Tag: Jose Gonzalez

New Video: Copenahgen’s IRAH Releases Aching and Nostalgic Visuals for “Cinematic”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about the Copenhagen, Denmark-based duo IRAH, and as you may recall, with the release of 2016’s mini-album Into Dimensions, the duo, which is comprised of Stone Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keys) quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a unique take on atmospheric pop that’s ethereal yet earthy. 

Slated for a May 24, 2019 through Tambourhinoceros Records, the Danish duo’s forthcoming Mads Brinch Nielsen and IRAH-co-produced full-length debut Diamond Grid was written in between tours across Europe, features renowned drummer Seb Rochford, who has toured with the band, playing drums on all but one track — the album’s gorgeous Kate Bush and Junip/Jose Gonzalez-like first single “Unity of Gods,” a track that was centered around a sparse yet propulsive arrangement of twinkling keys, hushed  drumming, and ethereal and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about seeking oneness. Diamond Grid‘s second single was the Kate Bush meets Bjork-like”Siu Hinama,” which featured Grøn’s primordial chanting ethereally floating over atmospheric synths and propulsive drumming — and while continuing in a similar vein as its immediate predecessor, the track manages to evoke an ancient tribal ritual.

“Cinematic,” Diamond Grid‘s third and latest single is centered around a hauntingly sparse arrangement featuring shimmering keys, hushed drumming and Grøn’s plaintive vocals, the aptly titled song possesses an achingly plaintive quality.

The Sarajevo, Bosnia-born, Copenhagen-based Zukanović and his family fled to Denmark, when the bloody and brutal Balkan War broke up. At the time, Zukanović was 4. Interestingly, in the refugee center’s playroom, a young Zukanović found a small keyboard and quickly discovered the power and tranquility of music. As an adult, Zukanović is one of the most sought-after keyboardists and pianists in Denmark — and he has arranged music for several Danish symphony orchestras.

Directed by Jakob Steen and Samina Bazai, the recently released video primarily consists of home video footage that Zukanović and his family shot during his first years immigrating to Denmark and his first trips back to Bosnia after the war. While imbued with an inconsolable loss over the people and homeland that he will never have again, the video brings the consequences of war and time directly to the viewer — in particular, a war that now seems both distant and yet somehow relevant. “We dove into the picturesque colors of the VHS tapes, and deliberately tried to listen to, and understand, the material, rather than manipulating it, or making it more aesthetically appealing, the video’s directors explain in press notes. “We tried to follow the song’s own logic and inherent narrative structures, as well as the associative connections between the sound, imagery and words.”

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With the release of 2016’s mini-album Into Dimensions, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based  duo IRAH, comprised of Stone Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keys) quickly received attention across the blogosphere for a unique take on atmospheric pop that’s ethereal yet earthy. 

Slated for a May 24, 2019 through Tambourhinoceros Records, the Danish duo’s forthcoming Mads Brinch Nielsen and IRAH-co-produced full-length debut Diamond Grid was written in between tours across Europe, features renowned drummer Seb Rochford, who has toured with the band, playing drums on all but one track — the album’s gorgeous Kate Bush and Junip/Jose Gonzalez-like first single “Unity of Gods,” a track that was centered around a sparse yet propulsive arrangement of twinkling keys, hushed  drumming, and ethereal and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about seeking oneness. The album’s second and latest single, the Kate Bush meets Bjork-like”Siu Hinama” features Grøn’s primordial chanting ethereally floating over atmospheric synths and propulsive drumming — and while continuing in a similar vein, as its immediate predecessor, the track also manages to evoke an ancient tribal ritual. “Siu Hinama occurred through vocalistic sound meditations,” Grøn explains in press notes. “The song never felt right with lyrics and therefore we decided to just let the words or word-sounds be as they were.”   

 

New Audio:Copenhagen’s IRAH Releases an Atmospheric and Contemplative Single

With the release of 2016’s mini-album Into Dimensions, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based  duo IRAH, comprised of Stone Grøn (vocals) and Adi Zukanović (keys) quickly received attention for a unique take on atmospheric pop that’s ethereal yet earthy.

