Abe
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Abe

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ABE.
7TH APRIL.
BUNGALOWS AND BEARS.

REVIEWER - CHARLOTTE TANNER.

The Sheffield-based collective Abe sum up their music in five words - textural, under-produced, whirring, hypnotic and tropical. Abe is made up of brothers Tom and Oli Rogers and Matt Clubbs Coldron, who they have known since they were kids. Their music is a combination of samples and live experimentation, all altered and put into a new context to create new meaning.

I spoke to the band before their sound check. It was refreshing to see that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously, yet performing live is something they are very serious about.

The set up on stage consists of each member being hooked up to a laptop to trigger samples. Tom is not your average drummer because there is no drum kit. Instead he is accompanied by a Roland Octapad percussion controller, a floor tom, a cymbal and a midi keyboard to create beats. Oli plays samples and adds acoustics to tracks with the use of live percussion. Matt plays piano chords whilst his vocals are intertwined among the layers of sound each member is individually creating. Each track often has a hidden process behind it and together they see themselves as a band rather than producers. It is clear from their performance that they place a lot of importance on putting on a show.

When I spoke to them they said ‘Danaë’ was their favourite to play live. With its yearning vocals and big beats, it has the workings of being the ‘pop’ song on their eponymous EP.

This band have many layers that they bring to life during their performance. Nothing is lost among the samples, sound effects and loops, reflecting Abe’s care and craftsmanship. Intros, interludes and alterations help to mix things up a little during the live set and add to the material presented on the EP. Although Abe owe a considerable debt to such greats as Prince, Animal Collective and Tom Krell, their music is completely their own. - Now Then Magazine


ABE.
7TH APRIL.
BUNGALOWS AND BEARS.

REVIEWER - CHARLOTTE TANNER.

The Sheffield-based collective Abe sum up their music in five words - textural, under-produced, whirring, hypnotic and tropical. Abe is made up of brothers Tom and Oli Rogers and Matt Clubbs Coldron, who they have known since they were kids. Their music is a combination of samples and live experimentation, all altered and put into a new context to create new meaning.

I spoke to the band before their sound check. It was refreshing to see that these guys don’t take themselves too seriously, yet performing live is something they are very serious about.

The set up on stage consists of each member being hooked up to a laptop to trigger samples. Tom is not your average drummer because there is no drum kit. Instead he is accompanied by a Roland Octapad percussion controller, a floor tom, a cymbal and a midi keyboard to create beats. Oli plays samples and adds acoustics to tracks with the use of live percussion. Matt plays piano chords whilst his vocals are intertwined among the layers of sound each member is individually creating. Each track often has a hidden process behind it and together they see themselves as a band rather than producers. It is clear from their performance that they place a lot of importance on putting on a show.

When I spoke to them they said ‘Danaë’ was their favourite to play live. With its yearning vocals and big beats, it has the workings of being the ‘pop’ song on their eponymous EP.

This band have many layers that they bring to life during their performance. Nothing is lost among the samples, sound effects and loops, reflecting Abe’s care and craftsmanship. Intros, interludes and alterations help to mix things up a little during the live set and add to the material presented on the EP. Although Abe owe a considerable debt to such greats as Prince, Animal Collective and Tom Krell, their music is completely their own. - Now Then Magazine


Is it wrong to irrationally dislike acts that have a laptop as their primary instrument? No? Good. First supports DreamGarden improve half way through their set, once a vocalist joins our lone laptop-user on stage, but in comparison to the brilliant Abe who follow, they falter in front of their miniscule audience.

Abe play their ambient electronica to a more receptive audience, helped not just by the later timeslot but also by their more accessible music. The trio are a little too absorbed in their respective equipment to pay much attention to their surroundings though – most notably the drummer, with his drum machine as opposed to a real kit, has a serious case of ‘concentration face’ going on.

In contrast, IS TROPICAL’s set is as much about the visuals as it is the thunderous sounds they create. They stick to an order vaguely reflective of their album, kicking off with the sublime ‘South Pacific’ which also begins Native To.

In their characteristic bandanas, the band strikes a formidable pose on the somewhat small stage of The Harley. The light show that starts as soon as they appear carries on for the duration of their set – flashing lights of white and red colour the room and come with headache-inducing potential. There is some respite in the surreal videos that adorn the ceiling every so often, playing strange swirls of colour that almost seem to throb in time to songs such as ‘Lies’ and the powerful, bass-heavy yet also kind-of sentimental ‘I’ll Take My Chances’.

