Category: Introducing (Page 1 of 26)

Introducing PISTON DAMP

PISTON DAMP are the new electronic pop duo based in Norway compromising of Jonas Groth and Truls Sønsterud.

The classically trained keyboardist / songwriter / arranger Truls Sønsterud has been playing piano since he was a child while singer/songwriter/producer Jonas Groth has been making music for more than 20 years’ experience mostly connected to his older brother Stephan and his band APOPTYGMA BERZERK.

Also connected to acts such as industrial rockers MAGENTA who he helped out on their 2009 album ‘Art & Accidents’, Jonas Groth has slowly been moving towards the front in the last few years and sang lead vocals on ‘Nearest’, an ethereal electronic ballad from the most recent APOPTYGMA BERZERK EP ‘Nein Danke!’.

The debut PISTON DAMP single ‘Something In Me’ was written and recorded with Stephan Groth serving as pre-production supervisor, so perhaps unsurprisingly, it is reminiscent of the more immediate side of APOPTYGMA BERZERK

But ‘Something In Me’ is what APOPTYGMA BERZERK or AESTHETIC PERFECTION would sound like if they were in full synthpop mode. Catchy, bubbly, melodic and rhythmic with an emotively spirited vocal, when Jonas Groth hits falsetto, it provides a most gloriously optimistic lift. Meanwhile, its twin ‘Noget I Mig’ is ‘Something In Me’ sung in Danish and this element adds an extra air of mystery to non-native speakers and reveals the song’s likely Nordic folk influence more explicitly.

The B-side of this debut single is a ‘Blue Heart’ version of ‘Another Pain’ and affirms just as ‘Shout’ did for DEPECHE MODE’s similarly folk influenced ‘New Life’, that PISTON DAMP are likely to have quality first album in the can. Much sparser than ‘Something In Me’, the spacey arpeggio on this version of ‘Another Pain’ allows Jonas Groth to soar, expressing some heartfelt frustration that the love of his life hasn’t even noticed him. And when his multi-tracked vocal ab-libs join in, it starts to sounds like FREIHEIT or ELO or THE BEATLES, depending on your way of thinking!

Both ‘Something In Me’ and ‘Noget I Mig’ come in a number of remixes from the likes of PEGBOARD NERDS, TECHNOMANCER, KLEINMELKER and THE ANIX, although classic synth fans will be most interested in the Extended 12” Remix that comes in the nine-track bundle.

It is the right moment for Jonas Groth to emerge from the shadow of his older brother and PISTON DAMP is a fine vehicle in which take that journey.


‘Something In Me’ is released by Sub Culture Records, available as a download bundle from https://subculturerecords.bandcamp.com/album/something-in-me

https://www.pistondamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pistondampcom

https://www.instagram.com/pistondamp/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Kine Jensen
15th October 2020

Introducing GLÜME

From the Italians Do It Better stable, home to the likes of CHROMATICS and DESIRE, comes rather a lovely eerie ‘Twin Peaks’ styled cover of ‘Come Softly To Me’ from the mysterious but glamourous GLÜME.

Her bio says GLÜME was born and raised in the City of Angels. She worked as a child actress and then juggled her time between training her voice, exploring music and wrestling with her health, a situation that perhaps adds a vulnerable edge to her doll-like demeanour and leaves her feeling incompatible with the outside world.

Written and made famous by THE FLEETWOODS in an almost acapella rendition in 1958, GLÜME’s version of ‘Come Softly To Me’ (exec produced by Italians Do It Better head honcho Johnny Jewel) is more chilling and metronomic, capturing the innocence of forgotten yesterdays in the pursuit of today.

In some respects, the hypnotic arrangement with its lush but tragic Marilyn Monroe meets Julee Cruise delivery and the original acapella hook transferred to synth has the air of a 21st Century take on ‘I Know How You Love Me’ by THE PARIS SISTERS; it was used when Becky was being driven away by Steven in his Thunderbird convertible during episode 5 of ‘Twin Peaks: The Return’.

