Todd Clouser

"Todd Clouser doesn't fit into any scene, and doesn't want to"  says NPR in describing the aesthetic of the young guitarist, vocalist and writer. A native of Minneapolis, Clouser currently resides in Mexico City, writing and performing in a prolific manner uncommon to, and often at odds with, today's market sensibilities. Clouser comes with the tomorrow of creative music, descending from the lineage of 70's rock heroics, song craft, and improvised musics.

Todd Clouser released a trilogy of records with his group A Love Electric on Brooklyn label Royal Potato Family between February 2012 and 2013, earning praise from critics of jazz and rock alike, while working tirelessly as a published poet, writer of short fiction and community philanthropist in Mexico. "Blistering" says the Prague Post on Clouser, while NPR goes on to call him "fascinating …. ultimately illuminating", with the Phildaelphia Inquirer pointing to Todd as "A Gem, Clouser spices the All American vibe of Bill Frisell with some Jimi Hendrix fire."

 

Clouser's 2013 solo offering  Man With No Country  (Sept 2013) comes on Amulet Records, the label of legendary drummer Billy Martin, who performs on a number of the albums tracks.  A record of 11 proper songs, biting lyricism, and blood churning sonic landscapes produced by another legend of New York City's downtown scene, Golden Palominos founder Anton Fier. Man With No Country, a more vulnerable offering that anything we have seen from Todd stands to further propel Clouser into creative music conscience.

 

Clouser has toured extensively through the Unites States, Central America, western Europe, Argentina, Peru, and throughout his adopted home of Mexico. Whether with A Love Electric, solo, or next to heroes from Keb Mo to John Medeski, there is the sense when hearing Clouser that a new generation of ideas is arriving. 

A Love Electric - Bio - Press

An explosive trio of three nationalities, A Love Electric, hailed as the tomorrow of creative rock by Mexico City's leading newspaper, La Jornada, performs at some of the world's finest rock festivals, jazz clubs, and cultural landmarks. Led by guitarist and vocalist Todd Clouser, a voice recognized as at the forefront of a new generation of genre redefining artists, A Love Electric carries the sonic legacies of psychedelic rock, New York City's downtown scene, and introspective song into new territories. Having performed over 150 concerts in 2013 across three continents, ALE has gained praise from critics and fans of rock, jazz, and experimental musics alike.

 

The Prague Post calls ALE's sound "blistering". Time Out Barcelona writes the A Love Electric experience is "illuminating". NPR calls Clouser "fascinating". For its fourth record, the band brings legendary organist, pianist, keyboardist John Medeski into the mix on the Ropeadope Records release "Son of A Hero" (August 2014). Recorded in Clouser's birthplace of Minneapolis, Minnesota with stops in Woodstock, NY and back to the band's home of Mexico City, "Son of A Hero" was mixed by Grammy Award winner Patrick Dillett (Soul Coughing, David Bryne and St. Vincent) and produced by Latin Grammy winner Hernan Hecht.

 

A Love Electric is Todd Clouser (guitar and vocals), Aaron Cruz (bass), and Hernan Hecht (drums), Hecht a Latin Grammy winner for his work as drummer and producer.  The three musicians have performed with  Steven Bernstein, Anton Fier, Billy Martin, Cyro Baptista, members of Dire Straits, Keb Mo, Tim Berne, Ely Guerra, and more. In there years of aggressive touring throughout the United States, Germany, Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and Argentina, A Love Electric have documented their evolution into creative rock supergroup on three records from Brooklyn, NY's The Royal Potato Family and a solo Clouser album Billy Martin's label, Amulet Records. 

 

A Love Electric now sits with a sound and approach all its own, defying category and inspiring audiences with their impassioned and prolific approach to creating. A new generation of idea is here.

