Infinite Brothers-‘Signals’ EP

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Interview with Cody Sparks

Infinite Brothers is the project of Cody Sparks, Shane Cotee (The Adaptive), and Jacob Paskus (Stratosphere) who are spanning the distance between them to make an impact on the world through music. When I first listened to this EP I thought I could have it on in the background while working- but upon pressing play I literally just had to stop and listen as my brain tried to comprehend the overlapping whimsical noises coming through my headphones. In spite of the laid back downtempo electronic feel, the intricacy here is really noticeable. There is serious craftsmanship evident in the ebb and flow of the movement through these tracks. Put this on if you want to feel uplifted, cleansed and renewed through the gentle artistry of healing elements like chanting and tribal sounds.

When I listen to experimental/ambient tracks I listen to the stories they tell. This EP seems to selflessly tell lifetimes of stories throughout ancient history. It creates a visceral experience of floating through the static of time. I think it can be hard to end an EP or album as an electronic artist, it’s the type of music that can go on forever, but I really get a sense of completion and like I am satisfied with the ending here in ‘Ancient Sky’.

The fact that these three artists, unique and talented in their own right, managed to find each other and make music like this while working remotely is remarkable. Here is an interview with Upstate NY’s Cody Sparks on the story of how this project came to be and where they are heading:

How did you guys find each other?

We all met through Soundcloud actually. I met Shane because I had been listening to his music recommended by a friend. I left a comment on his track, and he commented back basically saying he was down to collaborate. I met Jacob essentially the same way, and it all came together through Facebook. The original plan was for Shane and I to release an EP together, but once we created the title track Signals with Jacob, it was obvious this needed to be a 3 person project.

What was the process of working with each other from far away to create and produce this EP?

The process was actually extremely smooth. I would basically lay out the structure for a track, or I would have a track created already that could easily have more work done to it. For most of the EP, I was sending these files to Shane, who in turn would send it back with layers of guitar, and then all of these files were sent to Jacob, who mixed and added final touches and fills, then all of the tracks went back to Shane for mastering. We honestly owe a lot of what we do to Google Drive and WeTransfer.

How would you describe this specific EP in one word or brief phrase?

“Bliss”. I won’t elaborate on that, it speaks for itself, I think. (wink emoticon.)

What is your ultimate goal for the Infinite Brothers project?

We’ve had a few Skype sessions with all 3 of us talking about what we’re looking to do and accomplish and we all pretty much feel the same. We are looking to provide listeners with a sense of love, bliss and excitement, but beyond that we are looking to give back. Though it may sound prideful to describe our music as “healing”, we ourselves have felt very healed creating this music together, so we hope we can spread that feeling to others as well. Beyond that, we have a remix EP/album planned for the not-so-distant future (featuring a number of super talented producers) that we will be donating the proceeds to a charity/nonprofit (TBD). Beyond the music, none of us have actually met in real life yet, so that’s definitely a big goal at this point haha! We’re hoping to get into playing some festivals here and there, and possibly setting up some kind of tour along the way.

Check it out here.

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Zodiac Bash-‘Pilot’ New EP Release

I first saw this group play at a house party gig called Phantom Airship not long after moving to Phoenix. (Read the article here.) I was impressed because this isn’t normally the type of music I would choose to listen to, but it appealed to me. I find it intriguing anytime a band can accurately pull off weird sub-genres such as ‘psychedelic space rock’. This new EP has a futuristic feel reminiscent of 60s era Sci-Fi films through the use of voice manipulation and synth interludes. The vocals are well meshed with the cacophony of other sounds. This is basically like garage rock on acid.

After spending more time living in Phoenix it appears to me that there are some unique bands existing and creating in an underground music scene worth checking out. If you’re curious and want to go on an intergalactic, musical journey with these guys come to the official EP Release Party at Pho Cao on March 18th.

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This is the story of an emerging music, arts, adventure festival and how it has impacted my life. This is the story of: Desert Canvas

When I first arrived in Phoenix, in September of last year, I had no idea what to expect. I came out here following the intuition that there were new opportunities for me out here. I sensed that it would be a difficult transition but I would get to the other side. I just had no idea how incredible the other side was going to be.

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After roughly about a month of feeling a bit lost and having no idea what my purpose was out here or what I was supposed to do my roommate, Ashley Holt, and I stumbled upon a community called Yoga and More in the Park. This was a free guided yoga and meditation event hosted at Papago Park, outdoors between some scattered trees at sunset. Picture a warm glow breaking through the nearby mountains with roaring planes often flying overhead, streaming through the colors in the sky.

