Listen: Howard Ivans Dub feat. Natalie Prass
Listen to “Red Face Boy (Version)” featuring Natalie Prass, dub by Matthew E. White and Trey Pollard, originally premiered by SPIN:
Dub is a process, invented and refined in Jamaica in the 1970s, that spread throughout the world and has come to inform almost all of the music we listen to in one way or another. At Spacebomb we are dedicated to this process and to the continuous redefinition of what a record can be. We want to see our recordings work in many different ways, in many different frames, maximizing what we do in the studio and demonstrating that a record can be malleable, bendable, and changeable. We are dedicated to improvisation not only as musicians, but as engineers, performers, producers, and creatures of imagination, and hope that our dubs stand as lively, fresh and courageous interactions.
“Red Face Boy (Version)” was given life on November 5th in our attic and features the angelic voice of Natalie Prass, whose full-length Spacebomb debut will arrive in 2014. We took our work on Howard Ivan’s satin-lined R&B and sent it through a kaleidoscope of delay and reverb, sailing it through the Spacebomb void, through circuits, tubes, tape and out the other side. Improvising, reimagining, and playing with electricity until we discovered something–recognizable and related, but sincerely new. Then, Natalie, fresh off the stage, spent all night revealing an as yet unseen spirit from the track. Her sensational ability to be strong, gentle at the right times, and graceful throughout, brought a focus to the wildness around her. It felt like music made as a community, centered around the mixing console, watching faders rise and fall, knobs turn left and right, and something new arise, spinning from a framework that we had already built.
Spacebomb holds tight to the idea that Dub is not a genre, but a way of interacting with recorded music–a process that becomes philosophy. This is truly the first time we have been able to share it with you. Thank you for listening.
Howard Ivans’ Red Face Boy b/w Pillows 7″ will be released on November 19. Preorder now.
A Spacebomb Revue: Live this December
poster by Travis Robertson
This December, the sound and spirit of Richmond, Virginia’s record label-that-could manifests itself live over six special evenings in six special cities. With each of these shows, Spacebomb is honored to bring you a small piece of their community, playing bedroom music and party music, work music and dance music. Inspired by the guts and showmanship of the great traveling revues of Motown, Spacebomb will showcase their community pride from the stage: both Matthew E. White and Howard Ivans will be backed by the 100-proof Virginia gentlemen of Spacebomb’s inimitable house-band. Brace yourselves for three rounds of the purest, finest Spacebomb Revue.
Hit bell no. 1 — Tight Virginia funk and honeyed dream ballads draped in silk christen the evening from Howard Ivans, whose brilliant new 7” is the next piece of chromatic-eyed soul from the Spacebomb trust. Ring bell no. 2 — Spacebomb extended family member dosh, Minneapolis soundscapist, percussionist, free thinker and joyful noise-generator. Strike bell no. 3 to close out the evening — Matthew E. White, whose Big Inner has become a staggering critical success, re-pressed and re-released around the globe, brings his vision for what music can be in the 21st century—grand and essential. It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a town like Richmond, Virginia to raise the unholy groove of the dead and dying music industry. With experimentation, courage, craft, and love, they sing in the choir of their own imagination, making regional music, folk music, modern music — music brought to your ears by the Spacebomb Revue.
Dec. 4 – Allston, MA – Great Scott * (tickets)
Dec. 5 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg * (tickets)
Dec. 6 – Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s * (tickets)
Dec. 7 – Washington, DC – Rock & Roll Hotel * (tickets)
Dec. 13 – Wilmington, NC – Bourgie Nights at Manna ^ (tickets)
Dec. 14 – Raleigh, NC – Kings Barcade # (tickets)
Dec. 15 – Richmond, VA – Strange Matter # (tickets)
* w/ Matthew E. White, dosh, Howard Ivans
^ w/ Howard Ivans, Summer Set
# w/ Matthew E. White, Howard Ivans
Introducing Howard Ivans
photo by Ryan Patterson
Spacebomb is proud to introduce a man called Howard Ivans and announce a new pair of songs, which will be released as a limited pressing 7″ vinyl and digital download on November 19. Alongside the Spacebomb House Band, Horns, and Strings, Ivans (of the Rosebuds and Gayngs) sings the remarkably heartfelt songs, “Red Face Boy” and “Pillows.” Today, SPIN premieres Side A, “Red Face Boy,” calling it a “magnificent art-funk treasure.” Listen:
In 2012, Spacebomb dropped a bottle in an ocean,
a record by Matthew E. White called Big Inner, the label’s inaugural work. It floated around the world and into thousands of new homes. For a small organization just starting out, it was more than just a success–it was a game changer. This fall, Spacebomb will again open its arms and gather around a man called Howard Ivans, embracing a process to produce a magic piece of round plastic. SB003, all hail the mighty 45. All hail Howard Ivans, of indie pop darlings The Rosebuds and soft rock bad boys Gayngs. Here he’s stepping out solo into the colored lights, bringing along two mesmerizing, pulsing, gut-sticking tracks that tear away the walls between the future and the past, sadness and happiness, light and shadow. Howard Ivans reveals himself anew, bringing us inside his personal relationship to R&B with two brilliant flashes of chromatic-eyed soul.
