By: Jordannah Elizabeth
I’m positive most people don’t know anything about my musical background. I have emerged out of obscurity as a music industry professional, and my music career gets pushed further and further to the wayside as my professional career evolves. Nonetheless, I have to express that I knew the The Changing Colors before this heart-breakingly elegant band existed. I remember when they were Pale Room and pent on making young and impressionable hippies dance. I was one of those young hippie high school drop outs who was pent on learning how to be a singer/songwriter and overbearingly drove myself in the middle of their formidable and somewhat tightly wound (which was my 19 year old opinion in those days) world. I did my best to soak in all the sounds, attitude, and musical purpose I could so I could go out into the world and showcase what I learned and experienced.
I’m also positive that this intense and incredibly talented musical duo (who are twin brothers, Ian and Conor Bourgal) were not aware that there was a method to my madness and irresponsible use of hallucinogens. I admired them very much. I was so different and bared a strong talent that was so unpolished that I think understanding Pale Room and them understand me really took a back seat to our separate interests until years later, when I floated back into town in 2009 from Los Angeles. I blew back into Colorado looking like a Barbie doll (I had bleach blond dreadlocs, and my skirts were shorter than a baby’s pinkie finger) and I was invited by mutual friends to see The Changing Colors play live in Pueblo, Colorado.
I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I was going to hear Ian and Conor’s new solo project, but what I experienced was a deeply spiritual, lovecentric, passionate collection of songs that were executed with strange commentary about girls and Cross bearing homeless people between songs. Conor also told a story about how some tarot reading I gave him a million years ago turned out to be a prelude to his inevitable heartbreak, and new material for what would be their 2010 release, Ghost of Red Mountain.
The Changing Colors
Ghost of Red Mountain
The pseudo title track On Red Mountain is no where near the strongest song on the record, but of course, there is something creamy and intriguing about the first track of the album. I always thought Conor and Ian to be very simple composers, with exquisite taste and timing, so I really enjoyed the monotone, one note melody (which also incorporates a nice bluegrass diddy that is later replaced with Conor’s vocals) because it opened so many possibilities to experiment and add different textures to the harmony of On Red Mountain. The harmony of the track did offer mixed in rhythmic guitars patterns along with some digital (experimental) installations that were very tasteful.
That’s What My Love is For is my favorite song on the album. I think it’s my favorite The Changing Colors track in general. The song is fruitfully romantic and promising. The vocal harmonizing is flawless, and the instrumental embellishments are strongly touching. The song is so reassuring and definitely flirts with being a full on bluegrass gospel track. Conor’s relationship with a higher being is a very important element in this album. Whether he’s singing about life, God, or girls, you really find that he has an ability to commit to the existence of his personal winnings and failures.
No Wedding is probably the saddest song I’ve ever heard…next to a couple of Townes Van Sant tracks. The soft lyrical self deprecation and regret takes Conor to the point of cursing the choices he made in his past life. I guess if you’re going to lose love (I’ve had a couple of fiances myself), you might as well blame yourself. The song is very strong simply because of the honesty and the brokenness in Conor’s vocals and the ghostly rhythm guitar accompaniment. The song makes me want to sink in an old cabin and drink cheap wine (or whiskey, depending on the ex) and reflect on the utter betrayal of the heart that life can hand us time and time again.
For some reason when The Changing Colors bring female vocals into a song, it brings a bit of an aversion to me. I would hope that others would disagree because it’s completely an aesthetic taste and bares no serious criticism on Let Me Love You. Personally, I hear Bourgal go through all this anguish that when a woman’s voice is introduced into their music, I get a little ill in my spirit. In Let Me Love You , woman is harmonizing with Conor Bourgal’s vocals and it makes me wonder does he really know her perspective? Her singing the same lyrics would insinuate she is having the same emotional experience he is. Are the words of this duet words he has shunned or lives by? It’s all a bit eerie in my opinion, which is great, but I think The Changing Colors stand on very well on their own. Let Me Love You is a beautifully haunting song, I just can’t tell if it is one or two sided.
