Tag Archives: Ambient

Edapollo – Shallow Swell EP Review

New Bristol based electronic producer and multi-instrumentalist Edapollo emerged with his first public productions in late 2013, causing a stir on the underground electronic, ambient and surrounding music scenes with demos of his first original tracks entitled Tisno and Sundancer.

These tracks were picked up by a number of blogs and online sources allowing this young producer to catch the eye of many for his unique and atmospheric soundscapes and sonic artistry.

His debut EP entitled Shallow Swell was released on Bad Panda Records on February 3 and the four tracks highlight his diverse artistic capabilities in song writing, instrumentation, melodic progression and technical production.

Edapollo Shallow Swell

Edapollo Shallow Swell EP artwork

Track one, Breathing, introduces the sound of this EP. It’s calming, ambient, atmospheric but also punchy and energetic. The faint vocals add an angelic melody as they sing, “I sleep/I sleep…” while the guitar riffs, bass notes and drum beat keep this song very much within the electronic genre.

Sundancer is a summery, upbeat number with some R&B influences seeping through. The vocals are once again distant, swooping in and out of the instrumentation, complimenting it where they can.

Tisno introduces a more male dominated sound to this otherwise flowery EP. The vocals heard on this track, although limited, appear to be male. It’s slightly deeper and darker in its tone and has a faster tempo. It just feels more masculine.

Marcelo is the last song on Shallow Swell. It takes the record back to its chilled out ambient side. An acoustic guitar can be heard clearly in this song at the start against the bass notes and drums lending it to sound romantic. It has a seductive quality to it. There’s a sense of relaxation and peace when you listen to this song. It’s a fabulous way to end the EP.

Shallow Swell is a wonderful debut EP which shows the full capabilities of Edapollo. He crafts lustful, seductive and ambient songs full of peaceful and catchy melodies that run through your body long after the track has ended. Edapollo is a producer to keep a close eye on in 2014.

Shallow Swell is out now.

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Introducing…Tara

Tara is an Australian singer songwriter who has chosen Dublin as a new home because of her father’s deep Irish roots. Her music journey began at the age of ten when she picked up a guitar and started casually experimenting with it. She’s never looked back since, and after years of playing around with various musical styles, collaborators and musicians, she’s ready to release her debut single, Stars.

With the help of her musicians; Anthony McMahon, Paul Flood and Ally Donald, Tara manages to channel her ideas live on stage and together they create a performance worthy of a big audience. Tara has played at the Whelan’s Ones To Watch Festival and was voted Gig Of The Week by the Irish Times.

Tara Stars

Stars artwork

Stars is a sonic journey from the word go and sounds like a dreamy perception of Tara’s reality. Her ability to mold soft and ambient soundscapes with energetic coatings of electric guitars create an exciting treat for every listener. The electronic layers of synths and pads add an extra dimension to the song’s texture by wrapping the production gently into the blanket of reverbial sounds.

Tara’s vocals bear an interstellar sparkle and fit perfectly inside the dreamy arrangements. With a blend of Sia, Delilah, Corinne Bailey-Rae and Shaekspear’s Sister, Tara brings energy, conviction and natural talent into the powerful mix of female artists.

Stars works efficiently from a sonic experience and a song-writing point of view. It will be available for sale and download from April 6.

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Introducing…Hellenica

Describing himself as ambient, folk, avant-garde, experimental, post-rock, instrumental and spaghetti western, Hellenica is Jim Demos from Montreal, Canada. He makes mesmerising, relaxing and unique music that will not fail to whisk you away into a far away universe.

Hellenica has recently released their three track EP titled They Are Out For Blood. It can be downloaded for free from bandcamp here and comes accompanied with a digital album cover.

Hellenica

Jim Demos AKA Hellenica

They Are Out For Blood sees Demos produce unique blends of music. Night Creeper begins with a solo guitar riff which is a little bit Jeff Buckley inspired – it has that vacant emptiness, a riff that uses space as a tool rather than seeing it as an enemy. There are spaghetti western influences heard in the guitar riff while the rhythm guitar and synth sounds that are added later add depth to the track. The song is repetitive but it’s far from boring. The drums are eventually introduced towards the end of Night Creeper which builds tension and drama with the rolling drum beat giving it a distinctive marching effect. Night Creeper is very atmospheric and dark – it’s a song that tells a dramatic story even with the absence of words.

