Tag: Björk (Page 1 of 2)

THE HEARING Demian

‘Demian’ is the third solo album from Helsinki based artist THE HEARING aka Ringa Manner.

The eager Finn composes, writes and co-produces her latest output, which follows the previous two ‘Dorian’ and ‘Adrian’, completing the trilogy of her ever evolving experimental sound.

Delving into a more polished sound, which cannot be easily pigeon-holed and which sits outside all genres, simultaneously being all genres in one, THE HEARING goes for the kill on her third long player.

From loop pedal experimentation to ‘Demian’, it is “the next evolution stage of a being, and the missing piece of an album trilogy. it’s the start of something new, and an end to something meaningful from before. it’s having your broken heart heal just in time for someone to break it all over. it’s crying for people living in nightmares, and for the deafening beauty of one’s own cosmic uselessness. it’s shielding your mind with a pillow fortress, but inviting everyone else in too.”

The opener ‘Loppu’ eases into the world of THE HEARING with delicate melody, which in no way prepares for ‘ICU’ with its tribal beats and vocals sounding like Björk meeting Ellie Goulding. A mixture of Scandipop and moderate techno enveloped in a light cloud of fluffy, carefree feeling leads into ‘Love=Prison’ containing eerie synthesised voices and a multi-elemental mish-mash of sounds and voices. With the insertion of brilliant club connotations and techno, this is a perfect modern rave tune.

‘Overtaking’, predeceased by its own interlude, represents a brand new take on drum n bass done a girly way. It’s weightless and uplifting, providing an endless amount of quirky vocal and capable programming.

The “pain of the world” or ‘Weltschmerz’ doesn’t feel like anything described on the tin.

It’s an uplifting number with poignant lyrics, approaching the issues from an observer angle, while ‘Jello’ with its interesting interlude presents the modern world with the help of various electronic elements and that processed male vocal again.

The inclusion of the above can be disappointing at times, since every Tom, Dick and Harry attempting music making on their Mac seems to make use of it, otherwise rendering the song useless. Still, it may as well appeal to younger audiences, who appreciate the saturation of any modern tune with some sort of synthesised voice. If this is the best you can do THE HEARING, make songs like ‘Best I Can Do’, which showcases your delicate vocal and a plethora of electronic magic instead.

Next comes in the eponymous track and here is where the listener gets invited to enter the charming forest of ethereal melodies presented over gentle choirs and spacious musicality, before ‘WYD’ (or ‘When In Doubt Repeat Those Words’) continues the demure landscapes, delicately painting a vision of calmness and peacefulness.

The closing ‘Just Like You’ is like watching tidal waves come in and drift out. A very filigree piece with stunning nature connotations, it shines like a beacon towards THE HEARING’s musical future. Although ‘Demian’ could be perceived as a mixed bag for some, it is predominantly filled with wonderfully moreish melodies and packed full of lovely vocals. Sitting somewhere between modern synth and plain pop, it is definitely youthful and appealing.

One thing for certain: it cannot be easily defined, so don’t try to label it, because it stands alone, no matter what genre you’re into.


‘Demian’ is released by Solina Records on 25th October 2019 in vinyl LP and digital formats

THE HEARING opens for CHASMS at London O2 Academy2 Islington on 10th December 2019

https://www.facebook.com/Ringasofi/

https://www.instagram.com/ringasofi/

http://solinarecords.com/the-hearing/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/3j8670qQ1dKlOuXMnGrbv0


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
22nd October 2019

ANNA ÖBERG Vafan Har Jag Gjort!

The Swedish band LADOMIR, who described themselves as “synth and string”, was the jump start for Anna Öberg, who had long been a stand-alone composer and lyricist.

A self-confessed lover of pop, Öberg decided to take the plunge into the ocean of electronica, releasing ‘Härsknar’ as her first solo long player.

This amalgamation of new wave, punk and heavy industrial elements was produced by Charles Storm, known for his collaborations with HÅKAN HELLSTRÖM.

