NO TREBLE: Big Sir In Studio Video "Old Blood", "The Ladder" & "Born With A Tear"
Big Sir, the project led by bassist Juan Alderete and vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Lisa Papineau, just wrapped up a nice European tour. Lucky for the rest of us who couldn’t make it out, the duo stopped off for a performance at SSR Studios in Manchester for the online show Sessions 65, who made a few nice videos of their performance.
Above is “Old Blood” the 8th track from their latest release, Before Gardens After Gardens. The energetic song is propelled by Alderete’s awesome fretless playing while Papineau’s ethereal vocals float over top.
Now, here’s to hoping the duo make a North American tour!
NO TREBLE: Bassist Redefined an Interview with Juan Alderete
Juan Alderete is a man who stays busy. After getting his break with thrash metal outfit Racer X, Alderete now contributes the low-end to progressive rock giants The Mars Volta, whose new album Noctourniquet hit stores this week. The record marks the band’s sixth effort anchored by Aldererte, who joined their ranks in 2003.
The Mars Volta ‘Noctourniquet’
Additionally, Big Sir released its third album, Before Gardens After Gardens, in early February. The album was created after Alderete and collaborator Lisa Papineau were both diagnosed with serious illnesses: Alderete with polychythemia vera, and Papineau with Multiple Sclerosis. Three weeks before the album was released, Papineau was also diagnosed with cancer.
“I wake up and I thank God every day – and God meaning everybody’s God who looks down on me,” Alderete said. “I can’t believe how fortunate I am to wake up every day and feel good enough to go play music and do what I do.”
A veritable gear guru, Alderete is also launching a new website called PedalsAndEffects.com, in which he will give advice on building pedal boards, how different pedals sound, and how to get the best sounds possible out of your effects.
We phoned Alderete at his house the morning after Big Sir played a special in-store concert at Hollywood’s legendary Amoeba Records to get the latest from this exciting bass player.
Congratulations on the new Big Sir album, Before Gardens After Gardens. It’s a really incredible record.
JA: Thanks! It’s something that means so much to me. A lot of people know my band through Mars Volta, but when Lisa [Papineau] and I put this record out, we never thought that Mars Volta fans would get it. We thought we would put it out on Omar [Rodriguez-Lopez]’s label, and it would just sit there, but our other record is jumping in sales because people are finding the new one and liking it, so they check out the old one as well.
I’m not going to say we’re a band that’s in the black yet, but I anticipate we will be if we continue to promote it and do videos for it. Hopefully if we go on tour, we can continue to get that support to spread our word, and basically our word is that no matter what you’re going through, you’ve gotta keep that dream alive. If you’re at a day job and you really want to create something really beautiful in a graphic artist program or something, or you’re a photographer and you want to take the most beautiful picture you’ve ever seen… as long as you have that inspiration, it drives you.
Los Angeles Times Feature: Big Sir talks about creating a new album in the face of illness
During 12 years of sonic partnership, vocalist Lisa Papineau and bassist Juan Alderete’s mesh of meditative lyrics, electro-inflected boom-bap and prog-jazz has combined fury and philosophy in a way that doesn’t have to shout to be heard.
Despite their positive outlook on an album over half a decade in the making, the inspiration it took to make it has taken a serious, very literal toll on their bodies.
Shortly after completing their previous album, “Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer” in 2006, Papinaeu and Alderete were both diagnosed with life-threatening diseases. Alderete was found to have polycythemia vera, a rare bone marrow disease that makes the body produce too many red blood cells, while Papineau discovered she had multiple sclerosis. And just three weeks before the release of the album, heavily steeped in reflections on life and death, Papineau was also diagnosed with cancer.
Despite their health obstacles, both have been incessantly busy with projects ranging from Alderete’s work as the bassist for The Mars Volta to Papineau’s solo career and collaborations with artists like Air and M83 and ME & LP with Matt Embree of RX Bandits. But even with so many other projects to occupy their time, both admit that their shared sense of humor, affinity for bass and West Coast gangsta rap creates a bond that keeps them together.
Ahead of Big Sir’s gig at Harvelle’s in Long Beach on Monday, Papineau and Alderete spoke to Pop & Hiss about crafting their new album and facing mortality head-on.
