Balam Acab, Electronic Upstart, Preps First Live Shows Ever
On Nov. 12, Balam Acab will kick off its first tour in Columbus, Ohio, bringing the ethereal sounds of debut full-length "Wander/Wonder" to life. Acab, the moniker of Alec Koone, is far from a household name -- but "Wander/Wonder," released through Tri Angle Records on Sept. 6, is one of the most accomplished electronic albums of 2011, and after scoring raves from Pitchfork, Slant and One Thirty BPM, the album promises to sound even more dynamic in concert with a live vocalist.
"I don't get nervous about actually performing," Koone tells Billboard.com about playing his first-ever live show next month. "I'm actually really hopeful and excited for [the shows], and right now, the goal is to be ready for them."
Koone is a soft-spoken, bespectacled 20-year-old from Mechanicsburg, Pa. who started crafting hardcore and metal music at the age of 13. After dabbling with electronic software and hip-hop beats, Koone continued exploring post-rock and ambient music while studying music education at Ithaca College in 2009.
After Koone created a few slow-moving electronic tracks and "threw them up on MySpace" under the guise Balam Acab in early 2010, he was contacted by Robin Carolan, a music blogger who had decided to form his own label, Tri Angle Records, days earlier. "He's the first person I ever signed, and signing him helped me figure out what kind of label I wanted to do," says the 25-year-old Carolan. Since then, Tri Angle has become a buzzworthy home for witch-house and techno artists like oOoOO, Holy Other and Water Borders.
Balam Acab gained notice after releasing the "See Birds" EP in Aug. 2010, but "Wander/Wonder" expands upon that five-track outing with its lush soundscapes and clever samples. Koone has since dropped out of Ithaca College to focus on his music, a move that he describes as unfortunate but necessary.
"The workload was getting more and more demanding, and when opportunities came up, I decided to make something out of them," says Koone. "Next year, if I'm broke and everyone hates the album, I could always go back, though."
Here are Balam Acab's fall tour dates:
Nov. 12: Columbus, Ohio (The Summit)
Nov. 15: Philadelphia, Pa. (Johnny Brenda's)
Nov. 17: New York, N.Y. (LPR)
Nov. 18: Washington, D.C. (Secret Location)
Dec. 10: Miami, Fla. (Bardot)
Dec. 15: Phoenix, Ariz. (Crescent Ballroom)
Dec. 16: Los Angeles, Calif. (Echoplex)