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Lightning Bolt — Fantasy Empire

Lightning Bolt — Fantasy Empire (March 24, 2015)

              Lightning Bolt — Fantasy Empire                                                ••  Tady máme zřejmě světový unikát. Brian Gibson je zde opět maniakální jako vždy, ale o to nejde. According to Gibson, his bass guitar is set to standard cello tuning, in intervals of fifths (C G D A) with a banjo string for the high A (contrasted with the typical bass guitar tuning of E A D G). He used this four–string setup for several years, but has recently been using a five–string setup, tuned to C G D A E, with banjo strings for the A and E. The banjo string is also tuned down an octave.
Formed: 1995 in Providence, RI
Location: Brooklyn, NYC
Album release: March 24, 2015
Record Label: Thrill Jockey
Duration:     48:17
Tracks:
01 The Metal East     4:12
02 Over The River And Through The Woods     6:30
03 Horsepower     4:42
04 King Of My World     4:03
05 Mythmaster     5:01
06 Runaway Train     4:37
07 Leave The Lantern Lit     1:16
08 Dream Genie     6:31
09 Snow White (& The 7 Dwarves Fans)     11:25
℗ 2015 Thrill Jockey Records
→   Brian Chippendale drums and voice
→   Brian Gibson bass with banjo strings
Details:
Vinyl pressing info :
••  600 pressed on black/white swirl color vinyl (300 for Thrill Jockey mailorder SOLD OUT, 300 for Lightning Bolt merch table)
••  500 pressed on white vinyl with pink & blue (100 for Thrill Jockey mailorder SOLD OUT, 400 copies for select indie stores)
••  black vinyl : unlimited
••  CD version in 4 panel mini–LP style gatefold package with CD in a fully artworked inner sleeve.  This is a pre–order for March 24, 2015 street date.  All orders containing Fantasy Empire will ship by the street date.
••  Over the course of its two–decade existence, Lightning Bolt has revolutionized underground rock in immeasurable ways. The duo broke the barrier between stage and audience by setting themselves up on the floor in the midst of the crowd. Their momentous live performances and the mania they inspired paved the way for similar tactics used by Dan Deacon and literally hundreds of others. Similarly, the band’s recordings have always been chaotic, roaring, blown out documents that sound like they could destroy even the toughest set of speakers. Fantasy Empire, Lightning Bolt’s sixth album and first in five years, is a fresh take from a band intent on pushing themselves musically and sonically while maintaining the aesthetic that has defined not only them, but an entire generation of noisemakers. It marks many firsts, most notably their first recordings made using hi–fi recording equipment at the famed Machines With Magnets, and their first album for Thrill Jockey. More than any previous album, Fantasy Empire sounds like drummer Brian Chippendale and bassist Brian Gibson are playing just a few feet away, using the clarity afforded by the studio to amplify the intensity they project. Every frantic drum hit, every fuzzed–out riff, sounds more present and tangible than ever before.
••  Fantasy Empire is ferocious, consuming, and is a more accurate translation of their live experience. It also shows Lightning Bolt embracing new ways to make their music even stranger. More than any previous record, Chippendale and Gibson make use of live loops and complete separation of the instruments during recording to maximize the sonic pandemonium and power. Gibson worked with Machines very carefully to get a clear yet still distorted and intense bass sound, allowing listeners to truly absorb the detail and dynamic range he displays, from the heaviest thud to the subtle melodic embellishments. Some of these songs have been in the band’s live repertoire since as early as 2010, and have been refined in front of audiences for maximum impact. This is heavy, turbulent music, but it is executed with the precision of musicians that have spent years learning how to create impactful noise through the use of dynamics, melody, and rhythm.
••  Fantasy Empire has been in gestation for four years, with some songs having been recorded on lo–fi equipment before ultimately being scrapped. Since Earthly Delights was released, the band has collaborated with The Flaming Lips multiple times, and continued to tour relentlessly. 2013 saw the release of All My Relations by Black Pus, Chippendale’s solo outlet, which was followed by a split LP with Oozing Wound. Chippendale, an accomplished comic artist and illustrator, created the Fantasy Empire’s subtly ominous album art, and will release an upcoming book of his comics through respected imprint Drawn and Quarterly. Brian Gibson has been developing the new video game Thumper, with his own company, Drool, which will be released next year. And, of course, Lightning Bolt will be touring the US in 2015.
