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NEWS
January 25, 1986 | By Daniel Webster, Inquirer Music Critic
The virtuoso on the synthesizer is not quite the same as the virtuoso violinist, say, because the violinist has only the present at his fingertips. The synthesizer gives that player both present and past as elements of performance, the programmed sounds coupled with the events played in performance. Neil Rolnick is a leading virtuoso with the Synclavier computer, and he was featured in the Relache concert at Mandell Auditorium last night. He presided over the compact equipment, often watching it dispense an orchestra full of sound, without having to do more than watch it or to signal cues to Barbara Noska, the soprano who sang the text for his cantata, Child Bomb Song.
NEWS
August 11, 1988 | By Michael Matza, Inquirer Staff Writer
Suddenly, Keith Chapman, world-renowned organist, leaned from the balcony of the John Wanamaker organ loft high above the department store's Grand Court and shouted, "I want one. Auntie Rita, I want one. " Chapman was rehearsing the "duel-duet" he played yesterday at noon with John Shykun, master of the Kurzweil 250 digital sampling synthesizer, and when the reporters and technicians assembled below with publicist Rita Eisenberg heard the virtuoso...
NEWS
December 26, 1992 | By MARK RANDALL
Words failed us. We were standing on Logan circle enjoying the Thanksgiving Day Parade when suddenly we beheld an image so eerily prophetic, and so dire in its forecast that its force momentarily transfixed us. There, in the middle of an otherwise orthodox marching band, behind a caisson rigged up with a stack of 12-volt batteries, marched a person playing a . . . synthesizer! Mute disbelief gave way to laughter. This in turn gave way to the queer jolt one feels when life no longer imitates art, but instead imitates New Yorker cartoons.
NEWS
August 14, 1992 | By Faith Quintavell, FOR THE INQUIRER
Sophie B. Hawkins has recently grabbed the pop-music limelight with her frank songs about the glories of sex. But at her performance Wednesday before a sellout crowd at the Theater of Living Arts, she was just a tease. Her band performed faithful but predictable renditions of material from Hawkins' recent debut, Tongues and Tails (Columbia), full of African percussion and harmony, augmented by guitar, bass and complex synthesizer parts. But their maddening, midtempo groove only hinted at the passion described in Hawkins' lyrics; it never achieved those heights.
NEWS
September 16, 1991 | By Sam Wood, Special to The Inquirer
Techno-folk? Acid World? Brit-hop? What should we call Mouth Music's hypnotic musical hybrid? Friday night at the Theater of Living Arts, Mouth Music combined Gaelic vocal music with the sinuous rhythms of West Africa, mixed high-gloss synthesizer pop with rollicking Scottish reels, juxtaposed plaintive lullabies with Celtic war cries, and meshed up-to-the-minute hip-hop beats with ancient folk melodies. In print it looks like a recipe for sonic disaster. But amazingly, Mouth Music's musical melting pot proved remarkably effective.
NEWS
March 5, 1992 | By Faith Quintavell, SPECIAL TO THE INQUIRER
Alison Moyet's glorious gospel- and soul-soaked voice, obscured for years by weak material and complex synthesizer arrangements on her solo albums, was refreshingly showcased Tuesday night at a sold-out show at the Theatre of Living Arts. For fans, Moyet's performance was like a beautiful bride lifting her veil to offer a fervent kiss. And the passion was reciprocated - the audience was wildly enthusiastic, calling out their love and clapping right off the end of the Applause-O-Meter.
NEWS
June 14, 1990 | By Scott Brodeur, Special to The Inquirer
Fans reacted every time singer Dave Gahan picked up the microphone stand. Or did a brief dance step. They also erupted each time a new special effect was unleashed. With a band that hides behind its keyboards all night, you take what you can get and cheer for it. Never much of a live band, England's Depeche Mode still manages to draw large, raucous crowds as it did at the nearly sold-out Spectrum last night. What it lacked in spunk the band tried to compensate for with an elaborate stage show featuring plenty of splendid lights and lasers as well as a backdrop of videos.
