AM & Shawn Lee Tickets
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AM & Shawn Lee, is more than the sum of its already formidable parts. On their new album Outlines, the transatlantic duo AM & Shawn Lee continue their journey forward via the past digging heavily into obscure soul, sound library and soundtracks for inspiration and re-imagine them through a pop lens. AM & Shawn Lee focus heavily on synthesizers, but still keep the core organic, with live drums and bass and of course placing a heavy importance on groove. Sonically Outlines tips it's hat to other synthesized soul productions such as The System or The Blackbyrds . The first single "Persuasion" sets up the album perfectly with a revolving, atmospheric synth pattern suddenly interrupted by a deep funk groove peppered with staccato vocal stylings. "Cold Tears", a heartbreaking tale of a friend's false imprisonment, flows over galloping funk and sinister synths. "Again and Again", perhaps the epitome of sparse groove, is a perfect mid-tempo cruiser and a clear nod to AM's past tour mates AIR, while "Nightshine" delivers demented aerobic pop...picture Olivia Newton John's "Physical" set to a John Carpenter film. The album title Outlines plays on a double meaning. On the one hand the record sounds like a "trace", giving no more than necessary to the production...the essentials. Lyrically, there is an undercurrent of an all too familiar modern struggle...the failure to communicate. We're only giving each other shorthand… “the outlines.” AM & Shawn Lee's musical and artistic chemistry is very obvious especially since they have never recorded in the same room together. The duo trade tracks between London and Los Angeles until they feel the songs are complete. The process is ego-less, and both AM and Shawn Lee play nearly every instrument on the record. Outlines is by far AM & Shawn Lee's favorite recording to date. Minimalist, future soul re-worked for today, but never forgetting what came before. Above all the music just soars. …Like hang gliding into a summer sunset. Let us welcome you to the new sun-filled, space funk masterwork by AM & Shawn Lee: La Musique Numerique. The 2nd LP (following their much heralded debut album Celestial Electric) sees the duo expanding their influences while simultaneously refining their sound. La Musique Numerique tightens up the production, blending early digital technology with decade blurring songwriting which transports listeners deeper into the sonic crates from which the music was born. Album lead off "Two Times" introduces the album perfectly with a tip of the hat to Sleng Teng Riddim's technological origin: the Casio MT-40 keyboard. What follows is a pulsating sex groove complete with unexpected synth jabs and smooth soulful vocals: a space capsule where Curtis Mayfield and Sly & Robbie play the host. The album finales with an ambitious and successful rendition of Joe Jackson's 1982 hit "Steppin' Out", a version that sees the new wave classic taken deeper into the cosmos. La Musique Numerique's interstellar journey takes you in and out of faded memories of disco, funk, soul and reggae but never sets foot on any of these planets; never colonizes one style. It's not a secret the duo dig deep into obscure musical wells gaining approval from other like minded vinyl obsessives and vintage Sound Library revivalists. However these out-sound influences aren't plugged into a computer program and spit out through modern day micro technology. The instruments are played, the vocals are sung and the songs are written, proving an even stronger connection to the past. AM & Shawn Lee proove how music is still a very physical process, something that has become apparent with the duo's growing live fan base. AM & Shawn Lee spent most of late 2011 and much of 2012 touring Celestial Electric including two US and European headlining runs, a support tour with Thievery Corporation and festival appearances worldwide including Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival, River’s Edge Festival in St. Paul, MN, New York State Fair, Le Printemps De Bourges in France, and Motel Mozaique in Holand. The band was also invited to play Paris’ ultra chic, David Lynch owned Club Silencio. More about AM & Shawn Lee's debut album Celestial Electric: Celestial Electric finds L.A.-based indie-pop auteur AM and London-based groovemaster/experimentalist Shawn Lee pooling their talents to create a unique brand of electro-soul that achieves seamless pop perfection, while mining a startlingly broad array of stylistic influences. (You best know Shawn Lee as the award winning video game composer for Bully, for his Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra, and his Clutchy Hopkins/Bei Bei/Princess Superstar projects.) The resulting blend of heartfelt, warmly melodic songcraft and vivid, inventive soundscapes underlines the artists’ abiding love for all manner of vintage genres, encompassing pop, soul, funk, jazz, Brazilian tropicalia, Turkish psychedelia, and soundtracks and library music from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s. New Orleans-bred, L.A.