Tag: Bjork

Live Footage: Acclaimed and Up-and-Coming Austrian Artist Inner Tongue Performs “2 Seconds”

Inner Tongue is the (mostly) solo recording project of a rather mysterious Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer and musician, who grew upon an intensely musical home — his father is a saxophonist, who constantly wrote songs, so musical instruments were always lying around and his parents frequently shared their favorite albums with him; in fact, Inner Tongue formed his first band when he was 6. “We started out using one of my dad’s synths to play a pre-programmed beat,” he recalls. “I’d sing something that sounded to us like English.” Unsurprisingly, the Austrian artist, who cites Bjork, Moby, Portishead, Micheal Jackson, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, and The Cure’s The Cure In Orange as influences — although those influences don’t quite correspond to his own sound and songwriting approach continued playing and writing music, playing in a small number of bands, including one that had briefly worked with Duran Duran and David Bowie’s producer before getting dropped by their label. 

Interestingly, with the release of some of his earliest solo work, the Austrian artist quickly garnered comparisons to James Blake, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Death Cab for Cutie, Sohn, and Chet Faker/Nick Murphy. His quietly released yet critically applauded 2015 debut EP Tz Ka allowed him to open for the likes of Ghostpoet, Everything Everything and others. The Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer, and musician’s full-length debut Favours was released earlier this year, and interestingly, the album’s overall sound and thematic concern is inspired by a deeply personal yet remarkable story. Back in 2013, Inner Tongue was diagnosed with a rare vocal-cord disorder that was so severe that only a handful of specialists throughout the entire world were capable of treating it; but eventually his condition required surgery, which left him, for a time unable to talk. Understandably, the months that followed the surgery were emotionally and physically shattering but he began composing music again.  At the time, singing was out of the question and as the Austrian singer/songwriter, composer and musician says in press notes, “I decided to modify my musical focus temporarily by writing songs which could produce a melodic tension without vocals, but which featured the traits of forward-looking pop music. It was as if someone had pressed a resent button on the musical identity I had of myself.” Adds Inner Tongue, “I used to layer many sounds and melodies before, and felt like I hid the core of any idea behind that technique.”

Some of the Austrian artist’s full-length debut was made at home with most recorded in a friend’s stood in Vienna. Foals’ John Catlin, who collaborated with him on his 2015 debut EP assisted once again although his involvement varied throughout; however, as Inner Tongue says, Catlin “was continually involved as a producer and friend,” who also mixed the album with some further overdubbing where necessary. As the Austrian artist readily admits, the entire experience of writing and recording his full-length debut provoked ” “a lot of soul searching, trying to become a better mixing engineer and producer. I’m somewhat controlling when it comes to my music, and I need to get the little details right.”

However, unlike his debut EP, Favours was more of a collaborative effort, as he shared his ideas with a collective of very dear and close friends. “All contributions are built on a vision I initially had and then gain shape during the process,” Inner Thought says. His live backing band contributed much of the music with his father playing sax on “New York.” The live version of “2 Seconds,” Favours’ latest single features a sparse yet soulful arrangement centered around twinkling Rhodes piano keys and Inner Thought’s achingly tender vocals, which manage to express a plaintive, vulnerable need. It’s a delicate, sensitive yet incredibly sexy song that balances earnest emotion with deliberate attention to craft. 

 

Born Rebecca Maria Molina, the 25 year-old, Copenhagen, Denmark-based singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist Molina can trace the origins of her music career to when she was 8. As the story goes, Molina began writing her own music, inspired by the music her mother played for her including Bjork, Kate Bush and Royksopp. “I remember wanting the Basement JaxxRooty album for my birthday at the same age as I was dancing to children’s music.Molina recalls.

In her teens, Molina furthered her musical education by searching the corners of the internet and following a trail of like-minded bands and artists, and as a result the Danish singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist quickly became obsessed with Kraftwerk, Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, 70s-80s new wave and punk , shoegaze and Japanese music — in particular, the work of Miharu Koshi and Mariah among others. And all of those disparate styles and sounds have influenced Molina’s solo work within her solo recording project Molina.