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Photo by Jordan Neel

I soon learned of the mission of this group: to help people step outside their comfort zones, make lasting connections and create healthier and happier lives. In just the first night this community succeeded in accomplishing this mission for me. We were greeted by warm inviting smiles and individuals who wanted to genuinely connect and hear our stories. Jared Portugal, who can normally be found manning the slacklines, took time to show us some acro yoga which was something we had been wanting to try, Pam Buehler didn’t even hesitate in teaching us some new hooping skills, Paul Niemann, who I am now dating a few months later, reached out and invited us to attend another community event called Kundalini Yoga, and Todd Van Duzer opened the night with a motivational speech about conquering fear- how fitting for just having moved across the country. We were quickly ushered into the group and began attending these events regularly. People kept telling me how cool it was that we found this after just having moved here. We also found a great house to live in, new jobs, a compatible third roommate, Amanda Larner, who was also involved in the movement and it was all falling into place. The voice that had been calling me out here was right.

When I came into the picture this movement was just starting to become something more than free events centered around the aforementioned activities. I could already tell there was a strong sense of comradery developing. I attended one of the formal meetings organized by Todd to discuss future endeavors for this project and was impressed by the passion, motivation and ideas this group was full of. After attending the meeting I naturally began to sink my own roots into the foundation to see what we could grow. “There is so much potential in this room,” I’d thought. I couldn’t have chosen to come here at a better time.

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I looked in my toolbox to see what skills I could contribute to the project and began to help develop branding and social media networking. Other members fell into important marketing and event production roles, and the wheels started churning. We would all learn the ups and downs of being a part of a start-up endeavor. The pace of things was moving quickly and the direction in which we were going regularly changed overnight. We had to be resilient and adaptable. A key element has been keeping an open mind to let the project develop organically. It soon gained the title, Desert Canvas, in reference to the giant canvases we started bringing out for people to paint on together at events.

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Photo by Sara Joy Tiberio

These canvases turned into something even bigger when at the turn of the year we were able to attend Decadence AZ as a vendor to promote our movement. We were commissioned by Relentless Beats to build a giant wooden art structure lined with LED lights that we could have everyone write their stories on and JD Bergan and Vladimir Madorsky took on completing this project by hand. It was a huge hit at the festival and everyone was excited to get involved in this public art project. The term “co-creating” took on new meaning for us and we adopted the slogan “communities co-creating”.

Last month, in January, we went from throwing free potluck events in a park to hosting an all-day festival event with upwards of 500 attendees. This event involved multiple participatory workshops, live music, local vendors, a healing tree, slacklines, volleyball , community painting and more. We successfully created a space where people could safely explore, create together, challenge each other, grow, celebrate and co-exist.

We are not stopping here. We are taking it to another level and throwing an all weekend camping festival with a full line-up of musicians and packed weekend of activities and workshops involving hiking, mountain biking, meditation, yoga, arts, etc. in the beautiful expansive mountains of Estrella Regional Park.

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Photo by Nishant Singh

I’ve watched how this community has transformed my life and the lives of others around me: pushing us to be better human beings, allowing us to make deeper more meaningful connections, testing the limits of what we are capable of. This has been such a rewarding learning experience for us all and I have no doubt we have already impacted the people around us through these events in the way we have helped others feel a sense of belonging. The strong will and determination of our team members shows we will do nearly anything to see this through. Many of us work full time jobs and come home to work on this project the rest of the evening and weekends. We are able to rise to the challenge to do whatever it takes to create an outcome that benefits the project as a whole.

What is it that makes Desert Canvas a unique organization? Hands down- the people. These people continue to inspire and amaze me every day. Not only have we banded together through this entrepreneurial journey but we also band together to enhance each others daily lives. We go on adventures together, teach each other new skills and hold each other accountable for personal goals. Had I not taken the chance and come out here to the desert my life would be completely different. This would still be a foreign place and culture instead of the closest thing that has felt like home to me in a long time.

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Photo by Davesh Shingari

Dusted. (w/ Jeremiah Christo) opens for Bird of Prey & Random Rab in Flagstaff, AZ

I was out on a solo journey traveling around Arizona with my dog. I’d just seen the Grand Canyon for the first time and some other notable landmarks and was driving around marveling at the desert landscape when I got a call from Jerry Pavelko to come to his show in Flagstaff at the Green Room that night and shoot. I knew nothing of what to expect but drove into town to see what it was all about. I planned on just staying for his set (since I’d been up since 6am and driving all over the state) and ended up staying for the whole show.

A large crowd of free spirited individuals had formed in front of the main stage. Jeremiah and Jerry (Dusted.) began their set with a Tibetan singing bowl that then blended into electronic sound waves. They mixed tribal, ambient sounds with live hand drum and guitar. The crowd was vibing and dancing and smiling at the night going by. Bird of Prey took the stage and the dance party continued with his steady hypnotic beats. Finally, Random Rab came on and as a display of warm glowing light pulsed around him he took us on a mesmerizing journey through spiritual manifestations in melody, dark dreams in tempo and new awakenings in sound. I was in awe at the whole spectacle. My day had been a perfect mix- starting with self introspection in the humbling surroundings of nature and ending with resounding music vibrations echoing into the night.

