Tag: Nick Murphy

Throughout the course of this site’s almost 10 year history — yes, almost 10! — I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering the New York-based electronic music duo and JOVM mainstays Beacon. Now, as you may recall, the duo, which is comprised of Thomas Mullarney III (vocals) and Jacob Gussett (production, keys, synths) have developed a reputation for a minimalist approach and sound that draws from R&B, house and electro pop paired with Mullarney’s achingly tender falsetto.

Beacon’s third album, 2018’s Gravity Pairs found the duo writing material that went off in a completely different direction from their previously released work. They embarked on open-ended writing sessions in which they adopted a more liner style of songwriting instead of thee loop and texture-driven method they had long used. And the initial demos they wrote were essentially built around piano chords and guitar phrases with vocal melodies, which they then edited into a number of iterations, which found them looking through each individual version from a multitude of angles and directions.

Naturally, the duo expanded some songs and pared others back. Much like the bending of light through a prism, the abstract, deeply patient, almost painterly creative process eventually turned the material they wrote into a space in which seemingly different colors, tones and textures — minimalist ballads, elaborate pop spirituals and driving dance tunes — can coexist simultaneously and at different speeds, spreading out like a sort of spectrum. And with each iteration, the duo discovered they could easily expand upon how they presented the material within a live setting: they could play the same material in a straightforward fashion — or they could play the same material in a different fashion that added or subtracted color and shading, depending on the circumstances, their moods and their desires. And while pushing the duo’s songwriting and sound in new adventurous, new directions their work has remained imbued with a vulnerable and aching yearning.

Since the release of Gravity Pairs, the duo have been extremely busy. Last year they went on a successful North American tour with Nick Murphy. They shared a series of stripped-back studio sessions — and they released a remix album featured edits by Elkka, Helios, and CRi. 

Interestingly, Beacon introduced covers into the Gravity Pairs writing process as a way of breaking out of melodic patterns while discovering new sonic spaces within others’ songwriting. The JOVM mainstays start off the new year with a run of live dates in Europe, which includes a January 21, 2020 stop at the Paradiso in Amsterdam — and their first ever studio recorded cover, a cover of the Pixies‘ “Wave of Mutilation.” Inspired by the slower tempo and phrasing of the UK Surf B-side, which showcased the original’s mutability, Beacon’s slow-burning piano-led meditation finds the duo amplifying the playfully morbid surreality of Black Francis‘ lyrics, said to be about the phenomenon of Japanese businessmen taking their own lives after their businesses fail in the 1980 while being hauntingly gorgeous.

“We wanted it to feel uncanny and have the recognition of the original unfold slowly for the listener rather than being obvious or immediate,” Beacon explains in press notes.

The JOVM mainstays will be embarking on a European tour through January. Check out the tour dates below.

Beacon Europe Tour 2020

01.17 Berlin, DE – Musik & Frieden
01.18 Hamburg, DE – Uebel & Gefährlich
01.19 Copenhagen, DK – Vega
01.21 Amsterdam, NL – Paradiso
01.22 Cologne, DE – Helios 37
01.23 Brussels, BE – La Machine
01.25 Warsaw, PL – Hydrozagadka
01.26 Prague, CZ – Cafe V Lese
01.28 London, UK – O2 Academy Islington
01.29 Paris, FR – Supersonic
01.30 Bucharest, RO – Club Control

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Live Footage: Acclaimed Russian Electro Pop Act D-Pulse Perform “Get Lost” at Moscow’s New Space

Initially formed in Izhevsk, Russia, when its members Anton Kochnev, Semyon Perevoshikov, Klim Suhanov, and Sam Konyakhin were teenagers, the acclaimed St. Petersburg, Russia-based electro pop act D-Pulse have largely been influenced by French and Scandinavian electro pop, and disco — namely, the likes of Daft Punk, Phoenix, Air and others but with their own unique take, as they’ve been known to experiment with combining live recording sessions, complete with analog synthesizers, guitars and machines with sampling, cutting and processing from their own material.  In fact, when the quartet moved to St. Petersburg, they found their disco-leaning sound out of place within a scene that has been largely dominated by sparse techno but within a relatively short period of time, their sound and approach set them apart; in fact, over the past fe years, the members of the St. Petersburg quartet have released material on Island, Tirk, OM, Kitsune and Ministry of Sound — and they recently signed to Nick Murphy’s Detail Co. Records.

Detail Co. and Downtown Records released D-Pulse’s sophomore effort Serpentine earlier this year, and adding to their growing internationally recognized profile, the quartet recently released a remix EP featuring remixes of album single “Get Lost” by acclaimed electronic music artists and producers Juan Maclean, Photay, Attic Chefs and Babak — but in the meantime, album single “Get Lost” is an incredibly sleek and slick single that features a disco era influenced bass line paired with shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a soaring, feel good hook and a tight groove within a song that finds the act nodding at funk, disco, psych pop and electronica simultaneously.  Interestingly, the song reveals a deliberate attention to craft while being ambitiously crowd pleasing in a “why not have a little bit of everything and make it funky while you’re at it?” fashion.

