New Music: From Enemies to Allies: noaccordion transmutes pain into transcendent, glitchy electronica on Surrender

New LP Surrender

When noaccordion’s Onah Indigo threw herself into writing music for her new LP she was hurting, physically and emotionally. She titled one track “Nemesis,” then “Enemies.” As the balm of creating music and collaborating with friends healed her hurt, she gave the track a final title to signify her new state of mind: “Allies.”

The Oakland-based electronic musician and accordion maverick was reeling from a soured relationship and the lingering pain of a back injury when she created the music on Surrender (self-release May 18). “The best way for me to work with pain was to make the music,” she explains. “It was a dark, heavy winter, and I just had to plug myself into the studio and focus on songwriting. I’m driven to process my emotion, and music-making transforms it into beauty.”

Surrender is the result of this alchemical process: transmuting the emotional energy of that leaden winter into glitch hop-infused electronic tracks. At the heart of each track, eclectic beats are juxtaposed with the unexpected samples that are typical of noaccordion albums- if anything about noaccordion can be called typical.

For one thing, there is accordion on Surrender. Despite her initial ambivalence about the unwieldy instrument that gives her act its name, Onah has embraced the accordion in the studio and on stage. On the downtempo meditation “Another Way,” she spins a thread of melody with the accordion akin to how some other electronic artists use violin, while on “Mars,” it takes on an aggressive, distorted edge that Onah describes as angry “Aries energy” in response to the current political climate.

“Grow” encapsulates the mood of the album. Onah builds a lush undergrowth out of layers of piano, heart-thumping beats, and operatic vocals. After she created the achingly beautiful backing track, Onah invited Aleksandra Dubov to lend some extra sweetness with her classically trained voice. The sonic landscape has a range reminiscent of Phaeleh’s cinematic electronica, but it’s charged with feminine energy that testifies to Onah and Aleksandra’s close collaboration on the vocals and lyrics. “After rocky relationships, where is it safe enough to let my garden grow?” Onah asks. “We both related to that.”

Onah’s alchemical quest for transformation takes her through a spectrum of personas and moods. On “Ready,” Surrender’s first track, Onah twines her voice with other singers to celebrate femininity and many forms of love. Onah sampled her own voice and pitched it down to play with a male persona on “Lessons,” the glitch hop track that closes out the album.

This sonic and emotional range is extended further by the artists that allied with Onah on Surrender, many of whom are also part of the East Bay’s wildly creative, deeply weird, highly collaborative experimental music and art scene. Trumpeter Eric “eO” Oberthaler ties together the cumbia-flavored beat medley of “Quick Time,” the sweet-sounding flow of Michaelah Miraculah overlays the heavy beats of “The Cure,” and a Reggae chorus by Spencer Garret Burton of the Indubious duo funks up “Goodness Rise Again.” Under Onah’s guidance, all these elemental energies feel at home in Surrender’s amalgam of sounds.

“That word surrender is a big deal for me,” Onah muses. “I want to surrender into the feminine, but most of the time I don’t feel safe. I’m trying to look at surrender from a more powerful point of view. Surrender isn’t giving up, it’s learning about when to yield, being more mindful, and accepting the moment with grace. Surrendering can be empowering.”

This is an official PSA (Puppet Service Announcement) Watch New Music Video and Listen to Music Announcement

This is an official PSA (Puppet Service Announcement)

Behind the Scenes at the MFLS MUSIC VIDEO SHOOT

These are snaps of behind the scenes during the MFLS 12 hour video shoot. It took a production crew of 6 to make this happen with most people volunteering their time. Oliver de Lantsheere and I produced this music video.We brainstormed a week before the shoot and a couple of days before the shoot I collected 50 vases, 2 wedding dresses, copious amounts of white fabric/lace, tables and chairs while Oliver filmed, crushed, froze, burned flowers I had gifted him. The night before we set up most of the backdrop at the Super Natural Factory in West Oakland. On Friday Feb 6 we began to unload at 3 pm. The party started with mimosas and snacks. Jalua and Donna spent hours on my make up and hair while Max, Noah and Oliver finished the set dressing. Max stepped in to finish off my recycled wedding dress and head piece  and then at 8 pm I was ready to go on set. We began to discuss and improvise what I would do up there.  We began rehearsing while Oliver continued to projection map and experiment with new images. Around 1 am, after many rehearsals, we began filming live takes.  I was allowed to do everything except break the vases so I had to pretend that until the last take. At 330 am, hours later, excited, blistered and exhausted, we opened the last bottle of champagne, toasted to the fun and insanity that comes with being creative and then took the last take. This time I was allowed to break glass which was exhilarating except I kicked my shoe off half way through the take and the floor was covered in broken class so I had to hop on one foot for the dancing scene.  We ended up prefering the last take, no edits, and chose it for the music video.  Thanks to Oliver de Lantsheere, Jalua Dell, Max Neuman, Donna Wood and Noizy Ark for helping me make this happen!!!IMG_8967 IMG_8980 IMG_8992 IMG_9013 IMG_9028 IMG_9054 IMG_9068 IMG_9083 IMG_9106 IMG_9107 IMG_9126 IMG_9130  IMG_9174 IMG_9180 IMG_9199 IMG_9253

 

Join us at First Fridays and listen to music this week in downtown Oakland, around 25th St and Telegraph Ave

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Noaccordion in the art alley at how weird st fair in san franciso this sunday 12-8pm so come by and listen to music.

join us in the art alley this sunday, we will be playing off and on all day

1920562_695936433762240_2129174156_nTIME: May 4, 2014 at Noon
DESTINATION: A new way of thinking and living.
INFORMATION: http://HowWeird.org/
INSTRUCTIONS: Have Fun!

LOCATION: HOWARD & 2ND STREETS – 37°47’12.4″ N, 122°23’53.7″ W
DOWNTOWN SAN FRANCISCO, EARTH, SOL, MILKY WAY, UNIVERSE

Boarding commences at High Noon on May the Fourth.
Arrive early so that you do not miss any of the voyage.

Maximum fun can be achieved through acceptance and discovery of new and diverse things, as well as respect and appreciation for the unlimited creativity of the universe. In other words, be weird.

Fine tuned art and sound technology will be deployed to stimulate your mind, body, and soul. Music spanning the range of electronic music styles will provide an epic soundtrack for your dance through the cosmos.

How Weird is proud to host some of the best music and DJs on the planet for our journey into Outer Space. This year will feature 13 stages by Enchanted Forest, Muti Music, World Famous Productions, Symbiosis Gathering, Opel, Opulent Temple, Urge Productions, Space Monkeys, Pink Mammoth, SF House Music, Temple Nightclub, Pulse SF, Party Babas, Red Marines Festival, THINK YOU CAN DJ Game Show, The Boomtown Revue, Underground Nomads, Hookahdome, National Dance Week, SomaFM, and more. Come dance to the vibrations of peace!

Art Alley is in a new location this year, with expanded space and more art. Tehama Street, off of 2nd Street, will be filled with creativity and artistic delights, including live painting, exhibits, and interactive art murals.