Tag: Portishead

Live Footage: Acclaimed and Up-and-Coming Austrian Artist Inner Tongue Performs “2 Seconds”

Inner Tongue is the (mostly) solo recording project of a rather mysterious Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer and musician, who grew upon an intensely musical home — his father is a saxophonist, who constantly wrote songs, so musical instruments were always lying around and his parents frequently shared their favorite albums with him; in fact, Inner Tongue formed his first band when he was 6. “We started out using one of my dad’s synths to play a pre-programmed beat,” he recalls. “I’d sing something that sounded to us like English.” Unsurprisingly, the Austrian artist, who cites Bjork, Moby, Portishead, Micheal Jackson, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Pet Shop Boys, Aphex Twin, and The Cure’s The Cure In Orange as influences — although those influences don’t quite correspond to his own sound and songwriting approach continued playing and writing music, playing in a small number of bands, including one that had briefly worked with Duran Duran and David Bowie’s producer before getting dropped by their label. 

Interestingly, with the release of some of his earliest solo work, the Austrian artist quickly garnered comparisons to James Blake, Childish Gambino, Frank Ocean, Death Cab for Cutie, Sohn, and Chet Faker/Nick Murphy. His quietly released yet critically applauded 2015 debut EP Tz Ka allowed him to open for the likes of Ghostpoet, Everything Everything and others. The Vienna, Austria-based singer/songwriter, composer, and musician’s full-length debut Favours was released earlier this year, and interestingly, the album’s overall sound and thematic concern is inspired by a deeply personal yet remarkable story. Back in 2013, Inner Tongue was diagnosed with a rare vocal-cord disorder that was so severe that only a handful of specialists throughout the entire world were capable of treating it; but eventually his condition required surgery, which left him, for a time unable to talk. Understandably, the months that followed the surgery were emotionally and physically shattering but he began composing music again.  At the time, singing was out of the question and as the Austrian singer/songwriter, composer and musician says in press notes, “I decided to modify my musical focus temporarily by writing songs which could produce a melodic tension without vocals, but which featured the traits of forward-looking pop music. It was as if someone had pressed a resent button on the musical identity I had of myself.” Adds Inner Tongue, “I used to layer many sounds and melodies before, and felt like I hid the core of any idea behind that technique.”

Some of the Austrian artist’s full-length debut was made at home with most recorded in a friend’s stood in Vienna. Foals’ John Catlin, who collaborated with him on his 2015 debut EP assisted once again although his involvement varied throughout; however, as Inner Tongue says, Catlin “was continually involved as a producer and friend,” who also mixed the album with some further overdubbing where necessary. As the Austrian artist readily admits, the entire experience of writing and recording his full-length debut provoked ” “a lot of soul searching, trying to become a better mixing engineer and producer. I’m somewhat controlling when it comes to my music, and I need to get the little details right.”

However, unlike his debut EP, Favours was more of a collaborative effort, as he shared his ideas with a collective of very dear and close friends. “All contributions are built on a vision I initially had and then gain shape during the process,” Inner Thought says. His live backing band contributed much of the music with his father playing sax on “New York.” The live version of “2 Seconds,” Favours’ latest single features a sparse yet soulful arrangement centered around twinkling Rhodes piano keys and Inner Thought’s achingly tender vocals, which manage to express a plaintive, vulnerable need. It’s a delicate, sensitive yet incredibly sexy song that balances earnest emotion with deliberate attention to craft. 

Advertisements

New Video: The Gorgeously Cinematic Visuals for Uma E. Fernqvist’s Lush and Textured “For U”

Best known as one of the world’s most acclaimed professional dancers for more than 20 years, the Swedish-born dancer (and singer/songwriter) Uma E. Fernqvist has taken her love of movement and music to inspire her debut EP Reverse. Interestingly, the material on the recently released EP is largely inspired by Lamb, Massive Attack, and Portishead — and as you’ll hear on the hauntingly mesmerizing and lushly textured single “For U,” Fernqvist’s tender vocals ethereally float over a minimalist yet cinematic production consisting of pulsating and thumping beats, shimmering synths and atmospheric electronics; but under the chilly surface, the song trembles with a vulnerable, human need.

Directed by Joakim Envik Karlsson and Peter Svenzson and produced by  Nåck Creative, the recently released, cinematic video for “For U,” features Fernqvist and a diverse cast of dancers dancing in inky and murky shadows and brilliant sunlight, seemingly symbolizing a deeply human struggle. 

