Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Empress Of, Klaus Johann Grobe

In association with Okayfuture

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The threads of our past never unravel, they hover like invisible webs, occasionally glistening due to a sly angle of the sun. On Multi-Love, Unknown Mortal Orchestrafrontman and multi-instrumentalist Ruban Nielson reflects on relationships: airy, humid longing, loss, the geometry of desire that occurs when three people align. Where Nielson addressed the pain of being alone on II, Multi-Love takes on the complications of being together. Multi-Love adds dimensions to the band’s already kaleidoscopic approach, with Nielson exploring a newfound appreciation for synthesizers. The new songs channel with the spirit of psych innovators without ignoring the last 40 years of music, forming a flowing, cohesive whole that reflects restless creativity. Cosmic escapes and disco rhythms speak to developing new vocabulary, while Nielson’s vocals reach powerful new heights. “It felt good to be rebelling against the typical view of what an artists is today, a curator,” he says. “It’s more about being someone who makes things happen in concrete ways. Building old synthesizers and bringing them back to life, creating sounds that aren’t quite like anyone else’s. I think that’s much more subversive.” While legions of artists show fidelity to the roots of psychedelia, Unknown Mortal Orchestra shares the rare quality that makes the genre’s touchstones so vital, constant exploration.

Empress Of

While in college Lorely Rodriguez, aka Empress Of, began sketching out a new song idea everyday, making a scrappy home-recording, and posting 1-minute YouTube videos she called “colorminutes”—little snippets of her gorgeous, ethereal pop songs set to different color screens. The mysteriousness intrigued certain corners of the underground music world and on blogs. A 7-inch would soon be released for her first proper 3-minute Empress Of Single, “Don’t Tell Me”, which was adapted from one of the colorminutes. Soon after her first EP was released by Terrible Records who will also released Me. Me is filtered through imagery from a 5-week solo retreat to Mexico where Lorely wrote the initial sketches of the record.  She looks both inward and outword, reflects and looks forward, finds strength and vulnerability. Themes on the album range from fear, to privilege, to relationships, to New York. “This record is not about Mexico .. it’s about me,” she adds. “It’s very much about my experiences. I learned how to let my voice out through this record. I learned how to record, how to produce. I learned how to write way better songs. I didn’t realize this until i was almost done with it, but it was all about growth, and all about kind of being selfish and taking time for myself to really understand what events in my life have shaped me as a person.”

Klaus Johann Grobe

Klaus Johann Grobe continue to avoid easy classification with “Spagat der Liebe”, the follow-up to their mind-scrambling 2013 debut album “Im Sinne der Zeit”. Said debut was an easy to love, but hard to pin down fusion of krautrock, disco, Tropicalia, post-punk and experimental music that garnered rave reviews both in the USA & abroad. In between numerous European festival tours & opening slots for Temples, Moon Duo & the Growlers, the band holed up in their Swiss studio compound to record “Spagat der Liebe” in the autumn of 2015.