The first GLÜME single ‘Body’ was positively Autumnal, capturing an aural wash of fading colours with its mix of synths arpeggios, digital drum machine, distortion and six string strum in a manner not unlike COMPUTER MAGIC who herself covered ‘Rockin’ Back Inside My Heart Rockin’ from episode 14 of the original ‘Twin Peaks’.

Meanwhile, adopting a Marilyn does Britney approach, the B-side of ‘Body’ saw GLÜME perform a stripped down interpretation of ‘Baby One More Time’ with accompaniment from Johnny Jewel on guitar. As GLÜME puts it herself: “…I’m Not Whispering…It’s A Scream!…”


‘Come Softly To Me’ and ‘Body’ are released as digital singles via Italians Do It Better

https://italiansdoitbetter.com/glume/

https://www.facebook.com/babyglume

https://www.instagram.com/babyglume/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
10th October 2020

Introducing SCINTII

Music needs some mystery every now and then, and that comes with SCINTII, the musical vehicle of Taiwanese singer and producer Stella Chung.

SCINTII released her first EP ‘Mica’ in 2017 which explored glitch and leftfield dance in a manner reminiscent to Dot Allison who made her name in ONE DOVE, particularly on its smoky title track. Meanwhile ‘Papier’ exuded the menace of GAZELLE TWIN although within a more chilled setting.

Her second EP ‘Aerial / Paperbags’ featured the gorgeous ‘Terminals’ and led to the Shanghai-based artist signing with Houndstooth, the independent label established in 2012 by the London superclub Fabric.

Comparisons are easy to make with the Beijing-born FIFI RONG as both have an exotic trip-hop influenced sound and ‘Deux’ could easily be mistaken for the Chinese YELLO and TRICKY collaborator with its eerie but accessible underground sound. SCINTII’s hypnotic new single ‘Times New Roman’ has been produced by Danny L Harle, best known for his remix of CHARLI XCX’s ‘After The Afterparty’ and his uplifting single ‘Super Natural’ in collaboration with Canadian starlet Carly Rae Jepsen.

The main melody came into SCINTII’s head while walking round a shopping mall. Using an interesting and intelligent analogy for the tune, she said: “Times New Roman is one of the main languages used in graphic design and this song is about finding that language for myself as an artist”.

The moody video for ‘Times New Roman’ has been directed by Kynan Puru Watt and produced by Dede Wen, capturing a deep icy austere. Alluring atmospheric with an understated rhythmic edge, ‘Times New Roman’ is beautifully elegant electronic pop and hopefully a sign of more to come.


‘Times New Roman’ is released by Houndstooth and available now in a digital bundle with remixes from https://scintii.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/scintii

https://twitter.com/sc_in_tii

https://www.instagram.com/sc_in_tii

https://soundcloud.com/scintii

https://www.houndstoothlabel.com/artist/scintii


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Hailun Ma
16th September 2020

Introducing THEO SAYERS

Compared on occasion to an electro Ian Dury and an urban Jona Lewie, Cambridge-based vocalist, producer and songwriter Theo Sayers was first spotted by The Electricity Club opening for KNIGHT$ at his 2019 Halloween gig.

Although he released ‘My Nose Is A Little Runny’, a SLEAFORD MODS styled musical response to the worldwide lockdown crisis that concluded “sleazes cause diseases” in March, his latest video goes back to a highlight from his debut ‘Ado Perma’ EP that came out back in July 2019.

‘Impatient’ charmingly comes over like Edwyn Collins fronting a lo-fi KRAFTWERK and in an enjoyable video directed by Rhys Votano, Sayers plays himself and a female alter-ego Dora. Inspired by an unfortunate cycling accident that he once had, he told The Electricity Club: “The music video is a fun and colourful representation of the song’s retro synthpop flavours.”

Sayer’s first showcased his music under the moniker of BLACK TIBET with the exotic pop of ‘Venezuela’ in 2017, before releasing a more distinctly electronic single ‘Goddess’ under his own name in 2018.

