For the most updated sonic bids FHR profile . . . go to http://www.sonicbids.com/frenchhornrebellion
Robert Perlick Molinari - Lead Vocals, Programming, Keys
David Perlick Molinari - Vocals, Programming, Keys
How 2 brothers merged synth, symphony and catchy hooks to launch the French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
Bill Barnewitz won't tutor just anyone. As the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's principal French ho...Bill Barnewitz won't tutor just anyone.
As the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra's principal French horn player, he can afford to scrutinize whom he mentors. He'll simply refuse to teach anyone he doesn't think can keep up.
He's especially skeptical of high school students. "I'm loath to take anyone," he said, "but really exceptional kids."
Robert Perlick-Molinari was that exception. At the time, he was Barnewitz's sole high school project.
It certainly wasn't the Homestead High School junior's eager attitude that impressed Barnewitz. Quite the contrary. Barnewitz called him The Dude, after the protagonist in "The Big Lebowski."
"He's got low blood pressure," Barnewitz said. "Sometimes it's frustrating because he's so laid back, I wonder if he's dead and just hasn't fallen over yet."
Or maybe he put up the front because the French horn isn't exactly the coolest instrument for a teenager.
But Robert's innate musical skills shone through the hipster exterior when he played. After growing up in a musical family, he had ability far unlike others his age. Barnewitz witnessed that gift grow.
"I had to chew him out a couple of times to get him going," Barnewitz remembers. "When he responded well to that, I could see that he was really interested. He really got going nicely in his senior year."
Barnewitz just had no clue where his student would go with that talent.
A mix of chain-smoking 20-somethings and more mature adults watch a Thanksgiving show at the Points East Pub.
Some are family of David and Robert Perlick-Molinari, the brothers behind French Horn Rebellion. Their older brother, TJ, a local attorney, fills in as a guest on bass.
Robert and David wear '80s-style headbands and tight jeans as they work the keyboard and two MacBooks. They bob and dance like they're sweating to the oldies. It is, as they describe, retro-futuristic. It's also insanely infectious.
The standout track on French Horn Rebellion's self-titled debut album is "Up All Night," which sounds like a collaboration between Daft Punk and the Strokes. There are lots of bloops and bleeps - and an ultra-catchy hook - over cool vocals. It demands repeated plays.
French Horn Rebellion is also probably the only band to play a Brew City bar with an instrument used by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.
"It makes one of the most beautiful sounds I know," Robert says about his horn, a rare Geyer model from the 1950s.
A tale of two musicians
After high school, Robert was given a partial music scholarship to Northwestern University. It didn't take long for him to excel. His sophomore year, he became the principal French horn player in the school's prestigious orchestra.
But junior year, he fell to fourth chair. He was spread thin with his stringent schedule of pre-med academics, his fraternity responsibilities and other non-classical music interests. He founded French Horn Rebellion to create a modern outlet for classical music, whose traditional audience is shrinking.
He became a French horn rebel.
"I'm sure he had some explaining around the house about his new interests," Barnewitz said. "He's got a very conservative classical-oriented mom and pop."
"My French horn skills suffered," Robert said. "They thought I was off in the rock and roll."
Meanwhile, his brother David was building a name in a wholly different musical realm. After earning a New York University degree in music theory and composition, he moved to the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn. ("It's much cooler than Williamsburg," he said.)
Growing up, David studied bassoon and composition with the now-retired Milwaukee Symphony principal bassoonist. But his real love was sound design, musical composition and arrangement. In high school, he composed an entire score for "Romeo and Juliet."
He now performs in groups that are all over the musical spectrum, including the darkly ambient SpaceShuttle Earth, the shoegazing Dust Bunnies and the funky electronic Savoir Adore, which signed to indie label Cantora Records.
Professionally, David has his own studio to create computer-driven scores for major commercial campaigns. His biggest clients have included McDonald's, General Electric, MTV, Mercedes-Benz and VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club."
Start of the Rebellion
One summer, Robert came to New York to live and work with his brother. They merged their respective talents into a completely different entity. French Horn Rebellion was reborn as a brotherly duo.
They each respected modern equipment's ability to create - and in some cases replace - complex sights and sounds that were once the realm of large-scale symphonies. But they also believed in crafting something that required a human touch, more than just pressing a button to produce a synthetic noise.
"We didn't want to lose the specific nature of people coming together and playing together," Robert said.
The tone of the band was also inspired by an unlikely source: the retro-futuristic international tunnel at O'Hare International Airport. It fit the band's mind-set, which Robert described as "frustration, nostalgia, love and hate."
"We're using the tools we hate to create something we love," David said. "We're living the epitome of what we don't like."