Red Rose is an interesting instrumental, with reverbed sounds of foot steps moving through what appears to be a wooded area, and an appearance by an electric guitar folk solo. The song is very short and introduces the next track, No Regret beautifully. No Regret is another favorite of mine. I find this song is a serious testament. The vocals are produced and portrayed a bit louder than the other tracks. The song is mixed fine, there is no imbalance with No Regret, but it really seems like Conor has made a choice, makes a promise, and wants it to be clear. “I’ll take my love for you to the grave.” He’s able to vocalise these words in a manner that is commanding and convincing which is very cool
I love gospel music and The Fight is a classic country folk gospel ballad that is wise and well done. It’s really inspirational and a very post modern and classy rendition of an old and timeless musical style and aesthetic.
Alice has a very intense reverb and deep echo effect on the vocals that is terribly creative and almost psychedelic. The experimental/psyche touches on Ghost of Red Mountain’s collection of otherwise traditional folk songs really highlights The Changing Colors’ talent for electo- acoustic production. I would go as far to say that you don’t have to be a professional musician or producer to recognize and appreciate the impressive production value of this album, and Alice in particular.
Telephone is another track that makes me feel a bit odd. Again, I’m not against The Changing Colors using female vocals because I understand what there are people that would consider this track a favorite on Ghost of Red Mountain. I really enjoy the diversity Telephone brings to the album. The song is well done and the vocals are professional. It shares a very sweet simplicity that comes across very well. I think I can appreciate this perspective a bit more than Let me Love You. Girls like using the phone and everyone wants to be reached by someone they love. I never planned on looking too deeply into this album. Ian and Conor take you as deep as they want you to go.
One thing I’ve learned about them and their music is that it is important to not assume anything. They are very multi-layered people and artists, but the layers are very specific and at the same time private. There is never a need to take more then The Changing Colors give you.
And finally with No More, we end with the truth.
If you wait long enough, Conor will eventually tell you what’s happening. The song is concise and a final last expression of heartbreak, disappointment, and innuendos of mysticism. Frankly, I think Conor hopes he will get a second chance in the after life, or on a different emotional level or plane to fix his mistakes and win back his losses.
I definitely believe The Changing Colors’ openness about their spiritual and Christian beliefs are absolutely sincere, but I also feel like the references to death and the after life have a lot to do with depression, redemption, resentment, and hope.
Ever since I saw The Changing Colors play live, I’ve been a believer. I left town a year before the album was complete and am reviewing it a year after its release. But as a fan, and a person who has watched the evolution of Ian and Conor’s musical exploits, I really have no problem with taking time out of my schedule to listen and analyze the depth of such an excellent and elegant folk record. It’s always a pleasure to enjoy an album that’s built on talent and intelligence…and not an effing promotional machine that has no soul. Ghost of Red Mountain has more to do with the presence of the soul than anything else I’ve heard.
You can hear Ghost of Red Mountain here:
Trabajo is hailing as one of our favorite new bands. They’re a Brooklyn based duo (Yuchen Lin and TJ Richards) who touch so deeply and honestly on post punk and experiential rock pressure points, it’s completely enjoyable and respectable. Make sure you take a listen to their new album, Slow Pageant EP. It is a great work of art and precision.
Keep your eyes open here for a full album review and make sure you start following the progress of Trabajo. They deserve every bit of acknowledgment they get.
Follow them on Facebook:
By: Jordannah Elizabeth
I don’t think it is a secret that The Dead Skeletons are one of my favorite bands. I’ve been listening to them faithfully since their debut in 2008. In celebration of the band’s upcoming physical release of their first full length album Dead Magick, I’d like to extend a full album review to you for one of the best albums released this year (…actually last year, 2010). The Dead Skeletons earn the respect of so many serious music connoisseurs because their songs are sound (art) installations. This is a band that not only considers their music as art, but actively intertwines their ideas with visual and fine art. Dead Magick is a is well produced, exciting, and grand album. Most importantly, many of the songs simply make me want to dance.The Dead Skeletons - Dead Magick
Dead Mantra is an energetic nine minute ode that chants the Spanish proverb (which the band has made famous and has inspired many tattoos and tee shirts) “He who fears death cannot enjoy life”. The song personally makes me want to bounce out of my seat. It reminds me of a 60’s inspired Tarantino film score with a touch of evil, and a perfectly blended twist of love. Om Mane Pene Hung, is a treble kissed experimental ballad that carries the album early on into a playful and and dark realm of imaginative sounds. Yet I have to admit that excitement rang into my heart when Kingdom of God started to chug its way into my speakers. Frankly, the album can be considered a psyche/pop album because of the uptempo tracks that introduce the tone for the album.