With the release of her debut EP Corpus, Molina received attention internationally from the likes of BBC Radio 6, Beats 1 Radio, The 405, The Line of Best Fit among others for a sound and songwriting approach that embraces experimentation while drawing from  late 70s and 80s synth pop. Her latest single “Hey Kids” is centered around woozy and dizzying arpeggiated synths, boom bap-like beats and Molina’s ethereal vocals. Additionally, the song features a guest spot from Swedish artist and co-writer Late Verlaine, who contributes vocals on the song’s second verse. And while revealing a young artist, who’s self-assured and confident beyond her relatively young age, the track to my ears reminds me quite a bit of Peter Gabriel‘s work in the sense that it manages to be enigmatic and completely out of left field while being accessible and radio friendly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Omar Souleyman’s Club Banging and Swooning Love Letter to Istanbul

Omar Souleyman is a Tell Tamer, Syria-born, Istanbul, Turkey-based Sunni Arab vocalist, who can trace the origins of his music career back to 1994, when he was a part-time wedding singer, whose sound has been largely influenced from the incredibly diverse milieu of Northeastern Syria — and a result, Souleyman and a rotating cast of musicians and producers, he has worked with since his early days, draws from and meshes the Kurdish, the Ashuris, the Turks, the Iraqis and Arabic sounds and themes in a way that’s both familiar and absolutely novel; in fact, Souleyman is largely considered the region’s pioneer of dance music/wedding music as his sound is primarily based around, keys and enormous beats. 

Amazingly around 500 studio and live albums have been released under his name with about 80% of those releases being made at weddings,  presented to the newlywed couple, and then copied and sold at local kiosks. Within the last few years, Souleyman has received international attention, performing at some of the world’s biggest stages and festivals including Paredes de Coura, a Caribou co-curated ATP Festival, ATP Nightmare Before Christmas, Bonnaroo, Roskilde Festival, Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, Pukkelpop Festival, Electric Picnic,  Treefort Music Festival — and oddly enough, one of the strangest House of Vans bills I’ve ever seen, in which he opened for Future Islands. Adding to a growing international profile, Souleyman has collaborated with Bjork, contributing vocals for three remixes, which appear on an Biophilia.

Along with that, Souleyman has released four compilations 2006’s Highway to Hassake, 2009’S Dabke 2020, 2010’s Jazeera Nights, 2011’s Haflat Gharbia: The Western Concerts and 2011’s Leh Jani and three full-length albums to the West, 2013’s incredible Wenu Wenu, 2015’s Bahdeni Nami and this year’s To Syria, with Love, all of which have brought the sounds and grooves of his region to the Western World. Interestingly, To Syria, with Love reportedly finds Souleyman and his collaborators adopting elements of Western techno and electronic production to his sound, as well as much more intricate keyboard work. 

“Es-Samra,” To Syria, with Love’s latest single is a swooning love letter to his new hometown of Istanbul that features Souleyman’s coolly delivered vocals over a slick and swaggering production consisting of enormous, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, dense layers of arpeggiated keyboard chords, razor sharp and infectious hooks and handclaps to create one of most effortlessly straightforward club bangers I’ve heard in several months. 

While furthering his reputation for paring his sounds with DIY-like visuals, the recently released video for “Es-Samra” captures and evokes daily life in and around his adopted hometown’s waterways but with a trippy, mind melting visual effect. And as New Yorker, there’s something warmly familiar in seeing fisherman near a pier, of commuters rushing back and forth by ferry, car, bus and truck; but more important, it shows Istanbul as one of the world’s most glorious sights. 

New Video: Icelandic Indie Rock Act Mammut Releases a Brooding and Dramatic Video for “The Moon Will Never Turn On Me”

Comprised of Katrina Mogensen (vocalist), the daughter of Birgir Mogensen, who played alongside Björk in one of her first bands, Alexandra Baldursdóttir (guitar), Arnar Pétursson (guitar), Ása Dýradóttir (bass) and Andri Barter Jakobson (drums), the Icelandic indie rock quintet Mammut formed when its members were just 14 — and they derive their name from from the Icelandic word for “mammoth,” which the band’s Mogensen reportedly “plucked out of the air” before their stage debut.

