Week in Pop: Night Shapes, Roz & the Rice Cakes, Self Care

Sjimon Gompers

Providence, Rhode Island's radicals Roz and the Rice Cakes; press photo courtesy of Jorge Vieira Photography.

Night Shapes

The radical shapes of things to come with Night Shapes; press photo courtesy of the band.

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Featured off the upcoming Wake Up cassette available October 13 through Heavy Dose Records, Oakland’s Night Shapes present the world premiere for their video for “The Future” from All En that offers some inspirations to enjoy alongside the unraveling dystopian narrative in progress. Recorded in their Bay Area hometown’s Secret Bathroom with Andrew Oswald, with compliments to JPM Mastering; Night Shapes exhibit aspects of our apocalyptic times with suspenseful synths & movie thriller chords that paint an ominous portrait of tomorrow through well designed instrumentation arrangements of pointed dissonance.

From an assemblage of mechanical toys & stock footage from vintage films; the All En visuals for Night Shapes’ “The Future” portrays aspects of entropy on the life & death scales from lamb to the slaughter, to theatrical dance clips, cemetery landscape scenes & images of the band & brass playing on; Night Shapes exhibit the shapes & proportions of an unstoppable & uncompromising tomorrow that waits for no one. The synths & guitars beat like hooves on the highway headed toward a destination unbeknown to the elements themselves as they accompany the steadfast riding Night Shapes on their musical mission. Allen, Sara, Jose, Figs & Brad break the humdrum airs of apathetic silences for a visceral vision of the next day (along with the day afters) that involves vintage mechanical toy bugs, feet & a host of stockpiled footage that you might find on the cutting room floor of an end-of-the-world crackpot’s basement. Night Shapes take the very real & present threats of today with a high degree of sincerity & seriousness that seeks some alternate shape of course apart from the regressive roads that our socio-economic-politic world is on (on top of unbelievable devastation wrought by natural disasters).

Allen from Night Shapes broke both down the new cassett, song/video with the following exclusive reflections:

Regarding the making of the album Wake Up & more:

For years it felt like I had been writing music for other people. I knew that it was good, but wasn’t really into it. Then, there was a shift when we had to ask the other main songwriter to leave the band for personal reasons. After that, we were all so jaded from practicing all the time and playing show after show, we decided to stop doing that for a while.

Now I’m the type of person who has to have some sort of project going on. For example, I can’t just sit still and watch movies; I’ll lose my damn mind. I used my new free time to hide in the garage and write ten new songs with no style in mind. I picked the instruments that I wanted to use and just went for it with a new ideal: organizing sound must be minimal. No chords. Single notes, straightforward beats, and lots of repetition: a simplified form of raw emotion. As far as the lyrical content goes, those concepts are taken from social media. The internet decides the topic, but first the music is created. In the end, I’ve listened to these mixes over and over and still don’t hate them, so that’s got to mean something, right?

Night Shapes live; press photo courtesy of the band.

Regarding the making of the video for “The Future”:

As far as the visual stuff goes, for the video “The Future”, I referenced one of the first skateboarding videos my teenage friends and I would watch over and over, “Time Code” by Alien Workshop. I mean, I owe everything to skateboarding. It opened my eyes and exposed me to another way of thinking, especially growing up in a small town in South Carolina. But for the video, I just ordered some cheap wind-up toys off of eBay, filmed them, threw together some found footage, and called it day.

Night Shapes’ new cassette Wake Up will be available October 13 via Heavy Dose Records.

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