It’s not often I’m left lost for words.. but that’s exactly how I felt when I discovered Ess.J, the musical project of Sarah O’Mahony. Born and raised in a small fishing village in West Cork, Ireland; it’s clear from the the tone of her voice she’s searching for a simplicity and solemnity in her songs, an eerie dusty charm that is both understated and timeless, perhaps influenced by her heritage and surroundings. Hold On is a stunning piece of work considering it’s still in demo form, and one wonders how it will sound fully realised. You can almost hear the wind swirling around, breathing life into her words. Arrows is from the same place emotionally; held together by a melancholy piano backdrop that owes just as much to Thom Yorke as it does to traditional folk melodies. Due to be released in Autumn 2014, her self produced E.P Salt In My Veins promises to be a seriously beautiful introduction.
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.