Interview: Black Violin Returns to SXSW

 

Black Violin – “Virtuoso”: SXSW Music 2013 from SXSW on Vimeo.

When Wil B and Kev Marcus of Black Violin hit the stage, it’s an unusual sight in the contemporary music scene that demands attention. The classically trained violinists appear more Biggie than Beethoven as they blend their skills with hip-hop, R&B, and pop music. Last year’s appearance at SXSW, including opening for Dave Grohl’s keynote speech as seen above, caught the industry’s attention, and now they return once again with violins and bows in hand (full schedule below).

Giant Step caught up with Wil B before their trip to Austin.

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Hiatus Kaiyote Rocks Sold Out NYC Debut

 

For a band that formed in 2011 and released their first album less than a year ago, Hiatus Kaiyote has enjoyed a whirlwind of accomplishments in a remarkably short period of time: a backstage serenade of their own song “Nakamarra” by Erykah Badu at SXSW; a long and forceful reiteration of support from ?uestlove at his party at Brooklyn Bowl; a sold-out show at their debut performance in New York City.

Hiatus Kaiyote, comprised of Nai Palm, Simon Mavin, Perrin Moss and Paul Bender, is also a perfect example of the limited utility of the “genre” in characterizing an album’s sound or capturing its integrity. But nonetheless, the sources of inspiration for their music are unmistakable. “Atari” takes cues from Flying Lotus’s fractal spidering of digital sounds. The keyboard section on “Jekyll” draws inspiration from Fela Kuti and afrobeat. The woozy space sounds of “Shaolin Monk Motherfunk” are reminiscent of Erykah Badu’s latest album, New Amerykah Part 2. And Nai Palm herself sounds like a blend of Lauryn Hill and Amy Winehouse.

Their inaugural performance at LPR was also remarkable for the depth and loyalty of the fan base they’ve already amassed. Here’s what some fans had to say of last night’s show:

Naikhoba Munabi: “The power of the performance was in the immersive experience. It felt like performance art. Each song individually carries its own weight, but the concert felt like a complete feast as opposed to just one ingredient or one meal. Also, sonically, their tones are extremely well refined so that no one artist is the star of the band. All four of them complimented each other so well and fit together seamlessly. When you listen to their music, it consumes you; I felt like I was a part of it.”

Read the rest after the jump

New Track: Gary Clark Jr. – “Numb”

 

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This guy is so damn cool. First time we saw him was at SXSW 2012 when he buzzed about with his eleventy-billion showcases, murderating stage after stage. Hailed by the press as the second coming of Jimi Hendrix after wowing crowds for the last couple years going hard on the festival circuit, Gary Clark Jr. is that dude.

The newest single from his upcoming album, Blak and Blu, comes in the form of a distorted, gritty wonderland called “Numb” and carries a vocal style reminding us a bit of Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys fame. No going wrong with that, either.

The first single, “Ain’t Messin ‘Round,” was released in September and has a crispier, poppier, high energy vibe. The man boasts variety – go ‘head, boo.

Look for Blak and Blu on October 22, and in the meantime take a peek at Gary’s fashion spread in the August/September issue of Vibe, which happens to be shot by our editor, Seher Sikandar. Pretty rad!

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Purchase “Numb” on iTunes

Pre-Order Blak and Blu on iTunes

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