The Black String Theory
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The Black String Theory

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock




"'This Clouded View' single review on Live 4"

A vast space of land overpopulated with indie headstones is getting very overcrowded. The Muses and Radioheads of the world soldier on and achieve continued success yet many others fall by the wayside. Why? Because they lack the longevity, originality and creative force that the aforementioned bands are born with. The Black String Theory display similarities to these rock dinosaurs and a glimmer of potential that deserves your attention.
The Black String Theory are only in the infancy of their career, having formed merely two years ago in 2009. They are made up of the dynamic duo Scott Van Dort and Mann Baldanza. Scott, a master of many instruments and Mann, a sticksman and guitarist, have together produced music that has had critics singing their praises.
A self titled EP which was mixed by Chris Testa, a grammy award winning engineer who has the likes of Jimmy Eat World on his CV, has built anticipation for their forthcoming debut album which they began recording in March. Until then, the first taster of the record is ‘This Clouded View‘. Please allow us to present a view which is not so clouded. Please also forgive us for that unavoidable pun.
A band once sang of the irony achieved when everything is going so wrong yet we’re still so happy. Sound impossible? Well, its not. That band was The Wombats and this was a nod toward their heroes Joy Division and a tribute to their knack of injecting doom and gloom into a recording, yet somehow still producing something that is immensely uplifing. Love will tear us apart? Well, apparently it will also have us dancing like lunatics on a dancefloor. This is a rare quality found in a band but it is certainly one that The Black String Theory can associate themselves with. ‘This Clouded View’ might exude melancholic tones of sadness and despair yet its chorus which takes off like a rocket is empowering, uplifting and heart-wrenching.
‘This Clouded View’ is led by layers of synths which make up the backbone of this emotionally driven track that steams ahead at full throttle. It’s easy enough to lay down synths on a song to aid an attempt at achieving a certain mood however, with nothing to back it up with, your feeble attempt at finding a shortcut to creating something of substance will be exposed as hollow and cheap. Coldplay‘s third album, ‘X & Y‘, despite having its moments, was clearly over reliant on synths to pierce the veins that lead to the heart.
The Black String Theory use synths on this track to good effect, not sacrificing the other vital elements in its production. Instead of overusing them they add another layer to the sound which is already rich and grandoise. The song takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions which is completely devoid of predictability. It’s bipolar in its character, as you are pulled in different directions that range from euphoric highs to dysphoric lows.
Any appreciator of music will immediately draw comparisons with Muse when hearing the track. Singer Scott Van Dort possesses a haunting yet angelic delicacy in his voice and a range that seems to have no limits, something which shares much in common with Matt Bellamy. Van Dort’s vocal gymnastics take the song to another level and are complimentary of the epic sound. Slick production is what makes this recipe of successful ingredients formulate into something extremely rewarding, as well as dynamic and innovative drumming that seem to offer something new to the ear every time you listen to the track.
The piano led breakdown at 2mins 50seconds pulls on the heart strings with the brunt akin to a tug of war. If you like your sensitive side of alternative music backed up with some muscle then this fulfills the criteria on all accounts. Play loud. Very loud. Just keep a stash of tissues handy.
- Live 4

"'This Clouded View' single review"

Here's another new one for you that was just dropped off in my inbox earlier. The Black String Theory are a Los Angeles based indie/alternative/rock duo comprised of lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Scott van Dort and drummer/guitarist Mann Baldanza. Scott dropped off The Black String Theory's latest single "This Clouded View" along with the following press release:

"The single follows the success of our 2010 self-titled EP, which critics often draw comparisons to Muse, Coldplay and Radiohead. The EP was mixed by GRAMMY Award winning engineer, Chris Testa (Jimmy Eat World, The Subways, Motion City Soundtrack, Switchfoot, Mat Kearney) in Los Angeles, CA and mastered by Tim Young (Editors, The Clash, Bat For Lashes, The Kooks) at Metropolis Studios in London, UK."

