Banjo Or Freakout
Gig Seeker Pro

Banjo Or Freakout

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Alternative Pop

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Nov
13
Banjo Or Freakout @ Audio

Brighton, None, United Kingdom

Brighton, None, United Kingdom

Nov
06
Banjo Or Freakout @ Tropen Museum, Amsterdam

None, None, United Kingdom

None, None, United Kingdom

Dec
18
Banjo Or Freakout @ Control C Festival

Capri, Not Applicable, Italy

Capri, Not Applicable, Italy

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Italian producer Alessio Natalizia has created an aural equivalent of super natural horror films such as Paranormal Activity and The Blair Witch Project. For the first half, not much happens: his dreampop-meets-indiepop chugs along pleasantly enough, with the lovely Move Out recalling the early Teenage Fanclub. But somewhere during the eerie Fully Enjoy, the album starts to develop a different atmosphere of creeping menace. As in those films, you can never quite put your finger on why this is - is it those shimmering cymbals, or that haunting, one-note piano? - but he is a master of suspense. Musically, there are obvious reference points in the likes of 1990s showgaze, Brian Eno ambience and Can-like grooves, but his atmospheres are darker and unfathomable. Mostly, his words are buried in the sonic fog, but the motorik Dear Me finds him seemingly chanting, 'I can't live, and I won't die'. What it all means is anybody's guess, but it's unsettling, weirdly compelling stuff. - The Guardian


A dizzyingly ferocious support slot on the recent Gold Panda tour proved that London-based producer/ remixer Alessio Natalizia's one-time bedroom project is now fully-formed. After drip-feeding several teasing singles, this Nicolas Vernhes produced debut long-player, featuring Bloc Party's Matt Tong, is a thing of gorgeousness; tremolo guitars, unfolding drum patterns and dreamlike arrangements push the listener into a headspin.
Snippets of Mary Chain, Can and Caribou hint at Natalizia's mindset that possess a languorous style. A debut that effortlessly meshes beauty and power. - Clash Magazine


Swooning in on a wave of lush layering and honeyed crooning, Banjo Or Freakout's debut treads the impressive line between epic and restrained. It's a record that weaves its way around a host of inticrate, swelling melodies but does so in the humblest of fashions. At its peaks (the Spector-tinged 'Move Out' and 'Can't Be Mad For Nothing') Banjo's brainchild Alessio Natalizia finds something truly special, and though the album does occasionally drown under its own weight ('From Everyone Above') there's more than enough left to redeem itself. - The Fly


Alessio Natalizia was way ahead of the 'chillwave' curve in 2008. Long before the term was on every hipster's lips, the multi-instrumentalist and producer was casting atmospheric, sweetly whacked-out, electronic pop spells in his London bedroom, in a manner that recalled Holy Fuck and Arthur Russell. His long-awaited debut sees him adding endless waves of muzzy kosmische, softly burred guitar loops, Fripp-like trippiness and heavy psych/ space-rock grooves to his arsenal. If he's treading water on 'Black Scratches' (a torpid Ride), then perhaps BOF is simply saving his strength for the the Krautrock grooveathon that is 'Dear Me'. - Uncut


Alessio Natalizia was way ahead of the 'chillwave' curve in 2008. Long before the term was on every hipster's lips, the multi-instrumentalist and producer was casting atmospheric, sweetly whacked-out, electronic pop spells in his London bedroom, in a manner that recalled Holy Fuck and Arthur Russell. His long-awaited debut sees him adding endless waves of muzzy kosmische, softly burred guitar loops, Fripp-like trippiness and heavy psych/ space-rock grooves to his arsenal. If he's treading water on 'Black Scratches' (a torpid Ride), then perhaps BOF is simply saving his strength for the the Krautrock grooveathon that is 'Dear Me'. - Uncut


Alessio Natalizia was way ahead of the 'chillwave' curve in 2008. Long before the term was on every hipster's lips, the multi-instrumentalist and producer was casting atmospheric, sweetly whacked-out, electronic pop spells in his London bedroom, in a manner that recalled Holy Fuck and Arthur Russell. His long-awaited debut sees him adding endless waves of muzzy kosmische, softly burred guitar loops, Fripp-like trippiness and heavy psych/ space-rock grooves to his arsenal. If he's treading water on 'Black Scratches' (a torpid Ride), then perhaps BOF is simply saving his strength for the the Krautrock grooveathon that is 'Dear Me'. - Uncut


