Natalie LeBrecht carries the torch of New York's downtown avant grade into contemporary popular music. Recording as Greenpot Bluepot, LeBrecht melds outernational influences with vocal melodies reminiscent of Yoko Ono (with less screaming) or, as Devendra Banhart put it, an "intergalactic Nico." That makes sense, given that LeBrecht has worked closely with minimalist pioneers La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. In the late 1960s, those two set the stage for the New York music scene that linked contemporary classical music with weird performance art and, of course, birthed the Velvet Underground with whom Nico sang. Boing Boing is pleased to premier the latest Greenpot Bluepot video, directed by Brett Milspaw, for the song "Melting Sword" from the new album Ascend At The Dead End. Here's what LeBrecht told us about her musical path:
Growing up, my parents listened to pop music so that was what I was raised on. When I went to college, my tastes expanded when I studied avant-garde art theory and gained exposure to avant-garde music. Because I appreciate both traditions, I think it’s natural that I would incorporate a hybrid in my own work.
Assisting LaMonte Young & Marian Zazeela was an inspirational & enriching opportunity for me - just to have exposure to that high caliber of musicianship & artistic purity up close was a blessing. In his late 70’s, LaMonte is still an olympic-champion singer with the voice of a 30 year old. His voice is spiritually charged and powerful - yet wielded with refined subtly, control, grace & beauty. These are qualities I aspire to as a singer.
As an artist, I’ve always needed to challenge myself - even if it means I’ll fail or make something laughably bad - this is what it means to be “experimental”. The flip-side is that there's a potential to create something innovative, so it's worth trying. I created the album “Ascend At The Dead End” outside of my comfort zone, experimenting with some different variations of microtonal tuning for some of it. I also was striving to create complex compositions that seem effortless and easy to listen to.
“Melting Sword” differs from the other songs on the album in that I decided to make the music simple so that I could get in a trance and just let the voice & words flow out & do whatever they wanted with no restriction. I created & recorded it in one afternoon and it was by far the easiest song on the album to make. The vocals & lyrics were improvised in 1 1/4 takes (I re-did the ending).
David Pescovitz is Boing Boing's co-editor/managing partner. He's also a research director at Institute for the Future. On Instagram, he's @pesco.