Yes yes yes!
I decided this evening would be a great night to premier the re-mixed and remastered “the seasons.” I will have it on the sound system between 6 and 7 pm. CDs will be available. This is the way “the seasons” was always supposed to be.
After that, I will be hoisting guitar synth & iPad and doing a set of originals and my favorites songs. Should be a great show. Come for some or all of it!
the new cover
This image was shot by Kate Zari Roberts. You can see more of her work here. I looked high and low for the right image, found this one on P1XELS. And I kept coming back to it as I continued the search. Finally, I just knew it was the one. Shot and processed on iPhone of course!
I woke up this morning and was promptly alerted by a friend that the Oakland Tribune had a big feature about the iPhone photography show I put together with the Giorgi gallery in Berkeley. What a great article it is!
Jennifer Modenessi, art and culture writer for the Bay Area Newspaper Group, writes:
While hundreds of the cell phone camera’s fans are passionate about their medium and flock to Web sites such as flickr or use blogs to share their photos, iPhone photography is still very much on the fringes of the mainstream art world. So using a selection of grainy, artful images from his Web site, Bronson and Oakland resident Rae Douglass have mounted “Pixels at an Exhibition” at Berkeley’s Giorgi Gallery, which they believe is the world’s first gallery display devoted exclusively to iPhone photography.
Submitted by both seasoned and amateur shooters from around the world, the iPhone photos capture fleeting instances such as a bird momentarily resting on a cafe table or a surfer riding a wave. Some, such as Valerie Ardini’s black-and-white shot of a couple in the rain, recall traditional street photography. Others, such as Marty Yawnick’s colorfulshot of a dusty Texaco gas station, are all about design and composition. Many of the images bear the distinctive look of photo apps, or software programs created specifically for the cell phone cameras. They allow users to creatively manipulate their photos to approximate the look of vintage nondigital equipment, toy cameras or other special photographic effects.
Read the whole article here.
Thank you, Jennifer!
It goes to show … you never know what is around the corner …
I am happy to say that my site http://iphontography.org and the gallery show we are putting on at the Giorgi Gallery in Berkeley (Opening January 30) got a write-up in the New York Times.
A San Francisco Bay Area gallery is testing that idea with a photo contest that asks people to submit their artiest iPhone-taken pictures. At between 2 and 3.2 megapixels, depending on the model, the iPhone has a weak camera compared to competitors. But Giorgi Gallery, which is running the competition, says, “The eye of the artist is always more important than the technology in the creation of beautiful art.” Two hundred winners will get prints of their photos shown at an exhibition in Berkeley next month.
On Friday, August 31, a short interview with yours truly aired on the Life, Love, and Health show, part of the Health Radio Network. Christopher Springmann, the interviewer, is former photo-journalist, an ace raconteur, and a thoroughly charming gentleman. I’ve listened to the interview a couple times (the first time was the broadcast and I was in a bad-reception area, so it was cutting out). I am not thoroughly embarassed.
Click here to listen.
Click here: THE BLARG
Knox Bronson “The Seasons” – A beautiful and brilliantly mastered four-track instrumental work that bridges the gap between the orchestral and symphonic, and the subtle digital realm of acts like Plastikman. Each track (coming in around the fifteen-minute mark) represents a different season, and Bronson has somehow managed to rip apart summer, fall, winter and spring, and put them back together in the form of a song. One of the best of this batch.
Knox Bronson, The Seasons
Mix electronic, classical, ambience and pop and you have the new, innovative piece by Knox Bronson in The Seasons. Even adding that symphony orchestra element to the background, Bronson takes you on a hypnotic trip. Bronson is the singer, songwriter and composer who brings you four excellent installments that run for an average of 15 minutes. All instrumental, the album is one to listen close to with true meaning behind each creation of sound.
