I’m finding it difficult to express just how much I love The Way Down Leering, recently revealed by London musician Slows Down. Heavy in both ideas and instrumentation, this ambitious piece grows patiently and hypnotically, providing moments of minimalist beauty before turning into something far bigger.
The individual work of Alexander Hawthorne, you find at the heart of it, an emotional and melancholy vocal that at times feels close to giving up. Referencing both the dark psychedelica of Spiritualized and the experimental gloom of Swans, The Way Down Leering contains a sea of noise, and you should dive right in.
Manchester electronica duo Bernard & Edith are to blame for my untidy house. FACT. I had serious plans for a spring clean today… and Henry Hoover is just sat there looking at me with a sadness in his eye. Poppy is one of those songs that makes you drop everything you’re doing, the kind of distraction you’re relieved to have.
It’s felt for a while now that Manchester’s musical resurgence has not been down to one particular movement or specific sound, more a DIY ideology that can be found in pockets of activity across the city. I’ve often likened Whalley Range based vocalist Greta Edith to Grimes with a hint of Coronation Street – she has this genuine warmth and attitude that really sets her apart from everyone else. Poppy is a stunning piece of work, dark and atmospheric – accompanied by the perfect visual representation.
I’ve found myself increasingly intrigued in recent months by Douga, predominantly the output of Manchester’s Johnny Winbolt-Lewis, former member of kraut-psychonauts Plank!.
While not directly competing with his old band for outright volume or opposable riffs, JWL is now beginning to fully demonstrate his unique ability to smash together charming, chiming and occasionally unpredictable jams with clever lo-fi pop twists and understated arrangements.
I can’t help feeling that Kids Of Tomorrow, the opener to upcoming album The Silent Well more than anything represents a door opening and an era beginning. There’s a intriguing number of sides to the Douga shape – some of which are yet to be entirely revealed – and I’ll be punching the air with joy if they’ve been captured on this outing.
It’s fair to say I’ve been increasingly excited by the direction Manchester’s Shield Patterns have taken this past few months… so much so that I recently collaborated with vocalist Claire Brentnall on Visions. Originally a solo project, the addition of multi-instrumentalist Richard Knox has added depth and texture to Claire’s sound, and as such her ideas seem to be flourishing.
Taken from a forthcoming debut album, lead single Dust Hung Heavy is wrapped up in a sensual mist of shimmering electronica. Claire’s vocals are always so understated and expressive; quietly beautiful rather than demanding to be heard. Each carefully chosen breath, word and piano note finding form together, creating a very personal and lucid dream.
Trianglecuts is an emerging project from Manchester based artist Gwendolen Osmond. Channelling the gothic electronica of Zola Jesus, The Sinner is her strongest work to date, built around an array of elemental textures and dark landscapes. Her voice is seductive and confessional, breathing above a twinkling piano arrangement. Although still in the development stage, it’s certainly exciting to see a very clear direction in both sound and vision.
I sense something special is afoot here. With latest cut A Shadow Walking, UKE aka Dave Cheetham demonstrates his burgeoning aptitude for planting sonic seeds from which one increasingly expects wonderous electronic flora to emerge.
I consider myself particularly fortunate to have experienced Dave’s formidable musicality first hand in his previous drumming engagement for My Architects, sharing four topsy-turvy years in the mid-noughties playing keyboards atop his considered and often deceptively complex grooves. Here his rhythmic sensibilities are on full display, cleverly underpinning timeless hooks carved from vocal sample and a chilled (but never chilly) atmospheric arrangement.
His output already gathering plaudits via the likes of Fresh On The Net is no real surprise – these are quality sounds which will please many a pair of ears. The only question now is, at what point will the rest of the world catch up?
Its 2am.. I’m in bed eating blackberries and stumbling around soundcloud looking for something magical. Often these searches end with me falling asleep in awkward positions, this one has ended with the stunning voice of London’s Rea Snape.
Without wishing to put too much pressure on such a young artist, I’m pretty convinced it won’t be long before Snape strikes gold. The Speed Of Light is her strongest self penned work, beautifully arranged with vocal tones reminiscent of Adele… and that’s a huge compliment by the way.
Forgive me if you’ve heard this one before. As his soundcloud page attests, ‘Solace’ has been up for 2 months now and has done the rounds on a few other new music blogs. In addition, Paul Dixon, under the new moniker Fyfe, has also done the rounds as previous incarnation David’s Lyre, so this might seem a tad familiar.
Anyway, all that’s in the past. Opening with some truly lovely mellotron chords, before breaking into a a chorus that manages to be both sparse and wholly uplifting, ‘Solace’ treads the line between a bedroom demo and an all-out pop song, creating a bright sound but with a dose of melancholy thrown in for good measure. Check out ‘St. Tropez’ for more impressive instrumentation.