Tag: synth pop

New Audio: Human Love Returns with a Trippy Motorik Groove-Driven New Single

Formed in 2010, the critically applauded New York-based act The Dig — Emilie Mosseri (vocals, bass), David Baldwin (vocals, guitar), Erick Eiser (keys, guitar) and Mark Demiglio (drums) released two albums and two EPs — 2010’s full-length debut Electric Toys, 2012’s Midnight Flowers and 2013’s Tired Hearts EP and You & I EP. Last, the member of the New York-based act relocated to Los Angeles. and the move managed to spark  a major period of transformation for each of the individual bandmembers — with each member pursuing their own creative projects. 

Notably, Emilie Mosseri established himself as a film and television composer, who earned widespread acclaim for crafting the score  for A24 Films‘ critically applauded Last Black Man in San Francisco, as well as the scores for the TV series Homecoming, which currently stars Janelle Monae and Kajillionaire, which will star Miranda July.

Ironically, working separately proved to have a unifying effect on the band’s individual members — they were emboldened to take new risks, which resulted in a completely new musical project for its longtime collaborators — the newly named Human Love. Black Void EP, Human Love‘s Sonny DiPerri-co-produced, four song debut EP is slated for a July 10, 2020 release, and the effort sees the longtime collaborators completely altering the creative process they were used to through their run as The Dig. “In the past, one person would bring in an idea and we’d build everything from there, but now the process is so much more collaborative, with everyone bringing in their specific perspective to everything we make,” the band’s David Baldwin says in press notes. “I think there’s something beautiful about us going in different directions and then coming back together like this,”EmilIe Mosseri adds “We’re taking what we’d explored on our own and feeding it back into this music, and pushing everything forward to create something completely new.”

Reportedly, Black Void will see the band crafting cinematic material with a pulsating, dance floor friendly energy and a psychedelic vibe — all while revealing the idiosyncratic impulses of each individual member of the band. Last month, I wrote about the  This Is Happening-era LCD Soundsystem-like “Goldmine,” a track centered around a sinuous and strutting, disco-influenced groove paired with Baldwin and Mosseri’s ethereal vocals singing surrealistic lyrics. “‘Goldmine’  is the song that inspired us to start Human Love,” the members of the band explain in press notes. “When the four of us are together, one of our favorite things to do is jam on one riff endlessly.  To us this song conjures up a feeling of transition.  When we first started writing it we were still in our previous band together, and by the time we finished it we had decided to start something new.  It has a feeling of leaving something behind.  Deciding to move away from what’s comfortable and familiar, and embrace the unknown.”

“Lemon Dove,” Black Void’s second and latest single is trippy song featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, a shuffling four-on-the-floor led motorik groove and ethereal vocals — and while centered around an improvised, free-flowing and summery air, the the song manages to bring Kraftwerk and Evil Heat-era Primal Scream to mind. 

“The process of making Lemon Dove was spontaneous,” the band’s Erick Eiser recalls in press notes. “All of the ideas came out fluidly without music second guessing. It’s really exciting to work on music when spontaneity reigns over deliberation. The harmonies and music in the first section of the song were inspired and adapted from a Debussy Prelude and there’s a spirit to the music that connects with the name of the band as a lyric that we found really special. It’s about love. It’s about summer.”  

Born in Central Asia, the rising Berlin-based singer/songwriter, multi-hnstrumetnnalist, composer and producer Liam Mour can trace the origins of his music career to when he learned to play the piano at six — and at an early age, he began to record and produce music on mixers and tape machines. Because of his background, Mour was gradually drawn to enhancing his technical skills in music production.

After relocating to Berlin, Mour set up his own studio at Funkhaus Berlin, where he has pursued a number of musical projects, which have allowed him to play with Nils Frahm, tour with Gold Panda and to open for Four Tet and Max Cooper.

Mour’s latest single “Douro” is a slick synthesis of ambient electronics and techno thump that’s centered around layers of chiming percussion, shimmering synth arpeggios, a mournful horn sample and skittering beats. Sonically, the hook-driven track may remind listeners of Bonobo and Octo Octa — but with a subtle darkness just under the shimmering surface.