 

Sailor Boy II LP by Noordwiijk

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Montreal based artist, Jeremie Jones, of Noordwiijk uses the progressive and experimental inclusion of a blend of acoustic and electronic sounds such as brass, gongs, chimes and bells that create a cinematic feel and paints an imaginative dreamscape ranging from the depths of earthly explorations to other-worldly escapades. This could easily be the soundtrack to a sci-fi, horror or independent film. According to the artist’s own interesting description it is an “imaginary soundtrack of a boy crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a ship in 1952”. Jones has also begun collaborating with abstract film artists such as Myriam Boucher and David Paul Ross which adds a fine art dimension to his work.

There are uncommon combinations of sounds and occasional animalistic noises such as growling, howling, squawking, chirping or hissing which creates a raw realistic element not often seen in electronic music. This makes it appear that he is directly pulling inspiration from the natural world around him. Jones is daring in his embracing of high pitched squeaks and shrills, especially at the end of “Schwarzwald trio part III”, that are usually considered non-musical or performing mistakes but are used in an effective stylized manner here. Not only is this album experimental in sound but it also explores the effects of recording in non-traditional spaces. Thick overlaying of ambient sounds and singing or humming combined with the acoustics of various spaces gives a technical complexity to these recordings. At times there is a mystical and meditative vibe such as in the beginning of “The Silence of the Sirens”, and at others a disturbing and unsettling feel such as found in “Eels”.

This is what I hope to find in a musical project such as this: the exploration of visionary realms and stimulation of sensory experiences through the use of sound. This is truly an interesting listen if you are looking for something that consistently tests the boundaries of contemporary music formalities.

Download/purchase the album.

Check out some videos.

What you missed if you weren’t at Fountain Airship in downtown Phoenix Friday night:

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The show: A bumpin’ house party hosted by Phantom Airship and The Fountain Space showcasing a group of Phoenix based musicians, all pioneers of their genres, bringing psychedelic, post punk, electronica and space rock vibes to a whole other level. They are pushing their way into self-proclaimed genres with versatility and originality in sound. I.am.hologram says he is most accurately categorized as “electric church music” and Zodiac Bash described their group as “psychedelic synth rock”. I noticed an overlap in that a couple of these bands seemed to have a progressive rock Mars Volta type influence, specifically with vocal style choice, but they were all so different from each other it’s hard to even make that comparison. The DJs brought a refreshing sound far from the typical ‘womp womp womp’ of dubstep, combining unique trip hop, acid house and ambient beats with samples from the mainstream music world restructuring them into new and impressive tracks. The crowd was enthusiastic, supportive and not at all hesitant to get involved- dancing, freestyling over the DJ’s beats and jamming out in the practice room.

The venue: The Fountain Space is a music and art studio space at a residential house. At this particular show the hosts provided kegs of premium beer and food made fresh by Mario was available for purchase. When you combine the intimate, laid back atmosphere of a house party with the adrenaline and energy of a live concert the results are nothing short of a good time.

The bands: (Click on them to check out their sound)

Phantom Airship

Zodiac Bash

Tribal Leader

The Clouded

i.am.hologram

Sigh.

Dungeon Destroyah

Photos:

Photography by Sara Joy Tiberio Photography

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Hieronymus Bog’s The Angel Tour: Live @ The Trunk Space 9/20/15

Photo Credit: Sara Joy Tiberio Photography

Photo Credit: Sara Joy Tiberio

Hieronymus Bogs, a musician hailing from Rochester, NY, stopped by Phoenix’s The Trunk Space on “The Angel Tour”, named after his most recently released album. He went on after an art installation performance in which TVs were smashed outside. Bogs is the type of artist who leaves a piece of him with you in each performance. His heart is fully in it. He crafts his sets full of wisdom infused songs and poems that all connect and relate to each other.

He also pays careful attention to the showmanship subtleties of the show and how he interacts with his audience, which relays great in intimate settings such as this venue. Something clearly evident through this performance is that this artist has not lost his curiosity for life. At one point during the set he asks his audience, “What is poetry? What came first: music or poetry?” and goes off on a semi-tangent. Bogs reminds us of an important life sentiment: never stop asking questions.

His sensory pleasing performance is full of acoustic guitar, banjo, chanting, whistling, singing, bells and wind chimes. It is often as if he is gently waking us up from a dream. There is a vintage telephone on the ground with the receiver pointed up as if to signify open communication to another realm. I didn’t ask specifically why he sets it up like this because I like the mystery of it. Another interesting thing about Bog’s performance is the way he takes poems by classic poets such as William Blake, and breathes new life into them through combining them with his own melodies. There is an undeniable feeling that he is sharing a treasured gift with his audience that has been cultivated through this art form.

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