This year sees Öberg’s return with a follow-up, ‘Vafan Har Jag Gjort!’, which sweetly translates as “What the f*ck have I done!”

So, Anna, what the f*ck have you done!?

Promising “further steps into her very personal synth universe and masterful craftsmanship”, Öberg claims that this time she’s pushing “a little harder”, but at the same time “a little more sweet”.

Indeed, the harder pushing, nearly psychedelic sound LSD induced and with rave qualities, introduces the album with ‘Jag Blir Inte Kysst’ (‘I Don’t Get Kissed’), where the artist goes all out with pitch changing vocal, gritty synth and dirty textures, that attack from the onset.

The question of today is ‘Vafan Har Jag Gjort!’, which is repeated several times in the course of the song, pushing further and further like uncomfortable probe, to ease off for seconds before the machine starts up again. From the clear protest song, to this of arm swaying quality, the regretful plea ebbs and flows until it disappears into the abyss of Öberg’s disturbed mind.

‘Daga Att Gråta’ sees a more demure approach with sluggish rhythm, slower beat and poetic verses, interwoven with heavier elements to complete a more uncertain track, full of Pagan imaginary and artistry.

Vintage synth a la FAD GADGET’s ‘Ricky’s Hand’ ushers ‘Jag Såg Dig På En Lördag’ where that Saturday feeling drives the fast paced beats, continuously paying homage to the analogue machinery, showing off the fact Öberg can do “the happy” as well as the harsh and sad.

The unusual returns on ‘Bråk’, which is “fraction” like GAZELLE TWIN meets BJÖRK. The main musical elements are a choir, sparse synth and echoed voices. ‘Ich Bin’ changes the tongue to German and Öberg warns in no uncertain terms the she needs love: “Achtung Achtung Ich brauche Liebe”, over possibly the most interesting musical manipulation on the production.

A PET SHOP BOYS like dance sound enters on ‘Fortfarande 16’. The clash of voices and sounds bursts out like Jack in a Box, paying further homage to synth of the past times, while the closing ‘Omöjligt’ wraps up the album with the strangest of tunes. Dark, smoky and spooky, this persuasive piece evokes uncertainty and fear, with very few sounds, which develop into a plethora of sci-fi light and truly “impossible” imaginary.

Nobody said this was easy listening music, nobody warned against harsh words, nobody prepared against heavy statements, but Anna Öberg cares not. Having Charles Storm taking the reins of production again, as well as the inclusion of the poet Bob Hansson, John Lindqwister and Russ Rydén, Öberg achieves higher levels of musical wisdom, thanks to her ever expanding electronic horizons.


‘Vafan Har Jag Gjort!’ is released by Xenophone International as a CD and vinyl LP, download available from https://annaberg.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/Anna5Oberg/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
16th March 2019

SARAH P. Maenads

There’s a group of female artists out there, who are doing it for the girls and SARAH P. is certainly one of them.

Sarah Anna Psalti-Helbig started her love affair with music, while studying drama, by fronting the critically acclaimed Greek act KEEP SHELLY IN ATHENS for four years.

Looking for more opportunities, she moved to Berlin where her solo career took off with a bang around the release of a rather mature and deep LP ‘Who Am I’.

This winter sees her returning Greek goddess style with a five song EP borrowing its name from Greek mythology. ‘Maenads’ are female followers of Dionysus, the god of theatre, fertility and wine and SARAH P. feels united with her Hellenic heritage and describes the release as a true representation of herself.

“This record is the link between my previous work and what’s coming” she said, “Free symbolised my rebirth as an artist, Who Am I helped me discover different music paths and Maenads is representing 100% me, both musically and as an individual. I’m not big on classifying my music in genres, because I believe that this process is taking away from the magic of listening. I think that Maenads is way more accessible than my previous work, yet mysterious and uncommon.”