 

 

"a celebration of the creative spirit" - Minnesota Public Radio

"One of the most exciting musicians on the scene" - Bird is the Worm

"Impressive...modern...draws from fuzzed out acid rock guitars and vintage, laid-back funk" - Time Out NYC

"Next generation of imaginative guitarists" - Vintage Guitar Magazine

"Blistering" - The Prague Post

"Clouser offers an illuminating exploration" - Time Out Barcelona

"A young, genre-defying guitarist, composer, and writer, Todd Clouser is an accomplished musician across the creative music spectrum, leading a unique path to recognition as an act to watch, finding his own voice performing with musicians from Keb Mo to "downtown" NYC jazz legend Steven Bernstein. Clouser's impassioned performances run from piano balladry to dense jazz and groove, exciting audiences with an approach meant to bend the rules of artistic labeling. "A Love Electric" documents Todd's most aggressive ensemble yet, an energetic group based in the stylings of 70's era electric jazz." - Dakota Jazz Club

 

"Clouser is probably best classified as a jazz guitarist, but when you listen to his music, the funk and rock keep you on your toes. And the beauty of it is all the songs have melodies that stick." - Vintage Guitar Magazine 

 

"It’s jazz and the blues; it’s funk and old-school 70s rock; its good, damn good music. Turn it on and turn it up." - Thewaster.com - Michael J. Bluesman

 

"A superb CD. Todd Clouser's tasteful jazz is hardly dinner music.... jazz fans, guitar heads, and music lovers in general will appreciate Clouser and his band." - The Tahoe Daily Tribune, Tim Parsons

 

"(A Love Electric serves) a catchy amalgam of retro soul and jazz-rock experimentalism.... a hardcore jazz element also crops up." - Jazz Times

 

"Excellent, driving Ropeadope Records debut"... " "sporting avant flourishes and grooves galore...A Love Electric  liberally mixes jazz, funk and rock with compelling results." - Minneapolis Star Tribune - Tom Surowicz

 

"These days, he leads a blistering neo jazz-rock group called A Love Electric, which harkens back to the hard-bop groove and psychedelic era of the late 1960s. But Clouser doesn't even try to match the virtuosity of fusion jazz-rock guitarists of that decade, instead steering his own electric guitar sound into the 21st century, while keeping clear the influence of Jimi Hendrix." - The Prague Post

 

"Clouser's gambit isn't the only promising path to reclaim a vibrant audience for jazz. It is, however, one of the most rewarding."-  Plastic Sax Kansas Cityhttp://plasticsax.blogspot.com/

 

No. 6 Independent Release of 2010 - Something Else! - somethingelsereviews.com

One of 100 "Artists on the Verge" - New York Music Festival/New Music Seminar 2012 No. 6 Indie Album of the Year - Something Else 

Todd Clouser - Man With No Country - The Story

Todd Clouser - Man With No Country on Amulet Records

 

Searching without risk is merely looking, and Todd Clouser is always searching. With his career only just underway, the young guitarist, composer, vocalist, and bandleader has fearlessly inserted himself into numerous demanding scenarios that have both pushed and honed his musicianship and instincts. The Minneapolis native has not only challenged his playing by working alongside an array of deft musicians: he profoundly shook up his life five years ago, relocating to Mexico in search of his voice – driving ten days straight with just his guitars and dog for company. For Clouser, improvisation and invention are not just something that’s done for ninety minutes at night on the bandstand. 

 

This adventurous spirit has eased and enriched Clouser’s transition from instrumental firebrand to vocalist and frontman, a role cemented by his national debut album, Man With No Country. Only the second record to feature his songs and vocals, Man With No Country – available September 17, 2013 on Amulet Records – lashes Clouser’s insightful, questioning compositions to dynamic musical backdrops that roil and churn with a keen intensity born of focused, intent improvisation. “For years,” he explains, “I’ve been playing instrumental music exclusively – but, at the same time, writing a lot of songs. It’s only over the past year that I’ve added in my voice. It took some time for me to get comfortable with using my voice expressively. I had to overcome nerves, self-doubt…for me, it felt like a brave decision.”

