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Fri May 9, 2014

The Glitch Mob

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Selling out major venues from coast to coast simply by word of mouth, The Glitch Mob has become a festival favorite, rocking crowds from Lollapalooza to Red Rocks to upcoming key slots at Coachella and Ultra with their visceral, innovative performances. "Pairing the richness and headiness of the best dance music with the head-nodding backbeats of hip-hop, they only aim to move you, and they by and large succeed," raved the Los Angeles Times. And this spring, the L.A.-based trio embarks on their first full nationwide tour in support of The Glitch Mob's debut album release Drink the Sea, due May 25 on the band's own Glass Air label. Drink The Sea represents The Glitch Mob's transformation up from the underground into a more widescreen vision: from the cryptic cover art (courtesy Sonny Kay, famed for his work with Mars Volta) to the kaleidoscopic dimension of the music inside, Drink The Sea evokes a voyage into the unexpected-including sonic waters previously unexplored by the band itself.

Then again, The Glitch Mob "sound" has always been a continually mutating concept, always pushing new boundaries as the group evolves. Drink The Sea arrives after years of intermittent yet acclaimed releases-spanning widely passed-around Internet mixtapes like the infamous Crush Mode ("Grab the Crush Mode mixtape. One of the first things to really get my blood going," raved New Yorker critic Sasha Frere-Jones) to triumphant official remixes for TV On The Radio, Ed Banger's Krazy Baldhead and Evil Nine featuring El-P. As such, The Glitch Mob and its members even held the top two spots on XLR8R's "50 Best MP3s of 2008" over the likes of Hercules and Love Affair and the Kills, and their tracks have enjoyed heavy rotation on Mary Anne Hobbs' taste-making BBC Radio 1 show. Drink The Sea represents a musical sea change for the band, however, combining the thundering percussive power of their live show with the relentlessly experimental ambition of the group's core producer/instrumentalists Justin Boreta, Ed Ma, and Josh Mayer. "It;s definitely not just a collection of random club bangers," Mayer explains. "We made this album with very little, if almost none, of our traditional studio production tricks," Ma adds. "We wanted it to sound like us, but without gimmicks-no glitches, crazy edits or bizarre effects. There aren't even any samples-all the sounds were created by us making them." "Admittedly, there's now a cognitive dissonance with our name," Boreta adds. "Our modus operandi has stayed the same, though: however the songs are made, we've always just wanted to fragment music in a fresh way, to make sounds no one's heard before."

Indeed, Drink The Sea is closer to an atmospheric soundscape journey like Dark Side Of The Moon-if only that Pink Floyd classic was as furiously rhythmic. While Drink The Sea attains power and heaviness, it does so on its own idiosyncratic terms, proving as much or more of a headphone masterpiece than straight dancefloor burner. Throughout the album, Boreta, Ma, and Mayer artfully craft new, futuristic sounds that take influence from numerous genres, but land in none. For one, there are the Kodo-like drums, skittering percussion, and disembodied voices evoking Fever Ray and Sigur Ros that haunt songs like "Dream Within A Dream" and "Bad Wings." Elsewhere, songs like "We Swarm" funk into the unknown with string bass runs, live snares and undulating sunrise synths before unleashing an all-out rhythmic attack; alternately, ""How To Be Eaten By A Woman" finds buzzing, ominous guitars doing battle with staccato keyboard melodies. The album's sole full vocal track, meanwhile features the singer Swan, who recently appeared on Eskmo and Eprom's recently released split single on Warp; however, in keeping with Drink The Sea's vanguard spirit, The Glitch Mob aggressively manipulates Swan's dreamlike tones to become another instrument, another texture in the album's constantly shifting, prismatic palette.

Then again, flipping the script comes as no surprise for the group XLR8R praises for "a willingness to take risks and a fierce determination to steer clear of classification... [The Glitch Mob is] tearing up dancefloors and confusing the hell out of anyone trying to put a label on their music." This approach is part and parcel of the vital West Coast electronic music community The Glitch Mob hails from. "I felt this incredible sense of momentum building on the West Coast much in the same way as I had in 2006 in South London with the dubstep scene," Mary Anne Hobbs told the Little White Earbuds blog. "I could feel there was a tangible energy." According to Boreta, Drink The Sea certainly reflects the pioneering, individualist spirit of their home base. "The great thing about the scene we came out of was that it defies labels," he says.

