Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Tidal Sleep - Tiburon

I had no plans for any concerts before Ólafur Arnalds in Vienna until Reini (Our Ceasing Voice) mentioned Touché Amoré was playing in Munich. This would add another country to my trip and an early concert! Heeeeell yeeeaaaah!!

The Tidal Sleep opened the show and I have to say I was very impressed. I found myself closing my eyes fairly often, just taking in the music. Reini, Sevi, and I couldn't stop talking about them on the way back home, about the progression in their music and that beautiful mixture of various emotions.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Ramblings: Italy

Italy was kind of a last minute decision for this trip. Originally I was going to have a 14 hour layover in Milano. However, realizing how close my friends in Trento was to Innsbruck I figured I'd just skip my flights to Budapest and just start in Italy.

I spent my first 10 hours wandering Milano. It wasn't anything I imagined. The downtown area was alright but the further out you wandered the considerably dirtier it got. I made the mistake of putting my hands on the rail a few times.
However, I still liked it. While I generally try to avoid the shopping areas, there is one in particular that is absolutely exquisite. But my favourite part was just chilling at some park watching the dogs and a dad teach his kid how to operate a toy boat.

That evening I took the train to Trento, connection in Verona. Because of a mixup I ended up arriving fairly late. Evita came up the steps to greet me. The last I saw her, face to face, was in London last year. After a long hug we went to meet up with Marce, her boyfriend, waiting for us at the car. We both greet each other with rocker horns and an enthusiastic hug. Both of us had heard so much about each other and were both excited to finally meet in person.

The next day Evita took me on a nice bus ride into the mountains. She had some English classes to teach in Arco. When people say, "Such-and-such is a romantic city" I just thought, "yeah alright..." Well, Arco was quite romantic. I wandered the claustrophobic streets of the tiny, intimate town. The streets were a nice brick and rounded stone, not uncomfortably uneven but not so boring and flat. These weren't just pedestrian streets but veins and arteries through the town. Occasionally a residential car or a delivery truck would creep through, to where you'd have to step back into a small nook in the wall. The buildings were worn but fairly well-kept. I loved it there.
A large hill skirted the side of the town. Atop the hill was the remnants of a castle that is supposed to have dated back in the 1000s. Scaling up the hill I bumped into some locals, one spoke English quite well. I was informed that our presidential candidate, Rick Santorum's family came from this area. Although, we all agreed that we didn't like him. Hah hah. The next couple hours I spent taking photos looking down at the towns below, the beautiful mountains in front of me, the rooster wandering the garden, taking a solo tour of the castle, and talking to the wonderful Italian lady about all sorts of topics. As I was conversing with her I kept thinking, "THIS is why I travel!!" Having great conversation with people of different lifestyles and cultures is just so much more gratifying than just seeing the sights. Eventually I had to part from her and meet up with Evita after her class.

Saturday we made the decision to go to Venezia (Venice). I didn't originally plan to go there. But since Evita mentioned it I thought, "I might as well!" We had a small one hour layover in Verona. It was enough to get a quick lunch, go into town for a second then run back to the train station. And run we did. We caught the train within at most two minutes.
I was actually getting quite excited about Venezia... and then we got off the train and WAM tourists. Oh there were so many tourists. "How can this be the most romantic city with so many tourists, so many of the same shops, so many stupid sticky ball vendors trying to sell you some crappy toy?!" We wandered further into the city. Tourists became more and more scarce and it actually became rather nice. However, the street ground (which, by the way, are foot traffic only) seemed to lack character. Arco streets were great! These were stone streets but they were so even and flat. However, once you looked up you were in a complex labyrinth of various sized streets, from fairly large to so narrow only one person could fit at a time. I thought that was cool. But graffiti ruined the sides of buildings that were already worn and torn, like an old man that has suffered a lot. As we wandered the city I didn't see romance, I saw a sadness of a beautiful city destroyed by excessive tourism. Arco is far, far more romantic.

Sunday was Marce's dad's birthday. We all crammed into a tiny car and drove up into the mountains of the tiny village of Kamauvrunt. The road was steep and treacherous. The higher elevation you went the smaller the road became until it was only one car width. Periodically we'd have to move over to an unpacked nook for passing cars. It was... interesting. I felt myself clenching my butt a few times, hah hah. We arrived at a cozy restaurant in Kamauvrunt where we had a five course with unlimited wine and some great conversation. As I felt the alcohol take its effect I found myself laughing as the people around me were conversing in Italian. Certain words were distinguishable and noticing everyone's body language I occasionally understood the topic of conversation. After a wonderful lunch Marce, Evita, and I wandered outside in the dank cold admiring the beautiful sights of the Italian alpine taking photos of the scenery and of each other. The rest of the evening was spent back in Trento relaxing.