-based tunesmith AM has won widespread acclaim by merging pop, soul, folk, R&B and psychedelia into highly personalized songcraft. In addition to releasing several albums on various labels (including 2010′s Future Sons & Daughters), he spent practically all of last year out on the road touring with a diverse range of artists including AIR, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Josh Rouse and legendary Brazilian tropicalia icon Caetano Veloso. Kansas-born, London-based composer/producer/instrumentalist Shawn Lee has established a reputation as a mischievous sonic innovator, releasing more than twenty genre-spanning albums of his original material, usually as Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra. He also performs and records with London-based electronica act Psapp, and has worked on recording projects with Clutchy Hopkins, Saint Etienne, Arthur Verocai, Greyboy, Coldcut. Tony Joe White, Darondo, Money Mark, and Tommy Guerrero, and opened for bands such as Phoenix, Sigur Ros, Kings of Convenience, Bonnie Prince Billy, and Joseph Arthur. The seeds for AM and Shawn Lee’s collaboration on Celestial Electric were planted when AM heard Lee’s Music and Rhythm album on L.A.’s KJazz, and was impressed enough to reach out to him online. The two met up in London, and later in L.A., where AM played guitar on a series of live gigs with Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra. As Lee recalls, “During that L.A. trip, we listened to a lot of music together and bonded over our mutual love of vintage French and Italian library and film music and nuggets from the Finders Keepers record label. I suggested that we make an album together, and the rest is history.” AM and Lee worked on Celestial Electric from their respective hometowns, trading ideas and tracks via email. Lee, armed with an early-’80s four-track deck and other vintage tape machines in his London studio, began by creating beats and sending them to AM, who wrote songs and lyrics over Lee’s grooves, added vocals, guitars, bass and synths, and emailed the tracks back to Lee, who then added keyboards, percussion and a variety of instruments and mixed the tracks. The two commented on each other’s work via email until each was happy with the result. “It was refreshing to work this way,” AM says. “When we started, Shawn shot me a drum beat and I immediately wrote ‘City Boy’ over it. We both knew we had something pretty special, and it just took off from there.” “I really used Shawn’s beats to help shape the songs, and I let the restrictions determine the outcome,” AM continues. “If the beat changed or did something weird, then I wrote to it. The process was very quick, and every time I would get a file from Shawn, it was like Christmas morning. I couldn’t wait to hear what he had come up with, and I think he felt the same way.” “The whole thing really exceeded my expectations, and I think we really upped each other’s game,” Lee notes, adding, “The sound of this music is shaped by cheapo Casio and Yamaha synthesizers, and an old four-track cassette machine. All of the drums were recorded with one cheap plastic mic on the four-track. We used a lot of lo-fi gear, but the music we made sounds like much more than that.” AM & Shawn Lee’s fortuitous partnership began generating substantial advance buzz several months before Celestial Electric’s release. The pair won considerable attention when they previewed the album on stage at the SXSW Music and Media Conference in March 2011. The following month, they celebrated Record Store Day by releasing a limited-edition gold-vinyl 12-inch single on Ubiquity Records, featuring Dark Into Light. When Rob Garza of Thievery Corporation heard the tracks, he offered to release Celestial Electric on his label ESL Music, Inc. (Eighteenth Street Lounge). Says Garza, “I’ve been a fan of Shawn Lee’s music for quite some time and when I heard what he and AM had put together I thought it would be an exciting project for ESL. It’s fresh, and infectious, combining elements from many different genres. We’re looking forward to putting it out on our label.” The album also features the psychedelic artwork and superb liner notes of famed vinyl archeologist and B-music/Finders Keepers mogul Andy Votel. http://www.facebook.com/amandshawnlee Read more on Last.fm. 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