"There's a sense of mystery," Robert added. "Who's the musician? Is it the technology or the people?"
When they take the stage, they seem to be both performers and audience members, as they hit buttons on their keyboards and move to songs like "The Body Electric."
"It's like a constant battle between us and the technology," David said. "We can't even tell what's going on sometimes."
Or maybe they have to put up that front because the French horn isn't exactly the coolest instrument for 20-somethings.
But the biggest cheer of the night comes when Robert breaks out the French horn for a solo. It suddenly reveals the talent that's behind the layers of performance art.
Once again, innate musical skills shine through the hipster exterior.
Now in his senior year at Northwestern, Robert has learned to balance the French horn with his other interests. He regained the principal French horn chair.
With Robert in Evanston, Ill., and David in New York, they play shows when they can get French Horn Rebellion together. They have one coming up at Mad Planet on Jan. 26.
Barnewitz is also still tutoring Robert.
"He's maturing physically as a horn player," he says. "He gets it."
He approves of his student's new direction, wherever that takes him.
"He's one of those guys who can do anything he wants," he said. "If he goes into the pop music world, he'll be a success. If he goes into the classical world, he'll be a success. If he wants to be a brain surgeon, he'll be a success. He has the energy and intellect. But he'll always have the music, no matter what he does."
French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
Working for a newspaper as an entertainment writer has it’s perks - lots of free CD’s, books and occ...Working for a newspaper as an entertainment writer has it’s perks - lots of free CD’s, books and occasionally free event tickets. But in this mess of promo material the Marquee desk receives, the bulk of it is really trash. However, there is sometimes a nice surprise I find while sorting through the piles of junk.
Recently I had the chance to really sit down and listen to one of the CD’s we got at the Marquee desk by a band called the French Horn Rebellion. I was pleasantly surprised by the college-age band’s self titled gem. I was impressed. The album boasts an almost Brian Eno like production that blew me away for a real indie band. Although the band’s name may be deceptive, French Horns play very limited roll in the band’s music.
Right on the opening track “Up All Night,” the band kicks it with synth pop melodies layered over Krafwerkesque electronic rhythms. French Horns can be heard slightly on some tracks, but dance happy electronic music is FHR’s trade.
The band jams out on its synthesizers and electronic drums on “Get Into It” but also keeps it rocking with a real drum set and more rock driven rhythms. The electronic music of French Horn Rebellion’s self titled never felt repeated, but fresh thanks to this.
I can’t help but wonder as to what the future holds for a young band like French Horn Rebellion when it releases a beautifully polished and catchy CD while still attending college. I highly suggest it.
French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
Forget the fact their name sounds like a classical music experiment gone awry. Or that the tunes the...Forget the fact their name sounds like a classical music experiment gone awry. Or that the tunes themselves - all giddy melodies and synthesized rhythms - sound like a K-Tel collection of ‘80s chart-toppers. French Horn Rebellion come across like a band that’s having a heck of a good time, especially since their fondness for electro-pop kingpins like Depeche Mode and Yazoo appears all too obvious.
Indeed, the group operates as if they’re in retro replay some twenty years removed, thanks to a reliance on perky tempos and washes of electronic effects verging on disco dalliance. It’s a sound that’s either infectious or irritating, depending on how far one’s able to tolerate such stylized posturing. Nevertheless, the album yields at least three exceptional highlights -- its sprawling signature song, “French Horn Rebellion”; a memorable “Showdown”; and “Up All Night,” a catchy, kinetic pop anthem that provides the album with an instantly engaging introduction.
It’s doubtful anyone will mistake French Horn Rebellion’s clever devices for actual pop profundity. Mostly their music comes across as surface sheen without a real pliable essence. However, as a guilty pleasure, it’s hard to find fault.
--Lee Zimmerman [March 28, 2008]
LIVE! Stars, French Horn Rebellion at Norris East Lawn for One Voice
[+ Show ]
I arrive thirty minutes past three, and French Horn Rebellion is doing a sound check. The sun shines...I arrive thirty minutes past three, and French Horn Rebellion is doing a sound check. The sun shines, the air is cool and crisp. A platform has been set up on the east lawn of Norris — a bulwark of speakers, black structural piping and an elaborate light system.