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: Quebec City-based Electro Pop Act New Bleach Release a Lysergic Visual for Brooding and Atmospheric “Silver Lining”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Quebec City-based indie duo New Bleach, which features Dominic Pelletier and Raphaël Potvin, best known for their work in the acclaimed Francophone rock act Caravane. And from the Oracular Spectacular-era MGMT-like “Awake,” Pelletier’s and Potvin’s work with New Bleach is a decided sonic departure. 

Building upon the attention they received for “Awake,” the duo’s latest single “Silver Living” is a slick and brooding synthesis of Quiet Storm-like R&B, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, skittering trap beats, plaintive falsetto vocals — and while subtly recalling the brooding atmospherics of JOVM mainstays Beacon, the song is part old-school love song and an urgent plea for hope in a seemingly hopeless world. 

Directed by Maxyme Gagné and the members of New Bleach, the recently released video was shot on a grainy Super 8-like filter, which gives the proceedings a subtly nostalgic and lysergic haze — but the video itself is centered around a simple concept: the members of New Bleach driving around in a car through trippy backgrounds. 

New Audio: Video Age Releases a Slow-Burning and Shimmering New Single

With the release of their first two albums, 2016’s full-length debut Living Alone and 2018’s sophomore album Pop Therapy, the New Orleans-based act Video Age — founding members Ross Farbe and Ray Micarelli, along with Nick Corson and Duncan Troast — received attention for crafting hook-driven material with a decidedly 80s synth pop-inspired sound.

Following the release of Pop Therapy, the band’s songwriting partners and co-founders Farbe and Micarelli were eager to write new material and continue upon the momentum they had just started to build up. The band convened at Farbe’s home studio to work on the band’s highly anticipated third album, Pleasure Line, which is slated for an August 7, 2020 release through Winspear, who recently signed the band.

Inspired by a vast range of influences including Janet Jackson, David Bowie and Paul McCartney, Pleasure Line finds the band crafting neon-bright 80s pop-like melodies to create an optimistic sound — with the material taking on a rosy hue.  “I’m often trying to create a more idealized version of the world I’m in,” Video Age’s Ross Farbe says in press notes. “In fact, some of that optimism may come as a result of both Farbe and Micarelli getting married this year — just a few weeks apart from each other. “We’re feeling the love,” Farbe says. 

Written as a salve that protects against cynicism. the album’s material is meant to help the listener see and feel a world full of romantic potential. But the album isn’t centered around one-dimensional puppy love — it’s the sort of fulfilling love that’s complicated, confusing and never easy; but ultimately worth it. Earlier this year, I wrote about “Shadow On The Wall” a decidedly  80s synth pop track — i.e., Tom Tom Club, Talking Heads and early Madonna — with a subtle hint of 70s AM rock. But while the track is superficially dance floor friendly, it manages to hint at something much darker under the surface. Pleasure Line’s second and latest single, album title track “Pleasure Line” is a slow- burning Quiet Storm meets Prince-like track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, twinkling keys, Nile Rodgers-like guitar and an infectious hook. Interestingly, the song manages to be thematically about a restless anxiousness that eventually turns into possibility and love; of making comfort out of discomfort.  


Tracing their origins back to 2009, when the project was started as Sister Crayon, the acclaimed Los Angeles, CA-based electro pop duo Rituals of Mine — singer/songwriter Terra Lopez and percussionist Adam Pierce — have received attention for crafting a sound that features elements of 90s trip hop, footwork and downtempo R&B through the release of their critically applauded first two albums, 2011’s Bellow and 2013’s Cynic. Building upon a growing profile, the act had spent several years relentlessly touring up and down the West Coast and elsewhere, playing house shows, DIY venues and basements before, eventually landing tours with The Album Leaf, Built to Spill, Antemasque, Le Butcherettes, Maps & Atlases, Doomtree, and others.

