Tag: Majical Cloudz

New Video: Majical Cloudz Former Frontman Devon Welsh Releases a Meditative and Brooding Visuals for “By the Daylight”

Devon Welsh is a Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist, who released two critically acclaimed full-length albums as the frontman of Majical Cloudz, an electronic duo whose brooding and intense music combined elements of poetry, hardcore, folk and minimalist electronica among others. The project ended in 2016 largely because its members felt it had fulfilled its intentions.”The band has come to a very natural conclusion, as it has communicated everything it was meant to and reached more people than we would have ever imagined,” Welsh said at the time.

Following the breakup of Majical Cloudz, Welsh stepped away from music for a year. “I wrote songs but didn’t think about their purpose or anything at all to do with the music industry or if I would be releasing music in the future,” he said about that time. “I just tried to grow as a person and do some learning.” Interestingly, the songs he wrote during that period would eventually comprise much of the material on his solo, full-length debut, Dream Songs. Slated for an August 24, 2018 release through You Are Accepted Records, the album finds Welsh stepping out and away from the strict aesthetic he had worked in with Majical Cloudz but while continuing and expanding upon some of the core themes an ideas which that project was best known for — and as a result, the material thematically is a series of reflections on time and its passing, separation, the complexities of love, free will, life’s endless cycles and so on.

Produced and recorded by BRAIDS’ Austin Tufts with the intention of making an album that maintained the simplicity and minimalism of Welsh’s previous work while exploring the possibilities of more traditional arrangements — guitar, piano, strings — the album presents the Montreal-based singer/songwriter and artist’s songs in a more organic context. As the story goes, Tufts and Welsh essentially rebuilt the recordings from the ground up, working out kinks in demos, imagining different arrangements and re-recorded everything. The simple string arrangements Devon’s demos possessed were transformed and became the sonic and emotional center of the entire album. “I love songs with strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “so making recordings with beautiful string arrangements is a dream come true.

Dream Songs’ first single “By The Daylight” is chronologically one of the oldest songs on the album — and as Welsh explains, it began with a very different arrangement than the recorded version. “It was originally made mostly with synthesizers and had saxophone on it, and then when Austin and I started re-recording the demos it got transformed into something built almost entirely around strings,” Welsh says in press notes, “the new arrangement opened a lot of mental possibilities for what the record as a whole could be.” Thematically, the song has a fatalistic view of life — that there are larger, deterministic forces at play in our lives, and as a result, we’re frequently caught up and swept away in a tide that we don’t (and can’t) really understand. It’s a mature and meditative song with a deep and aching yearning at its core. 

Directed by Christopher Honeywell, the recently released video features footage of nature,  some shot on old, Super 8 film — and in a subtle way, the video conveys passing of time and the sense of larger, natural forces at play.

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With the the release of their debut album Freedom last year, the Copenhagen, Denmark-based electro pop duo Wangel, comprised of Peter Wangel (vocals) and  Kasper Ejlerskov Leonhardt (production) received attention across Denmark, the European Union and elsewhere for a sound that paired Leonhardt’s moody and atmospheric production with Wangel’s dramatic monotone, and in some way, the Danish electro pop duo’s sound reminds me quite a bit of Majical Cloudz and Beach House. Unsurprisingly, the duo’s sophomore effort Reasons will further cement the duo’s burgeoning reputation for crafting moody and atmospheric pop rooted around Wangel’s deeply personal songwriting: in this case, the album’s material draws from the work renowned, multi-award winning Norwegian autobiographical novelist Karl Ove Knausgard and his own personal experience — and although the album reportedly finds the duo subtly expanding upon the sound that first won them attention, as the album features songs that draw from hip-hop and contemporary pop; however, album track “Reason” pairs Wangel’s sonorous baritone vocals singing lyrics that reveal a novelist’s attention to psychological detail, as it captures the narrator’s innermost thoughts and observations in a fully-fleshed out fashion. Leonhardt pairs that with a moody and atmospheric production consisting of slowly cascading synths, swirling electronics and metronomic-like drum programming and as a result, it gives the song a hauntingly uneasy vibe underneath the song’s painterly quality.

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of her 2014 full-length debut, Rooms With Walls and Windows, the currently New York-based singer/songwriter Julie Byrne received attention nationally for the sort of thoughtful and personal songwriting and lyricism that nodded at the work of Joni Mitchell and others. And although it has taken two years to write and record, Byrne’s highly-anticipated and soon-to-be released full-length sophomore effort Not Even Happiness will likely further her burgeoning reputation for thoughtful  and personal songwriting, and in the case of the new album, the material draws from both the commonplace aspects of life and a series of recollections of her nomadic travels. Songs on the album talk about bustling roadside diners, staring at the stars over the desert, the wildflowers of the California coast, the mysteries and frustrations of love  and so on. But interestingly enough, Byrne’s new album has her subtly expanding upon her sound, pairing unusual guitar tunings and fingerpicked melodies with additional, atmospheric instrumentation and electronics; in fact, as you’ll hear on the hauntingly beautiful and hushed single “I Live Now As a Singer,” the material can nod more towards the hushed and dramatic electro pop of Majical Cloudz as Byrne’s gorgeous and tender vocals are paired with undulating and atmospheric electronics. “Follow My Voice” pairs gently fingerpicked guitar, gently atmospheric electronics and strings with Byrne’s haunting vocals. I may not frequently write about traditional singer/songwriters here; but by far Bryne is a beguiling and lovely presence, who possesses an uncanny ability to write songs that have a gentle and thoughtful heart.

You can catch Byrne live as she’ll be performing two of what I hope will be more live sets. Check out tour dates below.

 

TOUR DATES: