When I have trouble sleeping, I tend to go on huge soundcloud binges… often bringing lucrative musical returns. Manchester producer Bhrisc is one of my most recent late night discoveries, and with Mary Anne Hobbs already taking any interest, I’m clearly not alone in my way of thinking. Describing 6550 on her 6 Music show as a “descent into darkness”, his take on modern techno knowingly exploits a sense of loneliness and alienation. L.A Arch is all smokey textures and industrial noise… you quickly lose yourself in the repetitive droney beats. Bhrisc’s production is cold but emotional; a thudding and fragile detachment from reality.
Hailing from Oregon, Dalton Moehnke, or Polysemy as he’s otherwise known, puts together some enchanting experimental electronica with a strong psychedelic edge. Look Out! EP is crammed with glorious and warm soundscapes that echo everything from a Dark Side of the Moon-esque lunacy to a more contemporary Warp influence. It’s a human sound, awash with organic textures and electronic ambience – rich and inviting on the ears.
The title track opens with some sweetly delivered vocals before swiftly sidestepping convention – synths, voices and laughter collide in kaleidoscopic waves in an upbeat and colourful trip. The cartwheeling beats and progressions of A Laughter From An Empty Room float like a feather on the breeze – simple yet mesmerizing. There’s an overall feel of calm about Polysemy’s music that transcends its more off the wall moments, seducing you to abandon everything and indulge your senses. If it catches you in the right mood you’ll find you embrace it like a long lost friend.
Brooklyn based Lee Sargent is an artist worth falling in love with. As guitarist in alternative rock band Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Sargent played a notable role in my musical awakening, but only now do I realise his true genius.
There is a touch of early Sigur Ros in Noa Eini, one of many cinematic compositions that I have discovered… layers of instrumentation wrapped up in a crackling electronic beauty. His experience working with brother Tyler on the film score to Alex Karpovsky’s film Woodpecker (which also featured Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood) has undoubtedly helped shape his creative path… a rich neo-classical influence that goes beyond the mundane and into the unreal. If you want instant gratification, move along… this is the work of a master painter with the ability to find depth, resonance and emotion in every note.
I’ve spent the past month in a peaceful winter hibernation, and it seems like so many of you have been doing the same. I’m not entirely sure where this year is going to take me yet… but I can, at last, see enough sunlight breaking through the folds in my curtain to feel positive and re-energised.
The first artist to really engage me in 2015 is Supermoon, the new project from Edinburgh’s Neil Pennycook. Standout track Death To Meursault makes (murderous) reference to his previous band, although don’t be fooled by this wry gesture… Supermoon is not so much of a creative departure, more a quiet evolution.
Meursault were a big favourite of mine, releasing three albums of material together, each one a work of understated magnificence. Often compared to Scottish peers Frightened Rabbit and The Twilight Sad… Meursault’s revolving cast of musicians received plenty of critical acclaim, but never quite found the wider audience they truly deserved.
Pennycook was always the beating heart of Meursault; his intimate and warm nature often at odds with the intensity and sadness found in his work. It is this compelling dichotomy that will no doubt propel Supermoon to be a beautiful success… one that hopefully shines bigger and brighter than ever before.
Having moved to Manchester in my 20’s, I found myself drawn to a thriving alt-folk scene; Twisted Nerve, Humble Soul, Red Deer Club… all big inspirations to me, promoting between them a truly mind-blowing collection of talent that included Jane Weaver, Voice Of The Seven Woods, Nancy Elizabeth, Liz Green and The Moulettes. Finding unexpectedly beautiful new sounds on my doorstep became a regular and humbling occurrence.
It’s starting to feel like a new generation could be emerging… Elle Mary, Coasst, Tekla and Tom Hardwick-Allan… all young artists I would encourage you to investigate on this site. The discovery of Rosalie 23 is another indication we could be in for a memorable 2015. A neo-classical harpist with an operatic vocal influence, her music displays a warmth and tenderness, but it’s never afraid to pull you towards darker territory. Stay is characterised by a distinctly organic energy, like leaves spinning delicately in an autumn wind.
Reykjavík’s Gangly have burst mysteriously into existence with their debut track Fuck With Someone Else, a bewilderingly beautiful and fully formed vision. Of course, the internet is getting VERY excited… but one listen is all it took for me to understand why. Gangly have created an immersive electronic landscape, one that glistens in both darkness and light. It feels like the female/male vocals are dancing with each other, a heart-breaking tension found in the space between them.
With the cold winter nights starting to set in, and Christmas fast approaching… I figured it’s the perfect time for me to give my first gift. Tru Luv is proud to announce the release of Insular, a beautiful 3 track electronica EP, by Manchester based Espher. Available to download free now: https://truluv.bandcamp.com/album/tl002-insular-ep.
