Category: electronica

New Audio: Brazil’s Belagio Shares Vibey “Caldo È Pra Tomar”

Marcelo Altenfelder is Brazilian singer/songwriter musician and producer, who has played with Four Tet and dabbled with post-rock before starting his own band Holger back in 2006. And sine then Holger has become one of his homeland’s most influential indie rock bands.

After spending close to two decades with Holger, Altenfelder began recording a series of sparse, instrumental tracks that saw him blurring the boundaries of post-rock, dub, electronic music and ambient. The result is the acclaimed Brazilian artist’s solo recording project, Belagio.

2023 has been a busy year for the acclaimed Brazilian artist: He has released two albums Nuvem 9 and the recently released, Entradas Para Sair. Entradas Para Sair is a sonic departure from its immediate predecessor, with the album being a blend of ambient and post-rock with Altenfelder playing and recording all the instrumental parts himself, employing the use of analog instruments for an organic aesthetic.

Clocking in at a little over two minutes,. Entradas Para Sair‘s latest single “Caldo È Pra Tomar” is breezy composition built around looped handclaps, wobbling and glistening synth arpeggios and brief bursts of supple bass line before quickly evaporating into the ether. Sonically, “Caldo È Pra Tomar” brings L’Eclair and JOVM mainstays Mildlife, with the vibey composition possessing a similar lounge and club friendly groove.

New Audio: Switzerland’s Djinn & Tone, Inc. Shares Brooding and Cinematic “Petit Génie”

Fribourg, Switzerland-based electronic project Djinn & Tone, Inc. can trace its origins to when its founder — Mathias and Marc — met at a super secretive and illegal gathering during the European Union’s second COVID-19 lockdown back in 2020. The pair bonded over common mutual musical interests and decided to collaborate together. Since its formation, the project has continued with Mathias as the main organizer of the project — and the current configuration features local players from the city.

The project’s latest single, the Portishead-meets-industrial electronica-meets-Pink Floyd-like “Pete Génie” is a brooding and cinematic track built around Fanny Corboz‘s yearning delivery, glistening synth arpeggios, a relentless motorik groove, industrial thump and explosive cymbal blasts from Michael Déforné. The result is a trippy yet chilled out track that will transport you to another dimension.

New Audio: Berlin’s Rozarc Shares Shimmering and Minimalist “S.S.7”

Sinan Özgur Koç is a Berlin-based, Turkish electronic music producer and artist, drummer and sound engineer, best known as Rozarc. Koç has grown up with a diverse array of music influencing his own work ranging from BjorkAmon Tobin, and Nine Inch Nails to Siouxsie and The Banshees and Kyuss among others. But as an electronic music producer and artist, his work is influenced by techno, tech-house. industrial, synth wave, downtempo, glitch and IDM while paired with sound design ideas moulded with narrative and cinematic structures. 

The Berlin-based producer and artist first emerged into the electronic music scene with his debut EP, 2019’s five-song  Odds Are Tough, which saw him quickly establishing a forward-thinking, genre and style-defying sound and approach to his productions while being remarkably harmonious. Koç’s full-length debut, last year’s 12-song Flamacue was released to quite a bit of attention with the album being showcased in FAZEmagThe Groove CartelThe FurtherZero Music MagazineR+, Roadie MusicZone, and a list of others. 

Last week, I wrote about “Sand Grains,” a track built around layers of fluttering and shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rattling thump and skittering beats that seemed like a slick synthesis of John Carpenter soundtracks, Tour de France-era Kraftwerk and Snap!‘s “Rhythm Is A Dancer” — but with a club friendly accessibility.

Album track “S.S.7” begins with a brooding introduction featuring twinkling piano that’s gradually paired with propulsive thump. Eventually, the piano is replaced with gentle layers of glistening and bubbling synths. The end result is a trippy mix of downtempo, cinematic piano and minimalist techno that nods a bit at some of the atmospheric, classically-inspired moments of Kraftwerk’s Trans Europe Express and others.

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Orielles Share Glitchy “Tableau 002”

When all of Halifax, UK-based JOVM mainstays The Orielles‘ live dates to promote 2019’s Disco Volador were scrapped as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trio — siblings Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums) and Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (vocals, bass) and their best friend Henry Carlyle (guitar, vocals) —spent 2020 working on  La Vita Olistica, a high-concept art film written and directed by the Hand-Halford sisters, which they toured in cinemas during the following year. The film was the beginning of a series of creative breakthroughs that led to the band’s fourth album, last year’s Tableau.

