Protected: No Regular Play – Endangered Species

September 10, 2012

in Music

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Endangered Species

Format: Artist Album
Label: Wolf & Lamb
Catalog No: WLCMCD004
Release Date: November 12

Tracklist:
1. Birdfeathers (additional keys John Camo/additional vocals Lisa Bauer Carolina Sevilla)
2. Wont Quit
3. Endangered Species
4. Nameless
5. Never Had Enough
6. Kickback (feat. The Real Live Show - live drums by JT Bates)
7. El Dorado
8. The Answer (vocals and piano by Eliot Cardinaux)
9. Card Game
10. Keep It Right
11. Where They Lay

“From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” So wrote master scientist Charles Darwin 150 years ago. He was remarking on the dynamism of nature, the unyielding cycle of life through which species gradually become endangered and die off, only in order to give rise to the new. But it could just as well apply to Endangered Species, the eagerly awaited full-length album from Wolf & Lamb’s musically virtuosic No Regular Play, a duo equally at home in the rehearsal rooms of Julliard as in the main room of Fabric.
Their debut album was made in early summer 2012, exclusively in the studio of New York City’s Marcy Hotel, a space featured in The Guardian newspaper and made famous by their free thinking founders, Wolf + Lamb.
Over the course of 11 elegantly interlaced tracks, Greg Paulus and Nicholas DeBruyn create a veritable cornucopia of beautiful and wonderful forms. A steaming hothouse of closed high-hats, rife with the plaintive, fluttering bird-calls of Paulus’s inimitable trumpet lines, and unapologetically organic throughout, Endangered Species is as shape-shifting as nature itself.
Expertly sequenced, the tracks on Endangered Species are a gradually unfolding study in mood and feeling. Tellingly, the album begins by narrating an animal’s natural transformation. With a mournful tip-tap of a distant piano and multi-layered trumpet lines, in the lush and elegiac “Birdfeathers” a world-weary voice laments, “My feathers fall to the ground.” This is No Regular Play at their most emotive, a song for the lonely cab ride home as dawn casts a harsh light on the city below. However, never being prone to wallow in self-indulgence, the very next track represents a complete metamorphosis in mood. One for the legions of admirers of No Regular Play’s distinctive brand of cerebral housified funk, “Won’t Quit” is a song about triumphant overcoming, becoming something new by casting off the old. With its anthemic chords and layers of ascending synths, “Won’t Quit” is the “Eye of the Tiger” for those interested in mending their own broken hearts. The album’s title track is a dance-floor monster that in the hands of producers any less subtle would feel ominous instead of throbbing and sexy. A deep, almost sub-bass slice of acid house—think echoes of Mark Imperial’s classic “Love I Lost”—elemental, natural st rife is once again on No Regular Play’s mind, with a growling vocal announcing over a sparse yet forceful snare, “I’ll save you from the predator/forget that you’re the prey/tonight we are the hunters/it’s the last time that we play”…a bit of the jungle thrust into No Regular’s Play refined habitat of The Marcy, where this album was written and recorded.
“Kickback,” a J. Dilla-worthy slice of sophisticated New York hip-hop featuring Wolf & Lamb newcomers The Real Live Show, and “El Dorado,” which uses mysterious, reverb-drenched vocals and shimmering, heavily orchestrated winds to conjure up a mythical Chinatown, or perhaps Darwin’s Tree of Life.
The album includes guest spots from many close friends including vocals from Carolina Sevilla and Lisa Bauer on opening track "Birdfeathers."
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- Alex Scherber, A.K.A. John Camp, contributes additional keys on "Birdfeathers" and "Endangered Species."
- "The Answer" features vocals and piano from Eliot Cardinaux, a fellow alumnus of Greg's from the Manhattan School of Music.
- JT Bates, the prolific Minneapolis free jazz and indie drummer, recorded live drums on "Kickback."
- Mixing for the album was done by the very talented musician/producer Francis Harris. The project was mastered by the legend, Joe Lambert, who has also worked with the likes of Animal Collective, Washed Out and Dirty Projectors.
- No Regular Play's fluid approach unites more than a lifetime of influences – and you can almost taste their deep love of early soul and jazz, 80s new wave, hip hop and electronic harmonies. These influences culminate in a sound that sits as comfortably in the indie arena as in the dance music community where they began. A gap bridged by layers of live instrumentation in their album -- and their impressive live show which features Paulus’ trumpet and vocals alongside Nick's masterful manipulation of the rhythm and soundscapes. Paulus performed trumpet at local jazz clubs in his teenage years and went on to study jazz/classical at the Manhattan School of Music. He has worked and toured with critically acclaimed indie band Beirut and more recently Matthew Dear’s live band over the past two years. With their minds blown after attending a party at the Marcy Hotel in 2006, Greg Paulus & Nick DeBruyn AKA No Regular Play began a very close musical and personal relationship with Zev and Gadi of Wolf + Lamb. Their first output was released on the W+L label in 2008 alongside fellow friends Soul Clap and Deniz Kurtel and they moved into The Marcy shortly afterwards - a move followed by a young Nicolas Jaar who also took up residence later that year.The No Regular Play relationship itself blossomed early, when the pair were only 8 years old. Bonding over an early mutual love of hip-hop and jazz legends such as A Tribe Called Quest, J Dilla, Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock, Greg Paulus and Nick DeBruyn met growing up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Together they later traveled to Cuba’s Havana to study Afro-Cuban rhythm, music and culture and in 2011 their track ‘Rain (All Day)’ was reconstructed and performed as a 25-minute piece by Paulus and his father for improvisation/ electronics with the Minnesota Orchestra.
Aside from keeping the notoriety alive, the pair find the Marcy Hotel the ideal environment to make music. “The room is lined with beautiful wood making the sound warm and cozy and giving it an almost cabin-like feel. It is ideal for recording vocals and other live instruments,” explained Paulus, “It's a special place to liv e because there's a nice flow between the rooms, it's very open. The most special thing is the amazingly designed interior by Zev, Gadi and Deniz. From Deniz's light installation to the amazing chandeliers, it is a real warm living environment.”
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“We never wanted to make an album just to make an album. We wanted to wait until the time was right, our heads were clear and we could really focus and dig in fully,’ said Nick of ‘Endangered Species’, “We feel that we had taken club oriented ideas to the full extent and are ready to work on more song based material with various tempos, really stretching ourselves out of our normal comfort zone.” In many ways a passage, like adolescence to adulthood, Endangered Species marks Nick and Greg’s entrance into the spotlight inevitable.
Tracklisting 1. Birdfeathers
2. Won't Quit
3. Endangered Species
4. Nameless
5. Never Had Enough
6. Kickback
7. El Dorado
8. The Answer
9. Card Game
10. Keep It Right
11. Where They Lay