Tag: Cape Town South Africa

Live Footage: Alice Phoebe Lou Performs “Only When I”

Acclaimed Cape Town-born, Berlin,-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay  Alice Phoebe Lou grew up in an intensely creative home: her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took a young Lou to piano lessons. As a teenager, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based artist taught herself guitar.

When she was 16, she went on a life-altering trip to Paris to visit her aunt. Armed with an acoustic guitar, a young Lou met some of the city’s buskers and street performers, eventually learning poi dancing from some of them. After completing her studies, she returned to Europe, first settling in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer.

Some time later, she relocated to Berlin, where she quickly developed a reputation as a well-regarded busker — and for a fiercely punk rock-like DIY approach to her career. With the release of her self-released debut EP, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based JOVM mainstay began to receive national and international attention that led to a number of performances at  TED events in London and Berlin during the following year.

2016’s Orbit was a critical success, leading to Lou earning a Best Female Artist nomination at that year’s German Critics’ Awards. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, she wound up playing at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California — and she appeared on bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, and Allen Stone. Lou need the year with three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. Those Berlin Planetarium shows were so popular and in such high demand that additional shows had to be added to her tour schedule in 2017.

In 2018, the live version of “She” amassed over four million views on YouTube, and was featured in Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story — before the studio version of the single had been recorded or released. She then spent the bulk of the year working on the material, which would eventually comprise her sophomore album, 2019’s Noah Georgeson-produced Paper Castles. According to Lou, the album was “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

The recently released Glow is the highly-anticipated follow-up to Paper Castles, and the album’s material may arguably be the most raw and personal her growing catalog. The material which finds Lou frequently delivering lyrics in a old school, jazzy croon paired with scuzzy guitars, sauntering and strutting bass grooves and mesmerizing piano sequences finds Lou being unafraid to be vulnerable and yearning while embracing songwriting as her truest, most honest form of expression. “I used to feel quite self-conscious about writing love songs,” the acclaimed JOVM mainstay says in press notes,” but now I like the idea that your music can be a friend to someone, and make them feel as though they’re being related to. This album simply poured out of my heart and my subconscious, and there was no stopping the lovestruck nature of them. Sometimes love, love lost and the ways in which these matters of the heart affect us, are the most relatable feelings in the world.”

Much like the rest of us, last year brought challenges both personally and as an artist for Lou. “I spent more time alone than I ever had,” she shares. “I shaved may head. Had an ego death. Fell in love. Had my heart broken. I was a raw little mess. And that was what I wrote about.”

And to celebrate the album’s release, the acclaimed singer/songwriter released a self-directed bit of live footage of her and her backing band performing the slow-burning and hushed “Only When I.” Nodding at Quiet Storm soul, the song, which is centered around Lou’s plaintive and ethereal crooning, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and a strutting bass line is a heartbreaking and familiar admission of the lovesick and lonely — and full of desperate longing for companionship and that touch of someone you can’t get back.

Cape Town, South Africa-based singer/songwriter, actress and poet Chantel Van T is best known in her homeland as the frontwoman of the space rock act Diamond Thug — but she recently stepped out into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of her full-length debut Nicalochan, which was released earlier this month.

“Petrichor,” Nicalochan‘s third and latest single is a cinematic and brooding track centered around twinkling keys, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, persistent drumming and reverb-drenched percussion that sounds as though it could easily be part of a David Lynch soundtrack — but interestingly enough, as the song’s title suggests, the song evokes the cleansing smell of rain on the ground, of wet earth and wet leaves, and of trying to find one’s way out — of the city, of one’s burden’s, of one’s struggles and towards something new and uncertain.

The song was written after a big storm while recording in Berlin. “The lights were dim and the skies were still grey but there was a stillness in the air and there I was reminiscing of being in nature after such a downpour. ‘Nothing like bare earth showing off its bursts,'” Chantel Van T recalls in press notes.

Lyric Video: Gengahr’s Bittersweet “Icarus”

Deriving their name from Gengar, one of the original Pokemon, the acclaimed London-based indie act Gengahr — Felix Bushe, John Victor, Hugh Schulte and Danny Ward — can trace their origins to when its members met at the Stoke Newington School. Their debut single “Fill My Gums With Blood” caught the attention of BBC Radio 1‘s Huw Stephens — and building upon a rapidly growing profile, the band wound up playing at the BBC Introducing Stage at 2014’s Glastonbury Festival.