I have to say after listening to "This Clouded View" the comparisons definitely seem legit and with credentials like those these guys seem to be on the right track. Give it a listen below along with a few of their older tracks and let me know what you think. Look to hear more from this duo who's debut album is due out sometime near the end of 2011. - Music That's New To Me blogspot

"The Black String Theory Interview & feature on 'Flush The Fashion'"

The Black String Theory are Australian multi-instrumentalist Scott van Dort, and Swiss-born drummer/guitarist, Mann Baldanza. Their rich tapestry of sound combining the best of modern English bands with electronic elements may be less complex than String Theory, but for only two people they make a lot of noise. We caught up with Scott in a break from recording their as yet, untitled new album. (Read on...) - Flush The Fashion

"Audio interview on Radio Of Federation Of Bosnia and Herzegovina"

Hear audio-only at link below. - Radio Of Federation Of Bosnia and Herzegovina

"The Black String Theory gig review - Tommy's Place, University of Southern California"

Please see April 2011 digital issue (Page 54)

When you think of two players – one on guitar and the other playing drums the first thing that comes to mind is The White Stripes. The Black String Theory, however, go beyond that dynamic duo and produce a sound closer to arena rock. Utilizing backing tracks they pre-record, these artists sound more like Muse, Radiohead and Coldplay on steroids. It’s big rock with huge choruses and edgy melodics. The songs are radio friendly in length and very emotional in a Euro sort of way. Indeed, hailing from Australia (van Dort) and Switzerland (Baldanza) their musical perspective is far reaching and often surprising.

With only two musicians on stage, there’s little room for error. Luckily, these dudes can really play. Van Dort handles not only the vocal well, he also plays guitar and keys – sometimes in the same song, all to good effect. Baldanza is such a rock steady drummer he could back a much larger outfit. Together, they weave a tapestry of sound that soars, swoops and engulfs its listeners. In fact, some of their tunes even had the peeps in the sound booth swaying and moving along with them.

The Black String Theory present an interesting approach to music. With only two players, their sound is arena ready and could have a global appeal. They also have an interesting panache on stage that translates well and they could have a bright future. - Music Connection

"The Black String Theory EP Review"

The Black String Theory is an alternative/rock band from Los Angeles, California.
The E.P showcases a sea of emotions, accompanying a listener through a lifeless abyss into a scorching room of light. With only four tracks, “The Black String Theory,” doesn’t have a lot of time to grab your attention, so it doesn’t waste any.

“Young and Free,” is the opening track of the E.P and introduces the listener to an alternative/Indie masterpiece. This track is enough to let the listener know that Scott van Dort is absolutely serious about what he is doing! His vocal abilities are impressive and can be easily compared to that of Matthew Bellamy of Muse.

“A Lifelong Mystery,” is a very emotional track, which introduces you to the darker side of “The Black String Theory,” this is the one song on the E.P that I believe would be an incredible British radio success.

“Too Late,” is again a beautifully written song with a lot of well thought out vocal melodies, with a sad yet hopeful chord progression.

“From Where I Stand,” has an urgent feel to it with an upbeat feeling that makes you want to hear it over and over again as soon as it has finished.

As a whole “The Black String Theory,” is a E.P that deserves a musical respect from both critics and fans a like. Musically, this band has everything needed to break nationally and globally.

The songs are edgy and extremely mature it is almost impossible to believe that this is van Dort’s debut E.P. The Black String theory is what Muse and Keane left at their best. - Gothic International

"Interview (Italian only) in alternative e-zine,"