Right around the time they were finishing their last album Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer, they both fell ill and were diagnosed with serious diseases. Alderete discovered he had polycythemia vera, a rare bone marrow disease where the body produces too many blood cells, while Papineau was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “The bottom fell out,” says Papineau. “In the midst of this juncture, Juan dreamed a song, woke up, recorded it and emailed it to me in Paris. He said, ‘I know it may be corny to say this, but from now on everything we do really has to make a difference … even if only to us … there’s no point any more to do less.’”
Papineau and Alderete were introduced to each other in 1996 through her band Pet, which she co-founded with composer Tyler Bates (Watchmen, 300). Three years later, their mutual love of ’80s tunes, West Coast hip-hop, and bass led to the formation of Big Sir.
The two were sitting around with their friend, producer Mickey Petralia, trying to think of a proper name. “I think we said something like it should be a name that could be equally used by a 13-year-old’s punk rock grrrl group or a hardcore gay activist group, something tough and fierce-sounding to contradict the ‘94.7 The Wave’ band names the music might invoke,” she says.
Big Sir released its self-titled debut album in 2000 and an album of remixes the following year. Around this time, Alderete created another project, Vato Negro, and later joined The Mars Volta. Meanwhile, Papineau continued working on her solo career and released her debut album, Night Moves, in 2006. She’s since worked with Air, M83, Matt Embree of (Rx Bandits), Jun Miyake, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and many others.
Their latest album is an exploration and reflection of life and death. Its title comes from a poem by Indian mystic poet Kabir about seeking peace and knowledge within. “For me, though,” said Papineau, “what the title evokes is earthly gardens and their heavenly or other-dimensional counterparts. One garden to tend to now and not take for granted, and the other garden not to fear, to see as a place of comfort and deliverance.” - By Ivan Fernandez
Sound Colour Vibration Review: Before Gardens After Gardens
Rodriguez Lopez Productions and Sargent House have been expanding on dozens of releases over the last few years with the plethora of artists that exists between the two. Connected at the heart by Cathy Pellow, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and many others, this is a movement of sound and vision that is gaining considerable reputation as progressive minds are evolving even further from their origins. Boris, Fang Island, Native, Zechs Marquise, Le Butcherettes, Hella, there are so many genre defining artists to name that it’s hard to really sum up the label and Big Sir is one group out of the entire whole that we have been anticipating a new LP from the most. 2012 has been a phenomenal year for music culture already and the arrival of the latest Big Sir album,Before Gardens After Gardens, only adds more depth to the shape of this year. Based around the multi-instrumental and vocal work of Lisa Papineau and the Jaco Pastorius inspired tones of bassist of The Mars Volta, Juan Alderete, Big Sir is rooted in as many fields of electronica as they are in heavy doses of jazz, pop, hip-hop and so much more. It’s a sound all its own and genre definition becomes some what meaningless in the emotional power and provocative nature of the music. 2000 saw the release of their self titled debut release on the short lived Mootron Records and the follow up, Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer, would be released 6 years later to further critical acclaim. Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer was given the special vinyl treatment on the Sonny Kay and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez owned imprint Gold Standard Laboratories (GSL). Exactly 6 years later we find a new gestation period and a new cycle of life from Big Sir and it feels right on time with the latest Big Sir offering Before Gardens After Gardens. 11 songs and a little under 40 minutes in length, Before Gardens After Gardens is the summation of the last 12 years of the band and what feels like a launching pad for where Big Sir is going to take their sound in the future. The smooth, sonically blissful fretless bass work from Juan Aldrete creates a florescence that saturates itself into the mix. The bass tones pick up in such a frequency and full mode of sound that it knocks the middle and higher register of the wave patterns into the center of the mix. Stanley Clarke, Jaco, Ron Carter, there are only a dozen out of 1000′s bass players who can add this level of emotional quality into the bass foundations and Juan is walking in these steps actively with every record he touches. Adding a nice pair of headphones only intensifies the listen and adds to the perceptual depth of what long time The Mars Volta engineer Robert Carranza added to this LP.
