David Bronson - "Task" (video) (Premiere)

Photo: John O'Boyle

As David Bronson prepares for his appearance at Joe's Pub in New York City, his song "Task" takes flight in a paper world created by Johannes Labusch.

Questions (2015) is the perfect title for David Bronson’s latest album. Throughout nearly a dozen songs, the New York-based singer-songwriter examines life in all its seasons, occasionally posing a direct question in the lyrics. “Does it give your heart a beating?”, he asks on “Task”. In the context of the song’s gripping musicality, the answer is a resounding yes. “Task” stands apart amidst Bronson’s thoroughly laudable set of original compositions. While no one mood overstays its welcome on Questions, “Task” brings a dose of acoustic funk to the mix. Producer Godfrey Diamond (Lou Reed, Etta James, Aerosmith) ensures a seamless blend among all the elements, making “Task” the album’s most essential track.

Bronson fronts a cadre of talented musicians on “Task”, including industry veterans like legendary guitarist Carlos Alomar (David Bowie, Mark Ronson), and renowned session vocalists Robin Clark (Simple Minds, CHIC) and Gordon Grody (Steely Dan, Carly Simon). Drummer Lautaro Burgos and bassist Robbie “Seahag” Mangano round out the personnel, with Diamond providing percussion and handclaps alongside Bronson, Clark, Alomar, and singer Lea Lorien. Together, they anchor “Task” with an impressive musical dynamism. Bronson and his band knew the track was exceptional even during the recording process. "From the perspective of the making of the record, I think those involved will always remember ‘Task’ as one of the definitive songs on the record,” he says. “It was the first one that Gordon Grody and the Alomars (Carlos Almoar, Robin Clark, Lea Lorien) came in for. The background arrangement that Gordon Grody came up with just floored us all, pure genius. It was a magic moment and everyone felt it. And it was also the first song on the record that Robin stepped out and did her immortal vocal improvs on. The whole thing was pure chills. That session was pivotal, without a doubt; it moved us much closer to the ultimate, distinct sound of the album."

Since the release of Questions, Bronson has released a series of music videos for several tracks on the album. Each song is illustrated by a unique visual concept. Whereas “Song of Life” incorporated photographer Ben Goldstein’s portrait sessions, “Task” is brought to life by acclaimed illustrator Johannes Labusch. “It couldn’t have come about more naturally,” Bronson notes about the collaboration. “Johannes is an artist/illustrator and a musician -- we jam around together sometimes -- and the idea came up for him to try his hand at making something. He had this idea to create a paper world, and I loved it. So basically, I went on tour, came back, and he had made this entire beautiful world. He had me come over, put on those white glasses for the one shot, and it was done. I was amazed. I think he managed to create a thing of real beauty and originality.”

Indeed, Labusch has fashioned a world distinguished by captivating imagery that cleverly renders Bronson’s lyrics. "When Dave asked me to come up with a look and concept for the ‘Task’ video, I immediately made a connection between the meaning of the lyrics and my own ‘task at hand,’” Labusch explains. “I decided to play around with a look that retains the idea of sketching, of trying stuff out, of being playful and conceptual. To me, white paper is the ultimate tool and symbol for shaping ideas, be it musical or graphic or even abstract. It always seems to start with the white, empty page, so why not make the empty page the star? An avalanche of ideas started coming right away, it was the ultimate lucky accident, and I feel like we’ve still only scratched the surface." Every frame of the “Task” video makes an indelible impression. In Labusch, Bronson has once again found a collaborator who’s translated his words and music into an unforgettable visual statement.

A musician who’s also well-versed in filmmaking, Bronson will premiere a short film at Joe’s Pub in New York on 6 July 2015 as part of Questions: An Evening with David Bronson. The film documents the making of Questions and will be followed by a live set featuring Bronson and his band. If the video for “Task” is any indication, a feast for both the ears and eyes awaits Bronson’s audience.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.