Indie electronic duo writing and performing a menagerie of songs. The Upper Strata mix genres and styles to form their own eclectic sound.
The band’s newest release is Cabaret Wartaire - a full-length album that blends Old World accordion sounds with modern electronic elements and beats. Thematically, the album is a collection of conflicts (man vs. nature, peace vs. war, female vs. male, corporations vs. individuals). War is central to the album, as it is the ultimate breakdown in dialogue leading to violent conflict and destruction. It should be noted though, war as a theme, is from the standpoint of the civilian sucked into the horrors of war and not a work of saber-rattling.
Cabaret Voltaire was the cradle of the DADA movement, formed to use art in protest against war. They used absurdity to point out the absurdity of so-called civilization. On the 100-year anniversary, the band’s piece is named Cabaret Wartaire as an homage to this peaceful protest movement.
The Upper Strata is Johnny (vocals, guitar, bass, and harmonica) and Regula (bass, accordion, synth, vocals, and programming). They perform their original music both as an electronic duo (with drum tracks and video) as well as intimate acoustic shows. The duo performed in Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, California, Utah, New Mexico, Italy, and Switzerland.
Shadow Upon The Snow, a six song EP released in 2014, marked the duos departure from an Americana and bluesy feel. Electronic sounds and late night funky grooves replaced the slide guitar and blues elements of previous releases. Phantastic Pigeon-Holes, a full-length album released in August 2013, in contrast is a bluesy Tom Waits surreal soundscape. Earlier in 2013 the first acoustic full-length From Restless To Ruin was re-released. Manifest, an EP featuring five songs, including the blues hit Sleeping In The Graveyard in its original form, was released in 2011.
Johnny describes the project as follows: "The Upper Strata refers to the top layer - as in whatever I am working on is at the top and the older things are buried beneath." The original concept for The Upper Strata was a collaboration between Johnny and various local artists. The first release From Restless To Ruin therefore features five different guest musicians. Regula joined the project in Switzerland writing, recording, editing, and even adding her graphic art skills to the overall production of The Upper Strata. The full-length release Phantastic Pigeon-Holes is an attempt to rekindle that collaborative spirit of the first album. As a result, the disc has two different drummers and a chorus with several local vocalists alongside the core duo. It is the desire of The Upper Strata to see this collaborative nature further expand - both live and in the studio.