Tag: electronica

New Audio: French Electronic Project VAPA teams up with VoxAxoV’s Charlotte Cegerra on a Sultry Club Banger

Formed in 2017, VAPA (an acronym for the French phrase Vous n’Avez Pas d’Avis, which translates into English as “You Have No Opinion”) is an emerging French electronic music collective that’s inspired by what the French journalist Jean-Yves Leloup has dubbed “conscious dance floor,” the project aims to bring people together through music but while addressing larger social issues, linking the hedonism and freedom of the party to the seriousness of our age — with a hint of optimism.  

The project’s sound draws influences from Thylacine, Jon Hopkins, Agoria, and Essaie Pas but paired with the voices of personalities, fellow musicians and journalists as a way to  to take an honest look at the world, to raise questions and our fears as a way to push the listener into action. “An introspective quest put into words and melodies!” VAPA’s mysterious creative mastermind says in press notes. 

VAPA’s latest single “Nuages Oranges” is an eerily atmospheric track and sensual track centered around shimmering and squiggling synth arpeggios, rapid-fire beats, a dance floor rocking hook and the dreamily sultry French vocals of VoxAxoV’s Charlotte Cegarra. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to Octo Octa’s Between Two Selves and From Here to Eternity and From Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder, the track focuses on the climate crisis, exile, existential anguish in the face of the world that’s adrift — and then hope. 

Best known for being the frontman of New York-based indie act Wild Pink, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Ross is also the creative mastermind behind the ambient and electronic solo recording project Eerie Gaits. Ross’ Eerie Gaits’ full-length debut, 2017’s critically applauded Bridge Music was inspired by driving over bridges. And under the Eerie Gaits moniker, Ross released a digital 45 with Dondadi in 2018 — and last year, as Eerie Gaits, Ross remixed Wild Pink’s “All Some Frenchman’s Joke” on the 5 Songs EP.

Slated for a Friday release through sound as language, Ross’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Holopaw derives its title from Holopaw, FL, the unincorporated community near where Ross grew up. Because Holopaw is technically not a town, village or even a hamlet, it’s administered under the jurisdiction of Osecola County, rather than its own municipality. And as a result, the 5,000 or so people who live in Holopaw don’t have a local government to call their own with its residents living in a liminal space between established community, odd backwater and remote hinterland.

Aesthetically, Holopaw‘s material bears an uncanny similarity to its namesake: untied to genre and unmoored from singular temperament. The album’s nine instrumental compositions undulate and ripple around arrangements that feature strummed guitar, contemplative and atmospheric synths and full-bodied yet placid indie rock, similar to what he has written with his primary gig.  Ross explains that Holopaw is “darker and more joyful at the same time.”

Interestingly, Holopaw‘s second and latest single is the incredibly cinematic and upbeat “The Rainbow Trout and the Wicker Creel.” Centered around shimmering and atmospheric  synth arpeggios, rolling drums, strummed guitars, “The Rainbow Trout and the Wicker Creel” is a contemplative track that evokes rippling and undulating water — and while intimate, possesses a widescreen and cinematic air.

 

Mike Slott is an acclaimed singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, composer, beatmaker, and producer who has released material as as solo artist under his own name, as well as a member of the mediative project Mirror Mirror, Heralds of Change with Hudson Mohawke and Lesser Pieces with collaborator Diane Badie. As a solo artist, his Lucky 9Teen EP has been considered one of the most seminal releases in the post-Dilla age of instrumental beat music, while establishing his sound and approach: delicate and ethereal electronics with quivering samples.
Slott’s forthcoming solo effort Vignettes EP can trace its origins back to 2011: Slott first wrote the material as part of a live re-scoring of Russian director Andrei Zvyagintsev’s 2003 debut film The Return, which he performed at that year’s Edinburgh International Festival.  Serving as Slott’s return to his old label home, LuckyMe Records and his first release on the label in over a decade, the EP places the material in a different context — but without stripping it of its mesmerizing and shimmering beauty and its cinematic quality. The EP’s first single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “Simple Dreams for Simple Days.” Centered around shimmering and slowly morphing synths, “Simple Dreams” manages to bring Brian Eno to mind while evoking  peaks of springtime warmth and sun slowly appearing through icy cracks.