Since then the band has released two critically applauded albums — 2015’s debut effort A Dream Outside and 2018’s Where Wildness Grows. Sanctuary, Gengahr’s highly-anticipated Jack Steadman-produced third album is slated for a Friday release through Liberator Music. Reportedly, the album finds the band ambitiously pushing their sound in a decidedly pop leaning director, while attempting to recapture the magic and vibe that the quartet felt while writing and recording their full-length debut. Interestingly, the album, which is largely influenced by Homer’s Odyssey, also reportedly finds the band’s primary songwriter Felix Bushe tapping into personal pain — but while throwing punches and fighting. 

Late last year, I wrote about the slinky and shimmering single “Heavenly Maybe.” Featuring  a funky, disco-like groove, “Heavenly Maybe” was imbued with a world weary ennui centered around the experience of partying as a way to distract oneself from their serious, real-life problems. “Icarus” Sanctuary’s third and latest single is a wistful, M83-like song, centered around a sinuous and propulsive bass line, a motorik-like groove, four-on-the-floor-like drumming and Bushe’s plaintive vocals. And while featuring some enormous, soaring hooks, the track is imbued with the awareness of the passing of time; that adulthood ain’t easy: it’s full of dashed dreams, compromises, disappointment and the awareness that nothing in this world works the way it should. 

““Icarus” is a song about growing up and coming to terms with the expectations of our youth. As a child we believe anything is possible but as we get older there is a crushing realisation as we begin to understand that the journey of life has its own uncontrollable trajectory.” the band explains in press notes. 

Directed by the band’s long-time visual collaborator Dave East, the recently released lyric video for “Icarus” was shot in Cape Town, South Africa and depicts a car driving down a mountain road at night, seemingly in search of another hill, another mountain to climb, another bit of road sliding by. 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Alice Phoebe Lou Performs “Galaxies” at Berlin’s Zeiss Planetarium for Majestic Casual Sessions

Over the past year or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay  Alice Phoebe Lou. And as you may recall, Lou grew up in a very creative home — her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took a young Lou to piano lessons. As a teen, Lou taught herself guitar; but when she turned 16, she went on a life-altering trip to Paris to visit her aunt. While in Paris, armed with an acoustic guitar, the young artist met some of that cit’s buskers and street performers — eventually learning poi dancing from some of them.

After completing her studies, Lou returned to Europe, first landing in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer. She then relocated to Berlin, where she quickly developed a reputation as a well-regarded busker and for a fierce, punk rock-like DIY approach to her musical career. With the release of 2014’s self-released debut EP, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began to receive national and international attention, which resulted in performances at a number of  TED events in London and Berlin during the following year.

Lou’s sophomore effort, 2016’s Orbit was nominated for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards. And building upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally, she played at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda and shared bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, and Allen Stone before ending the year with three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. (The Berlin Planetarium shows were so popular and in such high demand that she had to add two additional shows there to her tour schedule in 2017.)

Additionally, the live version of “She” amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Heady Lamar Story — all before the studio version of the single was even recorded or released. But for most of 2018, Lou worked on her Noah Georgeson-produced sophomore effort Paper Castles, which was released earlier this year. And as Lou explains, the album is “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

“Something Holy,” the album’s first single was a slow-burning 70s AM rock meets 70s soul-like track centered around shimmering guitar line, hushed drumming, a sinuous hook, a psychedelic tinged bridge and Lou’s aching vocals with the song’s narrator taking a deeply introspective and unvarnished look into her complicated relationships with sex, love, men and ultimately, with herself. The song reflects, as Lou explained in press notes, “the moment that I managed to get over the main hurdle of my past traumas with sex, with men and with my own deeper understanding of intimacy and what it means to be intimate.” 

Paper Castles’ latest single is the gorgeous and expansive “Galaxies.” Beginning with a shimmering and spacey introduction and Lou’s plaintive wailing, before the song turns into a spacey 70s jazz funk number, centered by a sultry, reggae-like bass line and a mournful saxophone solo and then morphs back into a shimmering and spacey coda — and while the song seamlessly shifts back and forth in a fashion reminiscent of Heatwave’s “Boogie Nights,” the song is imbued with a cosmic sheen. 

