“Two-One-Live” with BioDiesel
Johnny Rabb and Clay Parnell make up the intensely imaginative collaboration that is BioDiesel. Clay Parnell is best known for his work with Brothers Past, and is often considered one of the go-to bassists in the Live Electronic genre. Drumming legend Johnny Rabb has been executing his passion for live electronic music over the years by continuing to pioneer new techniques in the scene. The combination of these two celebrated musicians results in a boundary shattering, electronic dance machine. With their sound constantly evolving both on tour and off, BioDiesel will release a new album that aims to give listeners a true taste of their energetic live performance. Two-One-Live, appropriately titled after the 215 area code, is an edited version of their show at The Blockley (Philadelphia, PA) in July of 2011. The album includes 8 original tracks, one of which features an extended improvised section with Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits.
The album kicks off strong with “Liquid,” a spacey, bass thumping groove box, which instantly shows off how easily these guys can lock in with one another. But, at an almost lengthy 5 minutes and 24 seconds, the song comes off more as a riff that they played with than anything else. Just a simple introduction to what the rest of the album has in store for the listener. The track ends with a showcase of Johnny Rabb’s Drum ‘n Bass speed and accuracy with a segue into a familiar “Hippo Break,” which the band has been playing live consistently over the past few years. While the song is basically the same as it was back when they performed at Starscape Festival in 2009, it’s clear that Rabb and Parnell have become more in tune with each other, and are more comfortable with experimenting musically.
“Powering Down” creeps in quick as if the guys have been waiting to play it all night. The song perfectly displays Parnell’s versatility on stage, often playing keys and his bass at the same time. This is a serious feel-good song. The guys lock in perfectly with a robotic “DJ in the mix” vocal sample that, combined with the atmospheric pads, puts you in a 7-minute trance. With this zen state that the song has put me in as it comes to an end, the duality of BioDiesel really comes to shine. “Tranzam” drops in with a seriously heavy electro build up accompanied by some arpeggiated beeps and boops that make you want to do nothing but stomp your feet and fist pump.
So far the album has been a smooth and steady build up that utilizes both the song order and segues to keep the energy constantly growing. While some moments may seem slightly repetitive, BioDiesel quickly changes things up and heads in an almost completely different direction. Powering Down > Tranzam > Mellotone encompasses this aspect of the band perfectly.
My favorite treat of the album has to be the extended “A.M Radio” jam which features one of my favorite musicians, Aron Magner of The Disco Biscuits on keys. This track adds some needed variation to the set, and really shows the band in a different light than usual. The extended improvised section of the song (about 15 minutes) holds true to Parnell and Magner’s experienced backgrounds in electronic jamming, and shows off how skilled these three musicians really are. It’s clear that “A.M Radio” is the peak of the album, but that doesn’t take away from the energy of the two proceeding songs “KGB” and “Turnin’ Back” which slowly cool things down to a resting point.
Overall, “Two-One-Live” holds upwards of 40 plays on my iTunes in the 24 hours I have had access to it, and I’m sure the numbers are going to continue climbing. With “Powering Down” and the “A.M Radio” jam featuring Magner being my highlights of the album, I can’t wait to see what other tricks BioDiesel has waiting to be unleashed.
The album will be officially released on April 3rd and will be accompanied by a tour of the North East with stops in Boston, New Haven, Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Newark.
April 4 – Allston, MA. @ Together Festival w/ Grimace Federation
April 5 – New Haven, CT. @ Stella Blues w/ Grimace Federation
April 12 – Philadelphia, PA. @ The Blockley w/ Damn Right! feat. Bernie Worrell, Derek VanScoten (d.v.s.*) and Pixel8ter (EP Release Party)
April 13 – Baltimore, MD. @ Baltimore Soundstage w/ Ozric Tentacles
April 14 – Newark, DE. BassCampus @ University of Delaware w/ Sonic Spank,
Grimace Federation, d.v.s.*, Space Jesus, and more
April 16 – Brooklyn, NY. Brooklyn Bowl w/ Kung Fu and Sonic Spank