The first three songs make a serious statement and create an eerie but familiar musical atmosphere. Many of us have been listening to Dead Magick’s songs one by one (a collection of music videos have been released over the years before Dead Magick was compiled), so hearing these well liked tracks one after the other is an amazing treat. Psycho Dead begins with a very lofi intro with vintage voice overs, and then grooves into a very sexy motown-style theme. I felt like I was in the Bates Hotel, or running from Jack Nicholson in The Shining. I know it sounds cliche, but this song is such a great score for a horror film. Psycho Dead encompasses a very sensual side of murder and mayhem.
The Dead Skeletons can walk and still catch you with this entrancing song. Get on the Train has a less pop inspired aesthetic and starts to give off a no wave vibe. It’s really wonderful how The Dead Skeletons keep the light touches of hand percussion (tambourine and maracas) in the song because it keeps the tracks tied into a main audial theme of the entire album. If the small touches like that weren’t in this song, I would feel like the band steered away from the general tone of the record with Get on the Train. Dead Magick I drives you down a spiraled tunnel of emotion…as it should. It bares an almost industrial sound mixed with a Rocky Horror Picture Show piano riff that is so tongue and cheek it makes me smile. This album is full of fun and humor. Dead Magick l is a pleasure to listen to because you really begin to feel yourself going on a ride of Icelandic insanity, experimentation, and fun.
Ask Seek and Knock is a beautiful track. I find it to be rather touching. This song also slightly sits outside of the fun dance tracks and flirts with more shoegaze tones. Adding a sweet yet characteristic female vocal makes the track romantic and creative. I would consider it to be a well done psychedelic duet. LJÓSBERINN brings a great balance back to the album by creating a masculine tribal touch. There is still a female vocal in the song, but the song sounds like Ask and Seek and Knock inverted, which I think it terribly brilliant and strategic. Live! kind of reminds me of a lovely 80’s pop track. The Smiths? I going to get my ass kicked for typing this… Springstein? I really felt an awesome 80’s pop sounds that’s bold, unique, and all too good to turn away from. There are so many hidden sounds and ideas that are lost and found again in Live! that it makes a music lover like me giddy. I hear something new every time I listen to this song. It’s really playful and nostalgic. When the Sun Comes Up for the Last Time is my favorite track. I remember when it came out on youtube with a lovely video of Nonni and his children. I was instantly drawn to the sound. I’d never heard anything like this song before. It was different and surprising. It creates an aesthetic that is hard to compare. When The Sun Comes Up for the Last Time really does give you the feeling that you’ve made it to heaven and you’re swinging on a swing, enjoying the warm sun beaming down on you. It is a very happy song and makes post the apocalyptic music experience hopeful and comforting. It’s a beautifully refreshing track, and I like to think of it has a psyche rock lullaby.
The dirty snare sounds of Yama are invigorating and wakes you up from the euphoric atmosphere of the previous track. It reminds you that the fun times don’t last forever, but the music does. Yama resembles more of the first half of the album but is paced well enough that it doesn’t jolt you too much that you forget where you’ve been, where you’re going, and exactly where you are in the album. Yama is a touchy and moody track that has classic vocal whispers and breaths that seems to be a signature of The Dead Skeletons. Unfortunately, Dead Magick has to end sometime. Dead Magick II is the last track on the album and it brings us right back to where we started. After listening to this track, I decided that the album is cyclical. It really makes a ring around your spirit. Dead Magick II goes all out and really makes a final experimental push for the album. All of the songs are well put together and well contrived, so I’m glad the last track is formless. It’s like they’d been waiting to say that in the end, sound will do what it will, when it wants to…and so will the Dead Skeletons. It’s a testament that they are not trying to please anyone, and that they can be seriously experimental just as much as they can make psyche dance songs.