On the cover you see an attractive woman unclothed with her legs in the air and arms covering her private essentials. Definitely an eye-catcher and this beauty is actually Victoria Secret supermodel, Amber Myles Arbucci. She can be seen on the back along with inside the contained artwork displayed in different poses. The true essence can be seen from the cover because she seems completely at peace with herself and her body. Her eyes are closed and she lays there on her back without a worry in the world—carefree spirit if you will. The ironic part is that this seductive portrait of Arbucci actually captures the pure emotion of the album. That raw emotion being peace and tranquility is the premise of the record.
The Seasons is just that; inviting you to experience each turn of the seasons one by one. The album starts with “Summer of ‘68” and ends with “The Forever Spring” taking the listener on a magical journey. Bronson offers a whimsical quality along with a strong spiritual well-being that resonates throughout the composition. Each song signifies not just the spirit of the seasons, but also the spirit of Bronson inside.
By Jason Thompson
How exactly to peg Knox Bronson? Perhaps we shouldn’t and just let the music speak for itself. On this album of four extended pieces, Bronson mixes jazz-like passages with electronica, sometimes almost pushing it into a trance realm, but not quite. It’s too sophisticated for that sort of programming, and that’s definitely a plus. What it is definitely is languid and spatial, with “Summer of ‘68” and “Autumnal Sun” being completely wondrous works of music. If there’s a misstep here, it’s only in “Winter Blue” and only because it’s the one spot where the music doesn’t live up to the prior cuts, sounding a little too syrupy at times. But things get back in the groove with the closing “The Forever Spring.” Consider it Vivaldi for 2009, if you like. And if you don’t, there’s still a pretty lady all over the CD’s art in various stages of undress. Ooh la la.
Original article here.
Oakland is the Bay Area capital of art and music. Knox Bronson, a local musician, has spent the last few weeks putting the finishing touches on his latest CD, The Seasons. If you’ve heard his music before, you know it’s eclectic. It’s very 60s. It can also be very contemporary. Regardless of what else it is or isn’t, it’s more often than not the story of his redemption. Here are excerpts from a chat with him:
OB: When is the CD coming out? And what’s the distribution looking like?
KB: I think probably the target date is Feb 14, Valentine’s Day. We’re going to do digital distribution – iTunes, Amazon and other places. I’ll send CDs to CD Baby and places like that. I expect to get them in local stores pretty quickly. The business is changing rapidly.. The business part is always a mystery to me. SMC Recordings, a hip hop label that has distribution with Fontana and Universal, does it for me.
OB: Where are you from, Knox? Are you from the Bay Area?
KB: I’m local. I graduated from Berkeley High school. My family’s been here a long time. I’ve been here my whole life pretty much.
OB: So when did you get into music?
KB: I’ve been a musician since I was .. I started when I was in 5th grade, studying the trumpet. When I was a teenager, I picked up the guitar. I taught myself how to play the guitar with Beatles song books. When I was in high school, I had a French teacher who introduced us to the Impressionists. That’s how I got into classical. I love the Beatles, David Bowie, Pink Floyd. In the 70s, I fell in love with electronic music.
OB: So did you have a career in music?
KB: In my early 20s, I would practice guitar for 8 hours a day, and then it was party time. If you’re partying like David Bowie..
OB: You got into alcohol and drugs?
KB: It got serious. It took over for almost 20 years. Then I got sober in 1990. I was so burnt out. I was about three years sober when I remembered I used to love to play music. I had a synthesizer that someone paid me for some work I’d done in the 80s. I had a Roland keyboard. I started making music again. I started buying gear. I had to learn about recording and arranging, and that’s all I did for years. I was working. But every spare moment, I was doing music. I always heard music in my head, but I always wanted other people to play it for me. I wanted Pink Floyd to put that album out. What happened since I started working on music again — I began starting to get the music again. I have to stress that I’m of the school of thought that we don’t really create the music. It already exists. If we’re lucky, we get to channel it. It’s about learning how to arrange and use the technology.
OB: Tell me about the CDs you’ve done..
KB: The first couple of CDs I did were pretty electronic, very beautiful. Those were– Flight of the Atom Bee and Deus Sex Machina. I then started working on vocal music. And then a few years ago, i started working on The Seasons. I was trying to come back and do a true fusion to combine electronic and classical music and not just overlay one on top of another. I’m very happy with the CD. Three pieces on the CD written at a very difficult time.
