"It would be easy to mistake Broken Cloud Orchestra for a long lost smooth keyboard jazz album from the early 1970s. The cosmic synthesizers and warm organ tones conjure images of a woodgrain-lined recording studio with soft shag carpet. But there's nothing from the 70s that sounds quite like this album - if there were, it would be a classic. There is an affinity between Brass's instrumental compositions and the softer side of Herbie Hancock, Bob James, Stevie Wonder, and Weldon Irvine, but theres also a kosmische aura that makes them feel like soulful cousins of the 21st century new age revival. Around Seattle, Brass can be seen gigging regularly as a member of Afrocop, an energetic psych-jazz fusion project that serves as the de facto house band at Vito's, a vintage 50s cocktail lounge with tall leather booths and mirrored walls. It looks like the kind of place where Mafia deals get made, because it is that place. Environments like these are an inspiration to Brass, who approaches composition like a director building a mise-en-scène. With a broad range of sounds, Brass creates tracks that house and embody complex moods. The album opens with "Cortex Overflow", a sweet piece of phased out ambient jazz with a melodic synth line that dominates like a neon light blazing across the heavens. "Day In Day Out" pairs a crisp piano tone with a B3 organ pad, created with a versatile Nord Stage keyboard. On "Deceptive Freefall", the chords become more dissonant and the synths a bit more menacing. This textured cloud cover becomes a smokey base for "Tilted North" and "Visual Pyramid Scheme", both atmospheric dirges with a slightly darker tinge. The could clear for "Eight Moons Apart" and are replaced by the funkiest synth tones on the album. "The Weight Lightened By Morning" conveys a feeling of tentative optimism, and "Prism Jousting" further reveals a distinctive range of tones and textures, delivering a lush orchestra mood. "It's Not Sunday But It Will Do" develops from meandering background music into a dramatic statement of tension and release, while the assertive, soundtracky pads "Fleeting All Too Often" edge into John Carpenter territory. "Systematically Doused In Love" is a cool down in a warm shower, closing the album with contemplation and gentle intensity." -Emily Pothast
Wax Thematique presents Vinyl Internationalé Thursday evenings at Bastille Café in Seattle, WA. Rotating friends of WXTM bring you all vinyl with no cover. This first mix celebrates the global sounds of Thai Funk, Afrobeat, Eastern Soul, Tropical Jazz & more. *Free Vinyl Internationalé sticker at the event in Seattle (or if your lucky, randomly placed in physical orders from our store). Artwork by Rather Severe. Free Download
Live in the KEXP Gathering Space: Noel Brass Jr brings his beloved double synthesizer setup for an evocative afternoon of interstellar sounds. All ages and 100% free, the performance begins at noon!
Noel Brass, Jr. sits at the back of Cafe Vita in Greenwood, quietly sipping on an espresso. He’s immediately recognizable — it’s hard to find a photo of Brass where he isn’t wearing his trademark fedora and glasses. It’s a rainy November afternoon and I can’t think of a better setting to dive into talking about his new record Broken Cloud Orchestra, a collection of ambient synthesizer tracks infused with hints of jazz and soul out now via Wax Thematique Records.
Much like his music, Brass himself is a calming presence. He carries himself with a flair of old school tradition, dressed sharply in a tie and raincoat. But when he talks, you really start to get the feel for his astuteness to the world around him. His music often reflects imagery of the cosmos and far out, spacey ideas. Broken Cloud Orchestra is no exception. The term “head in the clouds” implies a certain aloofness, but Brass gives off the air of a dreamer without losing his footing and forgetting the inspiration right around him. Interview and Photos by Dusty Henry. Read the full in-depth interview HERE
Join us Friday October 6th at Daybreak Records in Fremont / Seattle for the release of Noel Brass Jr.'s gorgeous first solo record - "Broken Cloud Orchestra". 7pm-9pm No Cover / BYOB. *Pre-Orders are now open!
In case you hadn't heard, we've partnered with the fine folks at Bastille to present a global expedition of sound. Where the funk, the groove and the fuzz of international music comes together each Thursday inside the gorgeous setting of Bastille Cafe's Back Bar. We commissioned Portland Mural duo, Rather Severe, for the new poster art in order to convey a sense of wonder, whimsy and psychedelia for the event. Vinyl Internationalé is Thursday nights, 8pm-11pm and will always be 100% Vinyl, 100% Free.
Our series of free mixes aka "WaxReels" continues with REEL 3 from French crate digger Projection Orange. A superb mix of Afro, Italian, Persian funk and fuzz that will no doubt do you right when the sun decides to shine once again. Exclusive art design and layout by Small Studio. Download REEL 3: Projection Orange here.
On April 8th in what is known as the transportation hub of the China's Yunnan Province (and also the flower capital of mainland China), the city of Kunming witnessed a special occasion. Wax Thematique held an event at a cultural hub known as Salinger Cafe. Hosted by cafe owner, post-rock drummer and sub-culture expert Mali and our own Paces Lift. With the help of a translator, what started as a simple LP listening event organically grew into a discussion of electronic music, accessible art, government censorship and crowd participation. For many in attendance, RUMTUM's "Mora Tuga" LP was the first electronic music they'd ever heard. We played the record via Paces portable turntable, took questions from the crowd and had a splendid evening.
This Spring, Paces Lift is traveling around China on a hunt for the funkiest and strangest of wax, check it out!
Read the backstory about the 2nd release on Wax Thematique HERE
•Produced and Mixed by RUMTUM (additional production by MANMADEMAN)
•Mastered in an Analog facility by Catadawn Studios in Denver, CO
•Art Design, Layout and Illustration by RUMTUM
Join us Saturday October 29th 9pm for the Lotties Lounge Costume party in Columbia City / South Seattle. Paces Lift & Noel Brass Jr. playing records all night long with damn good drinks and ghostly grub!
We're back with our monthly event of pairing craft cocktails and a limited food menu with hand-picked vinyl records. Jude's Old Town is the spot Sat Oct 8th!
Every Wednesday at 8pm Paces Lift & Bastille Restaurant in Ballard bring you Le Verlan. A dining and listening experience designed to broaden your cultural palate. An exclusive menu of expertly made French cuisine and craft cocktails are served while a curated selection of vinyl accentuates the atmosphere in Bastille's Back Bar. Poster design by Pierre for Wax Thematique.
This will be our 7th partnering with Jude's Old Town restaurant in the Rainier Beach 'hood of Seattle, WA. Combining a limited Southern-Cajun menu with Paces Lift playing Vinyl to fit the vibe. Drop by for a spicy hush puppy or two as the food and drinks are brought to you by the same folks known for quality and consistency at Lotties Lounge in Columbia City. Poster design by Pierre for Wax Thematique.