Category Archives: Music

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Ummagma and A.R.Kane Co-Present ‘Winter Tale’ mini-EP

“Ummagma’s sound is so trippy I had to buy new studio monitors to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating.”

gia on the move musicA.R.Kane and Ummagma have been enjoying a budding friendship over the past year surrounding their involvement with shoegaze indie legends The Veldt.  So they decided to put a little something together.

Their latest ‘Frequency’ EP features contributions by several legendary artists, including Cocteau Twins master Robin Guthrie and Malcolm Holmes of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, both of whom bring their signature sound to their mixes. This EP follows their debut albums ‘Ummagma’ and ‘Antigravity’.

As ever, they take the listener through a cosmic yet introspective dreampop and ambient journey, tinged with shoegaze and synthpop flair. Their new offering explores such themes as space and distance, timelessness, escapism, and the search for tranquility.

Keep up with Ummagma 

Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud

Keep up with A.R.Kane 
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Soundcloud | Email

I Went to Jamaica and Made a Mixtape

mixtapesThere’s a lot in the works from CNNCTD projects and collaborations to things that will look (and taste) better than any #foodcloseups. That’s a promise.

Quick story – There was a place called Fun Time USA. Growing up they had what I thought were the craziest teen nights. My clearest memory is of the reggae music played there. I would do my best to keep myself all “tucked in” and not throw up from the unlimited soda. I was 13 – This is to never growing up. ~ Roman Grandinetti

Falcon Theatre’s Little Drummer Bowie: “Wow! I didn’t see THAT coming!”

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
gia on the move theater reviews

Katie Kitani, Katie DeShan, Rick Batalla, Joseph Leo Bwarie, Niles Rivers, Cloie Wyatt Taylor Photo by Sasha A. Venola

He seemed to materialize out of nowhere. An androgynous young sub-genre big hair harbinger of glitter-glam, rock and roll to come. A drifter in the desert with a shy voice and “Come, they told me, pa rum pa pum pum. Me and my drum”.

It’s tax time and everyone’s got to pay up. While in one part of town Mary and Joseph are looking for a manger, scheming talent promoter Ben Haramed and his medical doctor wannabe side kick Ali are stuck without means. As serendipity would have it, they stumble upon a young, naive and especially besparkled Ziggy and his two beloved childhood animal buddies Samson and Babaa wandering on the fringes.

An orchestration of cha chings sound immediately in Ben’s inner ears.  After a brief kidnapping and a bit of family flash-back persuasion, the whole band begins touring, Spinal Tap style until a renowned and powerful music agent creates Ziggy Stardust as a world-wide phenomenon. Then all bets are off. Except for Ziggy’s parents, uncle and aunt who might be stuck on Mars. (NO ONE could have seen THAT coming!) It’s a tale of Changes, forgiveness and Modern Love, in Little Drummer Bowie at The Falcon Theatre.

gia on the move theater reviews

Joseph Leo Bwarie Photo by Sherry Greczmiel

A very first step in to The Falcon emerged as a ‘night to remember’. The award-winning Troubadour Theater Company did nothing to blemish their stellar Laugh-In reputation in this musical re-imagining of the drummer boy classic as a spoof on glam rock icon David Bowie.

Matt Walker and Joseph Leo Bwarie (also lead character Ziggy) have directed this piece to perfection in all its spontaneity and more. One cannot even begin to fathom the depth of insanity until experiencing this show. Recognizably ridiculous gags, deft delivery, lightning pace and a bit of cutting edge political humor all collide for a blaring, boisterous night.

Beth Kennedy (Ali), Riccardo Berdini (Ben Haramed),  Lisa Valenzuela (Mary), Rick Batalla (Joseph),  Katie Deshan (Nadhiyah), Niles Rivers (Jamaal), Katie Kitani (Babaa), Cloie Wyatt Taylor (Samson), and Matt Walker (The Voice From Above) dispatch downright galactic hilarity throughout every did-they-just-write-this-just-now? line and audience participation moment. (And yes, I got a hug from a cast member…it was nice.)

Joseph Leo Bwarie (Ziggy)  most widely known for his record 2,000+ performances as ‘Frankie Valli’ in the Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys on Broadway, is solidly exceptional in every way.

Every bit from costumes to lighting to wigs, choreography and music arrangements to the live onstage band hit the mark 100% and then some.

Very highly recommended.

Russian Electro-Pop Tesla Boy Arrives With “Circles” Video

gia on the move musicIf you feel like you’re waking up to the weirdest day ever, here’s something to channel your inner strange.

Some things you should know about Tesla Boy:

1. They’re a Russian quartet made up of Anton Sevidov, Leo Zatagin, Stas “Pioneerball” Astakhov, and Mike Studnitsyn.

2. They make synth-stoked electronica with a pinch of 80s new wave pop. Remember Zoot Woman / Jacques Lu Cont / Les Rythmes Digitales? Probably not, but there are hints of all Stuart Price’s acts in Tesla Boy’s polished curves.

3. Back in March they released a video for “Nothing” directed by LA auteur Ryan Patrick, who’s helmed videos for Cut Copy, The Weeknd and more. It’s less a music video than a rad short film featuring a girl under house arrest. She’s visited by some social worker peeps and asked to show them, using a life-size burlap doll, “what happened to Sergei.” This leads to the most brilliantly freaky and fabulous interpretive dancing and elegant dry humping sequence. As if a fully grown Maddie Ziegler was reworking Lars and the Real Girl as a murderous musical. She re-enacts her entire relationship with Sergei and we’re officially in love with this lead actress Jade-Lorna Sullivan.