OB: Why was it difficult?
KB: I was down in LA, I didn’t have any money. I was staying at a friend’s house, things were very bleak. I’d had to give up my place up here. It was just a weird time. I wrote these pieces. When things get really intense, I write. That’s what I do. It’s my refuge. if you listen to the pieces, you’ll see the progression. There’s a part that gets very.. it’s like a bridge.. bridge out of the darkness into the light. I have a 4th piece — very pretty, dreamy piece. It’s an hour of music — 15 minutes each. It’s about romance.. about getting out of the darkness back into the light. That’s been my life. I spent many years in the dark world and then I got out. It’s been quite a journey. I’ve seen a lot and I try to put it all into my music. Everything I have goes into my music.
OB: What’s your day job?
KB: I’m a designer. I’ve done graphic design for many years. I do a lot of web stuff. I call myself a designer..
OB: How’d you get a Victoria Secrets’ model involved with your project?
KB: We met on MySpace. She sent me a letter saying she liked the music (myspace.com/sunpopblue) especially the excerpt from Winter Blue, which is on the CD. I kept looking at her pictures and I kept thinking I must somehow get her to be on my cover. I sent her my CD.. She really liked it. She mentioned she was building a website. I asked her — this is totally out of line, but would she pose for my cover if I built one of her websites. She said yes.
OB: Your press releases always mention the 60s and the 70s and the influence they had on you.
KB: Back then, there was more time, less economic pressure. There was more room for experimentation. It’s getting better again, but in some ways, DJs and club culture have thwarted.. there’s not a lot of song craft in that stuff. It’s about vibe, hook and melodies had fallen by the wayside, somewhat. But I think that it is turning around. The way they render music now is so compressed and loud that by the time you’re on the third song, you’re suffering from ear fatigue.
Then, artists had more time to develop. But back then, I don’t know how I would have done this. I would have needed an orchestra. Now, I get the choir in my Mac. And I feel music occupied a different place in people’s life. People really believed people could change the world.
OB: But they still believe that.. Look at the singers singing about political change.
KB: I like Eminem. My sons are 25 and 27. I think Eminem is their John Lennon. He’s a very bright guy.
Knox Bronson is a Bay Area-based singer-songwriter who has used this release as a way of revisiting the 60s and 70s and making a tribute to the old school way of composing and producing. More than that, he’s looking to re-invoke the days when music seemed like the doorway to all things right and beautiful.
He has done all the programming work himself, written and arranged the songs and sung them too (with some help from chanteuse Angie Harnell…note to Knox, next time, give her a bit more space to strut her stuff). Sometimes, when an artist gives himself all the tasks, he loses sight of the goal and the album’s focus drifts. Not so here; Bronson keeps his inner eye on the ball and delivers a piece of work that harks back to good times of Donovan and the Moody Blues, but maintains a foot in the here and now.
Bronson is the kind of guy who’s seen it, done it and even has the t-shirt, but gave it back. He is literate, mature and thoughtful and this comes through in spades in this release. He’s here to speak his truth in quiet, authoritative terms.
Bronson has a voice that reminds one of David Bowie in his good years. He doesn’t have an especially melodious voice, but it is pleasant to listen to, authoritative and solid. The music and lyrics flow around our ears, drawing us into another place.
The only cover song is “Celeste”, originally written by Donovan (and done better by Bronson), but we are treated to “Pop Down The Years”, an evocation of the days when the intellectual and the psychedelic could co-exist in the same song.
Summary: Get this album. For mouldy oldies, this music is a throwback to the “good ol’ days”. To the young and hungry-for-the-new, this release will come as a revelation.
Dedicated to bringing back the golden era of pop songcraft via a unique mix of rock, electronic and classical influences, Bay Area based singer-songwriter Knox Bronson has long subscribed to the whimsical spiritual notion that “we don’t write the songs. They already exist. If we are lucky, we are able to go down below where the music is and bring fragments back—and then more fragments. And with a little luck, patience and discipline, we end up with something worth sharing.” The compelling songs that comprise his latest album to Pop Down The Years, have been swirling around and inspiring Knox have manifested themselves with a sound that’s something like The Beatles filtered through Bowie, with some Donovan, French impression composer Claude Debussy and the legendary German electronic band Kraftwerk added for good measure.
