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Bent Knee

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sagichim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 27 2016 at 22:28
I agree Freak Machine is awesome!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2016 at 15:58
You, I've listened to several multiple-hour long interviews with various band members and apparently the band makes ALL decisions by consensus: anyone doesn't like an idea and it's shelved or re-discussed until it fits everyone's comfort zone. Conversely, ANY idea proposed by ANY band member is tried out, discussed, tweaked until it is either worked into their music/stage and sound production or thrown out. Needless to say, songwriting is a very lengthy process. But they ALL LOVE this process, they all LOVE spending time together--hours upon hours--and they all love the end results of their efforts.

On an incredibly interesting side-note:  producer/sound board manipulator Vince Welch is given complete carte blanche final say over song and sound production and stage sound effects--the band don't always know what Vince might try (on stage) and never know precisely what they're going to get at the end of song mastering. What amazing trust! (What an amazing talent he is--and the rest of the band know it!) 

Needless to say, the band have an unique and refreshing approach to . . . being a band. 

Courtney's a classically trained pianist--since kindergarten--and have you heard violinist Chris Baum's contributions to other albums and bands? The Dear Hunter. Ben Levin Group. Qwill. Art Decade. Guy Mendilow. Symmetry. Matti Kovler. Thirty Seconds to Mars. Dropkick Murphys. EiderFlux. Amanda Palmer. Pyre Dove. Poorvah. Boston Opera Collaborative. Perhaps. Om Frequency. The Devil's Twins. Fox Harbor. Ouput. Jaggery. Wheat. The guy is amazing, prolific, and IN DEMAND! 

And then there's understated leader and musical genius Ben Levin--the guy who composes, fronts, and guitars for several bands while also scoring movie soundtracks and dropping music lessons on YouTube as "Fake Dr. Levin." Watch their concerts. The man is a master of control, cool, and simple perfection. Except when he's going ape-sh*t wild as a kind of M. Night Shyamalan Wild Man in his own band. 

And the most upfront dominant sound beneath Courtney's schizophrenic voice (and I mean that in a respectful, complimentary, amazed, awed, and blown away way) is the creative and yet never "over the top" drumming of Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth the Third (whose dad was apparently a prog and classic rock fan during Gavin's growing up).

Bassist Jessica Kion band is so solid, so melodic, so tight with all of the music--and the funnest person to watch on stage cuz of her emotional support of everything else that is going on! 

If you're at all curious to see and hear the amazing spirit that is the essence of Bent Knee, check out any of the YouTube videos posted under "Live at Hand Forged Works." I am CERTAIN that you will be floored.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2016 at 16:07

Bent Knee "Battle Creek" Spare Room Sessions


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2016 at 17:04
Nice summary BrufordFreak, pretty much spot one. I had an itch to scratch today so listened to Shiny Eyed Babies again today, grinned the whole way through.
Ian



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: January 28 2016 at 18:23
Originally posted by BrufordFreak BrufordFreak wrote:

-and have you heard violinist Chris Baum's contributions to other albums and bands? The Dear Hunter. Ben Levin Group. Qwill. Art Decade. Guy Mendilow. Symmetry. Matti Kovler. Thirty Seconds to Mars. Dropkick Murphys. EiderFlux. Amanda Palmer. Pyre Dove. Poorvah. Boston Opera Collaborative. Perhaps. Om Frequency. The Devil's Twins. Fox Harbor. Ouput. Jaggery. Wheat. The guy is amazing, prolific, and IN DEMAND! 



No, I haven't and needless to say that's one hell of a list.  Wow, prolific isn't the word.  Will check out Live at Hand Forged Works too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2016 at 10:43
*bump*  One thing I don't understand is why they touch up their live recordings so much.  I understand some amount of polishing, lots of bands do that.  But the ones Bent Knee have put up are too good to believe they are authentic.  When I say too good, I mean the quality of the sound output rather than technically.  It's kind of too perfect sounding, can't describe it in words any better than that but basically a true live recording has a different ring about it.  Doesn't help that there's a huge gulf between these recordings and the Berklee performances, though the latter are good, considering it's live.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2016 at 19:37
roger: My understanding is that the "live" performances from Hand Forge Works are staged to be very nearly "live studio" performances--almost like their versions of videos. They have some kind of private friend who owns the warehouse and its million square foot neighbor in which they do record a lot of their vocal and other overdub tracks, and that this friend gives them some kind of long-term access to the two sites. So, yes, the sound quality and production quality are way above any of the other concert recordings of the band. So, cut them a little slack. This is kind of like the cheap way for a not-yet-signed band to create public exposure.
      I've never paired up the album versions of the songs with those of the Hand Forge Works versions. They may be one and the same (as Prince did years ago for the Purple Rain movie soundtrack). Anyway, I'm not quite certain of your "complaint" as the only untampered, unedited, unadulterated live recordings I know of from the past 40 years are bootlegs--and these videos are not bootlegs. The band themselves are the ones posting these songs.  
     Anyway, there are other versions coming out slowly. And, soon, the new songs from the upcoming May release will start getting public exposure. I'm excited. And I know they're going to do a European tour and, hopefully, an American tour to promote it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2016 at 20:17
Yeah, well, as long as they stop it once they gain some traction on a nationwide basis, I am fine with it.  More than a complaint, it's like I heard those band-edited clips first and found those performances to be an incredible level. I have heard bootleg versions of other bands - the greats, particularly - and they tend to compare favourably with official releases, is my point.  There are some live solos of Gilmour's that he's never played on official PF releases.  In that sense, I found the Berklee recordings a bit of a let down but in a way, it's good because I can reset expectations. In the Berklee recordings I saw a young band that is still finding its way into the music scene which is apt for where Bent Knee stand at the moment.  I am sure the upcoming album plus tours will give them the 'seasoning' to rise to higher levels.  I don't doubt their talent but I just generally have a thing against over-processing to make oneself sound more perfect than one really is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 06 2016 at 20:50
Listening again, I thought Courtney was excellent on Good Girl but the very moment Being Human starts, her singing goes flat.  It is what I suspected yesterday and it's confirmed: singing and playing keyboard over such heavy duty music is too much to ask.  They could do with simply having another keyboardist who can also fill in on such tracks.  The singers I've known to sing and play piano/keyboard on stage definitely don't attempt to do it over this kind of music and are also usually seated.   Just looking at Courtney's fingers going over the keyboard, I reckon she's probably - if not definitely - a much better singer than a keyboardist so having somebody else play keyboards should help them.  They don't want to put their main draw in difficulty in concert settings.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2016 at 10:03
Drummer Gavin Ailsworth has told me that the band only started playing together as is since the week before recording their first album (which is rather raw and disorganized)--even though Ben and Courtney have been friends since the first day of freshman year at Berklee. They did their first tour outside of Boston last summer--to very small audiences. Again, I think it important to remember that they were flying under everybody's radar--even record companies--until this August when Steve Feigenbaum negotiated their contract with Cuneiform.

