In less than a month, Gonzales will kick off a tour for Chambers that currently runs to November. We started thinking about the best Gonzales shows we’ve seen, and thought we’d put together a list of what makes for a really great Gonzales concert.
Enjoy the show
Think about some of the best concerts you’ve been to over the years – what made them special? From our perspective the best concerts were the ones where the entire audience was pumped with anticipation for a great concert and and had their minds open to take in the experience. It’s incredibly difficult to capture all the fleeting wonderful moments in a Gonzales concert – you just have to let the music and humour sink in as much as possible. Technology is great, but one of the unfortunate drawbacks is that all of a sudden we have become ‘press photographers’ or ‘concert reviewers’ and it’s more of a job than an enjoyable experience. Continue reading
With the rising popularity of music streaming services, “Greatest Hits” albums are on the decline, which is a shame really. The art and science behind a “Greatest Hits” album will become somewhat of a lost art. The vast majority of the time, typical hit compilations contained one or two new songs in order to attract old and new fans to the artist. Current fans gain a new track (which was often lackluster), and new fans would be able to enjoy all of the artist’s hits in a single album. In 2002, Gonzales released a “Greatest Hits” album of sorts: “Z”. What made “Z” different was that each of the songs was “re-imagined”, as opposed to remixed or re-recorded. The new versions imagined how an older, more experienced Gonzales would have recorded the songs. Continue reading
January was an exciting month for Gonzales fans: music analysis videos, interviews and features, new album announcement, song and album previews, live performances and much more. We were waiting for the news to slow down a bit to summarize, but new videos and songs just kept on coming. The upcoming “Chambers” was obviously the biggest news, but while we thought we’d hear 1 or 2 songs from “Chambers” before it was released, the BBC played practically a new song per night all week. Although we touch on the beauty of the new songs, we’ll definitely post a full write-up for Chambers once it’s officially released. Continue reading
Big news today: Gonzales announces a new album called “CHAMBERS”, set for release sometime in 2015!
If you are on Gonzales’ official email distribution list (and why wouldn’t you be?), you may have noticed a snippet of text that went along with the streaming cancellation notice:
“…we have a great surprise in store for you in January”
Then, on January 6th Gonzales responded to a comment on Twitter with the following: Continue reading
Gonzales’ recent article in The Guardian (Chilly Gonzales on musical tropes in 2014: when the chord progression died), examines the current trend of eschewing ‘traditional’ chord progressions and harmonic content in favour of a distinct and instantly identifiable ‘sound’. In a 2012 New Yorker article (The Song Machine), I was struck at how producers had to incorporate hooks into the intro, pre-chorus, chorus, and bridge, because artists only had 7 seconds of to ‘hook’ listeners. It’s possible that the introduction of a ‘sound’ attempts to mitigate the insatiable need for hooks in music, with a ‘sound’ for a song that would draw listeners in, but how did we ‘progress’ to this point? Gonzales’ article certainly struck a chord with readers, as feedback appeared swiftly. After reading the article and feedback a number of times, we wondered if there was a secondary, larger message within Gonzales view of the hits and musical trends of 2014. Continue reading
“Showing off is BORING.” – Chilly Gonzales, Re-Introduction Etudes
In the 60s, Sammy Davis Jr. recorded a series of intimate performances for the BBC, which they recently re-ran. Sammy danced, told stories and jokes, performed impressions, demonstrated expert gunplay, and (above all else), sang with the warmth of an old friend. With all of his showmanship, not once do you ever feel that he’s showing off – quite the opposite – you have the sense that he’s performing for the audience and nothing else. Instead of Sammy walking onstage and proclaiming, “Here I am!” it’s as if he walks out and says, “I’m so glad you’re here!” Continue reading
In late November, Gonzales and other performers recorded the fourth installment of the Arte Lounge TV show at Werner Otto Hall, which is part of the Konzerthaus facility in Berlin. The site of the Berlin Konzerthaus has quite a lengthy history of famous performers: Mozart, Paganini, Liszt, to name a few. While previous buildings were destroyed several times by fire and war, the current building opened in 1984 and features a gorgeous main performance hall. With a donation from German Entrepreneur Werner Otto, the orchestral rehearsal space was converted in 2003 into a modern, open hall, appropriately named “Werner Otto Hall”. Continue reading
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Gonzales is garnering attention and accolades in Germany, after all, he’s currently based out of Cologne and performs many concerts around the country. The same was true when he lived in Berlin, then Paris: Gonzales’ popularity in Germany and France increased dramatically while he was a resident. But the cities also had an effect on Gonzales in the same way that living in different cities affected the musical style of classical composers. Continue reading
It’s fascinating that Gonzales was unknowingly part of Drake’s musical universe prior to Drake becoming a critically-acclaimed rap entertainer. With the inclusion of one Solo Piano song on a mixtape, Drake set a chain in motion that resulted in a wonderful collaboration between the two entertainers. If Drake’s recent tweet is any indication, that collaboration is set to continue: he’s amassed a talented crew to produce and record his fourth album (titled: “Views From the 6″), and Chilly Gonzales is included in the list: Continue reading
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