Manchester’s Elizabeth Vince first came to my attention as a member of Laekyn, an electronica outfit that dealt in downbeat digitalism. Vince’s ethereal and lovelorn vocal work stood out… so news that she would be releasing a debut solo EP left me intrigued.
Our Loving Cage is certainly a rich canvas of ambience and glacial beats, it’s defining moment I Was All I Was is a beautiful composition of shimmering synths and industrial glitch. Vince’s tender and fragile voice finding strength towards its climax.
There is a certain satisfaction in knowing Manchester based producer Loftt is eventually going to be discovered… because this kind of talent can’t stay hidden locally for too much longer. Latest track We’ll Be There carries an unmistakable sense of motion; disembodied and yet strangely tender vocal samples call out amongst the multi-layered and darkly atmospheric sounds. Aided by the addition of Claire Northey’s intricate string work, Loftt has managed to create an expansive piece of late night electronica.
In my humble opinion, Ménage à Trois are one of the most fascinating and beautiful acts currently in development here in Manchester. It’s been a whole year now since our three sisters first emerged with their glorious cover of ‘Islands In The Stream’ and I keep waiting for the rest of the world to truly wake up. It’s no underestimation to say I’ve already listened to first full-length release Pride nearly 50 times in the last couple of days… opener ‘Ocean Breeze’ is a brooding affair built around the sentiment “I can make you fall in love… if I wanted”, and I can’t see that being anything other than true. ‘Conditional Love’ sees them head into Ariel Pink territory, a seductive instrumental that swoons it’s way towards
‘Crazy. Sexy. Cruel’, a deliberately yearning slow jam that showcases Jonathan Flanders lush vocals. ‘Car Song’ and ‘Argentina’ both see the synth take over proceedings, we’re talking pure and unashamed 80’s vibe with a cinematic and orchestral quality, almost Vangelis at times. It’s fair to say that as a collection of work, ‘Pride’ fits perfectly together… there is no clear stand-out single in the way they out funked Daft Punk on ‘White Noise’ but it’s all the better for being this way… musically, visually and artistically, The Bogans of Life just have ‘it’.
I’ve admittedly been feeling fairly uninspired lately, and in turn my writing… and love of music has suffered. It often takes a special kind of band to bring me out of this spell, and I’m happy to say Faenimal Arm were able to do it. Based in Helsinki, this electronica duo consisting of Mia Ojapalo and Emil Järnefelt remind me a little of Manchester’s Bernard & Edith; experimental electronica but retaining a pop sensibility within their sound. Début track Industrial Sex (released via Vild Recordings) has this hypnotic and sensual rhythm that playfully dances around Emil’s shoegazer vocals. The video, created by artist Nick Tulinen, mirrors the feeling the song creates beautifully…
“This is the place we met and from here we can proceed. A crossfade between the two of us.” – FAE
OH MY LORD. I needed this!! FAE may never realise just how much début track RUOK has affected me, but it feels like I’ve just been brought back to life. A moment of pure ecstasy breaking it’s way through the dark swirling confusion of my mind…
Having previously made music as Battlekat (who created a hype storm with the mysterious campaign ‘Just A Number 05272011’) Copenhagen based duo Jeppe Madsen and Matilde Böcher have re-invented themselves, sweeping away the dark, glitchy electronica of old and replacing it with the sound of euphoria. Emerging like a butterfly from it’s cocoon are Böcher’s unmistakable vocals, taking you to the edge of heaven, before falling away into a dream.
I first met producer Kwes Darko at Midi Festival in Hyères a few years ago. I was singing with Christian AIDS, Kwes was playing with Psychologist. I was immediately struck by his effervescent personality… this was a man full of hunger, his brain literally overflowing with enthusiasm and ideas.
Building his reputation under the Blue Daisy moniker, his previous work is certainly worth discovering… from the reverb-laden electronica of ‘Bedroom Stories’ to the heavy and fractured hip hop of his dark alter ego Black Dahlia. As for the now, latest EP release Mermaids is a work of pure genius… the lines between his separate projects are starting to blur into one beautiful creation. With reference points to the alternative rap of SpaceGhostPurrp and Burial’s minimalist and industrial beats, Darko’s tortured soul can be found spread across a trio of tracks, balanced out by the introduction of Lizbet Sempa, a new voice to me.. like an angel calling out for hope in the midst of war.
Lancaster’s Lake Komo appeared to me like a speck of sunlight breaking through the clouds. Although only in demo form, Ritual is a beautiful piece of work; folk music with an experimental edge. Vocally it starts off earthy and wounded before becoming something more synthetic.. a clear hint that they don’t want to be confined by the restrictions of organic instrumentation. Fans of Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver will find much to admire in their musicianship… rich and layered arrangements which carefully balance these alternative urges with pop sensibility. You get the feeling they could go ‘big’ if they really wanted to… the emotion is certainly there for them to work with; full of frustration and longing right up until it’s conclusion.
It’s always dangerous to fall in love so easily… but in this case I think it’s going to work out just fine.
The Tri Angle label (ran in Brooklyn by British expatriate Robin Carolan) has certainly established itself this past couple of years, having built up a formidable roster of talent that includes Holy Other, Forest Swords, The Haxan Cloak and Evian Christ. As an overall vision it works beautifully: a collection of dark atonal noises, atmospheric textures and songs that are habitually sampled, slowed down and transformed… each artist is distinct in their sound and ideas, but share a mutual love for electronic experimentation.
Having recently announced ‘Idle Hours’, the debut EP from Manchester’s 21 year producer Boothroyd, my ears were just about ready for another Tri Angle fix. Lead track NYC doesn’t disappoint, populated by discordant sonic clouds and pulsating strangulated beats, but always retaining a certain ambience and melody; Boothroyd has found his perfect home.
‘Idle Hours’ is out Sept 29th digitally and on limited edition 12″ which comes with a poster exclusively designed by David Rudnick.
I might be going a bit soft of late, or perhaps just seeking out a non-pharmaceutical antidote to the thrust and bluster of modern life, but I’ve found myself increasingly drawn towards more tranquilizing sounds; textural exploratory ambiences, drumless lullabies.
As part of my daily treatment, I’ve self-prescribed Katzgraben – a duo of João Tiago and Ricardo Peixoto who find themselves perpetually disconnected in a geographical sense, except for around twice a year when they join together to create stirring, evocative sounds. Combining electronics with a natural flair for swells of guitar feedback, on a superficial level at least Katzgraben appear to pitch somewhere between Stars Of The Lid, Hermoine Harvestman and the more sedative side of Growing. The first of these artists in particular naturally gravitate towards night-time listening, whereas S9 seems more suited to daylight hours – an odd synaesthetic quality, these elegiac soundscapes are brought to life against a visual backdrop gently cast shadows and the natural breezy sway of fauna.
It’s music to soothe, but more importantly music which can reinvigorate one’s sense of the here and now.
Clarity is a rare and wonderful thing… when the fog parts from before your eyes to reveal an overwhelmingly clear vision. If like me, you’ve experienced depression, you’ll know just how difficult it can be to find it… every little negative thought compounds daily, making a light at the end of the tunnel seem so painfully out of reach. Music has always been a way of breaking that spell, certain voices and sounds together just seem to fill me with hope. I feel this way about Huh, the début song from QUALIATIK.
An experimental electronica project from Philadelphia’s Arielle Herman; it’s hard not to be excited.. her exquisite falsetto vocals seem to swirl around in melancholy before soaring away into another dimension, a rap chorus bursts the track into life, playful… restless, teeming with tension. As a demonstration of her ideas and ambition, Huh is a stunning statement of intent.