Despite their slightly rebellious attire, they’re polite boys, saying “cheers” after nearly every song. Before launching into their biggest hit, ‘The Greeks’ as their penultimate song, drummer Dom Apa crosses his chest in a strangely religious moment.

Of course, the bandanas covering their face add to the rousingly militant sounds of ‘Seasick Mutiny’, whipping members of the crowd into dancing frenzy as cries of “Heave! Ho!” break through the electronic soundscape. Sadly, this signals the end of their set, and IS TROPICAL leave as abruptly as they came. Even more sadly, it seems patrons of The Harley are more concerned with the club night on afterwards, as people begin arriving shortly after, with no idea of the amazing gig they’ve missed. - Counterfelt Magazine


#96 – Tramlines Teaser Part II

If you’re eagerly anticipating Tramlines as much as we are, then you’ll no doubt have noticed there’s been some big hitting local legends added to the bill recently; Heaven 17, The Kate Jackson (of Long Blondes fame) Group and Steve Edwards are heading up a Sheffield showcase on the Friday evening. It’s a great showing of former Sheffield musical powerhouses, but what of the showing from Sheffield’s current talent pool? Acts more in tune with those born after the 80's? Well that’s where I thought I could be of use, I’d like to draw your attention to my favourite Sheffield band of this last year….

ABE

From the seven hills and matching a pair of muso brothers, a good friend and a host of electronic wizardry ABE make a noise distinctly different from the rest their local peers. I can only assume whilst their contemporaries were enjoying a certain romance with a popular band, from not too far afield, that the brothers Rogers were held under the spell of Animal Collective’s sixth studio album ‘Feels’ and were more than content to stay there. How they came across the work of Tare, Bear & Co in the first place I can’t be sure, but the diversity and vitality of Sheffield’s music scene thanks them for doing so. Taking cues and inspiration from the collective’s ethereal soundscapes, expansive pop and wild leaps of imagination the brother’s sound also encompasses ideas cultivated and pruned from myriad other influences. There’s the obvious nod of affection to Burial and an ability to incorporate the more refined aspects of the future garage and Slo-mo-house movement into their unorthodox palette. Also we have a band that cherry picked the elements of chill wave and dark wave that they feel work outside of a time and fashion limited micro-genre. As you can see above they’re also just as at home in the production studio as they are in the rehearsal rooms. If I were anal, or worked in a HMV I’d actually want to shop in, I’d file them next to Grizzy Bear, Animal Collective, Burial, Yeasayer, Baths, Tanlines and Caribou and say you’d do well not to miss this forward thinking bunch on Saturday of Tramlines at 8pm at Bungalows and Bears. For your delectation and salvation I offer this MP3 as an excuse for an article that does their sound no true justice. - Safety, Fun * Learning


Discography

http://abesmusic.bandcamp.com

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Bio

“Abe, a young band from Sheffield return home attempting to make the most of their time together…” The pretext of ‘Through with Love’ (the group’s first film) sums up their situation. They have been almost seasonal for 3 years, taking stock in their long time apart and coming back in the summer. It is now easier to work collaboratively from a distance but despite being a mostly ‘electronic’ act, Abe’s reference has stuck from their days in guitar-bass-n-drum bands and they flourish in direct contact with each other.

Abe’s process is a drama of art, highs and lows. They make it the long way round. Key to their sound is a balance of aesthetics from each member’s hard earned claim to the music. On a degraded atmosphere of loops and samples a theatrical chorus coos repetitively with positive emotion, tempered with stabs of keen villainous beats and chords. It’s dark and sweet. Clubbs Coldron’s voice gives the music its narrative cues, warbling with pangs of identity from Plato’s cave.

The band consistently adopts a live formation. It’s about communication. Turned in facing each other, multi-instrumentalist Oliver Rogers and singer both address the crowd somewhat obliquely. Between them Tom faces the audience direct, providing an active interface between audience and performers, something the group observe to be lacking in live electronic music: ”We once saw a guy get out his phone and check it while he was playing on stage!” exclaims Oliver.

They try to think in different ways. Without purposefully seeking out the weird and ironic they explore old and newly chartered grounds, reconstructing their multitudinous influences in their own context. They want to be sincere and interesting. It’s a fraught process but of course it all seems normal to them.