Dirty Impounds Albums of the Week: Big Sir Before Gardens After Gardens Review
Big Sir: Before Gardens After Gardens (Rodriguez Lopez Productions/Sargent House)
Just lovely, haunting, too, and thought provoking like an itch that wakes one in the night, suddenly aware of some sore spot stirred up that now must be attended. The latest work from this 12-year-and-counting collaboration between bassist-composer Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta) and sublime singer-composer Lisa Papineau (Air, M83, ME & LP) cements their place as one of the coolest, adamantly modern duos of past few decades – think a much less depressive Suicide, a grittier Yaz, or early Eurythmics with less constrictions and you’re part way there – with Before Gardens After Gardens(released February 7). This is the kind of soundtrack one would want in their ear buds walking through the grimy streets of Blade Runner looking for love beneath the blimp billboards offering exciting lives in the off-world colonies. Okay, it’s maybe not that futuristic, but Big Sir does reach into our collective metal chest and squeeze a few fresh beats from our buried ticker, a gently shocking touch for infidels awash in wanton pride, raising heads from the ground, encouragement to be brave even as we’re falling down. There’s some beautiful beat science here, and Papineau’s willingness to use her voice like an instrument and not just a lyric delivery system keeps the colors splashing. Tying it all together is Alderete’s extraordinary bass work, a conversational, very alive presence snaking into every crevice, a thing of feel and instinct that could steal the show if he were less careful or deft. Taken together with well-chosen, musically appropriate guest turns from bassist Joanthan Hischke (Broken Bells), violist Heather Lockie (Mike Watt, Listing Ship), drummer Deantoni Parks & Cedric Bixler Zavala (The Mars Volta), Money Mark, David Sims (Jesus Lizard) Matthew Embree (RX Bandits) and others, Gardens is a testament to longing and dreaming out loud, yearning given melody and rhythm for modern times and beyond. (DC)
I Paint My Mind: Big Sir – Before Gardens After Gardens
Big Sir is a collaboration between kindred spirits – two people who’s interests, skill, and acumen converge in an incredible melding of aesthetics. They include trip hop & down tempo with rhythms that sometimes break out, bass lines that bring you with them, and dust it all with some of the most heart-tingling vocals you’ll ever hear. Big Sir is of course Juan Alderete (Racer X, The Mars Volta) & Lisa Papineau (ME&LP), and for those of us who consider their previous full length “Und Die Schiebe Andert Sich Immer” a favorite, news of this record was anticipated highly. We at IPMM have been blown away by “Before Gardens After Gardens.”
The record opens with “Regions” as Ms. Papineau softly reminds us that “you’re with us all the time.” The track incorporates supremely tasteful programming with one of Juan’s overtly round and bubbly bass lines, that sounds like a happy bee hive. The duo’s rhythmic sensibilities inspire moving feet on “Ready On The Line”, while “Infidels” evidences Lisa’s unique ability to float over instrumentals as if her vocals were there first. “Right Action” is a tribute to Juan’s love for the Squarepusher realm of bass work, and he kills it. If this track doesn’t implore your inner video game player to take a daytrip, we have little hope for you. The albums’ true victory is in the balance achieved in the ebb and flow of its trajectory. “The Ladder” and “The Kindest Hour” are testaments to this trend, and create a lovely gray space for you to chill out in. We’re also so in love with “Be Brave Go On” and “1 Thousand Petals” which lowers you to the albums conclusion as gently as we could have ever hoped. The album features collaborators such as Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Matthew Embree, Teri Gender Bender, and more…
BIG SIR USA Feb 20 - Hollywood, CA @ Harvard & Stone w/ Gregory Rogove, Eureka The Butcher & Sadah Luna, & Devendra Banhart DJ’ing. - FREE SHOW Feb 27 - Long Beach, CA @ Harvelle’s w/ The Vespertines & C-Gak
