“Imagine a wizard with robes and a staff, like, eye to eye with an impala and it was frozen, tamed just for one moment, and then it was off again, wild and free.” Such is the experience when listening to the exploding guitar solo in Desire Be Desire Go, or the hypnotising groove in Skeleton Tiger by one of Australia’s foremost ‘psychedelic bands,’ Tame Impala.
“Tame Impala is kind of just the recording project that I’m the boss of. I’ve had it for many years, with different friends and musicians helping me out,” stated the ‘band’s’ main-man, Kevin Parker. As to how the project is structured, he best surmised it as being composed of “…two halves: one half is the recording side which is very calculated and pieced together, and the other side is the live side, where we take what’s been recorded and turn them into live songs,” and that’s where Parker calls his friends from other projects to play alongside him.
As a live band, Tame Impala transform the songs through improvisation and the addition of their own things instead of trying to replicate the studio sound. Parker initially hated the way in which a live setting altered the songs, stating “I was just basically wigged out about that transition.” Eventually, however, he came to terms with it and began to enjoy the live setting, “…embracing the qualities of both.”
2008 saw the release of Tame Impala‘s EP, believed by many to be called Antares Mira Sun due to the cover depicting the Orion nebula. As for the songs, the EP saw Tame Impala‘s first intentional release. In an interview, Parker stated that “…the EP was not in anyway recorded for an EP. The songs that were on the EP weren’t even recorded at the same time, they were done over a bunch of years.”
In 2010, Tame Impala released their first album, Innerspeaker, which was recorded in a house “…a few hours south of Perth in the middle of nowhere on the coast.” Despite the limitations in sound and ideas, the songs put you under a pleasantly languid vibe. Parker, however, beleivs the songs to be “… delirious, alone music.” Also inherent within the album is a kind of restraint, wherein most of the album only consists of pop songs. “I was definitely really possessive of it being the first album, I was so focused on it matching what was in my head, I didn’t want to experiment too much away from that vision,” explained Parker in regards to his fear of creative deviation.
After Innerspeaker‘s release, Parker found himself with more time on his hands to record for the second album, Lonerism. Demos were made in various locations in the world and Parker moved into an apartment France in 2011, recording most of the album there in “a reclusive bunker.” Parker also co-wrote with another musician, Jay Watson of Pond, on the song Apocalypse Dreams, an experience which Parker said “…was… whoa… a huge thing for me.” Suddenly, every song is bursting with color in their lavish layers of busy instrumentation, showing Parker creating an album that is “…quite different, it’s a bit more decadent. It’s a bit more sonically decadent… There’s less holding-back of temptations of various kinds. I love fucked-up sounds, and I love pop melodies, and its kind of a combination of the two.” However, Parker dismisses the lyrical aspect of Lonerism as creating “…quite a childish album, almost like a persona who turns into the one from Innerspeaker.”
As for the future of the ‘band’, “It’ll be less of a solo project in the future, cause Jay and I are writing songs together and cooperating.” A third album is currently anticipated for release between the end of this year and early 2016, revealed to be encompass a completely different field of music altogether.
Whatever direction Tame Impala paves for itself into the future, you can be sure that Parker and his future band members will continue to create vibrant, multi-dimensional music that pushes boundaries and exceeds expectations, for each release under Tame Impala has only become better and better.
Melody’s Echo Chamber hit the road with a touring band shortly after the completion of their debut album, a collaboration between Melody Prochet and Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker. Pablo Padovani was recruited as a guitarist in the band, and made a connection with Parker. His own five-piece band, Moodoid, then had their album mixed by Parker in early 2014, and saw the release of their debut, Le Monde MOO, in September.
Le Monde MOO (Translation: the world of MOO) is a Surreal odyssey through an immense richness and density of sound you would not have thought existed in the 21st century, an experience not deterred by French lyrics. Most impressive, however, is Moodoid‘s diverse musical palette. Jazz, progressive rock, rap and RnB are encompassed throughout the album without deteriorating the quality of each song. The brain behind the compositions incorporates these sounds and styles confidently, without overdoing himself or sounding arrogant.
With Padovani’s penchant for the unusual and oriental, Le Monde MOO contains a diversity of sounds and exotic instruments. In an interview with wordfrom, Padovani stated, “In the album, I worked with Gilles Andrieu, who plays saz (a stringed instrument from Turkey) and ud (a stringed instrument from North Africa). There’s also Didier Malherbe from the band Gong who came to play duduk, which is a flute made of wood from apricot tree that makes a totally great sound. To me, it’s a way to have soft and new textures.”
Le Monde MOO sweeps through quiet and unknown atmospheres, dreamy undulations to moments of rhythmic insistence heavily swathed in an 80s style. The listener is then plunged into the band’s signature sound of unraveling melodies and multiple stylistic changes within intensely colorful landscapes far removed from the ordinary world.
Of the concept of the album, Padovani stated, “The idea of the disc is a path, some kind of initiatory stroll, like in Voltaire’s Candide in which I am the malicious guide who will get the the listener lost… In this world, we can see mountains of whipped cream, plains of loukoums (Arabic pastry), etc… There is a lot of mystery in the lyrics and in the structure of the songs. Thus, I think the listener will make his own effort of imagination.”
