Category: experimental pop

New Video: TRZTN Teams Up with Karen O on a Glitchy and Futuristic Single and Visual

Tristan Bechet is an acclaimed Portuguese-born, Paris-based (by way of Brazil and NYC), singer/songwriter, composer, producer, sound designerr and electronic music artist, who has developed and honed an idiosyncratic approach to music and sound design through stints fronting industrial no wave act Flux Information Sciences electronic rock duo SERVICES and Sauna Kings and with his solo recording project TRZTN.

Bechet has composed pieces for an impressive and eclectic array of internationally renowned brands including Nike, Karl Lagerfeld, Dior, Chanel, Givenchy and The Creator’s Project — with some of his work being featured by The New York Times, Nowness and many others. The Portuguese-born, Paris-based composer, producer, singer/songwriter and electronic music artist is currently composing the score fo a psychological horror drama film.

Bechet’s latest TRZTN album, the recently released Royal Dagger Ballet is an edgy yet lush and mesmerizing compilation of genre-defying, experimental industrial tracks featuring guest spots from Jonathan Bree, Surfbort’s Dani Miller, Ize Teixeira, Estrael Boiso, Interpol’s Paul Banks, Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Karen O and countless others. Each individual track manages to inhabit its own different world — and that shouldn’t be surprising as some of the album’s songs are cinematic and melodic and others are more cacophonous and industrial.

Royal Dagger Ballet’s latest single “Hieroglyphs” is a slow-burning track centered around an eerie track that sonically seems to continuously disintegrate and reintegrate, as its centered around industrial clang and clatter, glitchy and chopped up vocal samples, buzzing bass synths, atmospheric and melodic synths — and it’s all held together by Karen O’s imitable and expressive vocals. “‘Hieroglyphs’ resembles an odd Lynchian dreamstate; bizarre and beautiful. A sonic portrait that warbles away into space dust,” Bechet explains in press notes.

Bechet and Karen O have been frequent collaborators throughout the years, including work together on the music for Spike Jonze’s Where the Wild Things Are and the Rise of The Tomb Raider video game.The writing process behind “Hieroglyphs began after Bechet sent Karen O an initial sonic sketch, to which she quickly recorded her cosmic lyrics. “Without holding back, I embarked on a phantasmagorical way of production – sculpting sound more than composing conventionally. I recorded clangs and digital white noise. I re-shaped her voice, deformed the structure, and resampled her own vocals creating the main staccato vocal theme. The track disintegrates and falls back together like the push and pull of a rubber band stretching.”

Directed by Barnaby Roper, the recently released video for “Hieroglyphs” is a glitchy fever dream in which Victoria Dauberville, appearing as though she just ended a shift at an office job and walking into an empty parking garage to expressively dance — until she’s taken into a wildly different dimension.

New Video: Venezuelan-French Artist La Chica Releases a Haunting and vivid Fever Dream

Emerging Venezuelan-French singer/songwriter and pianist La Chica has developed and honed a unique songwriting approach informed by classical music, her love of Debussy, analog synths — and a desire to reunite the spiritual with the material world, the New World with the Old World. The end result is a lush and feverish collage of sounds and textures informed by folk traditions and modern influences, paired with unvarnished and brutally honest lyrics that alternate between introspection and abstract poetry.

Interestingly, much like acclaimed Cuban-French sibling duo and JOVM mainstays Ibeyi, Santeria — and more specifically the rhythms of the Orishas — play a major part in La Chica’s creative process: She regularly performs her own rituals informed by the indigenous cultures of Venezuela and elsewhere, often before practice and live shows as a way to get into a more enlightened consciousness.

The death of the Venezuelan-French artist’s brother earlier this year, sparked a desperate need to connect with the spiritual world — and her forthcoming album La Loba is reportedly an uplifting and powerful reaction to the profound and heartbreaking loss of her brother, and the increasingly polarized world around her. Additionally, the album is a boldly feminist statement from a woman, who feels liberated from restrictive social norms — while being in touch with her Venezuelan and French heritage.

La Loba’s first single, album title track “La Loba” manages to be simultaneously haunting, unsettling and forceful. Centered around an arpeggiated, four note piano sequence, flamingo-like stuttering handclaps, atmospheric electronics, Latin rhythm patterns and the Venezuelan-French artist’s incendiary delivery and feral howls, “La Loba” is an urgent song that sonically will draw comparisons to Fiona Apple and PJ Harvey, as it captures a woman that’s a force of nature, about to burn down everything that has held her back.

“La Loba” is a the story of a wolf woman brought back from the dead through ritual — and during the performance of the ritual, her skin grows back over her once lifeless bones, after hearing transcendental chanting and votes. Interestingly, the song is based upon a Mexican/Texan legend documentary by feminist author Clarissa Pinkola Estéss in Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype.

Directed by Marion Castera, the recently released video for “La Loba” is a feverish and unsettlingly vivid fever dream in which we see the Venezuelan-French artist covered in blood and playing the piano, as a feral and undead force, as a literal, living wolf woman and just chilling with a wolf while smoking a cigar and watching TV. In some way, the visual captures a woman that’s in touch with and fully in control of her wild, animalistic nature, using that inner wolf when needed.

Elinor Sterner Bonander is a singer/songwriter, best known as the creative mastermind behind the rising experimental pop act Bonander. Along with a backing band that features Elias Ortiz (drums), Linnea Svedmyr (keys) and Olov Domeij (bass), Bonander crafts incredibly cinematic electronic pop, centered around jazz composition. Lyrically, her work thematically focuses on existential questions about the world, seen through a decidedly feminist lens.

“Backseat,” Bonander’s latest single is centered around shimmering analog synth arpeggios, soaring strings and Bonander’s ethereal and yearning vocals. Sonically BUT bringing Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp and Clearing-era SofSpot, the track sonically aims to evoke the daydreams and imagination of childhood –but while simultaneously evoking the somber gravity of adult life, as well as the uncertainty and fragility of our existence.

“This song is about growing up and the unwillingness to see the world as it is,” Bonander explains in press notes. “As a kid you would fall asleep in the backseat of your family’s car, with that comforting feeling. The night wasn’t scary, it was just…safe. Now, you have to walk home alone with the keys in your fist, looking over your shoulder.”

Bonander is currently working on her new album Things We Don’t Talk About, which tells the stories of women both from history and her personal life whose contributions have previously been overlooked.

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.”