picture-LP with Nadja, also known as Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff.
After several releases on floppy disk (this is how the collective started to deep-freeze their sound experiments in 2003), tape, CD-R and Vinyl, Datashock released an LP on Textile Records (France) in January 2008. Furthermore, an LP-release on the legendary label Qbico Records (Italy) was scheduled for spring 2008. 2010’s Para Dieswarts Dull’C60 available on Colour Ride now.
Founding member Pascal Hector is also running Meudiademorte Recs, known for releases of noise and improv music by artists such as Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth), Sunburned Hand of the Man, Vanishing Voice and many others.
Ulf Schütte also plays in Aosuke, works as a solo artist as Shivers and Diamond Lemonade and is running the Tape Tektoniks label. Together with Pascal Hector he plays in Tavatare and with Marcel Türkowsky in Cones.
The collective’s newest member is Marcel Türkowsky who besides his work as a solo artist is involved in Cones, UUHUU, Wooden Veil, Leo Mars and Kinn.
Christian Berghoff and Sebastian Haas are two lifelong friends from Saarbrucken, Germany who back in 2007 formed the band Pretty Lightning. The duo ticks off a long list of influences – from 60s psych and delta blues through to krautrock and drone – and the end-product is a heady dose of raw, twisted psychedelic-blues recalling an utterly visceral, mind-blowing mix of Oh Sees, Wooden Shjips and early Black Keys.
“These two pals from a small town in Germany have hit on an honestly impressive variation of Delta blues. When they summon a spooky drone, it’s been likened to the Amon Duul II hippy shake, but I hear something closer to Junior Kimbrough in its composure and hypnosis. They’ll hang on a single bobbling lick for a long time, and when it changes up, it’s both traditional and unexpected.”
Pretty Lightning’s rural and heavy psychedelic blues is definitely southbound – not to sweaty Mississippi Juke Joints but to their sundrenched hometown, located south-west Germany, near the french border. Think of Christian handing over a cold beer to Sebastian after having finished an exhausting recording session and you might catch a glimpse of the general vibe.
But despite the sunny enviroment surrounding Pretty Lightning’s sound is more of a powerful dark affair. Pounding drums, muddy guitars and some ghostly vocals mixed altogether and ready to put a spell on you!
Pretty Lightning’s feverish tunes are referencing electrified blues from fiery Hound Dog Taylor to sleepy Junior Kimbrough and are of course reminiscent of contemporaries like the Black Keys or Mr. Airplane Man.
Zvuki Mu Russian rock band was founded in Moscow in the early 1980’s. Its lead singer and songwriter Pyotr Mamonov is one of the most creative, revered and eccentric figures of the Russian art scene, whose absurdist lyrics are as playful and disturbing as his vocal style and explosive on-stage presence. The band’s sound combined starkly simple yet textured melodies with synthesizer sounds, quite unlike anything else heard in Russian rock at the time. One of Zvuki Mu’s albums was produced by the famous British musician and producer Brian Eno.
The bands name is best translated as “The Sounds of Mu” (where “mu” has been said to stand for music, Moscow streets, or a cow’s ‘moo’).
The 2013 video for The National’s single ‘Sea of Love’, directed by Sophia Peer, was based on Zvuki Mu’s video for Grubiy Zakat.
Last year’s collaboration between St. Vincent (Annie Clarke) and David Bryne was surprising on many levels. The album they wrote and recorded together, Love This Giant, is inspired and artful, if not as immediately accessible as some of the solo work each of them has made in the past. On stage, performed live at the Strathmore music hall in Bethesda, MD, the songs found their heart and soul. A band of brilliant brass players made the tunes swing a lot more than they do on the record. Love This Giant allowed both Byrne and Clark to make songs that were slightly out of their comfort zones; they dug into less familiar territory and found something fresh. When performed live, new songs such as “Who” and “I Am an Ape” sound powerful. But old favorites also surfaced from their solo catalogs, whether it was Talking Heads’ “Burning Down the House” or the Byrne-Eno collaboration “Strange Overtones,” or St. Vincent performing “Marrow” from her 2009 album Actor. All of these performances became less about nostalgia or their individual fame, and more about creation and building on something great, from a pair of strong creative souls born 30 years apart. As you watch the performance, keep an eye out for Kelly Pratt, formerly of the band Beirut, on lead horn, as well as fantastic synchronized dancing choreographed by Annie-B Parson. You can also see Byrne and Clark rehearse for the concert in this special video from our In Practice series.–BOB BOILEN
Annie Clark: Guitar/Vocals
David Byrne: Guitar/Vocals
Daniel Mintseris: Keyboards, Musical Director
Brian Wolfe: Drums
Kelly Pratt: Trumpet, Flugelhorn, French Horn, Flute
Dave Nelson: Trombone
Jon Natchez: Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone
Bryan Murray: Clarinet, Flute, Saxophone
Rachel Drehmann: French Horn
Jason Disu: Trombone
John Altieri: Sousaphone, Tuba
Carter Yasutake: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Rock ‘n’ roll was bred between the church and the nightclubs in the soul of a queer black woman in the 1940s named Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She was there before Elvis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash swiveled their hips and strummed their guitars. It was Tharpe, the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll, who turned this burgeoning musical style into an international sensation.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Tharpe was always surrounded by music growing up. Born Rosetta Nubin in Arkansas to Willis Atkins and Katie Bell, Tharpe came from a family of religious singers, cotton pickers and traditional evangelists. She picked up the guitar at four years old, and at the age of six she accompanied her mother to perform with a travelling evangelist troupe in churches around the South. By the mid-1920s, Tharpe and her mother settled in Chicago, where they continued performing spiritual music. As Tharpe grew up, she began fusing Delta blues, New Orleans jazz and gospel music into what would become her signature style.
Although Tharpe’s distinctive voice and unconventional style attracted fans, it was still the mid-1930s. Female guitarists were rare, and even more so was a musician who pursued both religious and secular themes, a fact that alarmed the gospel community. But Tharpe — young and innovative — was determined to keep experimenting with her sound. Her persistence and grit paid off, and by 1938, she had joined the Cotton Club Revue, a New York City club that became especially notable during the Prohibition era. She was only 23 at the time, a feat that was only amplified when she scored her first single, “Rock Me,” a gospel and rock ‘n’ roll fusion, along with three other gospel songs: “My Man and I,” “That’s All” and “Lonesome Road.”