BIG SIR EU/UK Tour 2012 Apr 7, 2012 - Namur, (BE) @ Sergent Pepper’s Apr 8, 2012 - Berlin, (DE) @ Spirale Kulturzentrum Apr 9, 2012 - Hamburg, (DE) @ HafenKlang Apr 10, 2012 - Solingen, (DE) @ Waldmeister e.V. Raum für Kultur Apr 11, 2012 - Leipzig, (DE) @ Ilses Erika Apr 12, 2012 - Munich, (DE) @ Ampere Apr 13, 2012 - Innsbruck, (AT) @ Los Gurkos Apr 14, 2012 - Bolzano, (IT) @ Vintola 18 Apr 15, 2012 - Molfetta, (IT) @ Le Macerie Apr 16, 2012 - Copertino, LE (IT) @ I Sotterranei Arci Apr 17, 2012 - Rome, (IT) @ Locanda Atlantide Apr 19, 2012 - Trieste, (IT) @ Etnoblog Apr 20, 2012 - Rimini, (IT) @ Velvet Club Apr 21, 2012 - Livorno, (IT) @ The Cage Theatre Apr 22, 2012 - Milano, (IT) @ La Sacrestia Apr 24, 2012 - Birmingham, (UK) @ The Birmingham Ballroom / The End Apr 25, 2012 - Manchester, (UK) @ Sound Control Apr 26, 2012 - Swansea, WA (UK) @ The Garage Apr 27, 2012 - Bristol, (UK) @ The Croft Apr 28, 2012 - London, (UK) @ The Old Blue Last - Binnacle Festival May 01, 2012- Grenoble, (FR) @ Le Ciel May 02, 2012- Paris, (FR) @ Le Trianon - Night 1 of 2 May 03, 2012- Paris, (FR) @ Le Trianon - Night 2 of 2
The Daily Texan Reviews: Before Gardens After Gardens
Big Sir experiments with new sounds
The longtime collaboration between The Mars Volta’s Juan Alderete and singer-songwriter Lisa Papineau (well known for contributing vocals to M83), Big Sir’s minimal setup harbors a complex atmosphere that is eerie, yet absolutely intriguing. The duo retains that quality in their latest release Before Gardens After Gardens, the group’s third studio album.
Album opener “Regions” begins with Alderete’s distinguishable bass playing, as Papineau quietly coos overhead. The orchestral sounds that accompany Alderete and Papineau only add to the song’s haunting demeanor, segueing into the more upbeat “Ready On the Line.”
“Get so high,” sings Papineau over hip-hop whistles and bells in “Ready On the Line,” the song’s melody so memorable and infectious that you can’t help but hum it. The shrill scream that comes from Papineau towards the end of the song is brilliant and emphatic, as if the vocalist has overcome some unspoken challenge that calls for celebration.
“Old Blood” starts off with a buzzing, menacing guitar that battles against Alderete’s distorted fuzz-bass, with Papineau caught in between. “One, two, three, four, five,” says Papineau monotonously, the countdown unleashing a barrage of Bjork-like eeriness and forceful drums. Both songs showcase Papineau and Alderete’s admiration and respect for one another. They both feed off of each other: if one is silent and reserved, the other follows behind, ascending and descending with intensity simultaneously.
Before Gardens After Gardens finds success in its simplified approach. The album retains a Miles Davis, “less is more” mentality, allowing songs and the ideas that accompany them to flourish and breathe. The guest features on the album add to its mystique, from The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Deantoni Parks to Beastie Boys collaborator Money Mark Ramos-Nishita. Each contributor’s part serves as a small piece to Big Sir’s enthralling puzzle.
Although the album is often dark and somber, there are undertones of celebration underneath it all. As Papineau states on the band’s website, Before Gardens After Gardens is an album of “dance and celebration in death’s insistent embrace,” serving as a testament to the unknown, and an optimistic acceptance of it.
For the last twelve years there has been a collaborative effort which has flown under the mainstream radar that can only leave us wondering Why hasn’t the world taken notice?
The musical talents of Lisa Papineau, who brings experience from M83 and the Watchmen soundtrack, and Juan Alderete, who has donated ripping bass lines to Racer X and The Mars Volta, have been experimenting under the moniker Big Sir for over a decade. This year they are set to grace us with Before Gardens After Gardens, the third release under their combined efforts.
Before Gardens After Gardens combs the landscape of dynamic experimental diversity with tenacity and expertise. Papineau’s vocals deliver grace and elegance that fits between Imogen Heap and Natasha Khan with a personality and attitude all of her own, putting her in a class of such greats, but most importantly aids in driving this release home.