Prima di tutto introduci la band con una piccola biografia...
L'idea di creare i Black String Theory risale all'aprile dell'anno passato, circa due mesi dopo la fine di un altro progetto. In quei mesi ho riflettuto su quali erano i miei reali obiettivi a livello musicale e su quali lezioni avevo imparato in precedenza. 'A Lifelong Mystery' è stata la prima canzone che ho scritto e ha tracciato la strada per le altre. In dieci mesi ho scritto il resto del materiale e formato la band che volevo. Ho registrato il mini per conto mio e incaricato Chris Testa (Jimmy Eat World, Motion City Soundtrack) di occuparsi del mixaggio. Il mastering invece è stato effettuato da Tim Young (Editors, Massive Attack) ai Metropolis Studios di Londra. Nel frattempo sono stato fortunato a trovare Mann Baldanza come batterista e collaboratore. Il suo ingresso ha dato energia e contribuito a rafforzare l'idea dei Black String Theory come duo. Al momento ci stiamo concentrando sul live set e sullo sviluppo del nostro profilo.
Quali sono le vostre influenze principali?
Radiohead, Muse, Keane e Coldplay, soprattutto quelli di 'A Rush Of Blood To The Head', rappresentano i punti di riferimento più importanti. Radiohead e Muse sono un brillante esempio di band che hanno avuto successo perseguendo le proprie idee senza scendere a compromessi mentre Keane e Coldplay sono bravissimi a rendere potenti semplici linee di pianoforte e melodie pop. Anche Editors e Killers ci piacciono molto.
Cosa ti ha ispirato a scrivere e produrre musica?
E' stata una necessità più che altro. Ho cominciato a suonare il basso quando ero ancora adolescente ma nessuno scriveva canzoni e quindi era complicato mettere su una band. Per questo ho iniziato a registrare su un multitrack recorder Tascam e mi sono ritrovato con diverso materiale su cui jammare. Mann si è trovato con molte idee e ha apportato cambiamenti a livello ritmico e di arrangiamenti. Non mi considero un produttore vero e proprio ma ho sempre sentito certi suoni nella mente e quando registro dei demo cerco di dipingere più dettagli possibili. Fino a questo momento sono soddisfatto dei risultati raggiunti ma siamo aperti a lavorare con un produttore di nome in futuro.
Quali sono gli eventi più importanti che hanno portato alla release del mini?
Questa è una domanda difficile. Direi che molto riguarda la mia libertà artistica e il desiderio di provare a me stesso quello che sono in grado di fare. Non volevo formare un'altra band senza potenzialità con quattro ragazzi impegnati a jammare in una sala prove. Mi interessava avere il controllo su tutto e creare qualcosa che potesse durare a lungo. Ho sperimentato diversi lavori mentre continuavo a scrivere canzoni e quindi posso davvero dire di avere avuto una doppia vita. Il mini è la certezza di essere giunto ad un livello superiore.
Prova a recensire le quattro tracce del mini per noi..
'Young And Free' è il primo pezzo. Un mid-tempo atmosferico con sintetizzatore, piano e arrangiamento che richiama in qualche modo Bat For Lashes. Il testo parla della mia frustrazione post-adolescenziale, delle responsabilità e della pressione che ho subito diventando adulto ma anche della sensazione che ho provato vedendo che gli altri crescevano attorno a me. 'From Where I Stand' svela in tre minuti circa il lato più rock dei Black String Theory. E' una canzone molto diretta che richiama i primi Editors ma con un coro molto efficace e da grande arena. 'A Lifelong Mystery' è un altro mid-tempo guidato dal pianoforte. Le strofe e i sintetizzatori sono piuttosto dark ma il coro è ugualmente di notevole impatto. 'Too Late' è un pezzo per voce e piano che chiude il mini in modo più crudo possibile.
Di cosa parlano i testi nello specifico?
Non c'è un messaggio particolare ma la volontà di trasmettere emozioni personali e sensazioni sincere su temi universali come l'amore, la perdita, la sofferenza post-adolescenziale, il desiderio di libertà e la difficoltà di trovare il proprio posto nel mondo. Qualche volta ho provato a scrivere di temi politici ma non sono mai riuscito a portare a termine il messaggio.
Quali album ti hanno ispirato a livello di produzione?
Dipende da canzone a canzone. In generale ho scelto un suono molto pulito e equalizzazioni standard per quanto riguarda le chitarre e le parti elettroniche. 'A Lifelong Mystery' è ispirata a 'Hopes And Fears' dei Keane. In particolare a 'On A Day Like Today'. Le chitarre e la batteria di 'From Where I Stand' ricordano quelle di 'Turn On The Bright Lights' degli Interpol. Mi piace da morire la produzione di 'Absolution' dei Muse e 'Young And Free' si ispira direttamente a quell'album. Infine 'Too Late' richiama in qualche modo 'No Sound Like The Wind' degli Editors.
Perchè hai scelto proprio Chris Testa per mixare le canzoni?
Mi è sempre piaciuto il suo modo di lavorare e il suo approccio è stato subito molto propositivo. Dopo avere ascoltato i nostri demo mi ha dato molti consigli e quindi al momento di dare vita ai Black String Theory è stata la prima scelta.
In che stato di salute versa la scena underground di Los Angeles? Dacci qualche nome che secondo te merita attenzione..
La scena è sicuramente attiva ma troppo dispersiva. Ci sono tanti cantanti che provano diverse strade pur di raggiungere il successo e l'aspetto triste è che molti non riescono a sfondare. Sunset Strip è il massimo per hard rock. Silverlake e Echo Park è piena di artisti elettronici, indie e folk mentre il punk gira molto attorno ai quartieri alti della Epitaph Records. Ti consiglio i Warpaint che hanno appena rilasciato il loro debutto per Rough Trade. Un altro gruppo valido sono i Lucid Fly che hanno una cantante molto brava e ricordano A Perfect Circle e Ashes Divide.
Dove hai trovato un batterista svizzero?
Ho messo un annuncio su Craig's List, l'equivalente di Gumtree nel Regno Unito, e Mann ha risposto nel giro di qualche giorno. Ci siamo scritti per un pò di tempo e visto che condividevamo le stesse opinioni ci siamo incontrati. Tutto è andato oltre le aspettative. Mann è in California da oltre dieci anni, prima suonava nei Lustra che hanno avuto un discreto successo.
State pensando di pubblicare un full length?
Cominceremo a registrare a febbraio e pensiamo di essere pronti a maggio. Dovremmo portare a termine otto canzoni più qualche remix o b-side..
Cosa dobbiamo attenderci a livello sonoro?
Sulla carta è facile dire che vorremo mischiare elementi elettronici e indie rock ma dipende tutto dalle canzoni. Radiohead e Muse rimarranno dei modelli importanti e il resto verrà determinato dall'utilizzo dei sintetizzatori e dai cori.
Cosa puoi vedere dalla finestra in copertina?
Uno splendido albero e l'edificio che si trova di fronte. La nostra volontà era quella di esprimere un senso di speranza e lasciare un dubbio su quale sia veramente il soggetto che osserva e quello che viene osservato. Fuori della finestra potrebbe esserci il mondo che stiamo aspettando da tempo oppure il riflesso di qualcosa che si muove dentro. La foto è di Roger McKinlay.
Qual è la tua canzone preferita di...
Editors –‘Fingers In The Factories’ o ‘Papillion’
Radiohead – ‘Fake Plastic Trees’
Muse – ‘Glorious’, ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ o ‘Map Of The Problematique’
Joy Division - Transmission
Hurt – non li conosco mi dispiace.. -

