Rain + Shine is the new EP release from Tobias Butler ’13, who is returning to producing dance music after a hiatus of nearly five years. His last production credit was on George Watsky’s 2010 mixtape “Guilty Pleasures” (as Procrastination), and he has since played in groups such as garage rockers O Presidente (a Wes band) and the spacey, reserved Helen Mystic, whose new EP Sistine Candles has earned international press and was named one of the best DIY releases of 2015. Read more about Rain + Shine after the jump.
The disembodied telepresence of Tobias Butler ’13 (aka tobobo from the hub) rises again:
This friday at 5 Eastern, a subset of Wesleyan’s Toneburst Laptop Ensemble will be taking over (some of) the airwaves on WESU 88.1 Middletown’s Wild Wild Live hosted by Mickey Capper and Rachie Weisberg. We will be using the very same computers most of us use to write essays and browse Facebook to create evocative, evolving musical works.
This will be no ordinary radio broadcast—a little over halfway through, you’ll be invited to visit http://t.obi.as/ using Google Chrome on your own computer to participate in a composition that will involve your personal machine as one voice in a potentially worldwide laptop choir. There will be a few guerrilla performances around the Wesleyan campus and in Middletown where many computers will be participating simultaneously—so grab your friends and laptops and go to a public place where you can sit and listen for a bit.
On Thursday, March 28, as people noshed on Thin Mints and sipped Moxie before the senior recital of Tobias Butler ’13 seemed to begin, the music was well underway. Crouched in a corner of the main room of 200 Church, Butler seemed to be manipulating his Macbook to produce a series of chromatic-sounding mutant robot noises. As the performance began and audience members trickled in, a sign was hoisted requesting visitors to visit http://t.obi.as on their mobile phone browsers. As Butler explained to me, it turns out that each visit to the website and the scrolling of each user was what was controlling the sounds.
I sat down with Butler to discuss the technology underpinning this portion of the performance, his composition techniques more generally and what led him down this kind of musical path. Click through the break for the full text of my interview with Tobias Butler, after some introductory thoughts by yours truly.
This first portion of Butler’s recital, the installation for mobile browsers and web server, gradually built into an expansive, thumping mass of wonky beats and siren-like wobbles. Eventually, in the second or third movement of the piece, percussion was introduced with drone-y growls placed over top. Bells and bumping beats ensued.
“Buy all of your friends’ presents tonight.” This is the command of the Spirit of Thirty-Fork Street, Wesleyan’s sometimes-friendly-but-often-awkward Ghost of Christmas Past. (It probably doesn’t help that we don’t have a Ghost of Chanukah Past.) Anyway, if you’re on top of that, good for you. If you’re not, first take an hour to download and listen to Miracle on Thirty-Fork Street, a holiday season compilation of original (!) songs put together by a loose collective of Wesleyan-associated acts. Then, freaking consume, you consumer. Here are some reflections, lightly edited for reading ease, from a contributor:
The album was made by an extended group of friends (we mostly know each other). All of these friends are either from Wesleyan or closely related to folks at Wesleyan. These are all ORIGINAL holiday songs. No covers! It’s really lame that the majority of holiday songs were written in the baby boomer era. So here are some new ones.
This album is dedicated in part to Will Schragis ’12, who approached me (and others) last year trying to put together a holiday album where he and his friends who actually played music would do covers. Unfortunately it never came together.
The title is a reference to the Static Stamina/Japanese holiday EP It’s a Wonderful KNIFE!, which is actually one of the most hated things on the ACB ever.
Full list of collaborators after the jump.
HTML overlord Tobias Butler ’13 sends in video evidence of synth-pop duo Tanlines’ compulsively danceable ’80s nostalgia-fest in the WestCo Courtyard yesterday afternoon. The Brooklyn-based outfit took the stage after sets by tried-‘n-true Wes bands Lyon’s Den (read: not Lioness), North Paw, Yeoman’s Omen, Treasure Island, Spring Fling openers Peace Museum, and Grand Father. The clip depicts a whole lotta bouncin’ happening to the beat of Tanlines’ minor hit “Real Life,” which appears on the group’s just released debut LP Mixed Emotions. High five to the weather, too—there’s something to be said for the first sunny, uninterrupted Zonker Harris day since when I was a prefrosh.
Be sure to check out 2:03, when the whole front section of the crowd jumps in unison, and don’t miss A-Batte’s freakish arm choreography at approximately 00:45. Scroll on for a few more images from Tanlines’ and Grand Father’s spirited sets at Zonker Harris Day 2012.