Friday, October 30, 2009

Alaska in Winter returns to the states JUST in time to play FUN FUN FUN Fest on 11.8! Download DJ Set from Icelandic Airwaves!

Hot on the heels of a stellar performance at this years Icelandic Airwaves,
Brandon Bethancourt is to perform as Alaska In Winter at Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin
Sunday, Nov. 8th on the Blue Stage at 3:05PM
This will be the first Alaska in Winter performance in the US since this years SXSW

Check out his live DJ Set from Icelandic Airwaves HERE!

Press HEARTS Holiday!
Pitchfork - 7.8
“Holiday would be a fine album at any moment, but it seems especially timely right now. Let's take a quick inventory: The contours are stark and sleek, and it burns with a weirdly cold heat. The production is elaborate in a streamlined way, the melodies infectious. A sentimental digi-crooner is orbited by hums and blips, as if rendering your voice and music robotic gives you carte blanche to be messily human, even maudlin. Sound familiar? Suddenly, and just in time for the holidays, it's as if indie pop fans immune to the charms of Kanye West have an 808's and Heartbreak of their very own.

Spin - Artist of the Day
“Globetrotting, laptop-totting electro-nerd melds experiences on excellent new album...”
:What? Not only is Alaska in Winter more deserving of the title "maverick" than its eponymous state's governor, the electronic project is also far more versed in foreign policy. Dance Party in the Balkans, the group's 2007 debut, married robotic cadence with traditional Eastern European tones, fleshed out by dramatic strings and emotive vocals from frontman/Grand Poobah Brandon Bethancourt. This month's follow-up, Holiday, takes a trip to Berlin -- and in AIW's Germany, life is a cabaret.”

All Music Guide:
“An artist who uses autotune, cheap-sounding rhythm machines, and multi-part song formats as profligately as {Brandon Bethancourt} does is just begging you to hate him. So it's pleasantly frustrating, on the second {Alaska in Winter} album, to find it so utterly impossible to do so.”

"....far-flung variety of forms into chilly, beat-oriented, downtempo hymns: amorous Balkan strings, the melismatic vocal tapestries of classical Arabian music (often so gently vocoder-kissed as to sound more spectral than robotic), icily splintered piano loops (which are actually played live), skittering hip-hop percussion (ditto), and soaringly simple indie pop melodies obscured in an atmospheric haze."

"Sounds like: Ratatat meets robotic Balkan natives.

Who is Alaska in Winter!
Alaska In Winter began when art student, Brandon Bethancourt spent a semester writing and recording music in an isolated cabin on the south coast of Alaska. Upon arrival back in New Mexico, he teamed up with Zach Condon of Beirut, Heather Trost of A Hawk And A Hacksaw and other friends, and thus began work on the album Dance Party In The Balkans. This debut release was released by Milan Records in July 2007 in the US after a release in the UK by Regular Beat a few months earlier.

After his critically acclaimed debut release, Bethancourt decided to quit his job, move out of his house and relocate to Berlin, Germany – a city he had been to before and had always dreamed of living in. He has spent the past 6 months writing and recording this upcoming release Holiday and begins his tour of Europe in late September.
Holiday was released on Milan Records on November 18, 2008.

Bethancourt takes much of his influence from his early years of growing up in the American South West, immersed in the musical low-rider culture of Santa Fe, New Mexico, as well as a slight Arabian influence on the part of his parents and their Byzantine church music. He combines these traditional sounds with programmed beats and use of the vocoder among other new technologies and techniques.

Because Bethancourt is the sole member of Alaska in Winter and does not read or write music, he uses multi-track recording to build his musical layers, using a variety of techniques. “For Holiday, I recorded everything in my living room on a laptop and an old micro cassette tape recorder and used a German ghetto blaster as my monitor speakers. The only things I brought with me to Europe were my Powerbook laptop, an effects processor, a small midi keyboard, a microphone, and the hand held micro cassette tape recorder,” he explains. “Because I didn't actually have any instruments with me (aside from the elements I recorded before I came to Europe), the album turned out very electronic, very synthy as those were the only tools I had.”

In comparing how Holiday differs from Dance Party in the Balkans, Bethancourt explains, “I've definitely been influenced by Berlin on this album - much more electronic than the last, heavily based on synths, bass, and dancier drums and with hints of minimal house elements creeping in ever so slightly. Even within the album itself I can hear a progression of the Berlin electronic music scene influencing me more and more with the amount of time I spent here. The Berlin techno parties and all night dance marathons were big inspirations for me.

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