777 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 - Map
Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble

Heather Trost, Astrobal

Sun, August 20, 2017

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

The Chapel

San Francisco, CA


This event is all ages

Laetitia Sadier
Laetitia Sadier
Another New Year, and new shapes are forming — if only we are fortunate enough to notice them! As we spin through this world, we are witness to all manner of combinations unfolding before us — familiar arcs and breaking waves alike, upon all of which it is our choice, our chance and our challenge, to possibly ride. Find Me Finding You, the new album from the new organization called the Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, manages to strike new chords while touching familiar keys in the song of life.

From its percolating opening beat, Find Me Finding Youlocates new systems within the sound-universe of Laetitia Sadier. This in itself isn’t a surprise — Laetitia has relentlessly followed her music through different dynamics and into a variety of dimensions over the course of four solo albums since 2010 (not to forget her three albums with Monade and the long era of Stereolab) — but the nature of the construction here stands distinctly apart from her recent albums. Laetitia was inspired by a mind’s-eye envisaging of geometric forms and their possible permutations. As she sought to replicate the shapes in music, this guided the process of assembly for the album.

Part of the freshness of Find Me Finding You comes from working and playing within the Source Ensemble and exploring new sound combinations via a set of youthful and evolving musical relationships. Laetitia recognized the energy of the tracks in their initial form, and sought to preserve their vitality by not retaking too many performances — instead, the rawness in the tracks was retained and refined at the mixing stage, maintaining an edge throughout. When we hear synth lines diving, lifting and drifting, unusual guitar textures, the plucked sound of flat wound bass strings or the bottomless pulsing of bass pedals stepping out of the mix with an exquisite vibrancy, this is the sound of the Source Ensemble.

A key to Laetitia’s music is her use of vocal arrangements. Throughout Finding Me Finding You, the shifting accompaniment creates space to bring this element gloriously forward. Arranged by Laetitia with Joe Watson and Jeff Parker making string charts that were subsequently transposed to vocal parts for several songs, richly arranged choirs of voices provide depth along with the thrilling presence of extra breath in the sound. Laetitia’s community-politic is well-served by the groups of voices lending support to the machining of the song craft, providing additional uplift to her quintessentially for-ward-facing viewpoint — as well as massed voices from three different countries sharing space in harmony!

Working in collaboration is Laetita’s traditions, and a key to this album’s view on being free together (it is necessary, prefer-able and right!). The designation of Source Collective implies a new togetherness phase; alongside long-time collaborators Emmanuel Mario and Xavi Munoz, keyboard and flutes parts played by David Thayer (Little Tornados) were essential contributions, as well as further keys, synths and electronics from Phil M FU and several intense guitar sequences from Mason le Long. Chris A Cummings (aka Marker Starling, Laetitia’s favorite composer) graciously wrote “Deep Background” for her. The duet with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor on “Love Captive” (not to mention Rob Mazurek’s distinctive coronet playing!) gives voice to an ideological cornerstone of Find Me Finding You — that, should we be responsible enough to endeavor into a world of basic incomes and open relationships, we would make astonishing strides as a society. These sorts of things can only be done in agreement with others.

Expressing great compassion and expectation with startling immediacy, as well as an abiding belief in an underlying unity that permeates and intimately binds all things and beings, Find Me Finding You combines a rigorous process for music-making with a deeply invested mindset, making captivating music that promises many stimulating spins to come!
Heather Trost
Heather Trost
A duo w/ Heather Trost (Hawk and a Hacksaw) & Jeremy Barnes (Neutral Milk Hotel)

The solo debut from Heather Trost, formerly of A Hawk and a Hacksaw, recalls atmospheric pop à la Broadcast and Stereolab. Trost is accompanied by members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Deerhoof, and more.

Heather Trost’s solo debut Agistri feels built to soundtrack stop-motion animation, a riot of flower petals and pinned butterflies fluttering across the frame. As half of the global trad-folk-inspired A Hawk and a Hacksaw with Neutral Milk Hotel drummer Jeremy Barnes, the two channeled a rustic acoustic otherworld with a committed zeal. And while that band made plenty use of Trost’s violins and Barnes’ percussion, drum kits disappeared entirely from the Hawk and a Hacksaw vocabulary. But on Agistri, Trost’s music sounds timeless in a different way, building miniature haunted worlds in the vocabulary of European space pop—unflashy motorik beats layered with art school swirl—as it might be found on an LP hiding in a secondhand shop somewhere deep on the continent.

With its mysterious-sounding cadence and refrain, the album-opening title cut could equally be part of an eerie soundtrack from the 1970s. It also picks up threads from Broadcast and Stereolab in the 1990s, both playful and haunted in equal turns. Just as much about mood as melody, Agistri finds Trost accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Barnes, Deerhoof guitarist John Dieterich, and Drake Hardin and Rosie Hutchinson of Mammal Eggs. Finding a home in space age swing and piles of analog-sounding synths, flutes, and strings, Trost spans from the instrumental library music groove of “Abiquiu” to a cover of Harry Nilsson’s familiar “Me and My Arrow” as if arranged by Magical Mystery Tour-era George Martin. Agistri works from a dense palette that’s either vintage or cloned in a vat.

A sense of adventure connects the album’s far reaches, and establishes a space where lyrics feel secondary. “Plastic Flowers” is guided by a rolling organ and an abstract vocal arrangement that recalls the circus-world fun of ye olde Elephant 6 Recording Company, with which Jeremy Barnes has long been associated via Neutral Milk Hotel. Returning to drums for that band’s reunion tours—and more recently for several albums on his and Trost’s LM Dupli-Cation—Barnes likewise occupies the kit with great personality here. Rarely defaulting to grooves, even during the Brazilian feels of “Abiquiu,” his drums find paths of their own without overwhelming Trost’s songs, half-songs, and atmospheres. On “Bloodmoon,” layers of melody spread over multiple keyboards, as a sense of movement threads across the song’s three minutes. Barnes’ drums ride comparably low in the mix, his fills often feeling more like conversational tics than dramatic flourishes.

Though rich, the songs sometimes seem to function more as sound-worlds to slip into, ready for further exploration. Having also played with Beirut, Josephine Foster, and on Thor Harris’ luminous Thor & Friends, Trost’s solo turn is both awaited and worthwhile, cool and cosmopolitan throughout. On the penultimate “Real Me/Real You,” a percussive bassline (or perhaps melodic drum figure) appears in the song’s intro—a sound that’s not vintage at all but palpably of the present, or even of the present's version of the future. As the song breaks down to a vocal arrangement over a squelching keyboard and rises to its chorus, one might hope it’s Heather Trost’s version of the future, too. - Pitchfork
Drummer, Producer

Astrobal is Emmanuel Mario 'solo project
Plug Research (L.A) & KARAOKE KALK (Berlin)
Venue Information:
The Chapel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110