 

While his previous vocal excursions, featured on one of several projects he has self-released, were in a more tempered, spoken vein, Clouser’s vocals on Man With No Country are explosively expressive. Much of the credit for his awakening goes to the album’s renowned producer, drummer, and sonic architect, Anton Fier (Golden Palominos, Lounge Lizards, Feelies, Pere Ubu, and more). Having worked as a producer with singers as varied as Michael Stipe, David Thomas, Jack Bruce, Syd Straw, John Lydon, Matthew Sweet, Lori Carson, and innumerable others, Fier’s guidance and trust was critical establishing Clouser’s confidence. 

 

Through his songs, his unbridled guitar playing, and his singing on Man With No Country, Clouser had the opportunity to engage many of his musical heroes, such as Fier, trumpeter Steven Bernstein (Sex Mob), bassist Tony Scherr (Jesse Harris, Jenny Scheinman), and drummer/percussionist Billy Martin (Medeski Martin & Wood) head-on, across a program of scorched-earth ballads and searing rock songs. The result is a tumultuous, heart-rending, and unflinching album set bravely at the intersection of verbal wit, melodic grace, and instrumental daring—a message of the moment, birthed in the moment.

 

While defined by the intensity and immediacy of strong musical personalities interacting in real time, the creation of Man With No Country was actually the product a great deal of soul-searching, during which Clouser and Fier constantly asked themselves difficult, probing questions – then sought the answers in their music. Originally, Clouser enlisted Fier to play drums on a marathon 10-hour session, where many of the album’s songs were first recorded. Without rehearsal, the musicians were reading from carefully prepared charts, and Clouser played guitar without singing – which was to be added later.

 

Once the productive session wound down, the musicians packed up and returned to their respective paths. Not too long afterward, Clouser invited Fier to Mexico to play a few shows. There, Fier enquired about the previous session and Clouser played him some rough mixes. Hearing the songs with vocals for the first time, Fier began to gain an understanding for Clouser’s perspective, and the essence of the songs began to become clear to him. “We were listening,” Clouser recalls, “and Anton said, ‘You know there’s a masterpiece in there, and we don’t have it.’

 

“I was intrigued by Anton’s honesty,” Clouser continues. “I asked him, right then, ‘How do we get there?” Fier immediately responded that they needed to return to New York, ditch the charts, and strip the songs to their bare essence before carrying on. 

 

The pair did just that, creeping into New York City studios at odd hours and performing the songs live, with vocals, as a guitar and drums duo. Before the sessions, Clouser sheered the songs of inessential components. “I stripped it all away,” he says. “I took Anton’s advice and brought it back to the song. It’s an open, vulnerable record, because that’s what Anton was able to get.” While recording, the two fed off of each other, their spontaneous interaction, drawing from Clouser’s rich improvisational instincts, brought the songs to life. “It became this amazing trade-off in the moment,” Clouser continues, “and I’m an in the moment guy.”

Clouser’s innate improvisational instincts have brought him remarkably far in a short time. Not long after graduating from Berklee College of Music, he decamped the states for Mexico, in the hopes of developing his own artistic persona away from the cynicism that increasingly defines the music business in America. “You see people getting trampled on and torn up by the industry,” Clouser says. “It can get really ugly.” Already technically adept, teaching in the isolated community of Baja put him in touch with his muse, and he performed alongside musicians both locally and abroad that further grew his musicianship – such as trumpeter Bernstein, modern blues maverick Keb Mo, downtown percussionist Cyro Baptista, and his regular trio of drummer Hernán Hecht and electric bassist Aarón Cruz Bravo.

 

One of Clouser’s early champions was drummer Billy Martin of Medeski Martin & Wood and proprietor of Amulet Records. “I’ve known him since the beginning of Camp Medeski Martin & Wood, where he’s been a regular camper and student,” Martin explains. “I liked him from the beginning – his demeanor, his style. He’s come a long way since then. He’s doing everything I think young musicians should do: Keep touring, keep writing, take the bull by the horns, play with lots of people, and just getting out there. And that’s what he’s doing, full on.”

