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On Deck: Levek

By ; March 13, 2013 at 10:38 AM 

Levek

It’s been close to six months since Levek released his debut full-length, Look A Little Closer, on Lefse Records. Brewing up his signature “Mickey Mouse tribal sound” with an obvious fascination for 60’s pop and 70’s Blaxploitation sounds, multi-instrumentalist David Levesque has created a musical ode to his curious obsession with vintage Disney nostalgia and a tendency to quickly and suddenly shift genres at a moment’s notice. For the recording of Look A Little Closer (which was handled at Medusa in Gainesville, FL), Levesque brought together a handful of close friends to help him fill out some of the different parts on the songs. While still feeling like the sole creation of Levesque, the album shimmers with a creative energy befitting the group setup but without sacrificing any of the intimacy or persistent immediacy common to many solo projects. Before tackling a few shows at SXSW and then heading back out on the road in support of the album, Levek and a few of his tour mates took some time to write about some of their favorite records for Beats Per Minute. Ranging from Miles Davis to Shuggie Otis to Can, these records definitely illustrate the vast array of influences that are on display across Look A Little Closer. Check out the band’s choices in the latest installment of our On Deck Series.


DAVID – VOCALS/GUITAR

Shuggie Otis - Inspiration Information
Shuggie Otis – Inspiration Information

This album without trying has been on my mind everyday lately. Otis has found where the magic in music resides. There is a careful balance with every element from beautiful orchestral arrangements to the strong foundation that he lays everything on. Subtlety is the key element that I’ve taken from the album. The song “Aht Uh Mi Hed” is a perfect example of how Shuggie draws the listener in and by the instrumental break your engulfed in magic. Everything is in it’s place and glued together by his understated vocals. He continues the saga with the album Freedom Flight, which is just as fantastic.


Alan Hawkshaw - Frontiers of Science
Alan Hawkshaw – Frontiers of Science

Hawkshaw blew my mind last week when I put on his synth-based atmospheric adventure for the first time. His melodies are so inventive and lovely paired with the incredible chords supporting and moving the album along. I have an old stock footage tape from NASA called Space Scapes, and teaming it up with Hawkshaw is a beautiful experience. It’s one of those albums that make you laugh out loud because of how surprisingly beautiful it is. “Eldorado” is my favorite track but I love that every track is listenable on any occasion. The feel-good find of the year for me.


JP – GUITAR/SYNTH

Can - Future Days
Can – Future Days

This album is just overflowing with good vibes. All of Can’s recordings, but this album especially, have this really natural quality to them, just live recordings in a really well mic’d room, not too compressed or anything. Everything just breathes really nicely together and the drums and all the percussion hits just right. This was their third and last album with Damo, and you can tell everyone in the band is just totally comfortable and locked in. The groove is so airy and loose but so together at the same time. It’s just a super dreamy record. That perfect balance of spacey and silly that Can
always pulled off so effortlessly.


The Soft Machine - Volume Two
The Soft Machine – Volume Two

I rediscovered this record after finding it on vinyl at this record store in Chicago on our last tour. The B side is especially amazing. It has this really sentimental pop sort of song toward the beginning, then proceeds to pummel you with jazz for the remaining fifteen minutes. There’s also a really amazing live video of them from around this time called live in Paris 1970 that we’ve all been obsessed with. It’s on YouTube, definitely worth checking out.


DAVIS – BASS

Miles Davis - Bitches Brew
Miles Davis – Bitches Brew

Listening to this album inspired my bass playing immensely. Minimalism and simplicity within a groove while maintaining a loose feel is my perfect bass line. I can listen to “Miles Runs The Voodoo Down” a thousand times and always find something new. The way those textures lay on top of that hypnotic bass groove is incredible.

Be sure to check out Levek’s dates at SXSW as well.  They’re listed below.

3/15 – The Grackle – 5:30pm (Father/Daughter, Small Plates, Gold Robot unofficial party)
3/15 – Gallery Black Lagoon (Elestial Sound)
3/16 – Red Eyed Fly – 1am (Official Showcase)


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