I feel an (Arcade) Fire burning…

Arcade Fire, one of Canada’s finest musical wonders have made their long-awaited comeback.  Everything Nowthe title track of the forthcoming album, and Creature Comfort combine to create a total 9 minutes and 47 seconds of singles that have been presented to us. Both take very different approaches in terms of encompassing elements of Arcade Fire’s sounds but provide a pleasant insight into what may be featured on the album, which is due to be released on July 28.

Everything Now was the first sneak peak the band released this year, played during a secret set at Primavera Sound in Barcelona. The distinctive vocals and a sense of community and togetherness woven throughout the song identify that Arcade Fire’s heavy in-group collaboration may still be present on their forthcoming album… and has presented listeners with a familiar yet fresh introduction to what is to come.

The song’s underlying piano melody is reminiscent of the Strictly Ballroom soundtrack (John Paul Young- Love is in the Air), whilst elements of a raw exploration of music and the environment through the incorporation of the Pygmy Flute. The blend of earthy instrumentals and modern beats is not something new to the band. By working your way through their discography from Haiti (Funeral 2004) to Flashbulb Eyes (Reflektor 2014), the display of musical experimentation within the realms of the band’s signature sound is evident.

The lyrics may also bring attention to the materialistic demands of the current generation. With an indication of the band’s interest in current events, values and positioning also solidified through the protest song, I Give You Power, released during Trump’s inauguration into the Whitehouse, Everything Now continues on this lyrical path.

The most heart-warming and familiar elements of Everything Now would be the chorus of voices joining together to create that atmospheric togetherness that related back to the fundamentals of the band- who incorporate many artists into their touring and album-producing collective. They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a village of talented individuals lead by a tightly-knit band to produce an Arcade Fire song, and boy, is it worth it.  Everything Now, with its familiar elements taken from the depths of the band’s, leaves listeners yearning for more.

 

The behind-the-scenes elements of the album production are evident in Creature Comfort. Thomas Bangalter [Daft Punk] has translated the rigid electronic sound of Daft Punk into a catchy loop woven throughout the depths of the song. Despite this scratchy new element, there is a sense of sweetness that lies beneath it, brought by the innocent piano melody that weaves its way in and out of the song. When comparing the two singles side by side, the musical spectrum of the soon-to-be-released album can be identified. It seems those distinctly warming piano melodies and all-together-now vocal outbursts are here to stay.

The lyrics are a juxtaposition to the somewhat sweet melody that becomes increasingly present throughout the song’s progression. With references to suicide, body image, and self-harm, Arcade Fire’s awareness of important issues and challenges are again presented. However, the juxtaposition is not to be mistaken for the band glorifying suicide by not embodying a darker sound. This approach allows such issues to be discussed and highlighted through a more palatable and digestible sound.

When comparing the two singles side by side, the musical spectrum of the soon-to-be-released album can be identified. It seems those distinctly warming piano melodies and all-together-now vocal outbursts are here to stay.

The clever marketing teasers and creativity displayed through the release of these two singles and the album to come may also indicate that the personality of the band that we have grown to love and cherish will still be present in their future endeavours. With the album’s release so close, I hope an Australian tour is soon to follow.

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RRReflection

If there is one thing I have always regret, it has been that I should have gotten into the world of radio broadcasting and production a long time ago. However, that was until this studio. Why? Because this class has been an intense crash-course in the world of radio and collaboration in the radio world.

The demo-recording process was an intense, quick and super beneficial learning experience. This was not only due to it being our first go at working collaboratively to produce a radio show, but also due to the fact that we encountered a few hiccups along the way. Scannell (2014) identifies, “there is a danger in everything we say and do: a possibility, every time, of performative failure and unanticipated and unwelcome consequences.”. I think that our demo exposed us to some performative failures that we could face and prepared us for the possibility of hiccups when live on air.

Ironically, the demo and our previous experience with technical difficulties came in handy during our first show due to issues with the sponsorship announcements. However, our knowledge and experience with reacting and covering such errors allowed the quality of our first live to air show to not be diminished as severely. It shows not only that practice and ‘drills’ come in handy, but that as you grow and produce more radio shows, you learn to deal with unexpected problems with faster reaction times and in increasingly professional ways, to the point where it is almost unnoticeable to the listening ear.

I had never really thought about the creative and technical processes that are involved in producing a radio feature. It wasn’t until our feature production began that I realised their prominence on radio. As a frequent Hack listener, it was brought to light how often they are used to discuss topics of debate or interest in a creative and engaging way. Through the delegation of tasks in the production of the feature, I was able to gain experience putting on my ‘producer’ hat, by reaching out to potential interviewees and communicating with representatives. I also got to gather found material that would later add texture to the feature, which was something I was really excited to do. The radio features that seem to grab my attention have layers and layers of pop culture extracts or ominous sounds that directly and indirectly relate back to the content of the piece. It was an exciting process to hear the feature come together through the fabulous contributions of each team member, putting their strengths and interest to use to produce a piece that discusses the world of second-hand clothing in a way that reflected us as a group, and reflected the issue in a way that looked at various perspectives.

