Category: experimental pop

New Video: Catalan Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist Magalí Sare Releases a Gorgeous and Intimate Visual

Magalí Sare is a rising 23 year-old, Vallès, Spain-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Growing up in a family of musicians, Sare learned how to play piano, flute and percussion at an early age. Back in 2013, the Vallès-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, enrolled at the Superior Conservatory of the Liceu, where she studied jazz.

Since graduating, Sare quickly developed a unique sound and approach that features elements of jazz, classical music, pop, alt-pop and experimental music with lyrics written and sung in her native Catalan and English. She’s also been rather busy: Sare regularly performs with a quarter that features Marta Pons (cello), Vic Moliner (double bass) and Arnau Figueres (percussion) and with a duo featuring a dear friend, who has accompanied her since the beginning. Over the past year, she’s been further honing a genre-fluid sound:

She collaborated with Sebastiaà Gris on A Boy and a Girl, an album that found the duo reworking classical and folk tunes in a way that incorporated electronics. The album was nominated for Best World Music album on the World Music Charts Europe (WMCE).
Sare contributed her vocals to Clara Peya’s Estomac.
The Catalan-born artist was nominated for an Emerging Artist Award by the Catalan Music Academy and Best New Artist at the ARC Awards.
Magalí Sara was nominated for the first International Award of Suns Europe Festival, which she won.
She also toured with with Quartet Mèlt, an act that won TV3’s Oh happy day’s third season.

Sare’s latest single “Beber de ti” is a slow-burning track and atmospheric featuring twinkling piano, stuttering trap beats, the rising Catalan artist’s ethereal and plaintive vocals, shimmering synth arpeggios and an enormous hook. Sonically, the track will further establish her sound as it’s a slickly produced mesh of classical music, electro pop and trap, centered around earnest songwriting. “Stagnant water rots. To be clean and transparent it needs to flow. The same goes for feelings; Communicating fully is not easy at all,” Sare explains. “Sometimes opening up as people can be painful, but it is something that frees us. Showing fears, letting out crying, as well as empathizing and giving thanks when appropriate, are things that make human relationships flow.”

The recently released and intimately shot video follows a couple, who struggle to truly connect with each other — but when they follow the philosophy of the song, they find themselves much closer, and much more at peace with each other.

Rising Geneva-based act Cyril Cyril features two of the city’s most acclaimed experimental musicians collaborating together:

  • Cyril Yeterian: In Geneva, Yeterian may be best known for being the frontman and accordion player for acclaimed Cajun blues trio Mama Rosin, an act that released four albums of material that evoked the ghosts of the Mississippi Delta and Mardi Gras before splitting in 2015. Yeterian also co-founded the forward-thinking, global, taste-making record store and label Bongo Joe Records.
  • Cyril Bondi: Bondi is a stalwart figure in the Swiss experimental scene, best known for being the founding member of Plaistow and for leading the Insub Meta Orchestra, an experimental ensemble featuring 60 musicians. Bondi has also collaborated a number of acts including diatribes, La Téne and Komatsu.

Interestingly, Cyril Cyril can trace its origins back to 2017. With the duo both seeking new creative challenges, Yeterian took on the banjo, adding a shit ton of effect pedals to it, so that it began to sound more like a bouzouki (a Greek, long-necked lute) or a krar (a five or six sting lyre, played mostly in Ethiopia and Eritrea) — and simultaneously, Bondi cobbled together a cannibal drum kit with massive jingle bells and tropical nut shells embedded into his marching bass drum.

2018’s full-length debut, Certaine Ruins quickly established their unique sound, a sound that generally meshes the tough plucking and rhythmical patterns of Lebanon, The Levant and North Africa. The duo supported the album with rapturously received, relentless touring across the European Union which helped the band develop an electric live show which was equally at home on a big festival stage as it was in a small, sweaty club.

Building upon a rapidly growing profile across the European Union, the duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Yallah Mickey Mouse is slated for an October 16, 2020 release through the aforementioned Bongo Joe Records and Born Bad Records. The album’s title is derived from a true incident: Yeterian and Bondi were touring with Swiss experimental transppop duo Hyperculte through the Middle East. While on a trip visiting the pyramids, Hyperculte’s Vincent Bertholet (double bass) rode a camel hilariously named Mickey Mouse. “He [Betholet] was so uncomfortable riding a camel, it was such a scene,” Cyril Cyril’s Cyril Yeterian recalls in press notes. “Watching him tell with a very French accent  ‘yallah’  to the camel to have him step forward on the sand.  So  ‘yallah mickey mouse’  was born. We immediately thought about the power this sentence had politically speaking. No words to add. Arabic world vs. American imperialism? Is there anything to say people don’t know already?”  

