Now that Italian shoegaze/post-punk trio Be Forest have released their long-awaited new album “Knocturne” through the Italian-American label collective We Were Never Being Boring (on February 8th), the band is ready to follow up on a prior announced tour to America in a few days – this Friday actually (March 8th). They’ll start at the New Colossus Festival in Brooklyn before spending four days at SXSW 2019 in Austin, TX (where they’ll be playing at some of the same showcases as fellow Italogaze artist Rev Rev Rev), before touring the rest of the country before apparently closing out back in Brooklyn. In between, they’ll also be at the Treefort Music Festival in Boise, ID. See the dates below for more details.
If you’re not familiar with Be Forest, my initial reaction to them was written on my Catching up with Italogaze write up from last year. I described it as “music that relies on the aesthetics of futuristic preservation”, which happened to be my impression of “Earthbeat” at the time. They are a three-piece band from Pesaro, Italy formed in 2010 consisting of: Costanza Delle Rose (bass, vocals), Erica Terenzi (drums, guitar, vocals) and Nicola Lampredi (drums, guitars). With prior releases (“Cold” and “Earthbeat”), they have oscillated from post punk to dreamy ethereal and shoegaze sprinkled with driven tribal vibes and longing melancholic verses. With their newest release “Knocturne”, Be Forest describes the new release as a response to the sentiments of today’s times of tyranny, sadness and confusion, an evocative album that retreats toward imaginative universes of infinite midnight feels. From the grand curtain rising of “Atto I” to the fantasia free-fall finale of “You, Nothing,” the trio takes the listener upward to solemn, celestial places of endless sky as well as plunging them into the abyss depths of infinitude that defy conventional adjectives and descriptions.
In addition, Be Forest enlisted Steve Scanu to assist with production and mixing duties and mastering came courtesy of Josh Bonati (Mac DeMarco, Zola Jesus, David Lynch).
And the reviews have lined up with positively. The Line of Best Fit calls it”…a pensive yet menacing slice of goth…” and “…gorgeous, ethereal and moody “Bengala” that has some serious Slowdive vibes.” – BrooklynVegan
The movement from the seemingly stable “Earthbeat” to the unknown darkness of “Knocturne” is not uncharted at all, as if the appreciation of our planet, what we have been lucky to experience, is feeling the long dark foreshadowing of what others have experienced all along. With the atmosphere emerging into coldness and the beats drumming primitively into darkness, a line is established crystal clear and it separates from nothingness and yet with “Knocturne” an impressive attempt is in display from crossing into the path of abyss where break down is imminent. The song ‘K’ and ‘Sigfrido” emphasizes this best, icy sounding guitars and life incentive patterns. If you want to further speculate on an artist based on their newest release, give Be Forest and especially this release a chance. In my mini review, i have this slightly obsessive theory to myself that this could be significant in hindsight, maybe moreso than the current climate of Italogaze but the reason is unclear.
Check out the video below. “Knocturne” is available for sale and on all music services.
Upcoming Be Forest Tour Dates
3/08 – New York, NY – Pianos (The New Colossus Festival)
3/09 – New York, NY – Coney Island Baby (The New Colossus Festival)
3/12 – Austin, TX – Barracuda (Part Time Punks SXSW Showcase)
3/13 – Austin, TX – The Velveeta Room (WWNBB SXSW Showcase)
3/14 – Austin, TX – The Catherine
3/16 – Austin, TX – (WWNBB’s 10th Anniversary Boat Party)
3/17 – St Louis, MO – Gaslight
3/18 – Milwaukee, WI – Cactus Club #
3/19 – Chicago, IL – The Empty Bottle #
3/20 – Minneapolis, MN – Kitty Kat Club
3/22 – Denver, CO – 7th Circle Music Collective
3/23 – Boise, ID – Treefort Music Fest
3/27 – Seattle, WA – Lo Fi Performance Gallery
3/29 – Oakland, CA – Starline Social Club
3/30 – San Diego, CA – Tower Bar
3/31 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echoplex
4/03 – Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere
Also Moogfest 2019 announced : scheduled for April 25th to April 28th, 2019 and update on ticket prices
Moogfest 2018 is now in the history books. It will immediately be remembered as the year the rain took over. A tropical disturbance formed in South Florida that was forecast to affect the Carolina’s in a big way and it wasn’t lost on downtown Durham. Waning thunderstorms aside, the rain was plentiful albeit intermittent throughout. Friday night felt the most affected to the point my opportunity to bounce to as many venues in one night was throttled.
