On January 25th, Aphonia Recordings artists Evon played at El Rio in San Francisco. A belated release party show for the band, we welcome you to check out some choice photos from the event as well as listen to the release. We recommend you view the pictures below as a slideshow (the page will reload) while using the player. It’s almost like you were there! OK, not really. So the next time they play, get your ass off the couch and see them. Check the Aphonia Recordings website regularly for show dates.
Evon is an amazing group of 6 stupendously talented musicians lead by Agnes Szelag from Oakland, CA. Enjoy!
On January 25th recent Aphonia Recordings artists Evon will be playing at El Rio in SF. This is a very special show since it is a very belated CD Release show for The Bees Are Comingwhich Aphonia Recordings released in Autumn 2010.
Evon is an amazing group of 6 stupendously talented musicians lead by Agnes Szelag and this is their first show and it is a very early show – 7PM! Evon will go on at 8PM.
Audrey Howard’s band Steel Hotcakes will be opening and Eli’s Band will be headlining. For those of you who are used to Agnes Szelag as an experimental artist – this project is rocky and melodic. (See reviews from KFJC 89.7 FM in Los Altos, CA and Textura)
Read this great review of The Bees Are Coming from KFJC 89.7 FM in Los Altos Hills, CA:
Released in September, 2010, this album by Evon, “The Bees are Coming,” features a number of SF Bay Area artists and is led by composer and artist Agnes Szelag. Agnes composed, performed, recorded and produced this and shows her chops on a dizzying number of instruments (cello, bass, guzheng, harp, guitar, harpsichord, vibraphone, singing bowls, glockenspiel, piano, electronics, etc etc!).
The overall effect is at times heavy, with the album starting up with deep bass sounds that lumber into a monster-movie soundtrack and then twist into beauty with pretty Eastern-flavored plucking, along with warm percussion, marimba, vibraphone and woodblock. Agnes’ vocals then come in, providing a slightly jazzy accent. It can also be atmospheric, with prominent strings and vocals that are at times fuzzy accents, floating and dancing with the music. It’s kind of like chamber pop meeting some jazz performers at the symphony for the screening of a film noir, with the loveliest sounds resulting from that marriage.
If you haven’t heard the new album we welcome you to have a listen over here. Indeed, as the review points out, it is perhaps important that Szelag chose a different moniker other than her birth name, as there are lot of contributions by other artists on the record.
The Norman Conquest provided recording help as well as voice, guitar and percussion. Fellow Aphonia artist Marielle Jakobsons, who also works with Szelag in their duo Myrmyr, provides vocals as well.
Although this is clearly Szelag’s vision, the wide array and cast of characters makes it an ensemble piece, larger than life, not a hobbyist or stripped down side project that merely spotlights the ego of it’s principle creator. No, Evon’s “The Bees Are Coming” is an immense work, encompassing many sonic backcountries and thoroughfares alike and again revealing another layer to the near geologic depth that Szelag’s work encompasses. Enjoy!.
Marielle Jakobsons and Gregg Kowalsky are Date Palms. Of course we know Marielle from Darwinsbitch and as a member of myrmyr with Agnes Szelag. Now the blog “Raven Sings the Blues” has reviewed Date Palms release Of Psalms. Rachel Swan from the East Bay Express has a lot more to say about their new release as well but I suggest looking into these Oakland based artists and get that LP while you can! Highly recommended!
All Aphonia Recs fans should know who Agnes Szelag is by now. Not only has she released a solo EP “No Summer Or Winter” a couple of years back but also joined forces with The Norman Conquest as Dokuro. Now Ms. Szelag returns with an even more ambitious project entitled Evon “The Bees Are Coming.” It is her first full length on Aphonia and is available on compact disc or download now. From the official press release of “The Bees Are Coming”:
Heartfelt performances on cello, guzheng, and voice dance on a bed of intimately interwoven arrangements creating a lush combination of rock, classical, and folk genres with leanings in the avant-garde. Agnes’s unique instrumentation is further augmented by her distinct recording style and electronic sculpting.
Following the textural 2008 release No Summer or Winter (Aphonia Recordings), this album explores Szelag’s songwriting under the pseudonym Evon. The varied song forms intertwine with complex compositions containing the haunting, cinematic elements that Szelag is known for and that show up on her recent release The Amber Sea (Digitalis 2009) with Marielle Jakobsons as myrmyr.
Szelag’s focus in this record was to create a unified band sound that is moody and unpredictable but also very deliberate and delicate. Using her intuition for what should be written and what should be improvised, she displays her multi-instrumentalistism and production craft as she blends her performances with those of Jordan Glenn (drums), Shayna Dunkelman (marimba), Jon Porras (guitar), Alee Karim (guitar), Jason Hoopes (doublebass), and The Norman Conquest (various). The end result is a very eclectic but unified sound backing Szelag’s velvety voice.
These new (and older-ish) releases have been been released worldwide through the iTunes Music Store and Amazon – and some other subscription online music stores as well (Rhapsody, Napster, etc.) Below are links through the iTunes Music Store to these lovely folks. Check ’em out… You can also go to our website to listen to full length samples or purchase as well. Click
here for all our Amazon listings or click on the releases below to go directly to the iTunes Music Store.
In the November issue 297 of the UK’s The Wire magazine David Stubbs reviews Dokuro’s recent release, The Black Room. Look for the interview in print or read the full text below:
Based in Oakland, California, Dokuro are visual artist/composer Agnes Szelag and the magnificently nomenclatured The Norman Conquest. They include the word “pop” in their self-definition, which is a little like Sunn 0))) locating a Country & Western element somewhere in their music. This is extremist fare that blasts awat the earwax without leaving you feeling pointlessly bludgeoned. On “The Ghost Goes West”, clouds of generated electricity belch blackly, then are discreetly sculpted. “Shadow of the Cat” is sheer catastrophe, all earthquake and Grindcore, its rotorblade still whirring long after the helicopter has crashed and burned. Finally, with “October Moon” a calm descends and dawn breaks over a charred landscape quiet but for the sporadic noises of afterburn.
This article appeared in Cyclic Defrost Magazine. You can read the original posting here.
Agnes Szelag, one half of Oakland’s Myrmyr with Marielle Jakobsons, presents a short release of just four songs on No Summer or Winter. Her work as a solo artist focuses on the relationship between sound and visual media, and the whirling yet crunching undercurrent to the first track “Lato” sets the tone for the piece. At just under twenty five minutes the compositions on No Summer or Winter are allowed enough space to grow and fortunately don’t outstay their welcome.
One of the difficulties of appraising Szelag’s work is deciding where (or even if) there are boundaries between the performance space and the home listening experience. “Man Made Weather” in particular seems built for the former environment “ a movement that lapses into languid cello after being prefaced by swathes of noise and processing. Though No Summer or Winter wasn’t written specifically for such a purpose, it somehow seems intrinsically linked to a place outside of where her audience listens from. “Inside and Out” does tries to bring the sensation back though, all hazy synths and soft textures. There is some delicate cello work throughout the EP, but nowhere near as fluid and organic as it appears on her work with Myrmyr.
As No Summer or Winter unfolds over repeated listens, the progression is made clearer. It becomes almost a dialogue between the summer and winter seasons Szelag composed it in, uncovering fragments of processed vocals that act as clues to the shifting world outside. There are some exquisite moments here even if it does feel sometimes as if the confines of the art installation are closing in.