If Knox’s unique approach seems like a throwback to 60s and 70s–a tribute to the old school way of composing and producing–make no mistake, it’s purely by design. He came of age in those days and can remember a time when music mattered, the roots of rock were blues and the Brill Building and Tin Pan Alley influences ruled the charts. After recording but not officially releasing two previous classical/electronic driven albums—including Deus Sex Machina and Flight Of The Atom Bee, a companion piece to his novel Flapping—he returned to his lifelong love of pure, heartfelt songwriting. His goal: to maintain that level of composing while blending in and exploring the unique tonal colors made possible by today’s incredible technologies. The result is a timeless collection that, first in his mind and now in the spirits of music fans everywhere, brings back the magic that’s been missing in pop music for too many years.
“Just as the title track is a love song to both that era and a girl, the idea was to make something beautiful that people can enjoy listening to as much today as ten or twenty years from now,” says Knox, a veteran of the Bay Area dance club and café performance scene. “It goes against the grain of ‘flavor of the minute’ that has been part of pop music for a long time. I’ve always loved working with electronic and orchestral sounds, and while I didn’t start out with an overall concept, I always made sure to get out of the way of the song so that the honesty and emotion of each could shine through.”
While Knox did all the arrangements and orchestration for the backing tracks on a Macintosh and played most of the instruments on Pop Down The Years, his sound is greatly enhanced on certain pieces (such as the Bowiesque “Old Man Cold Man”) by drummer and percussionist Shoji Kameda, well known for his work with the popular jazz fusion group Hiroshima. The project was co-produced by Knox’s longtime friend Andy Crisp, a veteran studio musician who has worked in Los Angeles, London and New York. Knox was building some powerful musical steam by mid-2007 when he hit a creative block and the project briefly stalled. He knew the songs were strong but wasn’t quite hearing the magic for which he was striving. Crisp’s input and development contributions, as well as his idea to bring in live drums and soulful vocalist Angie Harnell, brought life back into the sessions; Harnell appears on four of the nine songs. Another factor in catapulting Pop Down The Years into its ultimate form was the expertise of veteran mixer Charles Stella, who has lent his brilliant production skills over the years to albums by everyone from Norah Jones to Thievery Corporation and the Brazilian Girls.
The album’s overall diverse vibe is captured by a few key tracks, beginning with the trippy and summery, Beach Boys meets Europop bubblegum tune “Hey Little Earthgirl”; an outer-space love story with intergalactic space imagery, the cheery tune chronicles the journey of leaving one’s home solar system to find true love. The metaphysical mini-suite “Old Man Cold Man,” which Bronson said was his first attempt at arranging for string bass, cello, violin, and frog, is a tone-poem, an other-worldly response to David Bowie’s song “Bewlay Brothers” itself an allegory detailing the closing down of the 60s in another dimension, while the propulsive “3 Seconds Before Maia Smiled” (whose meaning is purely up to the listener’s interpretation) is in the permanent collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern art as part of a multi-media show. The instrumentation of the title track, a lilting Pop Down The Years, is a loving tribute in and of itself to legendary Beatles’ producer George Martin; the song is about the experience of being part of that musical generation that truly felt it could change the world, and acting as witness to that part of history.
“The underlying current running throughout Pop Down The Years is this idea of recalling a time when pop music was all about hope and promise,” says Knox. “These songs are about trying to open up that whole energy channel again. It’s a true, straight from the heart culmination of a lot of my life experiences and thoughts and dreams, about a sense of romance that never has to leave us despite the passage of time. It’s not all peace and love, believe me. There are forces of darkness that are more with us than ever. I’m trying to evoke and share that ‘glad to be alive’ feeling that I used to get when I was young and first listening to the music that changed my world.”