 

Man With No Country is Clouser’s most sustained and intimate collaboration so far, and while the subsequent contributions of musicians like Bernstein, Scherr, and Martin filled out the sound considerably, the intensity forged in those initial duo sessions with Fier is still very much the core of the album. “I trusted Anton completely,” Clouser says, looking back. “I respect him and I trusted what he heard in me. He has a way of stripping things down to the truth. There’s no bullshit with him, in music or life. He’s an incredibly straight guy and that’s really refreshing in the music industry. We’re just going for absolute truth on this record…no trickery, no shtick or gimmicks.”

 

Being pushed out of his comfort zone by Fier has produced a series of striking moments, such as the album’s title track. After hearing the intense backbeat Fier proposed for the song, Clouser set his guitar aside. “I just didn’t want to strum chords on the guitar while he was playing this beat,” Clouser recalls. “So we got this choppy, delayed sound out of a Wurlitzer electric piano. It was live, not manufactured afterward. The song could have been a spoken, mid-tempo folk-rock song, and it became so much more. I love that: No rules – just make it as real as we could.” The track is further enhanced by a winsome brass line from Bernstein, whose wistful, anthemic quality beautifully amplifies the central character’s alienation.

 

Throughout, Clouser’s confident baritone vocals swing from the intimate, disarming tenderness of “How to Trust a Lover” to the biting urgency and paranoia of “Where’s Her Money From?” His guitar work is similarly vast, encompassing elegantly precise rhythm work to damaged, corrosive leads. “There wasn’t a fear of executing something perfect,” he explains. “We embraced the mystery, the wonder…I wanted to make this the record very much about songs, and allow these songs to be presented. But I didn’t want to shortchange any of the other things I do – like improvising and playing notes you wouldn’t necessarily hear in a rock song. It doesn’t make sense for me to try to rein that in. We had to embrace it all.”

 

And although the song-derived framework of Man With No Country may come as a surprise to some of Clouser’s followers, he is quick to place it within a distinct lineage that has improvisation and jazz at its core. “I love playing ‘rock’ music with ‘jazz’ musicians,” he concludes. “Bernstein, Tony, Anton, Billy – all these guys have lived in improv circles and have played both free and standardized jazz music, but they still have an adherence to melody and to song form. Consequently, I never feel like that there’s something lacking in the music because harmonically it doesn’t have a lot of dense chords. There’s beauty in the way those guys get it, and the creative music language is very much alive in there.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Love Electric - Espanol

A LOVE ELECTRIC – www.aloveelectric.com


Después de surgir como un grupo que se presentaba en clubes pequeños, y con un contrato firmado con The Royal Potato Family (Garage A Trois, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey), en solo un año, A Love Electric (Todd Clouser - EEU, Aaron Cruz - MX, Hernan Hecht - ARG)  ha ganado reconocimiento y, gradualmente, se ha ido incorporando a la conciencia de la escena internacional  de música creativa. Se ha presentado con músicos como Keb Mo, y realizado giras con el legendario trompetista neoyorquino, Steven Bernstein, y con Cyro Baptista. Todd Clouser, guitarrista de la banda, fue elegido por el New Music Seminar/New York Music Festival, como uno de los 100 “Artists on the Verge” (Artistas al límite).


El grupo A Love Electric trae consigo el mañana de la música creativa, respaldado por el gran linaje del jazz, las grandes figuras del rock de los setenta, y un espíritu lírico de avanzada. A Love Electric tiene un sello inconfundible en lo que se refiere a la manera en que su música e interpretación desafían los géneros, y siempre entrega este sello con una energía que ha sido descrita como ‘iluminadora’ (Time Out Barcelona) y ‘contagiosa’ (Minn Public Radio). El furioso y cautivador show de A Love Electric se ha presentado en escenarios que van de Barcelona al Kuumbwa Jazz Center en Santa Cruz, CA; al Jazz Dock de Praga; de la República checa al Poissoun Rouge de la Ciudad de Nueva York.