Lyric Video: Mexico’s Glass Cristina Releases a Mesmerizing New Single

Led by founding members Bernardo Castilla and Lorenzo Engell, the rapidly rising Mexican electro pop act Glass Cristina was formed in Barcelona in 2016. Their five song, debut EP Circle Line, which featured attention grabbing singles like “La Reina De España” and “Dancing With the Devil” received attention in their native Mexico and elsewhere — despite the fact the material was unmastered and mixed at home, because the duo couldn’t afford to pay for professional mixing. But their debut EP established their sound: lush and atmospheric textures paired with soulful melodies while drawing from neo-sou, funk and electro pop. 

The band was on a hiatus when its founding members were living in different countries but in 2017, the band reconvened and expanded with the addition of Enzo Aquino (bass, synths, backing vocals), who has helped the band achieve a more organic live set. Last year the band performed at Sziget Festival with the likes of The 1975, Jungle, Twenty One Pilots, Foo Fighters and others. Along with that, the trio have been busy writing and recording their forthcoming album Nudity, Slated for a May 22, 2020 release through Vegan Caníbal Records, an imprint of Blanco y Negro, one of Spain’s most successful indie record labels.  Reportedly, the album is a result of a period of profound self-discovery through incessant work and composition — while showcasing the trio’s dedication to evolving their sound and identity. 

Nudity’s latest single, “Bali” is an atmospheric yet club friendly song centered around shimmering synths, blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar, a sinuous bass line, tweeter and woofer rocking beats an an enormous hook — and while arguably being one of the most hypnotic tracks on the album, it possesses a subtle jungle vibe that reminds me of early Doomsquad and others.  Interestingly, the song is a brooding ode to heartbreak and betrayal as the song essentially sets up a story about the swooning first pangs of a new relationship and its inevitable accompanying heartache. But instead of wallowing too deeply in bitterness, the song is meant to inspire the listener to get up and to dance, dance, dance it all away. 

The recently released and incredibly cinematic lyric video for “Bali” is fittingly set on Bali and features two masked figures dancing seductively in lush and verdant forests — and the result is something truly mesmerizing, 

New Video: Tel Aviv’s Red Axes Releases a Hook-Driven Club Banger

Red Axes is an acclaimed Tel Aviv, Israel-bass electronic music production, electronic music artist and DJ duo of Dori Sadovnik and Niv Arzi. Over their decade together, the Israeli duo have specialized in a sound that they’ve dubbed punk-electronica, influenced by their backgrounds in rock and their enthusiasm for contemporary club sounds. Interestingly, throughout their run together, the duo have developed a reputation for restless experimentalism: they’ve released deep house material on Crosstown Rebels Records and Permanent Vacation Records and have even performed live sets with a 12 member band while releasing two albums and dozens of 12 inches. They’ve also released material throughI’m A Cliche Records and their own Garzen Records. 

To celebrate their tenth anniversary together, the duo will be releasing their forthcoming, self-titled album through Dark Entries Records. Slated for a May 8, 2020 release, the album is reportedly their first batch of material specifically conceived and written as an album-length listening experience with the songs flowing through a variety of stylistic and sonic detours. highlighting their ears as keen and adventurous listeners and DJs. The album’s first single is the swaggering. late 90s-early 00s electronica banger “Sticks and Stones.” Featuring a vocal contribution from Adi Bronicki, who rhymes and sings with an in-your-face swagger, the song is centered around a slick production featuring buzzing guitars, thumping beats and layers of electronics. Sonically, the track may remind some listeners of Tweekend-era The Crystal Method, The Chemical Brothers and others. 

Directed by Sergei Rostropovich, the recently released, cinematically shot video follows Lea Prinz on a wild, booze-fueled night throughout town with stops at several bars, several liquor stores with a cathartic ending at an enormous club. 

 

Internationally acclaimed, Amsterdam-based electronic trio Cubicolor, founding members and 16BL production duo Ariann Olierook and Peter Kriek and London-born singer/songwriter Tim Digby-Bell, features a lineup of accomplished musicians and producers:

  • Olierook, who acts as the public face of the Cubicolor and 16BL has been writing and recording music professional over the past 20 years — and has toured globally for the past 15 years. Described as a “student of music” by his Cubicolor bandmate Tim Digby-Bell, Olierook has developed reputation both within the project and without as constantly learning, honing techniques, restlessly experimenting and trying new ideas and building his own instruments. including custom modular synths, mixing decks and speakers that trio uses for their recording sessions.
  • Digby-Bell is a London-born singer/songwriter, poet and playwright, who began to learn the guitar when he turned seven — and when he was growing up, he was heavily influenced by Nick Drake and others. Before he joined the Amsterdam-based electronic act, the British singer/songwriter was best known for being in London-based indie quintet Duologue.

