Video: Damon & Naomi playing The North Light in London

The North Light

Rough Trade have posted a very lovely clip of Damon & Naomi performing The North Light from their recent performance at London’s Rough Trade East. Sadly the video has embedding disabled so you’ll have to head over to Vimeo to see it – it is very well worth the click though.

Video: Damon & Naomi – The North Light live at Rough Trade East – 9th April 2015

You can see a few of my pictures from the show on Flickr.

Naomi Yang

Damon and Naomi play Fortune at Rough Trade East

Naomi Yang

On Thursday I took the day off work to see Damon and Naomi’s lunchtime show at Rough Trade East in London, this was the third and final show of a short UK tour. The shows are in support of their new album Fortune, which was released in February and is the soundtrack to Naomi’s short film of the same name that received its premiere on their last UK tour back in May of last year.

We arrived shortly before the start, the small area in front of the stage had filled up quite nicely by the time the duo took to the stage. They opened with a couple of covers – Tim Buckley’s Song to the Siren and Yoko Ono’s Listen The Snow is Falling. Damon then introduced the main event – a performance of Fortune – Damon pointed out that the fact that the album is the same length as Pink Moon is no coincidence, and so were to be treated to eleven tracks and 28’22” of music.

The film is hypnotic, almost a collection of moving photographs with a story that Damon suggested we may need to build ourselves. The album is beautiful, and works perfectly well without the film, but seeing it accompanying the pictures is certainly special – although maybe standing at the back of a record shop isn’t the perfect venue – although it worked better than you might think.

The film finished, the show was over. A nice chat with Naomi afterwards and then headed out into daylight to grab a coffee.

You can view the film on Naomivision.
You can buy the album on CD or LP from Damon and Naomi’s web store.
You can stream and buy a digital copy of Fortune from Damon and Naomi’s bandcamp.

Damon Krukowski

There a few more, rather similar, photos over here.

Damon Krukowski proposes rights (and responsibilities) for plagiarists

Damon has written an interesting article for Pitchfork suggesting that plagiarists should have the same rights, and responsibilites as artists who cover tracks. The article comes in the wake of the Thicke/Pharrell “Blurred Lines” suit and includes a history of mechanical rights and suggests that a similar arrangemnemnt should be put in place for “borrowing”.

Why not return to the Solomon-like wisdom of the 1909 Copyright Act, and extend its concept of compulsory licensing to digital copying? Let anyone make use of existing intellectual property as an aspect of their own work, so long as they pay a statutory royalty to the owner. Thicke and Williams might then borrow from Gaye at a statutory borrower’s rate, just as they could have covered Gaye at the statutory rate for mechanical reproduction.

The article also includes a potted history of mechanical rights for those of us a little baffled by it all:

The manufacturers of piano rolls maintained that they did not need to pay composers for copyright, because they were not in fact making “copies” of sheet music. The piano rolls were not readable by humans—they could only function as a part of the complete player piano, for which they already owned all patents. Piano rolls were not “music,” as it was understood at the time, but a mechanical part of the machines that played them.

Op-Ed: Plagiarize This: A Reasonable Solution to Musical Copyright After “Blurred Lines”

player piano and scrolls

Damon and Naomi UK dates (plus a round up of some ‘Fortune’ reviews)

Damon and Naomi have announced some dates in the UK to support the release of their splendid new album Fortune. The shows will include a showing of the film with live accompaniment and (most likely) a few bonus oldies thrown in at the end. The show is well worth catching if you can make it.

The shows are at:
7th April at Gullivers in Manchester
8th April at The Portland Arms in Cambridge
9th April at Rough Trade East in London (1pm – lunchtime show)

They then head off to Europe for more dates (which I post when I have them ready).

Fortune has received some lovely (and well-deserved) praise on the internet:

Pitchfork:

Using little more than acoustic guitar, keyboards and Krukowski’s jazz-tinged drumming, they have crafted arrangements for these 11 pieces that sound remarkably full-bodied. And it would appear that the natural constraints of the soundtrack form have worked to their advantage. The songs are concise and focused, hitting their melodic or lyrical marks and then quickly moving to the next scene without getting weighted down by repetition or digression.

Popmatters:

The first few songs set the melancholy but not despairing tone. They blend together. They merge into a tapestry of introspective meditations on loss and recovery. They are dignified, and they drift along. Halfway into the sequence, “Shadows” stands out as a fine example of the layered, meticulous pace that Krukowski and Yang have mastered. Hushed, it does not let go of emotion, but it cradles it.

Tome to The Weather Machine:

But for the most part, this isn’t mere incidental movie music; there is marvelous song craft here. Damon’s voice strains to meet the haunting melodies of “Amnesia” and “Shadows” […] The aching “A Shining Dream” is particularly moving. […] Fortune doesn’t step beyond the bounds of what we’ve heard from the duo in the past, but it’s a gorgeous, succinct statement that elevates the visuals it was written to accompany.

Beaarded Gentlemen Music:

With all the songs sounding similar, by-numbers production, underwhelming song lengths, and over all short running time, it sounds as if I’m describing a boring, forgettable album, but Fortune defies those synonyms and gives the listener a beautiful, personal, listening experience. It might be glorified background music for an early morning road trip, but sometimes we need just that to remind us how beautiful the simple things in life can be.

Fortune is available on CD and LP and download from bandcamp.