To celebrate the album announcement, the Geneva-based duo released three singles from the album:

  • “Les Gens,” Yallah Mickey Mouse‘s first single is a hypnotic and hallucinogenic fever dream centered around galloping African polyrhythm, shimmering banjo arpeggios played through tons of effects, dub-like reverb, punchily delivered call and response vocals — and of course MORE COWBELL! Sonically, “Les Gans” is a slick synthesis of Evil Heat-era Primal Scream, Levitation-era Flamingods and traditional Middle Eastern and African music. Yes, it’s the genre-defying sounds that I’ve long championed — but it’s only possible in a borderless, genre-less world. “The idea of the song was paradoxically born at a moment where we were completely fed up with how extreme tourism had become in both the most popular spots close to us and all around the world.” Cyril Yeterian explains in press notes. “What turned out really odd is that a few months later, everything was stopped by the Covid. And suddenly there was no one in the streets, and we realized our song could be understood as the nostalgia we have about the time we were gathering altogether. So we invite anyone to get this song the way they prefer!”  
  • “Al Boustan,” the album’s second single is centered around a hypnotic, dance floor friendly groove, shimmering banjo and organ and a forcefully insistent thump. While clearly drawing from the Middle East, the song seems to also hint at Bollywood as a result of the song possessing a cinematic expansiveness. It’s mind-bending — and if you put yourself in the right situation, the song can help you head to a higher plane of existence. “’Al Boustan’ looks at how our narcissism and the narrow fascination of ourselves deserve to come up against the unalterable force of the elements that decorate our daily lives,” the duo explain. “The trees will always grow and the moon will rise and set as long as a human eye looks up to the sky. Nevertheless. Against everything. We are many and we are nothing.”
  • “X-Crise,” the album’s third single is centered around driving polyrhythm, percussive banjo arpeggios, punchy melodies and an infectious hook. This song sounds as though it comes from a much-older place, something far older than time, when our earliest ancestors sat in front of the fire telling stories about the origins of everything. And in some fashion, it’s the most Tinariwen-like track of the three — but while brimming with a mischievous sense of adventure.

All three tracks reveal two things to me:

  • Bongo Joe Records is releasing some of the wildest, most forward-thinking music out there today.
  • Cyril Cyril may arguably be one of Geneva’s most forward-thinking and uncompromisingly challenging acts.

I’m looking very forward to the album and more of the labels’ releases — and to this album.

whypeopledance · PRÉMIÈRE: Agnès AOKKY – Les Poissons-Chats (Hologram Teen’s Ottawa Disco Dub Remix)


Agnés Aokky is a French-born singer/songwriter and DJ — and as a songwriter, Aokky doesn’t spare puns or self-mockery to express the rapid changes of her emotions. The French artist has worked with a number of acclaimed indie and underground producers including Maxime Komori and Computer Truck. Nah Like, another up-and-coming producer recently released a remix of  “Rose Bonbon Baby,” which appeared on the Manifesto XXI compilation Open Source.

ManifestoXXI · Agnès Aokky – Rose Bonbon Baby (Nah Like Edit)

Earlier this year, the emerging French artist released “Les Poissons Chats,” a slow-burning and trippy track featuring several different musical sections, centered around twinkling keys, soaring strings, wobbling, wah-wah pedaled guitar, and Aokky’s brooding yet cooed vocals. Thematically, the song finds its narrator remembering and rehashing moments fueled —  and typically forgotten or fucked up — by alcohol.

Recently, Stereolab’s Morgane Lhote, best known as Hologram Teen released a shimmering disco dub remix centered around a motorik groove, shimmering synth arpeggios, subtly African polyrhythm, twinkling keys and atmospheric electronics. And while being dance floor friendly, the track possesses a lysergic air.


New Video: AMAARA Releases a Cinematic and Expressive Visual for “Desert Storm”

Kaelen Ohm is a British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and award-winning filmmaker. As an actor, Ohm is known for roles in AMC’s Hell on Wheels, NBC’s Taken, MGM’s Condor, Lifetime Network’s Flint and several others. Ohm is also the creative mastermind behind the the multimedia project AMAARA. Interestingly, upon receiving the news that she was cast as a series regular in the Netflix original series Hit and Run, Ohm left Calgary with six songs off her forthcoming album Heartspeak completed. (Of course, much like everything else Hit and Run was impacted by COVID-19: the series’ first season was filmed in NYC last fall and they were filming in Israel when pandemic-related quarantines put this on hiatus, four weeks out from wrapping up thee season.)

