Tag: Beacon The Ways We Separate

New Audio: Black Summer’s Subtle Yet Moody Remix of Australian-born Viral Sensation Xavier Dunn

Xavier Dunn is an up-and-coming, Sydney, Australia-born and-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic artist, who first came to international prominence with a series of acoustic covers that included 3 Hype Machine #1s, a Spotify Global Viral Charts #2, a Spotify US Viral Charts #1, a Spotify Australia Viral Chart #1 and over 22 million Spotify streams to date. Last month, Dunn released the critically applauded “Isic Tutor,” an ethereal bit of neo soul that features Dunn’s tender and aching falsetto paired with a ambient production consisting of thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and gently swirling synths and electronics within a song that immediately brought to mind Beacon’s For Now EP and The Ways We Separate — but centered around the ebbs and flows of a rather tumultuous relationship and in part the strange wisdom of Isic, an AI character from the video game Battleborn.

Recently, one of Australia’s most exciting up-and-coming producers — and perhaps one of their youngest to reach national attention, Black Summer, a 14 year old EDM producer, who was first discovered by Triple J when he was 11, remixed Dunn’s ambient “Isic Tutor,” and while retaining the aching and tender falsetto vocals of the original and some of the ethereal and ambient electronics of the original, adds skittering drum programming and a live drum sample, which manages to gently speed up the tempo while remaining unhurried and moody. 

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Comprised of Irish-born, Los Angeles-based producer Mike Slott and New York-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and composer Diane Badie, the electro pop duo Lesser Pieces can trace their origins to when the duo began collaborating together on writing sessions for their own individual solo efforts while they were both in Brooklyn. Their first track together “Nightingale” caught the attention of renowned producer Paul Epworth, who’s worked with the likes of Adele and FKA Twigs, and who would not only work with Slott and Badie on another project, he would also introduce them to their future producer and collaborator Patrick Ford.

Slott’s and Badie’s latest single, the slow-burning and atmospheric “Texas” finds the duo pairing Badie’s ethereal, siren-like vocals with a slick and contemporary production consisting of arpeggiated synths, stuttering boom bap-like beats and a soaring hook. And while being reminiscent of For Now and The Ways We Separate-era Beacon and ACES, the track as the duo explains sums up the feeling of “future/past promises and the wish for something eternal” — that most likely may never be possible. And as a result, the song possesses an enigmatic and ambivalent nature; in some way it’s chilly yet comes from a deeply personal place. Interestingly enough, as the duo note, the song was inspired by a close friend, who had contacted them with some tough and heartbreaking news. As the duo says in press notes, what was happening in her life “just felt so incredibly heavy ad also strangely bittersweet that it naturally came out in our music.”

 

 

 

 

Comprised of  Amber Lane-Mcivor, Jake Blythe and Oliver Lamb, the Manchester, UK-based electro pop trio Ambiere have received attention from the blogosphere and BBC Introducing over the past year for a sound that’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Portishead and The xx among others. Building upon a breakthrough year and a growing profile, the Manchester-based electro pop act’s latest single “I See Faces” finds the act pairing strummed, electric guitar and Lane-Mcivor’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with a lush and effortlessly slick production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, propulsive yet stuttering beats and a soaring hook. And while their latest single manages to simultaneously be both radio and club friendly, their sound — to my ears at least — reminds me of Ways We Separate and Escapements-era Beacon, as the British trio manages to evoke similar, lingering ghosts.

 

 

New Video: King Artur, One-Third of Finnish, Electro Pop Act Beverly Girl Releases Atmospheric, Solo, Single

King Artur is a singer/songwriter and steel guitarist, who splits time between his Helsinki, Finland and New York, and is best known as being a member of renowned Finnish electro pop/electro funk act Beverly Girl — although he has collaborated with the likes of Bill Laswell, James Chance, Defunkt’s Joseph Bowie and The Campbell Brothers and others, as well as played at SummerStage, Flow Festival and Pride Helsinki; however, as a solo artist, King Artur’s work finds him pairing his steel guitar with unorthodox synth and electronica-leaning soundscapes as you’ll hear on his atmospheric, solo debut “Talk My Shadow,” a single, which interestingly enough reminds me of Beacon’s For Now EP and The Ways We Separate as swirling synths are paired with finger snaps, thumping beats and King Arthur’s breathy cooing to create a song that’s darkly seductive. 

Directed by renowned Finnish director Jarno Marjamäki, the slick, hyper modern video features King Arthur and Finnish dancer Sanna Hoang in a series of artsy yet surreal scenarios. 