"EP review of EP (Italian language)"

In these four tracks you will find the answer to many of your questions, influences by Editors, Radiohead and Hurt but most of all you will find their great potential.

'Too Late' reminds us that is never too late to fall in love with a new artistic reality even though is hard to still believe in the current music market. -

"Review on website, The Indie Crowd"

"A beautifully crafted anthemic delight"

"Combines seamless lyrics with a powerful production to match" - The Indie Crowd

"Review of The Black String Theory profile"

These tracks immediately draw you in emotionally and lift you up - deliciously self indulgent and music perfect for the twilight. - System Culture

"EP Review on Behind The Hype"

The Black String Theory gives the pop rock format a solid, creative edge, embracing influences while keeping in tact an unshakable genuine nature. For anybody who has wished that Muse, Keane, or even Coldplay could just take their best traits and start over again from scratch, The Black String Theory is a band to keep your eye on.

It’s very seldom that a band can wear their influences on their sleeve without coming across as derivative, but the Black String Theory is able to pull this off far better than one might think.

A knack for creating a big chorus without succumbing to bombast or predictability, as either From Where I Stand or A Lifelong Mystery show in spades. - Behind The Hype

"EP Review in Redefine Magazine"

The Black String Theory's principal songwriter, Scott van Dort, is able to craft minimalist epic rock -- songs that could sound welcome in a stadium, a small club, or a mid-sized venue.