Alessio Natalizia was way ahead of the 'chillwave' curve in 2008. Long before the term was on every hipster's lips, the multi-instrumentalist and producer was casting atmospheric, sweetly whacked-out, electronic pop spells in his London bedroom, in a manner that recalled Holy Fuck and Arthur Russell. His long-awaited debut sees him adding endless waves of muzzy kosmische, softly burred guitar loops, Fripp-like trippiness and heavy psych/ space-rock grooves to his arsenal. If he's treading water on 'Black Scratches' (a torpid Ride), then perhaps BOF is simply saving his strength for the the Krautrock grooveathon that is 'Dear Me'. - Uncut


Lefse Records, the label that brought us Neon Indian, Keepaway, and How to Dress Well, is launching a new series called Way Slow. For Way Slow, Lefse is encouraging artists to do stuff they normally wouldn't do, which means "instrumentals, covers, collaborations, wacky kids' tunes, spoken word, tracks that never made it to albums," according to the label.

Things kick off October 12 with a seven-song EP from Banjo or Freakout. You can download "Over There" above, and the tracklist is below. - Pitchfork


He's not. Upside down, that is. If you caught just one lyric the first time through, you caught that much. In a way, though, Alesso Natalizia-- the bedroom-pop dreamweaver who records as Banjo or Freakout-- is, if not head over heels, then at least bringing us full circle. London-based Natalizia honed his skills covering highly bloggble artists from Burial to High Places in his own intimate, atmospheric style. Instead of singing for his supper in smoky bars before unappreciative crowds, like the acoustic covermen of an era that feels further away than it actually is, he's sitting at a computer, forced to gauge reaction by clicks and blog comments rather than in-person audience interaction. Only later did he form a proper band for live shows.

All of which might seem ass-backwards, but it's really just contemporary reality. "Upside Down" is essentially "42", a highlight of Banjo or Freakout's Upside Down EP last year, now re-recorded for a new 12". Natalizia's rough-hewn strums and wounded vocals still evoke something between Elliott Smith's early four-track material and the Shocking Pinks' melodically similar "Emily". But this time he dives a little bit deeper into the original's watery textures, bringing shaky piano plinks and low rumbling sounds up higher in the mix. As before, the track ends with Natalizia's wordless vocal harmonies on top. No freakout (or banjo). Oh, inverted world.
- Pitchfork.com


Here bedroom dance producer Banjo Or Freakout (London resident Alessio Natalizia) offers up his take on Ndf's Playlisted "Since We Last Met". He stretches out Ndf's festering track over seven-and-a-half slowed-down and smoothed-out minutes to lovely effect. Check it out along with the original. - Pitchfork


The delectable musings of Banjo Or Freakout lift proceedings well and truly above the status of just ordinary. Alessio Natalizia is like a modern-day amalgam of Sonic Boom and Martin Rev. Certainly the reference points to the likes of EAR, Suicide and Fuxa's more abstract moments are apparent, while the addition of Gentle Friendly's Daniel Boyle as a live drummer adds a rhythmic, if slightly sombre trance-like edge to their non-categorical sound. Four parts krautrock, one part shoegaze and the rest made up of an eclectic range of loops, samples and effects, Banjo Or Freakout are quite possibly one of the most mesmerising, and undoubtedly unique outfits currently surfing the block.


- Drowned In Sound


Banjo or Freakout - Aka Alessio Natalizia, an Italian expat whose glitchy, wraithlike whisperings join the dots between Kieran Hebden, Kevin Shields and Animal Collective.

Hometown: Turin.

The lineup: Alessio Natalizia (vocals, instruments, computer).

The background: At an unimpressive little venue called the Dome in Tufnell Park last week, we witnessed an event so cataclysmic people will be talking about it in hushed, reverent whispers for years to come. Well, maybe not years, but it certainly lasted the journey home through north London. Folks, MGMT – the Hall & Oates of lysergic noughties guitar pop – got onstage and "jammed" (or whatever the space-rock equivalent of jamming is) with headliner and all-round fuzztone cosmonaut Pete Kember, aka Sonic Boom, ex-of Spacemen 3 and now head "head" of a group called Spectrum. And of course it was great, predictably so, not to mention weird – you haven't lived until you've seen Messrs Goldwasser and VanWyngarden trying to negotiate the Archway Road on a Friday night.

