From The Desk Of Nathan Larson And Nina Persson: Analog Stuff We Used On “Colonia”

acamplogo100d“We’re going to party like it’s 1699,” sings Nina Persson on Colonia, the second album the Cardigans frontwoman has released under the A Camp name with husband Nathan Larson (Shudder To Think) and Niclas Frisk. As the lyric and album title imply, the ornate Colonia is loosely based on the theme of love in the time of colonialism and is inspired by cabaret and musicals from the ’40s. Larson and Persson—king and queen of Colonia—are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

juno-60_550Nathan And Nina: Like all chefs, we don’t give away all our secrets, but we will tell you that we have big love for old analog synthesizers and effects. There’s nothing too special about loving the analog (as opposed to digital) stuff. We just wanted to share with you some of our favorites, and those without which our latest record, Colonia, would not have its flavor. Because despite the acoustic, orchestrated nature of the music, there’s plenty of gnarly electronic stuff going on in there, too. Here’s some classics that we couldn’t be without:

Roland Juno 60
For arpeggios. You can hear it loud and clear on “Bear On The Beach,” “Stronger Than Jesus” and “Love Has Left The Room.”

Roland SH 101
For sub-bass, it’s the best. Heard on “Here Are Many Wild Animals,” “The Weed Had Got There First,” “It’s Not Easy Being Human Anymore” and “I Signed The Line.”

Arp Solina String Ensemble
Pretty much on everything, especially “Chinatown,” “Golden Teeth And Silver Medals,” “The Crowning” and “My America.” It’s the Dreamweaver!

Casio SK-1
Priceless. Heard most prominently at the beginning of “Chinatown.”

Electro Harmonix Memoryman
We mixed a lot of stuff through this mutha.

Roland Space Echo
Nothing sounds like this thing. Lee “Scratch” Perry knows that. This is used just about everywhere as well, but it’s most evident on the breakdown of “Stronger Than Jesus”—that dubby kind of slapback.

Fulltone Tube-Tape Echo
The only newly manufactured, non-vintage thing on this list, but we can’t say enough about this thing. Expensive and worth it. It’s on Nina’s voice almost all the time and frequently on the guitars (especially “Chinatown”).

Sequential Circuits Prophet 5
Pads and textures, especially on “Golden Teeth And Silver Medals.”

MP3 At 3PM: School Of Seven Bells

schhoolofseven420Brooklyn dream-pop trio School Of Seven Bells features some familiar faces: Benjamin Curtis from Secret Machines and twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (both of On!Air!Library!). They pull in another known quantity—Jesu’s Justin Broadrick—to remix the following track, also featured on the “Cabal” single. School Of Seven Bells is currently on tour with fellow fuzz cadets Black Moth Super Rainbow.

“Face To Face On High Places (Jesu Remix)” (download):

Win A Limited Edition Bonnaroo Stainless Steel Water Bottle

waterbottle1Don’t be a Bonnarube: This year, stainless-steel water bottle manufacturer Stanley is helping Bonnaroo go a little greener by providing free drinking water to all festivalgoers and selling a limited-edition nineteen13 bottle (pictured, $22). The water is free regardless of whether you buy the bottle, and $1 from each purchase goes toward the Global Water Challenge to support worldwide fresh water supply and sanitation. Artists performing at Bonnaroo (June 11-14 in Manchester, Tenn.) will be using the bottles onstage as well. We don’t have to tell you how bad plastic water bottles are for the environment. Find out more about the Less Bottled Water Program here.

We’re giving away Stanley water bottles to the first three people—even those not going to Bonnaroo—who correctly answer the following trivia questions. Email your answers to tips@magnetmagazine.com.

Who got their first recording credit with a 1980 song called “R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas”?

Former Rosebuds guitarist Justin Vernon currently performs under what name?

Which singer’s final album ended with the words “Shazbot, nanu nanu”?

This contest has ended. Congrats to the winners. The answers to our trivia questions are Jon Bon Jovi, Bon Iver and Bon Scott. Thanks to everyone who played.

Men Without Pants Make MAGNET A Mix Tape

menwithoutpants550

They don’t care about your flat-front khakis and they don’t want to know about your slim-fit jeans; they are Men Without Pants, the duo of Dan “The Automator” Nakamura (Gorillaz) and Russell Simins (Blues Explosion). Debut album Naturally (Expansion Team) is out now, featuring guest musicians Sean Lennon and members of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cibo Matto and the Mooney Suzuki. Pantsless frontman Simins made MAGNET a plus-sized mix tape of his favorite songs, hitting the percussion standouts heavily. Needless to say, there is nothing safe about dancing to these songs.

