Breton

The Echo & Moheak Radio Present

Breton

Michna, Matthewdavid, Mwahaha

Tue, September 18, 2012

8:30 pm

The Echo

Los Angeles, California

$8.00 - $10.00

This event is 18 and over

Breton
Breton
“It’s lame to talk about the responsibility of an artist, but really, saying ‘listen to 40 minutes of my thoughts’ means that you should put your life and soul into it…”

When Breton first emerged from their south London, all-purpose base - dubbed BretonLabs - with a series of EPs and last year’s full-length debut ‘Other People’s Problems’, their intensely creative, multi-disciplinary approach rendered them difficult to pigeonhole. A band who made films on the side? Filmmakers and visual artists with a fully-realised soundtrack? A ‘collective’? But sod the pigeonholing. Because all you really need to know to understand Breton is contained in singer and chief songwriter Roman Rappak’s impassioned assertions above. Breton, completed by Adam Ainger, Ian Patterson, Ryan McClarnon and Daniel McIlvenny, are simply a band that put their life and soul into every little detail of ‘it’.

After their inception Breton quickly established themselves as not only musicians, but a team of artists interested in all realms of the creative process. Having produced a series of their own short films with the gritty, uncensored aesthetic of their locality, a selection of video and sound design work for the likes of The Temper Trap, Penguin Prison and Tricky followed, as well as remixes for Local Natives, Alt J and Lana Del Rey. Breton’s three early releases (2010’s ‘Sharing Notes’ and ‘Practical’ EPs and 2011’s ‘Counter Balance’ EP), meanwhile, slowly began to flesh out their own musical direction.

Initially performing live largely because it was more practical to project their film work behind them at readily-available gig venues than to find traditional, less available media spaces, it soon became clear that the band were developing a musical following in their own right. A further EP – 2012’s ‘Blanket Rule’ – began to pique interest on a wider scale, with early support coming from The Guardian, Xfm and NME, while ‘Other People’s Problems’ (recorded in the Labs and released in March 2012) garnered widespread critical acclaim, cementing the band as one of the year’s most exciting breakthrough acts. NME declared the record to be “casually brilliant” and “vital”, remarking that the album’s wealth of ideas hinted that the band “have barely scratched the surface of what they want to, and what they can, achieve.” BBC Music, meanwhile, praised the record for possessing “mass appeal on its own terms”, while Clash labeled the band “agitators of sound”.

Following a year spent touring incessantly and playing festivals across the world, Breton then retreated in early 2013 to create their second long player ‘War Room Stories’ – written over the course of the last year and recorded this summer in an abandoned broadcasting building called the Funkhaus in the grimmer side of Berlin.

“We found out the Lab was gonna get destroyed so we were a bit fucking baffled as to what to do. But then we thought, well what was it about that place that we liked?” Rappak explains of the album’s unexpected choice of birthplace. “And it was this otherworldly weirdness, which I think came from closing yourself off. So we found this place in Berlin, put everything we owned into a van and went.” And, despite being born initially out of necessity, the location proved an inspiringly fertile creative ground.

Located in the highly industrial, distinctly un-hipster Mitte district of the city, populated by little-to-no musicians save for a host of local characters (including a Bermuda shorts-toting classical pianist and a white Rastafarian in possession of a life-size model UFO) and fitted with all the trappings of a former sound effects studio, the Funkhaus proved perfect for Breton’s innate inquisitiveness. The final seconds of album closer ’15 Minutes’ are sampled sounds from a particularly overgrown part of the building home to various insects and wildlife. Numerous other subtleties throughout the record’s ten tracks, meanwhile, are taken from snatches of conversations or specially-created effects from the building’s myriad of resources.

‘War Room Stories’ is also notable for featuring a more ‘open door’ policy with regards to collaborators than ever before. ‘Closed Category’ structures itself around excerpts of conversation from a friend of the band, John Bloss. “He’s a peace activist, an ex-junkie and an all-round incredible story teller,” Roman explains. “One of those people who’s almost got too much charisma, who are almost cursed with being so fascinating that they never end up doing anything even though everything about them is magical and hypnotic.” ‘Search Parties’, meanwhile, features guest vocals from Sam Lynham of 90s post-punk influencers Gramme, while ‘Brothers’ employs an R’n’B vocal choir and live string sections pepper throughout the record.

