Originally known for her work in electro pop projects Her Habits, Gemology and others, Toronto-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and electro pop artist Joanie Wolkoff has been a JOVM mainstay artist before striking out on her own last year with her solo recording project Wolkoff. In fact, last year was a very big year for the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based artist — she collaborated with renowned electronic act The Hood Internet on “Going Back,” a single released to massive praise across the blogosphere, including several major media outlets, including Vice Noisey and Billboard — and as you can imagine resulted in a growing national profile for Wolkoff.
Interestingly, Wolkoff’s previously released work channeled the contemporary electro pop sound of acts like Beacon, Seoul (both of whom are also JOVM mainstays) and others — in other words eerily minimalist productions consisting of icy synth stabs and woofer and tweeter rattling bass paired with plaintive vocals. However, her ongoing collaboration with young, up-and-coming producer Icarus Moth, which started with the release of the Talismans EP has set the duo apart from the pack as Icarus Moth’s production reveals a deliberate and painterly approach. While drawing from contemporary electro pop and world dance music, the young producer has developed a reputation for pairing big beats, swirling electronics and lush layers of synths with medieval-sounding instrumentation in a way that evokes brushstrokes across a canvas — as you’ll hear on EP single “Curve Appeal,” and others.
Building upon the buzz the duo received last year, Wolkoff and Icarus Moth are set to release Wolkoff’s full-length debut Without Shame on April 15. Lyrically and thematically, the material on the album explores the role shame has in our lives and perhaps more importantly the possibility of sidestepping its grip on us through breaking rank and venturing into the unknown. And as a result, the material on the album may be among the most deeply personal — and yet profoundly universal — material she’s released to date. Without Shame‘s first single “The Homecoming” pairs big tweeter and woofer rattling bass with skittering drum programming, swirling and ambient electronics, Eastern-tinged instrumentation and Wolkoff’s coquettish cooing, and in some way the song possesses the dreamy and ethereal feel of Swedish dream pop — think of Moonbabies‘ excellent Wizards on the Beach and The Knife but subtly filtered through chip tune and old school house music.
Without Shame‘s second and latest single “Kings Highway” pairs Icarus Moth’s painterly production style consisting of swirling electronics, layers of cascading synths, chiming synths, boom-bap beats and ambient electronics with Wolkoff’s husky and coquettish vocals singing lyrics that are both surreal and Romantic in a song that’s sensual and seductive — while sounding as though inspired it were by electro pop, R&B and house music. And although radio friendly and accessible, it’s challenging and possesses an art school sheen. Certainly, from the first two singles Icarus Moth should be an in-demand producer as he has a unique sound — and it suggests that Wolkoff and Icarus Moth’s collaboration may be one of the most exciting and unique collaborations in contemporary pop.