Big thanks to the Mountain XPress & all of you who voted us into the top electronic bands again this year … love!
Big thanks to the Mountain XPress & all of you who voted us into the top electronic bands again this year … love!
On The Prowl
With an acclaimed MoogFest set under their belt and with a new album in stores, Paper Tiger is at the forefront of the Asheville scene.
By Fred Mills
Sweet dreams are made of this: from the opening seconds of Me Have Fun (a sample—vinyl-sourced, natch—of regal horns, followed shortly by a slinky, downtempo bass/percussion throb), the listener can’t help but sense he or she is in for something special. Indeed, as the next 50-odd minutes unfold you’re transported into a hazy-yet-glistening universe of blissed-out beats and dense, trip-hop textures; of sensual keyboard lines and deft deployment of head-turning samples; and most important, of riveting, deeply soulful female vocals that are simultaneously seductive and vulnerable. Meet Paper Tiger: singer Molly Kummerle and beatmaster Isaac Gottfried, who are helping to transform Asheville’s electronic/dance milieu into something akin to the vaunted Bristol, UK, scene that gave the world Massive Attack and Portishead.
“We are definitely of those bands, and honored,” says Kummerle, also of local jazz/soul outfit RubySlippers, when asked if the Bristol comment holds water. (Reviewers have often compared her vocals to Beth Gibbons of Portishead.) “Some of my favorite music comes from the European electronic scene, and we also have a great love of old school hip-hop mixed in with Motown.” Adds Gottfried, aka deejay Mingle, “There’s no escaping the fact that our collective tastes from the past have melded into our current style. That being said, I also hope we can be seen as something a little different, and I think this will become more evident as Paper Tiger moves forward.”
No question there. Formally together for about a year and a half—Kummerle and Gottfried met in 2002, and first collaborated on a cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees”; they later tested the live waters as simply RubySlippers/Mingle—Paper Tiger’s trajectory tilted skyward several notches last fall when the band performed at the three-day MoogFest in Asheville, putting them in front of an international audience. Glowing reviews for Me Have Fun have furthered the momentum, and plans are in place for a new video and an EP of remixes while they work on material for the next album.
There’s also to be an uptick in concert appearances, including a set at this summer’s Bele Chere festival, although intriguingly, Gottfried will be dialing back his live activity to concentrate on the production side. Drummer David Mathes, from Sonmi Suite, has already been working with the band, so he and Kummerle will form the core touring version of Paper Tiger, with selected other players sitting in when possible. Explains Gottfried, of his decision to remain in the studio, “It can be difficult to decide how your music is going to be played live, simply because of the sheer number of ways it can be done. Molly and David have been tweaking the live show to allow for sounds to be triggered and played by the both of them.”
Both musicians are quick to point out that there’s an exciting creative vibe surrounding Asheville these days, and that MoogFest in particular raised the bar not only for them but for the local music scene as well. And for her part, Kummerle can’t wait to showcase Paper Tiger in front of new faces. “We want to challenge our own art and not get too comfortable,” she says. “And I’m also a live performer, so there is a huge opportunity to be able to present your music and connect with a live audience to share in that energy created.”
Asheville electronica duo Paper Tiger plugs in for Orange Peel show
January 14, 2011
By Amy Jones – Asheville Citizen Times
Riding the wave of momentum from its jam-packed MoogFest performance, local electronica act Paper Tiger releases its new disc among friends Saturday night at The Orange Peel.
Combining the release of the album “Me Have Fun” with additional performances from Dep, Sonmi Suite and The Nova Echo, the voice of Paper Tiger, Molly Kummerle, hopes this big night of music will spotlight the immense talent for locally made electronica.
“I only thought this was possible in a perfect world,” said Kummerle. “And then it just all came together. … The other bands were in, and this turned into a much bigger night.”
“I felt a huge amount of community support — so much love on a personal and professional level after MoogFest,” said Kummerle. “I mean, to be one of only five local bands on the bill with some of our heroes like Massive Attack and Thievery Corporation. It just made me want to raise the bar again for Paper Tiger.”
No stranger to the local music scene, Kummerle built a strong following with her jazzy ensemble Ruby Slippers before creating Paper Tiger with DJ Isaac Gottfried.
“By making the distinction between the two bands, really focusing on the sound of Paper Tiger, I can better serve Ruby Slippers, too,” said Kummerle.
This new disc took more than two years to finally come together, but the result — including the packaging — has been a lesson in letting go and letting others in.
“I was rushing at first to finish, and then it seemed like when it happens, we will be the band we are supposed to be,” Kummerle said. “
Paper Tiger takes the stage with a full live band, including Dave Mathes on drums, Franklin Keel on cello, Chuck Lichtenberger on melodica and live visuals by Ben Mason of neb.cinema.
