Sunday, 13 October 2013
Tomas Dvorak is a musician, composer and multimedia artist. His soundtrack for videogame Machinarium is his most recognized project to date, but he’s also been making waves with his band Floex, as well as the BBC and Discovery Channel reporting on his multimedia project Archifon.
Machinarium was a hit. It’s an award-winning game and many critics attributed its ‘elegant’ and ‘Pixar’-like qualities with the soundtrack in mind. The games success has left a huge impact on its composer, “it influenced both my career and me, musically. I stopped being afraid—I was always trying to solve problems with my music beforehand” says Tomas.
He’s a likeable guy. Smart and sharp-witted with his feet firmly on the ground—he’s even humble in retrospect of Machinarium. “It [Machinarium] was massive. Many people played it—maybe millions of people. I was really surprised when I received many, many mails from different people. I was like… what?!”
Amanita Design, (the company behind Machinarium) has confirmed that one of its older games, Samarost 2, is to be followed up by a third, Samorost 3. Though little has been revealed, the game is said to be in the same style as Samorost 2 and Machinarium, a puzzle point and click adventure game.
Dvorak has been booked to compose the Samorost 3 soundtrack, “I dare say it’s really beautiful. I’m excited about it,” he says. It’s been dominating his time so much that it’s been “almost impossible to perform” with his band and work in the studio all at once.
The soundtrack for Samorost 3 is to be fragmented—meaning that parts of the soundtrack are likely to go in different directions than the other parts. The game is to have different planets and these different planets, in Dvorak’s words, “have different needs.”
Putting the band together was a challenge. “I didn’t put people together spontaneously. I have a friend who worked with me previously, he had really good contacts and he gave me a tip for a clarinetist. She [the clarinetist] wasn’t interested, but it was through her friends that I discovered a guy who I saw at a clarinet workshop. I really liked how he played, so we got him,” said Tomas. “For the drummer, I auditioned many and I found our singer, Sara [Vondraskova] gigging in a small café in Prague—I’d been looking to find a vocalist for almost a year beforehand. If I know what I’m looking for it comes.”
There are two videos that accompany the EP’s release—”Gone” and “Veronika’s Dream”—and they are definitely new territory for Tomas. This is the first time that he’s had professional video shoots to riff along with his music, “they’re a very important part of this EP—they’re the focus,” he said.
Both videos are complicated stuff, though Tomas hints that the process of making them was simple, “this project really attracted nice people, you know—it had beautiful energy. Usually there is lots of ego in the group, but here, we were all pulling together and being open,” he says.
The video for “Gone” was directed by Floex’s lyricist, Andrea Stuart, with Tomas taking a back seat, “I was more of a consultant on this one… this video is really her project. Andrea already had a really nice concept—she’s a very creative person.”
“Gone” is a dark piece of music, philosophical and serious in tone, and its video reflects this. It has a washed out grey palette accompanying the lyrics, which gloomily ask ‘where have you gone?’ “There’s a connection with the apocalypse in the video” explains Tomas. “She [Andrea Stuart] got a book for her birthday, which is about tapestries from a monastery not so far from Paris. She choose several images from those tapestries and converted them into modern scenes for the video shoot.”
The video for “Veronika’s Dream” is a cinematic piece that even plays like art cinema. The actors wear odd-looking costumes with gnarled masks, and are beautifully colorful and monstrous at the same time. Tomas was heavily involved in making this video, along with a bigger production team and director Tomas Hajek behind it. He laughs, “all the crazy things when I’m involved…”
“Veronika’s Dream” is full of metaphorical images—driven by suggestion over narrative. It begins with a woman being hunted by a wolf and ends with that woman preparing for a game of floorball.
“For these images to work there has to be some story and meaning behind it. First you see fear, then you’re fighting it and then you can destroy it. This is the metaphor that’s there,” says Tomas.
It’s easy to bring your own meaning to the video—the images are too esoteric to grab Dvorak’s definition right away, “of course, everybody can find their own [meaning].”
Likewise his music can be too enigmatic for explanation, ‘feeling it’ is often so much easier. Tomas reflects, “I’m really looking in my music for something real or more deep. For me, the emotions are still the most important message of the music. I’m just trying to express emotions that are more serious… really real.”
Dvorak tells of “thinking in melodies since his childhood” that’s stayed with him during his career. You can hear this through the different tones and colours of his work. His sound shines so brightly on its own – sometimes it’s the videogames that are playing Tomas Dvorak.