Perhaps best known as one of the world’s most acclaimed professional dancers for more than 20 years, the Swedish-born dancer Uma E. Fernqvist has taken her love of movement and music to inspire her debut EP Reverse. Interestingly, the material on the recently released Reverse EP is largely inspired by the 90s trip hop of Lamb, Massive Attack, and Portishead — and as you’ll hear on the hauntingly mesmerizing and lushly textured single “For U,” Fernqvist’s tender vocals ethereally float over a minimalist yet cinematic production consisting of pulsating and thumping beats, shimmering synths and atmospheric electronics; but under the chilly surface, the song trembles with a vulnerable, human need.

 

 

Comprised of  Amber Lane-Mcivor, Jake Blythe and Oliver Lamb, the Manchester, UK-based electro pop trio Ambiere have received attention from the blogosphere and BBC Introducing over the past year for a sound that’s drawn comparisons to the likes of Portishead and The xx among others. Building upon a breakthrough year and a growing profile, the Manchester-based electro pop act’s latest single “I See Faces” finds the act pairing strummed, electric guitar and Lane-Mcivor’s gorgeous and soulful vocals with a lush and effortlessly slick production consisting of arpeggiated and shimmering synths, propulsive yet stuttering beats and a soaring hook. And while their latest single manages to simultaneously be both radio and club friendly, their sound — to my ears at least — reminds me of Ways We Separate and Escapements-era Beacon, as the British trio manages to evoke similar, lingering ghosts.

 

 

New Video: The Psychedelic Sounds and Visuals of Swiss-born, Berlin-based Pop Artist Evelinn Trouble

Evelinn Trouble is a Swiss-born and currently Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and pop artist, who over the course of four critically applauded albums released in her homeland, has developed a reputation for being a musical chameleon with every effort finding the Swiss-born, German-based artist adopting a different sound, aesthetic and alter ego; in fact, her debut was an album of lo-fi pop, her sophomore effort was an abrasive take on industrial doom rock, her third album was an all analog, live recording that mixed Motown aesthetics with Trouble’s decidedly eerie songwriting and she then followed that up with an EP featuring covers of old evergreens and standards.

Trouble’s latest single “Sunset Everytime” is a slow-burning pop song which pairs a languid yet aching vocal performance with a shimmering arrangement featuring pedal effected shoegazer rock-like guitars, softly padded drumming, a sinuous bass line, stuttering beats and a lush yet moody string section that nods at the cinematic, psych pop of Scott Walker (in particular, “It’s Raining Today” off the lush Scott 3), Amy Winehouse, and Portishead;  but while being an ode to all things being finite; in fact, interestingly enough, the song was written during a period of several different transitions and is intended as a series of goodbyes — to her former home in London, where she lived until relocating to Berlin last year, to her former band, whom she’s letting go in order to self-produce what she describes will be a psychedelic, trap pop album, to old habits, friends and lovers, and to Jimmy Boeing, the tour bus that her and her band used while on tour throughout the past 6 years. 

Directed by Trouble, the video features Trouble, her bandmates and the video’s protagonist and faithful companion Jimmy Boeing as the van goes on one last glorious and magical trip (that interestingly enough, nods at The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine) before its fateful trip to the junkyard. 

 

Livia Blanc is a French-born, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter, who specializes in a subtly modern take on 60s-inspired, cinematic pop that mischievously nods at the likes of   Edith Piaf, Portishead and Melanie DeBlasio; in fact, the French-born, Brooklyn-based artist’s second and latest single, “Mr. Hyde,” which was produced and cowritten by The Chevin‘s Coyle Girelli and Andrew Horowitz, who has cowriting credits with Jidenna, Verite and John Legend, finds Blanc cooing in a coquettish French over a breezy yet mischievously anachronistic featuring strummed ukulele, whistling, polyrhythmic beats and soaring synths. But despite the song’s ethereal quality, the song reportedly explores the inner duality of good and evil that we all have, reminding the listener that we’re all capable of good and evil at any particular moment. Fitting for the Halloween season, indeed!

 

 

New Audio: Exploded View Return with a Fatalistic Ode to the Environment

Initially spending the early part of her professional career as a political journalist, who split her time between Berlin and Bristol, UK, Annika Henderson, best known as Anika can trace the origins of her musical career to a particular moment —  when she was introduced to Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. As the story goes, at the time, Barrow was looking for a vocalist, who would be willing to work with his band Beak> for what he envisioned as a side project. Reportedly, when Barrow and Henderson first met, they immediately bonded over a mutual love of punk, dub and 60s girls group. And within a week of their meeting, Barrow, Henderson and the members of Beak> went into the studio to record the material which would eventually comprise Henderson’s 2010 self-titled full-length debut.