The most beneficial aspect of this class for me was the interviews conducted in the first half of the semester. My interview with Donna from Melbourne Period Project was enjoyable not only from a production perspective but also due to the fact I was able to learn so much about an incredible organisation. Donna’s previous experience in radio interviews and her incredible presence in the room eased my nerves and allowed me to be in the moment, thinking about what questions I really wanted to ask, using information to delve deeper into the discussion and be eased into the overall interview process. I gained experience in the technical skills required to produce an interview, learning what works and what doesn’t in terms of microphone positioning, maintaining good levels and editing to create a smoother result.

By having such an immediate connection to a professional radio station made the learning experiences much more beneficial. Rather than just rehearsing in a mock studio, we were putting our work, voices and collaborations out into the real world, on a renowned radio station. This professional aspect of it motivated me to produce the best work possible, and as a result, I have now added audio pieces to my folio that I am proud of.

This studio reminded me of the benefits of the collaborative process- its ability to allow mutual education by sharing knowledge and talents to not only improve the overall collaborative outcome but encourage each other to improve and grow along the way. I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful and supportive group who made the process of putting a show live to air, conducting an interview and creating a feature a smooth and enjoyable one. Through this studio, it was made evident how important and valuable collaboration is in the radio industry, not only to learn new skills and ensure a smooth production process but as a mechanism of support through a new and sometimes challenging journey. Good communication within my collaborative group was crucial in producing the quality of work we did, and came in handy when technical difficulties arose during air time.

Radio has been something I have been dying to get into for way too long, almost too long. But this experience in the Room With a View studio has been more than an incredible introduction to radio broadcasting, but a beneficial journey where I have been able to not only go live to air but learn how to conduct an interview for radio, put on a radio show, present a radio show and produce a feature, as well as learn from and assist my peers.

Being live to air today was the cherry on top of a really positive studio experience. I was able to fulfil a lifelong wish to host a radio show as well as doing it amongst some great people who I have been lucky enough to collaborate and grow with throughout the semester. This studio has sparked serious interest in the broadcast and music industries and has created a passion for presenting and being involved with radio.  I have already signed myself up to be more involved in the radio sphere and I can’t wait to build on the skills and experiences I have had in this studio.

Soundcloud Links:

All relevant blogs that may or may not be hyperlinked in this blog are under the category RWAV 

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You’re listening to Room With a View on 3RRR

Today was the day where everything felt like it came together- the years of longing to be on radio, building up the courage to delve into radio and my inner hope that one day I will transform into Zan Rowe and live happily ever after as a Radio Queen. Today, Rosie and I hosted the show and it was possibly one of the most enjoyable hours ever.

Despite probably sounding like a nervous wreck and a deliciously horrible technical difficulty, the show went really well. Once we finally got it to play, Corey’s interview with Roj Amendi was really insightful and really well executed. Our live interview with Russell and Michael from ASRC Food Justice Truck was a really great way to approach the discourse of Asylum Seekers/Refugees by providing a way in which people can get involved by changing the way they shop. We also debuted our feature, which was received really well and even resulted in a radio caller- 2 shows in a row!

I am definitely hooked and just want to immerse myself in all things radio. Hopefully the next time I go to air, I won’t replace the word track with treat and then get all dad-jokey on the audience.

 

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Featuring the Feature

Audio and soundscape based studio classes were always the ones I avoided, but I am starting to question why I didn’t give them more attention.

Whilst the concept of the feature has seemed quite foreign to me throughout the process, I have realised along the way that the elements and production of the feature are not dissimilar to filmmaking. You have to go out and source interviews (like actors in a film), you need to record narration or dialogue, you should include music and found material to break up the dialogue (like cutaways in a film) and the editing process is equally as tedious!

After a few short weeks of sourcing, recording, editing and refining material, our feature is not only complete, but it aired today and had a great reception. We were even contacted by an RMIT group who were organising an exhibition related to our feature asking if they could use it as part of the display. Pretty cool hey?

The creation of this feature has not only taught me the technical components of features and their creation, such as ensuring that interviews are relevant, materials create an atmosphere, there is exploration of both sides of the story and that there is some sort of texture or multi-layered aspects to the feature, this experience has been positive in all respects, including the collaborative process. By delegating tasks and responsibilities, and by giving feedback on each other’s contributions, we were able to produce a coherent feature that we are all proud of.

Well here it is… Fashion Faux Pas….