"There's no one single sound that unites our peers-it's not a 'scene' defined by genre. Instead, what unites the artists is an interest in shattering categories and pigeonholes. Everyone around us from the West Coast-Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Eprom-has their own distinctive sound. We all seem to want to break boundaries, but everybody has their own lane, which is what makes it so exciting." Boreta, Ma, and Mayer came together in this crucible around 2006, passing through various members until settling on this core trio. Together, they combined their different skills and aesthetics into a compellingly fractured whole; accordingly, each member still has his own vital solo career. Ma had been a prominent DJ on the local drum-and-bass scene while working with underground hip-hop/electronic legends like Dilla, Dabrye, Anticon's Sole, Living Legends' Grouch, and more; in 2006, Urb even named Ma one of their "Next 100" artists to watch due to two groundbreaking solo albums (under the name edIT), 2004's Crying Over Pros for No Reason (Planet Mu) and 2007's Certified Air Raid Material (Alpha Pup). Mayer, meanwhile, brings a Dirty South influence to the party, having started his career growing up in Louisiana as a hip-hop battle DJ immersed in bounce and crunk before spinning on New Orleans' notorious rave scene; outside of The Glitch Mob, Mayer also releases music as Of Porcelain, and is one half of Pantyraid, who released their renegade, speaker-shredding full-length debut The Sauce in 2009 on Adam Freeland's esteemed Marine Parade label. Boreta, meanwhile, started in music as a neurosis obsessive, hanging around Northern California's hardcore scene before studying experimental music technology and immersing himself in San Francisco's IDM community; outside of The Glitch Mob, Boreta can be heard on solo recordings, as well as with Slidecamp and Nasty Ways, his collaboration with Eprom whose remix of "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne topped XLR8R's 2008 MP3 chart. The Glitch Mob ultimately proves the sum of the diverse points of view and musical backgrounds of each member. "That we each bring something different to the table is what makes The Glitch Mob crucial for us," Ma explains. "It's the middle ground where we all meet that proves explosive and surprising."

Drink The Sea, meanwhile, remains a key piece of the puzzle, but not the only one: the group's live show is where The Glitch Mob experience truly comes together. "A super-group live show that would make Daft Punk proud. (They can count Bjork as a fan, who was spotted at one of their recent shows at The Roxy in Los Angeles)," 944 Magazine noted. One of the hardest-touring bands working today in electronic music, The Glitch Mob has drawn sell-out crowds whether on headlining jaunts in key U.S. cities or high-profile support slots for the likes of Prodigy and Pendulum (with whom they recently completed an extensive U.K. tour). On the upcoming nationwide tour, The Glitch Mob will be fusing the new material with extensive, never-before-experienced musical and visual production that pushes technology, sound and performance to new levels. "We've always wanted our live show to be as interactive and intense as possible-more of a band experience than dudes just hiding behind their laptops," Boreta says. "Either on stage or on record, what we do has to be totally immersive, and this new show really is. If you can't lose yourself in every aspect of it, it's not The Glitch Mob."
Selling out major venues from coast to coast simply by word of mouth, The Glitch Mob has become a festival favorite, rocking crowds from Lollapalooza to Red Rocks to upcoming key slots at Coachella and Ultra with their visceral, innovative performances. "Pairing the richness and headiness of the best dance music with the head-nodding backbeats of hip-hop, they only aim to move you, and they by and large succeed," raved the Los Angeles Times. And this spring, the L.A.-based trio embarks on their first full nationwide tour in support of The Glitch Mob's debut album release Drink the Sea, due May 25 on the band's own Glass Air label. Drink The Sea represents The Glitch Mob's transformation up from the underground into a more widescreen vision: from the cryptic cover art (courtesy Sonny Kay, famed for his work with Mars Volta) to the kaleidoscopic dimension of the music inside, Drink The Sea evokes a voyage into the unexpected-including sonic waters previously unexplored by the band itself.

Then again, The Glitch Mob "sound" has always been a continually mutating concept, always pushing new boundaries as the group evolves. Drink The Sea arrives after years of intermittent yet acclaimed releases-spanning widely passed-around Internet mixtapes like the infamous Crush Mode ("Grab the Crush Mode mixtape. One of the first things to really get my blood going," raved New Yorker critic Sasha Frere-Jones) to triumphant official remixes for TV On The Radio, Ed Banger's Krazy Baldhead and Evil Nine featuring El-P. As such, The Glitch Mob and its members even held the top two spots on XLR8R's "50 Best MP3s of 2008" over the likes of Hercules and Love Affair and the Kills, and their tracks have enjoyed heavy rotation on Mary Anne Hobbs' taste-making BBC Radio 1 show. Drink The Sea represents a musical sea change for the band, however, combining the thundering percussive power of their live show with the relentlessly experimental ambition of the group's core producer/instrumentalists Justin Boreta, Ed Ma, and Josh Mayer. "It;s definitely not just a collection of random club bangers," Mayer explains. "We made this album with very little, if almost none, of our traditional studio production tricks," Ma adds. "We wanted it to sound like us, but without gimmicks-no glitches, crazy edits or bizarre effects. There aren't even any samples-all the sounds were created by us making them." "Admittedly, there's now a cognitive dissonance with our name," Boreta adds. "Our modus operandi has stayed the same, though: however the songs are made, we've always just wanted to fragment music in a fresh way, to make sounds no one's heard before."

