17 juillet 2008
Chronique Cyne - Starship utopia
Iwelcom.tv sent me 'Starship Utopia' in order to write a review of it. I
listened to it, it's very good. But I found that time run out very fast... and
because the album lasts only 30 minutes !
More over, I read that you took three years to prepare this album. Did you select the best of the best ? How many songs have you left out?
Speckulative : We have been working on a large body of music for the past three years, and "Starship Utopia" is the result of thematic and sonic consistencies that came together as we reflected on the catalog of songs we had written and recorded since 2004.
At the same time, these songs had a flow and tone that matched with the previous work we had released with PMC [which, by no mistake, are the first and last songs on "Starship Utopia" -- "Kill The Music" and "Catharsis" -- and, they book-end the entire record... emphasizing the progression in our sound over the years, as well as the "CYNE-ness" in the feel of the music].
The release is intended to be somewhat of a mini-LP, which would explain the length. But, to differentiate the tracks with words like "best" undermines the inspiration behind each of these songs -- some were written on our Europe tour (which has strong ties back to PMC and iWelcom), some were written shortly after "Evolution Fight" (when we had cathartic energy after its release), some were inspired by new musical discoveries or collaborations with friends and other musicians... mainly, we were trying to contain and represent that energy.
A word about the cover which seems very back to basics ?
Speckulative : I'm not completely sure I understand what "back to the basics" means -- but I'll assume you mean it looks a bit like our older record sleeves. Which, in fact, PMC has a history of working with (and operating like) some of our older affiliations : they absorb a level of creative input with the cover art to act as a reflection of the label and its politics. So, the cover was more or less an execution of concept (mixed with interpretations of the record) strictly developed by the label and it's designers. The only images we supplied were the portraits/paintings created by a friend (a young artist from Atlanta named Arthur Charles Edwards).
The coming out of "Pretty Dark Things" is quasi-simultaneous. Is it as short as 'Starship Utopia' ?
Speckulative : "Pretty Dark Things" is also a very concise record (no skits or interludes). It's about 15 minutes longer than "Starship Utopia" (but, it also has 16 total songs). We like to keep ideas refined, and not waste our (or our listeners) time with dragging out themes or sounds. Our tastes are diverse and we like to share that in an accesible space.
What are the main differencies between the two projects ? Why didn't you realise a single album ?
Speckulative : "Pretty Dark Things" was a conceived as a full-length record, and is comprised of all new material (where as "Starship Utopia" contains 5 previously-released tracks). It was also three years in the making (a lot of the songs come out of the same sessions and inspirations as "Starship Utopia"), and it reflects another "conceptual" side of CYNE with the themes and tones we chose to put towards "Pretty Dark Things." So, again, with trying to keep things refined and cohesive, the two records took shape seperately.
And why are they released on two different labels ?
Speckulative : We, like a lot of bands in our situation, are trying different methods of getting the music out to our listeners.
Most importantly, we rely on the support and help from our friends and collaborators (like PMC, iWelcom, Hometapes)... and, where we have historically hit major obstacles with getting our music released in the regions where people listen and gravitate towards CYNE, we decided to try and find ways to have the music as accesible as possible.
So, "Starship Utopia" was born in Germany, and "Pretty Dark Things" will establish it's home base in the US.
We're even working towards an exclusive release for Japan (hopefully, later this year).
We have had bad luck with an even distribution across all markets, and have had very limited editions of our prior releases... so, this time we really wanted to reach out and get across as much music as possible.
July the 17th, you're on stage with Wu Tan Clan, is pressure growing ?
Speckulative : Only Akin can answer this question -- but, for all of CYNE, any performance with Wu is a huge honor (we all grew up as fans).
Akin : yes im nervous to open for wu tang because they are my idols but once i hit the stage the nervousness is out the window.
What are you waiting for from this first part ?
Akin : nothing more than a great show
If tomorrow, a fairy would suggest you to realise a dream in your Music, what would it be ?
Speckulative :To be able to recreate all of the sounds that I hear in my head. And, to have more time to make more music.
Akin : more exposure so i could live of this shitt
A word on french rap...Even if it pains to be renewed, we were lucky to have a "school" rap in France...with masters like NTM, Assassin, IAm, Minister Amer, Saian Supa Crew... Do you know about theses names ? Do you know about french rap ?
Akin : i know all the names you mentioned and that era is also my favorite era, I think they all had more integrity.
What are you listening to by the moment ?
Speckulative : Again, I can only speak for myself, but I have been digging into a number of amazing compilations that were released over the last few years. These collections are trying to revive and represent lost artists from the Ghana / Nigeria / Benin 60's - 80's pop music scene.
Labels like Strut, Honest Jon's, Sound Way, and Analog Africa have released amazing songs -- "Nigeria Special," "African Scream Contest," "Ghana Soundz", "Nigeria 70," and "Lagos All Routes" are among my favorites.
Akin : I'm currently listening to Spirit Agents, they're from Miami. They released an album independently called "depth perception" back in 1999. It's awesome.
Can you advice names of other artists ?
Speckulative & Akin: Some names you might not know, but probably should: ROM, Feathers, Stres (Spirit agent / Antennae), Michael Johnson, Espalda and Epstein.
3 of your favorite songs ?
Speckulative : Right now, here are three songs I keep listening to :
- "Map Ref. 41N 93W" by Wire (from the album "154" on Harvest, 1979)
- "DontGetIt (Misunderstood)" by Lil Wayne (from the album "Tha Carter 3" on Cash Money, 2008)
Découvrez Lil Wayne!
- "Some Things Last A Long Time" by Daniel Johnston (from the album "1990" on Shimmy Disk, 1990)
Découvrez Daniel Johnston!
3 cult movies ?
Speckulative : I recently watched François Truffaut's "Fahrenheit 451" (1966), and it was awesome.
Also, there's a pretty good documentary on Hunter S. Thompson that I watched the other night -- it's called "Buy the Ticket, Take the Ride" (2006), by Tom Thurman.
And last week, I rewatched "8 1/2" by Fellini, and although it might be an obvious classic, it was better than I remembered.
Do you have any other passion ?
Speckulative : Record collecting.