Tag: Paris

New Video: Yumi Zouma Releases a Funky, Dance Floor Friendly, 80s Synth Pop Inspired Jam

Over the past few years, I’ve written quite a bit about the internationally renowned synth pop act Yumi Zouma, and as you may recall the act, which is comprised of Christchurch, New Zealand-born Christie Simpson, Sam Perry, Charlie Ryder and Josh Burgess have been split across various locations across the globe — primarily New York, Paris and Christchurch — after the 2011 earthquake that ravaged both their hometown and the region at large. Primarily writing and recorded by email, the band wasn’t initially meant to be a live band; however, they’ve received attention across the blogosphere and elsewhere for a breezy yet bittersweet, 80s synth pop-inspired sound centered around Christie Simpson’s ethereal vocals. Since the release of their Turntable Kitchen released cover of Oasis’ 1995 full-length effort, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, the renowned synth pop act has been busily writing and recording an EP trilogy — with the last part of the trilogy EP III slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Cascine Records.

“In Camera,” EP III’s first single was a swooning bit of synth pop with a soaring hook that sonically nodded a bit at  A Flock of Seagulls‘ “I Ran (So Far Away)“, complete with reverb fed instrumentation, a cinematic vibe and a clean, super more production sheen — and while seemingly effortlessly breezy, the song is underpinned by a deliberate and very careful attention to craft, as the members of the band refine each song until it’s absolutely perfect.  “Crush (It’s Late, Just Stay)” EP III’s latest single is centered around thumping beats, a shuffling guitar line, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and a sultry and sinuous bass line and while being a hook-driven, dance floor friendly song, it manages to sound as though it were released in 1983 or so, as it recalls Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” and others. 

Interestingly, as the band’s Josh Burgess explains in press notes, “This song began life as an experiment recording with a fellow Kiwi (Liam Finn) at his studio in 2015. The studio was aptly named The End as it was situated at the very end of Greenpoint Avenue overlooking Transmitter Park which was arguably one of the best views of Manhattan at the time. The End hosted a few different studios, including Jacob Portrait’s (Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Blouse) who mixed ‘In Camera’ as well as rehearsal spaces (I once walked in on The Congo’s rehearsing!). We smoked on the roof and had a bash at making a song together, which is what we sampled in the verses of ‘Crush’. The working title was ‘First Class Lounge’ because it sounded like some kind of musak that would be playing as background before rich people boarded a Concord. 

Unfortunately, The End had a sad finale courtesy of a fire that ripped through the building. Thankfully no one was hurt, but a lot of the gear was wrecked. My girlfriend lives a couple blocks away and over morning coffees we’ll often stroll through Transmitter looking up at the shell of the studio. Like most things in New York it’s relegated to a memory now, but a lot of great music came out of that building!”

The accompanying video features the classically-inspired artwork of Aiden Koch, set among bold and bright colors, animated by Joseph Brennan — and interestingly, while reminding me of the introductory sequence of an 80s rom com, it manages to evoke the flirtatious nature of the song. 

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Born Elizabeth Lowell Boland, Lowell is Calgary, Alberta, Canada-born singer/songwriter and up-and-coming pop artist, who spent time living in Carcross, Yukon Territories, near a mountain that once offered passage to gold hunters — and was also once a preying haven for wolves; the up-and-coming pop artist has also spent time living in Massachusetts, Ottawa, Georgia and Calgary, before splitting her time between Toronto and London, UK.

Early within her career, she won the attention of Martin Terefe, who has worked with KT Tunstall, James Blunt and Jason Mraz; Sacha Skarbek, who has worked with Lana Del Rey, Adele and Miley Cyrus; James Bryan, who has worked with Nelly Furtado and The Philosopher Kings; and Paul Herman, who has worked with Dido.  The quartet of songwriters and producers invited them to London’s Kensaltown Studios to write with them; however, what they all worked on wasn’t in sync with Lowell’s vision, so they scrapped what they had and started over again with the end result being her I Killed Sara V. EP and her full-length debut, We Loved Her Dearly, which was released on renowned indie label Arts & Crafts Records. Both efforts received attention for songs, which openly focused on topics like sexual abuse, rape, abortion, women’s rights, the lack of LGBTQ rights, as well as our cultural ignorance about (and simultaneous) obsession with homosexuality.

Ultimately, Lowell’s first efforts were fueled by the need to empower her and her listeners to challenge gender conventions and inspire freedom from social limitations, rules and misogynists’ abuse of power, and to celebrate and uphold individuality — and while those are understandably heavy and urgent subjects, the up-and-coming pop artist pairs that with accessible, downright radio friendly melodies and upbeat vibes. Much like Fela Kuti and others, she’s used music as a weapon — suggesting as they did, you can challenge social norms and speak truth to power while dancing. Interestingly, Lowell remained friends with Terefe et. al. and it lead to her working with Terefe as a member of his band Apparatjik, and to her mini album If You Can Solve This Jumble. Following that, it lead to four days of writing and recording with A-ha’s Magne Furuholmen, Coldplay‘s Guy Berryman, Mew‘s Jonas Bjerre and Terefe, who she joined onstage at 2012’s Roskilde Festival.