Elsewhere, Breton’s own genre-splicing tendencies take root in increasingly more skilled and nuanced ways. Opener ‘Envy’ is perhaps the group’s most outright ‘pop’ track to date, whereas first single ‘Got Well Soon’ fuses glitchy synths with an undulating backbone beat and ‘Brother’’s echo-laden pianos are at once epic and understatedly restrained. Traces of hip hop, electronica, indie and all the plethora of genres in between interplay under tracks that are, at face value, still surprisingly accessible.

This same duality applies to the visual side of ‘War Room Stories’ which the band, as ever, have given close thought to. The decadently drenched butterfly that adorns the record sleeve, alongside the painted toy depicted on ‘Got Well Soon’ are both from a collection of found objects collected throughout the group’s travels and subsequently adapted. “The fact that it’s a butterfly which is really beautiful, but then it’s dead and it’s had this really glamorous, sickly, gorgeous nail varnish poured on it - it’s like everything good and everything bad and everything exciting and everything depressing all at once,” Rappak enthuses. “And I think that’s what this record is. It’s not a simple thing, and neither is a drowning, dead butterfly in tacky nail varnish. It’s an argument within itself.”

Constantly challenging and pushing against the boundaries of what it means to be in a band in 2013, ‘War Room Stories’ is the second chapter of a group who aren’t afraid to stick their neck on the line and think about things a little differently.
Michna
Michna
Growing up in both NY and Miami, Michna (real name: Adrian Michna) is that unique breed of artist that draws from both the urban and the tropical. As a youngster, Adrian started DJing parties with cassettes and playing trombone in a band on the NYC bar circuit including the infamous Lion's Den and CBGB's.

After moving to Miami in the mid-90's, he co-founded the pioneering Secret Frequency Crew, who deftly mixed instrumental hip-hop and electronic into a coherent whole. Their appropriately titled 12" "Miami Eyes," became an underground hit and caught the attention of a then-unknown Diplo who would ask him for production work. SFC's debut LP "Forest of the Echo Downs" also put Adrian on Ghostly's radar as it was one of label founder Sam Valenti IV's top LPs in 2004.

Currently based in Brooklyn NY, Adrian Michna (aka DJ Egg Foo Young) has become a staple in the NYC club scene, known for his chameleon like abilities. Outside of the club, he has been able to pursue a few hobbies such as building furniture, bicycles, photography, skeeball, and gloss lustre collages. While working on his solo album, he also found time to remix the mysterious Jandek (the only artist ever to do so) and produce on Brazilian group Bonde Do Role's debut LP for Domino/Mad Decent.

It seems Adrian has found his stride as a solo artist, bringing together his myriad influences into a succinct sonic personage. His debut LP "Magic Monday" and the elevating single "Triple Chrome Dipped" are works of distinction and taste, getting asses on the floor in style.
Matthewdavid
Matthewdavid
LA producer/DJ making minimal, dreamy beats.
Mwahaha
Mwahaha
The band consists of Ross Peacock (formerly of Clipd Beaks) and brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton (who were all previously in the Bay Area cult band Ned). Reference points such as Matthew Dear's Black City, The Secret Machines, and the Silver Apples are apt, but Mwahaha carves out their own sound and approach, regardless of the comparisons.

"After the demise of their former indie band Ned, Ross Peacock and brothers Nathan and Cyrus Tilton decided to carve out a new path, first by adopting a more rigorous rehearsal schedule, second by rechristening their outfit, and third by trying a few risky innovations, like surgically opening an amp for modiciation or setting microphones around a koi pond to record the sound of someone dropping a stone in the water. They use analog gear in Mwahaha, including a lot of vintage synthesizers and rickety sounding drum machines. The resulting music often sounds purposefully austere, but it's also riddled with interesting drum sounds and sharp guitar riffs. There's even the occasional pop hook." --East Bay Express
Venue Information:
The Echo
1822 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, California, 90026
http://www.theecho.com