    Duologue quickly became a buzzworthy act with their earliest releases, and as a result, they wound up signing to a major label. Sadly, while on their first Stateside tour – a momentum and career building tour, at that – one of Digby-Bell’s bandmates was diagnosed with leukemia. With an uncertain future looming in front of them, the band spilt up. Since the band’s breakup, that now-former bandmate has recovered from his illness.

    Roughly two years after Duologue split up, Digby-Bell was introduced to Olierook and Kriek and after collaborating with the duo on “Falling,” became a permanent member of Cubicolor in 2016.

  • Kriek is the most mysterious and enigmatic member of the act. He grew up outside of Amsterdam, attended university and started a successful IT company while co-founding 16BL and Cubicolor with Olierook. Roughly 15 years ago, Kriek decided to withdraw from much of normal life, leaving his company and living a monastic-like and solitary life on a houseboat, which doubled as recording studio.

    Reportedly, Kriek doesn’t listen to much modern music and is generally unreceptive to new ideas – and although his living situation and habits are challenging to deal with, his 16BL and Cubicolor bandmates will openly admit that he has an non-Western ear for melody and is one of the most talented musicians and producers they’ve ever met or worked with.

Since Cubicolor’s formation in 2014, the act has released three EPs and a handful of singles through Anjunadeep Records that found the act’s sound moving from progressive house to experimental electronica. The acts breakthrough,  full-length debut Brainsugar was heavily supported by Spotify‘s Austin Kramer, Pete Tong, Joris Voorn and Kölsch, received airplay throughout the UK and KCRW and received critical praise from Mixmag, RA, Thump, Consequence of Sound and DJ Mag, which gave the album a 9/10 review. Brainsugar album tracks were remixed by Patrice Baumel, Lindstrom and Prins Thomas— and those tracks received support and play in clubs. And adding to a growing profile, the album has amassed over 40 million streams globally.

In 2018, the band had written, recorded and finished what was supposed to be their sophomore full-length album Trick of Light. The album was delivered to their label and to the digital streaming platforms. A full press campaign for the album was planned and then shortly before the official announcement of the album, the band decided to cancel release and scrap the album. Three album singles were released off the canceled album — “No Dancers,” “Counterpart,” and “Boxed Out.” “Counterpart” received airplay on the BBC Radio 1 programs of Annie Mac, Pete Tong, Phil Taggart and Kölsh. Adam Port’s remix of “No Dancers” was a club hit. “We got home and listened to it, then got on the phone with each other and decided to drop the whole thing,” the band’s Tim Digby-Bell recalls in press notes. “The next week, we went back into the studio and started again. We didn’t keep anything, we shut ourselves on the boat in Amsterdam where we work and didn’t stop until we made the record we wanted to make.

“There were a lot of moments when we weren’t sure we’d ever find what it was we were looking for,” Digby-Bell continues. “On the way, we lost friends, lost loves, battled health issues, lost an album, lost each other and came back together again Looking back now, it was pretty crazy but the world keeps spinning and I guess we just don’t want to put out anything that wasn’t true to ourselves as a band, and the very best we can do as musicians, no matter how long it took.”

The trio’s latest album, the long-awaited, Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night is partially inspired by the seemingly endless cycles of space and time and is centered around an unwavering dedication to earnestness of emotion and purpose. Thematically, the album themes at points are more personal than others — in fact, Digby-Bell written single “Points Beyond” is a loving tribute to a dear friend of his, who died last year. Other album tracks are meant to evoke the uncertainty and fear that the band felt during the writing and recording process. Overall, the album’s material paints an intimate and provocative picture of the trio’s evolution as artists and as people.

“Rituals,” Hardly A Day, Hardly A Night‘s latest single is centered around looping and twinkling piano, thumping beats, Digby-Bell’s plaintive vocals, shimmering synth arpeggios blasts and a soaring hook. And while sonically bearing a resemblance to Floating Points and Bonobo, the track manages to be cinematic and remarkably intimate.