Officially released today through Lady Moon Records, Heartspeak continues her ongoing collaboration with Reuben and the Dark‘s Brock Geier, and the album is the result of ten days of stream-of-consciousness-based songwriting, recording and production in Geiger’s bedroom studio. The material can trace its origins to the British Columbia-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, musician, actor and filmmaker sitting at the piano or with a guitar first thing each morning until a song was found — with the two collaborating on production and instrumental work, spending each day laying down tracks. But at its core, the album’s material was written as the culmination of life-changing heartbreak and the end of a marriage, and was a result is a deeply lived-in meditation on love, grief and self-evaluation. 

I’ve written about two of the album’s singles so far: the slow-burning and brooding “Awake” and the shoegazy Mazzy Star and Lightfoils-like “Gone,” both of which came from a place of lived-in grief and heartache, in which each narrator learns to accept them as a natural part of life that have to be lived with and through. “Desert Storm,”  the album’s third single is an brooding track that has two clearly delineated sections: a sparsely arranged introduction with twinkling keys, that slowly builds up into a brooding and cinematic bit of synth pop with thumping beats, fluttering synths; but the song is held together by atmospheric electronics and Ohm’s achingly plaintive vocals.  Much like the previously released material, “Desert Storm” is informed by heartache — in particular, life altering moments that wound up deeply changing us and the paths our lives will take. And while in the middle immeasurable pain, we don’t see that what we’re going through at that moment is profoundly important. 

Directed, produced and edited by Ohm, the incredibly cinematic visual is shot in the middle of the desert and features the Canadian-born artist expressively dancing with a collective of acclaimed dancers including Denzel Chisolm, Sohey Sugihara, Alekz Samone, Sarah Francis Jones dancing an expressive, hip-hop tinged moves choreographed by Tatiana Parker. Each and every moment from the dancers feels like a cathartic release of something previously pent up. 


Speaker Face · Phosphorescence

Speaker Face is an award-winning Toronto-based experimental electronic act that has developed a reputation for crafting a sound that meshes the organic with the synthetic through the use of acoustic instruments, sampled natural sound, computers and synths as a way of immersing the listener in melody, groove and atmosphere.

“Phosphorescence,” the first bit of new material from the Toronto-based act in four years is an atmospheric and eerie track centered around shimmering and arpeggiated Rhodes, looped finger-plucked violin, shuffling beats, wobbling  and layered vocals that seems to evoke the mist of seawater off rugged coasts and the briny smell of the sea.

“‘Phosphorescence’ is a complicated love song for the West Coast of Canada: British Columbia,” the Toronto-based pop outfit explain. “We feel so welcomed by the land and connected to the nature where Trent grew up, but recognize that many people were displaced to allow our presence.

“‘Phosphorescence’ is a thank you letter to those who were here long before us, specifically the Coast Salish, and the early 1900s Japanese settlers, who were interned during WWII.”





New Audio: JOVM Mainstay TOBACCO Releases a Woozy and Menacing Cover of a Beloved 80s Classic

Over the past two decades, the Pittsburgh-born and based producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter Thomas Fec, best known as TOBACCO has used analog synthesizers and tape machines as as the frontman and creative mastermind of Black Moth Super Rainbow and as solo artist to create a boundary-pushing sound that evokes a woozy and uneasy intertwining of tension, anxiety, bemusement and pleasure.  

2016 saw the release of TOBACCO’S fourth solo album, Sweatbox Dynasty — and since then the JOVM mainstay has been incredibly busy: TOBACCO and the members of his primary gig, Black Moth Super Rainbow reconvened to write and record 2018’s Panic Blooms, which was supported with tours with frequent tour mates The Stargazer Lilies and Nine Inch Nails. He went on to produce The Stargazers Lilies’ abrasive yet trippy Occabot and collaborated with Aesop Rock in Malibu Ken, a project that released a critically applauded album. Additionally, TOBACCO penned the theme song to HBO’s Silicon Valley. 