The band was booked to host a monthly show on  Soho Radio. The broadcasts quickly became impromptu research and development sessions for the ideas that would form the album. “Doing that monthly meant we had a reason to meet up and bring two hours of music between us which we’d play, discuss, hold physically and share,” the band’s Henry Carlyle says in press notes. “We were listening to much more contemporary music than before,” Esmé Dee Hand-Halford adds. That was one breakthrough for the band.

The band was recruited to remix another band’s track in a Goyt, UK-based studio. While working on that remix, they would wind up creating what the band dubbed the Goyt method, a central part of the album’s creative process. “To Goyt it” Sidonie B. Hand-Halford explains, “that’s getting all these pieces and rearranging them. We had vocal melodies and ideas that we’d then run through and sample, and play them on sample pads. We were being editors, really.”

The trio also completely revamped their long-held creative process: Where they had previously only gone into the studio once songs had been tightly crafted and perfected at the demo stage, they began to develop new practice and techniques in line with the contemporary sound they were aspiring to create. They relied less on demos and more on improvisation. They employed experimental 1960s-era tape looping and Autotunes. The material sees them drawing from the likes of Burial and Sonic Youth. And for the first time, no outside producer — but the band collaborated with friend and producer Joel Anthony Patchett

Mostly recorded during the summer of 2021, while the band was holed away in Eastbourne, UK, the album not only sees the band quickly adopting contemporary production, but concepts from the art world and minimalism, as well. Sidonie B. Hand-Halford researched the graphic scoring method of Pulitzer Prize-nominated trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith. They also used Oblique Strategies, the playing cards designed to aide creativity created by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt in the early 1970s. “We’d been speaking about wanting to use them for ages, and then we found a set of cards at the studio in Eastbourne,” explains Sidonie, “before each song, we’d pick out a card and that would be our motif for playing that take.”

Released last year as a double album meant to reward serious immersion, the material is simultaneously complex and diverse. And while the album boldly challenges preconceptions, this is something that the band suggests they’ve had to do throughout their career anyway. “All through our whole career we’ve had to prove ourselves so, so much” Carlyle says. “You can’t disconnect the age and the gender thing either” Esmé Dee Hand-Halford says. “People belittle your age because they see women in the band. Whereas lad bands, if they’re eighteen it’s apparently exactly what people want to see.” Being from a small town in West Yorkshire may have added to that also, but Sidonie counters that “being from Halifax has also been a blessing, it’s kept our egos in check.”

Of course along with that, the album is also the product the product of the unique telepathy between three singular musicians that have grown in symbiosis for over a decade — and the three of them vibing and trading ideas together in a room. “As creators, for the fact we’ve produced it ourselves, it feels like a starting point” Esmé Dee Hand-Halford suggests, “even though everything that’s going previously has counted, this now feels like Ground Zero.” For the future, now, it’s all gates open.

Slated for a May 26, 2023 release through Heavenly Recordings, the five-track The Goyt Method EP features brand new songs constructed from randomly chosen parts of tracks from last year’s Tableau. “Our concept for The Goyt Method was birthed from our interest in cybernetics, improvisation and experimental electronic music,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “We wanted to zoom out of Tableau and disconnect all the pieces, rearranging them in new ways to create variations of songs, which encapsulate the whole record. We left this part of the process completely down to chance, adopting an online roulette wheel to choose our stems. This way of creating music was familiar to us from spending a lot of time remixing and record collecting, gaining an invested interest in deep listening and avant-garde electronic music. 

The name itself comes from the initial location in which we remixed with Joel Patchett, a wintery and freezing cold Goyt Mill. From here, we coined the term ‘Goytism’ or ‘to Goyt’ which was basically our way of describing the process of repurposing and resampling acoustic sounds through digital production, making them unrecognizable from their original source.The photograph on the sleeve was taken in winter 2020, our first visit to the Mill studio, our first Goyt session.”