But do you want to know what's really freaky? What's really freaky is that this historic generational team-up wasn't the greatest thing we saw that night! No, that honour goes to one of the support acts, Banjo Or Freakout, alias 28-year-old Italian expat Alessio Natalizia, a former member of Turin punk-funk trio Disco Drive, who has been living in Hackney since 2005-6 and discovered the joys of laptop music-making while his girlfriend was out one night (and just imagine what might have happened had she stayed in). Armed with some computer gadgetry and aided by a friend on percussion, Natalizia/BOF used loops, samples and mainly programmed (plus some live) sounds to construct the sort of glitchy, ethereally pretty noisepop we've been expecting from the new wave of shoegazers these past few years. The crowd didn't go wild, they were transfixed.

Lo-fi and scratchy, BOF's music is an experimental but potentially accessible merger of tribal beats, dubstep production techniques and luscious pop melodies buried beneath the static and hiss, Natalizia's whispered, wraithlike vocals swirling around the mix like the ghostly progeny of My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher – it's no coincidence that the result brings to mind the direction MBV might have taken after Loveless if they'd been immersed in the murky beauty of Panda Bear, Animal Collective and Burial.

Talking of whom, last November, Natalizia recorded covers of tracks by everyone from Burial and LCD Soundsystem to Amy Winehouse and released 11 of them as a CD, limited to just 150 copies and featuring his own hand-made, spray-painted "freakout artwork". Recently, he issued a single on No Pain In Pop, a New Cross-based label responsible for releases by Telepathe and Crystal Castles. Now he's forging ahead with a career that will see him lauded as the missing link between Kieran (Four Tet) Hebden, Fennesz, Kevin Shields, William Bevan and Animal Collective.

The buzz: "A blanket of bee-swarm fuzz, shrouded drums and echoey vocals... Totally gorgeous."

The truth: Taxi! To Here Knows When, please.

Most likely to: Set you adrift on memory bliss.

Least likely to: Use a banjo.

What to buy: Mr No/Someone Great is out now on No Pain In Pop. BOO is releasing his second single, the Upside Down EP, on Half Machine in April.

File next to: Arthur Russell, This Heat, Tortoise, Fennesz
- The Guardian


Banjo Or Freakout - not Steve Martin's latest career dilemma, but a london-based Italian called Alessio Natalizia who makes delectable bedroom dream pop. His new EP is called 'Upside Down' and is highly recommended if you like Panda Bear and Disco Inferno, or simply if you're after a non-chemical pain reliever. - Uncut


Dream-Pop has been showing up in a lot of genre tags recently, but few fit that woozy classification as well as Italian expat Alessio Natalizia, aka Banjo or Freakout. Despite what you might expect, there are no banjos in his music and freakouts take the form of swooning WOW-THIS-IS-LOVE crescendos. His loop-laden songs are so lushly nocturnal that I like to think of him as a wise owl crooning lullabies to the restless and lovelorn (ie Kanye) while lasers shoot out of his big owl eyes (I really like lasers). He also has a knack for releasing timely cover versions. As Phil Spector starts his 19-year murder bid, here’s an exclusive BoF cover of “Baby, I Love You” as well as an exclusive new track from his upcoming EP. I had a chat with Alessio about his hometown, his old band and his forthcoming album..... - The Fader


BANJO OR FREAKOUT
Loopy, laptop-weilding Italian one-man band

Banjo Or Freakout's forlorn din rumbles above a Camden show shop as Alessio Natalizia reclaims his bedroom from the drunks and postcard punks filing past outside. "It's the weekend every day here. The market's always open, it's really noisy," says Natalizia, who's 29 and hails from the small town of Vasto on Italy's Adriatic coast. "I never go out in Camden, but the other day these kids stopped me to ask if I'd buy them alcohol. Do you get arrested for that?"

Before fending off Camden's underage crusties, Alessio played drums in Turin trio Disco Drive. Since leaving bandmates and homeland behind for a London girl last year, his music has haunted the edges of the lo-fi scene currently rife in the East End. But Banjo Or Freakout isn't lo-fi, instead channeling the repetitious melancholy of avant-rock acts such as Arthur Russell, Can and Animal Collective.
"There's lots of cool stuff going on, but I don't feel part of that scene," Alessio adds, peering out across the road at a six-foot mohawk in goth boots. New Ep 'Upside Down' certainly sounds made in isolation, Alessio's voice battling through a melee of percussion and delirious bedroom noise.

Kev Kharas - NME


There isn't an adequate genre to describe this....

Afro beat, punk, Italian pop... There isn’t an adequate genre to describe this - just think of it as a cracking trip on a sea of synths.