Strongly prevalent from Moodoid‘s sound and video clip costumes is an oriental and Surrealist influence. “Surrealism has always been a major source of inspiration. For the strength of the images it provides, for the mystery and fantasy that also inspires me. The music that I write is often very crude and very instinctive. They come from the depths in that way some Surrealist poets I admire also wrote, automatically,” said Padovani.
In all, Moodoid‘s debut is a highly ambitious album that does not disappoint with its dense, multi-color sound and effortless amalgamation of styles. But, one has to ponder whether following albums will live up to the spontaneous creativity of this debut, or if the band will potentially fall apart…
The last time Melody’s Echo Chamber was heard of in the music scene was with the release of her psychedelic “dream album” in 2012, a collaboration with Tame Impala‘s Kevin Parker.
The Parisian singer-songwriter returned in October 2014 with the release of her new single, Shirim. Written and produced by herself, the song shows a sophisticated refinement to her sound and a stylistic change far from her kaleidoscopic soundscapes.
Beginning with an oriental clarinet and drum solo, reminiscent of Moodoid, the song spins off into groovy R’n’B tinged with rock and electronics. Prochet retains her dreamy vocals but sounds less shy in front of the microphone as she sings a chorus straight out of the 70s. Although the single is Prochet’s own work, the guitar chords bring to mind the simplistic and groovy Daffodils created by the Parker/Ronson collaboration last year.
Of the single, Prochet stated,
”Shirim’ is very symbolic for me and I hope you enjoy it. I am recording more music now and I will release my second album in 2015. My band and I are very excited to play live again soon!’
A surprising and original change for Prochet, her upcoming album due later this year is to be eagerly anticipated.
The debut album from Melody’s Echo Chamber is a trip into the sounds of the psychedelic atmosphere. This collection of pop songs paint a myriad of scenes, from glistening beaches and their rollicking waves in slow motion, to echoing, dream-like lucidity in the space of sugary melodies. Such sounds, however, could not have been conceived without “song guru” Kevin Parker from Tame Impala.
The two met in 2010 when Tame Impala were touring in France. After their show, Prochet approached Parker about how he achieved his sound. “… I was blown away by it, and wanted to know nerdy things like what pedals he was using…” Parker, however, did not reveal his secrets, but Prochet still managed to give him a demo CD. Three days later, Prochet and her then-band My Bee’s Garden were invited by Parker on a European leg of Impala‘s tour. A friendship ensued and the two worked together halfway around the world in Parker’s “glorious mess” of a home studio. Due to her self-consciousness, however, the vocals were recorded along the French riviera in the house of Prochet’s grandparents. Notwithstanding, Prochet tore away from her habitually “pretty and dreamy songs” and achieved her psychedelic “dream sound.”
The sugary I Follow You opens the album, followed by the electrically pulsing and exploding Crystallised. You Won’t Be Missing that Part of Me is drenched in a shimmering palette of bubbly sounds, warbles and lasers.
The first recordings for Some Time Alone, Alone were created in the week Parker left Prochet for touring. He had stuck post-its on the equipment so that she could use them properly. When she went to record in the studio, she found the notes mixed up by a Pond member who had used the room previously. Left to her confounded own devices, Prochet plugged a guitar into the preamp and began recording the guitar sections. Although “wrong technically,” the guitar sections were used anyway as they were “uniquely textured.”
Bisou Magique eschews in a darker side to the album, helped by the foreign lyrics. Prochet stated in an interview that she sings in French when she brings up something painful and doesn’t want others to understand. “It’s my secret. It’s so personal. Everyone’s got a dark side, eh? All your things you don’t even tell yourself, your flaws. It’s intriguing.”
The ‘rising’ guitars and bright cymbals of Endless Shore depict the immense brightness and space of a beach in the morning. The intriguing Quand Vas tu Rentrer? follows and takes the album into an obscure atmosphere, while the seemingly slowed-down tempo and lucid vocals of Mount Hopeless carve into a state of languidness.
“This one we played with, we put it through filters, backwards and it sounded cooler,” said Prochet of Is That What You Said. The duo were strained for time at this point, so Prochet recorded the original playing backwards and at a faster tempo.
Aside from depicting cannibalism in isolation mountains, Snowcapped Andes Crash is the heaviest psychedelic track on this album. The instrumental section brims over with fiery explosions that progress into spacey recurrences of backward guitar chords and warbling sounds.
The child-like Be Proud of Your Kids finishes the album. The young girl featured in it is named Zelda, whom Prochet used to babysit in France. In an interview, Prochet explained, “She was singing this really weird song she learnt at school which was the most vulgar thing. I had a really big laugh and asked her to do it again and I recorded her, and at the end she says this really funny thing: “I announce to you that the radio is over.”” And with that, the colourful odyssey ends.
The Prochet/Parker collaboration behind Melody’s Echo Chamber heralds pop songs drenched in an orchestra of psychedelic sounds that take you on a journey through glistening beaches to obscure scenes in foreign soundscapes.