NEWS
April 16, 2002 | By David Patrick Stearns INQUIRER MUSIC CRITIC
"Welcome, you hearty souls!" pianist Lambert Orkis proclaimed at the start of his "Keys to the Future" recital. On Sunday at the Curtis Institute of Music, Orkis introduced two large, new piano sonatas by local composers, the venerable Richard Wernick and the younger James Primosch, whose pioneering effort explores the combination of piano and synthesizer. Those who know Orkis wouldn't be surprised. Though known internationally as the keyboard collaborator of violinist Anne-Sophie M?tter, the Philadelphia native, a graduate of Curtis and a Temple University faculty pianist has been a paragon of musical exploration.
NEWS
February 25, 2005 | By Karl Stark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When pianist Herbie Hancock's quintet reached back in time to play his "Dolphin Dance" on Wednesday night, it was from an oblique angle. Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Roy Hargrove slowed down the melody until it seemed as if the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall were moving in slow motion. The tune emerged from the shadows as if from a solar eclipse. Fast forward nearly 2 1/2 hours later, and Hancock & Co. were deep in a spectacularly funky patch. Hargrove was in sweet, lyrical form; Brecker channeled incredible passion through his tenor, and that was before the band received two standing ovations and ended with Hancock's 1973 classic, "Chameleon.
NEWS
February 2, 1991 | By Lesley Valdes, Inquirer Music Critic
A quartet of keyboardists played music by Larry Nelson, Martin Bresnick and others at the Temple University Center City theater last night in the Network for New Music's annual keyboard recital. It was a modest evening, the repertoire being little of a challenge for audience or performers. But modesty is not a bad thing, and one appreciated the opportunity to encounter in an intimate setting the contrasts of mood and possibility of the DX-7 synthesizer and grand piano. The acoustic piano was used for Charles Abramovic's fine display of very ideologically disparate Tangos - by Stravinsky, Betsy Jolas, Milos Kelemen and Jackson Hill.
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NEWS
September 27, 2013 | BY JONATHAN TAKIFF, Daily News Staff Writer takiffj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5960
SUPPOSE YOU threw a party, and everybody came. Or, at least, all your buds from far as well as near. That's what the guys in the Philly-based "trans-fusion" (jam-meets-electronica) band Disco Biscuits are hoping for, with their second annual City Bisco festival holding down the fort on two stages today and tomorrow at the Mann Music Center. "It's definitely the party of the weekend," proclaimed Aron Magner, keyboardist for the headlining band that closes both bake-offs. Tonight it's with a hip-hop- strong support team, including Big Boi, Method Man and Redman, then tomorrow in a mix with electronic dance music "controlists," like Gigamesh, Emancipator, Shpongle, Lee Foss and more.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 25, 2012 | By Steve Klinge, For The Inquirer
"Have I ever really helped anybody but myself / To believe in the power of songs?" Emily Haines sang in "Dreams So Real" during Metric's performance at the Tower Theater on Saturday night. Such self-doubt and existential questioning are typical of the Canadian quartet's songs, whether asking "Is this my life?" in "Breathing Underwater" or pleading, "Fate don't fail me now" in "Artificial Nocturne. " But those sentiments are at odds with the confidence and exuberance of Metric's music and stage presence.