That the ethereal beauty of this Italian-born bedroom artist’s output is difficult to define is not particularly surprising given the strange route taken thus far by Alessio Natalizia, AKA Banjo Or Freakout. From his much-discussed recording method (one take and it’s done, albeit with editing on the trusty Mac), to his choice of covers that first garnered attention (‘Baby I Love You’ and ‘Love Lockdown’ being this writer’s favourites), unpredictability is par for the course. Think of a resolutely independent yet remarkably collaborative Spacemen 3 translated into the resurgent electronic music scene and you’ll not be far off.

“Ultimately I make music for myself, but of course I’m part of what’s around me... collectively sharing songs, getting ideas out quickly without hoping that someone would do it for me.” Not much danger of that; the Banjo aesthetic is distinctive without being awkward, and the expectations for next year’s album are high: “I’m really happy with the way it’s shaping up... it’s quite pop, in a good way.” Not the only material Alessio is working on either, he’s been transforming Banjo’s current portfolio while on tour. “Every show has a different story to tell, and we try to make it all sound a bit more like a band even if it’s hard sometimes.” The effort has paid off thus far, and although Alessio freely admits to be still learning, he is achieving his aim. “I always love it when bands I like sound different live than on recordings.”

And what of the punk and Italian pop labels? “I grew up in the ’90s when punk rock was back and everyone was sharing mix tapes, sending letters and fanzines. Now this attitude is back again, but in different forms - it feels pretty natural to me being involved.” The geographical influences are not so apparent. “It’s difficult to quantify something like this. They [London and Italy] have both bought different things to my music. Banjo was randomly born in London, and then actually started to become true in Turin, and funnily enough the songs I’m happiest with were born in my hometown in the south of Italy.”

How about the now-famous covers, is it true there’ll be no more? “I don’t want to be seen as the guy covering other bands, and I prefer working on my own songs, which I think are better!” There are striking similarities with Arthur Russell here - let’s hope Banjo Or Freakout don’t have to wait so long for the recognition.
- Clash Magazine


“Banjo or Freak Out was born after spending a night waiting for my girlfriend in a flat in Hackney, London. She was working and I was in this place with other people I didn’t want to talk to so i turned on my girlfriend’s computer and started to mess around with a music program. The first song I ‘wrote’ was called ‘Freak Out’, the second ‘Jim O’Rourke’ but it’s probably better if you don’t hear them. From here I started to see making music with computer was something really different. You can dick around with a stupid sound for ages. It’s great!”
The above quote is from Alessio Natalizia (aka Banjo or Freakout) back in 2006 when his bedroom project first took shape. Since then, he’s released several singles to mass aclaim, including the most recent Upside Down EP, which is a masterclass in claustrophobic shoe-gaze joy. It’s on the live stage that Banjo or Freakout really take sail though. Allowing the layered sounds to break free of their laptop based shackles – Alessio carves out massive curve balls of noise, helped only by an additional drummer and countless effects pedals and synths. Banjo Or Freakout really are one of the few essential live acts on the UK circuit at the moment. - The Line Of Best Fit


Lo-fi bedroom pop recorded in just one take.

alian Londoner Alessio Natalizia makes noisy, searching chamber pop with a heart. Using only first takes for his layered and looped recordings, we get to hear a fragile intimacy that might have been ironed out by the fourth take. Read his blog here.

Q&A
What's…
… your description of your sound?
Sounds you can drive to. Noisy but quite pop and you could dance to it.

… so special about you, then?
I approach music with a punk rock attitude but I try not to pretend to be a punk band in 2009.

… your tip for 2009?
Dirty Projectors are gonna be the new Animal Collective or close to it.

… the story behind your name?
A band I saw ages ago in Italy came back on stage for an encore and one of them asked the really excited crowd, "So you guys want banjo or freakout?" I thought it sounded good as a name for a band.

… your worst vice?
Being too straightforward.

… your dream musical collaboration?
Robert Wyatt, Arthur Russell, These Heat, Burial, Kayne West, Antony, Brian Wilson, the Congos, the Ramones.

… on your stereo?
Right now, DOOM.

… the best piece of advice you've heard?
Study hard, finish university, graduate and get a good job.

… your secret?
Take it seriously all the time.

… the one thing you’d kill for?
World peace – or otherwise a new guitar, my sampler and mango juice.