Indeed, Drink The Sea is closer to an atmospheric soundscape journey like Dark Side Of The Moon-if only that Pink Floyd classic was as furiously rhythmic. While Drink The Sea attains power and heaviness, it does so on its own idiosyncratic terms, proving as much or more of a headphone masterpiece than straight dancefloor burner. Throughout the album, Boreta, Ma, and Mayer artfully craft new, futuristic sounds that take influence from numerous genres, but land in none. For one, there are the Kodo-like drums, skittering percussion, and disembodied voices evoking Fever Ray and Sigur Ros that haunt songs like "Dream Within A Dream" and "Bad Wings." Elsewhere, songs like "We Swarm" funk into the unknown with string bass runs, live snares and undulating sunrise synths before unleashing an all-out rhythmic attack; alternately, ""How To Be Eaten By A Woman" finds buzzing, ominous guitars doing battle with staccato keyboard melodies. The album's sole full vocal track, meanwhile features the singer Swan, who recently appeared on Eskmo and Eprom's recently released split single on Warp; however, in keeping with Drink The Sea's vanguard spirit, The Glitch Mob aggressively manipulates Swan's dreamlike tones to become another instrument, another texture in the album's constantly shifting, prismatic palette.

Then again, flipping the script comes as no surprise for the group XLR8R praises for "a willingness to take risks and a fierce determination to steer clear of classification... [The Glitch Mob is] tearing up dancefloors and confusing the hell out of anyone trying to put a label on their music." This approach is part and parcel of the vital West Coast electronic music community The Glitch Mob hails from. "I felt this incredible sense of momentum building on the West Coast much in the same way as I had in 2006 in South London with the dubstep scene," Mary Anne Hobbs told the Little White Earbuds blog. "I could feel there was a tangible energy." According to Boreta, Drink The Sea certainly reflects the pioneering, individualist spirit of their home base. "The great thing about the scene we came out of was that it defies labels," he says.

"There's no one single sound that unites our peers-it's not a 'scene' defined by genre. Instead, what unites the artists is an interest in shattering categories and pigeonholes. Everyone around us from the West Coast-Flying Lotus, Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Eprom-has their own distinctive sound. We all seem to want to break boundaries, but everybody has their own lane, which is what makes it so exciting." Boreta, Ma, and Mayer came together in this crucible around 2006, passing through various members until settling on this core trio. Together, they combined their different skills and aesthetics into a compellingly fractured whole; accordingly, each member still has his own vital solo career. Ma had been a prominent DJ on the local drum-and-bass scene while working with underground hip-hop/electronic legends like Dilla, Dabrye, Anticon's Sole, Living Legends' Grouch, and more; in 2006, Urb even named Ma one of their "Next 100" artists to watch due to two groundbreaking solo albums (under the name edIT), 2004's Crying Over Pros for No Reason (Planet Mu) and 2007's Certified Air Raid Material (Alpha Pup). Mayer, meanwhile, brings a Dirty South influence to the party, having started his career growing up in Louisiana as a hip-hop battle DJ immersed in bounce and crunk before spinning on New Orleans' notorious rave scene; outside of The Glitch Mob, Mayer also releases music as Of Porcelain, and is one half of Pantyraid, who released their renegade, speaker-shredding full-length debut The Sauce in 2009 on Adam Freeland's esteemed Marine Parade label. Boreta, meanwhile, started in music as a neurosis obsessive, hanging around Northern California's hardcore scene before studying experimental music technology and immersing himself in San Francisco's IDM community; outside of The Glitch Mob, Boreta can be heard on solo recordings, as well as with Slidecamp and Nasty Ways, his collaboration with Eprom whose remix of "Lollipop" by Lil Wayne topped XLR8R's 2008 MP3 chart. The Glitch Mob ultimately proves the sum of the diverse points of view and musical backgrounds of each member. "That we each bring something different to the table is what makes The Glitch Mob crucial for us," Ma explains. "It's the middle ground where we all meet that proves explosive and surprising."

Drink The Sea, meanwhile, remains a key piece of the puzzle, but not the only one: the group's live show is where The Glitch Mob experience truly comes together. "A super-group live show that would make Daft Punk proud. (They can count Bjork as a fan, who was spotted at one of their recent shows at The Roxy in Los Angeles)," 944 Magazine noted. One of the hardest-touring bands working today in electronic music, The Glitch Mob has drawn sell-out crowds whether on headlining jaunts in key U.S. cities or high-profile support slots for the likes of Prodigy and Pendulum (with whom they recently completed an extensive U.K. tour). On the upcoming nationwide tour, The Glitch Mob will be fusing the new material with extensive, never-before-experienced musical and visual production that pushes technology, sound and performance to new levels. "We've always wanted our live show to be as interactive and intense as possible-more of a band experience than dudes just hiding behind their laptops," Boreta says. "Either on stage or on record, what we do has to be totally immersive, and this new show really is. If you can't lose yourself in every aspect of it, it's not The Glitch Mob."
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The Warfield 6 Upcoming Events
982 Market Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

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