photo credit: GLENN HALL PHOTOGRAPHY
Italy’s foremost dark-wave exponents, JoyCut, are undertaking their first major North American tour February through April 2014 in support of their third album, PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround. The album was recorded at offbeat locations in Bologna, New York and Berlin that included solar-powered studios, produced by Joycut and “Pillow Case.” PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround is released on Irma Records. I’m hoping you’ll consider covering them via feature, album review, live review or preview. Please let me know if you need the music.
On PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround JoyCut create mesmerizing, primarily instrumental music that’s experimental yet accessible. They interweave electronic, keyboard-driven melodies with percussion performed on found objects from the urban landscape into powerful, haunting sonic tapestries that are alternately biting and mellow. They rec’d a ton of critical adulation at home and the U.S. and U.K. media have also been very supportive and I’m including a sampling of their most recent U.S. coverage below. Here’s a video diary of their touring so far, starting in Brooklyn! Enjoy. Feel free to post!
You can usually count on SXSW to have a little something for everyone. For the goths and the shoegazers, they’ve invited Italian dark-wavers JoyCut to grace the stage with ghoulish-yet-playful post-punk that sounds eerily just like heaven. And since touring with American indie royalty like Modest Mouse and Sebadoh, it’s about time they caught on in the States. Suzy Exposito/MTVIggy.com 2/26
The name Pieces of Us Were Left on the Ground only tells part of the story.
It’s the title of the band Joycut’s new album, and references all the travel the group has done: from their native Bologna, Italy to treks across Europe and a few special shows in the U.S, and all the sounds and songs they recorded in bits and pieces along the way.
But there’s more to the album: all of what the band what the band picked up along the way, too.
This month, Joycut is coming to America for their first full tour.
They’ll be supporting the record, their third full-length release.
It’s perhaps the most fully-realized rendering of their post-rock, dark-wave sound – think music like early Cure Records or the Cocteau Twins, only with ambient electronica beats and few, if any, lyrics.
Pieces was recorded in various studios in as the band captured ideas while on the road.
When the time came to make a proper album, Joycut realized they had amassed a sonic journal of their travels.
“We have been traveling during these years without thinking about making a new album,” explained Pasquale Pezzillo via email. “So two years and a half passed by and we noticed we were collecting loads of sound experiences and self recordings throughout that period.”
Joycut wanted the album to reflect “how we experienced and expanded our mood in relation to the places we visited,” said Pezzillo.
They recorded as they went, in Bologna and Ruberia in Italy, Sarajevo and Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dusseldorf and Berlin in Germany, and finally New York.
“That was a very intense period. We were only interested in studying and investigating,” he said.
When they were done, they had a collection of songs that summed up what they discovered. Conceptually, explained Pezzillo, the fifteen songs “branch” into three subjects: journey and transition; events and destiny; memory and future.
And, on the eve of their first tour of North America, it’s easy to consider those ideas and how they led them to the U.S.
Joycut formed in 2001, an informal collection of musicians, for the most part, until they recorded a single in 2003 for the chance to play a local music festival in Bologna. The release and performance led to the opportunity to play in front of 30,000 people on the festival’s main stage.
Since then, the band has been moving forward steadily, putting out more than 13 releases including EPs, DVDs and full albums.
By chance, said Pezzillo, an American DJ found their music on the internet, and began playing it on his podcast.
“We felt like someone else from afar had the sensitivity to understand our voice,” he said. “So we started thinking about this the right time to come over seriously.”
The band came over for a few “test” shows in New York last October, and before that played at the famed SXSW music festival.
Now, Pezzillo said, they’re excited for their fisrt extended stay.
“Traveling is a metaphor for life,” he said. “So when one has the opportunity to share his point of you with another culture, what that gives back is priceless in terms of cultural and personal growth.”
Jack Firneno/Northeast Times 2/18
On their primarily instrumented third album, “PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround,” Italy’s JoyCut present a highly rhythmic sound that is at once experimental and completely accessible. Utilizing electronics and ‘found sounds’ as well as traditional instruments, Joycut create soundscapes that are unparalleled. The music is fairly dense, but still allows catchy melodies and driving percussive elements to make their way to the surface. Joycut are about to embark on their first major American tour, and in a fascinating email interview told us about their approach to music, commitment to promoting ecological awareness, and more.
Could you describe your creative process? In particular, I’m wondering to what degree sounds vs melodic ideas provide the initial spark that leads to a new song.
