Petite Noir at Echoplex
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Echoplex -- 8:30 pm
$10.50 - $12.50
TIX ON SALE NOW: http://ticketf.ly/1NjkAjS
Yannick Ilunga doesn't dice words when he outlines the message woven through his debut album: "STAY POSITIVE." Yannick is half-Congolese, half-Angolan and was raised in South Africa. The 24-year-old artist known as Petite Noir still lives part-time in Cape Town, close to his family and his spiritual roots and that culture is immediately evident as it bleeds through his music. La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful, named after an uplifting 1987 Congolese film, is both a beacon and a vessel of inspiration, offering empowerment to those who need it. "
Though Petite Noir's musical background ranges from guitar metal to nu-disco, he has since developed into a confident, future-facing singer and songwriter with a wide palette. He discovered the work of Kanye West around the age of 16, and it quite literally changed his life, showing him the importance of breaking musical boundaries. You can hear that fearlessness: The King of Anxiety blended raw post-punk energy with sunny African rhythms and nuanced R&B touches in early 2015, and now La Vie Est Belle / Life Is Beautiful takes that sound to louder, more defiant places. But even as explosive pop songs like "Best" and "Just Breathe" delve into depths of frustration and discontent, they're underpinned with a restless joy. The combination is at once exhilarating and reassuring.
Inspired by innovators like Mos Def and legends Fela Kuti and Tabu Ley, Noirwave encompasses a "new African aesthetic," plain and simple.
Roger Sellers is a lot of things. He's a minimalist composer with a knack for making hypnotic, enveloping songs from a few repeated musical phrases. He's a gifted musician who is mostly self-taught, having abandoned formal study because it was draining the life from his work. He's a self-described disciple of Phil Collins. What he is not, however -- despite multiple press reports to the contrary -- is a DJ.
"I started developing a decent following in Austin," he says, "but most of the time when I would play, the press would say something like 'Local DJ Roger Sellers,' or 'Roger Sellers is playing a late-night DJ set.' I think it was maybe because my live set involves a table full of gear, a drum set and headphones, but the average person probably knows more about DJing than I do.'" To combat the misunderstanding, Sellers printed up stickers reading, "Roger Sellers is Not a DJ," and eventually adopted the alias Bayonne, changing his name without altering his approach.
And it's a good thing: Primitives, Sellers' debut as Bayonne, is a rich, complex work, the kind with no clear rock parallel. In its winding, maze-like structures are hints of both Steve Reich and Owen Pallett, each instrument working a single melodic pattern over and over and over, as Sellers threads his soft, reedy voice between them. On songs like "Appeals," the effect is hypnotic: notes from a piano crash down like spilled marbles from a bucket, as Sellers' ringing-bell vocals swing back and forth between them. The end result is spellbinding music, meticulously-crafted songs where each tiny piece locks into another, and hundreds of them joined together create a breathtaking whole -- like dots in a Seurat, or tiny bones in a dinosaur skeleton.