Tag: Ouri

New Video: Tess Roby Returns with Ambient and Nostalgia-inducing “Path”

Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Montreal-based singer/songwriter and producer Tess Roby. Roby is a classically trained vocalist and self-taught synth player, who has developed and honed an exploratory sound and approach that blurs the lines between pop, ambient electronica and alternative folk with a decided emphasis on voice as its own instrument.

The Montreal-based artist’s sophomore album Ideas of Space is slated for an April 22, 2022 release through her own label SSURROUNDSS. The album reportedly sees Roby moving towards full artistic independence with the Montreal-based artist acting as songwriter, producer, musician, video director and art director throughout the entire creative process.

Ideas of Space features guest spots from BRAIDS‘ Austin Tufts, Joseph Shabason and Ouri, who contribute drums, woodwinds and cello respectively, adding intricate textures to material centered around fuller-bodied production and expansive song structures. The album’s songs shift effortlessly from jubilant highs to contemplative lows, evoking the concepts of duality, which run throughout the album’s material. 

So far I’ve written about two album singles:

  • The mesmerizing,  Kate Bush and Flourish//Perish era BRAIDS-like album title track “Ideas of Space,” which featured glistening and looping synth arpeggios, dramatic drumming and Roby’s achingly plaintive vocals. “‘Ideas of Space’ signals the beginning of a new chapter. This song is hypnotic and sinuous, and sonically possesses a certain power and urgency,” Roby says in press notes. “When I listen to it I imagine vast landscapes, a climb, a journey. Two distinct voices speak to each other; one lost, questioning, and the other guiding the way. I wanted to visually represent those voices and the journey I was on while making this album; one of self-discovery, hardship, adventure and in the end, confidence and strength.” 
  • The mediative “Up 2 Me,” which featured skittering beats programmed by BRAIDS’ Austin Tufts paired with glistening synth arpeggios and Roby’s plaintive vocals. “The making of this song was very meditative. It was the first song I wrote following a situation that had taken a toll on my mental health, and had kept me out of the studio for a long time,” Roby explains in press notes. “The first iteration came in the summer of 2020, and it rested as an instrumental demo for a while. When I was close to finishing the album, I searched through all my recordings to find a final track – this one stood out to me. I wrote the vocal melody and arranged the song, then brought the instrumental to Austin Tufts along with a beat and asked him to program and expand on the idea. At this point we had been working together for a while and he was totally immersed in my sonic universe and knew the mood I was after.”

“Path,” Ideas of Space‘s third and latest single features an atmospheric production centered around gentle layers of ambient and glistening synth arpeggios, skittering tribal house-like beats paired with layers of Roby’s plaintive vocals. Thematically, the song focuses on time — but through the prism of an older, wizened version of yourself speaking to a younger, more innocent version of yourself.

The accompanying visual features 16mm footage shot back in 2019 by Hugo Bernier before the song was even conceived. We see a slightly younger Roby dancing and swaying and running during golden hour — and during what now seems like a simpler, more carefree time.

“The 16mm footage in this video was shot in 2019 before ‘Path’ was written. Hugo & I sat with that footage for a while, at times forgetting about it completely, but always coming back to its beauty and simplicity,” Roby says in press notes. “I had the footage in the studio with me while I was writing and it ended up inspiring parts of the song. I had never worked in that way before; video footage influencing songwriting – it was an interesting process, reversing the way in which I usually work with video. So much has changed since that footage was shot. It was only natural to pair it with footage of me now, in this very moment, speaking to myself then: ‘you’re looking down, I’m reaching out, if only I could see it like you do.’”

New Video: Montreal’s Tess Roby Shares an Intimate Visual for Dreamy and Meditative “Up 2 Me”

This week will be very busy: I’ll be attending and covering this year’s New Colossus Festival. So while they’ll be posts, I probably won’t be posting with the same regularity this week — but it’ll be worth it. But in the meantime, let’s get back to business around here:

Montreal-based singer/songwriter and producer Tess Roby is a classically trained vocalist and self-taught synth player, who has developed and honed an exploratory sound and approach that blur the lines between pop, ambient electronica and alternative folk with an emphasis on voice as an instrument. 

Roby’s sophomore album Ideas of Space is slated for an April 22, 2022 release through the Montreal-based artist’s own label SSURROUNDSS. The album reportedly sees Roby moving towards full artistic independence with the Montreal-based artist acting as songwriter, producer, musician, video director and art director. 

Ideas of Space features guest spots from BRAIDS‘ Austin Tufts, Joseph Shabason and Ouri, who contribute drums, woodwinds and cello respectively, adding intricate textures to material centered around fuller-bodied production and expansive song structures. The album’s songs shift effortlessly from jubilant highs to contemplative lows, evoking the concepts of duality, which run throughout the album’s material. 

Last month, I wrote about the mesmerizing album title track, the Kate Bush and Flourish//Perish era BRAIDS-like “Ideas of Space,” which featured glistening and looping synth arpeggios, dramatic drumming and Roby’s achingly plaintive vocals. “‘Ideas of Space’ signals the beginning of a new chapter. This song is hypnotic and sinuous, and sonically possesses a certain power and urgency,” Roby says in press notes. “When I listen to it I imagine vast landscapes, a climb, a journey. Two distinct voices speak to each other; one lost, questioning, and the other guiding the way. I wanted to visually represent those voices and the journey I was on while making this album; one of self-discovery, hardship, adventure and in the end, confidence and strength.” 

Ideas of Space‘s second and latest single “Up 2 Me” continues a run of mesmerizing and dreamy material, centered around glistening synth arpeggios, propulsive and skittering beats programmed by BRAIDS’ Austin Tufts paired with Roby’s plaintive vocals.