Ah, what a nice way to start this two month European excursion. No music, well, no concerts. Marce sang a lot. But the next part of the trip will start the music excursion with Touche Amore in Munich and a particular video project with Our Ceasing Voice. I'll expound on that soon.

Italy down, Austria next!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ramblings: Touring with Labirinto

Last year Labirinto had their first US tour. Thinking I may never get another chance to see them again, I went to their nearest show to Oklahoma... Chicago. The venue shafted them with a slot after the headliner at 1am and a short amount of time to play. It was still well worth the drive.

This year they decided to tour the US again, but this time a significantly larger tour. Once Muriel (drummer) told me they wanted to play in Oklahoma I took on the challenge of booking a show. I figured it'd be a difficult challenge but I had no clue how difficult. On top of that, I had a demo reel to compose and a massive two month Europe trip to plan. During this time I get a message from Muriel, "you should come up to Chicago and tour with us!!" I thought for a minute... then booked flights. A few days before my trip to Chicago the Oklahoma show was confirmed with two opening acts, Tele Mori and The Samurai Conquistadors.

The next few days were probably some of the most awesome travelling experiences of my life. The travelling lineup was Muriel (Drums), Erick (Guitar), Hugo (Guitar), Luis (Guitar), and Ricardo (Bass) with Gabe invited to just tag along, just like myself. Since Muriel puts a lot of the managing stress on her shoulders, I figured I'd alleviate a little and do a little co-managing, working the merch table, keeping track of sales, doing a little organizing, etc. Heh, I can't just stand still and do nothing, it's not in my nature.

I don't have much time right now to really describe my experiences. In a week there's just so much to write about. One thing that I do want to write about is their presence. After being on the road with them for almost a week I see this side of them, this goofy, normal side. But once they're up on stage it's like a transformation from these guys I joke around with into Labirinto. Suddenly this massive powerhouse is assaulting my ears with intense, beautiful music. Once they get off the stage after their set, there they are again. It's a beautiful thing, seeing someone as normal as I am producing sounds that consistently blow me away.

I've had some unique experiences through my travels, but I have to say that this one was one of the most amazing ones.

If you're in the US and happen to be anywhere near their stops, go. You will absolutely not regret it.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Storm Of Light - Leaden Tide

So, I've been touring with the Brazillian Post-Rock band, Labirinto, for a few days before my massive two month Europe trip. Our last minute plans to play in Omaha on Friday fell through so we started our drive to Kansas City. As we arrive we started hitting up the record stores, dropping off some CDs, vinyls, and flyers for the show on Saturday. At one of the shops the guys decide we're all going to the Corrosion of Conformity show. After all, we had a day off, might as well hit up a concert we don't have to play at. Coincidentally, the first opener is a band that we bumped into at a trucker stop on the way to Kansas City. Of course, being the way I am, after noticing another tour van pulled into the stop I had to run over and find out where they were heading to and the name of the band. As much as I wanted to see them play the moment I randomly met them, I didn't think that our plans would eventually have us actually seeing them play. And to be honest, they were my favourite of the night.

I can't help but wonder what the chances of that happening

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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Rocket Miner - It's The End Of The World (But This Is Just The Beginning)

When pertaining to music exploration, there is nothing quite as exciting as discovering an awesome band at a concert.
Rocket Miner opened up for Labirinto last night in Chicago. They started as we finished setting up the merch table. My ears perked and suddenly I found myself running to hear them play. These guys are a five piece with three guitars. The only time I remember being smacked with a wall of sound like this had been at Caspian shows. Ah, it felt nice.

We will definitely be listening to them on our way to our next show in Iowa.

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Friday, March 02, 2012

6LA8 / MMI / Asfandyar Khan - Breathless

I always feel bad concerning 6LA8. They constantly pump out great, new stuff but I try to keep from repeating artists so much on my blog. However, there are moments that I just have to share. 6LA8 AND Asfandyar Khan... oh this is glorious. This is also the first I've heard MMI. And I have to say, I really like his stuff.

This song is on a collaboration album between 6LA8 and MMI, Reveries, which can be downloaded on Bandcamp (name your price).

Asfandyar Khan
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