Tag Archives: Electronica

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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Treelight For Sunlight Release New Single, Come Closer, Ahead Of Their Second Album Release

Treefight For Sunlight has been in the studio for two years and have finally revealed their new track, Come Closer. It’s an energetic and very danceable first single from their upcoming album.

The band said: “Come Closer is about the various communicative spaces between people, about how the boundaries between the articulated and unspoken can merge and eliminate the distance between all of us. We want to insist on how less distance results in richer lives and better mutual understanding – despite whatever differences people might have”.

The band Treefight For Sunlight has always been an artistic melting pot and with the new track and the upcoming album, the band and their friends have taken complete control over their own visual identity. The music video to accompany Come Closer was made by singer and guitarist Morten Winther Nielsen and the single artwork has been made by bass player Christian Rohde Lindinger’s girlfriend, Amanda Munkgaard Olesen.

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Gumshen – Progtronica Album Review

Gumshen is a musical anomaly, truly merging elements of prog rock with modern indie, rock and electronica. Gumshen’s musical exploration is fueled by the love of artistic freedom. Their new album is Progtronica and is due out on February 11.

Gumshen are Ron Hippe (vocals, keys, guitar), Jan Ciganik (guitar), Dennis McCoy (drums, vocals) and Rich Hinklin (bass). From the beginning, Gumshen has been a band that embraces a wide array of musical styles. Influenced by Pink Floyd, Phoenix and pop, their sound transforms intellectually from modern to classic to progressive rock, pop and electronic dance, rap and funk, analogue to digital; usually within the same CD.

Gumshen started as a traditional guitar based rock band in a garage in north Seattle in the mid-2000’s under the name Menthol James. Guitarist Jan Ciganik escaped from Communist Czechoslovakia in the 80’s, found success in the 90’s Seattle grunge scene playing with the acclaimed band Ventilator produced by John Cale. Eventually he met up with drummer Dennis McCoy and others to form Menthol James. After a few line-up changes they were joined on bass by actor/musician Ron Hippe (broadway theatrical credits, Northern Exposure, Caspar Babypants with Chris Ballew).

The trio recorded a hard rock eponymous EP in 2007. The next year they changed their name to Gumshen for no particular reason and recorded their next EP, a grungy affair called Stew, with bassist and sound engineer Rich Hinklin (formerly of Jack Endino’s Reciprocal Recordings and currently a Sound Design Faculty member at The Art Institute of Seattle). This addition to the band allowed Ron to switch over to guitars and keyboards and expand the sound of the band.

Once the line-up was settled, the band soldiered through seven calendars of steamy summers and icy winters to practice, record and produce smart, eclectic EP’s each year and play alongside such bands as Minus the Bear and The Icons on stages such as the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon, Hempfest and the Bite of Seattle.

Their latest album Progtronica sees Gumshen shed all their many layers once more. Beginning track, Bell Ringer sounds like an 80s pop-rock track. Bell Ringer is a bit cheesy making it not such a good introduction track. There’s too much synth and this leads it to feel empty as a track – it needs more real sound. It’s repetitive – it sounds dated but not in a good way.

Stipulation helps to pick things up. There’s less synth and more real music. The vocals are also better – they’re stronger making the song sound fuller. Stipulation is a little Hello Goodbye inspired in places. It has an indie rock sound to it. It’s more uplifting than Bell Ringer as it oozes energy and a danceable beat. The lyrics “So glad you made it…” also aid this uplifting feeling.

Fine One To Talk features an acoustic guitar which brings a brand new sound to the record. The beginning lyrics are good, “You’re a fine one to talk/’Cause words disappear when you’re given the chalk/I will meet your demands/When angels and devils stop tying my hands.” Fine One To Talk is much more interesting lyrically than the previous tracks. It introduces Gumshen’s folk and acoustic rock influences. It’s a track that sounds completely different from the previous tracks demonstrating their better sound. Even if the other tracks seem disengaging, Fine One To Talk will get stuck in your head and allow you to come to terms with this band’s wide variety of sounds.

Liquid places this band straight back into the electronica genre. It’s a good song for sophisticated bars as it has that relaxing quality about it. It’s another song that proves the diversity of this band in making music. Up until this point on Progtronica none of the tracks have sounded the same. There’s strong lounge influences heard in Liquid making it an enjoyable track, especially when it comes to the instrumental parts.

