Autograf—the name itself conjures up images of flashing lights and a red carpet. The Chicago trio is at it again with their latest release “Metaphysical”, which is also the name of their headlining tour beginning this month. The second in their latest string of releases features perfectly powerful vocals, full of soul, from Janelle Kroll.
“Metaphysical” opens almost like a passage through time, slowly building with staccato’d strings and luscious piano until Autograf’s signature vibraphone sound takes over. When the beat drops, the listener is enveloped by classic Chicago-house bass grooves beneath a polyrhythmic jungle of carefully constructed vibraphonic chaos. Kroll’s vocals flow effortlessly with the song’s swung syncopation, one of house music’s defining characteristics. “Metaphysical” is an all around feel-good track with a powerful message of love—and how it can show up anywhere if one learns to let go of their stereotypes.
“Where do you love?” she sings. “It could be a subway. It could be a patio. It could be a best friend waiting in a terminal.”
According to the band’s press release, the album art for “…‘Metaphysical’ features a surrealistic portrait of pop-icon Twiggy…” . Twiggy was a top teen icon and model in the 1960’s. The artwork itself shows a picture of the model with most of her face covered by an abstract collage of different designs and patterns. The covering of her face can be looked at as a representation of the facade that comes with being a model, as well as the general stereotypes people assume about one another. If one removes this facade, the real person is revealed, and THIS is what the band wants listeners to understand.
“Metaphysical” is Autograf’s second release of their latest series of releases, in which they combine their music with original, band-made art. It is beyond refreshing to see Autograf stray from the go-to world of graphic design, and begin making real, thought-provoking, hand-made art pieces. As a songwriter and producer myself, this inspires me to create more of my own physical art in correlation with my music.
The band will be taking to the stage all across the country this winter and spring for their “Metaphysical Tour.” One of the most distinguishing characteristics of Autograf, is their live set, and their signature use of the Vibraphone. It’s a powerful, rhythmic instrument that when combined with the hard hitting drums and bass of electronic music, is a recipe for moving your body. This tour will feature a brand new live setup for the group. As someone who frequents live music and concerts, seeing that Autograf plays real instruments is a refreshing change from the monotony of watching DJ’s que up their next track behind a podium.
One aspect that separates real musicians from this over-saturated market of “performers,” is the live instrumentation that so many performances are lacking. There is a physical disconnect between the audience when DJ’s spin versus when bands perform. I respect the artistry of a good DJ, but have noticed a significant difference between the audience at a full band performance and at a DJ set. The feeling is palpable. For as long as music has been around, there has been the musician. Only at this point in time are we seeing otherwise.
Autograf is clearly trying to do something more than just create great music. As popular as they are, the model they are now using to release singles will absolutely spark a light in their listeners worldwide — or as they put it, “…inspire others to create a better reality.”
Jan 22 – Groove Cruise – Miami, FL
Feb 05 – The Sett – Madison, WI
Feb 06 – Miramar Theatre – Milwaulkee, WI
Feb 10 – CATALYST – Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 11 – Soho Music Club – Santa Barbara, CA
Feb 12 – 1015 Folsom – San Fransisco, CA
Feb 13 – Exchange – Los Angeles, CA
Feb 17 – Q Nightclub – Seattle, WA
Feb 18 – M.I.A. – Vancouver, Canada
Feb 19 – Euphoria Nightclub – Portland, OR
Feb 20 – The Casbah – San Diego, CA
Feb 25 – U Street Music Hall – Washington, DC
Feb 26 – Concord – Chicago, IL
Feb 27 – Populux – Detroit, MI
Mar 04 – Coda – Toronto, CA
Mar 11 – BUKU 2016 – New Orleans, LA