Room 29: Modern Masterpiece

Very rarely are we treated to a nexus of talent that echoes the great duos: Bacharach and David, Webber and Rice, Morrissey and Marr, to name a few. The inability for critics and music services to “pigeonhole” Room 29 is ample evidence of the novel space the album holds; not to say the record companies haven’t tried, with made-up categories such as “Classical Crossover.” After repeated listenings, Room 29 solidly remains in a category unto itself – a musical and lyrical adventure. Feist pointed out that Room 29 (the album) is actually the soundtrack to Room 29 (the performance), but while the majority of us miss out on the added visceral benefits of a live performance, Room 29 (the album) evokes powerful mental images of our own creation – a unique and personalized Room 29 performance for each listener. The review below is obviously based on our own experience (save a few choice quotes) and our familiarity with the unbelievably high water mark Gonzales sets for himself. Continue reading

Room 29

Honing and refining his skill, moving from Solo Piano to chamber music and now to voice and piano (and chamber music), Gonzales’ trajectory appears to focus on re-introducing classic techniques to new audiences. And one senses that listeners are ready for something with deeper and lasting meaning; not since the heyday of disco have audiences been subjected to deep and relentless domination of dance-oriented 4/4 pop – people are looking for a different relationship with music. Room 29 is a collaborative effort, bringing together the witty and insightful lyrics of Jarvis Cocker and the deep and emotional Gonzales piano that we know and love. From the pre-release tracks, it’s easy to hear how well this pairing works, but (as with any Gonzales release), there’s a lot of background to discover and layers to peel back – let’s have a closer look. Continue reading

Freud Analyzes Chambers

It’s curious how a concert can be construed as a therapy session en-masse with characters on both sides of the stage divide standing to benefit. The “psychologist” wears comfortable slippers and sits on a padded leather chair. He or she has a bevy of tools at hand for eliciting responses from audiences, including musical instruments, voice, other musicians, and willing (and not-so-willing) audience members. In North America, traveling illusionists such as “The Amazing Kreskin” or the late “Reveen”, blur the lines between entertainer, therapist, and illusionist, often employing therapy or other devices to not only entertain, but also to make grand statements on the nature of consciousness and one’s ability to believe. Continue reading

Octave Minds Debut: Inspiring and Evocative

Many of Gonzales’ albums have a central theme, much in the same way that many of his songs were driven from a central theme or challenge (e.g. compose an emotional song only on the white keys). In the case of Solo Piano, it’s the (apparent) intimacy and solitude of an upright piano, and in “The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales”, it’s the insightful and bombastic rapper (with no beats), and so on. The original Boys Noize collaboration, Ivory Tower was also a concept album of sorts – a ‘pure’ artist struggling with the pressures of becoming an ‘Entertainer’. For Ivory Tower, the duo were soundtracking to an actual movie, but in the case of Octave Minds, the music is written to a movie that only exists in our minds. This is much more powerful and effective, as the evocative imagery that comes from within us is shaped from our personal environment and experiences. Without a singer (for the most part), the music is universal as we don’t have to strain to interpret words. Continue reading

Octave Minds Think Alike

When we first heard that Chilly Gonzales and Boys Noize were “Working Together” again, we speculated on what the result would be: Touching electronic-infused piano melodies and harmonies. On July 18th. Chilly Gonzales and Boys Noise announced the first freely downloadable single (“In Silence”) from their forthcoming album “Octave Minds”, which will be released in Sept, 2014. “In Silence” sets the bar very high for the rest of the album, which is sure to be beyond what anyone was expecting. Continue reading

Gonzales Über Alles: Music, Humour, Personality

Gonzales has created a mish-mash of beats, samples, pop melodies and harsh tokes that sticks in your head, sticks to the wall, leaves a mess on the floor, makes long distance phone calls and never does the dishes. You need fun friends like this.
- James Keast – exclaim.ca (2000)

Über Alles signals the imminent rise to world domination of a major talent. Twisted pop genius.
- Dave Stelfox – spannerd.org (2000)
Continue reading

Life, Death, and Wolfstein

“I could live in this parking lot; I could be here, and I cannot”
“Parking Lot” from Wolfstein by Son

Wolfstein Cover

There’s something to be said about incumbents; the warm robe and worn slippers feeling of comfort and stability that comes with familiarity. But familiarity and conformity have a dark, Faustian side that is inherently accepted by those who choose ‘establishment’ over innovation and discomfort. Continue reading

Rap’s Unspeakable Libretto

A rap rhyme review of “The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales”

What if your inner voice just started speaking out?
And everyone could hear what you really are about
Would you have the guts to lay it down on wax? Continue reading