Bait & Switch is very Dubstep inspired with Gumshen’s electronica influences being very apparent. It’s a rock/Dubstep track with little bits of Hadouken creeping in. The vocals and lyrics let this song down completely – they’re repetitive and a little boring. The dramatic music would be sufficient without the lyrics.

Progtronica shows off what Gumshen are all about. They don’t fit into one genre – their sounds are too diverse. Diversity can be a wonderful thing but Gumshen are hard to understand. Each song you listen to sounds like a completely different band – you can’t become familiar with this prog rock band in any way. They aren’t defined by any one thing. The songs are good not great but none of them can be easily linked to one band. In some ways this is amazing – this band is trying to completely break down the lines of restriction defining genres – but in other ways, this could be detrimental. People like familiarity, it makes them feel safe, and Gumshen lack this one quality. This isn’t to say that their rebelliousness to fit in isn’t appreciated and respected but Progtronica could do with being just a little bit more coherent.

Progtronica is due for release on February 11.

 

 

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Introducing…Sea Change

Fresh on the scene, Sea Change is the alter ego of Ellen.W. Sundes. With a chilling electronica-pop sound, she is pleased to reveal her new track Let’s Dance ahead of her upcoming album which will be released later this year.

Let’s Dance is made up of whispers of delicate synth-sounds ascending with Ellen’s beautiful vocals, serving as a perfect example of what to expect from this exciting new Nordic artist who has drawn comparisons to the likes of Fever Ray, Lykke Li and Robyn.

Sea Change

Sea Change Let’s Dance artwork

After the success with her debut single Bursting which led to radio spins in Norway, England, Denmark and Germany comes the second of three songs. They’re all a taste of what can be expected in her first album which will be released this autumn.

Born in the south of Norway in the late 80s with a natural fascination for noise, improvisation music, tiny acoustic instruments and synth pop. Sea Change creates a beautiful loop-based sound which contains beats, vocal harmonies and 80s choruses with her own ability to make a magic and mysterious ambience. Still there is a wide range within her music. It can be massive, putting the lower frequencies of the sound system to the test or gentle, almost like the wonderful nature of silence but always immersive.

Sea Change chose to move from Oslo to Berlin, after studying music for several years, to gain an international touch to her otherwise Scandinavian sound and vibe.

The Let’s Dance single will only be available at a limited amount of 7” vinyls and digitally. In context with the release, Sea Change will be on tour in January and February including 14 shows in Denmark, Norway, Faro Islands and Ice Islands, shortly followed by By:Larm festival in Oslo and other European festivals this summer.

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The Tower Of Light Debut Album To Be Released In February

Beaming its sleepwalking sound from a bedroom in Brooklyn, The Tower Of Light deals in the marriage of polarities on his self-titled debut album. At once delicate and severe, ecstatic then pensive, both sparse and lush, it follows a road that was paved by the early days of 4AD and its strange, beautiful diversity while making unexpected stylistic detours as it winds its way through the ether.

The Tower Of Light

The Tower Of Light album artwork

Though the general mood is hypnotic and arresting in equal measure and the sonic details reveal no allegiance to any genre in particular, one consistent thread is the pairing of thoughtful melodic/harmonic counterpoints against tense, elaborate atmospherics. Imagine a catchy pop song being hijacked, slowed to a narcotic pitch, its words turned to surrealist poetry then all of it wrapped in a warm blanket of drone. It’s these juxtapositions that consistently reveal the project’s centre of gravity.

The Tower Of Light has revealed the first track to be taken from the self-titled album. The track is called Lightnet and was premiered back in December by NoiseyLightnet feels sinister, it drives manic and white-knuckled toward what seems will be an unavoidably violent climax only for it to pause, breath deeply and soar into space instead.

Relentlessly unpredictable and effortlessly genre-defying, The Tower Of Light can be difficult to pin down. And while some may read the aesthetics as more black-hole than shining sun, this is music that feels very aware that both are just different states in the same life cycle.

The album will be released on February 4 2014. You can watch the album release trailer herePre-order the album now.

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Francis Harris To Release Minutes Of Sleep LP in 2014

With years of DJing at the world’s top clubs and over fifty electronic dance music releases as Adultnapper, Sycophant Slags and lightbluemover to his credit, one might think Francis Harris had reached the pinnacle of his career, or at least firmly established his niche. But 2012 marked a pivotal year for the Brooklyn-based producer in which his true potential as a composer, producer and label head was revealed. It was then that Harris dropped his Adultnapper alias, stepping to the fore under his given name with his first full length, Leland, an opus conceived as a requiem to his father. Now Francis has announced the second LP under his real name with Minutes of Sleep set for release February 24 2014 on Scissor and Thread, the label he founded in 2012. The first single You Can Always Leave was released this week with Terre Thaemlitz providing a hypnotic remix of the track under her DJ Sprinkles name. Spin premiered the track here.

