Dawn People’s The Star Is Your Future is a studio collaboration between New York musicians Nick Forte and Peter Negroponte. The pair’s mutual disregard for musical categorization results in a genre-bending ride on the nine-track LP, which portrays their diverse backgrounds while maintaining a sense of accessibility, continuity, and purpose.
Both veterans of the underground experimental scene, the duo entered into the project preparing to make a serious racket. In time, their mutual appreciation for breezy 70’s jazz fusion, kraut rock, and library funk became apparent, setting the course for the sessions. In the summer of 2016, they started tracking live jams with drums and electronics at the Outlier Inn studio in upstate New York with engineer Josh Druckman. As the tracks took shape, Forte and Druckman arranged the material and Negroponte overdubbed guitar, synthesizer, bass, and percussion. Finally, the tracks were handed to Abe Seiferth for mixing and post production.
Dawn People’s dense, funky, and psychedelic music is the result of the wide range of musical influences of the collaborators. Nick Forte’s resume spans influential hardcore punk band Rorschach, post-punk outfit Beautiful Skin, and recent undergroundsensation Raspberry Bulbs. With Dawn People, Forte digs deep into his own childhood nostalgia: making mixtapes from the early NYC hip hop show “Rap Attack”, watching Christian Marclay experiment with vinyl on the TV show “Night Flight”, and his first musical instrument, the Casio SK1 sampler keyboard.
Peter Negroponte is a virtuosic drummer and guitarist whose influences are rooted in rock & roll, jazz, funk, fusion, and free improvisation. In reaction to his brief stint at the New England Conservatory, Negroponte sought to transcend what he felt to be an esoteric approach to making “experimental” music by forming the psychedelic-art-rock-noise-funk band Guerilla Toss. He has worked with an array of contemporary DIY labels such as Feeding Tube, NNA Tapes, Digitalis, and John Zorn’s Tzadik.
The sound of this LP harkens back to a time not too long ago, in the early - mid 90’s, with groups like Air, Cornelius, Stereolab, Tortoise, and Cibo Matto. All these artists combined a love of Krautrock & David Axelrod records into a lushly produced jigsaw puzzle of live instrumentation, editing, sampling, and immaculate production. It is a genre that Pitchfork’s Eric Harvey recently described as “recombinant pop”, which is applied to “adventurous, sample-driven and style-copping music”.
The Star Is Your Future shifts aesthetically and dramatically between sections and phrases, woozy in the best way and never unfocused. Together, Forte and Negroponte have cobbled together a dazzling scope of sonic elements to create something cohesive andmesmerizing – put on the record and get lost in the haze.
Tracklist: 1. Be Cool Tonight 2. Get Life 3. Inner Refuge 4. Never Be Afraid 5. Eurybath 6. Wishing Ring 7. Dawn People 8. Chew On Air 9. The Star Is Your Future
Back in print for the first time in 5 years, and if you ask me, not a minute too soon. As influential now as it was upon its original release in 2002, the first LP ever on DFA gets a remaster by Bob Weston and a new matte jacket.
San Francisco band Cold Beat make their DFA debut with Mother, a collection of ten pop transmissions from Earth, 2020.
Wound tight with an energy that ricochets from one song into the next, Mother was made while frontperson Hannah Lew (formerly of indie trio Grass Widow) was pregnant and considering the chaotic conditions of the world she was bringing a new human into. If we consider Mother an artistic style guide through space and time, the framework Cold Beat provide is overcast by design but focused in execution; locked-in drums and synths with choir-like melodies high above it all.
“I found myself trying to describe our earth to a new human who had never been here,” says Lew. “It was a bleak year to be pregnant, but I was simultaneously filled with so much love and hope at the same time. I remember feeling a sense of wanting to show my whole range of self to this new person I was about to meet. In past albums, I sometimes held my artistic self in an ethereal place, but I found myself wanting to be very much on this earth and grounded during the creation of this record.”
The A-side of Mother presents the facts as we perceive them, while the B-side accelerates into the uncertain. Each of thefirst five track titles is one evocative word: the synths on “Prism” slide against the motorik guitar riffs and the plaintive saxophone on “Paper” casts the Leonard Cohen-esque melody in a melancholy shadow; “Gloves” is a real mood, all drive. Everything begins to unfurl from there. “Will it be over if there’s no sound?” Lew wonders on album standout “Double Sided Mirror,” and then ruminates, “it won’t be long until you find me in the beyond” on the more upbeat “Crimes.” The early architects of these sonic settings—Eurythmics, The Human League, Depeche Mode—act as touchstones and inspiration.
One of the most prescient things Mother teaches is that existence will not be, and has not ever been, a solitary experience. “It's really the first album where the project felt more like a band,” Lew says. “In a lot of ways, it feels like our first album.” And though four LPs (released on Dark Entries and Lew’s own label Crime On The Moon) precede this one, Mother is Cold Beat at their most concentrated and crystalline. It’s an honest, forgiving, and ultimately optimistic team effort from a band busy being born, re-born and giving life