On its acclaimed self-titled debut, Light Asylum takes the synth-pop sound of '80s groups like Depeche Mode and develops it into something new. It's not an easy feat, considering how often that sound has been copied and mimicked, especially over the past decade during brief fads like the electroclash trend.
The difference is Shannon Funchess. A fierce vocalist, she shouts and bellows with stentorian intensity, making Light Asylum seem thrillingly dangerous
Originally raised in Seattle, Funchess moved to Brooklyn in 2001 and spent the next decade contributing vocals to a variety of bands, including TV on the Radio, !!!, Telepathe and Teengirl Fantasy. Light Asylum began in 2007 as a solo project, with Funchess collaborating with other musicians.
Light Asylum solidified when Funchess met multi-instrumentalist and producer Bruno Coviello, while the two toured in support of another Brooklyn artist, Bunny Rabbit. "We realized we had similar interests and influences in our taste in music," she says before rattling off a list of industrial and darkwave bands they like, including Front 242, Cabaret Voltaire, Ministry and Clan of Xymox - as well as house music producers like Frankie Knuckles and Green Velvet. "I found someone I could actually write with," she says.

Light Asylum's debut was released in April. The lead track, "Hour Fortress," is dedicated to Billie Holiday and other black musicians in the early 20th century who were resigned to being "artists in a racist country." Its most explicitly political track is "IPC," which stands for industrial prison complex; more subtly, there's "At Will," which is a call to "kill our ego" and stop asserting our alpha dominance over others.

Banjo Or Freakout

Banjo or Freakout is Alessio Natalizia. An Italian in London, Alessio began conjuring his noise from the depths of his bedroom to thwart the loneliness lurking in the din of a new city. He sings, plays guitar, drums and programs beats, and then drenches them all in effects to create an affecting lo-fi dreamy pop

As well as his soaring originals, Alessio covers his favourite songs and posts them on his blog ( Perhaps most notably, his version of Burial’s ‘Archangel’ attracted universal critical acclaim on both sides of the Pacific, print and blog.


Shams is a dark dance pioneer known for coining the term "witch-house," whose music is the devious perversion of minimalism, early house, and modern pop

Ego Puppets

Ego Puppets would be a brain child if its father had had any brain children. If the father had, the father's name would have been Eric Feigenbaum, who would have given brain birth to Ego Puppets by himself, in a dark studio in brooklyn, playing with his toys--a sort of brain immaculate conception, if you will. Hopefully, you won't.

That was the best way to start this bio. With any luck, we will soon find the best way to end it.

So there's this guy, Eric Feigenbaum, who's been producing records for bands around NYC and touring as a sound engineer for national bands like MGMT and Passion Pit. And while he wasn't on the road or in the studio working on somebody else's record, he got to toying around with some ideas of his own, mixing strange samples and synthesizers, making electronic percussion instruments out of samples of street corners and construction crews, squashing and destroying entire other songs to create oscillator patterns for synthesizer patches, creating strange new vocal treatments to help him frame some very strange stories, and some even stranger ideas about the world, art and culture, relationships, maturity, apathy, and fate.

Some songs came quickly, written and recorded almost fully-formed in the space of an afternoon. Others took months. Without a plan or a goal, or a live show, or a band, or even an idea of what to do with whatever he was making, Eric took nearly two years to finally decide to put out just five of the nearly sixty songs he'd demoed during that same time. In fact the process of "finishing" those five songs, Eric describes as being more of a process of simply deciding they were done. "I thought I had been creating demos, really, and so it wasn't until I finished that i realized they were done, and realized that they had sort of reached a point where they were beyond any further deconstruction. That's when I walked away."

And it wasn't until he started passing around the ep to enthusiastic friends and music biz heads that he even considered starting a band to play the songs. "My whole artistic life had been in the studio. I always thought of myself as a producer first and foremost. For the most part, my only real relationship with live music was from the soundbooth." When a manager friend told him he should make it his first priority to get a live show together, he finally decided it was time. Not wanting to follow a traditional route and slowly bloat into what could have easily been a six-piece unit, he decided instead to sort of recreate the process of producing the songs on stage.

This meant a laptop, Ableton Live, a bunch of midi controllers, loopers, samplers, and kick ass drummer. For the kick ass drummer, he turned to his friend Sarab Singh, drummer for Harper Blynn, whom Eric had worked with for years. The end result of the live experiment turned out to be a high-energy, sometimes manic, occasionally dj-ish, often emotionally charged, very noisy, very dancey live show, blending many of the sounds used on the ep with extended looped jams of electronic mayhem.



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