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.
“I just wanted a little piece of heaven”
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.
Taken by Jonny Shire
Manchester Jazz Festival 2013