French Horn Rebellion genuinely surprises me. For some reason, I thought I didn’t like FHR, but I now think that’s because I hadn’t heard them before. The beat behind every song is juicy and fat, something you could sink your teeth into, drunk and sweating on a dance floor. The melodies are sunny and light, too. A lot of “electronic” bands could certainly never survive the harsh light of day, but the band seems to welcome to outdoor atmosphere. With a nod to 420, the band asks if people want to be taken to another place, and tell the audience that the next song, “takes you to an island in the Pacific Ocean, with steely sailors.” Charged with a cheerful energy, the band seems to enjoy the weather just as much as the audience. A couple of songs in, the vocalist (I’m guessing Music senior Robert Perlick-Molinari from the information on French Horn Rebellion’s contraption-filled website) takes to the field during an extended jam, catching hi-fives from fans and generally frolicking. One Voice shirts get tossed out liberally, and no one hides behind their instruments. There are a few abortive attempts at dancing by a few girls in bug-eye sunglasses who finally succumb to embarrassment. Girls, I was rooting for you to keep dancing.
Man on the beat: French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
French Horn Rebellion will play at Battle of the Bands tonight. Their self-titled debut album is ava...French Horn Rebellion will play at Battle of the Bands tonight. Their self-titled debut album is available on MySpace and iTunes.
How would you describe your band's music?
Electro-disco-dance-rock-pop. Electro because it is like Justice digitalism, disco because we sometimes use older sounds, dance because it is dance-y, rock and pop because we do more than just beats.
Do you use any pre-recorded sounds in your shows?
Yeah we do, and that's what I like to think of as part of the mystery of the live show. It's kind of like a battle between the computer and the humans, and the audience doesn't always know which is going on at a certain time. Sometimes, we don't even know what's going on; it's really a battle between machines and people.
Do you think that computers or humans will ultimately win?
I don't know. That's the big mystery. At our shows we just try to mix the computer-generated sounds and the live music we are making, and the fun is in the mystery of that interaction.
I know you sing and play keyboard and synthesizer, but do you play French horn in the band?
Yeah, I do sometimes. I actually started the band because I was frustrated with the opportunities for French horn players out there, so I wrote some pop songs about that frustration and wanted some new outlets for my musical training. You know, as a horn player, everyone practices the same thing over and over again and gets really good, but most people will never be able to play in a symphony orchestra or anything like that.
So there's no hope for people in music school?
Well I mean, that's why I created the band. The music is so happy and peppy-sounding. But in actuality it's about a French horn player who couldn't do what he really wanted to do. But I do really like playing in the band, so it's kind of a tragic paradox.
Any new albums coming up?
Yeah, it's called From Antarctica to Planet EB1-5000. That's the working title right now. We might call it Part 1. We tried to create this fantastical journey through the music and lyrics throughout the album. We wanted to be post-reality TV, post-realist, by exploring this fantasy world we created through our music.
Artist Driven : French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
FRENCH HORN REBELLION PICTURE THIS David Perlick Molinari says: This picture reminds me of the sc...FRENCH HORN REBELLION
David Perlick Molinari says:
This picture reminds me of the scene in the original Batman movie where Jack Nicholson and his goons rudely paint over all the most famous pieces of art while listening to Prince. I remember when I first saw that scene a while back -- I must have been in grade school. It really irked me. These beautiful pieces of our history were being destroyed by bad guys. I remember feeling so uncomfortable . . . it just seemed so dark and despicable . . . Like I felt mad! Now, looking back, I find inspiration in the same thing that used to make me sick. Just dipping into, for a moment, the feelings I used to feel about that scene reminds me of who I am. The nostalgic breath so tickles me now that I laugh at it instead of cringing. I by no means condone the Joker's actions as a model of good behavior but I find myself cheering them along . . . take that, Renoir! My mom has a print of that painting hanging up in her dining room.
Robert Perlick Molinari says:
So here in this picture, we’ve got a grand ballroom, an archaic computer, and a horizontally inclined Greco-Roman statue of a man throwing a discus. For us right now, they all simply look a bit old. The whole thing looks like a huge retro blast coming out of the back of a speeding Delorean. Though they all are classified into the same ancient age group, each individual image was created hundreds of years apart from each other. They definitely want to make some image intercourse -- I can tell. They’ve never even seen each other until now. . .
So from our computer, in our studio, we have been able to combine all three of these images into this clashing cantabulous collage of art, music and dance so that they can mingle. What kind of love-fest will go on now that this is a possibility? I’m anticipating missiles and bombs of the disco/dance/classical/rock/pop/fake variety :)
This sounds good, right, but is it really actually good? What about all the French horn players that can’t create this kind of picture with their instrument? A musician that plays a single instrument is like one of these three items—probably closest to the European ballroom pic. In order to make a complete piece, they need to collaborate with others and form an orchestra or band.
Speaking from experience, I guess a French horn player would get upset. Maybe he would even slash things out with a big red marker. It looks like he’s frustrated . . . but really he just wants to dance.
We make music on a computer, perform with one at a dance hall, and people’s heads are turned upside down. Essentially, what we do at a show is like what’s going on in this picture. And we’re the French horn player. "
French Horn Rebellion’s Self-titled album is out now.