The album begins unapologetically with “Regions,” an immediate intertwining dance of Papineau’s voice and Alderete’s bass. The mesh of progressive vocals and instrumentals established early on in the album garners the attention of anyone and everyone and should not be missed. Sure, Before Gardens After Gardens brings in a plethora of immensely talented musicians ranging from Money Mark Ramos-Nishita to Matt Embree and Cedric Bixler-Zavala, just to name a few. The true beauty within can be found in the compilation and vision established by the heart and soul of the album; one which could not be formed without the obvious passion from Papineau and Alderete.
As you transcend the plains of modern musical thought with Big Sir, there is one glaring disappointment with the album. It is less than forty minutes long. When looking at an album of such great songs and composition we have to find something to keep it in check.
The last twelve years have brought two musicians to this point. It is a culmination of superb entertainment thrown into eleven tracks. This is the kind of album we’ve waited for to kick off 2012. The bar has been raised for albums this year and at this rate, it’s going to be a great one.
One thing that makes the arts so fascinating is the social stratification between the audience, the artists and the people who bring the two together. Every person views a piece differently and various things speak to them or draw them in. Ask someone “what’s your favorite album?” If the person works in a cubicle inAnytown,USA, the album is generally something that universally speaks to people. If they are a singer, chances are it is an album with astounding vocals. If they are a drummer, they will probably say a hip-hop album but secretly it is a Neil Peart venture. Ask a sound engineer and the answer is an album no one has heard of because they “really enjoy the sound editing and the mix.”
The thing is the sound engineer is the one who has the most qualified opinion and their favorite album is one you probably should have heard of and should be in heavy rotation in your library. There should be an annual award for “Best Album You’ve Never Heard Of” at the Grammys and it should be handed out by a balding guy with a pony tail, plastic frames and a black Zildjian t-shirt. In fact, we’re going to start one right now.
2012 has received its first entry for the BAYNHO Award in the form of Before Gardens After Gardens by Big Sir, a duo featuring Lisa Papineau (best known for adding her vocals to M83) and Juan Alderete (bassist for The Mars Volta). The album, in all of its lo-fi minimalist splendor is meant to be enjoyed in its entirety, not to be cherry-picked for individual tracks.
The album lurches out of the gate with an awkward drunken stumble as “Regions” starts immediately with a funky bass line and Papineau’s smoky voice. After the initial awkward step, the album settles in its stride with expertly timed peaks and valleys of emotion. Each track is a svelte bed of drum machine and synthesizer sounds overlaid by haunting vocals and quirky, catchy rhythms. Through the 38 minutes, the music paces itself like a long con and nestles into your subconscious. It rears its head at times like in “Old Blood” just to let you know it is still there, coloring in your day. By the time the penultimate track, “Our Pleasant Home,” rolls around you realize Big Sir has snared you with their lo-fi groove and you are hooked.
The sounds of Before Gardens After Gardens are rich and funky, but are niche enough that it’ll be a tough sell for mainstream consumption. On one hand, that is unfortunate because everyone should have a chance for Big Sir’s music to permeate their consciousness. On the other, it gives me another fake award to hand out.
Returning to this album is Juan’s signature high treble Fender bass sound that made me fall in love with Non-Stop Drummer from their self-titled album. Also returning is the lovely layering of Lisa’s voice throughout the album. It always made me wonder what would happen if she had backup singers in tow at the live show. But I digress, on to the favorites of the album.
The second track, Ready on the Line is catchy as all hell, with a high tempo drum machine and heavy voice layering. As one of the singles from the album, I’m sure Lisa will break out her next level dance moves at their upcoming Los Angles shows.
This album and tour is pulling great features in for the ride. The sixth track, The Kindest Hour, features RX Bandits front man Matthew Embree with echoing vocals. The bass and strings are almost much to be admired, and had me wonder if it was in fact stand-up bass in this track.
My favorite track is Be Brave Go On. With accordions, Juan’s hypnotizing bass line, and odd timing, it was a no brainer. The lyrics are very relevant to this particular moment in my life, so those are automatic points in the book. The breakdown toward the end of the song carries the powerful mantra “Be brave and thankful all the way on, all the way, all the brave go on”, coupled with sharp synth to close out the song.