 

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A Happy Grizzly Bear

Well, well, well (or allora , if you have been as immersed in Master of None as I have), it has been quite some time since I have been deep in my music blogging. But do note, it has been a long time between drinks for Grizzly Bear too.  Grizzly Bear, possibly one of my favourite bands of all time, have been notably quiet in terms of music releases since the release of Shields in 2012… well that was until very recently. The Brooklyn band have not only dropped 2 terribly atmospheric numbers, but announced that Painted Ruins, their first aalbum in 5 years will be released on August 18th.
This news was a terrific excuse to delve back into the wonderous world of indie-experimental-folk delights, the tunes which soundtracked my momentous leap from a naive high school graduate to a full time, full blown media student. So with that, I have decided to bring you 5 of my favourite grizzles…

1. Mourning Sound- Painted Ruins (2017)

This more upbeat tune gives a taste into a new sound that may possibly be woven throughout the anticipated record. A bolder emphasis is placed on the vocals and supported by stronger sounding guitar riffs bleeding in and out.

2. Sun In Your Eyes- Shields (2012)

Despite this song being a musical description of an ayahuasca trip, it feels to also be a song that presents time to reflect on your current state. The combination of orchestral bursts, changing paces and the pause at around the four and a half minute mark allows the song to have a strong emotional pull blossoms. If you shed a tear, you are not alone.

3.  Slow Life (feat. Victoria Legrand)- Twilight Saga: New Moon [Motion Picture Soundtrack] (2009)

Who knew that the Twilight Saga soundtrack could bring together such a beautiful combination of artists. This song brings the best of two sounds- Grizzly Bear eerie dream-like vocals and Beach House’s twinkle. This tune’s mellow melody is enough to ease you to sleep.

4. Three Rings- Painted Ruins (2017)

The signature emphasis on instrumental excellence is everpresent in this career silence-breaking wonder. The song’s almost ‘rough’ beginnings progresss into the beautiful combination of whimsical vocals and heart string- plucking guitar sequences and then to a wonderful mix of it all- reminding us all of the magic of music.

5. Ready, Able- Veckatimest (2009)

Last, but definitely not least, is what I can only hope stays on the top of my ‘favourite songs of all time list’… why? Because it deserves it.  Waltzy waves of hauntingly pleasant vocals roll in and out of this beautiful track, leading into an atmospheric combination of guitar riffs and a rounded blend of synthesised sounds. I feel this song is best received in the depths of a forest, staring at the sky and running through the deep patterns of pine trees.

Stay tuned for an album debrief… I am already counting down the days.

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Addicted to Meth(yl Ethel)

Got you there… well maybe not (I was catious not to create a dodgy online image for myself). I must confess, I do love my Methyl Ethel.

My current music obsessions are making me reconsider my geographic location- Pond, Tame Impala and Methyl Ethel have risen from the west of our sunburnt country, so I have to ask… what makes the talent grow as refined and amitious over in the mystical land of Perth? I would love to know.

Friday was the 4th time I had seen them in concert, and as always, I left terribly content and incredibly impressed. I’ve seen them progress through the venue hierachy- Northcote Social Club in April last year, to Howler in February, Groovin the Moo a few weeks ago and the iconic Corner Hotel on Friday. Big things are coming for these guys. The combination of raw riffs, eerily-rich vocals and a hypnotising atmosphere, I look forward to seeing what Methyl Ethel bring to the next dinner party (and I am talking about more than just their haircuts #haircutsong)

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Creature Features

This studio has presented me with lots of opportunities to try my hand at new things, but the most intriguing of these would be the creation of a radio feature. To be honest, in the past I avoided the Media Studios that had an audio focus, purely because I had been trained in the film, and developed a love for the creation of dialogue-absent shorts.

I had a vague idea of the structure of a feature before our creative process started, but forgot how much room there was for experimenting with content, texture and content. Our group has chosen to focus our feature on second-hand clothing, exploring the effects of recycling clothes and identifying possible answers to the question- in doing good, are we actually doing any good?

Corey and I were put on the task of trying to contact the likes of Vinnies and Brotherhood of St Laurence to try and discuss the circulation of their clothing items within their respective opportunity shops. But unfortunately, they were more reserved than initially expected. Luckily, we had some connections in the Uniting Church Op Shop in Point Lonsdale. Whilst the impact of an interview with a more large-scale organisation would have added a nice side to our feature, the more personable touch we were able to get out of an interview with an opp shop volunteer might add a bit of tension, something that Sam and Bruce stressed we should aim for.

Hopefully, our elements pull together nicely. Natalie has been delegated the task of editing and after listening to a few of her past feature works, I am sure she will bring everything together beautifully

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Second Showtime

Soon, I will be hosting my first ever radio show… yep you heard correctly.

