Mark Zito, better known as Fractures, is an up and coming electronic musician from Melbourne, Australia. He first grabbed my attention several months back after his single “Twisted” was featured by MrSuicideSheep, one of YouTube’s most subscribed to electronic music pages. The exposure did well for Fractures, who now has over a quarter of a million plays on Souncloud for this track alone. Now garnering the attention and approval of of heavy hitters like the Guardian and Gotye, Fractures is indeed on the brink of many great things, and is a sure artist to be watching for this year with the release of his upcoming EP.
Fractures as a sound is not the easiest thing to describe or explain; Zito’s multilayered approach to songwriting is smooth, relaxed yet melancholy, and always feels like it’s reaching for something the heart desires. With compelling lyrics that touch on the loneliness, unrequited love and other topics of the human condition, Fractures’ combination of electronic chillwave, dreamy pop vibes and lush warm vocals come together and create some of the most pleasing soundscapes I have heard of late.
Listen to this podcast of a phone conversation I had with Mark, discussing his new fandom, thoughts on new music, arrested development and favourite superpowers.
FOR THE POLYPHONIC PIXEL
prOphesy sun is a a multidisciplinary performance artist and musician who lives in East Vancouver. Her latest offering, Bird Curious, is a collection of songs that weave together elements of vocal improvisation, organic room noises and environmental vibrations to create emotive spaces, exploring the fleeting realm of the time. The kicker? It was recorded entirely on an iPhone. Over the past few years she’s built herself up as one of the main creatives of the vibrant East Side scene, performing with Tyranahorse, Spell and Her Jazz Noise Collective, to name a few. Haunting and surreal, Bird Curious was released May 1, 2012.
The Polyphonic Pixel: What made you decide to record your album on an iPhone?
prOphesy sun: First and foremost, music for me is immediate. In my art, my performance tends to be in the moment. Recording on the iPhone was just another style of working in the moment. I’ll have a tune in my head, and then I’ll just record it. For me, another reason why I chose to use this medium is that something that has that feeling of immediacy has limitations too – sometimes my phone will run out of memory space so I have to make room. Another thing is that if I’m biking, or hearing the rain falling, I can record the space I’m in. In the past I have used soundscapes from recordings with a hand recorder, to capture the space I was in at that moment in time.
PP: You’ve told people you tend to do things in “one go.” Why?
ps: I am an improvisor so it’s really in the moment; its just right there, it’s what comes out of me. There’s a vision in some ways, aspects of altering something, but it would lose some of its originality and I’m interested in the source of things. When I go with that emotion or feeling, it will take me somewhere.
PP: How do you feel about people describing your work? Do you feel like people are constantly missing the mark?
ps: It can be awkward or disconcerting sometimes. I feel lucky that anyone would listen to me because it’s a very personal practice that I’m sharing with the world. It’s interesting to hear people clarify things for me, like when I’m doing things in the moment, I have no sense of how it fits with things. It’s like a reality check. I come back down to reality and have others put it into everyday culture.
PP: Bird Curious is your third album. Were there events, ideas or things you felt especially inspired by?
ps: Things for me tend to run along three angles. I love serenades, in not only present and the past, but potential serenades where I could explore if I loved another person, and how I would love them. My second is a real fantasy; I start to push my limitations on what I feel what my voice can do, and how it can evolve. It’s cool to make sounds I had no idea I could make. Finally, I like being open to just being. I sometimes find where these sounds come from, that it’s like a meditative process. The sooner I work within something, I can transport it somewhere else, like fantasy reality, chaotic ethereal space where I can create a soundscape.
PP: Tell me about your music video, for “Moments Pass.”
ps: The music video was not done by myself; I worked with designer Kendra Patton. Her and I got together and I told her I was putting together some work. Her and I were in contact with another mutual friend who was renting space in an apartment building that was to be condemned a week later, so I lined up everything with one crew and used that same space for the video.
PP: Do you find your style of making music to shift, or change since your first album?
ps: I’m moving more into using text or words; in the past I was so focused on finding the melody but now that’s evolving a lot more into language. I’ve really focused on the voice. In my second album, I was shifting a lot between the instruments I work with: a broken harmonica, a kazoo and some broken electronics and sound samples. My first album used a lot more sound samples and my voice, but this album is really just my voice. The evolution of my music now is really about me really pushing my voice more and more, learning about how it’s an innate tool with endless possibilities.
Check out the music video for prOphesy sun’s “Moment’s pass”:
Bido Lito! Magazine is a new arts and music publication, representing the local talents of Liverpool’s finest. I made this video to showcase the vision behind the publication, in time with the soft launch of the new website.
As the Online Editor at Bido Lito!, I made some sound friends and had a wonderful time learning about the music scene in Merseyside over the past year.
These pink pages will be sorely missed.
FOR THE LIVERPOOL ECHO
Meet The Thespians, Liverpool’s budding punk quartet, and my newest musical obsession.