First off, if you want to know what its all about, instead of explaining what Moogfest is, i suggest the The Five to look forward to at Moogfest 2018 to catch up. If that’s not enough there’s a couple of articles leading up to it.
Next this won’t be a review of the macro concept, collection of ideas, theories, blueprints and theories and the results of them all, nor the microcosmic details of what made Moogfest work and what didn’t and how one affected the other. I went because the line up looked impressive at least at the supportive or feature act level and yes i would count Chelsea Manning’s discussion as part of the line up too. Still I wanted to merge as many workshops, installments, discussions and movies as possible knowing my limitations -access, distance and time. I could argue those with an engineer pass would probably have an impossible time juggling a 9am to 2am schedule too. Speaking of engineer passes and day workshops, now is a good time to share some pictures from the day workshops mostly exclusive to engineer pass holders.
That said there’s good articles discussing Moogfest at that level though should you wish to partake.
Besides Moogfest is ubiquitous for better or worse. At one moment, a workshop is happening on one side of the festival and a 4 hour durational is happening at another. Performances are staggered at different times and venues. Some decide to settle at one place and others like myself move around because two performances of interest happened to be part of the staggering. The inclement weather didn’t help either. Also the common discussion i overheard relating Moogfest was that its a ritual involving little sleep. Unfortunately sleep won out despite the attempts and trust me, effort was made to experience more than what i was here for(chill related site) and what i personally anticipated….to transcend the landscape of the Moogfest itinerary. And to ease that, I was kinda thankful the top end of the performance line up wasn’t that eye opening or rare. It definitely wasn’t like 2016. KRS-One already toured Orlando twice this decade. Kelela has impressive write ups and reviews but perception wise doesnt match with where Grimes and Odesza was at that year. That said, that freed up opportunities to focus on the under card and admittedly even that was overwhelming. I understand Jon Hopkins and Mouse on Mars was part of the headline but that’s glorified in my view so i label them high under card – anything to prove my narrative. All jokes aside, definitely more impressive in my opinion than 2017. To use a cliche, its a good problem to have.
Although there was so much to anticipate and revel in, here’s my list of highlights.
Randhaus Stage – Thursday afternoon set from 4pm to 7pm
photo by Ryan Bell IG-Rybell9
photo by George Entenman IG-Zabouti
Miniluv photo by Dennis Szerszen IG-dszfoto
After publishing my Moogfest preview, I made sure to check out the Randhaus Stage to start off the festival and i wasn’t disappointed. The Parts and Labor’s old garage style made for a good set up for a spring festival and the Randhaus label lived up to its billing – although to be honest i wasn’t able to check out Nay Fong or any of the Randhaus roster afterwards. That said, it was a fun, brisk and hazy sample of ambient, soul and experimental vibes by the line up of Miniluv, ABZ, AXNT, Tony G, Kyōju and Gappa Mighty. During one set its haziness approached a standstill, with guitar riffs of Miniluv reflecting off the partially humid afternoon offset by some comforting breeze, evoking a Robin Guthrie/dream pop style that took me by surprise for a bit as i took a sip of the adult beverage to cool off. This was chill.
photo by Meg Cowan IG megcowan
The atmospheric chip tune samples of No Eyes continued the brisk and hazy theme of Thursday afternoon towards the evening. That said, some of the witch house and ambient influences faded out and thrusted into subdued drum n bass and overall happy beats. The insistence to dance was there and some of the audience had no issue in picking up on it. From the stage on Thursday to the classroom an otherwise slow but weather improved Sunday afternoon, his Introduction to Chiptune and Nanoloops was a class worth staying until the end regardless of the technical difficulties between the Super Nintendo and the overhead projector.
Emily Sprague and Pamelia Stickney at First Presbyterian Church
Pamelia Stickney photo by Stephanie Leathers IG-itsfeathers
As i stated in the preview, a highlight of Moogfest will always involve a performance at the First Presbyterian Church. Last year, Colleen’s performance at the church was arguably the best of the festival. Although Thursday evening’s line up was sparsely attended, it was an opportunity for the seekers of aural levitating bliss to satisfy their desire for the ambience and the atmospheric. It first started off with Emily Sprague’s liquidy and luscious synth loops under a sea of blue flooding the high end of cathedral. Pamelia Stickney went on next and would do the same, as the thereminist’s sounds would levitate in a sea of multi colors. While i missed the Tesseellatum appearance by Nadia Sirota and Liam Byrne of the Bedroom Community afterwards, it apparently would be the shape of things to come for their sleep concert later.
