Minnesota returns to Reno

October 22, 2013

It’s been only six months since I sat down to write about Minnesota the last time he was in town.

That was a lucky night for me – the product of a last-minute struggle to make something out of nothing, snag an interview with an artist I like, and call it a night after a few Pabsts.

But now, six months later, I have already made contact with the publicists to, once again, hang out with Christian Bauhofer, the 24-year-old from Santa Cruz whose “psychedelic bass music” has only grown since my last experience with him.

One thing hasn’t changed, though: it’s still ridiculously hard to perform a successful Google search on him.

Not much has been written about him since my interview back in March, which leaves me wanting more as I find myself counting down the days until he makes his return to Reno on Friday, Oct. 25 for his Collective Identity tour at The Knitting Factory. With support like Brillz and G. Jones, the Halloween party is one to not be missed.

Notably, the biggest post during the last six months on his Soundcloud, which I stalk,  period has been his “Mile High” EP. This leads me to think that he’s probably got an LP up his sleeves, and that we will (hopefully) get to hear some stuff he has been keeping safe on Friday night.

Scroll to the bottom of his Soundcloud stream and listen to the first thing he ever posted: a bitchin’ and dubbed out remix of “California Dreamin’.” Fast forward more than two years later, through his “Altered States” EP and to present day, it’s clear to hear that he has fundamentally stayed the same.

But change is a constant, and a trained and well-listened ear can hear the subtle changes that have elevated his music from simply dubbed out remixes of past and present classics, to a, dare I say, psychedelic journey through the entirety of his sets.

He has upped his BPMs slightly; no doubt probably an unconscious nod to the changing times of music (especially with the explosion of Trap). This affect helps the psychedllic element in his music, while you he still maintains heavy bass lines throughout. Listen to “California Dreamin’” remix, then check out his “Starry Eyed (REMIX VIP)” and tell me it doesn’t embody everything that is “psychedelic.”

Or his classic original “Yoga Pants,” which not only proved his worth as an original artist, but also showcased how close he stays to his roots. The tempo isn’t as fast as “Starry Eyed,” but, damn – the bass is there, and it takes you back to those good ol’ first few tracks of heavy bass, which is why he is here, after all.

I have had multiple days, now, to prepare for Friday and my first follow-up interview with Christian, and all I have for him currently is to tell him his buddy Grant (aka GRiZ) says hi and misses him (“Make SURE you tell him!” Grant said to me last week), and that I am dying to see what he has up his sleeves.

So it looks like I’ll be going in au natural again. What say you, fans? Any lingering questions for this musician on the up and up?

Feel free to email me at music.meganm@gmail.com if you want me to ask.

Otherwise, I expect to see you all there Friday night.[cs_message_box color=”#COLOR_CODE” background=”#COLOR_CODE” border_color=”#COLOR_CODE” title=”Message Title”]Message Content[/cs_message_box]

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GRiZ on social standards, improving his craft, and mac ‘n cheese and ravioli

October 16, 2013


GRiZ takes his Rebel Era Tour with Two Fresh and Anvil Smith to the Tahoe Biltmore on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Doors are at 9 p.m., show at 9:30.

Griz Rebel Era

Tuesday is my busiest day of the week.

I rarely get a chance to sit down, let alone have a phone conversation. I guess it just depends on the person.

“I had a Superman morning today,” Grant Kwiecinski excitedly said over the phone. “My album is dropping today! And I ate an apple, drank some coffee, smoked a cigarette, and I really want to go skateboarding, but I don’t think I’ll have time.”

You might not recognize the real name of the 23-year-old Detroit native, but rather better know him as GRiZ. And he’s making his return to Tahoe area Wednesday night at the Tahoe Biltmore on his Rebel Era tour, the album which he dropped just minutes after I hung up the phone with him.

It’s also rare for me to talk to an artist on the phone. It’s the nature of the industry, Kwiecinski says, that everyone is so busy all the time.

It speaks volumes of what this artists connection to his fans means that he took time out of his day to do this while he was touring and releasing an album.