After the release of her full-length debut, Lowell took up residency in her own studio space, where she began writing for other artists, including Icona Pop, Dragonette, Netsky, Grandtheft and Bulow, and where she also spent time working at writing, producing and practicing her craft, as well as guitar and piano (which she is classically trained), so that she could be ready for a self-financed UK tour, where she was backed by a drummer. Since then, she’s played showcases at Canadian Music Week, CMJ, Sled Island, and performed at David Lynch’s Club Silencio in Paris, headlined in Oslo and Copenhagen, opened for Chad Valley in Berlin, Padova and London; and opened for The Raveonettes in Barcelona, Bilbao and Madrid.

Lowell’s sophomore effort Lone Wolf was recently released on Friday, and the album’s material focus on the power an influence of youth — particular as a teenager, but from a more mature viewpoint; from someone, looking back on their own youth as an adult, who isn’t too far removed from it. And as a result, the album thematically focuses on self-discovery while retaining the upbeat, anthemic and dance floor friendly production that has won her attention.  In fact, the album’s first single “War Face” is an infectious and soulful track centered around an arrangement featuring bluesy guitar, handclaps, a propulsive battle rhythm and an infectious shout worthy hook that brings to mind The Black Keys and Alice Merton, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Soul Act Million Miles Returns with Visuals for Bittersweet and Swooning New Single

Paris-born, London-based singer/songwriter Sophie Baudry is the creative mastermind behind the up-and-coming soul project, Million Miles, and interestingly enough the project is the culmination of a life-long love affair with soul music. After studying at Boston’s renowned Berklee College and a stint working as a recording engineer and studio musician in New York, Baudry returned to London and felt an irresistible pull to create her own music inspired by likes of Ray Charles and Bill Withers.  

On an inspired whim, Baudry wound up in Nashville, TN. The French-born, British-based singer/songwriter spent her first few days in Nashville wandering, exploring and reaching out to strangers as though she were saying, “I’m new here and I’m a songwriter and i’m looking for people to collaborate with.” Baudry had chance meetings with local songwriters and producers Robin Eaton and Paul Eberson, and within an hour or so, they began writing material together. 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you may recall that Baudry’s Million Miles debut, Berry Hill EP was recorded over the course of a year during multiple sessions at Robin Eaton’s Berry Hill home studio. And the effort reportedly focuses on the journeys taken and lessons learned in the singer/songwriter’s life; in fact, EP single “Can’t Get Around A Broken Heart” revealed that Baudry specialized in an easy-going, effortless singer/songwriter/balladeer-based soul reminiscent of  Bill Withers and Sandra Rhodes’ sadly under-appreciated and seemingly forgotten debut Where’s Your Love Been. And much like Withers and Rhodes, Baudry revealed a rare ability to express joy and heartache within a turn of a phrase, just underneath the Sunday afternoon vibes.
The EP’s latest single “Love Like Yours” will further cement Baudry’s growing reputation for crafting easy-going yet deliberately crafted soul that while influenced by Bill Withers also manages to nod at early Erykah Badu and Jill Scott; however, whereas the previous single focused on crushing heartache, the EP’s latest single is the antithesis — or perhaps even the begging of the songwriter’s story, as the song’s narrator expresses joy and relief over finding — finally! — that profound love she’s been looking for. Of course, deep down, we all know the perverse irony in these sort of love songs — that love, like everything else isn’t forever, and that it can be as disappointing and frustrating. And yet, what would our lives be without that constant search, without those impermanent yet so important moments of joy? 

As Baudry explains of the video treatment, “We shot this video at home on a rainy day. I filmed footage on a trip to LA and loved projecting it on the wall at home when I was writing or recording, it’s really quite inspiring. The song has always been a favourite of mine as lyrically its quite personal and really reminiscent of a specific time in my life, so I wanted to keep that feeling throughout the video, keeping everything really intimate and what’s more intimate than home.”

 

Comprised of Paris-based DJs Guido Minisky and Hervé Carvalho, electronic music act and production duo Acid Arab have developed a reputation for a sound that meshes Western electronic music, namely house and acid house, with Arabic arrangements and vocals — and for increasing collaboration with scores of Parisian-based musicians from across both North Africa and the Middle East. And as a result of their crowd-pleasing, genre meshing approach, the duo have been a name for themselves by playing the European major festival and club circuit to support several critically applauded EPs released through French label Versatile Records. Interestingly, as the duo of Minisky and Carvalho increasingly began to collaborate with locally based musicians, the duo four the need to make each song tell a story, which takes place in a world without barriers and domination.

