Lushlife / CSLSX Ritualize Album Release

WXPN Welcomes

Lushlife / CSLSX Ritualize Album Release

Udbhav Gupta (of Mr Twin Sister), Botany

Sat, February 27, 2016

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$10.00 - $12.00

This event is 21 and over

All shows are 21+ Proper I.D. required for admission

Lushlife / CSLSX - (Set time: 11:00 PM)
Lushlife / CSLSX
From the moment you hear the bristling boom-bap chorus on album-opener, “Totally Mutual Feeling,” it becomes apparent that Lushlife’s third full-length finds the Philadelphia rapper-producer at his most introspective. Themes of isolation and mortality permeate Ritualize, a cinematic hour-long odyssey co-produced by enigmatic production trio, CSLSX (pronounced “Casual Sex”) and featuring contributions from Ariel Pink, Killer Mike, Freeway, Marissa Nadler, RJD2, and more. With CSLSX at the boards, an entire universe opens up for Lush, where the pulsating Juno synths of ‘80s LA night music sit side-by-side with gorgeously propulsive indie-leaning jams, and low-fi soul burners too. The resulting LP is a post-blog-era joint that seems to exhale the whole of the 20th century in a single, fascinating breath.

“After toiling over two self-produced LPs in the last half-decade, I felt compelled to bring on an outside production team for Ritualize,” Lushlife explains. “Not only did I want to broaden the musical palette, but I felt like the group production effort would give me a depth of focus on lyrical content and emotion that I hadn’t previously been afforded.” After a chance encounter with CSLSX, who had been quietly self-releasing low-fi dance gems to remarkable organic blog buzz, the newly-formed team set out on a three-year journey that would eventually yield their new joint album. By the time work began on Ritualize, Lush had already been riding a small wave of critical acclaim for his 2012 full-length, Plateau Vision, an album that made several year-end lists and was described by the Sunday New York Times as a melding of, “captivating rhymes with audacious, gorgeous production.“ Still, with Ritualize, Lushlife and CSLSX seem to have gone one deeper.
Udbhav Gupta (of Mr Twin Sister) - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Udbhav Gupta plays keys in Mr Twin Sister, where his work has been featured in tracks by Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky.
Botany - (Set time: 9:00 PM)
Under the Botany moniker, Spencer Stephenson creates rich psychological and emotional experiences through audio. His music is a thoughtful attempt to convey the non-verbal through his particular mental prism, where sounds have potent symbolism in ways that are all but forgotten in the hermetic modern world. He explains, “Sounds have archetypal connections to things in nature the same way visual symbols do. Low-end might be associated with thunder, or the sound of a mother's heartbeat as heard from inside the womb, or an approaching stampede, or earthquake. Low-end generally indicates something bigger and more powerful than you. Treble sounds indicate something deadly rattling through foliage or something vital like water flowing close by. Reverberation has a connection to the holy and transcendent, it implies spatial largeness. It’s fun to hear these symbols coming out of ear-buds in a world where they aren’t useful on a daily basis, but are still so subconsciously powerful.” Though Stephenson sees these constituent signifiers, he has a holistic vision of music “…functioning as a single pulsating thing, instead of a band with distinct parts,” which parallels his idea of the universe as an ever emergent, single conscious entity-- a concept he finds spiritually gratifying, and one that’s pervasive in his music.
Growing up in musical household in rural North Texas, Stephenson spent his childhood exploring the woods around his home, playing drums in the basement, tinkering with borrowed guitar pedals and drum machines, and digesting hand-me-down jazz, hip-hop, and electronic records. When he was 15, he got his hands on a CD-R of pirated recording software, started creating his own music, and soon became enamored with Four Tet, Stars of the Lid, Madlib, and Dilla. In the late-teen years that followed, he went through a heavy period of discovery with Psychedelic rock, Krautrock, and Brit-folk. “I started imitating a lot of those forms in my own music, sampling them sometimes, recording from scratch sometimes, but really just trying to bridge a gap between those worlds and sample-based hip hop, and I’m still trying.”
In 2008 he started sharing his efforts via the internet, and 2010 saw his first official release, the dream-pop flavored EP Feeling Today. After the death of his mother, an arrest for a public altercation, increasing writer’s block, and running out of money, in 2012 he relocated to a farm outside of Austin, TX, where he worked and started writing what would become his debut full-length Lava Diviner (Truestory). Fader called it “…badass…a pretty epic journey all around,” while Dazed said it was “…fluid in its ability to move between the melancholic, the uplifting and the ethereal.” The album was conceived as the soundtrack to a movie that existed only in his head, and though it was praised by most who heard it, it didn't have the widespread impact it deserved.
On his latest effort Dimming Awe, the Light is Raw, the 27-year-old producer and composer continues dissolving the borders between his disparate-yet-beloved psych, hip hop, and ambient influences. Album standout “Au Revoir,” is a shimmering piece of sampler-psychedelia that bolsters verses by rapper Milo, and gracefully leads into the drum-less hum and crackle of “Birthjays”. Matthewdavid—the high-priest of ambient bass himself—lends a rare vocal feature to the uplifting burner “Glow-up” while the electro-inspired “Bad CGI” stitches Bambaataa chants and sci-fi flutters to a shamanic pulse, then morphs into a late-night opiated channel-surfing montage, and the seams rarely appear.
Unlike Lava Diviner, which peaked and valley-ed through a narrative arc, Dimming Awe focuses on the artist's ever-unfolding, present state of mind. As a former jazz student, spiritual/free jazz philosophy regarding what he calls “emergent” music has increasingly become a guiding light when he creates. “The more emergent I let my music be when I'm making it, the more I like the result, it feels like a truer reflection. I feel like I am getting closer to doing that with computer-made music,” he says. “This album is a document of what I do, not a statement in any explicit way. I feel like I'm moving closer to a jazz underpinning that I've always felt, philosophically more than aesthetically…making music feels more like exhaling as I grow older.”
Venue Information:
Johnny Brenda's
1201 N. Frankford Ave
Philadelphia, PA, 19125