Out of the vibrant Montreal music scene comes Beast, a new collaboration between Jean-Phi Goncalves, leader of his own cutting edge electro band Plaster and also an established platinum level producer (Ariane Moffat, Pierre Lapointe, Daniel Bélanger, Lauryn Hill), and acclaimed singer Betty Bonifassi (DJ Champion, The Triplets of Belleville soundtrack). The dynamic duo met in Montreal, but both are from France.
Beast on amazon.com
After Plaster and DJ Champion shared some bills together, Goncalves, who plays drums in Plaster and Beast, invited the singer to come into the studio to add vocals to some unpolished pieces he was working on. Something immediately clicked, and that first session yielded "Devil," the opening track. "I came in with text that I wrote, and the song came in an hour," Betty recalls. "It was just obvious that there was something there."
That something is a vibe and sound that inhabits a place where the cinematic grandeur of Portishead meets the immediacy of Rage Against the Machine. With help from lyricist Simon Wilcox, Betty strikes a balance between telling vividly detailed stories and still adhering to the concise songwriting structure of pop.
Soul, rap, electro, rock and jazz (complete with a Charles Mingus bass sample on "Satan") collide in Beast. "Trip rock," Betty calls it, the phrase invoking the way haunting choirs and glitchy electronic bits run underneath saw-toothed bass and grinding guitars.
Beast's self-titled debut album hits US stores March 3, 2009 via Verve Forecast.
BEAST AT SXSW
Don't miss your chance to see Beast this year at SXSW. They've got a couple of shows and their electro rock vibes go perfectly with that Austin heat, Texas BBQ, and SXSW energy! All show details to be announced very shortly, but check out what people are already saying about Beast:
"One of the most strikingly original and swaggeringly bad-ass Canadian albums to rear its head in recent memory." - Ben Rayner, Toronto Star
"One of the best albums of the year." - Robert Everett-Green, Globe & Mail
"(Beast)...is a conversation, a creative evolution in which two strong artistic personalities prod each other into uncharted territory." - T'Cha Dunlevy, Montreal Gazette
"Over phat bass synth and ruff beats Betty does her thing like a noir R&B queen, angelic one moment and devilish the next." - Chris Twomey, Tandem