REVIEW
By: Geoff Topley
••  There are moments of clarity and distinction in a lifetime when a person changes from what they once were to something entirely different, usually for the better. We say they have been hit by the lightning bolt. With Fantasy Empire, Providence’s noise rock combo Lightning Bolt have clocked themselves squarely in the kisser and made their best and most accessible album yet. In doing so, the focus and ACTUAL RECORDING IN A PROPER STUDIO WITH HIFI EQUIPMENT has meant they have also presented us with an incredible beast of an album that will be one of the year’s best. ••  It’s been three long years since Lightning Bolt gave us the traumatic Oblivion Hunter, but they haven’t been resting. Drummer/vocalist Brian Chippendale has been pumping out Black Pus releases and making various collaborations while bassist Brian Gibson has been…umm…developing a video game.
••  I had absolutely no inkling of a new Lightning Bolt album, let alone any idea that they would eschew the usual lo–fi recording to fully embrace studio technology. For years, Lightning Bolt have infuriated me by refusing to acknowledge song structure, though recent Black Pus outings would suggest a sea change in Chippendale’s vision. ••  Here we are now though, with a Lightning Bolt album that has (whisper it) what you would really have to succumb to calling, proper songs. Of course, if you’ve never experienced the aural assault that Lightning Bolt actually is, you’ll still be screaming “WHAT THE FUCK?!!!!” on first listen to Fantasy Empire. But to those of us who’ve been “enjoying” their output for years, this is basically ‘Captain Caveman’ times ten. In other words, you’re going to be able to hum along to pretty much all of this album.
••  The familiar frenetic pace and dirty fuzzy growling guitars (or possibly busted lawnmowers) crank up with opener ‘The Metal East’. Chippendale’s beats are as manic as ever, but appear more controlled, Lightning Bolt have got serious this time. A song. ••  Proper production. This album is going to be a blast if it keeps this up. Of course, after such conformity, the song ends in hideous, chaotic, spleen smashing feedback terror. Glorious.
••  As I have mentioned before, there’s much to marvel with Lightning Bolt, these guys are brilliant exponents of their instruments. Brian Chippendale is one of the finest drummers in the world, a violent octopus of rhythm and hyperactive timing. Brian Gibson is playing a knackered 2–string bass guitar and making it sound like three 6–string guitarists. His effortless grooves and intricate twists and turns collide with Chippendale’s percussion to make a startling sound that constantly challenges. For years, they have astounded me but equally enraged me as their albums drifted aimlessly at times, noise for the sake of it. With Fantasy Empire, they really hit the spot, fully focussed and determined, these songs, and we can truly label them songs, must surely reach out to a wider audience. I still haven’t caught the band live, one of those things to do before you die. Or before one of the band members has a heart attack performing this utterly exhilarating and intriguing music. Out–fucking–standing. (excerpt) :: http://echoesanddust.com.previewdns.com/2015/03/lightning-bolt-fantasy-empire/
REVIEW
By Brandon Stosuy; March 18, 2015;  Score: 8.0
••  Lightning Bolt have been around for close to two decades. In that time, they haven't really changed their basic formula: Brian Chippendale still bashes his drums with chaotic precision and bassist Brian Gibson manages to make four strings sound like many more. From the beginning, their mix of mayhem and heaviness brought to mind Harry Pussy and Black Sabbath playing at the same time. But they somehow showed up in big features in magazines that didn't normally care about noise, and in the record collections of people who felt pretty much the same.
••  The musical landscape around Lightning Bolt has shifted more than a few times during this period, but the duo continue full–throttle with the kind of triumphant blitz they served up when they first emerged from Providence, R.I. When Lightning Bolt started in 1994, future Black Dice member Hisham Bharoocha handled vocals and guitars for the band, and the difference between the two groups is instructive. Black Dice came out of the same punk/art–school world as Lightning Bolt but they chose a more winding path — from violent punks to noise mongrels to psychedelic noisemakers to gleeful DFA electronic tweakers. LB have remained tunnel–vision focused. The respect for the initial approach suggests an endless possibility in a few gestures, a sensibility that runs counter to the over–stuffed, ADD, and of–the–moment world we live in.
••  Fantasy Empire is their first LP in five years; it’s also the first recorded in a proper studio — Pawtucket's Machines with Magnets — and you can tell. The sound is bigger and more defined; they haven't cleaned things up, exactly, it's just easier to figure out what's leveling you. You can make out deeper textures and striations, and the greater detail lends variety without shifting away from the blown–out repetition. There's also a larger dynamic range — just when you think a song's gotten as big as it possibly can, they pile on more sounds like live loops, synthesizers, tape constructions, and bass overdubs. Rather than serving as a compromise, the shifts that come with higher production values are positive.
••  Some of Lightning Bolt's mid–period albums grew dull after repeat listens, or made you think about how you'd rather see the music performed live. Wonderful Rainbow from 2003 had an almost pop catchiness to it, and you get that here, too. With a few listens, there's a feeling of anticipation for certain breaks or shifts or, as at the end of “Over the River and Through the Woods”, head–bangs. And more than any of their records, if you play it loud, and close your eyes, it’s very easy to imagine being in the same room as the Brians. (They’ve been doing some of the songs at their shows since 2010, and the album has a very broken–in feel to it.)