New Video: The Melancholy Sounds and Visuals of Amsterdam’s Nambyar

Nambyar is a half-Fijian, half-Dutch, Amsterdam, The Netherlands based alt R&B/electro pop singer/songwriter, whose music career was initially centered around guitar-driven melodies and band-leaning projects; however, the Amsterdam-based singer/songwriter can trace the origins of his solo recording career to when he began writing songs on an PolySix and Prophet analog studios in his own studio — and interestingly enough, the solitary time resulted in his uninhibited and bracingly honest, new single “Once More,” a bold statement of an artist and a man, finally letting go of his past and moving forward to a new and uncertain future, alone. In fact, as the Dutch-born singer/songwriter explains “Alone for the firs time, I didn’t need to listen to others and was able to focus on what I wanted to tell,The stripped-down production was layered with three synths, while the high-pitched vocal samples are taken from an old Italian singer, which I pitched to create the grid of the whole song.” 

Sonically speaking, Nambyar’s latest single reminds me quite a bit of Beacon’s initial releases — namely For Now EP and The Ways We Separate, as his achingly tender vocals singing deeply confessional, viscerally honest lyrics are paired with a sparse, ambient-leaning production to create an overall aesthetic that’s eerily spectral and mournful; it’s the sound of someone, who’s lead a full and messy life, reflecting back on it and being haunted by the ghosts of it; of someone who’s readily recognized that we often are drawn to people and situations for reasons we can never really explain; of someone, who recognizes that the relationship at the center of the song is heading towards an inevitable finality; but underneath the surface is a narrator, who’s desperate to free himself and live the life he feels fit — at all costs. 

Directed by Theo Captein, the recently released video for “Once More,” is based around a fairly simple concept that Nambyar came up with, as the video features the Amsterdam-based singer/songwriter earnestly brooding in a stark, white room but shot with slow-motion techniques, shallow depth of field, a shattered mirror and an animated bleeding-heart — all of which further emphasize the melancholy  nature of the song. 

Emmit Fenn is Berkeley, CA-based indie electro pop artist, who describes his sound and aesthetic as being at the intersection of Flume and James Blake — and as you’ll hear on his latest single “Woman,” Fenn pairs his tender and aching crooned volcano with a minimalist production consisting of propulsive, boom-bap like drumming and gently swirling electronics and shimmering synths to create a sound that reminds me quite a bit of The Ways We Separate-era Beacon but with a plaintive sensuality at its core.

New Video: The Futuristic Visuals and Genre Mashing Sounds of BASECAMP’s “The Hunter”

Now, if you had frequented this site back in 2015, you would have come across a handful of posts featuring the Nashville, TN-based electro pop trio BASECAMP. Comprised of producers and songwriters Aaron Miller, Aaron C. Harmon and Jordan Reyes, the electro pop trio can trace their origins to when the trio started to collaborate together to write. Quickly realized that they had a strong creative chemistry, the trio founded BASECAMP and with the release of their 2013 debut EP, which featured standout tracks “Emmanuel” and “Smoke Filled Lungs,” the Nashville-based trio received attention both locally and nationally for a genre-mashing sound featuring R&B-like melodies, thumping bass lines, percussive beats, unpredictable tempo changes paired with glitchy electronics and organic instrumentation. And as a result of the attention they had begun to receive, the members of BASECAMP toured across the States with CHVRCHES and Phantogram before signing to Skrillex’s boutique label OWSLA, which released their impressive 2015 sophomore effort Greater Than EP, which featured one of my favorite singles of that year “Watch My Back.”

Since the release of Greater Than, the Nashville-based electro pop trio have been rather busy, working on and releasing two stand-alone collaborations “Comfort Zone’ with Jamie Lidell and “In My Veins” with Del The Funky Homosapien, and the In Stone EP, an effort which further cemented the trio’s reputation for a genre mashing sound and tempo changes; but arguably with a greater sense of sonic and thematic cohesion, while revealing much more introspective songwriting. After successful tours across Europe and North America — with shows at TEDx, Colors Berlin and Summit At Sea — the trio released “The Hunter” Remix package, which features remixes from the trio’s friends and frequent collaborators — Jamie Lidell, Yeo and Deebs.

In the meantime though, “The Hunter” is a refinement of their imitable sound and production as the song finds the trio pairing earnest and soulful vocals with stuttering and glitchy beats, swirling electronics — and in some way, the song reminds me of Timbaland’s revolutionary collaborations with Missy Elliot and Justin Timberlake in the 90s and 00s and of Beacon’s The Ways We Separate and Escapements, thanks in part to a swooning, uneasiness that the song’s narrator expresses in describing a relationship that seems to heighten his own self-doubts and has him wondering if he is hunter or prey — or perhaps both simultaneously. It also captures the odd sense in almost every romantic relationship in which neither party could tell what their relationship actually is or what their intentions are; but both are fearful of the perceived inevitable heartache they expect.

Directed, by BLAWKNO, from the GLO.Digital collective, the recently released video uses 3D scans of each member and fuses CG with live-action video as a play on the concept of perception vs. reality while giving the proceedings a hyper futuristic and alien sensibility.