Majestic Casual invited the JOVM mainstay for a live session of “Galaxies” that was fittingly shot at Berlin’s Zeiss Planetarium.  Game of Throes star Maisie Williams opens the live session with a spoken word piece musing on humanity’s place within the cosmos directly inspired by the song. 

New Video: Seba Kaapstad’s Forward-Thinking Take on Soul and Electro Pop

Over the past few months, I’ve written a bit about the up-and-coming indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana along with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel is split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany, and can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town back in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster met Modiga and Manana and began working together in an informal setting, in which they jammed playing standards and rearranged songs of their choice. And as they continued working together, the trio recognized a deeper chemistry within their work.

Before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked his future bandmates if they’d be interested in recording material back in his homeland. And over the next few months, Schuster spent time writing and organizing sessions with the focus on what would eventually turn into Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips back and forth to Cape Town, the act’s founding trio had written the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2016’s Tagore.

The newly-constituted quartet’s highly-anticipated, sophomore album is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, and the album finds the act further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop — while adding a new member Philip “Pheel” Scheibel. Album single “Africa” was centered around a slick and mind-melting production that features elements of smoky jazz, swaggering hip hop, soul and Pan African vibes that brings Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus to mind. “Bye,” was centered around glistening and atmospheric production featuring a sinuous bass line, fluttering synths, thumping beats paired Manana and Modiga’s ethereal boy-girl melodies and harmonies describe the self-doubt, anxiety and uncertainty filled moments of attraction at first blush.

The album’s latest single “Don’t” is centered by a trippy Flying Lotus-like production featuring a looped, twinkling piano line, stuttering tweeter and woofer rocking beats, wobbling bass synths, reverb-drenched vocal samples. The song also features Modiga revealing an incredible vocal range, alternating between soulful multi-octave, pop belting solos expressing plaintive yearning and swaggering speak singing — while Manana contributes a plaintive falsetto to the mix. And then song ends with a gorgeous string section. Interestingly, the new single finds the act pushing the soul ballad in a revolutionary new direction. 

The recently released video for “Don’t” continues a run of mesmerizing post-apocalyptic-like visuals featuring grainy, security footage, the act’s vocalists in a variety of different lights and backgrounds and so on, which creates an anxious vibe. 

 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the up-and-coming indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad, and as you may recall, the act which is comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana along with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel is split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany, and can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town back in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster met Modiga and Manana and began working together in an informal setting, in which they jammed playing standards and rearranged songs of their choice. And as they continued working together, the trio recognized a deeper chemistry within their work.

As the story goes, before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked his future bandmates if they’d be interested in recording back in his homeland — and over the next few months, he spent time writing and organizing sessions with the focus on what would eventually become Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips back and forth to Cape Town, the act’s founding trio had written the material that would eventually comprise their full-length debut, 2016’s Tagore.

Thina, Seba Kaapstad’s highly-anticipated full-length sophomore album is slated for a May 17, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, and the album finds the act further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop — while adding a new member Philip “Pheel” Scheibel. Album single “Africa” was centered around a slick and mind-melting production that features elements of smoky jazz, swaggering hip hop, soul and Pan African vibes that brings Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus to mind.

The album’s latest single “Bye” is centered around an atmospheric and  cosmically shimmering production featuring a sinuous bass line, fluttering synths, thumping beats while Manana and Modiga’s ethereal boy-girl melodies and harmonies describe the self-doubt, anxiety and uncertainty filled moments of attraction at first blush. Splitting between the male and female perspective, the song’s central story should feel familiar: it’s the internal monologue many of us have had when we’ve encountered a new potential love interest.

 

New Video: Introducing the Futuristic Genre Blurring Sounds of Seba Kaapstad

Comprised of founding members Sebastian “Seba” Schuster, Zoe Modiga and Ndumiso Manana with their newest member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel, the members of indie electro pop/neo-soul act Seba Kaapstad are split between Cape Town, South Africa and Stuttgart, Germany — and interestingly, the act can trace its origins to when Schuster landed in Cape Town, South Africa in 2013. While studying at the University of Cape Town, Schuster began working with Modiga and Manana in an informal setting, in which they jammed standards and rearranged songs of their choice. As they continued to work together, the more it seemed as though the trio were experience a much deeper chemistry within their work and music. 