- Dazed


Banjo Or Freakout, aka psychedelic bedroom popmaker Alesso Natalizia, has woven so many watery layers, laps, and flows into "Upside Down" that it would've been surprising if this Blake Salzman-directed video didn't take place by some sandy waves. The clip begins with still shots of an axe, a teddy bear, shells, etc. But as the Londoner sings at the start of the track, it's "the middle of summer," so after the trippy intro we get a bunch of folks in costumes running slo-mo into the ocean until a girl turns around and shifts the camera's focus. Dreamy on a number of levels.

http://stereogum.com/archives/video/new-banjo-or-freakout-video-upside-down_083271.html
- Stereogum


Discography

Releases:

BANJO OR FREAKOUT - Album - CD / Vinyl / Digital - Memphis Industries/ Rare Book Room (Feb 2011)

105/ DEAD IN THE SNOW - Limited 7" / Digital - Memphis Industries/ Rare Book Room (December 2010)

WAY SLOW SERIES - Limited tape / CD / - Lefse Records (September 2010)

LEFT IT ALONE / BREATHE OUT - Limited 7" / Digital - Half Machine Records (November 2009)

UPSIDE DOWN EP - Limited 12" / Digital - Half Machine Records (May 2009)

MR NO / SOMEONE GREAT Limited 7" / Digital - No Pain In Pop (Jan 2009)

Remixes:

NDF - Since We Last Met - DFA (October 2010)

SOFT PACK - More Or Less - V2/COOP (August 2010)

WILD BEASTS - All The Kings Men - Single - Domino (October 2009)

BOMBAY BICYCLE CLUB - Dust On The Ground - Single - Island (May 2009)

BLOC PARTY - Ion Square - Intimacy Remixed - Album Track - Wichita (May 2009)

Photos

Bio

Banjo Or Freakout’s self-titled debut was released in February 2011 on Rare Book Room (US) & Memphis Industries (UK).

Italian-born and London-based Alessio Natalizia makes stargaze pop that stares stellar, but with feet firmly set forwards from the sonic footprints left by artists like Kevin Shields, Can, and Arthur Russell, and contemporaries Caribou, Deerhunter and A Place to Bury Strangers.

“I think that it works when you want to be taken over, encompassed by music, when you are looking to lose yourself in something,” Alessio says, and this ethos imbues itself throughout the richly textured sound of Banjo Or Freakout. A unique sound, where sonic invention meets timeless pop sensibilities in equal measure, giving rise to melodies that evoke visceral emotion and experience.

Alessio grew up in the ancient Italian town of Vasto “listening to Bob Dylan's 'Blood On The Tracks' on repeat,“ with a musician grandpa who bought him a classical guitar when he was eight and, later, time spent playing in Turin post-punk trio Disco Drive. It wasn’t until a move to London that Alessio’s music started garnering attention. “Living in London I really understood my need to do something different that felt more personal. With Banjo I just wanted to do something that was 100% me and no one else (Alessio also stars in Kompakt’s acclaimed kraut-ambient duo WALLS). I started playing around with my girlfriend's laptop while I was waiting for her to come back from work and discovered a new world of making music.”

After a string of plaudits for remixes of artists as diverse as Bloc Party, Burial, Wild Beasts and Amy Winehouse, it wasn’t long before Banjo’s first EP Upside Down was received to critical praise across the board. Swathed in gauzy melancholia, it’s a precursor to the introspective delirium of this album, though Alessio‘s approach to making music has never wavered: “I just want to write very personal pop songs that are not going to die in a couple of years, songs that have longevity, that you could go back to and listen in 10 years and still feel close to.” Banjo Or Freakout does that, his twinkling revelries a distant cousin to future touring partner (this November) Gold Panda and his cinematic dream pop, dense yet ethereal.

With days at home recording ideas in “just one take, never more than one take,” by early 2010 Alessio had amassed over a hundred songs. Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Dirty Projectors, Bjork and Spoon) at Rare Book Room studios in New York heard them and invited him over to make the album. “I selected 30 songs and played them to Nicolas. We spent the first two days listening and talking about them. On the third day we started to record — we took just a week or so.”

Alessio’s penchant for recording quickly doesn’t lessen the songs’ quality. The immediacy of Banjo Or Freakout’s sound — a sprawl of guitars, synths, drum loops and effects — is simply mesmeric. Born from his love for artists like Dennis Wilson and Bobb Trimble, opener ‘105’ sets the pace, a woozy epic of tremolo guitar, horizon-set acoustics and heartfelt vocals. From there the album’s oblique lyrics, rhythmic tribal beats and lush melody all suggest something otherworldly, an intangible feeling.

Songs for a time, moment or memory then, a soundtrack blurring boundaries and crossing through definitions. Banjo Or Freakout rewrites them as he sees fit.