The Goyt Method EP‘s glitchy first single “Tableau 002” is a forward-thinking and mind-bending reconstruction of Tableau‘s material and of their sound. Built around skittering trap beats, broodingly cinematic strings, reverb-drenched, chopped up vocal samples, twinkling synth arpeggios, “Tableau 002” sounds like a eerie yet slick synthesis of drum ‘n’ bass, techno house, alt pop and hyper pop.

Directed by Beck Cooley, the accompanying video for “Tableau 002” was shot in noisy and glitchy black and white and is creepy and unsettling. “We met up with Beck Cooley to discuss a collaboration in making a video for a Goyt Method track and instantly hit it off with our adoration for janky electronic IDM and experimental sci-fi and body horror film,” the JOVM mainstays explain. “We’d all recently watched Tetsuo: Iron Man and suggested Beck watch it and it was here that the video concept was born. We loved the stop motion and the lo-fi noisy aesthetic of the film, the man meets machine ideology particularly appealed. The way in which we remixed tracks from Tableau for this EP was very much inspired by a collaboration with AI and letting online randomisation choose the stems for us to pull into the track. We felt this was pretty apt and decided to pay homage to Tetsuo in a ‘man meets machine’ collision of metal and computers.

New Video: Nite Bjuti Shares Woozy Contemplation of Black Girlhood and Womanhood

Nite Bjuti (pronounced as Night Beauty) — Candice Hoyes, Val Jeanty, and Mimi Jones — is an an acclaimed trio of Afro Caribbean improvisational artists, who use electronics, vocalism, bass, Haitian rhythms, sampling and spoken word to cultivate their narrative journey. The trio draw inspiration from a a centuries’ old Hatian folk tale called “Night Beauty,” about a girl whose bones begin to sing in the afterlife, her spirit seeking justice. The members of the trio play to rediscover the deeply buried Diasporic beauty in our world that’s transcendent cross generations. Fittingly, they made their debut at Jazz at Lincoln Center, as part of a celebration of 2018 International Women’s Day.

The trio have played NUBLU Jazz Fest, NYC Winter Jazzfest, The Schomberg Center and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and have done a live studio performance on WGBO. The trio are UMEZ Arts Engagement grant recipients for last year’s mixed media installation commissioned by the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture. They’re also 2020 recipients of the NYC Women’s Fund in Jazz Music, which has fully funded their full-length debut album, slated for an April 14, 2023 release.

Thematically, the trio’s debut reportedly contemplates existential themes including coming of age and deep physical, mental and spiritual change. The album’s first single, “Mood (Liberation Walk)” features around skittering voodoo and soca-like beats, ethereal cooing and wailing, a propulsive bass line, whirring electronics and a spoken word poetry to create a woozy synthesis of ancient folk traditions, contemporary electronic production and tight grooves. But the song also manages to a be an ageless conversation across time and space among members of the Diaspora, discussing things that only those within the community know and understand — and in the language that those within know and understand.

”What good is freedom if you don’t really feel free? Black girlhood maturation brings a range of evocative contradictory experiences,” Nite Bjuti’s Candice Hoyes asks, and “in ‘Mood (Liberation Walk)’ we express the sudden sensation of a girl jumping/jumped into puberty, roped into a new emotional reality, physicality and societal positionality. As explored in the music video, she jumps through the portals of her own design right until the foreboding street lights flicker. Jumping is tied to shared childhood experiences, embodies connectivity and the chasmic leaps of growth in the Black womanly experience.”

Throughout the past year, I’ve managed to spill a bit of virtual ink covering British electro pop outfit and JOVM mainstays H2SO4. Formed in Kent back in the late 90s, the act — Graham Cupples (keys, programming), Darren Till (keys, programming) and James Butler (vocals, bass) — features a collection of accomplished musicians: Cupples previously led techno acts Mortal and Code. Till played with Cupples in Code. Butler contributed bass and vocals in indie rock act Lobster, which was once known as Sulpher. 

The trio can trace their origins back to when they started experimenting with a series of remixes that lead to original material that blended electronica, rock and techno paired with a special attention to songwriting. Their debut single, 1998’s “Little Soul,” quickly became popular in their native England — and because of its extremely limited release, a collector’s item.