Author and Punisher
photo by Brian Livingstone -IG blivingst
photo by Brian Livingstone -IG blivingst
The doom industrial Author and Punisher was the first performance i viewed under the Spatial Sound/A3 set up at the Armory. Its a surround sound set up with 24 separate outputs meaning more splicing, more extraction of sounds and directing them to different outputs in the set up. Keep in mind, some of Moog’s durationals are surrounded with four speakers which made for a splendid late night at the sleep concert that hosted 50. This was 24 outputs engulfing a venue that holds less than 1000 at a distance of over 100 feet with the speakers probably 10 to 20 feet high. Although the intent of the set up was to focus on the sounds surrounded within, the audience will always be interested in watching the performer, whether they have a joystick, a guitar, a laptop or a theremin. That said, with his distorted crunchy low bit guitar riffs overwhelming the stage, some of the audience realized its best to experiment his doomsday devices in the middle of the GA floor. Out of all the performances, i was pleasantly surprised with this one. Throughout, I could only think of the Justin Broadrick remix of Agoraphora Nosebleed.
If there’s anyone at Moogfest 2018 that greatly benefited from appearing, it had to be the Icelandic record label/collective Bedroom Community. They seemingly performed at almost every venue, participated in conversation and screening of their documentary appropriately named “Everything Everywhere All the Time” and topped it off with an impressive Saturday night Spatial Sound/A3 programming showing at the Armory by Liam Byrne and the label founder Valgeir Sigurðsson named Dissonance, unleashing its symphony inspired soundscape unto the 360 degree sound system each meticulously fed into the 24 independent sources. Joined by Francesco Fabris they even returned the annual sleep concert durational back to its Robert Rich envisioned theme (minus the no tolerance for cameras at any time) and away from the meditation focused Larajji concept, by taking their moody soundscapes and reducing them into ghostlike afterthoughts. At times the spacey sounds gave into soft sweeping violins before alternating back meshes of crumbling undertones, with four speakers surrounding the lines of mattresses provided by Nest Bedding which were comfortable by the way. At three and a half hours, it was the longest i’ve stayed at a sleep concert.
photo by Jake Thomas IG-Bandwayrules
photo by Jake Thomas IG-Bandwayrules
photo by Pierce Rogers IG-piercejohnrogers
In my opinion, Yves Tumor in his post apocalyptic anti hero set up carried the aura of stardom at Moogfest. It didnt matter that his seminal ambient subtleties, his gothic “ruined” mixes of Alice Glass were crushed into rubbish, drum looped into caustic lawnmowing bits. It was of no concern that he took early Boyd Rice/Non influences, of looping toy sounds drizzled with the asphalt jungle – not necessarily influences popular with the mainstream – and redid God and Beast, while camped outside the noisiest of Roger Karmanik and Cold Meat Industry. He commanded the Armory stage even as he demanded the lights turned down for a song or two. I knew i was in for the set, but was surprised many stuck around. I was thinking to myself why? Maybe it was the Spatial Sound. Maybe it was the rain. It was interesting at the very least. It was definitely a highlight of Moogfest 2018.
photo by George Entenman IG__zabouti_
photo by Brian Livingstone IG-blivingst
photo by Brian Livingstone IG-blivingst
This was more of a sentimental choice. I wasn’t old enough or living in the right city or scene to know about Genesis P-Orridge when it “mattered to me”. Sure they ended up on some Wax Trax releases, but then he joined the Acid House movement around the time i was locked into Industrial and other underground related genres. I was curious if his set would resort to that but thankfully it didnt, but then again perhaps i’d have a change of mind. Anyways, although his health has been deteriorating due to Leukemia, he looked delighted to be on stage performing over a selection of “300 releases over the years.” At one point after a song, he treats them as a memory he’d forgotten but happy to revisit again.
Next year, Moogfest 2019 celebrates its 15th year and this time will move up to April 25th to April 28th in Downtown Durham. Short term discount tickets were offered to those who attended Moogfest 2018 for $80 General and $120 VIP That expired midnight May 22nd. UPDATE: Tickets at early bird rates are available as of May 23rd. Check out the Moogfest 2019 Eventbrite link but only good for a limited time only.