Lead single ‘To The Sky’ received its premiere to critical acclaim on Clash
On a personal note, my friendship with producer Ben Pearson, goes far beyond an appreciation for his music – although it certainly brought us together. We first met in 2010, when I was promoting The Strange Death Of Liberal England & Patterns (then called Elmo Logic) and a band Ben had been playing with were booked to open. Their songwriter unprofessionally decided to pull out pretty much on the eve of the show. Ben kindly offered to step in with his own project Swansong, and even though he’d never played his own music live before, I was impressed by the performance. Cath Aubergine, a legendary Mancunian music writer, also saw something that night, enough to make me think he was worth keeping an eye on.
A couple of years later and I’d found unexpected musical success in Christian AIDS/Stay Positive, but now I was back in Manchester and in need of a new creative outlet. Ben was in a similar position, and with Moses Gold we found that direction. I knew quite quickly that Ben was a diamond in the rough, his technical ability unquestionable, but what set him apart was the emotional heart at the core of his electronic compositions. An inspiring and passionate man, he was able to bring out the best in me, making me feel comfortable and helping me to believe in myself during my lowest moments. I loved working together on tracks like ‘Powder and Blood’, ‘Paradise Lost’ and ‘Visions’ … hopefully these creations will stand the test of time.
Espher as an artist in his own right is starting to blossom. His ongoing a/v series of musical Fragments are definitely worth investigating (there are currently 22 tracks on youtube) as a clear insight into the direction he is going, a more minimal and ambient body of work influenced by Nils Frahm. In the New Year, Ben is moving to Australia, and I’m going to miss him not only as a creative partner, but as one of my closest friends. I have every confidence he’s going to continue to do amazing things.
There is no greater pleasure for someone like me, than to see a Mancunian act like Bernard & Edith find themselves in the position of beginning 2015 signed to Bella Union, deservedly about to find bigger audience. I distinctly remember the first time I met vocalist Greta ‘Edith’ Carroll down at the SWAYS Bunker, her warm personality left a real impression, shining brightly in a room full of chattering people… and together with her talented partner, a/v artist Nick ‘Bernard’ Delap, they have created a musical project unlike any other.
This is pop music with a uniquely northern imprint, defined by Greta’s jazz influenced vocal, unconventional and darkly delicious. Nick’s beautifully experimental soundscapes, produced with field recordings and basic instrumentation, add texture and mystery. It’s an artistic marriage made in well… Whalley Range. I’ve done my little bit in supporting Bernard & Edith along the way, having promoted them back in 2013, and written about them here on numerous occasions… so it feels fitting today to support and celebrate the official launch of WURDS at The Eagle Inn, Salford tonight. 8pm
It was always my intention to give Tru Luv a distinctly more independent voice… with a clear focus on self-discovery, rather than acting as a mouthpiece for PR companies. In trying to document our personal relationships with music, and by having no commercial agenda; we’re hopefully becoming a trusted destination for new artists.
Elin Rossiter aka Elle Mary was one of my first Tru ‘loves’, and it’s been a pleasure to watch her musical progression these past few months. Elle was never going to find herself surrounded by hype, instead her music would slowly seep into into people’s consciousness… forming a real and lasting connection with her fans. Having previously released the undeniably beautiful Angels, follow-up single Ocean only reinforces my belief that Elle Mary is one of Manchester’s most talented individuals. With repeated listens, the subtle nuances of Elle’s voice become apparent, each word carrying an emotional strength that belies her age. The echoing percussion and shimmering chords provided by The Bad Men, add a slow burning tension, swirling in conflict. In letting us hear her unguarded thoughts, Elle Mary offers hope when there is none… and for that I am very grateful.
Elle Mary & The Bad Men play The Eagle Inn tonight. Tickets here.
Limited Edition CD/Poster copies of Ocean/Angels will be available to purchase.
This one has left me flat out dumbfounded. Jay Stansfield has always known his way around a clever tune, as his plentiful back catalogue will attest. But never anything quite like this.
Showing scant regard for standard pop arrangement, Soul Splitter is a heady blend of ethereal sonics and impassioned vocal performance; in combination with it’s close-up one-shot video it manages to juxtapose extreme intimacy with disorientating glacial beauty. Words are delivered stream-of-consciousness style, there’s an intense struggle between dark and light forces happening here – I’ll leave it to you to decide which one wins.
As a taster for the January 2015-due album Birth & Death, it’s an intriguing entrée, and such an unexpected departure from his previous work that one can only wildly speculate as to where else this trip might take us.