TOBACCO’s first batch of new, solo material is the “Hungry Eyes”/”Can’t Count On Her” 7 inch, which was recently released through Ghostly International. Unless you’ve lived in a cave for the past 35 years or you’re 17, you know that the Franke Previte and John DeNicola co-written “Hungry Eyes” performed by Eric Carmen appears in an important scene of the 80s classic Dirty Dancing. The Pittsburgh-based JOVM mainstay has been covering “Hungry Eyes” in recent live sets — but before that, it appeared in a Pokemon porn parody. 

Interestingly, TOBACCO’s take on the 80s pop hit retains the original’s beloved and familiar melody and structure intact but while fucking with its texture in his characteristically sludgy and woozy style, centered around blown out bass, scuzzy synth arpeggios, analog gurgle and hiss and Fec’s heavily vocoder’ed vocals. The end result is a cover that purposelessly smudges and obscures the original’s sentimentality in a way that’s uneasy and menacing. “I did ‘Hungry Eyes; because I just love it. It’s a perfect song,” Fec says in press notes. “I play it straightforward and stay mindful not to disrespect the original.”

New Video: Emerging French Act Adrienne Releases a Brooding and Cinematic Visual for “Sentinelle”

Founded by producer Franck Lobielti, Adrienne is an emerging French collective that boldly eschews genre conventions, crafting a sound that meshes elements of chanson, psych pop and psych rock, sixties pop and hip-hop. Shortly after their formation, the collective went to Coxinhell Recording Studio in Southern France to write and record their debut EP,  Killer De Routine which was released last fall.

The EP’s latest single, the sultry and brooding “Sentinelle” is centered around twinkling keys, a sinuous bass line and dramatic drumming, atmospheric synths, an infectious and melodic hook, and a psych rock-like bridge. And while subtly recalling JOVM mainstays Warhaus and Balthazar to mind, the song evokes a sense of overwhelming regret and heartache. 

Directed by Quentin Perrault, the recently released video for “Sentinelle” the video follows a middle-aged couple at a crossroads throughout the run of the visual: we see the couple’s relationship through a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards in which we see the couple in better days and at their worst. It’s an eerie look through a couple’s history and the lingering ghosts that often result. 

New Audio: Toronto’s Pantayo Releases a Cinematic and Modern Take on an Ancient Folk Sound

Pantayo is a rising, Toronto-based Filipino-Canadian quintet that aims to explore and expand upon what’s possible for contemporary kulintang music, a traditional and ancient folk music, centered around arrangements of percussive instruments, including gong, sarunay, gandingan, bendir, dabak and others by blending the atonal sounds of the instruments with electronic production in a way that nods at punk and R&B. 

The Filipino-Canadian quintet’s self-titled, full-length debut is slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Telephone Explosion Records was produced by Yamantaka//Sonic Titan’s Alaska B. Written and recorded between 2016-2019, the material is centered around discussions diasporic Filipino and queer identity. Each of the act’s five members have different experiences of settling in Canada — and naturally, that has filtered into their songwriting and art. “One way that we can make this world feel like home for folks like us is to mix the kulintang music that we learned with different sounds and song structures that feel familiar to us,” Pantayo’s co-founder Kat Estacio says in press notes. 

The album’s material is a sort of audio diary, revealing how the act has grown together as songwriters and performers during the period of time it was written. Much of their self-titled album can trace its origins to when the members began workshopping and performing traditional kulintang pieces while adapting kick drums and synths to the modal tuning of the gongs — and as a result, allowing the band to incorporate modern sounds and techniques. “If you listen to the recordings of our rehearsals and songwriting sessions, you can hear us deconstructing the kulintang parts section-by-section and practicing our songs in different styles,”the band’s Eirene Cloma (keys, vocals) explains. 

The self-titled album’s latest single is the atmospheric and cinematic “V V V (They Lie).” Centered around syrupy slow and droning synths, complex polyrhythm and plaintive vocals and harmonizing, the track — to my ears — reminds me quite a bit of early 80s Peter Gabriel and fellow Canadian electronic act Doomsquad while being an inventive way to bring the ancient into a modern day context. 

Interestingly, the track was written and put together one the course of a single day with the group finding inspiration, to an extent, in bubble tea. “The composition of the song was as a lot like a cup of bubble tea,” says the band. “We added 2 cups of blended percussion as the base, then some analog synth tapioca pearls to keep the texture interesting and fun, and finally topped it off with a few tablespoons of fresh tropical vocal fruits for some added sweetness.”