The accompanying visual for “Up 2 Me” was shot on grainy VHS and is an interview look into Roby’s creative process (to some degree) as we see a black-clad Roby in the studio playing the song, thinking and dancing along to music, as well as the Canadian artist in a snow covered field gently swaying.

“The making of this song was very meditative. It was the first song I wrote following a situation that had taken a toll on my mental health, and had kept me out of the studio for a long time,” Roby explains in press notes. “The first iteration came in the summer of 2020, and it rested as an instrumental demo for a while. When I was close to finishing the album, I searched through all my recordings to find a final track – this one stood out to me. I wrote the vocal melody and arranged the song, then brought the instrumental to Austin Tufts along with a beat and asked him to program and expand on the idea. At this point we had been working together for a while and he was totally immersed in my sonic universe and knew the mood I was after. When I first heard the track with the drums, it was early Spring in April 2021. Montreal had this ridiculous 8pm curfew– it was 7:30pm or so and I left my apartment so I could listen outside. The sun was setting, the streets were empty, and I listened to the track on repeat until I had to run home.” 

Hologramme · Préface (Printemps) – Hologramme

Clément Leduc is a Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, songwriter and electronic music artist, who initially made a name for himself by collaborating with fellow Canadian artists Geoffroy, La Bronze and Dead Obies.  Leduc stepped out from behind the dials and knobs and into the spotlight as a solo artist with his solo recording project Hologramme. Leduc’s self-produced, 2015 Hologramme debut was released to critical applause, eventually landing on ICI Musique‘s Best Albums list an being named GAMIQ’s Best Electronic Album of the Year.

Leduc spent  2018 in Berlin, where he soaked up new influences and new sounds that wound up deeply influencing his critically applauded,  sophomore album last year’s Felicity, an effort that saw him collaborating with Les praises’ and Hubert Lenoir‘s Felix Petit, Gustafson’s Adrien Bletton, Senegalese guitarist Assane Seck, and Laurence-Anne‘s Laurent Saint Pierre to create a dream-like and sensual soundscape that drew from the  music of South Africa and South America.

The Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer and songwriter has had an enormous year so far: he released a five song remix EP Felicity tracks with remixes by Fakear, Robert Robert, Ouri and others, earlier this month — and he released his first bit of new material since the release of Felicity with “Alaska,” a slow-burning and atmospheric track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, bubbling electronics, shuffling and clattering beats and sultry vocal samples that’s both dance floor friendly and cinematic.

“Préface (Printemps),” the rising French Canadian producer’s second and latest single of 2020 continues a run of cinematic material with elements of deep house and techno  — but while being a less polished and urgent track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, sultry vocal samples within an expansive song structure featuring atmospheric and dreamy sections. Much like its predecessor, the track will bring comparisons to Bonobo and Octo Octa — but while balancing earnestness with ambition.

 

 

New Video: Forever Releases DIY Visuals for Bittersweet and Triumphant New Single

Born on a remote Canadian island, June Moon is a poet, provocateur and pop artist, known as Forever. Moon started the Forever project around 2013. “I was going through a very dark time because my father had passed away, and I actually quit making music, quit performing, quit writing — I quit everything. Then I met Michael Brock [Mind Bath], and he asked me to open for him at one of his shows. I’ll never forget that moment — he was texting me about it, and I was at a library and an angel whispered in my ear and told me to say say, and that my new name was ‘Forever.’ Two weeks later, I played my first Forever show. ”

So after spending a nomadic decade of traveling, Moon relocated to Montreal to pursue a music career and shape her recording persona of Forever. With the help of Brock and her friend Patrick Holland (Project Pablo), she wrote and released her 2016 self-titled debut, an effort that was a mix of pop and downtempo influences paired with her effortless and ethereal vocals. 

Reeling from the breakup of a lengthy and complicated relationship, Moon went to work, hoping to find healing from songwriting. Working with her frequent collaborators Brock and Holland, she also turned to fellow Montreal artists Ouri,Cecile Believe, formerly known as Mozart’s Sister and TOPS’ David Carriere on the material that would eventually comprise her forthcoming EP Close to the Flame.“Ouri was so influential in her ability to facilitate the development of my sound on this EP,” Moon says in press notes. “Patrick helped me alchemize my heartache by turning my sad songs into dance tracks. David was a special collaboration for me because I really look up to him and Jane [from TOPS] as songwriters.”

Slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Cascine Records, the six song EP reportedly captures the beauty and ugliness of love and loss, centered around a dysfunctional and troubled relationship. “I was in a relationship that was killing me, and I had to plan an escape to save my life,” Moon explains in press notes. “The record is haunted by a ghost. I sing about her murder on the first track ‘Blur,’ but then she turns into a angel on the last song ‘Adonis.’ I channeled her one night when I was writing because I was so scared to talk about what happened to me; I didn’t know how to tell my story. She came to me and told me to use her story as a channel for my own pain. This release is dedicated to her.” 

The EP’s first single is the propulsive, 90s house-inspired “Make It Happen.” Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats, Moon’s plaintive and ethereal vocals and a guest verse from Just John, the song’s narrator expresses relief and joy over the end of a relationship that has held her back personally and emotionally. The song’s narrator releases that it’s time to move forward and better herself — and a result, it’s triumphant but subtly bittersweet. After all, life’s a series of transitions from one situation, one circumstance to another, until the end. 

Directed and edited by Moon, the recently released video is set in a small cafe. Although there’s a brief cameo by Just John, the video primarily focuses on its protagonist and coworkers as they get their cafe ready for a small gathering of friends for coffee and cake before ending with a passionate reunion.