Big Sir has the ability to demand attention, while also being ambient and warming the mind from behind the eyes. The album releases on February 7th, and the small Los Angles tour before their European tour starts soon, so check out the dates, and join us.
Last time, Matt Embree and Cedric Bixler-Zavala came through, and Chris Tsagakis is a for sure guest this time around, so who knows what may happen. ~Flak
PREFIX Track Premiere: "The Kindest Hour" by Big Sir
"The Kindest Hour" will appear right at the halfway mark on Big Sir’s upcoming 11-track album, Before Gardens After Gardens, which makes me think it could be an important transitional song. Singer/composer Lisa Papineau (Air, M83) and bassist/composer Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta, Racer X) create this pretty, eerie (also pretty eerie) tune with help from Heather Lockie and her moody viola playing, which is contrasted by Alderete’s smooth, clean bass. Also featuring Cedric Bixler Zavala (The Mars Volta) on drums and Matthew Embree (RX Bandits) on guest vocals.
Although subdued, Papineau’s melodic singing is of major note here, as it adds dimension to her partner’s muscle and, overall, fills out the otherwise sparse music. The voice and the instrument meet up here and there, eventually creating a watershed of sound that boils over as if you turned the stove off a second too late. The result is something like a cathartic overflow of warmth—thanks, in part, to the blanketing organ—ultimately faced with an icy wash of male-female vocals. “Hour,” which you can stream below, is a compelling audio embodiment of feelings that could be as strongly expressed visually as they are here. Big Sir’s Before Gardens After Gardens will be available Feb. 7 on Rodriguez Lopez Productions/Sargent House.
Bowlegs Album Review: Big Sir's Before Gardens After Gardens
Big Sir’s third record is a twitchy creature at heart. Smooth trails of melody are stirred up with a flickering set of rhythms, soft synth lines and various guises of bass guitar. The duo – Lisa Papineau, and The Mars Volta bassist Juan Alderete – continually tweak their output, playing with elements of soul, funk and even the odd foray into drum and bass BPMs.
Regions opens the album with a funked, sliding bass-line and clap-happy backbeat. Papineau’s vocal breathes intimately across the sparse backing – synths fill the glacial atmosphere. The minimal approach is nothing new, but Big Sir have enough creativity to remain listenable. So where some songs might fail to connect in an emotional capacity (the looping break that is Ready on the Line is of little interest), there are tracks like Old Blood which find new territory in distorted guitars and a gutsier approach.
Be Brave Go On has Alderte on full funk mode, his bass slapping (in a thoughtful manner) while Papineua displays her ethereal and hushed intonation. It doesn’t really go anywhere, but as the title line is repeated with more and more intent it becomes a strange highlight. It’s followed with Our Pleasant Home, the live drum sound and electronic strings becoming a hypnotic canvas for the Papineau to display her falsetto edge.
Big Sir have probably made their best record yet in Before Gardens After Gardens, trickling icy soul and fiddly patterns into the mix, all making for a set well worth a listen.
Sound Colour Vibration Interview: Lisa & Juan about Big Sir
An interview is one of the most authentic and honest windows into the hearts and minds of the artists and musicians we’ve come to admire. And, in this particular case… an added dose of humility. Logistics and self-deprecating humor aside, there is no better approach towards familiarizing yourself with the music you know and love, than by speaking with the musicians who have created the compositions that their fans have come to hold dear to their hearts. Throughout the years Lisa Papineau and Juan Alderete of Big Sir have created a fan base dedicated to the evolution of their multifaceted sound.
With the two having such a diverse creative output that extends far outside of their album releases, Lisa and Juan always seem to give the time needed to Big Sir for stages of growth in the bands legacy to continue and 2012 marks the next cycle. The ethereally haunting vocal and synth work of Lisa Papineau along with the sea of effects bassist of The Mars Volta Juan Alderete utilizes combine for a compositional mastery in which the sum is greater than the parts. With this Los Angeles dynamic duo’s third full length album, Before Gardens After Gardens, set to release on February 7th of this year via Rodriguez Lopez Productions / Sargent House, Big Sir has created an authentic and diverse harmonious experience bound to have you yearning for more. When we received the album from Sargent House and dove in together, it felt like love at first sight.