Before Schuster returned to Germany, he asked Modiga and Manana if they’d be interested in recording in his home country — and over the next few months, Schuster spent his time writing and organizing sessions, focusing on what would eventually become Seba Kaapstad. After a series of phone calls, emails and trips down to Cape Town, the members of the project had written the material that would eventually comprised their debut, 2016’s Tagore. 

Slated for a May 15, 2019 release through Mello Music Group, Seba Kaapstad’s highly anticipated sophomore full-length album Thina finds the act adding a new member, Philip “Pheel” Scheibel while further expanding on a genre-mashing, globalist sound that draws from neo-soul, hip-hop, jazz, electro pop and Afro pop that’s intended to demonstrate humanity’s shared commonalities. Interestingly, the album’s latest single,  “Africa,” a is track centered around a slick yet mind-melting production that features elements of moody jazz, thumping and swaggering hip hop and sultry soul and Pan African vibes that at points recalls Soul II Soul, Erykah Badu, theeSatisfaction, The Roots and Flying Lotus simultaneously — but with a futuristic leaning. Shot in a smoky purples and reds, in a mirrored room, the recently released video for “Africa” evokes the moody atmospherics of the song, while being equally futuristic. 

Comprised of Dylan Fine (guitar, vocals) and David Migwalla (production), the Cape Town, South Africa-based electro pop duo Beat Sampras specialize in a sound that’s a mix of R&B, soul, trap and J-Dilla-like beats. The act’s recently released This Was Once The Future EP features guest spots from Sha Hustle, O Billz, Lisa Lobsinger, TEA and Just John. Interestingly, the EP’s latest single, album title track “This Was Once The Future” is centered around a sinuous and lush production featuring shimmering and arpeggiated synths, thumping beats and chopped up vocal samples– and sonically, the track reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa‘s sultry Between Two Selves

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Singer-Songwriter Alice Phoebe Lou Releases a Trippy 70s Inspired Single from Forthcoming Sophomore Album

Over the past year, I’ve written a bit about the Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alice Phoebe Lou. And as you may recall, Lou grew up in a rather creative home — her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took the budding artist to piano lessons as a child. As a teenager, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist taught herself guitar. The summer she turned 16, Lou went to Paris to visit her aunt. Armed with an acoustic guitar, the young artist met a number of that city’s buskers and street performers — with some of them teaching her poi dancing. 

Upon completing her schooling, Lou returned to Europe, first landing in  Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer. She then relocated to Berlin, where she became a well-regarded busker and developed a reputation for a fiercely independent, punk rock-like DIY approach to her career. With the release of 2014’s self-released debut EP, Lou began receiving international attention, eventually spending the following year performing at a number of TED events in London and Berlin. Building upon a rapidly growing international profile, Lou released her full-length debut Orbit in 2016. The album garnered a nomination for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards and a set at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda. She ended the year, touring on bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, Allen Stone and Crystal Fighters, as well as three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. Those Berlin Planetarium shows were so much in demand that she added two additional planetarium shows to her 2017 itinerary. 

Besides touring, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has had the live version of “She” amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Heady Lamar Story — all before the studio version of the single was even recorded or released. Additionally, Lou spent time working on her much-anticipated, Noah Georgeson-produced sophomore effort Paper Castles, which is slated for a March 8, 2019 release. And as Lou explains, the album is “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

The album’s first single is a slow-burning, 70s AM rock and 70s soul-like “Something Holy.” Centered around a shimmering guitar line, hushed drumming, a sinuous hook, a psychedelic tinged bridge and Lou’s aching vocals, the song is a deeply introspective and unvarnished look into the narrator’s complicated relationships with sex, love, men and herself. As Lou says, the song reflects “the moment that I managed to get over the main hurdle of my past traumas with sex, with men and with my own deeper understanding of intimacy and what it means to be intimate.” Sonically speaking, the song reminds me quite a bit of Amber Arcades’ European Heartbreak. 

Made by Manners Studio is a heady mix of brightly colored, cinematically shot footage of young people brooding and looking bored in a stylish chamber room, animation and Lou earnestly performing the song.