In their native Iceland, the band is — well, rather huge. They won Iceland’s national battle of the bands, Músíktilraunir and subsequently have been nominated for several Icelandic Music Awards; in fact, their third album 2014’s Komdu til Mín Svarta Systir won three of its eight nominations including Pop & Rock Album and Pop and Rock Song for “Salt.” However, the band’s recently release effort Kinder Versions may arguably be their most ambitious to date, as the album finds Mogensen writing and singing lyrics completely in English for the first time in the band’s history. And with album single “The Moon Will Never Turn On Me,” you’ll quickly get a sense of why the band is so big in their homeland — they specialize in a brooding, highly dramatic and populist-leaning indie rock, complete with rousingly anthemic hooks. And while there’s clearly a viscerally earnest yearning and heartache at the core of the song, there’s an underlying sense of resignation that says “welp, things are going to be turbulent and shitty for a while, hold on as tight as you can.” Unsurprisingly as the band explains in press notes, the song is ultimately about the moment when you realize that you have to sit back, let go and then embrace and accept every horrible thing that may come in front of you — because in the larger scheme of things, it will be temporary,. and the world will continue to spin regardless. 

Directed by the band’s Katrína Mogensen, the recently released video is a fittingly moody one that features the members of the band struggling through a fitful and seemignly endless nightmare-fueled night of sleep — and interestingly enough, the video manages to further emphasize the sense of tumult at the core of the song. 

 

Born Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws in Bristol, UK and currently based in Berlin, Germany, the British-born, German-based emcee, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Tricky is arguably one of the most influential and important artists of trip-hop  — both as a member of the genre’s pioneering act Massive Attack and as a solo artist, who has also collaborated with a diverse array of artists, including Terry Hall, Bjork, Gravediggaz, Grace Jones, Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, PJ Harvey, and others. And throughout his career, both as a member of Massive Attack and as a solo artist, the British-born, German-based emcee, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer has a long-held reputation for being difficult to pigeonhole as his work and aesthetic draws from American and British hip-hop, rock, dub, reggae, punk rock, New Wave and ambient electronica while blurring the lines between each genre and style in an unrecognizable fashion.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that I had written a bit about Tricky’s musical project, Skilled Mechanics, a project that he started almost as soon as he relocated to Berlin. And while in a conventional sense, whenever a renowned solo artist would form a band it was largely considered a sign that the artist was sick of the spotlight and desperate to fade into something much larger than themselves, Tricky’s motivations for the project was the opposite — with the idea that Tricky would take more of a leading role with a series of rotating collaborators and friends.

 

Unsurprisingly, the renowned artist and producer has also managed to work on and release solo material, including the critically applauded single “The Only Way,” which managed to be a subtle change in sonic direction with the original version nodding towards the lush, cabaret crooner sound of  Edith Piaf. He then recently, a stopped down mix of the song that emphasized the loneliness and ache at the core of the song; but along with that, Tricky had been working on the material, which would comprise his forthcoming album ununiform. Slated for a September 22, 2017 through False Idols Records/!K7 Records, the renowned trip-hop artist and producer’s 13th album reportedly finds his material reflecting a larger and perhaps more radical step forward — towards happiness and contentment, while he confront his own artistic legacy, his own family and even death.  The album’s latest single “Running Wild” features  Mina Rose’s husky yet soulful vocals singing over a moody yet lush production featuring strummed guitar, shimming strings, stuttering drum programming — but underneath the surface is plaintive and visceral longing that hasn’t been revealed to this extent in his previously released work.

