We're going to introduce you to a very interesting project, and a very interesting man. Let's start with the man, the Casimer (Craig Benedict Valentine Badynee) from Casimer & Casimir. And the project, Theosophics, by the interesting collective of musicians (Alex Harris, Mike Sankowski, Mark Vincent) who share one aim; to bring the obscure past back to life with historical re-works and fresh collaborations of sounds.
Theosophy. "Seeking direct knowledge of, presumed mysteries of being and nature". It's a deep trail of thought best relayed as a triangle. Divinity, humanity and nature. All three characteristics which happen to make up the very essence of Theosophics. It's the project of resurrection, finding rare songs from prominent past artists and recreating them with the here and now. But unlike many re-makes of the past this has been done with a lot of care. You can sense how much the musicians respect the original artists and their songs with one listen to New Age originally by The Velvet Underground.
It's a charming approach to an already charming song. The years spent in self-proclaimed "recording mumbo-jumbo" by CBVB have served the collective well. The execution, from choice of instrumentation to vocal lay overs and dynamic projection, is up there with the best record producers. The style remains somewhat Avant-Garde, which can only be in homage to the troubled Reed of 1970 when this song was first born. But it must be said, that this fresh collaboration of talented musicians have given this Velvet Underground classic an added edge. The story is somehow told better, and that's not been said about any Reed remake since Morrissey's shot at Satellite Of Love.
Listen to New Age by the Theospohics collective right here, and carry on reading for our in depth interview with CBVB about Casimer & Casimir and of course about this exciting new project Theosophics. And now, to sign off with a rather fitting quotation;
"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out"
- Lou Reed
The current project sounds incredible and different. What is it about?
Prior to moving to Chigaco I released music with my band PAS/CAL. PAS/CAL fell apart just before I moved and just as we were releasing our overdue LP. I moped around the streets of Chicago for bit sulking. I couldn't quite figure out what to do next. I slowly put my studio back together and started experimenting. I wrote some songs, but I mainly worked on the technical aspects of recording mumbo-jumbo. Lo and behold my nephew turned 21 and moved in with me for year. We started a musical duo calling ourselves Casimer & Casimir and we were quickly signed to Brille Records by former XL Recordings wunderkind, Leo Silverman.
The idea of Theosophics popped up as one of those tipsy soiree proposals. Grabbing the baton from David Bowie’s Pin Ups and flinging it into a musical manifesto, Chicagoland’s Theosophics is a group recording project with a hyperfocus. Where Bowie chose tunes close to his heart from the 64-67 London music scene, Theosophics expand the time frame a wee bit to 66-73 and push beyond Britain’s borders for their sound selections. Who’s on Theosophics’ hitlist? Donovan, Velvet Underground, The Iveys, Scott Walker, The Remains, Lee Hazlewood, The Creation, Kinks, and they even have the Starman himself, David Bowie, in their sights. Though many of these names may sound familiar, the group deliberately digs deep to find those sweet forgotten songs they believe deserve a closer look and another listen.
We get it. And we like it. But what really inspires you to look at music from so long ago which was perceived back then not to make the grade?
So many of my very favourite songs are deeply tucked away on the other side of a hit song or far into an LP with more recognizable work. As a songwriter who exclusively writes unintentional obscure music, I'm naturally drawn to these neglected tracks. Also, reworking a song that I thoroughly love is almost a way of collaborating with my favorite artists; whether they know it's happening or not!