Ranging in style from hip-hop to electro, from crooner to rap, from chilled grooves to dancey beats, Sayers’ streetwise take on life exudes witty humour and a playful sense of fun. But despite this, there is also a heartfelt side as expressed on the lounge reggae of ‘Belly Slaps’ from ‘Ado Perma’ which attracted support from BBC Introducing.

Continuing his kinship with KNIGHT$, Theo Sayers recently contributed a new glitchy remix of ‘Dollars & Cents’ from the Britalo exponent’s debut album of the same name.


‘Impatient’ is from the ‘Ado Perma’ EP released by Procrastawerks via the usual digital platforms including Bandcamp at https://theosayers.bandcamp.com/album/ado-perma

https://www.facebook.com/theosayersmusic/

https://twitter.com/theosayers

https://www.instagram.com/theosayers/

https://open.spotify.com/album/6OaTeK2pz0DgPkk8O63FRt


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th July 2020

Introducing ULTRAFLEX

ULTRAFLEX are a new Norwegian Icelandic duo based in Berlin who describe themselves as “The new teen sensation” with an interest in Soviet disco, athleisure and weirdo boogie.

However, Kari Jahnsen and Katrín Helga Andrésdóttir are perhaps better known by their solo monikers FARAO and SPECIAL-K respectively.

Perhaps unusually for a band, the pair met when Andrésdóttir’s father dated Jahnsen’s mother.

Unexpectedly given their known songwriting prowess, the debut offering from ULTRAFLEX is ‘Olympic Sweat’, an uptempo synth instrumental imagined as music to be used on TV sports montages of Olympic coverage at the end of each games.

For her muse, Jahnsen had the Norwegian cross-country skier Bjørn Dæhlie in mind as he crossed the finish line to win gold at Lillehammer in 1994. ‘Olympic Sweat’ is uplifting disco lento with an organic heart, a pretty tune with an expansive sweeping resonance courtesy of its range of digital and vintage sound design. The exquisite atmospheres recall ‘Moonstruck’ by Finnish duo SIN COS TAN which in itself took its lead from PET SHOP BOYS.

The fabulously playful video filmed in Berlin is perhaps what a Valentina Tereshkova fitness video would have looked like had there been a merchandise tie-in for her historical mission on Vostok 6 as the first woman in space. From Treptow to Museeumsinsel to Treptow and back with Volkspark Friedrichshain and the Altes Museum along the way, it acts as a wonderful visual tour of the former divided city.

ULTRAFLEX’s debut album pencilled in for the Autumn of 2020 explores Cold War chic via the electronic disco soundtracks of pre-Glasnost Soviet aerobic videos. The Communist authorities did not want their citizens exercising to Western music, so commissioned domestic jazz musicians to play their own compositions on synthesizers instead.

However, the collaboration actually began as a live commission for Norway’s Insomnia Festival in 2019 to write material specifically to be premiered at the event. The combination of music, visuals and fitness choreography went down so well that Jahnsen and Andrésdóttir decided to release the material as an album.

Recording inside a remote haunted house in Iceland, the pair used a lot of software for practical reasons.

But the Soviet-built vintage analogues like the Formanta Polivoks duophonic and EMI Kvintet that Jahnsen had acquired for FARAO album ‘Pure-O’ made it into their makeshift studio, along with a Roland Juno 60, Yamaha CS15 and a Sequential DrumTraks MIDI compatable drum machine.

The duo have alluringly described their work as “an ode to exercise, loaded with sex metaphors badly disguised as sports descriptions” and confirmed that “Things are about to get real steamy….”


‘Olympic Sweat’ is released by Street Pulse Records and available on the usual online platforms

https://www.facebook.com/ultraflexband

https://twitter.com/ultraflexband

https://www.instagram.com/ultraflexband

https://soundcloud.com/ultraflexband

http://www.farao.biz/

https://www.facebook.com/faraomusic/

https://www.instagram.com/faraomusic/

https://www.special-k-special-k.com/

https://www.facebook.com/specialkspecialkspecialk/

https://www.instagram.com/special_k_special_k/


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Grit Gollhardt
Photos by Margrét Unnur Guðmundsdóttir
5th June 2020

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