Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Banks' acoustic set will blow your mind

OK, apologies for the hyperbolic Buzzfeed headline - but this is gorgeous.

US public radio station NPR has a strand called "Tiny Desk Concerts" where they bundle performers into their cramped offices and force them to play for the staff. Then they film it, and put it up online. Singing for her supper yesterday was doom-and-bass queen Banks. On this evidence, she must have earned a six course degustation at the Fat Duck.

NPR's producers explain it all much better than I could, so here's an extract of the write-up on their website:

The setting is particularly challenging for vocalists, especially those accustomed to heavy production, effects or — in the case of recent guest T-Pain — generous dollops of Auto-Tune.

T-Pain's effects-less set grabbed more attention at the time, given the extent to which digital alterations are expected of him, but this performance by Banks is, in its own way, an even greater high-wire act. Banks' terrific full-length debut, Goddess, is constructed out of layer upon layer of electronics, beats, samples and other means of submerging the singer's voice in swirling accoutrements. With assistance from keyboardist/guitarist John Anderson and percussionist Derek Taylor, she's not all alone behind the Tiny Desk, but her expressive voice is fully exposed here.

It also contains some amazing "I am emoting" hand gestures.

You can watch the full, 13-minute performance below.

Banks - Begging For Thread / Alibi / Brain

PS: The audio of this performance is currently available as a free download on NPR's website.

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