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Nov. 23 • Bogart's

By Mike Breen · November 20th, 2012 · Sound Advice
soundadvice_papadosio_aaronlingenfelterPhoto: Aaron Lingenfelter
There are definite stereotypes of so-called “Jam bands” and the unique subculture that forms around them. The “Jam band” term emerged in the ’90s as a way to describe the scene building around Phish and others acts who inherited The Grateful Dead’s “have van, will travel” cult. The stereotypes that developed around the same time — noodly guitar riffs, twirling hippie dancers, 35-minute-long improvisations and at least a passing resemblance to The Dead — were almost instantly proven to be off-base as the Jam tour circuit began to fill up with artists experimenting in different ways and with a wider range of genres.

Since then, the Jam scene has come a long way in terms of its musical palate, with musicians integrating whatever genres come to mind, from Funk, Jazz and Bluegrass to various strains of World Music, Roots Rock, Prog and Electronica. Fittingly, the actual unifying features of “Jam bands” haven’t changed much — the groups are mostly all about the freedom to explore all aural frontiers, a dedication to improvisation and a psychedelic spirit.

One of the more interesting Jam subgenres to experience an emergence and growth over the last decade is “Livetronica,” the name some use to describe improvisational jammers who use synths, sequencers and other technological tools usually associated with Dance and Pop music.

Pioneered by groups like Disco Biscuits and Lake Trout in the ’90s, today, in response to the growth in popularity and potential of Electronic music, EDM and other Dance forms in general, the Livetronica subgenre is one of the scene’s most prominent. It’s also just plain fascinating to hear how these musicians have adapted the coldness and rigidity of Electronica (another musical stereotype) to fit the Jam scene’s propensity for music that is warm and organic.

Papadosio is one of Livetronica’s current leading lights, known for its hypnotic aura and creative, inspired multimedia live shows, which are crafted with the band’s own lights and video backdrop designers.

Papadosio (which formed at Ohio University in the mid-’00s and currently resides in Asheville, N.C.) has been on an “album release” tour since August in support of its multifaceted double-album, T.E.T.I.O.S. (the title stands for To End the Illusion of Separation). On the epic recording, the five members (who, besides electronics, also play traditional instruments like bass, drums and guitar) vacillate between atmospheric dreamscapes, bluesy, shuffling Funk, Jazz-inspired noodling, glitchy freakouts and deep grooves, sounding like a dancefloor collaboration featuring Phish, Tangerine Dream, Fujiya & Miyagi, Yellowjackets, Yeasayer, Robert Fripp, M83 and Kraftwerk.

But the group’s most distinctive attribute is how well it uses vocals, something many Livetronica acts leave out completely. T.E.T.I.O.S. is at its best when a memorable melody pops up or when the members magically hit the kind of multipart harmonies that you’d expect to hear on a Grizzly Bear or Fleet Foxes album. Like the vocals, the album is loaded with pleasant surprises, not the least of which is the inclusion of an original piece of visual art crafted by various artists for each song on the album.

Papadosio’s attention to detail, desire to give fans an “experience” and musical curiosity have given its sound and presentation a striking eclecticism.

PAPADOSIO performs Friday, Nov. 23 at Bogart's in Corryville with Consider the Source. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.



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