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Stepping Out of the Sub-genre: RVLVR and Ben O’Neill talk about synthesizing a spectrum of influences on Stiff Upper Lip

RVLVR | photo via facebook.com/rvlvrphilly

RVLVR is the nom de guerre of composer / producer James Sauppe. His latest project is a collaboration with another Philadelphian — the Grammy-nominated singer / songwriter / guitarist, Ben O’ Neil. The EP, Stiff Upper Lip is a sonically dense, emotionally layered set of mutant pop-songs. It’s gripping from the opening title track, which melds “Bohemian Rhapsody” style vocal harmonies with the  dystopian ambience of Another Green World-era Eno, to “Whole Pieces Whole,” the sprawling, ambitious closer that conjures up the spirit of Electric Light Orchestra and The Beatles “Within Without You.”

We met with Sauppe, O’Neil and producer Paul “Starkey” Geissinger (whose experimental label No Remixes released Stiff Upper Lip) at Community College of Philadelphia campus, where Geissinger and Sauppe both teach in the school’s music department. Over the course of our talk, we discussed the songwriting and production process behind this set of rich, heart-wrenching songs. Continue reading →

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Noremixes: New electronic label to host artist showcase at Johnny Brenda’s

Starkey | facebook.com/starkeymusic

Spacey Philadelphia electronic artist Starkey recently formed his own label, Noremixes, featuring some of the city’s boundary-pushing electronic artists. This Thursday, March 19, Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown plays host to a label showcase highlighting seven of Noremixes’ artists. The evening will feature sets from the man behind the label, as well as chamber-pop act Oh! Pears, techno minimalist Mikronesia, as well as RVLVR, Beck-Fields, Winter Sleep, and ghostinthehills. Continue reading →