Building upon a growing profile nationally and internationally, the duo’s forthcoming Mads Brinch Nielsen and IRAH-co produced full-length debut Diamond Grid  is slated for a May 24, 2019 release through Tambourhinoceros Records. Written in between touring across Europe, the album features renowned drummer Seb Rochford, who has played with the band live, on all but one track, the album’s gorgeous first single “Unity of Gods.” Centered around a sparse yet propulsive arrangement of twinkling keys, hushed drumming, and ethereal and plaintive vocals singing lyrics about seeking oneness, the Danish duo’s latest single to my ears sonically bears an uncanny resemblance to Kate Bush and Junip/Jose Gonzalez — although as the duo’s Stine Grøn says of the song’s creative process and the song itself, “‘Unity of Gods’ was the very first song we made after our first release. The track started as a playful process but we ended up getting caught in its creation as we progressed into developing its form and musical story. The song is about how you long to stay in touch with both your self and nature as you feel disconnected to these natural elements because of digital disturbances.”

Jackson Dyer is an Sydney, Australia-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and is part of a growing number of Australians who have relocated to the Germany city for a creative and personal renewal and to advance their careers; in fact, since Dyer relocated to Berlin three years ago, he has opened for Grammy-nominated acts and countrymen Hiatus Kaiyote and Hozier, and has extensively toured throughout the European Union with Berlin, Germany-based indie folk act Mighty Oaks and Jamie Cullum. Adding to a growing profile, the Sydney, Australia-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter has played at several European festivals.

Dyer’s third EP, Compartments was released earlier this year to critical praise, as the effort thematically and lyrically may arguably be one of the most personal efforts he’s released to date. And as Dyer explains in press notes, “Compartments is an EP of self-­reflection that I wrote at a time when I faced a lot of uncertainty and questions about my place in the world. Far away from home, often spending long hours in my studio on the industrial outskirts of Berlin, it was a period of introspection when I experimented with production and songwriting. In this space, I wrestled with many of my misgivings about the music industry, the nature of humanity and my own personal motivations. The title Compartments refers to the lyrics in “Pariahs,” which is about how close many people live to each other in cities and apartment blocks, but still lead very enclosed lives, unwilling to engage with even their neighbours. Ironically, I spent a long time in my own ‘compartment’ writing these songs and it wasn’t until I collaborated with others that they really came alive.”

Compartments’ second and latest single is EP opening track “The Absolute” and sonically speaking the track nods at the work of renowned Swedish singer/songwriter Jose Gonzalez and his work both as a solo artist and with Junip, as the song has Dyer pairing bluesy guitar chords played through generous amounts of reverb, swirling electronics, glitchy and stuttering drum programming with his soulful vocals to create a song that’s deeply introspective and achingly earnest; in fact, the song captures and evokes a narrator, who feels profoundly lost and alone and wrestling with the sort of existential questions that don’t have an easy answer. And while capturing someone at perhaps one of their darkest periods, the song manages to possess a resoluteness that suggests while many answers won’t come quickly, the song’s narrator will move forward and many of life’s most difficult questions will resolve themselves accordingly.

 

Comprised of Darius Byrne (vocals), Brian Ireland (beats, production) and Andrew Eyles (bass), Adult Future is a Toronto, ON-based trio, whose forthcoming full-length effort In The News draws from the contemporary feeling of disconnect and alienation that many of us feel so very deeply. As the members of the band mention in press notes, “the band wanted to make a record that emphasized the singular stories that we all have and share as human beings. All of the songs on this record were inspired by personal stories and were utilized as a method to reconcile those feelings of estrangement. It was an attempt to bridge those feelings of isolation that seemingly contradicts a shared environment where people are literally living on top of each other. Drug abuse, mental and physical illness, violence and love — all of these things impact us individually, but when seen as an amalgamation == is the totality of human history.”

 In The News‘ first single “The Leaf House” doesn’t shy away from the fact that we live in dangerous and fearful times but at its core, is a love song — an urgent call for love in the face of a world that seems hopeless and insane; while suggesting as the Buddhists would suggest that opening oneself up to love when things are at their most precarious is an act of true bravery and the most important weapon we have in such fucked up times. Sonically speaking, the Canadian trio pair a looped strummed acoustic guitar line, boom bap beats, twinkling synths and plaintive vocals — and in some way, the song reminds me quite a bit of Jose Gonzalez and his work with Junip but with a desperate and forceful urgency.

