screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: November 2016

Introducing… Soto Voce

Soto Voce

photo by Eddie Chacon

In this stark, chilling video for “Better” — a single released by Soto Voce earlier this year — disturbing images of violence and atrocities around the world becomes the backdrop of a more immediate, front-and-center persecution. The song received some attention when it was used in an episode of the ABC-TV drama series, How To Get Away With Murder, and recently a tech/deep house Speaking in Tongues remix appeared, but the original track is a darkly shaded, angsty stunner that requires no reinterpretation. Enjoy the slow burn.

Soto Voce, now based in Los Angeles, is the collaboration of Kenny Soto, a trans woman from the inner-city of Oakland, California and Miguel De Divo, an immigrant from Colombia. Their music, a smooth yet ferocious blend of R&B, ’80s new wave and ’90s industrial music, with elements of pop and hip-hop, was born of harsh and explosive upbringings. For Soto, it was growing up in tough Oakland schools as a female soul trapped in a male body, and learning to fight back against the constant bullying and persecution. Music became a sanctuary and an outlet. As Soto explains, “By the time I was 16 I had a lot of angst and I was rebelling and music was the thing I could go to to release a lot of pain and anguish and shit like that.”

For Miguel De Vivo (formerly with Villains), musical inspiration came from the sounds of his native Colombia (Spanish salsa, merengue and vayenato), and from family hardships when they were forced to escape to L.A. after his father, a port official, refused to collaborate with Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s trafficking cartel.

Kenny and Miguel were introduced by a mutual friend and immediately bonded over their musical influences. They combined Soto’s soft and sultry to ferocious vocals with Miguel’s shimmering to incendiary synth-fueled production. A furious three-year period of creativity culminated in the birth of Soto Voce. The duo’s name is derived from the Italian phrase sotto voce, which means to purposefully lower your voice for dramatic effect. Says Soto, “there’s also the mafia situation, if the big boss walks into the room it’s like ‘be quiet’ and there’s the idea that me or the band could have that kind of effect.”

Their spirit and sound lies in the duality of what Soto calls her “hyper-sensitive feminine personality” and the resilient varrior who has had to endure life’s slings and arrows. As one grows more comfortable in one’s own skin, power and creativity can take hold and flourish. The message is “perseverance, preservation and positivity.”

Soto Voce will be releasing their debut album in 2017.

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The Rebel Light’s Goodbye Serenade feel-good newsreel

“Planet Earth is blue and there’s nothing I can do.”
– David Bowie, Space Oddity

Are you feeling a little down? Boston lads The Rebel Light have created an amazingly inspirational video for their emotional song “Goodbye Serenade.” As they said in the email accompanying this breathtaking masterpiece —

“It has been a very dark and divided few days, so in the spirit of trying to remain positive in the face of so much adversity and negativity, we would like to share with you the video that we put together ourselves for our song Goodbye Serenade.

“We wanted to visually create something that highlights the power of the human spirit and the incredible accomplishments that mankind has achieved…

“It’s about how great we as a human race can truly be when we focus our energy into creating something positive in this world. It’s also a reminder that regardless of our differences we are all brothers and sisters.

“Our greatest achievements in history have come from tearing walls down… not by building them.”

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Army Surplus


I purchased army equipment and was taken by an army man to see it. My friend Victor was there with me. We climbed the steps of a huge military vehicle; there was a large empty room at the top and the engine was below. It was industrial army surplus.

We then visited a building I had purchased, and we had to climb a slatted ladder on the side to reach it. This was another large, open space. But it wasn’t empty. It had various displays with different oddities inside. Were these mementos? Were they valuable? I wasn’t sure. There was also food – various kinds of cheeses, crackers, dips – as if laid out for a reception of some kind.

There were other people in the room. There was also a pile of small birds. They may have been automated (the birds, not the people), but they were extremely lifelike. They were all fluttering around, eating and chirping. It was quite strange.

When we first went in, Victor got excited because he thought he saw a snake skeleton, only I think it was the skeleton of some other sort of animal. There were a few other rooms in this single-level building, and it felt like an army headquarters of some kind. Or perhaps it was a military museum?

Whatever it was, I was now the proud owner of a strange collection of memorabilia.

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Gas Stations of the Future

gas station of the future

My car was out of gas,
and it started to sputter and die,
it lost all power, but fortunately I made it to a station just in time.
It was a futuristic gas station, with multiple levels.
I lifted my car to the second level,
but then realized I didn’t have to do this.
I asked the attendant which grade I should put in,
as there were many choices.
I floundered for a while, but got it working.

How disappointing that there are still gas stations in the future.

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Live from the Caprice – Overdue Films’ New Boston Music Web Series

Live from the Caprice

Overdue Films, a Boston-area film collective, is launching a new web series that puts the spotlight on Boston music. “Live from the Caprice” isn’t a slickly produced television music program filmed in a swanky nightclub. Rather, this series documents musicians performing in the back seat of a 1985 Chevy Caprice as it takes us on a guided tour around the Boston area.

Their first installment features indie duo FBGM, who performs three songs while on a leisurely Sunday drive down route 117 from Waltham to Bolton. It’s a low-budget production with lavish musicianship. Check out their first song, “Dog Collar.”

This very cool ‘music on the move’ series was masterminded by filmmaker Jean-Paul DiSciscio and sound designer Ross Matthei. DiSciscio explains how their movable venue came to be.

“Ross and I had the idea to film mini-concerts in my 1985 Chevy Caprice after recording sound effects for our film, Bloody Henry, which features the car prominently. I tried to sell the Caprice for a hot minute, but only received low-ball offers. It made sense to just keep it on the road — it’s pretty much like driving a couch with wheels. The enormous size of the car fits five people, various instruments, and recording gear comfortably.”

And with that, a star was born. And hey, the musicians aren’t too shabby either.

FBGM hails from Arlington, Massachusetts and consists of Matt Jatkola and D. Orxata (formerly of Boston synth pop band, The Bynars). For the cruise in the Caprice, they performed, along with “Dog Collar,” their song “Sassy Fran” and a cover of the Breeders’ “Fortunately Gone.” The rest of the session can be seen and heard on the series’ website.

Follow the exploits of Live from the Caprice for future sessions. Vrrrrrooooom!

Live from the Caprice: web | facebook | twitter | youtube playlist

FBGM: facebook | twitter | instagram | bandcamp

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