“And The Girls Go” (download):

Continue reading “Men Without Pants Make MAGNET A Mix Tape”

From The Desk Of Nathan Larson And Nina Persson: Alan Weatherhead

acamplogo100d“We’re going to party like it’s 1699,” sings Nina Persson on Colonia, the second album the Cardigans frontwoman has released under the A Camp name with husband Nathan Larson (Shudder To Think) and Niclas Frisk. As the lyric and album title imply, the ornate Colonia is loosely based on the theme of love in the time of colonialism and is inspired by cabaret and musicals from the ’40s. Larson and Persson—king and queen of Colonia—are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

alan_weatherheadNathan And Nina: A Camp has worked with some awesome people on both sides of the studio glass. One who sat on the side with the things with knobs is my man Alan Weatherhead, who mixed and recorded our first album and mixed Colonia. (Our pal Geoff Sanoff recorded Colonia, and he deserves his own post.) We met Al through Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous. Al was (and is) working out of a groovy studio in Richmond, Va., called Sound Of Music. Mark had been looking for a chance to work with him and spotted this A Camp record as a chance to do so. Al is a great, even-keeled guy with the kind of temperament that is perfect for a recording situation, plus he’s a very intuitive musician, which serves him and the artist he’s working with well. Al has worked as a musician and engineer/mixer for lots of projects, including Sparklehorse, Cracker, Trailer Bride, Clem Snide, Camper Van Beethoven, Magnolia Electric Co. and his current band Hotel Lights, to name but a few. Al was cool enough to let us ask him some stupid questions via email and respond. Read all of it after the jump.

Continue reading “From The Desk Of Nathan Larson And Nina Persson: Alan Weatherhead”

Film At 11: Jay Bennett And Jeff Tweedy

We were just thinking about Jay Bennett, who passed away last weekend. Below is a 1999 clip of Bennett and Tweedy performing on alt.rock, a program on the now-defunct Austin Music Network. It’s a cover of 1927 song called “James Alley Blues,” and it’s particularly bittersweet. For all the real and staged drama between the two men, Bennett and Tweedy created the most beautiful music together.

 

Yesterday, those on Bennett’s email list received a missive that read, in part:

As many of you may be aware, Jay had finally found the courage to put his Wilco issues out into the public forum. After a long, four-year process (and therefore very much unrelated to his impending hip surgery), formal filings against Wilco were finally initiated. This task was very emotional for Jay. He was a lover, and this confrontation was not easy for him. With the exception of his final period in Wilco, Jay looked back on his time in the band with great fondness and pride. While he was dismayed that some people may have formed a narrow perception of him via the “documentary,” all who truly knew him understood that with most entertainment media, editing is usually constructed for dramatic effect and presents only a small part of a larger, more complex reality.

So, please spend some time this week engaging in Jay’s favorite passions: listen to a Nick Lowe album, watch some Mythbusters on Discovery, play Warren Zevon’s “Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner,” rent Pay It Forward (one of his favorite movies), write a song with the TV on and the sound off, and focus on how Jay always concluded his communications: “Love, Jay.”

From The Desk Of Nathan Larson And Nina Persson: Stencil Painting With Sandro And Fabrizio

acamplogo100d“We’re going to party like it’s 1699,” sings Nina Persson on Colonia, the second album the Cardigans frontwoman has released under the A Camp name with husband Nathan Larson (Shudder To Think) and Niclas Frisk. As the lyric and album title imply, the ornate Colonia is loosely based on the theme of love in the time of colonialism and is inspired by cabaret and musicals from the ’40s. Larson and Persson—king and queen of Colonia—are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

ninaandguysNathan And Nina: We’re fixing up our house, and things start getting really fun once you get to the point where you’re painting walls. This is where it really comes to life. We wanted something really artful and super Old World in our entry hallway, so we found some specialists in the area of creative wall painting: Sandro and Fabrizio, seen here pictured with Nina. They’re fantastic. If you’re based in the New York area and you need any work like this in your world, we highly suggest you contact our man Sandro on his mobile: 914-562-6217. Anyway, we sat down with these fellows and had a chat about what they do.

So guys, give me your names so we know who’s talking.
Sandro: My name is Sandro. I’m from Brazil.
Fabrizio: My name is Fabrizio. I’m also from Brazil.

What kind of painting is it that you do? It’s not just painting walls, is it?
Fabrizio: Well, we do everything, but what we enjoy doing most is the faux-finishes, the art stuff, like this work we’re doing here.
Sandro: It’s a little bit more than the paint itself, you know what I’m saying? When we see customers excited about the result, like with what we’re doing with you guys, it’s just such a nice feeling.

Yes, it’s great. But tell me what this particular process is called.
Fabrizio: It’s called stenciling. You have a pattern, you apply paint, and you repeat that process over and over again. All about detail.

And in the case, say, of our job; how many layers do you have going? How many different colors?
Fabrizio: Well, it starts with a base coat, and then we have to glaze the walls, achieving a different kind of look, and then we start with the stenciling. You got a lighter color and a darker color. And you go over it with a very small brush to get all that detail.

Is it more difficult working with metallic paints, like what we have here with the gold?
Sandro: Yes, because you never know what you get. In this case, we actually have another gold paint that is more flat, and then we have the metallic paint, which we just sort of lightly outline the other gold. So you get this, like, coming-out-at-you effect.

