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Ape School (Michael Johnson) - Ape School

Ape School
Ape School (Michael Johnson) - Ape School
(CD/LP/Download) Counter Records COUNT019/COUNTCD019/COUNTDNL019, 2009-06-15 (UK), 2009-04-28 (North America)

The wonderful and expansive Ape School album that Daedelus brought to Counter's welcome mat is finally unleashed. Made by Michael Johnson (ex-Lilys, ex-Holopaw, current Professor of Acousmatics), the self-titled Ape School debut is a newfangled lesson in glamatic pop, with a sweeping palate of sound conjured from archaic electronics, built on rock structures and instruments, and soared by MJ's distinctive croon (which you'll remember from Daedelus' "Make It So"). The album drops April 28 in North America. The vinyl LP contains an exclusive wax-only song called "Sigh Something", while the download bundle contains the digital exclusive "General Distraction". Ape School is released in the UK on 6th July.

Ape School
Ape School (Michael Johnson) - Ape School
(CD/LP/Download) Counter Records COUNT019/COUNTCD019/COUNTDNL019, 2009-06-15

Tracklisting :
01. Wail To God | Do download mp3
02. That's OK | YouTube Video
03. Did What I Did
04. My Intention
05. Be An Encore
06. It's Over
07. Caveman vs Canary
08. The Underground | Go download demo mp3
09. Deathstomp
10. Floridian Grime
11. Rip Together, Rip Apart
12. In Time You Are
13. No Shame
LP-only bonus track :
Sigh Something
Download-only bonus track :
General Distraction

Links :

Press Release :
A swamp-ape from panhandle Florida, Michael Johnson arrived in Philadelphia to teach music technology at a downtown arts university. There he made a discovery with which he would create the Ape School. Hidden away in a corner of the school was the fourth Moog Modular synthesizer that Robert Moog ever made, forty years earlier in 1965. Michael dusted it off, fixed it up, then set about recording songs which would go far beyond his prior tenures in Kurt Heasley's Lilys and SubPop's Holopaw. Michael used the Modular to weave lush motorik dreamsounds over dynamic instrumentation, topping the results with his distinct croon.

This second one-man-does-all album by Michael Johnson – the first to use his primate moniker – marries primitive songs with incorporeal sound: glamatic pop explorations navigated by studio light, coalesced over time, wine, fallouts, and Rundgren-style self-control. From thestart of "Wail to God", the tonal breadth and sonic fluidity of Ape School is clear. A song like "Did What I Did" flirts with pop sensibility, but delves into subtle feedback before it reaches repetition. Elsewhere, as on "My Intention" and "Deathstomp", Michael goes for full mechanical shredding, focused romps of analog rock glory, awash in system buzz. Other more spacious moments like "That’s OK", "It’s Over" and "The Underground" reveal the songs' instrumental basis, and showcase more clearly the clever, eloquent lyrics of his elastic tenor.

Mixed in Jamaican Brooklyn with Michael Pecchio in a bath of reverb, delay, tape echo, smoke, mirrors, orange juice and cayenne pepper, Ape School has finally come together. An album initially intended for release by co-conspirator Alfred "Daedelus" Darlington has found a home at Ninja Tune's Counter Records, upon graduation from Primate U.

With a band of student musicians rescued from the confines of musical education, Ape School has opened its doors to limited faculty enrollment. Composed of previous cohorts in Lilys, Holopaw, Human Television, and beyond, the live Ape School incarnation takes one monkey’s creations on summer vacation to civilization. Evidently basted nightly.

Biography :
Born in the late 1970s on an unfathomably snowy night in Miami, Michael Johnson began life somewhat auspiciously. Transplanted to rural panhandle Florida at a young age and later exiled to inland Gainesville as a teen, Michael was lucky to not get sucked into the world of baseball and 4-wheel drive, sinking instead into fascination with circus psych, Trumans Water tribute and Alt-Something or other.

Michael signed to Sub Pop with fellow Floridians Holopaw in 2002, recorded with Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Caifone), toured with Iron and Wine and Fruit Bats, and developed an entirely unhealthy method of making music, dubbed "wino-synthesis".

In 2003, locked safely away in a back room in Pensacola, Florida, Michael completed his first solo release, Nonsense Goes Mudslide, for Must!Delicious Recordings. Nobody noticed its primitively ambitious, sprawling but touching collision of acoustics, electronics, vocals, layers, space, and frenetics.

Transplanted to Philadelphia in 2003, Michael squandered time and money on his mid-twenties until eventually lucking into a job at a music university replete with arcane wall-tall analog synthesizers and hirsute student body.

Michael persuaded Holopaw to record their second full Length Quit +/or Fight in a modular box in Brooklyn, NY, aided by the mastery of Michael Pecchio. Electing at first to fight, Holopaw embarked on a tour for which Michael insisted Daedelus support as opening dandy, and later return the favour.

Leaving Holopaw shortly thenafter, Michael began simultaneously smashing toms for Philly funnyman Kurt Vile, playing with Floridian chums Human Television, and entering into unholy union with Kurt Heasley and his Lilys. Rapidly gaining knowledge of what to do and not do, Michael Johnson joined Lilys on album (Everything Wrong is Imaginary) and tour, shared stages with countless lovely individuals, and returned finally to his lonesome guitar and delay.

Providing refuge for a wayfaring Daedelus in 2007, ideas were exchanged. Michael supplied guitars, synths and disembodied vocals for Daedelus's Love To Make Music To, released to acclaim in 2008; Daedelus provided a viable outlet for Michael's then yet-to-be recorded opus, which would soon share his collaborator's home of Ninja Tune, on its Counter Records imprint.

Alone in a university studio in the summer of 2007, as professor and head technology monkey, Michael conjured his second solo release recording as Ape School, also titling it Ape School, a more cohesive, dramatic and accidentally lyrical love affair between machines and, less so, American whitey. Again with the help of Michael Pecchio as head research mixologist, Ape School has become reality. With a live band now featuring members of the aforementioned Lilys, Holopaw and Human Television, Ape School is purging alumni and accepting new enrollment.


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Poubelleboy Poubelleboy ·  31 March 2009, 21:19

Pour les impatients, l'album est en streaming par là:

JOhnsonbananas JOhnsonbananas ·  16 July 2009, 00:47

Ape School "That's OK" Video Here:

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