With Paul Thespian as the helm and frontman, the band boasts three other members, with the lovely Jess Branney on guitar, Danny Hall on drums and Phill Gornall on bass.
I caught up with them for a video interview after they’d played an acoustic set for BBC Radio, to talk about what it’s like to be an indie Liverpool band.
FOR THE BLOCK MAGAZINE
Static on the Wire, by Holy Ghost!, is arguably one of the best combinations of deep funk, ferocious percussion and pillow-talk lyricism sure to make the most uptight of British nannies drop their panties. Loaded with satin romance driven by fat, bass-heavy disco beats, Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser, the mortal beings behind the music, have deep sensibilities lining their hearts. The electronic duo, hailing from Brooklyn, could easily be described as the epitome of the American dream—from two kids running amok in the streets of New York to two glowing beacons of creative prosperity.
Frankel and Millhiser met at an elementary in Manhattan, and instantly became friends. “I don’t remember exactly the first time we met, although it was in the second grade. I suspect we met somewhere in the hallway,” Millhiser says, before taking a long drag on his American Spirit cigarette. He’s quick to correct the assumption that him and Frankel were partners in juvenile tomfoolery. “We were pretty good kids. Everybody thinks it’s so crazy we grew up there, but none of my friends did crazy drugs or got pregnant or anything. We had so little time to get bored or get into trouble. I think boredom breeds serious trouble.”
Twenty minutes later, singer Frankel tells a slightly more familiar story of parental tough love. Raised in a strict Jewish household, Frankel’s early life set the bar for high expectations. “Our parents didn’t tolerate any bullshit. Especially from me as their first kid. When I got to high school I did my share of NYC hooligan antics, but growing up, school was definitely important.”
Partly planned, and partly accidental, Frankel’s conversation angled itself more and more like a therapy session. While much of their music is dirty, suggestive and infectious on the dance floor, the duo is incredibly grounded, despite having achieved huge successes early in life. With doting parents, the band’s choice to be professional musicians was not always the easiest family conversation.
“When I was in another band with Nick, we got a record deal when we were 17 years old, with Capitol Records,” Frankel says. “We got the deal during senior year, and I was like “Fuck college!” but my parents were like “What? We just spent 17 years of private school tuition for you to be in a band?” So they were a little skeptical at first, for sure.”
Now that Frankel and Millhiser have achieved critical acclaim from all over the world, their parents have mellowed out. Both of their parents come out to all their shows in New York, and even dance up storms at their DJ sets. “Now they say they supported us the whole time, that being musicians was their idea!” Frankel laughs, flicking the ashen embers off his preferred Camel brand.
Much of the Holy Ghost! sound comes from pure, unadulterated production. Abstaining from the digital-heavy equipment that has often become the recording norm, the electro group’s silken disco sound is instrumentally authentic. Millhiser even abstains from listening to music on headphones. “I hate the way modern rock records are recorded,” he says. “Everything is super compressed, every take is edited to perfection, and everything is autotuned. Everyone knows autotune and it’s like everything’s gotta be perfectly on key. To me, it sounds horrendous and it just sucks all the fun and spontenaiety out of it.”
FOR THE BLOCK MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT THE ORIGINAL STORY HERE
If I wasn’t getting called a faggot I honestly don’t think I’d be pushing the envelope far enough.
Acid washed denim. Rainbow coloured war paint. Anthematic new wave. These are the things that Special Affections are made of. Hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, John O’Regan has made a name for himself as the shimmering, gender-bending artist and epicentre of Diamond Rings. With a strong penchant for retro basketball attire and a love of David Bowie, Regan seamlessly weaves together all the best artifacts of the 1980s. Although he’s probably best known as the bespectacled guitarist in techno rock outfit The D’Ubervilles, Regan’s solo work shines as vividly as his bejwelled name implies. The 25-year-old gave us some time to talk about his debut, which was released October 26th.
You’ve been described before as a gender-bending glam rocker in the same style as David Bowie. How have you been received in the hipster-heavy music scene in Toronto?
I don’t really think about Toronto being a hipster hotbed as much as a great place where my friends and I live and work on our art and music. The whole concept of something being hipster is fraught with so many contradictions that I try to avoid thinking about it altogether. The ultimate in cool is being yourself and not giving a second thought to whether or not you’re going to end up as a “Do” or a “Don’t” in the Sunday style section. Toronto, of course, is one of my favourite places to be myself.
A lot of musicians who wield an original, unusual genre often get stereotyped. Have you had to break though any particular stereotypes, or felt misunderstood?
My entire life, really. I think everyone feels as though they can’t relate at some point in their lives, and expressing those feelings openly is what Diamond Rings is all about. I cut a fairly striking figure when I’m all dressed up so obviously I have to deal with homophobes and jerks all the time. That’s part of the process though, challenging others by first challenging myself. If I wasn’t getting called a faggot I honestly don’t think I’d be pushing the envelope far enough.