2013 saw the release of Henderson’s self-titled EP, a collection of covers and remixes that included one of my favorite songs off the set, Henderson’s cover of Chromatics’ “In the City,” which paired Henderson’s icy delivery with a Portishead and The Velvet Underground and Nico-inspired production. Last year, Geoff Barrow’s Invada Records, released an icily foreboding, dub-inspired cover of Nena’s “99 Red Balloons” by the mysterious Invada All Stars featuring Anika on vocals as part of the  Stop Trident National anti-nukes demonstration in London.

Since then, Henderson has been busy with her most current musical project, Exploded View is collaborative side project fronted by the renowned vocalist and featuring a group of Mexico City-based producers including Martin Thulin, known for his work with JOVM mainstays Crocodiles; Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo — and the project’s sound finds Henderson and company moving away from the krautrock-inspired sound of her solo work, and towards a seemingly fuzzily atmospheric and baroque-like psych pop.  After completing the material that would comprise the band’s self-titled debut album, the members of the band decided to return to the studio and record some more, with the result being the Summer Came Early EP. Comprised of some outtakes from the self-titled album, along with some new material, their follow-up EP reportedly finds the band crafting sons that carefully walk a tightrope between clarity and focus and a messy, free-flowing experimentalism that comes from improvisation.

Interestingly, EP title track “Summer Came Early” may arguably be one of the most delicate and bitterly wistful songs that the band has released to date — while thematically, the song is written as a post-permanent climate change ode to how the environment once was, with the caveat that no one questioned anything and no one did anything besides lazily sat down and gave up. And when the proverbial shit hit the fan, the only action that was left  was to point fingers at someone else. It’s a bit reminiscent of the famous T.S. Eliot poem isn’t it?

Directed by William Markarian-Martin is an eerily psychedelic vision of the hellish and permanent damage that humanity has done to the environment, and while wistful it possesses an eerie fatalism and acceptance.

 

Now, as you may recall, Keep Shelly in Athens is an internationally renowned electronic music production and artist duo that has released dreamy, mid tempo electro pop material through Forest Family Records, Transparent Records, Planet Mu Records, Cascine Records and Friends of Friends Records and others — and building upon a growing internationally recognized profile, the duo have played at some of the world’s largest festivals including — Coachella, Parklife Festival, The Great Escape Festival and Fun Fun Fun Festival. Adding to a steadily growing profile, the act has made official remixes for Tycho, Blood Diamonds and Steve Mason among others.

Philokalia, the Athens, Greece-based electronic music duo’s third full-length album is slated for a Friday, September 29, 2017 release through the duo’s own Athenian Aura Recordings, and the album finds the act featuring their newest vocalist, Aussie Award-winning novelist and poet Jessica Bell. Last month, I wrote about album single “Game Over (Daniel’s Theme),” a track that further cemented their reputation for crafting moody and cinematic, mid-tempeo electro pop as the song featured a production that consisted of shimmering synths, swirling, ambient electronics, a mournful string arrangement and stuttering drum programming paired with Bell’s viscerally earnest and heartfelt vocals — and interestingly enough, the song bristles with the self-flagellation and recrimination of someone who’s been betrayed or lied to in some deeply unforgivable fashion.

“Dark Light” Philokalia‘s latest single is a a bit of decided change in direction for the renowned electronic act as it featured Bell with self-assured and in-your-face vocals paired with what may arguably be their most industrial leaning production featuring wobbling and buzzing synths, industrial clang and clatter, stuttering drum programming and a rousing hook while retaining some elements of the dreamy, ethereal sound that has captured the attention of the blogosphere — namely with the song’s introduction and coda. But interestingly enough, the song possesses a dark, sultry seductive quality reminiscent of Version 2.0-era Garbage and Portishead.

Niko Antonucci is a Prague, Czech Republic-born, Los Angeles, CA-based multi-instrumentliast, singer/songwriter, producer and electronic music artist, who can trace the origins of her music career to when she received piano lessons when she was 6. As teenager, the Prague-born, Los Angeles-based artist began stealing her father’s guitar as a teen — and when she turned 15, she had cut her first demo and began singing and playing in a number of local bands for a number of years. But at a young age, Antonucci recognized that in order to get the exact sound she wanted, she would need to do it herself and she began producing herself.