All in all, the album is brilliant, humorous at times, strategic, and one of the best sound installations I’ve ever experienced. For more info on the Dead Magick physical release go to: http://www.deadskeletons.com/
By: Jordannah Elizabeth
It took me a few weeks to get passed Ian’s “demons” to find the perfect timing to get some personal information out of him.
Ian Ottaway is a shoegazer, or “bootgazer”, (as he considers himself) relic and I thought it important to share his savvy with the world, and to take the time to properly hit on him.
Without further ado, let’s get to know AskiAN:
Hello Mr. Ottaway! Your name is Ian Ottaway yes?
AI -Oh hell yes it is. Pronounced eye-yun not eee-un. I’m also known as Asshole.I answer to that name whenever I hear it said. Robbie (BRMC), he calls me Captain, and sometimes Sailor. When my Mother is mad at me, she calls me IANALANOTTAWAY!
I remember when (a year or two ago) when you were really strung out and would post videos and music and weird shit for hours and hours on end on face book….I remember thinking when you got the “Ask Ian” gig, “Hmm, he made a career out of the insane over blogging he was doing on FB“… who gave you the opportunity to focus your thoughts and interests?
AI- A few years back I went through this heavy death period that lasted for quite a long time. I lost my best friend which was my Granny Freda and I lost her brother, my cowboy buddha Uncle Joe, and two other uncles, one aunt, my step Mother and spiritual guide Jodie, and a few friends, quite a few cats and a couple of dogs, so it pretty much did my head in. I spun out quite a bit, I but was still creative and threw in a lot of dark humor and some sweet alcohol and there you go…
Robert Levon Been (BRMC) or as I call him Babe Shadow, gave me my shot. I don’t know what he saw in me but I guess he had some vision of something. It’s still growing…the idea of it all. I feel truly blessed and I was welcomed into the fold, the wolf den. They are kind of a surrogate family after I had lost so much of mine. I always felt connected to BRMC from very early on. They seemed very familiar to me. Perhaps it was my early seer sight…I dunno, but Robbie understood my dark sense of humor. We both enjoy comedy along the lines of Bill Hicks and Doug Stanhope, so there you go…
I still have your posts hidden on FB cus it drove me crazy, what do you think about that?
AI - That’s kind of creeper…so I guess i like it.*
What the hell do you do for a living anyway?
AI-Like most everybody I know, I struggle. Money has never been a motivator unless I’m devilishly strapped then I am a professional panik’ur. I’ve always held my freedom higher than cashflow so I do what I gotta do to get by. I hustle (not sex), I juggle (not circus), and I boogie (not dance), I gamble (not Vegas) so really I just fuckin’ wing it*.
What was your childhood like?
AI -It was one big ghost shiny Christmas and Halloween beauty spell. I’m a 70s kid. We had things that worked back then, unlike now, where everything breaks within a year…we had cool cars driving around us and our toys were dangerous. We didn’t wear turtle helmets and knee and elbow pads when we rode our bicycles. It was concert t shirts, old levis jeans, boots or converse all stars and bloody hands, wrist and skinned knees. I was lucky to be born to warm people that were kind to others and I fancy it has rubbed off on me. I grew up around lots of animals, lots of good music and good natured people, so it was a really fantastic childhood all in all…
Do you think you were born a writer?
AI- I was born a nutter, that’s for sure. I was the only baby behind the looking glass that scratched his face until it bled. They had to put gloves on my little hands so I didn’t tear my entire face off. I started out in drawing and collage. When I was a kid and I guess I did a little writing growing up. I was writing poems around the age of 17 and then I wrote lyrics and sang for a spell and writing took on a whole new thing for me. with the interwebs . When death comes to town, sometimes writing isn’t a choice or a decision as much as it’s a medication. I do think that good guitar players are born guitar players and people like Dick Cheney are just born without soul. I think I was just born sad.
Are you musically inclined?