Side A, “Red Face Boy,” is a blistering journey through the madness and insecurity of love, feet on the floor, glossy ‘n raw. Tight Virginia funk with obvious nods to the city formerly known as Minneapolis. Side B, “Pillows,” is a honeyed dream ballad, the trademark Spacebomb sound draped in silk: ravishing strings, stinging horns, and above all, an insistent and persuasive rhythm section. This is bedroom music and party music, music for the wedding and the honeymoon, for work or play or swimming through the city at night. This is the music of Spacebomb & Howard Ivans, the music of our minds.
The game may have changed, but the Spacebomb players are still the same: Pinson Chanselle and Cameron Ralston, drum and bass rhythm kings; string arrangements by Trey Pollard; and horn charts by Matthew E. White. Hear the attic studio move and shake like a well-oiled machine, making records the Spacebomb way. A perfect match for Ivans’ vision, for the man who made a song-by-song cover album of Sade’s Love Deluxe, channeling all his love for the history of satin-lined R&B into creating (and crooning) these two remarkably heartfelt songs.
The 21st century has a soul-shaped void in its heart and Howard Ivans is going to fill it until the grooves run out.
Hot Chip remixes Matthew E. White’s “Big Love”
Time to mess around. Again. The great HOT CHIP have remixed “Big Love,” a track from Matthew E. White‘s debut release, Big Inner, which Stereogum today called a “stunning and sorta miraculous collection.” Premiering on SPIN, the remix stays true to the original song while zooming in and out of the tune’s various pulses: J.C. Kuhl’s squawking baritone sax, Phil Cook’s rolling piano, the choir’s “same old shit.” Listen below.
Although the very nature of recorded music flies in the face of this, I’m a firm believer that art is never finished, it only stops in interesting places. Fortunately, versions, dubs and remixes allow you to see a song from a new perspective, they un-stick a recorded experience from a particular moment in time and allow it to live again. Today I’m very excited to share a marvelous remix that Hot Chip has done for Big Love, one that unlocks the song and turns it inside out. It stays very honest to the original material but also breaks it open in a terrific way. Take a listen, listen to the original, hear what is changing and what’s not, what’s new and what’s not. Hot Chip did a GREAT job, its a pleasure to have them on the mix, and for that I send them my biggest love.
Listen to “Big Love (Hot Chip Remix)”:
Catch Matthew E. White on tour.
Uncut Magazine features Matthew E. White and Spacebomb
Matthew E. White and the band just finished their month-long trek across Europe, and they have quite a bit to show for it, like a sold-out headlining date at London’s legendary Queen Elizabeth Hall and some fantastic press and sessions they did along the way. One article caught our attention in a special way as it paints a portrait of not just how White came to be “2013’s finest newcomer,” but also how Spacebomb was born.
“You’re only going to see the whole Spacebomb picture when it’s a collage of records”
May’s issue of Uncut Magazine, available worldwide, tells author John Mulvey’s story of dropping in on Richmond for a few days to see how Spacebomb makes it its home. White, Cameron Ralston, Pinson Chanselle, and Trey Pollard all help him understand what Spacebomb is and what people can expect from us in the future. It’s also a detailed account of White’s beginnings, from painting the studio where Missy Elliott and Timbaland frequented to his insatiable appetite for meeting those who have been a part of the golden age of recorded music, and finally to bringing to life a vision of a label that employs time-tested methods and superior musicianship to make great art that stops in interesting places.