The Lost And Forgotten is another dark track which uses the guitar riff as the main focus. There is acoustic guitar this time which carries the rhythm while the guitar riff ascends and descends over the top of it. It’s a relaxing track although it carries that hint of darkness. Once again, Hellenica has produced a song that tells a story through music alone. The Lost And Forgotten seems to tell the story of someone who is sad, lonely and reminiscent – someone who feels lost or forgotten or someone who is thinking about those who may be lost or forgotten by others. The synth sounds in the background introduce a spooky sound, perhaps suggesting that the track should be seen as a eulogy to those loved ones that have passed away. Perhaps the spooky synth sounds indicate the haunting memories of regrets or bad times just as much as the idea of the ghosts of loved ones. The turn towards the end of the track to a more uplifting melody may suggest that these lost and forgotten people aren’t so forgotten after all. The change in tone suggests that those loved ones people have lost will always remain with them in spirit – there’s hope for the future.

Morning Of The War Horn is the last track on the EP and is again a solemn, lonely sounding number which introduces some string sounds alongside the main guitar riff. Hellenica is brilliant at producing atmospheric songs that ooze life and stories. Usually, it’s the lyrics that tell the tales but in Hellenica’s case the music does it all. Morning Of The War Horn has the perfect balance of ambiance, electric guitar, experimental synthesiser sounds and emptiness to allow the song to breath essence. The end of the track is quite experimental compared to the other tracks on They Are Out For Blood – the electric guitar riff shies away while the synthesisers take over introducing a sparse yet dramatic end to the song.

They Are Out For Blood is a marvelous instrumental EP that really highlights what Demos is capable of. There’s energy, drama and stories intertwined in to all three tracks on this EP. It’s full of life, its ups and downs, even with the absence of the one element most consider to be the most important part of a song – lyrics.

They Are Out For Blood is available to download for free from bandcamp now.

 

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Slack Armada – EP Review

Chicago solo artist Slack Armada is an ambient/post-rock electronica artist. Inspired by artists like Boards of Canada, My Bloody Valentine, Nine Inch Nails and Mogwai, project founder James Hrabak plans for this to be the beginning of many EP releases under the Slack Armada moniker.

Hrabak’s musical path started on outer realms of indie rock via shoegaze and noise-rock but was dormant for many years. James sees Slack Armada as the reawakening of a creativity that would not die.  He explained: “There was an aligning of the planets. For me, this project feels a lot like waking up, like a rebirth.”

Musically recharged, and emboldened by the creative communities popping up due to the advent of social media, Hrabak returns to his artistic continuum with the self-titled debut from Slack Armada. The EP is an epic all-instrumental offering that recalls the transcendent textures and dynamics of artists such as My Bloody Valentine, Boards of Canada and Mogwai. One instantly recognisable distinction from these aforementioned artists is Hrabak’s use of beats as a primary compositional tool, building sound scapes with melodic dynamics around glitchy grooves.

He explained: “The absence of vocals wasn’t a conscious decision at the beginning. As I was building up the tracks, I thought ‘Maybe I can make the music speak to somebody without the additional guide of a human voice.’ I wanted to let the listener be transported with fewer guideposts.

“This debut is a great foundation for what’s to come. I have so much music cooking now – and I’m very excited about what’s coming next.”

Starting track Rebirth is a song that builds to become dramatic and punchy. The bass line allows for a swooping melody which is backed by crashing drums and organ, synth sounds. Gradually and gently the guitar chords kick in. It’s a little bit like Small Black – pop but with a profound rock feel to it. Rebirth slows in the middle with the synth noises fading out and then it comes to life again, it is reborn. It slowly introduces it’s melodies again and builds to repeat itself, with slight variations.

Your Majesty is completely different from Rebirth; it’s the definition of majestic. The tones glide, the synths expand and the sound of this track is spectacular. It feels like Royalty – it feels like a song that is praising someone or something. It’s the sharpening and fading synths in the background that give this song its majestic quality – they allow the track to feel superior. Hrabak has definitely managed to make his songs speak without the need of the human voice.

Looper is a rock track built around grunge guitar chords, heavy bass and dramatic drum beats. It shows a completely different side to this ambient/post-rock artist. It’s the best track on the EP. As normal for this EP, there are no vocals but once again, this song doesn’t need any. It has a slight reminiscence of Angels and Airwaves which have an atmospheric, space sound to their music. Looper is an explosion of the capabilities of Slack Armada.

Escape Velocity starts off with a deep, dark synth sound but this is suddenly accompanied by a light, tinny drum beat. This lifts the tone of the song allowing the synths to cascade appropriately in the background to build the tension and release it. It’s an atmospheric number with a lot of layers that help to create this track’s intensity.

Slack Armada has released a wonderfully ambient and calming debut EP. It’s more than worth a listen.

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