AI - My guitar playing (3 chords) has been compared to a blind man with dyslexia strumming a two string guitar with his dong. It has frightened cats and turned dog heads sideways. I have stumped actual guitarist with my guitar playing and 4 track recordings of songs I’ve written. They ask me how I did something and it’s sad because I can’t tell them. I don’t know what I did. I use a lot of layers, hairspray canisters, I lay down 2 or 3 guitar sounds and 3 or 4 vocals, organ sounds, and a drumbeat. Scott Walker on bad crank or a melting Johnny Cash in a sea of dub, sorrow and drone. I wrote some truly great songs with a friend of mine named Don Strong and when I say truly great. I mean they sound that way for me. He is my Keith Richards, my Bernard Butler, my Nick McCabe, my Peter Hayes, etc. We just have a certain unspoken magic between us.
What city would you love to live in to hone in on your career?
AI - I really Love Berlin & Helsinki. Paris would be a gas, but L.A. is always in the back of my mind. It’s so gutting, nastoid, and beautiful all at once. San Diego Is where I would like to spend more time so i guess i would have to say nowhere city. I’d like to be on the road writing for a year x country.
How you’d get hooked up with BRMC?
AI - On their first tour somewhere down in Texas. I blew both Rob and Pete in a country bar bathroom where they have glory holes cut into the pisser wall. Not really, I was just joshin’. I’ve been bumping into them for years. If they were playing somewhere close, I was there. Like I said before, there was always some kinda familiar unfamiliar thing with them in my eyes. Their music sounded just like the music that was in my head that I was waiting to write or hear and on first listen I had white palms. I always felt a chemistry and when I met them it was like I had already known them for quite a spell., but not so much with their first drummer….his chemical reaction didn’t mix with mine. We were like two mental patients from two different hospitals…at the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s really a good cat and an excellent drummer, we just never hooked up in our best moods.
I guess Billy Nicgorski, who BRMC has recorded with was a spirit lantern and also a middleman, midwife, and mid friend. I sent him a video of me doing my first Ask iAN. I was giving advice on how to give blowjobs or something about my friend’s dad blowing another dad and then Rob fired me off an email and the rest is history or the future…
Why “Ask Ian”? Do you really want to give us losers advice?
AI - I don’t really see it as advice. I see it more like giving a different angle or perception to some of the things we all battle with , yearn for, or don’t quite understand, like two people in a relationship. They are in the center but have no perception from the outside. Truly fair friends can look inside from the outside at your relationship and help you get a different perspective. Like songwriting: sometimes two heads are better than one. I like hearing other people’s ideas. The good ones have always helped me get sorted out better, so it’s not so much advice as a humble 2nd party perception/perspective sharing different knowledge, and sharing a new madness and making people laugh is fun too. I never see BRMC fans or people in general as losers. They are more like people that need to be reminded from time to time just how truly fucking awesome they are and what grand potential they have to add their magic to the pie. Don’t get me wrong, there are some real fuckers out there in the world. I just do my best not to tangle with ‘em.
I love your blog. Will you write a book?
AI - I have some ideas floating around for different books. Right now I am too busy fighting demons, jackholes, bad luck, general folly, bad timing ,and just plainly being Arsed.. But yeah, the idea is to get some books revolving out there. I think there are quite a few people that don’t read the Bourne identity series or get a hard on for Oprah’s book club. People that want a little sorrow, gobs of hilarity, and rock and roll in their reading material. I am just the sort of sweet nut to crack their bitter lair. I’m something a long the lines of Johnny Cash meets David Sedaris.
Will you expand on “Ask Ian”, like go solo with your writings and make tee shirts and stuff.
AI- I’m pretty happy with where I am at right now. I have a truly bad time thinking about money and marketing, ego or fame of any sort. I know there might come a day when I gotta earn some money somehow, but right now I really feel blessed just to be welcomed into the BRMC family as a wolfcub, and allowed to be creative along with them. Anything I write or publish is in no way reflective of their opinions.
I am not a spokesperson for them or anything. I fancy we share a certain spirit. Something along the lines of the real America…Native American imagery, the words of MLK, Marlon Brando’s philosophy, and the wisdom of Johnny Cash, Easy Rider, Hunter S. Thompson, Hank Williams, and Levis Jeans, real authenticity, the history of things. It’s a certain spirit that is felt from Wichita to China to the Gaza Strip and Greece; a certain wild freedom that we not only crave but will die trying to reach. T shirts?
30 beer cans
a penis pump
and a guitar with my face on it. Ask iAN* Yes, I can see it!
