Track By Track: Hologram Teen – Pizza Conspiracy
In September we welcomed fellow dough and cheese lover Hologram Teen aka Morgane Lhote to Ransom Note Records for her second album, the mouth-watering ‘Pizza Conspiracy’.
The result of an omnivorous musical mind chasing down ideas like so many strands of stringy mozzarella, Morgane throws a vibrant concoction of influences and sounds into the mix, from acid-drenched funk, Congolese rumba and astral jazz to Daisy Age hip-hop and your favourite ’00s beat tapes à la MF Doom, Donuts, The Avalanches and Madlib.
Morgane’s musical beginnings stretch back to the mid 90s playing keys for Stereolab, before going on to play stints in outfits like The Projects and Garden. Her solo incarnation came around five years ago, under her Hologram Teen alias, which led to the release of her debut album Between The Funk and the Fear in 2018.
Following the release of album number two, and the subsequent remix package featuring Max Graef, Bawrut and more, she guides us through each slice on the album, piece by piece…
I love 1970s soul/funk soundtracks and I was listening to “Gotta Fly Now” on the “Rocky” Soundtrack by Bill Conti. The brass section is so wicked, and it gave me the idea of using sharp and uplifting brass stabs on a track. You would definitely have to listen to this song while running up the stairs leading to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Adriiiiiian!
So this might get a bit confusing but please bear with me… Even though this track is name after Dalston in East London, it really is a Tropicália song at heart. I adore Brazilian music and even though “Dalston Wizardzz” ends up sounding a bit Nu-disco, the bass and string lines are very Samba inspired. In conclusion, I recommend you travel to Rio de Janeiro and listen to this song while staring at the sea and standing on the iconic black and white, wave-patterned sidewalk tiles of Copacabana Beach.
Slow Jam Activist
This song title originated from The High Line rail trail park in Manhattan, NYC. I was on a dating app looking at the profile of this woman I ended up going on a date with, and she had that line in her profile. I knew I had to use it right away! The best listening spot for this track would be in Park Slope, Brooklyn (on 5th Avenue by the Barclays Center to be precise).
Samba De Holograma
“Samba de Holograma” is the second of three Brazilian music influenced tracks on the album. I wanted a really upbeat samba song paired with spookier, jarring vocal samples in the vein of what you could find on Luke Vibert’s “Big Soup”. I think those samples add another dimension to the tune in that they are uplifting but also a bit sinister and wonky. Not trying to be obvious here but we need to travel back to Brazil and listen to this song in Corcovado underneath the Cristo Redentor statue.
Rock Eagle Rock
This track was influenced by “The Magic Number”, the 1989 single by De La Soul on “3 Feet High and Rising”. I wanted to create an equally catchy and carefree hip hop / pop song as I love music that can instantly lift up your mood. The way to proceed here is to put the song on at sunset and pray to the large rock formation that resembles an eagle with its wings outstretched in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles.
Sam Samy Sam
My best friend’s brother passed away in Paris last year and I wanted to dedicate a song to him. Even though the track is quite upbeat, it has now a bittersweet feeling attached to it and its title. Since this is the area where my friend and I grew up, the perfect setting to listen to this tune would be Paris’ 13e arrondissement.
Move On Hop!
I started writing a track with a syncopated, mellow, trip-hop beat (that ended up having a very 1990s feel to it). I added loads of disparate elements like 1970s French soundtracks sounding bass and harpsichord lines, fuzzy one shot guitar notes, and reversed sounds and came up with “Move On Hop!”. I think London would be a good place to listen to this track as I remember living in the UK in the 1990s and trip-hop being really tied to that time in my life.
Toast, Marmite, & Crack
This is my homage to MF DOOM, with wonky keyboards, off the grid beats, menacing bass, and cartoon samples. With a title like this, the track should be listened to in England with a nice cuppa and a slice of toast with Marmite. I’d recommend skipping the crack.
My friend lived in Namibia for a while and one day he was teaching me sentences and words in the Oshiwambo language. I don’t know how we got there but he said the word “Okandjambameya” which means baby hippo. At soon as I heard it I knew I had to use it for a song title. “Pizza Conspiracy” was also very much influenced by Congolese rumba and soukous (from the French word secousse which translates as “jolt”). Soukous became popular in London and Paris in the 1980s and incorporate syncopated rhythms and contrasting guitar riffs. I wanted to mix some of those elements with soul and funk sounding drums when I wrote “Okandjambameya”. I would love to go to Namibia to listen to this track and hopefully meet some baby hippos!
Bongos Over Dyke Slope
This is the third and final MPB track on “Pizza Conspiracy”. The vocal samples also lend it a 1960s French music vibe, which was not part of my original vision. Dyke Slope was the nickname of Park Slope in Brooklyn before the neighborhood got taken over by the “Stroller Mafia” (predominantly white, entitled, and well-off parents.) Let’s take a time machine back to a 1970s Blaxploitation flick set on 5th avenue (before gentrification hit) and enjoy this song as part of the soundtrack.
“Cosmogatto” is the Italian title for the awful / amazing 1978 Walt Disney movie “The Cat from Outer Space”, which stars a talking alien cat with a magical collar. My father took me to the theater to see it when I was 5 and it obviously made an impact on me since I named a song after it 40 years later. Let’s listen to this track in Italy, Milan to be precise, as there are lot of prog-rock bands that originated from there and it’s a cool city!
This is one of the first tracks I started writing for “Pizza Conspiracy” and when I realized that I was inspired and borrowing a lot from African musicians in this original batch of songs. The opening guitar riff also reminded me of a country riff and I then added a ton of sounds from very different types of music like surf, AOR, and Canadian folk. I love mixing sounds that on paper should have nothing to do with each other, so fun! Hugh Masekela was one of my influences for this record and to honor him, I think “Africountry” should be listened to in his hometown of eMalahleni, South Africa.
Homegirl Is Brick
The first of two jazz tracks on the album. I incorporated many different elements when putting the song structure together, like bassy electronic tom sounds, horns, organs, and a reversed guitar riff. The track name comes from one of my Instagram followers who commented on a picture I posted of a Serge Gainsbourg LP cover: “Marie Mathématique, Les Aventures De La Petite Soeur De Barbarella”. I bought the album on Valencia Street in San Francisco so “Homegirl Is Brick” should be listened to there as well.
Pharoah For President
The second of two jazzy songs on the albums, which I named after Pharoah Sanders. The inspiration for this track was a Dizzy Gillespie song from the live album “Swing Low, Sweet Cadillac”. The album was recorded in 1967 in Los Angeles so South Central Avenue would be a great location to listen to “Pharoah For President” (Central Avenue was the heart of the West Coast jazz scene from the 1920s to the 1950s.)
I was reading the book “The Disco Files 1973-78: New York’s Underground, Week by Week” in which they spoke about a Manhattan club called “Boombamakao”. Again, I knew I had to use this right away for a song title. The perfect location to listen to this track would be the club’s old location on 52nd Street and Broadway.
Buy Pizza Conspiracy.