Different from his last album, “Mad Liberation,” “Rebel Era” is the first record to drop on Liberation Records. It has been made on the road. focusing more on beats around 100 bpm and feeding off of a raw, live energy that he gets from his crowds while creating it, being fortunate enough to have them give honest feedback first. Where it lacks in extensive amounts of time writing and rewriting in a studio, it prevails in its honest spirit. For Kwiecinski, “Rebel Era” is conscious movement that is happening across the world — an effort in connectivity, and recognizing that power in numbers makes even the smallest voice heard.

“Rebel Era was created in a time where people are rejecting the social standards,” Kwicinski said. “I was thinking about that and that’s how it came out sonically. It’s not an ‘I’ thing, it’s a ‘we’ thing. It’s not just ‘me,’ it’s ‘us.'”

And while he says this, I can hear the truth and passion in his voice on the other end of the line, while he prepared for the night’s show in Chico. He means it when he says this, and he clearly believes in spreading his knowledge through his music to the world.

“If I wasn’t doing this, I would be teaching,” he said. He then laughs, “And I would probably be teaching music.”

As a master saxophonist, GRiZ exists in a music world where creating the newest, freshest thing is constantly in demand. But what does it mean to be new, and how do you get there? As the bubble that is electronic music continues to trend itself and maintain an ever growing culture, he’s not so much concerned with where he sees it headed, but rather what the intention is behind the music.

“You know, sometimes you want mac ‘n cheese, sometimes you want raviolis,” he says of change. “You can’t do the same thing forever. All these genres, they’re just regurgitated. I just try to do more.”

The self-manifesting singularity of this movement, this culture, is really futile to examine, and nowhere is that exemplified more than in GRiZ’s music and personality. It’s not so much about where the music industry, particularly this one is headed, but rather that we learn a deeper meaning from it; a sense of cooperation that, sometimes, I believe can only be had through the music people share together.

“My intention is to create something honest and true to myself,” he said. “To have some kind of social awareness, and make people think twice, or three, four, or five times.”


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Full Disclosure

October 11, 2013


By guest writer Stephanie Self

The first thing that caught my attention about UK producers Disclosure was their name. It has the air of both intimacy and mystery, as if to suggest that their music will lure you in with its inherently vulnerable qualities, but always keep you listening with all that it might not reveal. The brother duo will be will be making their debut in Reno at The Knitting Factory on Saturday, Oct. 12 featuring T. Williams.

Brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence began learning music at a young age thanks to coming from a family of musicians. Howard spent much time playing drums throughout his life and was more interested in rock music until elder brother Guy introduced him to EDM. The two were particularly entranced by the innovative sounds of dubstep because it was like nothing they’d ever heard before. This revelation only affirmed beliefs for Howard that original sounds were virtually nonexistent for instruments like guitars nowadays “I grew up playing drums since I was three and I just got a bit bored of it all,” Howard said in a recent interview with the Huffington Post UK. “People have been playing the guitar and drums for 50-60 years now and I feel everything has become a bit done, there are only so many chords and guitary sounds you can do.” They turned their insatiable need for creating original, unique music into something tangible, and the two began learning how to produce electronic music shortly thereafter.

When I listened to their music for the first time, I was immediately struck by its intricacy and nearly surgical precision. Disclosure’s seamless blending of house and UK garage music with the catchiness of a pop single finds a space within the rhythmic bass lines, synth-driven chords and dancing beats where they all fit harmoniously together; no component is more important than the other.

And in an era of Electronic Dance Music when some producers are pushing sounds further from anything resembling melody (like Skrillex’s chainsaw dubstep), or forcibly combining genres that do not belong together (such as Avicii’s attempt at country-electro-house; there’s a reason why it hasn’t been done before…), Disclosure manages to create tasteful, cleanly produced, catchy dance music. What is more, they never push the music further than it needs to go. Rather than transforming a perfectly rich modulated bass line into screeching nails on a chalkboard, they allow the music to reach its own potential with a catchy groove… and let it stay there. It’s a rare quality for EDM producers to exhibit such poise, but Disclosure does.