Are you single? Do you have children?
AI- We’re all in Love with something that we can’t see.
Will you have sex with me? (I hear you like Black girls)
AI- In a heartbeat. My backseat or yours?! I love women, not their periods. I love smart women. I can’t stand the dumb ones. It’s usually the opposite with the male race but I don’t think much like men think and I was raised by very intelligent women. I like warm, smart animal loving women. Smart women turn me the fuck on.
Of course I like black girls. My first black girlfriend was in Junior High school. She wore really dark glossy lipstick and rubbed my cock under the table in art class as my gay art teacher babbled on about Degas. He shouted “Mother of Pearl!” every time he saw my girlfriend waxing my tork.
Can we do another interview when you don’t rush my ass and I have time to do some real research?
AI - You bet yer ass. Thank you for giving two fucks enough to even interview me. Be well Jordannah. I hope everything is so far so good for you right now. Cheers girl*
By: Jordannah Elizabeth
I learned about Cldscp a few years ago as they are label mates with me (Makeshivt Kity) on the amazing net label: Trastienda.org (Mardrid, Spain). I’ve always been into their lovely melodic and simplistic lofi ballads and thought it was very important that I share their musical minds with you. Andy and Leopo are great artists and cool friends. I hope to hear much more from them.
Leopo: Hola amigos!
Andy: Hola Jordannah!
TPR: What is your musical process?
Leopo: Cldscp process is about two guys writing and playing songs with all different types of instruments, vocal sounds or anything that meets the demanded requirements for our genre.
Andy: It’s easy. First we invent some songs in a organ or a guitar. Then we borrow some instruments and we drop all in to my computer and shake. We try to do everything at night, I live near a school and a bus stop, its noisy. Any way you can hear the bus in lot of our records.
TPR: How is your new album different from the others?
Leopo: “Nińos Azules” (Blue kids) shows the evolution of this couple of years composing songs. The concept of the album is very close to LOVE. The songs talk from the infatuation to the shyness, but all of them refer to the heart feelings.
Andy: Niños azules is a full spanish album. With some new instruments. Lyrics are about simple things and life experiences, just the way we are.
TPR: How long does it take for you to create an album?
Leopo: We never stop writing songs, so at the beginning of start recording, we choose among 30, 40 or more songs and then we record our favorites at home. Cldscp always records at home. We think it´s the best way to get the peace to think in the songs fittingly.
Andy: If we have the songs already composed, we calculate 1 day to record and finish each song. Ten songs, ten days. Music and lyrics it is kind of magic, you can sit in one hour and make 5 really nice songs, or you can stay days with out any cool idea.
TPR: What genre is your music??
Leopo: When we create and play the songs, we don´t think about a genre or a style, but usually the albums are related with the tags freak folk or dream pop.
Andy: I like to believe it’s my town folk, because it’s really inspired in it and could not be created in other place. But we are the only one doing it, so I’m not really sure.
TPR: Are you playing shows now?
Leopo: Yes, we´re playing in Buenos Aires as much as we can and we travel sometimes to other cities in Argentina.
Andy: Always! It is the best part of all.
TPR: How do you get along with your fans?
Leopo: Great! It´s flattering that people likes our music and some of them write us and show lots of affection.
Andy: Well, there aren’t too much. So it’s easy to talk after shows, answer mails and stuff. Some times people are strange but lovely.
TPR: Where would you like to tour the most?
Leopo: We´d like to tour all around the world, but first of all we´d like to travel all around Argentina.
Andy: Right now anywhere, need to change some air
TPR: What’s your favorite instrument?
Leopo: Nowadays I play the Charango, it´s like a small guitar with 10 strings and it´s a native instrument here in South America. Today it´s my favorite thing to play.
Andy: My granny’s armonium
TPR: What are your plans for the future?
Leopo: We´re composing lots of songs and we plan to record a new album for 2012, in January and February. Maybe a short album, we don´t know yet, but the future will be full of songs, we know that.
Andy: I always mix my plans for the future with wishes or dreams, and its kind of frustrating. So I try not to plan too much. Anyway, I would love to make a documentary about how we do stuff down here. Plan or wish? Hahaha.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.cldscp.com.ar/