Sound Colour Vibration was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to speak with Big Sir and get a firsthand look at the creative dynamic behind this band and their insight regarding a shared passion for music enriched with Los Angeles tradition, trust and mutual respect for one another, the influence of fearless whip-cracking manager and Sargent House matriarch, Cathy Pellow, creative contributions and unique signature musicality of fellow artists, and the strong camaraderie setting the foundation for their beautifully cultivated sound. Ladies and Gentlemen… It’s our pleasure to present to you Sound Colour Vibration’s exclusive interview with LA band, Big Sir.
The Pop Stereo Reviews: Big Sir's Before Gardens After Gardens
Big Sir isn’t as big as Big Sur…but they could be. This dynamic duo made up of Lisa Papineau and Juan Alderete (of The Mars Volta) has explored a stunning amount of sounds and textures using both electronic and analog beats over their three album career. Their latest album, Before Gardens After Gardens is no different and continues this tradition of audio exploration.
Sounding a bit like Sarah McLachlan if she went totally electronic, Big Sir creates songs that while danceable are undoubtedly haunting and intimate. Taking electro into nearly ethereal directions Before Gardens After Gardens is a chilled out, beautiful record that soars on the voice of Papineau and floats along on the beats created by Alderete. For a band that creates songs via laptops and the internet, Big Sir have created an album that sounds so rich, so produced, and so texturally intense that it sounds like a million dollars. Chalk it up to technology or their songwriting ability it doesn’t matter, Before Gardens After Gardens remains a brilliant record.
After twelve years of working together and two previous albums Big Sir have so completely jelled as a band that their ability to write songs as good as they are is like second nature to them. Before Gardens After Gardens is a strong effort that’s as radiant and ravishing as it is memorable and unearthly. Filled with chilled out grooves and heavenly vocals this is the soundtrack to the afterlife on a rainy day and it’s awesome.
Before Gardens After Gardens’ first single “Ready on the Line” spikes Papineau’s exquisitely harmonized Bjorkian voice with whistles, chimes, and mechanical claps. The subtle background heartbeats, reminiscent of Timbaland’s early work with Aaliyah, anchor the buoyant track, which otherwise threatens to float away on Papineau’s upper range, especially when she screams, “Get so high!” Stream it or download it below.
Before Gardens After Gardens is out February 7th on Rodriguez Lopez Productions / Sargent House. The album also features contributions by The Mars Volta’s Cedric Bixler-Zavala, RX Bandits’ Matthew Embree, bassist Jonathan Hischke, and Beastie Boys producer “Money” Mark Ramos-Nishita.
Last night was a very different kind of concert experience for me. In the quiet streets of late night Silverlake, we found ourselves at the Bootleg Theater. The reason? The first tour of the mighty Big Sir.
Started by Lisa Papineau and Juan Alderete (bassist for The Mars Volta) a few years ago, they had yet to ever nationally tour until this week. Joining them for the live show were Jonathan Hischke (bassist of Le Butcherettes) Matt Embree (of RX Bandits) and yes, even Cedric Bixler-Zavala (of The Mars Volta).
Sargent House / RLP Presents May We Introduce You To Big Sir Free Album DL All Weekend
Big Sir is Lisa Papineau and Juan Alderete. After a five year wait Big Sir have just finished their 3rd album and it will be coming out on RLP / SH in January 2012 with a lot of great special guest players including Cedric Bixler Xavala on drums. We have already been talking a lot about Lisa and Juan’s other projects; Sargent House put out Lisa Papineau’s solo album Red Trees in 2010 and is releasing the new EP she just did with our own Matthew Embree under the moniker ME&LP entitled Chez Raymond on August 9, 2011. Juan plays bass in The Mars Volta, as well as in the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group and Vato Negro. So we figured it was time to start talking about their new Big Sir album and to introduce to you this music if you are not familiar already. So we will be giving away for FREE Download their last album entitled Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer all weekend, just enter your email address - we won’t spam you and you can unsubscribe anytime if you don’t want any further news from Big Sir. Enjoy and share it with friends! - Sargent House / Rodriguez Lopez Productions.