They also bring a different approach to their live shows than many of their EDM contemporaries. While the most audiences could ever hope for is  a person standing behind a table with a laptop and a pad with some flashing buttons on it and maybe some cool images and lights to amplify the atmosphere, Disclosure’s live show incorporates live instrumentation along with many pads with flashing lights and laptops. Howard plays a small electric drum kit complete with a cowbell, keyboards, plays samples and even lends vocals. Meanwhile, Guy also plays keyboards, bass, and sings lead vocals on the track “F for You,” all while simultaneously turning knobs, flipping switches, and playing samples at the exact second necessary.

The most exciting part about this duo is that they’re only getting started. They’ve only just begun their first international tour and they’ve already been nominated for a Mercury Prize. Not to mention that they’re the hottest artists to collaborate with right now in the EDM world.

To disclose is to reveal information that was once secret, and the secret’s out on Disclosure’s massive talent.

Disclosure feat. T Williams plays at The Knitting Factory on Saturday, Oct. 12. All ages, tickets $22.50, doors at 8 p.m., show at 9 p.m.

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Ambassador of Funk: The Polish Ambassador takes over Tahoe

October 2, 2013
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My first experience with The Polish Ambassador was at The Bounce this year. It was one of those frantic moments you have at a festival — attempting to check out the schedule, run between stages, and manage to find time in between to actually experience something at all.

It was close to midnight, and I was trying to find Beats Antique, whom I had never seen until then. Coming up from the banks of the Feather River past the lookout stage, I never knew it would be much longer until I made it to the very end of Beats Antique’s set. Because the Ambassador had taken over the the Lookout Stage.

Who was this transient man? He’s not a political symbol, despite the misnomer he goes by. But it goes without saying that he is an ambassador in his field of music, making people stop dead in their tracks and forget about what their goal was in the first place.

Kicking off his fall tour on Thursday night with DJ Vadim, the Polish Ambassador will illuminate the Tahoe Biltmore in Crystal Bay for not only an stimulating musical performance, but visually as well, with lights done by Liminus.

It is only fitting that David Sugalski calls himself an ambassador. He has come a long way from Philadelphia, his hometown, through Chicago and Colorado to the bay area, where he has held a fair number of business jobs he has openly admitted to hating.

Only after having been fired multiple times (“I don’t think I’ve ever not been fired from a job” he said in an interview with Westword blogs) did he realize that he needed to make music his full time job. He chose to take these experiences – of college and miserable jobs, of degrees and transient stations in life – and channel them into his music.
As a result, he has dabbled in many different sub-genres of electronic music, but it always gets right to you. There is an almost magical quality to his sound; a sound made possible by his heavy use of synths, creating for something classifiable as dreamy, yet this doesn’t distract from the deep dance groove persistent in his creations.. Paired with unique percussion in his songs, it’s interesting to see how he has both stayed true to himself yet evolved at the same time.

Which is not surprising: the ambassador is known for this. He has said in interviews that upon waking up in the morning, the first thing he does is rest. Rather then head straight to what most think of as “work,” he appreciates the concept of work from both a technical and relaxed standpoint

“I feel into myself and think about what feelings are coming through this body today based on my experiences yesterday and the day before with the interactions with everyone,” the ambassador said in an interview with Westword.
Visually appealing, successful business man, and open to change, The Polish Ambassador will put on a show that will distract you from your intended purpose, perhaps taking you to the place you were meant to be rather than where you thought you should be.

The Polish Ambassador kicks off his fall tour with DJ Vadim at the Tahoe Biltmore, Thursday, October 3. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Doors are at 9 p.m. and DJ VADIM starts at 9:30. Limited tickets are still available at New Moon Natural Foods in Truckee and Tahoe City, Melting Pot in Reno, The Tahoe Biltmore Cage, Mad About Music in South Tahoe and www.www.staging.freshbakin.flywheelsites.com