IF YOU GO
Who: Paper Tiger with The Nova Echo, Sonmi Suite & Dep.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
Where: The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave.
Human meets machine
Paper Tiger debuts Me Have Fun with local electronic showcase
by Dane Smith – Mountain XPress
There is a place where the seemingly contradictory worlds of jazz and electronica collide. It’s a place where multi-instrumentalists meet DJs to blur the line between lounge, pop and trance. And in Asheville, Paper Tiger is your guide to such a place.
More than seven years ago, vocalist Molly Kummerle (Ruby Slippers) and DJ/producer Isaac Gottfried (MINGLE) began collaborating in their spare time. Now, having fully dedicated their creative efforts to the project, the duo is poised to release its debut LP, Me Have Fun, and for fans of seductive, electro-lounge, it is well worth the wait.
The album’s sultry opening track sets the tone for nearly an hour of slinky vocals, crunchy drums and ethereal backdrops that play on each of the duo’s respective strengths. But this project is more than a sum of its parts. Paper Tiger is creating a musical landscape all its own, and it’s a strange and inviting place.
For the most part, Me Have Fun is devoid of hooks, relying instead on infectious grooves and catchy melodies to draw listeners into the dark, smoky moods that dominate the record. It’s an eclectic mix of warm keys, funky bass and crackly samples, intermingled with such subtlety that distinguishing where the human ends and machine begins is nearly impossible.
“That was one of the things I loved about Isaac when we started working together,” says Kummerle. “It’s chill, and he’ll phrase something really weird and then put an effect on it that will make it be like, ‘Oh, that’s electronic.’ But since he uses a lot of vinyl, it has a really organic feeling. So it’s funky but it’s still … I mean, I love records. I grew up listening to records. There’s nothing like that sound. We definitely wanted to keep that.”
The band sent the recording all the way to Europe to ensure that warm, vintage feel was preserved, enlisting Shawn Joseph (King Britt, Massive Attack) to put the finishing touches on Me Have Fun. After all, Kummerle points out, it had been nearly three years in the making and the band was determined “to retain the integrity of what [it] was looking for.”
In addition, she says, Paper Tiger aimed to create a full listening experience, rather than a series of singles to play on shuffle. But in the age of digital downloads, “You have to approach people with the type of music that they want to buy, in the format that they want to buy.” So she and Gottfried compromised, tracking separate musical interludes for a seamless collection that also lends itself to radio and allows fans to pick and choose if they wish.
“I like to listen to the progression that the band went through from the beginning to the end,” she says. “I want to know what order they put the songs in. I really like to feel the process that the band has gone through. And so we definitely wanted to do that. But we also didn’t want to shoot ourselves in the feet. That’s why we broke it up.”
When it came time to design the artwork, Kummerle admits that they “knew just enough to really drive one graphic designer completely nuts.” So the band staged a contest through Creative Allies — Kummerle works by day as Marketing Coordinator at sister company Music Allies — and received an overwhelming response, eventually choosing a majestic tiger stooped upon orange clouds for the cover image.
“We knew that we would know it when we saw it,” she recalls, noting that the winning submission “was actually the first design that came in.”
To mark the album’s release, Paper Tiger will perform alongside several of Asheville’s fellow genre-bending acts at the Orange Peel’s local electronic showcase on Saturday. Strangely, Kummerle says the gig has been in the planning stages since early November and the fact that it coincides with the album release was pure luck.
“These are bands that I would want at my album release party anyway, if it was all my party,” she says. “So it worked out perfectly. It gave us the venue, and it gave me help in billing it out. It’s just really good timing.” To round out the lineup for the release, the band is enlisting the help of some friends, including Chuck Lichtenberger, who played keys on much of the recording, Dave Mathes, the band’s new drummer and cellist Franklin Keel. In addition, videographer Ben Mason will be on hand to “set the ambiance and mood.”
So come Have Fun with Paper Tiger. They really want to play for you.
“This project is so close to my heart that when people really get it and really want to hear it, it’s like, ‘Oh god, I really want to share it with you!” Kummerle says with unmistakable sincerity. “We really want to come play!”
— Dane Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
who: Paper Tiger, with The Nova Echo, Sonmi Suite and Dep
what: Local showcase
where: The Orange Peel
when: Saturday, Jan. 15 (9 p.m. $5. theorangepeel.net)
SIDEBAR FOR DANE’S PAPER TIGER STORY
Along with Paper Tiger, the Orange Peel’s local showcase this month features three more buzz-worthy electronic acts:
The Nova Echo
Energetic, boisterous, pop-savvy, futuristic, young, going places. Before they were well-known in Asheville, the electro-pop band made a name for itself at vampire conventions. In fact, ConventionFansBlog.com says that for the March, 2011 EyeCon The Vampire Diaries, “The first musical guest to be announced is The Nova Echo.” The group (Caleb Hanks, Evan Bradford, Will Arledge, Matt Hixon, Lee Brooks and Jeremy London) recently released its sophomore album, Voyager, which can be downloaded for free or donation at thenovaecho.net.