It’s a lot of work, it takes a long time.
Both: [Laughing] Yes.

Now is there a tradition of this in Brazil? Is that where you learned this stuff?
Sandro: No, not really.
Fabrizio: I’ve been here 15 years. I learned it here. I studied this stuff, you know?
Sandro: And I’ve been here six years. [Pointing to Fabrizio] I learn from him.

Huh. So this is like a European tradition?
Fabrizio: Yeah. Well, I think like the base coat and the process there … you might call that something like “Venetian plaster.” But it’s a very, very old technique.

So it’s not like a made-up American thing like they do to make it sound European and old?
Both: [Laughing] No. Well, yeah, kinda, sometimes.
Fabrizio: There’s a lot of stuff out there they call “Venetian,” but it’s like shit you can buy at Home Depot, like premade tiling made in a factory. There’s no …

No real craft or handmade aspect to it.
Both: Right.

Hey Sandro, I know you were working on restoring the Chelsea Hotel. Was that doing this kind of work, this stenciling thing?
Sandro: No, that was a crazy job. Lots of stories, you know. We were fixing a room that had been closed for, like, 30 years. Just sealed off. It was the old “Ladies Lounge.” That was a lot of very, very fine [process of removing] the paint down to the wood, then repaint in the original color—or as close to it as we could get. Had to take away maybe eight or 10 layers of paint to get to wood. Pretty amazing, yeah—the history there, you know. And you had to be so careful to make always the right choices.

Thanks, guys. We think you’re doing a great job, and we can tell you put love into it. Thanks for talking to us.
Both: Thank you!

MP3 At 3PM: Tortoise

tortoise_400Tortoise—that lighthouse of Chicago post-rock so towering it rivals the Sears Tower—has seen five years pass between proper albums, and June 23 will see the release of Beacons Of Ancestorship (Thrill Jockey). Tomorrow, the band embarks on a summer tour that takes it from Buffalo to Belgium, with stops in between. Fun Fact: In France, they pronounce it “Tor-twah.” We found this out during a trying and confusing phone call with one of our French subscribers.

“Prepare Your Coffin” (download):

Record Review: Monahans “Dim The Aurora”

monahans1501“It’s Enough To Leave You” is the opening track on Dim The Aurora, and it packs about a quarter-century of alt-rock reference points into its four-minute running time. From the awkwardly soaring chorus and the chunky, quirky, handclaps-and-piano rhythm line to the dynamic buildup that goes nowhere but is expansive and elegant getting there, “It’s Enough To Leave You” manages to subtly point fingers at everyone from Michael Stipe to Spoon to the Hold Steady, all while managing to sound quite unique. To these ears, however, Austin’s Monahans evoke nothing as much as the rambling sonic winsomeness of their Lone Star neighbor Will Johnson, although the 11 tracks on Dim The Aurora are decidedly more put-together and structurally sound than anything Johnson has ever done. Monahans graft singer/songwriter-type warbling and classic-rock guitar figures onto messy and gratifying beds of sound that incorporate regular instrumentation in highly irregular ways. There’s a definite sense that the sprawling guitars on cuts like “I Run To You” and the catchy, melancholy title track want to stretch out even further and that the buzz and howl of the three instrumental songs are a clarion signal as to the group’s real intent. In the same way that Johnson makes deceptively dense music that only seems simple and straightforward, Monahans have made an album that’s richly rooted in American rock traditionalism but also lurching noisily forward into something far more intriguing. [Misra]

—Jason Ferguson

“It’s Enough To Leave You” (download):
http://magnetmagazine.com/audio/ItsEnoughToLeaveYou.mp3

From The Desk Of Nathan Larson And Nina Persson: The Most Beautiful Pieces Of Music Ever

acamplogo100d“We’re going to party like it’s 1699,” sings Nina Persson on Colonia, the second album the Cardigans frontwoman has released under the A Camp name with husband Nathan Larson (Shudder To Think) and Niclas Frisk. As the lyric and album title imply, the ornate Colonia is loosely based on the theme of love in the time of colonialism and is inspired by cabaret and musicals from the ’40s. Larson and Persson—king and queen of Colonia—are guest editing magnetmagazine.com all this week. Read our Q&A with them.

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Nathan And Nina: Oh, this a hard one. We eliminate pop music/songs. We want this one to be a simple entry, so we suggest:

1. Henryk Górecki, Symphony No. 3
And if it weren’t sad enough, this performance—one of the definitive ones—was filmed at Auschwitz.

2. Léo Delibes, “The Flower Duet,” from the opera Lakmé
Wow.

3. Gavin Bryars, Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet
The story behind this is what really kills you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byAGDVu4sC4

4. Erik Satie, Gymnopédie No. 1
A bit obvious, but goddamn.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAR0WkIQ6mg

5. Johann Sebastian Bach, Cello Suite No. 1
We like this video with Dalí.