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’m very much afraid that words can do no justice to the artist I’m about to introduce, and any attempt to describe his blossoming creative output will merely be scraping at the surface of true beauty. JOSIAHWISE IS THE SERPENTWITHFEET is the real deal: his music unable to be defined, his vocals gifted both technically and emotionally.
Let’s take the frankly wonderful CURIOSITY OF OTHER MEN, full of vulnerability, sensuality and a dark narrative that challenges but never alienates the listener. And yet, in the hands of Copenhagen based producer CHLLNGR, he transforms himself into a modern (and highly marketable) r’n’b artist, with ambitions to take you from the dancefloor into your bedroom. Let me be quite clear; Brooklyn’s Josiah Wise is going to become a star, it’s just a question of when.
Only a few days into the New Year and I get the feeling I’ve already discovered a future star. After trawling soundcloud into the late hours tonight, I came across McKenzie Ellis, an 18 year old singer/producer from Brooklyn with unlimited potential.
A wealth of demos are available for your listening pleasure: My favourite is probably the startlingly heartbreaking dead boy – sadgrl which has a tender lo-fi quality, led by sparse piano and vocals that share much in common with the tones of fellow New Yorker Eddi Front. I genuinely found it really difficult to resist emotionally, I imagine you might feel the same.
Remarkably its no clear indication of either her influences or future direction, as most recent track, Cnt Yr Blssngs is an Ableton produced track that might be an experiment… but if it is, its certainly been a worthwhile one. The downbeat electronica is covered in muffled atmosphere and intimacy, bringing to mind the work of Maria Minerva. I’m not sure McKenzie Ellis know who she is artistically yet but it’s going to be a joy watching her find out.
I listen to a lot of new music every day. Because of this, even if I really like a song, I hardly ever find I’m singing it to myself inadvertently the next day. Why then, six months after hearing Take me to the Sea for the first time, does it still pop into my head unannounced?
Some people will say it’s because the chorus is ‘catchy’. It is. But that can’t be the whole story. To me, it sounds like Salt Cathedral have written a killer vocal melody and then been really clever with it; the song has very few vocal lines, it’s just a short verse, short chorus repeated one after the other. In spite of this repetition, you’re never in danger of switching off and losing interest because the Foals-esque backing underneath each vocal section is constantly changing in texture and rhythmic feel. This combination of familiarity and novelty of musical ideas means you have something easy to remember and you’re alert and interested enough to remember it. Add in Juliana Ronderos’ crystalline voice and you’re on to a guaranteed ‘stick-in-your-head’ pop song.