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Static circuitry

Boy in Static sets a date, Rise prize, and Slaine
By DAVID DAY  |  March 8, 2007

VIDEO: Boy In Static, "Where It Ends"

One of Circuits’ favorite local acts, BOY IN STATIC (a/k/a ALEX CHEN), is preparing to release Violet, the follow-up to his remarkable debut, Newborn, on May 29. As previously reported here, the album was picked up by Mush Records, and if the first single is any indication, it’s a gem. What Chen does so well is integrate electronic production with typical rock stylings for an eloquent blend of modern sounds, one part dreamy ambiance, one part rock riffs.

“Where It Ends” is endowed with strings, covered in reverb, and soaked in melancholy. “It’s based pretty closely on real events from my life,” writes Chen via e-mail. “It’s sort of a pre-break-up song about predicting the inevitable. I played all the strings on this recording. Playing in school orchestras as a kid got me interested in classical arrangement.” Chen’s production abilities then take over. “I write out string arrangements on paper, like a traditional orchestra score. Then I perform each part on the viola. It’s like cloning myself 20 times to form a live orchestra in my apartment.”

Chen created a special Web site for the video that includes a bonus stream of Japanese-only remixes, one from Her Space Holiday and one from local producer HELIOS (a/k/a Keith Kenniff), another Circuits favorite. Kenniff’s rework is a marvel of string-heavy ambiance. “We both just happened to be listening to each other’s music,” Chen says of Helios, “and started e-mailing. He has actually joined the Boy in Static live band, which has expanded to about six people now, for upcoming shows later this year.” The pairing of Chen and Kenniff sends shivers down the spine. “We definitely found things in common. We both record in our apartments and are big fans of early Depeche Mode. Also, neither of us has a car, so we haul all our gear to gigs in taxis.”

Boston's beloved underground techno club, 808, resurfaces this week at the Enormous Room, where they are bringing ALEX UNDER in for a live set. The appearance is worthy of worldwide attention as the Spanish Under is considered one of the finest live techno acts on the entire globe. Under's sound is quite minimal, but very melodic and playful "He makes cutting edge late night party music that is somewhat genre bending between house and techno," says promotion robot BLEEP (aka BRIAN MERZ of ROBOTLOVESONGS) on email, "but decidely different from the norm in any of those genres. "Hopefully friday will be one of those magic nights with lots of what I call 'disco moments,'" he says, "which seem to happen most often when you put an amazing artist and performer in a small intimate room packed with likeminded people." The appearance is being supported by local dub-sound designer TRITON (aka Eddie Odabachian) with an early set at 8pm, and DJs DAMIENCULVALIER and ERIC MCLAUGHLIN from the 808 clan. "Both own Alex Under records and might play them out on a normal night," says Bleep. "Damien's sets are perfect for a party, and Eric sets defined the 808 sound." Get there early and stay late…

For the third year in a row, after-hours nightclub RISE has been nominated for the Club World Awards (sponsored by industry mag Club Systems International) in the “Nightstalker” category, which is restricted to after-hours clubs. “It’s one thing when patrons and global DJs tell us how much they love our club,” says owner and GM TOM BEAULIEU via e-mail, “but when people in the business who travel the world focusing on our business convey that we have created something special, it makes the hard work worth it.”

The awards are given out each year at the Winter Music Conference in Miami, at the very chi-chi nightclub Mansion. “DARRIN [MORDA] and I plan to go again this year,” Beaulieu adds. “This year it happens to fall on my birthday and is right before Steve Porter’s infamous Porterhouse party.”

Rise is, however, up against some heavy hitters that include NYC’s Sullivan Room, the End in San Francisco, and the monster club Stereo in Montreal. Beaulieu: “Stereo has one of the best sound systems in the world. Because of that, they attract the world’s best talent. They should have their own category for that one fact alone.” Cast your vote here.

On the hip-hop tip: Southie’s SLAINE finally has his acclaimed mixtape in stores, courtesy of TRAFFIC DISTRIBUTION. Called The White Man Is the Devil Vol. II Citizen Caine, it features members of Boston’s LA COKA NOSTRA crew: MR. WHITE (a/k/a EVERLAST) and Non-Phixion’s ILL BILL. This is definitely the year for Slaine, whose “Rich Man, Poor Man” single climbed the rap charts in 2006. And he’ll be seen on the big screen in Ben Affleck’s Boston tale Gone Baby Gone alongside Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris, and Ben’s bro Casey Affleck. Kinda incredible.

On the Web
Boy In Static: //
Boy In Static, "Where It Ends": //

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  Topics: New England Music News , Keith Kenniff , Alex Chen , Entertainment ,  More more >
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