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Watch Pattern is Movement record their final song in a church for Shaking Through

Pattern Is Movement | Photos by Peter English | via weathervanemusic.com

It’s no secret that Philadelphia experimental rock duo Pattern is Movement is calling it quits. But before they announced their break-up, they promised to go out with a bang – and part of that bang was recording a song for Philadelphia non-profit Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through series. Continue reading →

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Exploring the state of the Philly music industry with WXPN, Chill Moody, Chris Ward of Pattern is Movement and Katonah Coster of Fame House

Strand of Oaks | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
Strand of Oaks | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

It’s been an incredible year for Philly music. I mean, it’s always an incredible year for Philly music – there is no shortage of talented Philadelphia artists creating and releasing compelling music. But what’s made 2014 particularly exciting is the number of locals that are transcending the local scene and making waves nationally.

Strand of Oaks (pictured) released the incredible HEAL on Dead Oceans Records in June, and pretty much spent the entire year on a national headlining tour playing sold out venue after sold out venue. West Philly rapper Chill Moody made his SXSW debut in March at a club in 6th Street in Austin, and released a remarkable run of singles in the months since. Art punk favorites Hop Along played a string of high-profile shows (including frontwoman Frances Quinlan singing with Weezer at The Trocadero) and were picked up by Saddle Creek Records, who is releasing their new album next year. New records from old favorites The War on Drugs and Pattern Is Movement were released to critical acclaim, and emerging bands like Cayetana and Modern Baseball dropped break-out LPs that expanded their fan base across the country.

So what’s making the Philadelphia music scene shine nationally in 2014? That’s a question we’re exploring at tomorrow night’s State of Young Philly event Philly’s Remastered Sound: A Music Economy Flourishing. WXPN’s Bruce Warren will lead a panel discussion featuring Chill Moody, Chris Ward – drummer for Pattern is Movement and talent buyer at Johnny Brenda’s – and Katonah Coster, VP of marketing at Fame House and myself. (I’m also DJing before the talk, and super-catchy R&B artist Beano will play a set after.) The free event at Underground Arts begins at 8 p.m., and you can RSVP here. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Pattern is Movement at Spruce Street Harbor, Drake at Susquehanna Bank Center, Family Vacation at RUBA

Pattern Is Movement
Pattern Is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer

Spruce Street Harbor Park‘s free summer concert series ends tonight with Pattern is Movement.  The duo of Chris Ward and Andrew Thiboldeaux got home from touring with Wye Oak just a couple of weeks ago, supporting their own new self-titled record out on the road.  The album took years to complete and was introduced slowly to fans by way of a listening party mash-up at PhilaMOCA last year, where it was paired with an edited screening of There Will Be Blood.  The electronic / R&B duo will perform alongside Moon Bounce tonight.  More information can be found here.

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Watch Pattern is Movement’s evocative “Suckling” video

Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer
Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer

Philly experimental pop duo Pattern is Movement recently released a video for “Suckling”. The group has been making headlines lately, with features on both NPR’s World Cafe and on the Key’s Unlocked series. This year, the duo released their self-titled fifth album. It is a baroque, yet vibrant collection of electronic pop, with elements of R&B.  Interestingly enough, the inspiration to use R&B came from a surprising source. As Andrew Thiboldeaux explained, the  parallels between his religious background and R&B, “But the feelings I had in those church meetings were TRUE. My brain was registering it, I was high as a kite. There’s something about R&B and hip-hop that resonates with me as a result.” In his album review, the Key’s Sameer Rao states that ” every string-and-horn ensemble buildup in the beautiful service of capturing something as ephemeral as it is universal.” Continue reading →

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Download two songs from Pattern is Movement in the new World Cafe: Next podcast

Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer
Pattern is Movement | photo by Mark Schaffer

On the heels of the release of their sweet new self-titled outing via Hometapes Records, Philly experimental pop duo Pattern is Movement was featured on this week’s World Cafe: Next podcast. Host David Dye writes “there are beautiful, almost baroque aspects of this largely electronic and percussive music;” download “River” and “Suckling” here via NPR Music.

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Tutlie, Pattern is Movement, Hurray for the Riff Raff

Tutlie | Photo by John Vettese
Tutlie | Photo by John Vettese

Tutlie brought their imaginative new record to life for this week’s Key Studio Session.  Among the tracks taken from Young Cries, released a few weeks ago, is an even newer song called “Kaito” planned for a forthcoming record.  Stream and download the track below and get the full set here.

Pattern is Movement was the subject of this week’s Unlocked series.  The local duo finally released their self-titled effort, years in the making and as complex as it is accessible.  Stream and download “Suckling” from Pattern is Movement below and check out the rest of the feature here.

Yesterday’s Free at Noon performers Hurray for the Riff Raff released their label debut Small Town Heroes in February on ATO.  Monday’s My Morning Download, “I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright)” was taken from that effort and can be downloaded for free below.