4. For their video for “Circles”—a house-meets-Italo-disco number—they re-team with Patrick and Sullivan and the results are similarly stunning. It all takes place in a Chinese restaurant where faces are peeled and waving roast chickens are tangoed with. App dating is also involved in the storyline, and just like with “Nothing” some sick choreography is deployed (thanks to Denna Thomsen, who’s worked with Sigur Ros and Sia).

Rachel Mason’s ‘Heart Explodes’ Today

gia on the move musicLos Angeles-based Cleopatra Records and artist-run cassette label Practical Records present Rachel Mason’s new album ‘Das Ram’ LP, which is premieres today in Louder Than War.

Comprised of eight tracks, this album conveys the stories of specific characters, who define and delight in their own realities and cosmologies, and individuals who create their own world views, their own religions, and fantasy lives.

‘Das Ram’ is an inversion of the name of renowned healer Ram Dass, and also a play on Mason’s own initials, Rachel Ann Mason. The tracks were produced by renowned Los Angeles based writer, artist and musician Jeff Hassay.

‘Heart Explodes’ is a metaphor for allowing oneself the freedom to destroy one’s old identity and to find a new paradigm from which to dream.

”Women are often offered a set of limitations from an early age, and these restrictions determine so much of one’s destiny. Yet, there can be great things that arise from limitation, but controlling one’s own set of rules, one’s own box, one’s own destiny is the key,” explains Rachel Mason.

Mason wrote and directed the song’s video with Aksel Stasny, a cinematographer who shot her recent rock opera feature film The Lives of Hamilton Fish. The character in this new video references Edith Piaf, singing an art song in the blinding light of a single spotlight. The character morphs and eventually corrodes until she is splayed out and dissolves in a pile of flesh as her heart literally explodes.

The song begins “I made a box, just for dreams, to set ablaze and fly into” and then leaps finally and triumphantly into the end chorus “My heart explodes with too much love, and this love explodes with too much light”.

Until mid-December, Mason has a residency at Los Angeles’ world-renowned Hammer Museum, creating live performing arts pieces in real time (In Real Life: Studio 4-6pm). She is also currently co-directing a documentary feature on Circus of Books, the notorious adult bookstore chain, which played a critical role in the Silver Lake and Hollywood music scenes and gay culture.

The Cleopatra album release party takes place on November 27 at Los Angeles’ Bootleg Theater (2220 Beverly Blvd) with performances by Rachel Mason and The Starseeds, as well as beloved Los Angeles bands Egrets on Ergot and L.A.Drones. Ahead of that, on November 13, Practical Records hosts the cassette release at Human Resources Gallery, Los Angeles.

TRACK LIST (‘DAS RAM’ LP)
1. Roses
2. Heart Explodes
3. Sandstorm
4. Tigers In The Dark
5. Marry Me
6. Queen Bee
7. Cancer
8. Heaven

UPCOMING APPEARANCES
Nov. 27 Los Angeles, Bootleg Theater – ‘Das Ram’ CD Release (with L.A. Drones, Egrets on Ergot)
Dec. 2 Hammer Museum Residency (In Real Life: Studio 4-6pm)
Dec. 20 Hammer Museum Residency (In Real Life: Studio 4-6pm)
Dec. 22 Hammer Museum Residency (In Real Life: Studio 4-6pm)

Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass: A Very Real Fairy Tale

by Tracey Paleo, Gia On The Move
gia on the move fairy tales hansel & gretal

Angela Giarratana and Caleb Foote in Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass
Photo by Cooper Bates

Immediacy.  That is the first thing you get with 24th Street Theatre’s world premiere adaptation Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass, written by Bryan Davidson and directed by Debbie Devine.

Most recognized as the classic Grimm fairy tale, the story may have originated in the medieval period of the Great Famine (1315–1321), which caused desperate people to abandon young children to fend for themselves, even resort to cannibalism. Set here in depression-era Kentucky in the Appalachian coal mining town of Butcher Holler, Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass moves in a sort of other worldly story-telling realm but also has the fascinating element of being historically real.

Narrated by a local radio jockey as an on-air response to a write-in letter from a young boy who shares his private angst about his baby sister in a time of desperate hunger, the production is paired down to a gorgeous simplicity that needs no deep diving for meaning or explanation.

Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass hones in on the difficulties siblings have in their relationships with one another but even more, the co-dependencies, the frailties, the strengths and the resiliency to overcome those difficulties and in this case, extreme circumstance within which the unlikely orphans find themselves. The story is profound and sincere.

Hansel & Gretel Bluegrass is executive director Jay McAdams’ response in part, to the wave of South American children who immigrated parent-less across the U.S. Border several years ago – some of whom landed in the local North University Park neighborhood. And although it does not specifically address that politic, the story offers hints of insight into the reasoning for child abandonment without curing or apologizing for the motives of letting children “into the wild” alone.

Performances by Angela Giarratana as Gretel and Caleb Foote as Hansel are endowed with a naievity that is absolutely darling. Sarah Zinsser as the mountain woman (witch) layers a downright menacing dimension. Bradley Whitford as radio announcer “The Duke” rounds out this production with hillbilly levity that is pure fun, captivating and compassionate. Whiteford’s voice resonates empathy far beyond the structure.

The characters that play the standout roles in this imaginatively amalgamated production are the video, set, sound, lighting, costume and music, arranged respectively by Mathhew G. Hill, Keith Mitchell, Chris Moscatiello, Dan Weingarten, Michael Mullen and Megan Swan, topped off by featured music by The Get Down Boys (Mark Cassidy-banjo, Scott Gates-mandolin, Israel Parker-dobro, Evan Winsor-bass).

Hansel and Gretel Bluegrass is possibly an even-better version than the original.

Now Playing until December 11, 2017.  Check the listing for more information.