Stiff Upper Lip

by RVLVR & Ben O'Neill

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about

The collaboration between producer/composer James Sauppe, aka RVLVR, and singer/songwriter/guitarist Ben O’Neill, has been a long time in the making. Both musicians are graduates of Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, where they formed a lasting friendship: James pursuing the production world as RVLVR, and Ben flexing his guitar skills as a touring and studio musician.

O’Neill is currently the touring guitarist for r&b legends Jill Scott and John Legend, and has in the past performed with the likes of Common, Kanye West, Erykah Badu, Sting, and more. Sauppe has released records on Philly imprints Seclusiasis, Slit Jockey Records and the 2015 NOREMIXES single Astral. Beyond his production duties, he is also an educator, teaching music technology at The Community College of Philadelphia.

Making Stiff Upper Lip was a process in itself. A delicate balance of analog and digital instruments, the record echoes Brian Eno, George Harrison, and David Bowie while maintaining an electronic soundscape always centered around melody. The eponymous track exemplifies the duo’s songwriting abilities; an Arp 2600 lays the harmonic foundation driven by a “kick drum” made of vinyl crackle. O’Neill’s masterful vocal harmonies float throughout the captivating melody. This segues into ‘Red Nail Polish,’ a funky, Rhodes-driven dance track propelled by a hook so catchy it’s certain to stick in the listener’s mind. ‘Stardust’ is an epic, futuristic track set in a dystopian atmosphere of synthesizers and drum machines. It showcases O’Neill’s vocals, which are carefully fed through several vocoders. ‘Fade Away’ is an uptempo adrenaline shot to the soul, which features Sauppe on vocals, as well as O’Neill. Chopped Amen Breaks drive the track over a hypnotic bass ostinato. Finally, ‘Whole Pieces Whole’ resolves the record with a somber, ambient air comprised of Mellotron flutes, ethereal vocal harmonies, and a captivating Wurlitzer riff.

credits

released December 1, 2017

All songs written and produced by James Sauppe & Ben O'Neill. All rights reserved. Recording copyright 2017 NOREMIXES.

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NOREMIXES Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

NOREMIXES was founded in 2014 by Paul J. Geissinger, aka Starkey, to release music that fits between the genres. The label is an outlet for composers, artists and producers with a focus on synth music, electro-acoustic, ambient and modern classical styles. Paul is also co-owner of the Seclusiasis and Slit Jockey Record labels. ... more

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