Francis Harris

Francis Harris

On Minutes of Sleep, Francis continues to grapple with the subjects of memory, loss and profound grief that suffused his acclaimed debut, Leland. Writing this time in tribute to his mother who sadly passed the following year, he revisits deeply personal territory on with newfound perspective, heightened confidence and a markedly refined approach, yielding a noticeably matured and eloquent statement which transcends sorrowful brooding and rumination. It was through recording Leland that Harris first broke from his decade long preoccupation with solitary electronic music production.

Seeking to infuse his formal compositions with emotional content, Harris employed the singular talents of Danish vocalist Gry Bagøien, trumpeter Greg Paulus (No Regular Play) and cellist Emil Abramyan, each of whom provided truly inspiring passages throughout that album. All three return on Minutes of Sleep, along with Léah Lazonick on piano, session player Brendan Golle on keys and Harris’ childhood mate Gabe Hedrick on guitar. Harris even contributed to the sessions himself with some guitar and piano work, rekindling of his passion for instrumentation, collaboration and performance. The end result is an album that actively connects the dots from the electronic and dance worlds, to the realms of modern classical and experimental composition.

You can catch Francis Harris live in 2013 with DJ Sprinkles on the following dates:
December 13- Paris-Badaboum
December 14- London- Fabric

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Damocles – The Clear Sound Album Review

Damocles is Ben Hopkins, an experimental electronic producer from Atlanta, Georgia. Damocles has just released their newest album, The Clear Sound.

The Clear Sound is a diverse record which really expresses how wide a genre electronica can be. The start track Mountain Prose is dark and entrancing but it doesn’t set a good example of what can be heard on the rest of the record. It’s quite a bass heavy track in comparison to most of the album which is more serene, perhaps even meditative.

There are some real gems on The Clear Sound. Earth Day is an awesome song with a tinny drum beat blended well with melodic synths – synths that sound like a choir singing notes from hymns. At times it is the drum beat that is dominant and at others, it is the synths. This to-ing and fro-ing gives this track a great dynamic.

Damocles

Damocles The Clear Sound artwork

Penance is a soft song with distant, undisperhable vocals which sound almost like cries. It’s an atmospheric song that allows you to calm down and feel relaxed despite it’s fast tempo and chaotic drum beat. At My Window is another soft song with its soothing piano melody, strong bass and drum beat and swooping vocals. This track has a lot of Bonobo influences in it – the way the song has that crackled, old record player sound, the melodic, non-sensical vocals and the punctuated piano notes.

Cheer You Up is quite a stand out track on The Clear Sound. The African inspired tribal drum beats heard are accompanied by modern synth noises. It’s a song that shows great diversity. There appears to be an emptiest in this track – like it’s being heard from a distance – it’s the echo of the snare drum that creates the space and expansion in this song. Again, a lot of Bonobo’s techniques can be heard here. It’s only towards the end when the deeper bass and synth sounds come into play adding that something extra to an already unique track.

Defeated is up tempo with a dance beat making it easily accessible to many yet it has another layer to it creating pleasant sounds that rise and fall lending it to be relaxing, juxtaposing the more dance inspired part of the song. It gradually builds introducing many more layers and noises, making it incredibly interesting as all these instruments and noises interchange and compliment and contrast each other all at the same time.

Having No Ghosts has an underground club sound – almost dub step inspired. Its gentle melody originating from the synths make this song memorable despite the heavy bass most commonly heard in club classics. On the other hand, Broach has really calming synths and a soft drum beat that are complimented by the spacious sounds created by the bass and distortion used.

Hopkins has created a sound that has taken influences from the 90s rave scene but he’s slowed it down, made it more senate and especially trance-like. It’s less heavy than your typical rave music but there are definitely influences from that period in there. Damocles has created music that could easily fit in with the atmosphere found in quirky, lounge cafes – it’s music you can relax to, switch off to but just as easily it’s music that could be found in cocktail bars or sophisticated, upmarket bars. It’s music you can dance to in the right environment. It’s got dynamic and versatility lending The Clear Sound to be a record that’s incredibly easy to recommend.

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