Thievery Corporation have released “Depth of My Soul” as a free download through Soundcloud.  The song is taken from the DC duo’s new LP Saudade, and WXPN will welcome them to the Tower Theater on May 19th with Policia.

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Unlocked: Check out an album of photos from Pattern is Movement’s self-titled record release show at Boot & Saddle

Pattern is Movement | Photo by Mark Schaffer
Pattern is Movement | Photo by Mark Schaffer

Our week closes with a triumphant homecoming for Pattern is Movement. Supported by their fellow Philadelphians Busses and Brooklyn-based Hometapes label mates Yellow Ostrich (featuring ex-We are Scientists drummer Michael Tapper), Pattern is Movement played the penultimate show on their first support tour for Pattern is Movement to a rapturous audience. Tearing through songs from the new record with an ideal balance of hit-by-hit perfection and erratic fluidity (mainly thanks to Chris Ward’s J. Dilla-inspired breaks and Andrew Thiboldeaux’s acrobatic live vocal runs), the band have proven that the gambles they took with their new record are starting to pay off.

Significant praise also goes to Busses and Yellow Ostrich, both of whose idiosyncratic takes on psych rock set an appropriate atmosphere for Pattern is Movement’s ecstatic return. Check out this gallery of photos from local musician and photographer Mark Schaffer.

Pattern is Movement has been the featured album on this week’s edition of Unlocked. Download the song “Suckling in Monday’s post, read Tuesday’s album review, learn about their videos for “Untitled and “Little by Little in Wednesday’s post, read yesterday’s interview, and stay up to date for future editions of Unlocked.

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Unlocked: Pattern is Movement see their mission statement come to its fullest realization

PatternIsMovementCOVER
Pattern is Movement started out as a Christian rap group. You heard it here first.

Well, that’s not completely true. But understanding this side of keyboardist/singer/composer Andrew Thiboldeaux’s and drummer/producer Chris Ward’s experience, rooted in strict Pentacostal practice (the same faith in which Marvin Gaye and D’Angelo nurtured their prodigal musicianship), might explain a lot. It certainly makes the eccentricity inherent to Pattern is Movement’s music – occasionally frantic, layered with intense stimuli and popping with vibrancy at every beat – a little easier to understand. Far more importantly, it allows us to understand the motivation behind what they have tried to do with their new self-titled album. The band celebrate the release of their album tonight at Boot & Saddle.

“Andrew and I started making Christian rap when we were 14, and we were in a Christian rock group when we were teenagers. We were so connected to music that…I think for me, as a 35-year-old musician who’s been doing it for 20 years with this guy, I wanted to go back to the roots of my childhood and figure out why I loved music so hard when I was a kid,” explains Ward over a crackling phone line. He and Thiboldeaux have just pulled into Austin, right on the cusp of an extremely ambitious South By Southwest schedule, but that’s not quite where he’s at mentally. “Rather than running away from that past experience – which was very painful and traumatic – I tried to embrace it and see what about it was positive. One of the things it gave me was this intimate musical relationship with this guy, and I hear a wonderful conversation between the two of us in this record,”

Through these artists’ eyes, the message behind the record becomes clearer and clearer. Past the surface-level complexity is a strong communicative purpose that has been the hallmark of all great music; that said, when Pattern is Movement’s history is looked at under the microscope, their gravitation towards RnB makes perfect sense. RnB as we know it is born of desire to bring the pulpit to the concert hall, to equate ecclesiastical power in a non-sacred setting, to find God in human passion. The genre’s greatest luminaries, folks like Marvin and D, all grew up and became artists in church. The power of music to bring people together in the service of something omniscient and massive is certainly not lost on Ward or Thiboldeaux.

“Chris and I like church, but we’re not so interested in Jesus, so we like the emotion and ecstasy of RnB music,” explains Andrew.

“I started challenging my beliefs and thought that all the stuff I saw – the speaking in tongues, the emotions that I had in service – that all of that was false. And as I got older, I started realizing the opposite. Like, yeah, maybe there is no God, maybe all the stuff they were telling me was bulls***. But the feelings I had in those church meetings were TRUE. My brain was registering it, I was high as a kite. There’s something about RnB and hip-hop that resonates with me as a result,” adds Ward.

This desire to create something ecclesiastically powerful is one of a few missions that guided the new record, but those implications resonate throughout the other circumstances that brought the record about in this form. In the six years between this record and 2008’s All Together, Ward went through a difficult divorce and picked up a full-time job doing bookings at Johnny Brenda’s that he still maintains. These events, mixed with a strong urge to get away from the record-tour-repeat cycle that made their previous albums feel stagnant to them, precipitated a need to step back and re-evaluate. Even though they started tracking songs in 2009, they ended up scrapping a whole mix by 2011, re-recording into 2012 (tracking separately, for the first time in any of their records), and spending 2013 getting things prepared to be played live. They essentially made a record in the way most bands don’t anymore, and they’re fully aware of the sea changes that have happened in the broader world during this time – changes that they, as an indie group authentically embracing RnB and hip-hop, are better prepared than ever to handle.

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