14 year old me is over the moon. I used to text into Triple J almost every night, and I had a very strong desire to be best friends, or just be Linda Marigliano or Zan Rowe. Some nights I would be so proud of myself for getting a call from Linda asking if I wanted to go live- then being so terrified and sounding like an absolute idiot once I went live.

But this is my chance to redeem myself.

Rosie and I will be hosting this coming Monday, and we have a great line up of interviews and tunes which is helping to calm my nerves and replace them with excitement. I hope that our experiences and the technical difficulties from last show help us to have a more flawless broadcast experience. Nat has already employed Sally to be back-up Panel Assistant, and I will be sure to ask Corey and Jess for some words of advice on the topic of hosting.

There is a lot of build up to Monday and I promise I wont let you down, 14 year old India. I will remember to breathe, speak english and enjoy the moment.

(ps. Oi- 14 year old India- Blue bands on your braces was the worst idea for year 9 school photos just a heads up)

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Thank you Spotify

 

I sometimes get mad at myself for discovering ‘bangers’ years after their release, but when they are as good as this one I have for you today, there is room for self-forgiveness.

Nicholas Allbrook.

The name sounds familiar, doesn’t it? This legend is the frontman for POND, a past touring member of Tame Impala and as I have recently discovered, a fantastic solo musician

Now, subscribing to Spotify Premium has been wonderful for many reasons, but I think the main reason is the Discover Weekly feature, which is the foundations of which this blog is built on.

A song called 100k’s ’round Carmel (Ganough, Wallis & Fatuna, 2014) popped up on my Discover Weekly playlist, and I am so bloody glad it did. Why? Because it is just a brilliant piece of music. The combination of psychedelic undertones, hint of rawness and roaring guitars just ticks all the boxes. Oh, and the music videos is totally 2000’s Kahootz animation vibes and I totally love it.

Do yourself a favour and check it out. You won’t beat yourself up about only hearing it for the first time because this song and its video are wonderful distractions.

 

Update: Devastating revelation. I woke up this morning to discover that this piece of wonder has vanished from Spotify, along with his other musical masterpieces. I am praying for their return.

Live to air

Last Monday, it was game day- serious business. My wonderful group were all prepared and ready- Natalie had printed off a billion run sheets so that we could all have one and follow along. Her extreme organisation almost transformed her into the Leslie Knope of the group, as she exclaimed herself.

Whilst we were relatively calm, a few little hiccups seemed to try and tip us up. The first of these was coming to the realisation that we were not in Studio 3, our usual studio for recording demos, rehearsing and the studio in which we were trained in. We thought there would be time for us to set up and relax into the Studio 3 vibe- preload our audio material, test it would play and also practice the sponsorship announcement scheduling. Which leads us to the next hiccup. Being in Studio 2 not only meant that we were rushed for time with preloading everything into the computer, but we also discovered that the sponsorship announcement program had, what Archie called ‘the gremlins’ living inside of it (side note: I do understand that there were no literal gremlins inside the computer). This meant that every time Sally went to play a sponsorship, it would play up, then be delayed and hence, a wonderful amount of dead air was spun into the radio waves. Luckily, the wonderful RRR team came to our rescue and helped us to rectify the computer and exterminate the gremlins. The third hiccup was only minor, but we had a mini panic that our live interviewee was lost and not going to make it on time. Fortunately, his lateness was not too late.

Apart from these hiccups, and some instances of dead air, I was really proud of my group’s efforts. I wasn’t easy trying to organise a show in between 2 public holiday weekends- but we managed to do it, even if it meant we had 2 pre-recorded interviews.

One of the most rewarding things that came out of the show going to air was the fact that after the Melbourne Period Project interview aired (the interview conducted by me int he week before our show went to air), I had a caller contact the station in order to gain more information on how she could get involved with the charity. It was a lovely reminder of the power of radio, and the wonderful opportunity that we have been given by being involved with RWAV.

I thoroughly enjoyed my role as Social Media Manager for the show. Whilst it was limiting that there were only two platforms to manage (the website and Twitter), I was really able to go all out and post quite regularly. With Twitter, I tweeted reminder posts that alerted audiences to our show time and date. I also posted photos before we went on air, and after each interview went to air. This acted as not only a way for the Twitter audience to interact with the show if they were unable to tune in, but more importantly it acted as a visual accompaniment to the radio broadcast whilst also acting as a means of cross-marketing promotion with the interviewees, by @tagging them in the Tweet and allowing them to retweet it to their personal audiences.

The website is now decked out with a synopsis of each interview, details of the crew and the list of songs in which we played.

Overall, I think whilst there were some issues with our broadcast, our behind the scenes mechanisms including both the social media channels as well as the pre-show preparation allowed us to overcome these issues in a professional manner, and present the RRR audience with a somewhat professional broadcast.

If you wish to listen to the show, you can her a copy of the broadcast on my personal SoundCloud

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