The trio’s 1999 full-length debut Machine Turned Blues featured the aforementioned “Little Soul,” as well as “I Need Feel,” “The Way I Want,” and “Imitation Leather Jacket,” a track that was a favorite among British DJs — and received radio play here in the States. They supported Machine Turned Blues by playing a series of festivals across the British festival circuit, including Glastonbury — and they played shows in Canada and Chicago.

2000’s Glamtronica saw the British trio further establishing their sound while adding a playful sense of satire to the mix. The act disappeared until 2015’s Under Control. They disappeared again until last year’s Love and Death

This year, H2SO4 has been very busy with the release of a batch of singles and a remix:

  • Fast Cars,” a swaggering Brit Pop meets Big Beat banger that sonically nodded at the likes of KasabianThe Chemical Brothers and Evil Heat era Primal Scream — and meant to be played as loudly as possible. 
  • Electroworld,” a sleek and slickly produced, club and lounge friendly bop featuring thumping beats, glisteninlg and woobly synth arpeggios and Butler’s insouciant yet sultry delivery paired with the trio’s unerring knack for crafting an infectious, razor sharp hook.
  • Best Shot,” a strutting bop with an infectious hook that nods at Electronic‘s “Getting Away With It” and The Chemical Brothers “Come With Us” but with a chilled out, lounge/salon friendly vibe.
  • The BassBears remix of “White Light,” a house music inspired track centered around glistening synth arpeggios, wobbling bass synths, skittering beats paired with Butler’s vulnerable delivery and a rousingly anthemic hook. The end result is a club banger that sonically is a synthesis of In Ghost Colours-era Cut Copy and Balearic house. 

The British JOVM mainstays close out 2022 with “Crash Test Dummy,” an arena rock friendly take on the big beat sound centered around skittering beats, woozy synth arpeggios and an enormous hook. Sonically “Crash Test Dummy” is a slick synthesis of Evil Heat-era Primal Scream and Tweekend-era The Crystal Method while rooted incisive, satirical lyricism.

Although he’s best known for being one-half of Toronto-based indie electro pop duo Phédre, Dan Lee is also a solo artist in his own right, writing, recording and performing under the moniker Lee Paradise. And with the release of his Lee Paradise debut, 2020’s The Fink, Lee quickly established a sound that’s typically widescreen and is indebted to polyrhythmic psychedelia. 

Lee’s sophomore Lee Paradise album Lee Paradise & Co. is slated for an October 28, 2022 release through Telephone Explosion Records. The album’s material started off as a set of mood-focused instrumental sketches. But the sketches became fleshed out songs after he sent the tracks to a an eclectic array of collaborators including Jane Inc.‘s Carlyn Bezic, Scott Hardware’s, No Frills‘ and Ducks Ltd.‘s Jonathan Pappo, Scott HardwareIsla Craig, New Chance‘s Victoria Cheong, Jay Anderson, Mother Tongues‘ Charise Aragoza and Lukas Cheung, and Moon King‘s Daniel Woodhead. The result is an album that sees Lee and company crafting material that defies genre and style conversations with a soulful panache — and in which every aspect of its creation became open to collaboration, from musical performances, lyric writing and vocals, all the way through mixing and mastering.

Late last month, I wrote about “Not Practical,” a woozy yet accessible synth pop-leaning banger featuring copious amounts of DFA Records/LCD Soundsystem-like cowbell, layers of glistening and whirring synths and skittering beats paired with Victoria Cheong’s beguiling vocal. And while being remarkably dance floor friendly, “Not Practical” evokes the swooning and illogical nature of love.

“Leaving,” sees Lee dialing into his self-described cyborg-funk with the song being centered around laser gun blast-like synths, twinkling keys, skittering and clunky thump paired with Lee’s dreamy and meditative delivery and a saccharine-laced, pop chorus. At points, the song evokes the dread and unease of the work week; the desire to escape that life and to never have to do it again; the desire to just up and leave.

New Audio: French Producer Samy Jebari Shares Slow-Burning “Rainy Nights”

Samy Jebari is an emerging and somewhat mysterious French singer/songwriter, producer and DJ. Jebari’s latest single, the slow-burning lo-fi “Rainy Nights” is centered around woozy and pitchy synths and syrupy, skittering beats. The end result is a song that to my ears, manages to evoke chilly and damp fall nights, hearing the rain hit your windowsill.