••  Unexpectedly, Chippendale's vocals have gotten stronger, as he’s moved from the early chirps and howls to legit contact–mic crooning. His voice has typically been another strand of noise; here he feels like more of a proper singer, one who can compete with everything going on around him. At the start of “Over the River and Through the Woods” he clears his throat like Celtic Frost’s Tom G. Warrior, and later in the song, he’s a strangulated Ozzy. On “Horsepower”, he approximates a swaggering demigod on the riff party, while “Runaway Train” sees him turn into a metal circus barker. The band's last full–length record, 2009’s Earthly Delights, had a metal edge to it, and as the comparisons above suggest, Lightning Bolt go further in that direction on Fantasy. This is noise doom, more or less, the crystalline tone and soloing on “Dream Genie” is the stuff of Steve Vai heaven, and “Horsepower” brings to mind Geddy Lee howling into a maelstrom kicked up by Sleep. This is also their most flat–out rock‘n’roll album to date, and their best since Wonderful Rainbow.
••  Most of the tracks have an anthemic forward march — these songs are built for speed. That’s especially true of the massive 12–minute closer, “Snow White (& The 7 Dwarves Fans)”, whose tongue–in–cheek title nails the essential Lightning Bolt aesthetic: part punk rock, part adult fairytale. They’re still doing what they’ve always done, but Fantasy Empire is the best they've done it in a long time, and the new sheen makes everything seem magic again. :: http://pitchfork.com/
Review
DOUG MOSUROCK, MARCH 08, 201511:03 PM ET
••  About 15 years ago, Lightning Bolt's members set up on the floor in the living–room area of a fourth–floor residential loft in Brooklyn. Sweating in full–body knitwear and ski masks, they rolled out stacks of amplifiers and a massive drum kit, then proceeded to blast the 50– or 60–person audience through the sheet rock. Even at that early date, they’d fully harnessed their sound, with a harmonic buzzing noise so loud it'd obliterate most rational thought, and a rhythmic assault engineered to make you move in time to every jump and skip. Here was a confrontation of maximalist proportions that pulled off the trick of threading itself back around, linking everyone in proximity with the band itself.
••  The physicality of their music extended beyond the performance; since they wouldn't play on a stage, you could feel the air being displaced by Brian Gibson's bass cabinet. You'd blink from each strike of Brian Chippendale’s snare drum, tuned high to sound like a dodgeball hitting a brick wall. If you were up front with them, it was as if you were magnetically linked to Lightning Bolt, and to the people around you. This wasn't a mosh pit. This was a commune built around sheer force; a way to bring people together that the standoffishness of punk and the posturing of indie rock couldn't accommodate.
••  Not long afterward, Lightning Bolt was getting booked at clandestine venues and in basements across the country, and with much greater frequency. Being up front suddenly felt like a rugby scrum, and a look down at the floor revealed Birkenstocks, Steve Maddens, loafers and even chunky lace–up boots among the sneakers. The sound had reached out and pulled in people from different walks of life; it opened up from chaos and brought in melodic frequencies and folk–inspired compositions, electrified through the rig and made to jitter with the drums. Lightning Bolt's visual style grew, as well, and the talents of its Rhode Island brethren came through in their own work, which grew to include side projects (Megasus, Mindflayer, Black Pus, Wizardzz) and opened doors for Chippendale to record with Bjork and the Boredoms. Through it all, Lightning Bolt became an event band operating on its own terms: It made records when it wanted to, all on the same small label, and refused to perform on any stage or platform, no matter the risks.
••  Lightning Bolt takes a few steps toward modernity on Fantasy Empire, which finds the duo moving away from congested, low–fidelity sounds in the pursuit of studio clarity. Listening is akin to the scene in The Wizard Of Oz where a sepia tone gives way to Technicolor; it opens up new vistas to the sound, while giving the band an opportunity to exhibit more involved musicianship. It’s less a blur and more a detailed map of planned aggression.
••  “Horsepower,” “The Metal East,” “Runaway Train” and “Mythmaster” signal Lightning Bolt’s most committed stance toward heavy metal since its inception, as each song displays an innate knack for laying down a stern, masterful riff and lighting the fuse behind it. Elsewhere, the band continues to bleed rainbows. The ecstatic blast of guitar and keyboards that reverberates through “King Of My World,” the stutter step of prog–rock in “Over The River And Through The Woods,” and the brief tape composition of “Leave The Lantern Lit” show that the lessons of Lightning Bolt’s past are still being practiced. When its different approaches come together in the 11–minute “Snow White (& The 7 Dwarves Fans),” the effect is akin to having the rug pulled out from under you and watching someone else use it as a flying carpet. :: http://www.npr.org/
Also:
Fred Thomas, Score: ****½
••  http://www.allmusic.com/album/fantasy-empire-mw0002824892
BRIAN CHIPPENDALE
Birth name: Brian Chippendale
Born: 22 July 1973, New York City, New York
••  He is best known as the drummer and vocalist for the experimental noise rock band Lightning Bolt.