Lisa Papineau is one of our favorite singers and musicians at Sound Colour Vibration and we are very excited to bring this interview to our site. She was born in New England and is a current resident of Paris, France. Lisa has released two full length solo records, two records with her project Big Sir that includes The Mars Volta bassist Juan Alderete de la Peña, soundtrack scores and so much more. Now with a new Big Sir album completed and awaiting release along with a new project with RX Bandits guitarist and singer Matt Embree, she has created a legacy of music that is already showing its timeless nature. We contacted her to get some info on these various new projects and these are the results, enjoy! ~ by Erik Otis
You are releasing an EP this July through Sargent House with singer and guitarist of RX-Bandits, Matt Embree. What brought you guys together for a release and where was the EP recorded at?
Lisa Papineau & Jun Miyake Co-Write Track for Wim Wenders Film
Lisa Papineau co wrote a song with Jun Miyake called “The Here And After” which will be in the Wim Wenders film called Pina about the late, great German Choreographer, Pina Bausch. The movie will be out in February through Warner Brothers. This is not the first collaboration Lisa has had with Miyake below is a clip of them performing together at a Pina Bausch Tribute concert in Paris last November.
Lisa Papineau performs “Rainmaker” a new song with Chris Tsagakis aka Technology on drums and Michael Morgan also on drums. We truly only got one take of this one and then we got shut down because it was loud. Lisa wanted to shoot at night and after the Fang Island glassroom well let’s just say my neighbors hate me. The shut down did at least bring about one of my favorite sessions of Lisa stripped down, almost a whisper performing “Sorry I Can’t English" if you missed that one check it out below.
You can Pre Order Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s Cizaña De Los Amores on CD or Vinyl from the USA now. Or just listen for free and or download in any file size you like HERE . Will be released in Europe on October 18th, 2010 on RLP via Koncurrent. Featuring vocals from both Lisa Papineau on tracks 1 & 7 and Ximena Sarinana Rivera on tracks 2,3,4,5 & 6. And Juan Alderete de la Pena on Bass on all the tracks. Out now on Rodriguez Lopez Productions.
Cizaña De Los Amores was recorded at Clouds Hill Studios, Hamburg, Germany by Lars Stalfors and Omar Rodriguez Lopez.
Singer/Composer Lisa Papineau is best known for her work with Tyler Bates in Pet and Big Sir with bassist Juan Alderete of The Mars Volta. But those aren’t her only projects; she has contributed vocals to Air, M83 and many others, as well as produced her own solo albums. Her most recent of which is Red Trees, released on Sargent House May 5th. She is exceptionally prolific! Lucky for me I received a press release that included a link to an mp3 of the single, White Leather Pants, otherwise I might have missed out.
Papineau is an inspiring artist who doesn’t let her battle with multiple sclerosis get in the way of her work. In fact, at the time this interview occurred (mid-May) she had just released Red Trees, was performing some dates in France and then was back in the recording studio making even more music.
Reading that fateful press release I got a picture of an adventurous woman with vast reserves of creative energy. Since I admire people who aren’t afraid to pick up and move to different states, or in her case, countries, I wanted to ask her about that experience and how she manages to be as prolific as she has been. Though she was in the middle of promoting her new release, and recording even more music, she took some time to answer my questions via email.
Big Sir will be playing it’s first show in Los Angeles in what feels like forever. We will be joining RX Bandits on one of their three full album shows, on Sunday, September 26th, 2010 at the Troubadour in Hollywood. Big Sir will be playing some of our new songs along with some of the old.. We hope to see you all there but definitely buy tickets in advance this show will be sold out well before the day of show.
4. Lisa Papineau – ‘White Leather Pants’ Leading lady of LA band Big Sir, Papineau has also worked with other acts like M83, Air and P.O.D. – but we’re loving her solo stuff. ‘White Leather Pants’ (from her album ‘Red Trees’) is one sexy song – while background vocals are singing “chicka boom, chicka boom”, her airy vocals swirl around, closing out in a whisper.