ENTERTAINMENT
March 23, 2012 | By Nicole Pensiero, For The Inquirer
After nearly 20 years away from the music business, British synth-pop icon Thomas Dolby launched his return last year with a passion - or rather, several passions. First there was a transmedia game, The Floating City, which was "set against a dystopian vision of the 1940s that could have perhaps existed if WWII had turned out a lot differently," he explains. Participants from around the world took part in the three-month long cyber-game, which wound down shortly before the release of Dolby's corresponding album, A Map of the Floating City.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 21, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway classic South Pacific opens a short run at the Academy of Music on Tuesday, and the word in show circles is that whatever faith you've lost in this musical - whether in bad summer stock or in the eccentrically shot film version - will be restored. Not having had much faith in it to begin with, I attended the Lincoln Center Theater production during its New York run with much urban skepticism, but left feeling as corny as Kansas in August. The veracity of Bartlett Sher's staging, the real-person acting (no Mitzi Gaynor glamour girls here)
NEWS
July 24, 2010 | By David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Music Critic
The future of serious music - a possible future, at least - is roaring in through a side door marked "dance clubs. " And behind that door? Miles of wires, for starters, generating synthesized sound at 8 p.m. Saturday at Crane Arts in North Philadelphia. A collection of artists from the British-based Nonclassical recording label will play hard-to-explain works involving sampling, looping, synthesizers and turntables, all staples of raves, circuit parties, and subgenres sometimes dismissed as "overdose music.
ENTERTAINMENT
January 9, 2010 | By A.D. Amorosi FOR THE INQUIRER
When keyboardist Erik Deutsch released Hush Money last fall, it was a breath of fresh air for jazz enthusiasts. Long known for helping soulful guitarist Charlie Hunter to get his groove on, Deutsch crafted a down-and-dirty organic sound on Hush Money that also managed to be synthetic, airy, and elegant. On his album, the composer-keyboardist found room for old Moog synthesizers and analog tape buzzes within his moody modern ballads and Hammond organ-filled grinders. The influence of film scoring legend Nino Rota's cinematic sweep held sway on the bluesy "Black Flies.
NEWS
November 17, 2008 | By A.D. Amorosi FOR THE INQUIRER
For a band that has made formidable inroads within shoegaze electronica, distorted art metal, and ambient electronic circles, M83 knows how to make sharp left turns yet stay smoothly on the road. Then again, with each record since 2001, the French band has shown it understands the idea of change that is radical yet seamless, with music influenced equally by the Laserium grandeur of Tangerine Dream and My Bloody Valentine's wall of woe. Since 2005, a series of musical switcheroos have been decided by breathy singer/guitarist Anthony Gonzalez - M83's co-originator - and fans have hung on each decision.
NEWS
June 28, 2008 | By Sam Adams FOR THE INQUIRER
At around 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the electro-pop band Ladytron took the stage at the TLA. Or at least, it looked like they did. Between the smoke-filled air and the blinding backlight, it was hard to make out more than a half-dozen silhouettes floating in the haze. Formed in Liverpool, Ladytron combines the icy remove of German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk and the robot-love come-ons of Depeche Mode and New Order. Singers Helen Marnie and Mira Arroyo, who traded lead vocals throughout the night, stood back from the lip of the stage lost amid a forest of synthesizers, idly dancing to some private rhythm.
NEWS
January 2, 2006 | By A.D. Amorosi FOR THE INQUIRER
Why cram when you can jam? That must have been the idea behind singing-songwriting guitarist Todd Sheaffer's decision in 2001 to leave New Jersey's ruggedly hick-popping (his term) From Good Homes and form Railroad Earth. Yet rather than noodle endlessly in a sea of listless improvisational soloing (ugh), Railroad Earth - who sold out two shows at the TLA on Friday and Saturday - managed a delicious, elegant union within a sextet's arrangement of lengthy country-jazz and bluegrass swing movements.
NEWS
February 25, 2005 | By Karl Stark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When pianist Herbie Hancock's quintet reached back in time to play his "Dolphin Dance" on Wednesday night, it was from an oblique angle. Tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker and trumpeter Roy Hargrove slowed down the melody until it seemed as if the Kimmel Center's Verizon Hall were moving in slow motion. The tune emerged from the shadows as if from a solar eclipse. Fast forward nearly 2 1/2 hours later, and Hancock & Co. were deep in a spectacularly funky patch. Hargrove was in sweet, lyrical form; Brecker channeled incredible passion through his tenor, and that was before the band received two standing ovations and ended with Hancock's 1973 classic, "Chameleon.
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