Microphone:
••  As a vocalist for Lightning Bolt and Mindflayer, Chippendale eschews the usual microphone stand and conventional microphone, instead using a contact microphone. This microphone is then run through an effects processor to alter the sound further. Chippendale often warbles or makes nonsensical sounds into the microphone, so the vocals typically come out extremely distorted and incomprehensible. More recently, Chippendale has used a Line 6 delay pedal to delay and repeat his vocals while drumming.
Chippendale participated as drummer 77 in the Boredoms 77 Boadrum performance which occurred on July 7, 2007, at the Empire–Fulton Ferry State Park in Brooklyn.
••  Chippendale performed drums on Björk's 2007 album Volta. He also did a remix for Björk's single "Declare Independence" under the alias Black Pus.
Selected Discography:
Lightning Bolt:
••  Ride the Skies   (2001)
••  The Power of Salad   (2002)
••  Wonderful Rainbow   (2003)
••  Hypermagic Mountain   (2005)
••  Earthly Delights   (2009)
••  Oblivion Hunter   (2012)
Black Pus:
••  Black Pus 1   (2005)
••  Black Pus 2   (2006)
••  Black Pus 3: Metamorpus   (2006)
••  Black Pus 4: All Aboard the Magic Pus   (2008)
••  Black Pus Zero: Ultimate Beat Off   (2009)
••  Primordial Pus   (2011)
••  Pus Mortem   (2012)
••  All My Relations   (2013)
••  Black Pus split LP with Oozing Wound   (2014)
Boredoms:
••  77Boadrum   (2007)
BRIAN GIBSON
Born: July 25, 1975, Providence, Rhode Island
→   Brian Gibson (1975) is a musician and artist based out of Providence, Rhode Island. Gibson is best known as the bassist for the band Lightning Bolt. He is a lead artist working at video game company Harmonix, and is co–founder of the game developer Drool.
Equipment:
→   According to Gibson, his bass guitar is set to standard cello tuning, in intervals of fifths (C G D A) with a banjo string for the high A (contrasted with the typical bass guitar tuning of E A D G). He used this four–string setup for several years, but has recently been using a five–string setup, tuned to C G D A E, with banjo strings for the A and E. The banjo string is also tuned down an octave.
→   Gibson also uses several effects pedals, including a bass whammy pedal (pitch shifter), an octaver, two overdrive pedals, and more recently a delay pedal. A complete list of equipment Gibson typically uses, in order, is:
•  5–String Music Man StingRay
•  DigiTech Bass Whammy pedal
•  BOSS OC–2 Octave pedal
•  BOSS ODB–3 Bass Overdrive pedal
•  BOSS SD–1 Overdrive pedal
•  Line 6 DL–4 Delay modeler
•  Ampeg SVT4 Pro with 4x10 cabinet
•  Crown Macro–Tech MA–3600VZ power amp
•  More cabinets ranging from 18” to 4x10
•   As of 2007, Gibson has added a Boss PW–10 Wah–wah pedal to his touring gear. •   In 2010, Gibson had a custom bass made by Holcomb guitars, based on the Rickenbacker 4001 as used by Cliff Burton of Metallica, consisting extensively of maple wood for an ‘aggressive sound’. The bass uses a Seymour Duncan SRB–1B pick–up and the five strings are fitted onto a four string neck, with 1/2” spacing to allow greater playing speed. In The Power of Salad DVD, Brian says his rig is rated to 3000 watts.
Selected discography:
•  Lightning Bolt   (1999)
•  Ride the Skies   (2001)
•  The Power of Salad   (2002)
•  Wonderful Rainbow   (2003)
•  Hypermagic Mountain   (2005)
•  Hidden City of Taurmond (Load)   (2006)
•  Earthly Delights   (2009)
•  Megasus   (2009)
•  Menace Of The Universe   (2011)
Label: http://thrilljockey.com/
Website: http://www.laserbeast.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Lightning-Bolt/12838367045?fref=ts
Press: info@laserbeast.com
Agent: Booking (US) — sam@windishagency.com Booking(EUROPE) — vincent@odysseybooking.comwww.odysseybooking.com
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Lightning Bolt — Fantasy Empire

 

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