New Audio: Introducing the Moody Synth Pop of Helsinki Finland’s Phantom

Phantom is a Helsinki, Finland-based, newlywed, electro pop duo of jazz-trained vocalist and poet Hanna Toivonen and tech-futurist and producer Tommi Koskinen and since their formation in 2012, the duo have received praise both nationally and internationally for a sound that has drawn comparisons to Bjork, Morcheeba, The Knife. Along with that, the duo have also developed a reputation for using evolving technologies to further their sonic experimentation; in fact, Koskinen has built a multidimensional technology dubbed The UFO (Ultrasonic Frequency Oscillator in their studio, and as it’s described, the user plays the device by flailing their hands above a flying saucer-looking MIDI controller. He also developed the real-time visual projection software called Z Vector, which uses Kinect cameras and audio data for live performances to create an immersive live set.

Derived from the year the duo first start, MMXII, the duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut is slated for a February 24, 2017 release through Vlid Music and from the album’s first two singles “Dance,” a moody bit of synth pop  consisting of an atmospheric production featuring oscillating synths, twinkling keys, wobbling, tweeter and woofer rocking low end, futuristic, electronic bleeps and bloops and shuffling drum programming paired with Toivonen’s effortlessly soulful vocals.  Sonically speaking, the song sounds as though it draws from several different sources — the aforementioned Morecheeba in particular, but also from Portishead. “Lost,” MMXII‘s latest single lyrically is informed by parts of two poems she had written “Enemies” and “Old Man” written during a trip to the 2013 Venice Art Biennale, where Toivonen met a billionaire art collector, who had lived a fascinating life, a pirate  and in which Koskinen lost his luggage; but made the beat.The song features a production in which enormous 808-like beats are paired with swirling electronics and distorted synths and wobbling low end reminiscent of The Fragile-era Nine Inch Nails. And just like its preceding single, there’s room for Toivonen’s sultry and soulful vocals to float over the moody mix.

What makes both songs interesting to me is the fact that they balance a hauntingly cinematic quality with an emotional intimacy in which Toivonen seems to be confessing her innermost secrets and desires directly to the listener.

 

 

 

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