Tag: The Harrow

Over the course of the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on the Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstay post-punk act The Harrow. Deriving their name from a name of a device used to punish and torture prisoners in the Franz Kafka short story “In the Penal Colony,” the band can trace a portion of their origins back to 2008 when its founding member Frank Deserto (bass, synths and electronics) started it as a solo recording project that expanded into a full band in 2013 when Deserto recruited Vanessa Irena (vocals, synths and programming), Barrett Hiatt (synth, programming), and Greg Fasolino (guitar) to flesh out the project’s sound. As a quartet, the Brooklyn-based act released the “Mouth to Mouth”/”Ringing the Changes” 7 inch and their full-length effort Silhouettes to critical praise across the blogosphere including The Deli MagazineThe Big TakeoverImposeAltSounds as well as this site for a sound that is deeply indebted to The CureSiouxsie and the BansheesJoy Division, and others —  although with Silhouette, the material, which was mixed by friend and frequent collaborator, Automelodi’s Xavier Paradis revealed a band that had been subtly experimenting with and expanding upon their sound, as their sound took on a bit of an industrial feel, as though nodding at Depeche Mode and New Order.

Up until relatively recently, some time had passed since I had written about them; however, in the last few weeks, the band announced that they will be releasing a remix album Points of View, which would be comprised of remixes, re-workings and re-imaginings of the material off Silhouettes by various friends, collaborators and associates as part of a “living” album that will grow as they receive additional contributions to the album.  And fittingly, the album’s first single was Xavier Paradis’ propulsive, dance floor-friendly remix of “Kaleidoscope” in which industrial clang and clatter and tweeter and woofer rocking beats are paired with the original’s shimmering guitars and Irena’s ethereal vocals — and as a result, the remix retained the spirit and mood of the original, while being a subtle new take.

Interestingly enough, if you had been following the site since the early days, you may recall that I wrote about the Brooklyn-based synth pop duo Azar Swan. Comprised of singer/songwriter Zohra Atash, who was a touring vocalist with A Storm of Light and multi-instrumentalist and producer Joshua Strawn, who was a member of Blacklist, Vaura, Vain Warr and others, the duo’s current project can trace its origins to when Atash and Strawn ended their previous project Religious to Damn in 2012. And much like it, The Harrow it had been some time since I had written about them — that is until now, as the duo remixed The Harrow’s “Secret Language,” giving an already stark minimalist song an even moodier, retro-futuristic John Carpenter soundtrack vibe.

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Samuel Joseph Kim is a Canadian-born, San Francisco, CA-based singer/songwriter producer and multi-instrumentliast, arguably best known as a member of San Francisco-based band Museums and for a solo recording experimental side project, Mount Vermont. He also works as a freelance soundtrack composer, who has clients like Canon, Deloitte, TED, and others. Kim also recently released material under his own birth name — and that music as he describes on his website “is an evolving blend of organic guitars and electronic experimentation. Whatever the instrumentation or approach, it retains its melodic and emotive nature: haunting, intimate and sincere.”

“Gone” the EP opening single off Kim’s 2016 effort Lost/Found EP is a hazy post-punk-inspired song featuring a sinuous bass line, lush, swirling layers of shimmering synths and precise drum programming paired with Kim’s crooning vocals. Sonically speaking, the song nods at The Harrow, the 4AD Records sound, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and others and while possessing a similar swooning and urgent Romanticism — and much like its (presumed) influences, the song focuses on visceral and profound heartache and confusion that has enveloped its narrator.

 

 

 

 

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts on the Brooklyn-based, JOVM mainstay post-punk act, The Harrow. Deriving their name from a name of a device used to punish and torture prisoners in the Franz Kafka short story “In the Penal Colony,” the band can trace a portion of their origins back to 2008 when its founding member Frank Deserto (bass, synths and electronics) started it as a solo recording project that expanded into a full band in 2013 when Deserto recruited Vanessa Irena (vocals, synths and programming), Barrett Hiatt (synth, programming), and Greg Fasolino (guitar) to flesh out the project’s sound. And over a period of a couple of years, the quartet released the “Mouth to Mouth”/”Ringing the Changes” 7 inch and their full-length effort Silhouette to critical praise from the likes of The Deli MagazineThe Big TakeoverImposeAltSounds as well as this site for a sound that is deeply indebted to The CureSiouxsie and the BansheesJoy Division, and others — although Silhouette, which was mixed by friend and frequent collaborator, Automelodi‘s Xavier Paradis revealed a band that had expanded upon the sound that first won the attention of the blogosphere, as lush and shimmering guitar chords, played through layers of reverb, delay and other effects pedals were paired with sinuous bass lines, propulsive drum programming that frequently nodded at  Depeche Mode and New Order, swirling electronics and Irena’s plaintive and ethereal vocals.

