The future never came. The year 2000 arrived, a new millennium was born, and yet we were not greeted with hover-boards. Our computers did not sprout legs and profess to love us. Enter Chrome Canyon. If we can indeed recover yesterday’s fantasy of what tomorrow would (should) be, then Chrome Canyon is the temporal technician for the job. The solo project of New York artist Morgan Z, Chrome Canyon creates analog synth-powered epics that move between eras past and ages imagined to create the perfect score for an alternate now.
Morgan’s formative music memories were beamed in through the living room TV set — Vangelis’ Blade Runner score, Wendy Carlos via Tron, Giorgio Moroder’s work on Cat People. He spent his youth on the outskirts of southern California’s San Fernando Valley. His folks had him on piano by 6. At 16, he moved into that same living room and gave his bedroom over to housing his collected gear.
Somewhere between the avant-garde compositions he wrote while studying jazz at NYC’s New School, a college job selling keyboards at Sam Ash in Times Square, and the satirical sex-funk band he founded on the side, his destiny was taking shape. For three years, Morgan played in the glammy electro outfit Apes & Androids, but when that ended, he retreated to his private Brooklyn studio where he began to amass analog synthesizers at an obsessive rate.
Then the remixes began pouring forth. Phoenix, Passion Pit, and a commissioned remix for Foster the People — their hits reemerging with a healthy dusting of metallic sheen, glowing neon pink and alarm clock green. Then came deranged disco edits of soul-jazz master George Benson and synthpop pioneers Yellow Magic Orchestra, Chrome Canyon’s profile growing as Morgan further blurred past, present and future.
Now, Stones Throw is set to release Chrome Canyon’s debut album, Elemental Themes. The inaugural set is blessed with solid circuitry and an organic core: not only those analog synths, but live drums, bass, guitar and Theremin run through hand-built compressors, composed and arranged into a living, breathing whole. Elemental Themes was one of the last works mastered by Nilesh Patel, the engineer behind classic albums by the likes of Air, Bjork, and Daft Punk. The end result is something wondrously both in and out of time, and a cinematic experience without the cinema.
AVAN LAVA (DJ)
AVAN LAVA began as a conversation between Producers/Musicians Le Chev and Ian Pai during an overnight bus ride after performing at the Sao Paulo Bienal with Fischerspooner, a band with which both still work and perform. That night in the fall of 2008, en route to Rio de Janeiro, Le Chev and Ian shared their love of Prince, Daft Punk, electronic beats, R & B, and Indie music and contemplated how those things could all be melded into one sound, one band. A few months later, back in NYC, while at a reading of “The Last Goodbye” (a musical adaptation of Romeo & Juliet set to the music of Jeff Buckley), they discovered vocalist Tom “TC” Hennes. They knew that they had found the perfect vocalist for their project the moment he sung the first words of "Corpus Christi Carol."
AVAN LAVA became official in early 2009, when Le Chev began working with TC while Ian went on tour with Fischerspooner (Drums/DJ/Performer) and Blue Man Group (Drums/Music Direction). In the following months Le Chev and TC completed AVAN LAVA’s first EP, “Vapors”, which was released on Faux Pyre Records in March 2010. The Village Voice wrote “AVAN LAVA is lush, sparkling,” and Big Stereo added “…at times chill, other times experimental and lush. And then there is this pop moment, “The Easy Way,” which leans on Prince a bit but is also deeply rooted in electronic sounds.” In 2011 they went back into the studio.
They self-released their sophomore EP titled “Flex Fantasy” on February 21 2012 which was produced and mixed by AVAN LAVA and mastered by Tom Coyne (Robyn, Beyonce, Jay-Z, D'Angelo) at Sterling Sound. Warren Fischer (Fischerspooner, Bunker) produced their first music video for “It’s Never Over,” which premiered as a feature on YouTube Music. They also released an official music video for their song “Sisters” which was shot on location in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It became an instant “Staff Pick” on Vimeo with over 120K views and counting. They have also worked as Producers, Composers and Mixers for recorded works and live performances with bands such as Cold Cave, Fischerspooner, Cat Power, CSS, Casey Spooner, Frankie Rose, SSION, Lemonade, Lia Ices, Matthew Barney and The New York Philharmonic. They have also made remixes for R.E.M., Passion Pit and New Villager among others. Warner Bros. released their most recent remix (made with Casey Spooner) of R.E.M.’s “Blue (with Patti Smith)” from R.E.M.’s final release “Collapse Into Now”, in early 2012. They also compose original music for world-renowned photographers Inez & Vinoodh, collaborating on fashion campaigns such as Nina Ricci, Mango, Donna Karan, Givenchy, Juicy Couture, Dior, Viktor & Rolf, and more.
Every show in 2012 was sold out. AVAN LAVA played Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Music Hall of Williamsburg, The Brooklyn Museum, DC9, The W Hotel Singapore Opening with Mark Ronson (they released a cover of Mark Ronson & Boy George’s “Somebody To Love Me”, which premiered on VIBE), and Club Deus in Bali, Indonesia. For live performances, they add vocalist, percussionist and theatrical technician Andrew Schneider (The Wooster Group, Fischerspooner) and musicians/vocalists/dancers Drew Citron and Jo Lampert. They are currently in the studio recording their debut full-length album slated to drop in 2013.