Bob Moses

Bob Moses
Event on 2015-10-20 20:30:00
with Desert Sound Colony
"We were never happy just making music on acoustic guitars," says Tom Howie of the organic-electronic sound of Bob Moses, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Canada duo he formed with partner Jimmy Vallance. "Our live show combines what a DJ does with a rock band," Vallance adds. "Everything flows together in a continuous mix for the dancefloor, but it's all our own original music, with live vocals and guitar. Then again, we came out of a scene that was trying to change what dance music is that pushed beyond the expected sonic spectrum."That scene grew around the Marcy Hotel the revered venue that, in its half decade of existence, proved as important for New York's contemporary underground dance/electronic music world as CBGBs was for the '70s punk era. The acclaimed likes of Soul Clap, Wolf + Lamb, and Nicolas Jaar all gravitated around Marcy's infamous parties, reimagining dance music in their own groundbreaking image. "We were totally inspired by what was happening at the Marcy. It was a small room, could only hold a couple hundred people tops, but it proved to be such a pivotal place," Vallance says. "Alongside what other promoters like Resolute and Blackmarket were doing in abandoned warehouses in Brooklyn, New York was an inspiring place to be at the turn of the decade." Also present was Francis Harris, the iconoclastic DJ/producer and co-founder of tastemaker label Scissor & Thread, which fostered a more personal, homemade take on electronic sounds. After meeting at a studio session for techno mavericks M.A.N.D.Y., Harris, Howie, and Vallance found they shared common ground. "Francis set the road map for the sound we needed to find," Howie says.Howie and Vallance started writing hooks for Harris' Frank & Tony project, furthering their collaboration. "We didn't think much of it until we played Marcy with Frank & Tony in 2012," Vallance recalls. "Tom sang live to the tracks we'd written, and people went insane! We'd never expected that reaction, which made us think we were on to something," Howie says. "We woke up the next day thinking 'We have to become our own act.' We came up with the songs for our first EP, Hands to Hold, and Francis agreed to put it out."Hands to Hold's infectious title track appeared in two vastly different versions: an electronic mix that combined subtle grooves and tweaked sound design with Howie's moody vocals, and a drumless acoustic take. Bob Moses upped the anti-genre ante on its next EP, 2013's Far From the Tree: one track, "Interloper," was the kind of dark, fractured 4/4 instrumental one might hear at 5:00am on a Berlin dancefloor, while "Stealing Fire" proved a psychedelic downtempo confessional with eerily catchy vocal melodies; the title song, meanwhile, split the difference between those styles. "Out the gate, we wanted to make clear we weren't just a dance act," Vallance says.Bob Moses received its oddball moniker from Francis Harris in homage to Robert Moses, the urban planner behind iconic New York landmarks like Shea Stadium and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. But while NYC is definitely in Bob Moses' DNA, its members actually met as high school students in Vancouver, Canada. The pair reunited randomly years later when, bumping into each other in a Lowe's parking lot, they discovered they had studios across the street from each other in Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood. Howie had arrived there after a stint at Boston's Berklee College of Music, on a partial scholarship as a singer-songwriter. Vallance, meanwhile, had found some success as a producer/engineer/DJ creating commercial dance music his remix of Sia's "Buttons" brought him some early attention but "I'd fallen out of love with making cheesy big-room tracks," he laughs. "We booked a couple days to write at my studio for fun, and by the end of the week, I told Tom, 'Come live at my place and let's do this every day.'"We gotta keep pushing, gotta keep pushing through. Its gotta mean something to you.Occupying the fertile ground between organic band land and an all-electronic production project, Bob Moses draw on the two poles to vividly resonate across both. A duo with an individual name, Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallances musical endeavor plays with this kind of duality all over their debut album Days Gone By.We were never happy just making music on guitars, says Tom Howie of the organic-electronic sound of Bob Moses, the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Canada duo he formed with partner Jimmy Vallance. Our live show combines what a DJ does with a rock band, Vallance adds. Everything flows together in a continuous mix for the dancefloor, but its all our own original music, with live vocals and guitar. Then again, we came out of a scene that was trying to change what dance music is that pushed beyond the expected sonic spectrum.Initially connecting in high school back in Vancouver, the two went their separate ways Howie to Bostons Berklee College Of Music, Vallance to the commercial dance charts producing big room floor fillers. After moving to New York City separately only to serendipitously bump into each other in a carpark and discover that they each had studios across the street from each other in Red Hook, the call was made to get together to try and jam something out. We booked a couple days to write at my studio for fun, and by the end of the week, I told Tom, Come live at my place and lets do this every day, Vallance recalls. It made sense that the name of their project paid tribute to the city in which it was birthed, and so in homage to Robert Moses, the urban planner behind iconic New York landmarks like Shea Stadium and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Bob Moses was anointed.Invigorated by the now legendary scene that surrounded the illegal underground warehouse parties that were going down in New York championing a new wave of house and techno crews (including those connected to the Marcy Hotel and Resolute), Howie and Vallance were encouraged to dive in deep following a performance with Francis Harris Frank & Tony project in 2012, for which theyd been ghostwriting hooks. We didnt think much of it until we played Marcy with Frank & Tony in 2012, Howie recalls. Tom sang live to the tracks wed written, and people went insane! Wed never expected that reaction, which made us think we were on to something, Vallance says. We woke up the next day thinking We have to become our own act. We came up with the songs for our first EP, Hands to Hold, and Francis agreed to put it out.While their introduction to dance music may have come in the genres traditionally communal setting, its Days Gone Bys potency in solitude that marks it out as a debut album worthy of deeper scrutiny. A sound palette that combines the elegantly icy with an indelibly human touch, its Cologne techno rhythms in the bottom, the elegant otherly distance of Detroit in the middle, and an unmistakably earthly, almost jazzy textures in the top end, anchored by Howies softly suggestive voice that doesnt dominate, but instead plays out as another instrument in an alluring mix.Alternating between brooding dancefloor burners and moments of reflective, downbeat repose, Days Gone By is a record thats not in a rush to get to its destination, preferring to subtly, slowly seduce rather than sway and swagger into submission, weaving a rich spectrum of sensation over the course of its twelve tracks.The opening track Like It Or Not perfectly exemplifies the Bob Moses approach. A stark introduction of piano and voice departs into a propulsive, off-kilter house rhythm, before breaking right back down and riding out on a heady conclusion of vocal harmony, before the first single,Talk, spins a deceptively catchy vocal melody over jacking bass and foreboding ambience. Slinky, sinewy and imperceptibly catchy, Too Much is a grower in the shape of a guitar-led deep house Trojan horse. Tearing Me Up resurrects the oft-overlooked schaffel rhythm to deadly effect, a slow-burning, gyrating epic of tortured love that simmers without ever boiling over, while the title track unfolds in waves of repetition over almost seven hypnotic minutes, a melancholy slice of cathartic release and a worthy album centerpiece. Gentle rhodes chords and a loping heartbeat drum pattern marks Writing On The Wall as one of the records more vulnerable intermissions, and Here We Are closes out proceedings with a lush, melancholy acoustic guitar-led lament, a touching glance in the rearview.The balance of man and machine is a delicate dance that Bob Moses have realised with their debut, and Days Gone By is a dazzling exploration of discreet, personal moods that engages and eventually engulfs, tastefully coalescing dance musics giddy rush with more timeless, introspective song craft. Borrowing from both but slaves to neither, as a result the record is equally effective headphone listening as it is deft club euphoria. Days Gone By reveals Bob Moses as masters of their art.

at Echoplex
1154 Glendale Boulevard
Los Angeles, United States

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