The duo’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Musique de France is slated for an October 20 release through Crammed Disc Records and the album finds the Parison electronic music act collaborating with world renowned artists including Algerian keyboard player Kenzi Bourra, Syrian musician Rizan Said, who’s known for his work with Omar SouleymanRachid Taha, raï fusion pioneer, Sofiane Saidi and gnawa musician/singer, Jawad El Garrouge — and a result, the French production and electronic music duo will not only further cement their burgeoning reputation for a globally-based genre mashing sound, it also finds them expanding upon it, as you’ll hear on “Buzq Blues,” the first single off the duo’s forthcoming album. The song has the duo crafting a slick production that features propulsive percussion, tons of kick snare, and skittering drum programming, cascading layers of synth stabs, gently buzzing synths, undulating electronics paired with gorgeous, Arabic instrumentation to craft a a trippy dance floor-friendly song that effortlessly bridges the incredibly modern with the incredibly ancient.

 

 

 

New Video: The Surreal 70s and 80s Found Footage-based Visuals for DBFC’s “Automatic”

Comprised of its frontmen Manchester, UK-born and Paris-based David Shaw and Paris-born and based Dombrance, along with Guilluame Rosel (percussion) and Victor Paillet (bass), the Paris-based electronic music collective DBFC emerged onto the French electronic music scene with the release […]

Comprised of its frontmen Manchester, UK-born and Paris-based David Shaw and Paris-born and based Dombrance, along with Guilluame Rosel (percussion) and Victor Paillet (bass), the Paris-based electronic music collective DBFC emerged onto the French electronic music scene with the release of several singles through renowned indie label Her Majesty’s Ship Records last year. Building on the attention they’ve already received the collective’s latest single “Automatic,” which was recently released through Different Recordings will further cement the act’s reputation for crafting slickly produced electronic music that’s indebted to French electronic music and to Kraftwerk as the French collective’s latest single has the act pairing cascading layers of shimmering and undulating synths with a driving, motorik groove and ethereally cooed vocals bubbling up and then floating over the mix in a song that sounds indebted to Kraftwerk’s “Trans Europe Express” and Primal Scream‘s “Autobahn 66” — but with a subtle cosmic glow around its edges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although they’ve been cloaked in a degree of mystery, Acid Arab is a Paris, France-based electronic music collective that has been receiving quite a bit of attention across the European Union and elsewhere for a sound that meshes Western electronic music, namely house and acid house, with Middle Eastern sounds and vocals; in fact, as a result of their crowd pleasing genre meshing sound, the collective has primarily made a name for themselves playing the European festival and club circuit over the past few years and for the release of several EPs through French label Versatile Records.

The collective’s much-anticipated full-length debut album is slated for an October release through Crammed Discs and the album’s first single “La Hafla” (which translates into English as “The Party”) features almost hip-hop-like vocals from Algerian vocalist Sofiane Saidi and pairs them with Middle Eastern instrumentation, wobbling and tumbling synths and enormous woofer rock beats that remind me quite a bit of the work of Omar Souleyman — but with a swaggering, club banging feel.

 

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays La Femme Return with Psychedelic, Egypt-Inspired Visuals for “Sphynx”

Comprised of founding members Marlon Magnée (keyboards), Sacha Got (guitar), Sam Lefevre (bass), Noé Delmas (drums) and Lucas Nunez, along with a rotating cast of vocalists including current lead vocalist Clémence Quélennec, lara Luciani, Jane Peynot and Marilou […]

 

If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past two or three years or so, you may recall that I wrote about Colchester, UK-based electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist Dominc Gentry. Originally starting his career with his solo writing and recording project Attaque, the British multi-instrumentalist and producer has had a rather interesting career trajectory — he initially wrote and produced hard techno singles released to critically praise through some of the world’s renowned electronic music labels including KitsuneBoys NoizeTurbo and others. However, with the release of his acclaimed full-length Only You — in particular, album single “Only You” — Gentry’s sound had gone through a decided change of sonic direction with his sound becoming breezily ethereal and atmospheric in a fashion that reminded me quite a bit of Octo Octa’s impressive Between Both Sides

Gentry spent the better part of 2015 touring to support Only You — playing Secret Garden Party and London’s renowned club KOKO among countless others; however, after last November’s terrorist attacks in Paris, Gentry felt it was inappropriate to continue with the Attaque moniker and decided it was time for a new direction. And so he starts off 2016 with his latest project Light Falls.

“Prism” the latest single from the British producer pairs shimmering and bubbling cascades of synths with distorted and chopped up vocal samples and stuttering drum programming in a hyper-modern, sleek and sinuous club banger that reminds me quite a bit of the aforementioned Octo Octa’s Between Both Sides and Snap!‘s “Rhythm Is A Dancer,” as the song possesses a swooning Romanticism.