Experimental, atmospheric, driving, practiced, complex, impeccable. Sonmi Suite (David Mathes, Mike McBride and Robert Garmhausen) has one of the coolest-ever websites on which all of the features (music, photos, blog) are included along with motor assembly, oxygen tanks and ventilation garments on two fully diagrammed astronauts. Hard to top this self-description: “Through their synonymous awareness of harmony, texture, meter, (a)symmetry and the analogous relationship of predictability and unpredictability, they were immediately able to create music that smeared multiple genres together, creating a gyroscope of emotions throughout their sets.” More at sonmisuite.com.
Prolific, proficient, innovative, introspective, timeless, cinematic. Dep is the recording name of producer/one-man-band Danny Peck. His compositions are “a blend of techniques involving digital/analogue sounds, field recordings, circuit bending and basic sequencing all wrapped up in to melodic explorations in electronica,” but the compelling beauty of his work shares as much, aesthetically, with harpsichords and violins as with synthesizers and Moogerfoogers. Check out Dep’s most recent release, My Quiet Life, and his other free, downloadable tracks, at dep.fm.
— Alli Marshall
Pollinate Asheville gives Asheville Electronics / Local CD Release show a shout out … HERE
Big thanks to Bob Peck for putting this together!
On January 15, 2011, The Orange Peel hosts “Asheville Electronics,” a night of music celebrating four notable Asheville-area groups: Paper Tiger, Sonmi Suite, the Nova Echo, and dep. As one of the few locally-driven shows The Orange Peel holds each year, don’t miss the opportunity to take in some of the most innovative bands Asheville’s music scene has to offer. This show also acts as Paper Tiger’s local CD release. Doors open at 8:00 pm, music starts promptly at 8:30. The Orange Peel is located at 101 Biltmore Ave, downtown Asheville NC. Cover is $5.
Since re-defining themselves as Paper Tiger, the electronic trip-hop duo formerly known as RubySlippers & MINGLE has been well received by crowds at Trinumeral 2009, opened a sold out show with UK producer Bonobo and opened for producer Mark Farina. They have hit their stride in creating original lounge/trip hop, opening shows for the likes of King Britt, NOMO, and Brooklyn electronic musician Eliot Lipp. They were featured in POPAsheville 2008 & 2009 as well as LAAFF (the Lexington Avenue Arts and Fun Festival) 2008 & 2010, and showcased at the MOOG Foundation CD Release party at the Orange Peel. Their song Folded Laundry is featured on Lunch Video Magazine #16. In 2008, they won the electronic category in the Earth Day Asheville Contest, and this Halloween, they played Asheville’s first MoogFest. Their debut LP (Me Have Fun) is set for release January 18th, 2011, this show is their local CD release party. The live band also features Dave Mathes on drums, Franklin Keel on cello and live visuals by Ben Mason of neb.cinema.
The Nova Echo
The Nova Echo is an electronically driven space-age rock/pop band from Asheville. At its core, the music has infectious pop origins but combines powerful guitars, ethereal synths, and complex vocal harmonies to create a space age, post rock sound. The band is made up of six individuals, all with their own unique backgrounds in music and performance. Hanks and Bradford handle front-man and guitar/synth duties respectively, while Will Arledge (guitar), Matt Hixon (bass), Lee Brooks (keys), and Travis Moss (drums) complete the band’s lineup. Their five song EP, entitled “Voyager”, was released last August. Find out more athttp://thenovaecho.net/
Whether it’s recording samples in isolated tunnels, cutting up found sounds on an MPC, programming analog synths, or layering unorthodox guitar and drum sounds, Sonmi Suite creates sounds that are sure to open the imagination of any audience. The enigmatic band has entertained audiences at Trinumeral 2009, and shared other regional electronic festivals with artists such as Bonobo, Pnuma Trio, Glitch Mob, BlueTech, Two Fresh, and Emancipator. By performing indulgently rhythmic collages of sound with virtually no pre-sequence, their virtuosic performance of multiple sound layers creates a much sought-after human edge to the live electronic genre. Find out more athttp://sonmisuite.com/
Opening will be electronic music producer dep. dep is the one-man act of Danny Peck who blends field recordings and analogue gadgetry in to rich, multi-layered and textured tapestries of what he calls “melodic electronica.” On stage, he drives live keys, effect racks, loop stations, vocals, and other toys to produce his unique and compelling sound. This show is on the heels of dep’s last EP release “My Quiet Life,” released freely at http://dep.fm/ (along with the rest of his music).