Indeed the opening ‘Sappho’s Leap’ borrows from traditional Greek poetry, and acts as a prelude to breathy ‘Mneme’, with whispered words and sparse guitar, seeing SARAH P. creating an amalgamation between KATE BUSH and BJÖRK vocally, while the musicality of this track hovers between dream pop and alternative, all wrapped in an unlaboured and carefree lullaby; a lullaby where the voice vixen channels her inner Robert Smith.

The need to rely on oneself is expressed in the foxy ‘Lotus Eaters’, which tunefully continues the echoes of THE CURE meeting THE PIXIES; the voice is edgy and sweet with an undertone of seduction. We mustn’t sleep, we must open our minds and make the change.

“We can’t undo our history, but we can learn from it and shape our future” is the message relayed in ‘Cybele’s Dream’, which is a serious tale of SARAH P.’s own heritage told by her ancestors.

The artist calls for a greater consideration of the burning issue of refugees over an easy listening piece, reminiscent of TEARS FOR FEARS.

The closing eponymous track changes the tempo and direction, appearing to be more of a dance tune, celebrating the beauty and fun of Athens, MARNIE style.

More accessible than her previous provisions? Perhaps. Different? Hell, yes! One thing is for certain; SARAH P. is ever evolving and is on the right track, creating genre of her own and refusing to be categorised and labelled. The creation of music is a fluid process and no boundaries are required.


‘Maenads’ is released by EraseRestart Records via the usual digital outlets at http://smarturl.it/sarahpmaenads

http://sarahpofficial.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sarahpofficial/

https://twitter.com/sarahpofficial

https://www.instagram.com/sarahpofficial/

https://www.amour-records.com/sarah-p

https://open.spotify.com/album/5iaaDv6Oydcr40h7GKPzrQ


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by George Geranios
14th December 2018

LOTIC Power

For the lovers of all things weird and wonderful, electronica style, here’s LOTIC with their debut ‘Power’.

Choosing Berlin as their abode, the new album by Texan born artist is an “expansive exploration of the many ways in which power can be expressed and experienced”.

Few years ago, LOTIC ventured into the world of quirky electronica with two EPs, ‘Heterocetera’ and ‘Agitations’, but it’s on this long player ‘Power’ that they introduce vocal experimentations for the first time.

The self-confessed lovers of pronounced beats and drums, LOTIC wanted to bring into being, an album of empowerment which became a plethora of various colours of strength, and in few instances, weakness.

Even though the artist found it tricky to call themselves a musician, which may sound strange, coming from someone who studied electronic music composition and saxophone and who’s probably more trained classically than most of electronic artists in Germany and the rest of the world has to offer, LOTIC manages to intertwine tenderness and the power of survival in many shapes.

‘Hunted’, which heralds the outing, was one of the first born tracks designed for the long player, with whispered messages over the primal, found sounds and bouncy rhythm to leave the survival imprint; it is accompanied by an insidious video, shot on a beach in Majorca.

‘Love & Light’, although tentatively starting like what it says on the tin, has the undertones of menace and uncertainty, veiled under delicate bells almost like a music box, while ‘Bulletproof’ has the messy qualities of BJÖRK meets IAMX.

‘Distribution of Care’ shows off the drums as if straight from the marching band, and one can just imagine the stepping routines, which the artist recognises as “so black”.

In order to survive in the polarising world of today, one needs ‘Resilience’, served on a plate of gritty synth with a sprinkling of tubular bells, as the ‘Fragility’ doesn’t always pay off. What a way to shape shift from two opposites!

The voice comes back on ‘Nerve’, which is an amalgamation of New York rap, quirky sounds reminiscent of GAZELLE TWIN and everything in between. Further experiments are palpable on ‘Heart’ with an urgent musical message and ‘Solace’, which closes the eclectic mix of tunes.

To juxtapose the meanings, ‘Power’, sitting towards the end of the opus, falls like gentile musical droplets from the sky of abundance, but what is the sky abundant with?

