Laura Ortman is one of those rare artists who comprehends the limitations of her artistic output. That is not to say she is mediocre, quite the opposite. In fact, she is an extraordinarily talented and prolific musician who has scored films, acted in some of them and gigged with notable Brooklyn bands The Dust Dive, Stars Like Fleas, and Family Dynamic. In 2008 she put together an all-indigenous orchestra (The Coast Orchestra) that played a live score to Edward Curtis’ silent film, In the Land of The Head Hunters. She collaborated with film maker Martha Colburn composing live music set to Colburn’s films. She has played in the most prestigious venues in New York City – the Museum of Modern Art, PS 1, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian – and, has even played the Pompidou in Paris. For all her many talents and collaborations she understands her dark and moody compositions probably won’t win her mainstream fans nor a major label recording contract. And this is the limitation to her artistic output? But little matter, she is most interested in broadening her own horizons. She just released Someday We’ll Be Together a collection of sparsely arranged tunes that were never released during her days with The Dust Dive.
I called her up in her Brooklyn flat to ask her about the latest release, her Southwestern mini-tour, why she continues to make music when there seems to be no financial gain and her forthcoming music video featuring the Navajo/Puerto Rican ballet dancer, Jock Soto.
Visit Laura Ortman on the Interwebs:
Myspace | Bandcamp
If Glen Campbell and Nicolette Larsen got together (instead of Glen hooking up with that coke head, Tanya Tucker) and had a music baby it’d be The Famous Patient, New York City troubadour, Charles Burst’s second release on Ernest Jenning Records.
Burst’s sound evokes 70s AM Gold style when tender yet thoughtful lyrics were accompanied by spar arrangements that allowed space for the listener to hear the singer’s breathe pause before gliding across the next phrase; when James Taylor, Jackson Brown and Carly Simon had three-ways of the musical (and non-musical) variety creating vaguely bluesy, spirited paeans to life’s mundane intimacies, elevating them to something more.
Recorded in all analog in the woods of Connecticut last summer, The Famous Patient, pays homage to those singer/songwriters in an unintentional manner, stripping away the histrionic production associated with the sound, ensuring every instrument carve out it’s own space creating cozy textures upon which he croons about the mentally and emotionally disturbed.
I caught up with him before he left his Brooklyn apartment for a day at the beach.
Charles Burst on the Web:
Official Site | Myspace | Ernest Jenning Records
Fang Island began as an art school project. Seriously, it was a class you could take at the Rhode Island School of Design (widely considered the MIT of art-schools, it’s that difficult to get into, and supposedly the very best graphic designers and design oriented engineers come out of that school) where all of the members of F.I. were printmaking majors. Founding member, and lead guitarist, Jason Bartell says it’s o.k. if you laugh at the printmaking thing because they’re full-fledged music dudes now. Anyway, yeah, that’s how Fang Island got started. It was a bunch of dudes taking a class together on the makings of a rock band. The criteria required they complete an entire CD or something like that, so they did. A few years later and many miles traveled to meet up for rehearsals and they’re releasing their first full-length disc via Sargent House, also home to Omar Rodriguez Lopez, that’s some shit right there, and they’re heading out on a cross country tour that began Friday night.
The album is everything they say it is: anthem-ic, euphoric, awesome, totally rad, but only if you like Boston, Queen, Weezer, and esoteric and arty intentions. If you do, you’re going to love Fang Island.
Visit Fang Island on the Interwebs:
Official | Myspace | Facebook