Add to your ‘list of things to do immediately’: Attend a Too Many Zooz performance

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Leo P. on the baritone sax. / Photo credit: Loan Le

Leo P. knows how to move. That was one thing I noticed at last Saturday’s Too Many Zooz concert at SOB’s on Varick Street. It’s not the most important detail, but it might be one that can explain Too Many Zooz’ rising popularity.

The Harlem-born brass house band—consisting of trumpeter Matt Doe, baritone saxophonist Leo P., and percussionist-extraordinaire David “King of Sludge” Parks—rose to fame in the beginning of the year when a video of their Union Square performance went viral.

Brass house is a genre mixing rock, EDM, jazz, and African drumming. Unlike the constant stream of pop and EDM music so popular these days, Too Many Zooz are able to satisfy listeners with addicting, pulsing sounds not from a digital mixer, but from smooth saxophone riffs, powerful trumpeting, and organic percussion that makes your bones vibrate.

At their midnight show, Too Many Zooz performed songs from their sophomore EP FANIMALS, which was released Sept. 6. “Wet” had a strong jazz influence, its swaggering rhythm very much evident. “Limbo” seemed to slow down the concertgoers, reducing their jigs to a head-bobbing movement. And yes, Too Many Zooz also delighted the crowd with “To the Top,” “Maritza,” and “F.W.S.”, the songs put them on people’s radars in the first place.

Parks backed his band mates with his underlying percussion, though I hoped for a solo from him. Doe, with steel lungs, commanded the trumpet, hitting high notes that were pleasantly on pitch. Leo P. showed off his quick-footed moves during his solos—which must have delighted the male and female attendees, if their screams were indicative of their enthusiasm.

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l to r: Leo P., David Parks, Matt Doe / Photo credit: Loan Le.

The front row danced absurdly, while other concertgoers remained somewhat conservative with their dancing, perhaps contained by the packed floor space. It was hard not to find Too Many Zooz’ beats contagious. At one point Doe gave a PSA announcement, urging everyone to step up their moves. All bands need a voice, and Doe seemed to be the perfect person for the role as he cracked jokes and directed the attention over to his band mates rather than to himself.

In the background, a screen played clips of wildlife as the band’s visuals—from elephants walking in their herds to lions dragging its predators across an arid desert. Such segments certainly reflected the inhuman sounds that Too Many Zooz was so capable of making. While their sound was entertaining, seeing their live performance was also a wonderful treat.

Recently, Moon Hooch, fellow buskers, appeared on NPR’s Tiny Desk, a segment known for showing talented up-and-coming and veteran artists. Perhaps Too Many Zooz will join the celebrated guest list soon?

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Fall Concert a Bust

8:10 p.m.

Girls in blue, pink and leopard print heels strut back and forth across the floor. A guy with crutches hobbles over to his group of friends. On the left side of the stage, a group of six or seven security guards clutter together. On stage, someone played music from his Mac laptop, but few paid attention to him.

Kev Nish plays the guitar during the University's fall concert performance. Photo by Mitch Bell

That someone was a DJ from The Hood Internet, one of the featured artists of the fall concert, but no one seemed to know this until the end of his performance.

Keep reading

Chilling with Far East Movement

Photo by Mitch Bell

The guys of Far East Movement are the type to sit around in a circle and answer interview questions about their success while eating pizza.

The Mirror had the chance to talk with Kev Nish, Prohgress, DJ Virmin, and J-Splif – members of the L.A. hip hop group – before they were set to head on stage for last Friday’s fall concert. The Hood Internet and Hoodie Allen had already opened the show.

More of the interview inside

Björk’s “Biophilia:” Beyond this World

In his death, Steve Jobs left yet another mark on something vital in the world: Björk’s music.

Björk’s newest album “Biophilia” debuted on Oct. 10 and was partially recorded on an iPad. It also pairs 10 songs with applications on the iPad and iPod touch.

This is not surprising news for fans of the Icelandic singer-songwriter who is perhaps most famous for her experimental use of musical instruments and unique ethereal voice. For this album, Björk worked with developers to record the album’s tracks using new creations of instruments.

Anyone who listens to Björk needs to know that listening to her music is like being transported into another world. And she does it again with her new album “Biophilia.”

Let’s start with the bad. Her strength lies in the music, but not necessarily the lyrics. She sings in a way that every word is elongated and when she finishes singing each one, you kind of forget what verse she was trying to form.

Yet  her tracks are wonderful products of her imagination, which also launched Björk’s career in the first place.

“Crystalline,” the third track of the album, opens with a strange xylophone sort of instrument and listeners can’t help but feel childhood nostalgia. But then her voice comes in and bass and electronic undertones are added, and again, listeners are transported to another world. Björk explores her art and her fans are always welcomed to go on her journey.

Her 11th track, “Hollow,” which is available in extended length, is very much rhythm-based. In the first minute of the track, Björk’s voice is completely absent, with what seems like a low-range string instrument as the main focus. This sets the tone of the piece, the mysteriousness that she wants to create. When she comes in with her delicate vibrato, she is joined by a disembodied chorus.

When you listen to any of Björk’s work, close your eyes. This is when her music is most effective and most extraordinary. Be enthralled by her varying range of voice that can be, at one moment, full with sound, and in another, delicate and vulnerable.

Her newest album “Biophilia” is a mix of the artist’s eccentricity as a musician, experimentation at its best and musical gold.

Published on Examiner.com: October 14, 2011