The French Horn Rebellion wants you to get you horny this Sunday. Seriously!
[+ Show ]
Make sure to get your Kanye stunnas on, because the machines are taking over Norris East Lawn this 4...Make sure to get your Kanye stunnas on, because the machines are taking over Norris East Lawn this 4/20. The electro-dance, Northwestern-student-featuring group French Horn Rebellion will be opening for Stars at a free benefit concert this Sunday to raise awareness of human trafficking. Some of the catchiest songs on their self-titled debut album, particularly “Up All Night” and “Broken Heart,” have already generated buzz on MTVu, and Niteskool produced their music video for “Showdown” in 2007. In the spirit of Passover (which is also happening on 4/20) I pose the question, “What makes this electro-dance group different from every other electro-dance group?” Upon first listening to the album you might recognize the Ghostland Observatory-style beats, Calvin Harris-esque vocals and some common themes of love and heartbreak. But this is not your typical love story.
“French Horn Rebellion” is the story of a classically trained French horn player flirting with the music industry. The concept is driven by front man Robert Perlick-Molinari’s own experience as a music major at Northwestern (he’s a senior). “[It’s about] the duality of a horn player, who usually makes music in orchestra, making this,” Robert says. “That’s not something a horn player should be doing.” The “tragic duality” that Robert refers to is reflected not only in the message, but also in the music. “It should be really fun, ‘cause it’s electronic and it’s really polished,” he says, “but it should be irritating because it’s like, ‘Where’s the musicians here?’ It’s a duality.”
Although much of the composition and recording happens in a one-room home studio, Robert and his brother David make it a point at concerts to produce the music live as much as they can, and DJ as little as possible. For Robert, it’s about connecting with the crowd through tight beats and stage presence. After previewing some of Robert’s onstage dance techniques — from one musician to another — he has my endorsement. Whether or not French Horn Rebellion’s audience is familiar with the story behind the horn player’s guilty flirtation, the songs are bumpin’ and catchy enough to inspire audiences to step out of their comfort zone and have a good time. “It’s about having fun, ultimately,” Robert says, “and by the end of the set, everybody’s dancing. It’s about making love.”
MP3s: French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
Back in July, I declared This Is Ivy League's "London Bridges" my 2008 summer jam -- light, cheerful...Back in July, I declared This Is Ivy League's "London Bridges" my 2008 summer jam -- light, cheerful and catchy. Thanks to the folks at TwentySeven Records, I was just sent a remix of the tune, produced by electronica newcomers, French Horn Rebellion. The remix synthesizes the original pop track into an '80s dance club beat, a style which defines these two brothers. After listening to a few of their original tracks (available above), it's clear these guys don't need the source material -- keep them on your radar. Tour dates under the cut.
French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
I don't really know where I stand on French Horn Rebellion yet. I'm usually a sucker for cute elect... I don't really know where I stand on French Horn Rebellion yet. I'm usually a sucker for cute electro-pop jams, and "Up All Night" certainly fits that description. It's even got a cute little video that's borderline cute-obnoxious. Therein lies my problem with French Horn Rebellion. It's almost cute overload, and I'm not talking about no interspecies snorgling. As a rule, I only allow cute electro-pop jams to last no more than 4 minutes (with some exceptions). Clocking in at 4:14, "Up All Night" is a rulebreaker. But it's so damn catchy that it may just be one of those exceptions.
French Horn Rebellion is a duo composed of brothers Robert and David Perlick-Molinari. Robert is majoring in French horn, which I didn't even realize people could major in. David produces shit in New York, notably MGMT's Time To Pretend EP. They're going on tour and all my NYC-heads should mark their calendars for September 12th @ Lit Lounge. Speaking of New York, they also did a remix of Brooklyn duo This Is Ivy League's "London Bridges", which may or may not be better than the original. I'll let you decide since I didn't put on my decision-face this morning.
Emerging: French Horn Rebellion
[+ Show ]
It's been threatening to rain like hell all day long in the city (a downpour already happened this m...It's been threatening to rain like hell all day long in the city (a downpour already happened this morning) and we are growing restless and tired of iffy weather.� Either rain or shut the fuck up and bring out the sun.� Sorry for that, but we figured there was no better way to intro this duo from Milwaukee's feel good, sweeter than grapefruit music than by making it indirectly obvious that The French Horn Rebellion is the antithesis to a shitty day.� There's simply no way to even conjure up negative thoughts while listening to these guys.� Don't even try it.� So get up off the couch, press play on this track, a remix of This Is Ivy League's "London Bridges", and give the finger to the nearest dark cloud.� That'll teach them.