It’s been a couple of years since I’ve last written about them; however, the band’s frequent collaborator and friend, the aforementioned Xavier Paradis recently remixed “Kaleidoscope” as part of the band’s remix album Points of View, which will be comprised of remixes, reworks and interpretations of songs off Silhouettes by various friends, collaborators and associates — as part of a “living” album that will grow as they receive additional contributions. The original version of the song is a slow-burning, hazily atmospheric track featuring shimmering guitar chords, four-on-the-floor like drum programming and Irena’s plaintive vocals ethereally floating over a moody, 4AD Records-lenaing mix.

 

Paradis’ Automelodi Sonnambula Mix of “Kaleidoscope is a propulsive, Depeche Mode and New Order-inspired, dance floor remix in which industrial clang and clatter and propulsive and forceful beats are paired with the original’s shimmering guitars and Irena’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix. Interestingly, while being dance floor friendly, Paradis’ remix manages to retain the original’s moody feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comprised of Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitar), Rune Øverby (guitar), Petter Gudim Marberg (bass), Ola Jørgen Kyrkjeeide (drums) and live contributions from Kenneth Ekes (synth), Olso, Norway quartet Mayflower Madame specialize in a moody and dark post-punk/darkwave/chillwave sound that immediately brings to mind 4AD Records heyday along with several contemporary bands, including Interpol, JOVM mainstay artists The Harrow and others. And since the 2013 release of their debut EP Into the Haze, the Norwegian quartet have developed a reputation nationally for their live shows; in fact, they’ve played two of their homelands biggest festivals Norwegian Wood and Oya Festival, as well as opening for a number of renowned acts including Crystal Stilts, Night Beats, Moon Duo and JOVM mainstay acts Disappears, Crocodiles and La Femme.

Mayflower Madame’s full-length debut Observed in a Dream was released earlier this year across Europe through Night Cult Records and was released across North America through Custom Made Music earlier this month and the album’s first latest single “Weightless”  consists of a tight motorik groove paired with shimmering guitar chords and Fagernes’ brooding baritone in a song that will further cement the quartet’s growing reputation for moody 4AD Records era post-punk — but in a remarkably hazy and ethereal song.

 

Comprised of John Gill (vocals, bass, guitar and synth), Greg Tebbano (lead guitar, lead synth and backing vocals), David Octal (bass), and Ben Patten (drums), the Saratoga Springs, NY-based post punk quartet The Black Ships derive their name from the Western vessels that sailed to Japan during the 16th to 19th centuries. And with the forthcoming release of their latest effort, Dead Empires, slated for a December 4 release, the Upstate New York-based quartet hope to prove that Saratoga Springs is the home of a burgeoning wave music scene  — in particular, a burgeoning shoegaze/dark wave/chill wave scene — as the town is best known as the home of blogosphere darlings Phantogram.

Dead Empires‘ latest single album title track “Dead Empires” sounds as though it owes a major sonic debt to Joy Division, The Cure and 4AD Records —  while also channeling contemporaries like The Harrow, Dead Leaf Echo and others, as the song is comprised of atmospheric synths, slashing, angular bass and shimmering guitar chords and four-on-the-floor drumming paired ethereal vocals. If you’re a child of the 80s as I am, the Saratoga Springs-based quartet’s sound will be familiar — it’s a darkly seductive and danceable sound. But interestingly enough, what will set the band apart from their contemporaries is the fact that the band’s frontman John Gill is a self-proclaimed avid history buff, and Dead Empires lyrics concern themselves with how history’s course and flow affects and influences everything. And as Gill explains in press notes “Looking back on historical events of the past adds a romantic tinge to things and a certain yearning for past times and traditions.” In some way, it gives the material a swooning Romanticism that belies its brooding nature.