2015 was a harrowing and difficult year for Lopez: her father committed suicide and several months later, her best friend Lucas Johnson tragically died in an accident. Reeling from the grief of such profoundly unexpected and inconsolable loss, Lopez went through a period of deep reflection. During that time, Lopez felt the need to reassess life and her work with Sister Crayon, eventually deciding that she needed to put the name to rest and move forward with a new chapter and new moniker  — Rituals of Mine. “It was a mantra that I repeated under my breath on a daily basis when the loss I was experiencing felt too heavy at times,” Lopez wrote at the time. “Music, the act of creating, performing, touring, writing, singing, experimenting – all the rituals we have created to get through life.”

Rituals of Mine has been a bold and decided step forward for Lopez: after years of obscuring her own story and emotions through metaphorical lyrics, Lopez felt both a sudden confidence and need to write more directly about her experiences and life as a queer woman of color. Lopez with the assistance of her longtime collaborator and producer Wes Jones began to write material centered around heartfelt observations touching upon her experiences and traumas and paired with pulsating and forceful electronic tracks. Lopez then recruited Adam Pierce to play drums — with understanding that Pierce’s background in metal would provide an intensity that could match her own and fit the material.

Although COVID-19 has put most of the world on an indefinite pause, the JOVM mainstays have been rather busy: they’ve released a series of remixes of material off Sleeper Hold and they recently contributed “The Only Way Out Is Through” for Mon Amie Records‘ charitable compilation The Longest Day: A Benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association, which features songs from New Order, Jon Hopkins, Anna Calvi, Sad13, Beach Slang, TR/ST, Moby, and others.

“The Only Way Out Through” is a slow-burning and lush track,  featuring around twinkling synth arpeggios, Lopez’s soulful and heartfelt vocals and swirling and ethereal electronics. And while arguably the most atmospheric track they’ve released to date, the song is centered around a plaintive ache.






New Video: GUM Returns with a Trippy Animated Visual for “Airwalkin'”

Jay Watson is a Carnavon, Australia-born, Fremantle, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who creatively splits his time as a member of acclaimed psych rock acts and JOVM mainstays Tame Impala and POND — and with his acclaimed solo recording project GUM.

Watson’s fifth GUM album Out In The World, which was officially released today through Spinning Top Music, is the highly-anticipated follow-up to 2018’s critically applauded The Underdog. Written and recorded in between  his commitments with POND and Tame Impala at his Fremantle-based home studio and while on the road, Out In The World continues Watson’s long-held reputation for his voracious taste for styles, sounds and eras — paired with his ongoing quest to make sense of modern life.  Driven by untethered curiosity and the inherent anxiety of way too much awareness, the album is arguably, the most boundary pushing of his growing catalog. “This album is my attempt at making a record that combines my fascination of how other people live their lives, with my own internal desire to analyse mine and improve it,” Watson says of his latest album. “‘Out In The World’ was a phrase that conjured a lot of grandeur and ego, yet somehow felt really small and wholesome at the same time.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Don’t Let It Go Out,” Out In The World’s second single, a track that found Watson pushing his sound and songwriting in a bold new direction with its influences blurring into something distinctly Watson. “Airwalkin,” the album’s latest single is a swaggering, 80s synth pop inspired banger centered around boom bap-like beats, squiggling and shimmering synths, a soaring string sample, an enormous hook with vocodered vocals and Watson’s plaintive vocals. The  end result is a song that sounds as though it were indebted to J. Dilla. Odelay-era Beck and Future Shock-era Herbie Hancock and Kraftwerk. 

“This song is trying to capture the feeling of walking around my rural town with my Discman as a teenager, completely self-conscious about the way I look but completely feeling myself at the same time.” Watson says. “3 and a half minutes of Boombox Rock inspired by Stevie Wonder, Dilla and Beck.”