With her solo, downtempo/industrial electronica project Resin, Antonucci’s sound is inspired by many of the influences that have been a part of her creative life including Nirvana, Portishead, Nine Inch Nails , The Cure, Chelsea Wolfe, as well as ambient electronica and classic music, while thematically focusing on spirituality, dark magic, being an outsider. and so on. And with “Hoarse,” the first single off her self-produced full-length effort Fidget, Antonucci pairs swirling electronics, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, stuttering drum programming and a soaring hook with her sultry yet achingly vulnerable vocals — and while clearly nodding at Nine Inch Nails and Portishead, the single also manages to remind me of Version 2.0-era Garbage.

 

New Video: The Brooding Visuals for Beliefs’ Buzzing and Abrasive, Industrial-Leaning Single “Comb”

Currently comprised of founding members and primary songwriters Jesse Crowe and Josh Korody, the Toronto, ON-based indie rock duo Beliefs have released two well-regarded full-length albums over the course of their seven years together — 2013’s self-titled debut and 2015’s Leaper. And although the band has gone through a series of lineup changes throughout their history, the band can trace its origins to a shared love of late 80s and early 90s noise pop and shoegaze. However, the recently constituted duo’s forthcoming, third full-length album Habitat, which is slated for a September 22, 2017 release through Hand Drawn Dracula Records. The album, which was engineered by the duo’s Josh Korody and mixed by Holy Fuck’s Graham Walsh features guest spots from Leon Tahenny, who’s played with Austra, Death From Above 1979 and Owen Pallet on drums and reportedly finds the band completely destructing, remaking and remodeling their self-conscious shoegazer-based sound to pursue an uncompromising new sound and vision, a a way for the band to find their own unique voice and sound. And interestingly enough, the period in which a band finds their own sound and voice may arguably be one of the most exciting and pivotal periods for any band. “I hope that’s the case,” says Crowe. “That’s always how I feel about bands, too – when you listen to something and it seems like it’s leading to a whole other element of a band, when you feel like you’re in the hallway about to open the door to a whole other space that this band is creating. And I hope that that’s what happens with us. We have no real plans at this point. We don’t want to be a ‘shoegaze’ band anymore.”

Interestingly, Habitat was the first time that the band’s founding duo had written an album together, and as Crowe continues, “we wrote 80% of it in a room in four days wth no previous material. It’s as spontaneous as can possibly be” — with material being derived from extensive jam sessions. Adding to the spontaneous nature of the material, the album was recorded and tracked in 16 days and was recorded with no grand design or plan at play; however, interestingly enough the material manages to be influenced by each individual member’s unique interests and obsessions while gravitating towards unfamiliar instruments and instrumentation. Lately, Korody has had an increasing interest in modular synths and avant industrial  sounds, partially influenced by his solo recording project Nailbiter while Crowe had been listening to a great deal of 90s hip-hop — in particular, Portishead‘s Third.  “It’s a dark record, for sure,”  Crowe says of their new album. “I feel like we were drawing a lot more from, like, me being a Goth teenager and Josh only wanting to listen to Aphex Twin and me only wanting to listen to Portishead’s Third for the last year and stuff like that. But also it was time to embody the elements of being a ‘wall-of-sound’ band with some space and the idea of being able to be quiet when you should be quiet, and you can’t do that with three guitars. There’s no space. It just becomes all push and no pull.”

Now, as you may recall I wrote about album single “1994,” a sleek and atmospheric Xiu Xiu, Antics-era Interpol-leaning single that was reportedly a sort of sequel  Leaper‘s “1992,” thanks in part to a song that eschews a traditional song structure; in fact, much like Antics, the song is focused on creating and sustaining a particular mood than whether a chorus should be placed in a particular part of the song or not. “Comb,” Habitat’s latest single is a noisy and abrasive, industrial and mosh pit worthy track consisting of layers of buzzing synths paired with forceful and propulsive drumming and shout worthy, nihilistic lyrics. And while nodding at Nine Inch Nails and Ministry, the song has an almost dance floor friendly stomp at its core. 

Directed by Andrew Matthews and Ivy Lovell, the recently released video for “Comb” features Crowe and Korody with the members of their touring band performing the song  at Toronto-based music venue Baby G under shadowy lighting and strobe lights.