From the opening notes of track one on Alexandra's hauntingly beautiful new release, Ecdysis, through the album's coda, "Cycles", this multi-talented, Portland-based artist casts off all inhibitions to create a deeply personal soundscape that defies categorization. The layered work brings new discoveries with each listen. Favorite tracks include the subtly rhythmic "Roller" and the hypnotic "Membrane." The Tasty Turntable recently caught up with Alexandra for five quick questions:
What music are you listening to these days?
I have been resonating with ethereal, ambient works as well as house, electronic, and hip-hop. I have been inspired by producers and visionaries Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Björk, FKA Twigs, Kelly Lee Owens, Tyler, The Creator, Anenon, James Blake, and Dirty Projectors. I go back and forth between hyped and calm sounds, getting lost in the worlds that these artists paint. They are true composers.
Do you have a favorite playlist?
One of my favorite activities is to craft playlists on Spotify. I’ve compiled a collection of songs that remind me of basking in summer light or sunbathing by the lake. It’s called, quite literally, “sunbathing by the lake” and is full of gems from João Gilberto, Angelo de Augustine, Amália Rodrigues and more. Excited to play it in headphones at a nearby river for an upcoming 80-degree Oregon day.
What excites you about your new release?
What excites me most about the album is the experimentation with new textures. I found liberation in exploration. This is the first album where I used samples and electronic techniques so it was exciting to stretch my idea of how my music could sound. What elevated this album over previous releases started with breaking my own perfectionistic ideals. I started listening to artists outside my usual listening scope, releasing the self-imposed expectation that I needed to stick to a certain genre, and following my gut for compositional arrangements.
What else would you like people to know about you and your music?
This album was born after a summer of touring through Europe with my good friend and talented musician, Adam (The Duke of Norfolk). We spent five weeks walking, biking, taking trains, planes, and buses through the U.K., France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany. We visited Annecy, a lakeside French town I grew up in where I first learned to ride a bike, where my love for swimming began, and where I had the SUPREME privilege of eating croissants everyday after school. We continued our journey through various mountain landscapes, urban jungles, and quiet villages. The chaos and calm brought a lot of memories back of traveling the world as a young kid. I archived these experiences in my noggin until I found a recording space that felt comfortable and distraction-free. I wanted these feelings to breathe and have a home of their own. I set up a little studio in my childhood home in San Diego, CA, where I spent hours playing with sounds and arrangements like a little kid in a sandbox. Thus, Ecdysis was born.
Where can people hear you?
People can hear me on Spotify, iTunes, and Bandcamp! Thank you for giving your ears and hearts so generously to the music.
More on Alexandra: Last summer, freshly buzzing with inspiration after a five-week European tour, Alexandra (formerly Ali Burress) was eager to begin production on her fourth studio album. The songs of Ecdysis ([ek-duh-sis], the shedding of an older skin) cocoon listeners in a sense of childlike wonder and exploration—perhaps because Alexandra recorded and mixed the album entirely in her childhood home in San Diego. Encased in a more mature production style than her previous albums, Ecdysis is an 8-song ode to our inner child. Entranced by the processes of molting and metamorphosis, the 21-year-old Portland songwriter/producer speaks to how perfectionism can block the flow of creative consciousness, the trials of remaining openhearted and vulnerable in a world that wants to harden us, and reopening our innate receptivity to the messages being communicated to us in the dream world and waking life.
Inspired by relentless whisperings of the sea, chattering crickets in tall grass, and bubbling waterfall alcoves in deep forests, the trance-like rhythms of Ecdysis induce the feeling of flying in a dream; soaring above luminous, shifting terrain. Alexandra describes her recording process as finding a sonic home—somewhere she can comfortably return after periods of wandering to map the inner and outer landscapes she has explored. The sonic atmospheres Alexandra produces are shaped by her deep connection to nature and a childhood spent roaming the globe, which created constellation lines in her psyche spanning across mountain ranges, desert sands, and turquoise waters.
Here's a fun playlist featuring musical parents and their children. Most often, the parental legend is too hard to live up to (think: Sean and Julian Lennon, Lisa Marie Presley and Nancy Sinatra). On rare occasion though, the offspring surpasses the parent (think: Whitney Houston and Miley Cyrus...though in her case it was not such a hard act to follow). In a few instances, we even find three generations of musicians (the Carter Family, the Williams' and the Guthries).
