Music

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.

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
8
Music

The World of Captain Beefheart: An Interview with Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx

Gary Lucas and Nona Hendryx (photo © Michael DelSol courtesy of Howlin' Wuelf Media)

Guitarist and band leader Gary Lucas and veteran vocalist Nona Hendryx pay tribute to one of rock's originals in this interview with PopMatters.

From the opening bars of "Suction Prints", we knew we had entered The World of Captain Beefheart and that was exactly where we wanted to be. There it was, that unmistakable fast 'n bulbous sound, the sudden shifts of meter and tempo, the slithery and stinging slide guitar in tandem with propulsive bass, the polyrhythmic drumming giving the music a swing unlike any other rock band.

Keep reading... Show less

From Haircut 100 to his own modern pop stylings, Nick Heyward is loving this new phase of his career, experimenting with genre with the giddy glee of a true pop music nerd.

In 1982, Nick Heyward was a major star in the UK.

As the leader of pop sensations Haircut 100, he found himself loved by every teenage girl in the land. It's easy to see why, as Haircut 100 were a group of chaps so wholesome, they could have stepped from the pages of Lisa Simpson's "Non-Threatening Boys" magazine. They resembled a Benetton knitwear advert and played a type of quirky, pop-funk that propelled them into every transistor radio in Great Britain.

Keep reading... Show less

Acid house legends 808 State bring a psychedelic vibe to Berlin producer NHOAH's stunning track "Abstellgleis".

Berlin producer NHOAH's "Abstellgleis" is a lean and slinky song from his album West-Berlin in which he reduced his working instruments down to a modular synthesizer system with a few controllers and a computer. "Abstellgleis" works primarily with circular patterns that establish a trancey mood and gently grow and expand as the piece proceeds. It creates a great deal of movement and energy.

Keep reading... Show less

Beechwood offers up a breezy slice of sweet pop in "Heroin Honey" from the upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod.

At just under two minutes, Beechwood's "Heroin Honey" is a breezy slice of sweet pop that recalls the best moments of the Zombies and Beach Boys, adding elements of garage and light tinges of the psychedelic. The song is one of 10 (11 if you count a bonus CD cut) tracks on the group's upcoming album Songs From the Land of Nod out 26 January via Alive Natural Sound Records.

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

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

rating-image