Analysis: At this stage everything goes, any creative cue is crucial, any sound is considered, even a noise coming from the street. There are not predetermined paths or a particular-specific methodology to follow. Getting lost is the primary interest, the name of the game. We need to turn back the clock, again and again if we want to hit the mark. No time, no space. Then, give up, let go, relax, breathe, diving in reality, going out, running or walking, cruising in the car at night. Once back with the tracks, we listen, listen and listen to the work we (left) suspended, pursuing the rhythmic code often hidden in the folds of those theme plots previously recorded. We like when rhythms come from phrases played by other instruments. In ” Wireless”, for instance, the main drumbeat replaces melody.
Synthesis: After determining this rhythm line we can start choosing the appropriate sound color in relation to our personal mood, simplifying, streamlining. Then, when we have the fabric of the sound on a string, we can start working on the harmonic composition. In this phase we are already writing music and a new song’s being born.
Does the writing and recording process tend to be the same thing, or do you generally have a least song frameworks worked out ‘live’ first?
It depends. Writing and recording were quite the same thing for this record. PiecesOfUsWereLeftOnTheGround was a dynamic streaming consciousness process. Every single idea was captured on a digital notebook or on a proper computer, ready to be edited in order to reach its final shape. We had been working for a few years without thinking about making a new album, even more so, we could not have imagined it would have been instrumental or conceptual. We were only interested in studying and investigating. The “live” side was essentially part of this procedure. At the end of the day we wrote an Album and we were already able to perform it.
There are a lot of interesting sounds on the new album, particularly in the percussion. Could you explain a bit about the instrumentation and sources of sounds used?
The majority of the ideas and many initial sparks came from rhythmic suggestions we have freely imagined through the soliloquy of thought. It was not that difficult to translate this theoretical creative system from concept to reality. We wanted to produce a deep contrast between electronics (virtual) and acoustics (real); we felt like narrating the discomfort of modern civilization. That’s why many percussion instruments used were sought from recycled material such as tubes, pipelines, cans of gasoline, steel objects or aluminum sheets, plus real drum floor toms, that were deep and warm. The industrial tribalism is a representation of the urban domain of our time. This beats the beats of our existence.
[read the entire interview here: http://www.chaoscontrol.com/joycut/]
Bob Gourley/ chaoscontrol.com 2/17
Based in Bologna, this quartet formed in 2001, taking their name from the conceptual conjunction between the Nick Drake song “Joey” and the Pink Floyd album The Final Cut.
Two years later Joycut released the first of a long series of EPs and compilation tracks leading up to the 2007 release of their debut album The Very Strange Tale of Mr. Man ; this was followed four years later by GhostTreesWhereToDisappear which was acclaimed by critics at home, as well as throughout Europe and England. Joycut quickly garnered loyal fanbases in Italy, the UK and most of Europe touring with acts including The Editors, Art Brut, Modest Mouse, Arcade Fire and Sebadoh.
Committed to promoting ecological awareness JoyCut’s releases include CDs and packaging made from recycled products, using 100% biodegradable shrink-wrap.
JOYCUT North American Tour
02.24 NEW YORK, NY, US – Mercury Lounge
02.25 PHILADELPHIA, PA, US – Johnny Brenda’s
02.26 BROOKLYN, NY, US – Glasslands
02.27 TRENTON, NJ, US – Mill Hill Basement
02.28 NEWARK, DE, US – Mojo Main
03.01 YORK (PA) US – The Depot
03.02 ASHEVILLE, NC, US – Emerald Lounge
03.03 ATHENS, GA, US – Caledonia
03.04 ATLANTA, GA, US – The Earl
03.05 PADUCAH, KY, US – Maiden Alley Cinema
03.06 NASHVILLE, TN, US – Rocketown 03.07 SAINT LOUIS (MO) US – The Demo
03.08 KANSAS CITY (MO) US – Record Bar
03.09 WICHITA (KS) US – Fisch Haus
03.11-14 AUSTIN, TX, US – SXSW
03.16 MARFA, TX, US – El Cosmico
03.19 SCOTTSDALE, AZ, US – Rogue Bar
03.20 LOS ANGELES, CA, US – Los Globos
03.21 SAN FRANCISCO, CA, US – Hotel Utah
03.22 BEND (OR) – The Astro Lounge
03.23 PORTLAND (OR) US – Alhambra Theatre Lounge
03.25 VANCOUVER (BC) CA – Electric Owl
03.26 SEATTLE (WA) US – LoFi
03.29 MINNEAPOLIS (MN) US – Turf Club
03.30 CHICAGO, IL, US – Subterranean
04.01 FERNDALE (MI) US – Magic Bag
04.02 TORONTO, ON, CA – Underground
04.03 MONTREAL QC CA- Divan Orange
04.05 WASHINGTON (DC) US – The Dunes
More dates to be announced
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