 

 

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve written about San Francisco, CA and Big Sur, CA-based singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Jenny Gillespie. Gillespie can trace her musical career to he childhood — during drives to and from the Springfield, IL area, where she was born and raised, she spent quite a bit of time harmonizing in the backseat with her sister, who is a gifted and renowned pianist. When the San Francisco and Big Sur-based singer/songwriter was 13, she picked up her mother’s Martin guitar and began putting the poems she had been writing to her own original music. Gillespie’s life was further changed when a local record store clerk gave her album from three of the 90s most renowned singer/songwriters Tori AmosSarah McLachlan and Shawn Colvin — all of whom quickly became major influences on Gillespie’s music and songwriting.

After stints living in Virginia, Paris and Texas, Gillespie relocated to Chicago, where she self-produced and then released her sophomore album, Light Year, a folk and alt-country album that received quite a bit of praise. And as a result the attention Light Year received, Gillespie met Darwin Smith, an Austin, TX-based multi-instrumentalist, with whom she wrote her third full-length effort, Kindred, a sparse, experimental, electronica-based effort recorded in an old house in Wilmette, IL with contributions from Steve Moore, who has worked with Tift Merritt and Laura Veirs and Dony Wynn, who has worked with the legendary Robert Plant.

Inspired by a volunteer trip to Kenya that led her to an African fingerpicking class at the Old Town School of Folk Music and studying for an MFA in Poetry at North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College, Gillespie found her sound and songwriting approach expanding and becoming more refined. By the fall of 2011, she traveled to NYC to record the EP Belita with Shazard Ismaily, a multi-instrumentalist who has worked with Lou ReedBonnie Prince Billy, and St. Vincent. Interestingly, that effort possesses elements of pop, folk music, African and Asian rhythms and tones.

Featuring contributions from Emmett Kelly (Bonnie Prince Billy) on guitar and Joe Adamik (CalifoneIron and Wine) on drums, her last full-length effort Chamma was released to critical praise, including landing on Billboard Magazines Top 25 Albums of 2014 List. Naturally, that has seen Gillespie’s profile grow nationally — and continuing on that buzz, the singer/songwriter is set to release Chamma‘s follow-up, Cure for Dreaming through Narooma Records at the end of the month.  Recorded over the past couple of months and featuring contributions from Paul Bryan (Aimee Mann), drummer Jay Bellerose (Robert Plant and Allison Krauss’ Raising Sand), guitarist Chris Bruce (Meshell Ndgeocello), guitarist Gerry Leonard (David Bowie), and pedal steel player Greg Leisz (Lucinda WilliamsBon Iver), the album  reportedly possesses elements of folk, progressive jazz, and 60s and 70s AM pop.

The album’s first single “No Stone” paired Gillespie’s unhurried and husky vocals with a spacious and subtly jazz-like arrangement of keys, guitar, bass, gently buzzing electronics and hushed drumming in a song that felt as intimate as a lover whispering sweet nothings in your ear. And at the song’s core was a conversational lyricism that possessed a novelist’s attention to detail — both physical and psychological — as you can picture a woman who hides her face by the ocean, cherry blossoms in bloom, and someone peering through a keyhole to see a depressed woman struggling to just start her day. And as a result the song’s narrator feels like a fully-fleshed out person, desperately struggling to push forward.
The album’s second and latest single “Part Potawatomi” pairs Gillespie’s unhurried and ethereal vocals with a hummable melody, a deceptively simple arrangement of guitar, drums, bass and ambient electronics that sonically bears a resemblance to Junip — and their frontman, Jose Gonzalez‘s solo work.  And much like much like the album’s first single “No Stone,” “Part Potawatomi” reveals a Gillespie’s remarkable attention to detail, as the song frankly discusses the slow and seemingly inevitable dissolution of a romantic relationship metaphorically described as a storm brewing over the shore. The song’s narrator seems to evoke the sensation of being trapped in a relationship that’s going nowhere out of familial and moral obligation — and as a result, the song possesses a subtle yet increasing feeling of frustration and regret, while being one of the more beautiful songs I’ve heard in the past 10 days.