 

BisonBison is a rising Toronto-based electronic music collaboration featuring producers Dani Ramez and Chad Skinner, drummer and producer Brad Weber, multi-instrumentalist Sinead Bermingham and vocalist Sophia Alexandra. Each individual of the Canadian collective have different musical backgrounds, including traditional Irish folk, Middle Eastern music, trip hop, jazz and funk. Citing Bonobo, Helios, and Christian Löffler as influences, the members of the Toronto-based electronic act have developed and crafted a sound that meshes elements of folk, downtempo electronica and electronic dance music. 

Released earlier this month through Zozaya Records, BisonBison’s full-length debut Hover can trace its origins back to a series of loose acoustic jams between a cast of collaborators and musicians that ultimately filtered down to the band’s current lineup and Caribou’s Brad Weber contributing drums — with the bandmembers piecing material together into the album’s material. “Recover,” Hover‘s first single received support from media outlets like Earmilk and Clash MagazineBuilding upon a growing profile, the album’s third and latest single, the hypnotic album title track “Hover” is a lush and atmospheric track centered around shimmering and twinkling synths, a sinuous bass line, thumping beats, enormous hook and Sophia Alexandra’s ethereal cooing. Sonically, the song is an ambitious and dance floor friendly mesh of trip-hop, ambient electronica and acid house that sounds familiar yet novel.

 

 

 

 

 

New Audio: Electronic Music Pioneer Patrick Cowley’s Posthumously Released, Early Experimental and Psychedelic-Tinged Electronica

Born in Buffalo, NY, the highly influential and forward-thinking electronic music producer and artist Patrick Cowley relocated to San Francisco in 1971 to study electronic music at the City College of San Francisco. By the late 70s, Cowley’s synthesizer and production techniques landed him a gig writing and producing songs for legendary, gender-bending disco superstar Sylvester, including the sultry and propulsive, smash hit “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real).” 

Around the same time, Cowley managed to create his own brand of party music, known as Hi-NRG, which was also dubbed “The San Francisco Sound” and by 1981, he had released a string of 12″ singles as a solo artist, including “Menergy” and “Megatron Man.” Interestingly, 1981 was an incredibly busy year for the legendary electronic music producer and artist: he co-founded Megatone Records, which released his debut album Megatron Man. 

During that same year, Cowley as hospitalized and diagnosed with an unknown illness. which would later become known as AIDS. Recovering for a brief spell he went on to produce Sylvester’s smash hit “Do You Want to Funk” and Paul Parker’s “Right on Target,” as well as his sophomore album Mind Warp. Tragically. Cowley died two weeks after his 32nd birthday from an AIDS-related illness.  Since his death, Patrick Cowley has become one of electronic music’s most influential and forward-thinking artists and producers.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, his previously released work has seen posthumous re-issues, including a re-issue of Mind Warp a few years ago. 

With growing attention on the late electronic music pioneer’s work, a collection of previously unreleased material written between 1973-1980 was recently discovered. Dubbed Mechanical Fantasy Box, the 13 previous unreleased songs will be released in tandem with Cowley’s homoerotic journal of the same name, and the compilation is a collection of Cowley’s work from the years preceding his meteoric rise as a pioneer of Hi-NRG dance music. Interestingly, these songs were written and recorded  before drum machines and programmable, polyphonic digital synthesis with the material being highly experimental. Sonically, the material flows from funk to kraut to psychedelic, ambient electronics inspired by Tomita and Kraftwerk. 

Some songs were mixed from 4-track stems by Joe Tarantino and all of the compilation’s 13 songs have been remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, CA. The vinyl edition comes housed in a black and white gatefold jacket Gwenaël Rattke featuring a photograph by Susan Middleton, liner notes by bandmate Maurice Tani and an 8.5×11 insert with notes. But more important, proceeds from the compilation will be donated to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation has been committed to ending the pandemic and human suffering caused by HIV sine 1982. 

Clocking in at just a smidge under 11:30, Mechanical Fantasy Box’s first single “Lumberjacks in Heat” manages to be a trippy synthesis of John Carpenter soundtracks krautrock-inspired prog rock and psychedelia as the composition is centered by layers of shimmering and fluttering bursts of synths and some propulsive and forceful drumming.   Interestingly, much like Kraftwerk’s legendary and influential work, this previously unreleased single manages to simultaneously be of its time and remarkably contemporary — as though it could have been part of the retro-futuristic wave.