Back in 2008, a lot of heads turned to clock Crystal Stilts’ Alight Of Night, their first album after a string of here-today-gone-tomorrow singles and EPs.
It wasn’t exactly a surprise – Crystal Stilts felt like part of a new age dawning, of underground collectives and random, crazy groups who’d rediscovered the joys of noise-pop and set about creating their own Creations – but there was something unique about Crystal Stilts, something hermetic yet gorgeous about the world they created.
With their new album, In Love With Oblivion, they stretch things further still, honing their songcraft, indulging their more strung-out sides, full of elliptical verses and perfectly chiming guitars, cranky pop organs and the punkest of rhythms. It’s a perfect blend of pop smarts and beguiling experiment.
Crystal Stilts | Star Crawl
And as with all good pop bands, Crystal Stilts not only look cool and sound great: they also listen hard. I recently read an interview where JB said his favourite show of ’09 was The Mad Scene, which made me double-take – who else cares so much about Hamish Kilgour’s other best group? But if Crystal Stilts are scholarly about pop, they don’t wear their knowledge heavily.
The best songs on In Love With Oblivion are effortless, rapturous – “Through The Floor” burns on fevered energy “Silver Sun” kisses the air with a beautiful stream of jangle guitar “Alien Rivers” is a spooked, psychedelic requiem, roughly Opal’s Happy Nightmare Baby + 14 Iced Bears’ “Mother Sleep” x Victor Dimisich Band. A buzzing organ, some slack-strung guitars, a clutch of Moe Tucker dreams and some black tambourines rarely sounded this alive.
Vex Ruffin | Man With A Plan
On paper Vex Ruffin’s music is simple: an untrained punk musician who uses a few basic instruments in uncomplicated ways, he calls the style ‘minimalist.’ Although it may not seem like it upon first listen, Vex’s music is rooted in sampling and hip hop beat-making culture. The SP 303 sampler provides the drums and other sounds, a purchase inspired by Madlib.
Vex is the first and only artist signed to Stones Throw Records on the strength of an unsolicited demo sent through the mail. Peanut Butter Wolf recalls, “It was kind of a fluke that I listened. I just liked the drawing on the cover so I decided to check it out. I called the phone number on the CD and Vex thought I was his friend playing a practical joke.”
This event is highly recommended by Digital in Berlin! We are giving away 2 x 2 tickets. Just send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Crystal Stilts & Vex” as the subject.
Crystal Stilts & Vex Ruffin LIVE
presented by Edition Festsaal, D/B
Wednesday, 20 November 2013 | 20:00 CET
Gretchen | Obentrautstr. 19-21 | 10963 Berlin/Kreuzberg