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 Forum index » Reviews, Editorials and Commentary » Reviews, Reports and Interviews
Telefon Tel Aviv - Philadelphia - Nov 23
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mosc
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2003 11:26 am    Post subject: Telefon Tel Aviv - Philadelphia - Nov 23 Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Telefon Tel Aviv
Last night I drove down to Philadelphia to check out Telefon Tel Aviv, a band that electro-music.com member Zynthetix turned me onto here on the forums. I drove down with Zynthand in Philly we linked up with Daniel, another electro-music.com member-contributor.

Telefon Tel Aviv consists of Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper. They are from Chicago, and, by the way, have nothing to do with Israel. They were joined by an excellent female vocalist whose name I didn't get. Maybe someone can let us know her name in a reply to this topic.

The performance was an R5 Productions concert at the Unitarian Church, on Chestnut near 21st Street. Apparently there are many alternative and underground concerts put on by these guys. In fact, this show started late because there was a Radical Punk concert earlier in the day and the band was delayed breaking down. The venue is in the basement of the church, in a recreation room. There are no chairs, everyone stands. The sound system was adequate, not great. I was very happy that it wasn't too loud, even when the first band, The Liars, a conventional rock band, was playing.

Telefon Tel Aviv plays very interesting music; very mellow, with a nice crisp electronic topping. It reminded me a lot of cool jazz. They often use a Rhodes electric piano, as well as a bass, a guitar, and Apple laptop and a beautiful Moog Voyager synthesizer. Most of the songs they played had a very active electronic drum beat backing, or should I say facing. They keep the beat always up front, with crisp highs and a very powerful punching bass. The beat track has lots of electronic ear candy, with panning and neat frequency modulation. It sizzles, but it sounded very much the same from song to song, unfortunately.

The vocalist was quite good. Her voice was sometimes processed by a vocoder and by heavy amplitude modulation with a square wave. This was a great effect, used very sparingly. I wasn't able to understand many of the words of the songs. Most of them set a blue, laid-back jazzy mood, but one or two were up-tempo. One song, she said it was her favorite, had the lyric "I've got a crush on you".

I was interested in what they would do with the Moog. They played it for a few very subdued melodic lines, often hardly noticeable. Most of the time it sat on the stage by itself, unplayed. It is possible that the sparkling electronic sounds from the percussion track was actually played on the Moog via MIDI from the Apple, I couldn't tell.

All three of us enjoyed the performance quite a bit. These people are good musicians working on creating their own sound - very intelligent. The audience responded to them quite well.

I spoke a bit with Josh before the band went on. He said they're moving to a more hardcore rock sound. He said they thought some people might be disappointed. I'll bet they do this in a very elegant and intelligent way. I look forward to hearing them again.

The next time Zynthetik recommends some music, I'm certainly going to pay serious attention.

Telefon Tel Aviv is on Hefty Records.
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zynthetix



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2003 7:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The vocalist's name is Lindsay Thompson. She told me that Telefon Tel Aviv would try to assemble a tour after their album release in January, although she did not know whether they'd be touring with a larger act or if they'd be performing at a lot of small venues like the Philly show. I'd find either satisfactory.

Right after the set I asked Joshua Eustis what software he was running on the Apple Laptop, and he told me "Pro Tools." I'm guessing most of the electronic beats were sampled...I know they use Reaktor for a lot of the beat and "micro beat" constructions, but I also know from personal experience that running large Reaktor programs live can get kind of clumsy and risky, and a crash would not be good in a live situation Rolling Eyes That is only my guess though, I don't know for a fact how they were generating the beats live.

I had mixed feelings on the new material ("hard rock sound"), although the overall impressions I got from it were good...I'd really have to hear those songs on an album though to make a fair judgement.

Overall, the show left me with a strong desire to hear more music by them...and isn't that what it's all about? Laughing Cool
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