Codex
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Codex

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"Codex"

An intrinsic mysteriousness is inherent in the sound experimentation of Tokyo-born Luca Hiroyuki d'Addario who began his tests with tape machines and listening devices used by his industrial spy father. Trip-hop, ambient, and drum'n'bass mix on this studio electronica project. Taking out the heavy, liquid bass sound, much of the soundscape and multi-tracked male vocals bring to mind In the Nursery [+]. Brightened with subtle and tasteful guitar additions and deepened with thick, sonorous reverberations of rhythm, Codex [+] is an intelligent and artistic take on electronic composition infusing modern beat music trends. Featured in the bottom end are furious breakbeats and smooth lines of elongated funk. Along with Loop Guru [+] and Perfume Tree [+], Codex [+] makes a trinity of sophisticated, compositional techno. This dark, chill-out music veers toward Dead Can Dance [+] when employing ethnic percussion, as with the East Indian tabla on "Consumption Queen." Decidedly noir but textured with real, effected guitar also gives Codex [+] the brooding feel of more downbeat Tones on Tail [+] cuts. Codex [+] has rich and sinister electronic compositions that are among the most listenable and rewarding from this crowded genre.


- Emusic


"Adventures in Electronica"

Ambition is not something Luca Hiroyuki d'Addario lacks. As the brain behind the Toronto ambient groove outfit Codex, d'Addario (along with programmer Scott Keenan) crafts adventurous, challenging, alternately languid and frenetic meditations on the whole electronic spectrum.

Taking their moniker from Leonardo Da Vinci's visionary extrapolations on travel by helicopter and submarine, Codex have grand designs, with literary influences from Nietzsche, Sartre and British sci-fi writer Iain M. Banks and an innovative live spectacle that incorporates film and sophisticated lighting. But because this is Toronto and not Bristol, making electronic music a career requires perseverance and a little ingenuity.

"You really have to spread your wings and work on a variety of projects," says d'Addario. So he and Keenan (along with an ever-changing cast of characters) administer to a couple of side projects, Eva Wave and DJ Pill, along with scoring commercials and an HBO movie or two and teaming up with various artists for multimedia installations in art galleries.

And now, the band's diligence is being rewarded. Codex scored sponsorship deals with Apple, Kurzweil keyboards and Steinberg software, and earlier this year they signed to California's World Domination label, home to an eclectic musical bunch including Sky Cries Mary, Low Pop Suicide and Pimp Daddy Nash, as well as Vancouver's Perfume Tree.

"You need all kinds of support," d'Addario says, "and the World Domination deal settled everything for us."

In light of the band's success, d'Addario won't trifle with banal discussions on electronica's longevity. "Rock 'n' roll is here to stay, country is here to stay and electronica is here to stay," he says emphatically. "When it's popular is the question. But we're not worried about that. You can't sit around and try to figure out the next trend so you can chase it. If you're leading the pack, great. If not, you just continue doing your work." Waxing poetic, he adds, "It's all about surfing, riding the waves, see where they take you, always managing to keep your head above water."

Listening to Codex's last record (the self-titled 1997 album being re-released by World Domination in September) makes d'Addario's suggestion that the band is merely treading water seem like a gross understatement. From the full-on drum 'n' bass fury of "Realm of III" to the ghostly vocals of "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" to the Eastern shades of "Consumption Queen" and "Kurai," it's clear that Codex are masters of mood, and have only begun to draw from their creative well. And lyrically, Codex are a lot more enterprising than most electronic bands -- d'Addario's high-minded treatises on desire and isolation give the music a gravity that doesn't come across like a teenaged Ian Curtis homage.

D'Addario toiled in a variety of punk, hardcore and jazz bands before settling into Codex, and he maintains that these genres still underlie the techno sheen of his present incarnation. Although he sees Codex as "texture-treatment music," d'Addario conceives the songs on a classical guitar before submitting them to electronic processing. As for the spooky sounds, you can thank d'Addario's dad for that -- having been a bona fide spy, the elder d'Addario left all manner of covert sound equipment lying around the house. His enterprising son made his samplers and tape loops the foundation for Codex.

And despite the elaborate planning and production required to pull off their live show, d'Addario hastens to add that Codex isn't precluded from improvisation.

"When we're on stage, we want to keep the live dynamic, see where the mood takes us. We want to constantly create a fresh environment," he says. "That's why jazz is the greatest music ever. It's spontaneous, living on the edge, living the moment, in the studio and live."
- EYE Magazine


"Covert Operations"

When Luca Hiroyuki d'Addario was a snotty-nosed seven-year-old, he must have been the envy of the entire playground, because when it came time to play "my dad's bigger than your dad," he got to say, "Oh yeah, my dad's a spy!" And he wasn't even lying.

Twenty years later, he's still talking about his pop's covert operations as an industrial spy in Japan, but now it's to illustrate how his father's nifty gizmos instilled in him a passion for electronic experimentation, something that definitely comes across in the borderless techno of his group Codex.

"The gadgets my dad left in the basement were those old reel-to-reel tape machines, but they were really compact," says D'Addario. "I used to fool around with those recorders and make loops. I didn't realize I was even sampling stuff, but that's what I was doing when I manipulated live sounds."