They show a lot of promise on this recording and if there's a full-length in the works, I'd venture to say that it's one of the more anticipated recordings that I'm waiting on (Ryan Pangilinan, Redefine Magazine) - Redefine Magazine

"Interview in Gothic International e-zine"

Los Angeles’ alternative/Indie band THE BLACK STRING THEORY, is the project of very talented Scott van Dort. THE BLACK STRING THEORY is carving its own niche in an industry full of conformers. THE BLACK STRING THEORY released their self titled E.P and is ready to be heard. Get to know the mastermind behind this musical evolution known as THE BLACK STRING THEORY. - Gothic International



'REMISSION' - debut full length album available April 16, 2012 through iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic. Limited Edition Deluxe CD available July 2012.

'This Clouded View' -digital single available May 13, 2011 through iTunes, Amazon, Napster, Spotify and eMusic

The Black String Theory - 4 song EP available April 10, 2010 through iTunes, Amazon, Napster, Spotify and eMusic. A limited edition CD is also available from the band's website and



THE BLACK STRING THEORY deliver arena-sized, emotion-driven alternative/indie rock with a compelling sense of urgency and a discernible dark edge, infusing piano, rhythmic guitars, drum loops and layers of synthesizers, providing the perfect platform for the band’s powerful and emotive lead vocal.

First conceived in Los Angeles, CA in July 2009 THE BLACK STRING THEORY was inspired by what Australian-born vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Scott van Dort views as a quest for self-liberation. In April 2010 a self-titled 4-song EP was released; mixed by Grammy Award winning engineer, Chris Testa (Jimmy Eat World, Switchfoot, Mat Kearney), mastered by Tim Young (Editors, Massive Attack, The Clash, Bat For Lashes) at Metropolis Mastering in London, UK, the EP received glowing reviews with critics often drawing comparisons to Muse, Radiohead, Keane, Editors and Coldplay.

Shortly after the release of the EP, van Dort united with Swiss-born drummer Mann Baldanza.

Having spent years performing in traditional four-piece bands amassing years of live experience in the process, the two desired to create something unconventional. Thus, during live performances audiences are left gob-smacked as they witness the duo consisting only of a live drummer and van Dort alternating between vocals/ keyboards and vocals/guitar, backed by pre-programmed bass lines, drum loops and synthersizers.

The song ‘Too Late’, from the self-titled EP was featured in 2010 award-winning Australian short film ‘Home’, and following constant activity and fan interaction on social networks, THE BLACK STRING THEORY were named as one of five ‘Artists To Watch 2011’ on the Gothic International website and one of five ‘Artists To Follow 2011’ on the In-D Scene blog.

In April 2011 van Dort and Baldanza commenced work on a full-length album. Their efforts resulted in the 2012 release, ‘REMISSION’. Showcasing an ever expanding sound, ‘REMISSION’ is an emotional and sonic journey featuring 10 tracks including the 2011 UK Songwriting Contest semi-finalist, 'A Lifelong Mystery'.

The first single 'This Clouded View' was released on May 13, 2011; produced and mixed by the band and Mastered by Miles Showell (Dido/Doves/ Portishead/Travis/The Verve) at Metropolis Mastering in London, UK. A music video for the single followed in November 2011 and at the end of the year, the song was named in the Top 25 Essential Tracks for 2011 by Live4Ever.

The lyrics on ‘REMISSION’ revolve around the trials and tribulations of post-adolescence; hope, loss, liberation, and the yearning to find one’s place in the world. Noted by fans and critics alike is a dark and ominous edge to which van Dort says, “I often think of a Depeche Mode interview where Dave Gahan said their music somehow appealed to the oddball, the person looking for something a little bit different and I feel like THE BLACK STRING THEORY speaks to those people too”.

At the end of 2011 it was announced that due to personal reasons, van Dort and Baldanza had amicably separated. A new line-up is currently being assembled which will introduce a new and exciting phase of THE BLACK STRING THEORY.

Grab hold - the journey has only just begun…