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past five or six years, you’d likely be familiar with JOVM mainstays, New York-based  electronic music duo Beacon. Comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gusset (production), the duo caught my attention with the release of their debut EP, For Now and their debut full-length effort, The Ways We Separate, both of which pair Mullarney’s aching and yearning vocals with a minimalist and spacious production consisting of chilly synths and wobbling bass to craft a sound that meshes elements of R&B, house music and electro pop. Thematically speaking, the New York-based duo’s work explores the complexities of and nuances of human relationships including the difficulties of truly connecting with others in a society that seems to value superficiality and platitudes; the confusion between love and lust and how they drive every relationship we’ll ever have; how longing can quickly turn into life-consuming obsession; how relationships are driven by both selfishness and selflessness — often simultaneously; how relationships can bring out both the best and worst qualities of ourselves — simultaneously; how our pasts continually influence our present and future, and so on. And as a result, their material possesses a sense of regret over what was and what could have been, as well as a sense of dread over fucking it all up from your own blindness, selfishness and stupidity. (Personally, their material has long struck me as  being seemingly much like the sound of what’s really inside our heads and hearts when we’re alone and forced to confront our innermost demons and fears.)

Interestingly, Beacon’s soon-to-be released sophomore effort, Escapements is about time and the baggage it both creates and brings. Unsurprisingly, the album’s title is reportedly influenced by clock mechanics — escapements are timekeeping regulators designed to transfer energy at a constant and regular pace. As Mullarney explained in press notes ” I was attracted to this concept because of the entropy it implies. Friction and changes in amplitude over time mean[s] every escapement, no matter how well crafted, will lose its accuracy and effectively slow down time via its own decay.”

Featuring drumming from Tycho‘s Rory O’Connor, the material on Escapements was written, revised, refined and recorded over the course of about nine months at Beacon’s Brooklyn-based home studio and Gary’s Electric and the album reveals that the duo experienced a period of restless experimentation that included changing their songwriting and production approach to follow wherever their muses take them. And as the members of Beacon note, it meant trying out new studio tricks and recording techniques — sometimes on the fly, essentially capturing the free-flowing energy of the creative process. Last November, I wrote about the album’s first single “Preserve,” a heavily house music-leaning single consisting of woofer and tweeter rattling bass, layers of undulating and cascading synths and skittering and stuttering drum programming parked with Mullarney’s achingly yearning falsetto — that gives the song a plaintive and urgent sense of need and desire. The album’s second single, opening track “IM U” was as Stereogum suggests, “subtly cinematic,” as Gusset’s production paired skittering drum programming, layers of wobbling and shimmering synth stabs with Mullarney’s plaintive pleas to do seemingly anything to please a lover, who seems both incredibly difficult to please and fed up with Mullarney’s narrator. And as a result the song possessed an obsessive despair over the narrator’s uncertainty and the uncertainty of the relationship at the core of the song.

The album’s third and latest single, album title track “Escapements” pairs layers of shimmering and twinkling synths, skittering drum programming (that sounds quite a bit like the mechanism that moves watch hands), swirling electronics with Mullarney’s plaintive cooing in a mournful yet breezy song that evokes time relentlessly rushing forward, as well as the accretion of guilt and regret that can build up in one’s live over time. Much like “IM U,” the song’s narrator is describing an uncertain and confusing relationship in which there seems to be a push and pull.

 

 

21 year-old Paris-based, French-Brazilian singer/songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist Yndi Ferreira is the creative mastermind behind indie electro pop project Dream Koala, a project that Ferriera started back in 2012. Interestingly, Ferreira developed a reputation of his production style as he quickly became a go-to remixer, remixing the work of Angel Haze, The 1975, BANKS and others — and as an artist, his debut single “We Can’t Be Friends” caught the attention of renowned acts including Fabolous, Doja Cat and the aforementioned BANKS.

Building on an increasing buzz around him, Ferreira released the critically applauded Odyssey EP and Earth. Home. Destroyed. EP which were informed by a variety of Ferreira’s influences including Flying Lotus, My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, contemporary R&B which gave the material a spectral, shoegazer-like, introspective feel, along the lines of Beacon‘s For Now and The Ways We Separate while thematically exploring Afrofuturism and sci-fi.

Slated for a December 4 release, Ferreira’s soon-to-be released EP Exodus will reportedly continue thematically where the critically acclaimed Earth. Home. Destroyed. left off while cementing his reputation for crafting moody, spectral electro pop that seamlessly meshes elements of contemporary R&B, bass-heavy electronica and soft rock. “Dimension Sleeper,” Exodus‘ first single (and EP opener, by the way) pairs layers of slowly cascading synths, dub-inspired tweeter and woofer rocker bass fed through gentle washes of reverb and skittering drum programming with Ferreira’s plaintive and ethereal vocals in a song that evokes both the sensation of weightlessness and of wisps of smoke curling and rising heavenward before dissipating. And although possessing a retro-futuristic sound that would clearly sound at home in the early 80s, at the core of the song is a delicate and ancient ache that’s haunting and unsettling.

While playing this song I thought of the song’s narrator in a dying spaceship traveling through the cosmos, and the entire time the narrator is haunted by the lingering and inescapable ghost of a departed lover.