La salida al mercado en febrero de 2013 de The Naked Beat, tercer álbum del año de A Love Electric, será el primero en incluir interpretaciones vocales de Todd Clouser. Piensen en un encuentro entre Zappa y Burroughs, letras escritas con la sensibilidad de Beck, y el heroísmo guitarrístico de Hendrix. A Love Electric es una banda original que se mantiene en una evolución constante, y que, por si fuera poco, se mantiene fiel al espíritu de la imaginación. 


Prensa

“Uno de los músicos más emocionantes del medio” —Bird is the Worm

“Impresionante… moderna… su música se nutre desde las erizadas guitarras de rock ácido, y hasta el funk más relajado” —Time Out NYC

“La siguiente generación de guitarristas imaginativos” —Vintage Guitar Magazine

“Una celebración del espíritu creativo” —Minnesota Public  Radio

 

Créditos/Presentaciones

Cyro Baptista - El Lunario Auditorio Nacional National Auditorium, MX City

NYC - Rockwood Music Hall, Shapeshifter Lab, Littlefield, New York Music Festival

Giras a España, Alemania, República Checa, Suiza, México, Argentina

Dakota Jazz Club - Minneapolis Twin Cities Jazz Festival - St. Paul, MN

The Boom Boom Room - San Francisco

Kuumbwa Jazz - Santa Cruz, CA

Festival Humedales - Tabasco, MX Artist in Residence, 4to Encuentro de Jazz, Aguascalientes, MX

Festival Sonar - Barcelona, España, Festival Solarte - Burgos, España

4 Continents Festival - Jazz Dock, Praga, República Checa

Elegido como uno de los 100 "Artists on the Verge" - New York Music Festival/New Music Seminar 2012

Sexta posición como Álbum independiente del año. - Something Else

 

Todd Clouser

Nació en Minneapolis y estudió en Berklee College of Music. Además de A Love Electric, Todd desarrolla actividades paralelas que promueven la creatividad y el gusto por la música, entre niños y jóvenes de Los Cabos, Baja California, y otros lugares del país. Arts Day Out, fundada por él mismo, es una organización sin fines de lucro, que cumple estos propósitos. Clouser es el compositor del material que interpreta A Love Electric. En estas piezas, además de la fuerza de sus eclécticas influencias, Todd vierte una delicada visión de lo que debe ser la música cuando se torna en la expresión más legítima de un espíritu que no se cansa de buscar, de indagar y de cuestionar.


Hernán Hecht

Nació en Buenos Aires, Argentina. Cursó la carrera de Performance en batería del Instituto Tecnológico de Música Contemporánea (ITMC). Vive en México y tiene una de las carreras más sólidas del país como intérprete, educador y promotor. Ha participado en distintas agrupaciones y tocado con músicos de gran renombre, a nivel nacional e internacional, como Cráneo de Jade, Iraida Noriega, Pere Soto, Jarry Singla, Dave McMurdo, Randy Vincent y Ken Bassman, entre muchos otros. 


Aarón Cruz Bravo

Nació en la Ciudad de México, autodidacta en el bajo eléctrico. Es uno de los bajistas/contrabajistas más solicitados en el ámbito musical de México. Además de ser un extraordinario intérprete, Aarón Cruz se ha involucrado como productor en proyectos muy variados. Se le reconoce particularmente por su disposición a participar en proyectos de espíritu innovador e intrépido. Ha tocado en toda la República Mexicana, Sudamérica, el Caribe, Europa y Estados Unidos, con músicos como Héctor Infanzón, Enrique Nery, Lila Downs y Eugenio Toussaint, entre muchos otros.  

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