The live footage of the band performing “Get Lost” at Moscow’s The New Space features the band pairing their dreamy yet funky sounds with a vivid audio-visual display.

New Audio: Australia’s The Cactus Channel Returns with a Brooding and Psychedelic New Single

With the release of their first two albums, 2012’s Haptics and 2013’s Wooden Boy, along with four 45s and backing sessions for Mojo Juju and WILSN, the Melbourne, Australia-based funk/soul collective The Cactus Channel have become one of Australia’s best funk and soul acts; however, the band’s third full-length effort Stay A While, the band has gone through a decided change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, partially influenced (and represented) by collaborations with acclaimed Melbourne-born, Brooklyn-based producer and singer/songwriter Nick Murphy, (formerly known as Chet Faker) and with Ball Park Music’s Sam Cromark. And as you’ll hear on Stay A While’s latest single “Leech,” the band’s Lewis Coleman take up vocal duties and while sonically the band retains some elements of the soul sound that has won them attention nationally and internationally, their sound has begun to lean more towards psychedelia to give their sound a hazy, dream-like vibe. 

Interestingly enough, the Australian funk outfit’s latest single lyrically and thematically evoke the internal and emotional wrestling one faces with the linger feelings and resentments in the aftermath of a breakup. As Lewis explains, “Leech” is about “those feelings that don’t go away, and pop up at unexpected times. When something shifts inside, but even your best friends wouldn’t know; your mood is instantly altered, even if you can walk back into the room and nobody notices it externally.” As a result, the song bristles with a bitter uncertainty — the sort that comes from the realization that one never gets over anything; that life generally pushes you forward and against your will. 

Live Footage: JOVM Mainstay Nick Murphy Performing “Fear Less” at Brixton Academy

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the Melbourne, Australia-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter and producer Nick Murphy, who for the first few years of his tremendous run of internationally acclaimed success went under the moniker Chet Faker. Last year, Murphy announced that after a lengthy run with Chet Faker, he felt it was time to retire it — and to record new material that reflected a change in sonic direction. Interestingly, with the atmospheric “Fear Less,” shimmering arpeggio synths, stuttering drumming, an insistent and throbbing bass line and an anthemic hook form a chilly and dramatic bed, with which Murphy’s plaintive and tender falsetto floats above. And whereas his previously released material drew heavily from soul and electro pop, “Fear Less” draws from the likes of Coldplay, U2 and others — while retaining the deeply personal and visceral songwriting that has won him international attention.

New Video: The Trippy and Hypnotic Sounds and Visuals of Bonobo’s “Kerala”

January 13, 2017 will mark the release of Green’s sixth Bonobo effort Migration, and his first full-length release in four years. Fittingly as Green mentions in press notes, the material thematically speaking focuses on migration. “It’’s interesting how one person will take an influence from one part of the world and move with that influence and effect another part of the world. Over time, the identities of places evolve,” the renowned British producer and electronic music artist remarks in press notes. With that in mind, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that the material possesses a transitory nature — some of the material, including the album’s first single “Kerala” was initially composed while on the road and then was road-tested and revised during Stateside DJ sets. And the album’s guest spots feature a number of artists, who have emigrated themselves, including Canadian-born, Los Angeles-based vocalist Michael Milosh of Los Angeles-based indie pop act Rhye, who recorded his vocal tracks while in Berlin, Germany; Australian-born, Brooklyn-based global, indie pop sensation Nick Murphy, formerly known as Chet Faker, who bonded with the British producer over a shared love of disco; Florida-born, Los Angeles-based Nicole Miglis of Los Angeles-based act Hundred Waters; and the New York-based Moroccan collective Innov Gnawa among others. Adding to the album’s transitory nature, Green also employs the use of found sounds that include a Hong Kong elevator, rainfall in Seattle, an Atlanta-based tumble dryer and a New Orleans fan boat engine.

As for “Kerala,” the single manages to further cement elements of Green’s signature sound while expanding upon it as shuffling and skittering 808s are paired with gorgeous yet arpeggiated and knotted strings. And the song builds up until Green drops a cut and layered vocal sample from Brandy that gives the composition a bit of soulfulness and swooning euphoria while possessing a shimmering and cinematic quality.

Directed by video collective Bison, who has produced videos for Jon Hopkins, London Grammar and Rosie Lowe and starring Gemma Arterton, the video compliments the shuffling and trippy nature of the song by creating slowly staggered looped effects in which Arterton is haunted by both terrors unseen by everyone else around her — until the camera pulls out to see an unidentified flying object hovering at the horizon.