 

 

 

 

 

Born Adrian Nicholas Matthews Thaws in Bristol, UK and currently based in Berlin, Germany, the British-born, German-based emcee, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and producer Tricky is arguably one of the most influential and important artists in trip hop — both as a member of the genre’s pioneering act Massive Attack and as a solo artist, who has also collaborated with a diverse array of artists, including Terry Hall, Bjork, Gravediggaz, Grace Jones, Live’s Ed Kowalczyk, PJ Harvey, and others. And whether with Massive Attack or as a solo artist, throughout his career, Tricky has had a long-held reputation for being uncompromisingly difficult to pigeonhole and for being remarkably iconoclastic as his work and aesthetic has drawn from both American and British hip-hop, rock, dub, reggae, punk rock and ambient electronica and blurred lines between each genre and style.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past two years or so, you may recall that I’ve written about Tricky and one of his musical projects — Skilled Mechanics, a project that derived its name “from a documentary about espionage,” as the renowned trip hop pioneer explained in press notes, and started almost as soon as he relocated to Berlin. In a conventional sense, when a renowned solo artist forms a band, it’s frequently considered a sign that the solo artist in question is sick of the spotlight and is desperate to fade into something much larger than themselves; however, oddly enough for Tricky, his motivations were the exact opposite. As Tricky notes, over the years, he’s received quite a bit of criticism for what fans, critics, producers and others have perceived as frustrating habit of playing second fiddle to a variety of collaborators. “People have been asking me for years, ‘Will you ever take charge vocally? Will you ever lead as the singer on one of your albums?’  On Adrian Thaws, my last album, I came to the forefront vocally. I was more in your face on three of the tracks but I wanted to build even further towards a catalogue of songs where I didn’t rely on a girl singer. But I realised it would be hard to do under the name Tricky because people would always associate that name with me using a female singer. I haven’t been alone at the front of the stage on my own since before I released my first album Maxinquaye 20 years ago. I needed to change. It is good to change and to keep on pushing yourself,” Tricky explained in press notes.

His idea was that Skilled Mechanics would be a rather loose collaborative project that would allow him to work with a variety of musicians and artists while pushing his imitable vocals to the forefront as much as possible. And interestingly enough, the project’s earliest collaborators included DJ Milo, who is not only one of Tricky’s oldest friends but also the first person the Bristol-born, Berlin-based artist ever recorded with, as well as his introduction to The Wild Bunch sound system, which eventually evolved into Massive Attack. The other early collaborator on the project is Luke Harris, who is the drummer in Tricky’s backing band — but as a vocalist. As the story goes, Harris’ vocal talents were discovered by complete accident: Harris was covering for Tricky’s regular vocalist Francesca Belmonte during a quick bathroom break during soundcheck. Tricky was so impressed by Harris that he asked him to take part in his next musical project. The trip hop pioneer and his band recorded a full-length album, Tricky Presents: Skilled Mechanics and while the album featured collaborations with with Oh Land, Ann Dao, Ivy 艾菲, Francesca Belmonte, Renata Platon, and Xdare, as well as a murky and ominous lullaby-like re-working of Porno for Pyros’ “Porpoise Head,” “Diving Away.”

Unsurprisingly, Tricky has continued to work on solo material, including the recent release of a new single “The Only Way” to critical acclaim earlier this year. Interestingly, the track managed to be a subtle change of sonic direction as Tricky pairs his vocals with a lush, 50s and 60s cabaret crooner production featuring strummed guitar, twinkling piano and a stunningly  gorgeous string arrangement — all of which give the track a cinematic sweep while subtly nodding at the work of Edith Piaf. Recently, Tricky released a new mix — a stripped down mix of the song that pairs his vocals with a murky and ambient production featuring droning and twinkling keys and ominously swirling electronics that emphasizes the loneliness and ache at the core of the song. The mix came about by accident”  Tricky explains  “I was working on something else, playing around on the keyboard, and when I heard the 3 chords I was playing I knew instantly it was a special vibe but it didn’t work with what I was working on at the time.  So rather than finish the track I was trying to do, I carried on with this track and did vox of ‘The Only Way’ on top  —  it was just meant to be.”