A couple of notes: Sting's son Joe Sumner is in the band Fiction Plane. David Crosby's son (James Raymond) plays with him in the band CPR. The band 3T features three of Tito Jackson's sons. Ally Palmer of the Scottish punk band TV21 is the dad of Michael Palmer of We Were Promised Jetpacks.
Here's the family affair:
A rare look at Prince leading his band on jazz piano in Osaka 1990. He was an amazing artist.
He could play a guitar just like ringin' a bell! One of the founding fathers of rock and roll. Here's a collection of his songs, both familiar and not, paying tribute to this one-of-a-kind artist.
We lost so many great artists this year. Here is a comprehensive playlist to the ones who left us during 2016. RIP
Meet Molly Moore and Brandyn Burnette. These talented young artists just may be the musical power-couple of the future. Whether working together or on their solo projects, these two do it all: they write, sing, play and produce emotional and empowering songs that are beginning to get the music industry's attention.
Molly's songwriting path led her to work writing solely for others for a few years before she returned her focus to her own signing and performing career. As part of that process, Molly collaborated on hits such as Felix Cartal's "Ready for Love" and Dubvision's "Hollow." As Molly describes it, her music is "honest, and it comes from a real place." Her pop-sensibility blends with her lifelong inspiration from classic singer/songwriters to create modern, thoughtful songs that have you dancing at one moment and deeply reflecting the next. Find out more about Molly here: mollymooreofficial.com/index.html
Molly's boyfriend, Brandyn, has music in his blood. He has been playing and performing since he was a young child and he hasn't stopped since! His dad (R&B artist, O'Bryan), had a hit in the 1980s with "The Gigolo." Brandyn's songs reflect his life-experiences. Whether it is the mid-west influences of his St. Louis home or the life-changing inspirations he gained at NYU, Brandyn's work shows a maturity that belies his young age. Add to this a dynamic stage presence, and Brandyn really is a complete package. Learn more about Brandyn here: brandynburnette.com/index.html
In addition to their solo projects, 2016 is also shaping up to be a breakthrough year for Molly and Brandyn on their joint progressive-pop project, Cosmos & Creature. The pair feature on two massive club records (Lost Kings’“Marathon” and Vicetone’s “Bright Side”) and have a much-anticipated EP on the way.
We just can't wait to watch these rising stars shine!
For the past year or so, I've been watching the Denver music scene explode! From the dynamic afro-beat sounds of Atomga to the breakout grooves of Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats to the Indie sounds of The Kissing Party, Colorado's front range has become one of the country's rising music hot spots.
Things have only become more groovalicious with the recent release of the outstanding new album, MataMata, from Denver’s electro-funk collective, Tnertle (on Super Best Records). The man behind the curtain (and behind the bass) is Trent Campbell. Campbell composed all the tracks on the new album and his expert production takes us on a musical, cross-genre, adventure moving seamlessly across classic funk, laid back chill, electro-swing, neo-soul and more. Campbell always keeps things interesting and this well-produced collection hits all the right notes. These eleven tracks have quickly become my go-to soundtrack for many late night gatherings.
The dynamic title track, MataMata, channels the best grooves of Thievery Corporation, while the sample-laden, Dance All Night, showcases Lily Fangz' fine hip-hop vocals over a tight horn arrangement. Back-to-back, these two tracks combine for one of the best one-two punches from any album released in 2015.
Tnertle knows how to groove. Check out the driving "Beautiful Mind" featuring Ray Salazar holding his own over the funky, horn-laden beats. As the band's press release accurately points out, "Tnertle has evolved into an 8-piece collective with every musician holding an intricate piece of the musical puzzle. Leah Concialdi uses her arranging background to utilize a musical sound palate of baritone saxophone, soprano saxophone, and electronic wind instrument (EWI) to fill out Campbell’s melodies in the live setting." On this album, the amazingly talented, multi-instrumental Concialdi (who also plays on Nathaniel Rateliff's recent chart-busting album) is joined by her ATOMGA band mate, Alice Hansen, on trumpet to give the group a full-ranged, dynamic horn section. The horns are really what makes this album so special. Whether adding punch to the instrumental track "Menertle" or swing to the oh-so-fun "Hector Schwing," Concialdi and crew stand out from the crowd.
Definitely look for them live this winter if you are in the Denver area. Tnertle is a band to watch.
Give Tnertle a listen. You won't be sorry!