RE Courtney's keyboard playing: I have a feeling that she may be a much more accomplished keyboard player (classical piano) than singer as she trained as a classical pianist in Japan (where she's from) from kindergarten to entrance to Berklee. She came to Berklee for training as a concert pianist. I think Ben's friendship--as well as the entire Berklee experience--lured her into listening, playing, and performing opportunities that she never dreamed would become her "wheelhouse." Though I may be wrong. I have a niece at Berklee right now. She went under the auspices of honing her vocal talents and pop music writing skills but has found a profound love for the engineering-production side of music--loving its very creative, collaborative, and experimental sides. So, Courtney may be adventuring into newly explored territory for herself. You might try checking out some of their interviews--Ian Beabout has had both Gavin and Courtney on his show "Prog Rock Deep Cuts" several times (episode #93 is a good one) and "Breakthru Radio" did an amazing piece on which Courtney performed some of here solo stuff. They also did a very telling live in the studio performance on Session from the Box on September 15, 2014 which displayed a lot of their immaturity when compared with more recent live recordings.

I mentioned the band's producer, keyboard player and on-stage live sound manager, Vince Welch. He has such an unusual role in that he is constantly playing with the effects, volumes, and mix of the band's soundboard--especially the vocals--through out each song. The band give full reign to do whatever he feels compelled to do--even right in the middle of songs (which you hear A LOT with the changing effects on Courtney's singing voice). Again, the band members' implicit and complete trust with and for one another is amazing--so refreshing in this era of paranoia and competitiveness. 


Edited by BrufordFreak - February 07 2016 at 10:21
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2016 at 10:10
Yeah, maybe it's just about figuring herself out as an artist at the moment.  But when I see a keyboard player look down frequently at the keys (in rock/pop music), then it tells me that they aren't feeling too comfortable/confident about it.  Stevie Wonder is blind and he can play complex chords and sing over them.  Those are high standards but I think Courtney can live up to them. :)  She has the talent.  But if she's going to sing and play keyboard at one and the same time, it's got to be that good.  Else better to have another keyboardist in the band.  In any case, instrumentally the band seems to be driven much more by guitar.  While her keyboard tones are quite beautiful and unintrusive, she has a much more distinctive 'voice' as a singer.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2016 at 10:12
By the way, I know you have seen it already - from your comment there - but I am sharing this video of I'm Still Here. It's a poignant track as it is but the video was touching beyond words.  

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2016 at 10:23
Yep, seen it. About Ben's Uncle--a hero of his. Quite an emotional tribute. Would that we all could/would feel that genuine love and respect for our elders.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2016 at 10:27
My grandmum was a long suffering arthritis patient (I mean multiple decades) and a terrible fall left her crippled in one foot for twenty of those years. I could totally relate to that video.  The part where he mimes the title was almost too much to bear.  I know that she loved us all in her heart though the pain she went through made it appear otherwise at times.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote BrufordFreak Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2016 at 10:43
Ben and the band would appreciate reading that^
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 07 2016 at 10:45
Will post the same comment in that vid.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote mathman0806 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2016 at 10:35
Strangely enough before seeing this thread, I started listening to their material this past week and am thoroughly impressed, and bought Shiny Eyed Babies as a digital download through their bandcamp site. Will have to explore the band member's other projects when I have a chance, but Shiny Eyed Babies has been on heavy rotation. Besides the incredible vocals, the overall sound and production is impressive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 12 2016 at 22:00
Ditto, unable to move on from Shiny Eyed Babies to either the debut or the other projects.  This album itself is so rich in emotion, details that it keeps drawing me back for more.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rogerthat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2016 at 01:05
Anybody heard this yet?  Sounds interesting:



Edited by rogerthat - April 30 2016 at 01:05
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Nogbad_The_Bad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: April 30 2016 at 07:35
I got the new album a couple of days ago, it's available at Wayside, it's outstanding, probably a step up from the great Shiny Eyed Babies.
Ian



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