Red Bull Sound Select & Troubadour Present:
Red Bull Sound Select Presents: Los Angeles w/ Machindrum: Vapor City Live
Machinedrum: Vapor City Live, Sisu, Soft Metals
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
This event is all ages
Machinedrum: Vapor City Live
Of the many aliases attributed to Orlando, FL-based artist Travis Stewart (aka Syndrone, tstewart) Machine Drum is handily the most well-known. Although initially conceived as an outlet for Stewart's drill'n'bass meanderings, Machine Drum's first public release was a hazy, skittering melange that owed more to hip-hop and ambient than early Squarepusher. Indeed, the bursting "Izey Rael" would prove to be the template for Machine Drum's ensuing long-player. Recorded during the summer of 2000 through to early 2001 on location in Hickory, NY, and eventually released on Merck, the brilliant Now You Know would eventually be released to underground acclaim, firmly establishing the 19-year-old Stewart as one of IDM's brightest hopes.
SISU is Sandra Vu. The LA-based singer/multi-instrumentalist layers airy, harmony-laden vocals over dreamy synthwave, which has been described as "Smithsian shoegaze" (Village Voice) and "Nightmarish Beach House" (Santa Barbara Independent). Though she's a seasoned drummer (Dum Dum Girls, The Raveonettes, Boredoms, Dirty Beaches), she's stepped out from behind the kit to center stage for SISU, opening on tour dates for Cat Power, Marnie Stern, DIIV, and Metronomy.
"Blood Tears", SISU's first full-length album (due September 2013), builds on the recently released "Light Eyes" EP (April 2013), offering a bigger sound and a heightened sense of drama. As Vu explains, "These are pop songs with un-pop sounds." SISU is defined by contrast and juxtaposition, and Vu finds a particular challenge and joy in combining opposites—soft and hard, loud and quiet, abrasive and smooth—to arrive at this aesthetic.
Writing songs for the album was catharsis for Vu, who used the process to overcome a period of disillusionment in between bands. "Blood Tears" is about relationships and the creative process—the necessity of pain for growth or creation," she says. "Sometimes you have to kill a part of yourself to become stronger." The new single "Harpoons" is a declaration of this power and independence found in divorcing yourself from the past. Both aggressive and sublime, it's quintessential SISU. From this experience, Vu found her voice, naming it SISU, the Finnish word for "extreme perseverance."
"Blood Tears" is the second release under the MONO PRISM umbrella—a collective of artists and springboard for music, film, and print projects. David South, SISU's touring bassist, heads MONO PRISM, directed SISU's first music video, "Two Thousand Hands," and creates the band's live visuals. It was these immersive audiovisual experiences that caught Cat Power's attention, which lead to SISU supporting her on numerous dates earlier this year.
Vu wrote, played, and produced "Blood Tears" with bandmates Ryan Wood (co-producer), Nathanael Keefer (drums), and Lars Stalfors (Chelsea Wolfe, The Soft Pack, The Mars Volta) mixed the album. Julianna Medeiros (Dum Dum Girls) joins SISU live on synth and backup vocals.
Soft Metals is a multi-disciplinary electronic duo from Portland, Oregon now residing in Los Angeles, California. Its members Ian Hicks and Patricia Hall were brought together through a common love of 1970s and 80s synthesizer music and began writing and recording songs together in the spring of 2009. Inspiration came to them by way of experimental electronic sounds, film soundtracks, early industrial music, minimal synth, house, techno, synth pop, krautrock, psychedelic rock, and shoegaze. Ian and Patricia share songwriting duties and compose the music together before writing lyrics and adding vocals. Their songs are built from moody, improvised sessions together using exclusively electronic instruments. The meaning of the raw music they make is explored and interpreted afterwards with lyrical themes ranging from life experience, films, literature, history, science, love, conflict, and death. Soft Metals prefer to express themselves freely rather than adhere to a particular genre. This freedom gives them a diverse sound somewhere between dance music, austere synthetic pop, and experimental electronic composition. Their two best known songs, “The Cold World Melts” and “Psychic Driving” are demonstrations of this varied sound. “The Cold World Melts” is driving, assertive, and passionate. “Psychic Driving” is delicate, introverted, and vulnerable. Some of their songs remain in their unpolished improvised form to pay homage to authenticity, spontaneity, the joy of sound, and experimentation while others are studio based exercises, fusing new and old production technologies.
Soft Metals is signed to Captured Tracks and released their first record, an 5 song EP titled “The Cold World Melts” in July 2010. Their debut self-titled album came out in July of 2011. FACT magazine called Soft Metals “one of the most accomplished and ambitious of the myriad new synth-pop acts coming out of the States.” The duo have played shows on both coasts of the US and in Mexico City. They have shared the stage with bands ranging from HEALTH and Nitzer Ebb to Glass Candy and Chromatics.