It would appear that all those years of tinkering and perfecting sounds have finally paid off. Codex recently signed with California's World Domination label, which will rerelease Codex's eponymous '97 CD, to be followed by a collection of remixes on vinyl. Codex also crop up on Metro Breaks (Nice + Smooth/TJSB/ Koch), a new compilation of Toronto drum 'n' bass that's filled with dozens of zippy and infectious breakbeats by acts like Watershell, Kinder Atom and Stereofreeze. If you've sworn off the genre after that appalling Goldie album (he's the Robert Goulet of jungle, if you ask me), this just may restore your faith.

D'Addario says he'll also be touring with fellow WD signees Loop Guru and Vancouver's Perfume Tree this year, but lately he's been more preoccupied with his next album, and seems especially excited about working with local hip-hop artist Seth Demian Turack. In exchange for the favor, Turack has become the latest in a long line of transient Codex members drafted into their live show, which mixes up live guitar with keyboards and plenty of unexpected samples. Says d'Addario, "We're sponsored by Apple and Kurzwiel Keyboards, so basically we use all that stuff live and mix everything together. It's very multi-media."

As for any eyewitness accounts of Yakuza finger-pruning and groovy airport chase scenes, d'Addario (who was born in Tokyo and given his Japanese middle name to honor the doctor who saved his life as a baby) says his dad revealed very little about his job, even to his family. "He was pretty vague and never told me anything," d'Addario says, slipping into a hushed voice. "It's all clandestine stuff."
- EYE Magazine


Discography

1996 - LP - Codex 'The Remixes' - Skycrib Recordings - (Toronto, Canada)
1997 - LP - Metro Breaks Compilation - Cometose - (L.A.)
1997 - CD - Codex Debut on World Domination Recordings (L.A.)
1998 - CD - World Domination Recordings (L.A.), Compilation - Age of Day
2004/2005 - CD - Chasing the Fiery Dragon - Skycrib Recordings - (Toronto, Canada)
2005 - LP - Dragon Remixes III - Skycrib Recordings - (Toronto, Canada)
2007 - Ebb&Flow

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Bio

Codex is named after Leonardo Da Vinci’s 15th century manuscript about future inventions. As their source of inspiration, the band fuses live music with sequenced samples. This futuristic hybrid of rock, trip-hop, techno, with drum’n’bass has made Codex one of the most provocative acts coming from the Toronto, Canada music scene.
1996 is the debut year both for Codex and Canadian drum’n’bass as their 12" vinyl "The Codex Remixes" is the first drum’n’bass recording released by a Canadian artist. Since then, Codex have been working non-stop in and out of their Toronto based recording studio.
By 1997, Codex was performing live shows at the Winter Music Conference in Miami Florida as well as in venues in New York City. Attention from record labels arrived with their sold out live performance at the NXNE festival in Toronto whereas LA-based World Domination Recordings seized the opportunity and signed the band right away. By the end of 1997, their first single ‘The Age Of Day’ hits the airwaves and their video gets constant rotation on MuchMusic and MTV.
In 1998 again a live performance: JVC Urban Rhythm Festival puts on its first show and requests Codex to be there, representing a new wave of live-electronic music in Canada. Their futuristic multimedia live show caught the attention of Eye magazine and by the end of the summer they were gazing at people from the magazine’s cover. By 1999, their popularity brings them to perform a live tour in the U.S., while the LA-based Cleopatra/Hypnotic record label, wants them on their compilation ‘Metro Breaks – Drum’N’Bass from Toronto’, for which they write ‘Cometose’. It is also in this year Sony Music chooses CODEX for the remix of Estheros’ single, ‘That Girl’.
Turn to 2001 and 2002 and Codex are busier than ever. Television station CityTV in Toronto, appreciates the new sounds of the band and gets them to write the theme songs for the OOhLaLa, N3TV, MMVA and Q-TV television shows. Also the American HBO television channel uses one of their compositions, ‘Consumption Queen’, as the theme song for the ‘Sexbytes’ television series.
Finally in 2003, Codex begin working on their consecutive third and fourth release. First, 'the Vinyl Remixes III', is completed which showcases remixed upcoming songs by Codex and friends, and by the end of the year they complete their long awaited fourth CD. Summer of 2004 and Codex release the CD, 'Chasing the Fiery Dragon'.
In 2006, Codex becomes a full fledged 4 piece band. This includes lead guitarist Daniel Mendelsohn from Ottawa, drummer Eric Bouchard from Quebec, and finally to come full circle is bassist extraordinaire from Hamilton, Luke Vajsar. The four including original singer/rhythm guitarist Luca Hiroyuki d’Addario along with studio member Scott Keenan, embark on a spiritual and musical journey. Over the course of 3 years the band has been carefully crafting a new wave of music and theatrical live shows not seen since the days of the avant-garde Salon de Refuses artists of 1800’s France. Infusing rock, jazz, hip-hop, drum’n’bass, dub, with ambient film scores, Codex are set to release their 5th and 6th recordings simultaneously under the title, ‘Ebb & Flow EP’ and ‘Fierce Little Creatures’. Currently their first single, ‘Say What You Want’, has been worked into a video which will be officially released at the Hideout in Toronto, June 5th, 2009. Shot by Swedish filmmaker/photographer Ingrid Johansson, the video stars actress Melanie McLaren as a distraught woman dealing with her lover’s abandonment and subsequent betrayal. With cameos by a few local Toronto artists including uber producer Daniel Lanois, this video will be as ground breaking as the song it represents, stay tuned!