Directed  by Alex McClaren, the recently released video for “Airwalkin'” is a vividly colored visual that features a variety of characters —  three-eyed dog, a kid’s toy robot, a walking recycling bin and a walking boom box among others — walking through some trippy yet mischievous backdrops. “I wanted to do something with Alex McClaren again. He’d worked on the claymation video for ‘The Blue Marble’ off my last album, I love his stuff. I only had quite a vague idea that the clip could be a figure moving across a landscape in claymation, a vocoder robot-man initially, and Alex went next level with it’.”

New Video: Emerging French Pop Artist DYNAH Releases a Slow-Burning Pop Confection

Melody Linhart is a Paris-based singer/songwriter and musician, who started her career playing jazz, folk and soul music. Linhart’s latest musical project, DYNAH, which derives its name from two syllables in her name is a decided — and radical — change in sonic direction for the French singer/songwriter, with her sound leaning towards the electro pop sounds of Clara Luciani, James Blake, Christine and the Queens and ACES among others. 

Through collaborations with French, British, Spanish and Dutch producers, Linhart has been adopting a much more straightforward songwriting approach fueled by a desire for simplicity. “Songs have to come self-evidently,” Linhart says in press notes. Interestingly, Linhart has found the new sound and approach of DYNAH to be liberating. “Pop music is a good excuse to talk about love and sensuality,” the rising French singer/songwriter adds. 

Thematically, her material generally touches upon dreams, pleasure, motherhood and other topics with a sincerity and earnestness — while also drawing upon feelings and thoughts she’s experienced in her own life. Linhart’s DYNAH debut EP, Page Blanche is slated for release in October, and the EP’s latest single, EP title track “Page Blanche” is  a slow-burning bit of minimalist electro pop centered around shimmering and buzzing synths, skittering beats, brief blasts of strummed guitar, Linhart’s plaintive vocals singing lyrics written in English and  French and a soaring hook.  And while revealing  some earnest songwriting that seemingly comes from deeply personal, lived-in experience, the track is an ambitious pop confection. 

Directed by Vincent Bordes, the slick and recently released video stars the rising French pop  artist with dancers, expressively dancing to the song, helping to further emphasize the ache at the core of the song. 

New Audio: Hungarian JOVM Mainstays Belau Team Up with Sophie Barker on a Sultry and Brooding New Single

Over the past two years or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the the Budapest, Hungary-based electronic music production and artist duo Belau — Peter Kedves and Buzas Krisztian — and as you may recall, with the release of their debut single “Island of Promise,” the Hungarian duo quickly exploded into the national scene for a buoyant, summery and dance floor friendly sound meant to evoke “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony,” as the duo explain in press notes. “Island of Promise” eventually landed #1 on Deezer Hungary, one of the country’s biggest streaming services, and since its release, the track has amassed over 500,000 streams, and was featured in HBO Hungary series Aranyélet, as well as in an international Pepsi ad campaign shown in 33 countries.

The Budapest-based duo’s 2016 full-length debut The Odyssey won a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album — and they supported the album with an intense period of touring that saw them playing 120 shows in 19 countries with stops across the international festival circuit. including Eurosonic, Sziget, Reeperbahn, Untold, and SXSW. Since the release of The Odyssey, the JOVM mainstays released a series of remixes of The Odyssey tracks, and a handful of singles that included “Breath,” a sultry, dance floor friendly collaboration with Sophie Lindinger centered around glitchy beats and a sinuous yet anthemic hook and the Massive Attack-like “Natural Pool.” 

The duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Colourwave was released late last month and the album finds the duo furthering and expanding upon the sound that has won them attention internationally: downtempo electronica with moody atmospheric, shimmering synths and thumping 808s.  Last month, I wrote about “Rapture,” a collaboration with Blue Foundation‘s Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg centered around a trip hop-inspired production featuring shimming synth arpeggios, wobbling low end and Stubbe Teglbjærg’s sultry vocals. The album’s second single “Essence” continues the duo’s collaboration with female vocalists — this time, Sophie Barker. Much like its immediate predecessor, Barker’s sultry vocals glide over a shimmering production centered around a looped and reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering synths, skittering beats and an enormous hook. Sonically, the song brings Third-era Portishead and Octo Octa to mind  –but a with a brooding and seductive air.