Written for Igloo Magazine - published 10/11/13
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Categories: Labels: amanita, amanita design, Andrew Danso, dvorak, electronic, floex, floex interview, igloomag, igloo magazin, machinarium, samorost, samorost 3, soundtrack, tomas, tomas dvorak interview
Sunday, 25 August 2013
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Categories: Labels: Andrew Danso, Andy Danso, diatrbie, diatribe records, electronic, electronica, ireland electronic, irish electronic, teatronica, teatronik, teatronik review
Monday, 14 January 2013
Back from a temporary hiatus, the two-piece return to explore their complex doom-rock. The band are now onto a third release, continuing to produce unpredictable material. Elegant and fast paced in sections, slow and dreamy in others; there’s a distinct character in their dimensional sound.
Festival Of The Horned God sees the band in fine form. Despite the two-piece settled on a conspiracy theory involving the Pope (the name National Sunday Law is the name of that very conspiracy theory) they’re a clever duo when it comes to song structures and rockability. They’re able to work outside of the genres comfort zone - occasionally using synths and vocoders – which along with the doom tag, gives their sound a unique complexion.
So, while you have the guitars and drums hammering away, you also have an ethereal quality in their sound. The vocal vocodes into harmonies, the synth sometimes doubles up on the guitar chords, and the guitar runs through a multitude of effects; huge reverbs are often used, with massive delays of cheesy acoustic strings ringing in the background. It makes for a big impressionable sound.
What makes Festival Of The Horned God stand apart from NSLs previous outings, is that the band are now going wherever they want, whenever they want in their songs. They’ll just speed up and slow down when they feel like it. It somehow stays coherent. It’s a confusing experience but not over the top. You’ll be dizzy after the ride, but remember what the sign-posts looked like.
The EPs opening tune is full of urgency, veering into the melodramatic through the use of synth and big piano notes - similar to a Nine Inch Nails, Trent Reznor production colluding with Cynic. It’s a big and weighty sound, that’s perhaps meant to be engaged with rather than headbanged too.
The EPs final track, Preservation In Stone, chugs along in an awkward Virus vibe. It’s discordant and constantly wrestling with itself to find a steady rhythm. The tune is given a hard edge through the duos vocal performance. The vocal is mixed at around the same volume as the guitars and drums, and when they both shout, it sounds like they’re trying to sledgehammer their way through a thick wall of sound.
At their best, NSL demonstrate how doom can evolve – indeed, perhaps how it is evolving. Before you’d have bought a progressive record and doom record separate, for different experiences. The progressive record would be for the beard-stroking intellectual, the doom record, perhaps for those as high as a kite when wanting to rock out. The choice has now been made unnecessary. This particular rendition lets us have our progressive-doom cake, and eat it.
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Categories: Labels: Andrew Danso, Andy Danso, festival of the horned god, festival of the horned god review, National Sunday Law, national sunday law 2013, national sunday law band, NSL 2013
Sunday, 16 December 2012
A tune from my latest EP, Find, is available for free on Psychonavigation's bandcamp page. There's a good lot to be had, with eighteen other contributions.
Roll on 2013!
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Categories: Labels: Andrew Danso, andrew danso bandcamp, Andy Danso, bandcamp, Find, find 2011, find 2012, nippi, nippi records, psychonavigation, psychonavigation records
Tuesday, 16 October 2012
There's also a blurb there which helps to explain what the EP is about, as well as a 'listen' link to the new remastered copy.
My cheesy thanks!
Friday, 14 September 2012
They might sound like Sabbath, grimy and stoner like, but Trippy Wicked roar into life on their self titled track Going Home. It's an indication of what the album feels like. Yes, the production might reflect earlier times but "Going Home" is an energetic affair, flirting with the Sabbath sound and rocking like Queen's of The Stone Age.
Similar to their record labels first release “Stubb”, Going Home is an album characterised by imperfections. The choppy takes of vocalist Peter Holland, make for a raw performance, sometimes hitting the notes, and sometimes just growling through a riff. It keeps everything focused in a vintage era, even when the riffing occasionally veers into the modern and progressive.
The more subtle, proggy moments, help them avoid pastiche and with the greatest intentions, set them apart from what's kicking around in the underground. That's not to say there's nothing derivative throughout the record. Quite the contrary; the stoner love-in has been echoed countless of times for better and for worse.
Trippy Wicked are in love with the Sabbath theme, and the rock-rebellion lifestyle that might come with it. If you sample "Going Home's" tracks, “I want Another Drink”, and “Pour Me Another One”, they're written about times that are cliched within the genre. That's fair enough, after all the very genre to express emotions about being stoned is in something 'stoner', but it might be more interesting if the three-piece wrote while being inebriated, instead of documenting the process while being sober.
Ultimately, Trippy Wicked have an album alight in production, but stuttering in content. It makes for an album that's only half full.
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Categories: Labels: Andrew Danso, Andrew danso 2012, andrew danso review, danso review, going home, going home 2012, going home review, Superhot Records, trippy wicked, trippy wicked 2012, trippy wicked review