Sudden noises, confusion, non-descript shots of powerful synth, followed by drilling sounds, a mish-mash of bizarre elements to serve brutality, only to be followed again by delicate bells and mesmerising melody.

After ‘Agitations’ where LOTIC set out to be purposefully aggressive and ostentatiously dark, ‘Power’ is to simply empower using any means disposable. It is commanding to discover a debut album not weary of experimentation and not directed for an instant commercial success, even if it means to be more niche with the audience.

Following in the steps of GAZELLE TWIN, the American in Berlin isn’t opposed to mad musical professor trials, if it means they achieve their own personal work of art, their realisation and their freedom, sounding like anything between BJÖRK, THE KNIFE, FEVER RAY and AUSTRA.

If you’re in the market for the unusual electronica taken to the limits, search no further.


‘Power’ is released by Tri Angle Records on 13th July 2018, pre-order direct from https://loticmusic.bandcamp.com/album/power

LOTIC will present their debut album ‘Power’ amongst the immersive walls of MONOM’s 4DSOUND installation at Berlin Funkhaus on the same day

https://www.facebook.com/lxtic/

https://twitter.com/_lotic

https://www.instagram.com/lotic/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
Photos by Matt Lambert
2nd July 2018

KARIN PARK Live at The Lexington

Karin-park-live1KARIN PARK first found fame in Norway with her 2004 debut ‘Superworldunknown’ before exploring more electronic avenues with ‘Change Your Mind’ in 2006.

In 2009, the Swedish born songstress released her third long player ‘Ashes To Gold’ before signing to UK label State Of The Eye for her acclaimed 2012 album ‘Highwire Poetry’.

Co-produced and mixed by Christoffer Berg whose credits include THE KNIFE, FEVER RAY and DEPECHE MODE, it has been a steady burner embraced through word of mouth. But even this combination of industrial, dubstep, ambient and synthpop couldn’t prepare for the spectacle of a KARIN PARK live show.

A druid pig arrived to overture with a most unsettling voice collage, before KARIN PARK took to the stage for the starkly discordant ‘6000 Years’. Easing the crowd in, the blasting schaffel stomp of ‘Restless’ suddenly snapped in like a strike to the head, provoking animated stares and jerky movements from her. Vocally quite obviously from THE KNIFE and BJÖRK school of song, Karin’s fervent concentration though was quite unlike FEVER RAY or GAZELLE TWIN who each prefer to project an enigmatic detachment from the audience. Despite her towering demeanour, KARIN PARK was welcoming and inclusive.

Karin-park-live2Relishing the art of performance, her smiles certainly didn’t lie and the enjoyable rapport observed with her brother David on drums was often just a knowing look or a nod of appreciation as together, they enthusiastically entertained.

Visually, Karin’s striking androgynous persona contrasted heavily with that of her metal head sibling, the pair looking like a mutant genetic experiment to cross LADYTRON with SLAYER!

But the incongruous combination worked and was probably one of the most refreshing presentations of electronic music within a concert setting for a quite a while! The difference was one of the key elements in the energetic but tight chemistry of the show.

Both Parks were impressive multi-taskers with David primarily on drums but also providing backing vocals and even venturing onto keyboards while Karin was the perfect front woman who dabbled with a Korg MS20 and keytar.

The esoteric mood pieces such as ‘Tension’ provided important spatial counterpoints to the evening, showing real melancholic depth and raspy emotion.

Karin-park-live3But there was also a real pop sensibility as quirky but danceable synthpop tunes like ‘Explosions’ proved. This was none more apparent than with ‘Can’t Stop Now’, a superb electro funk number that came over like MICHAEL JACKSON gone Goth! Meanwhile ‘Ashes’ was cut from a similar disco vibe and musically DURAN DURAN Nordic style! And these qualities made KARIN PARK more ROBYN than THE KNIFE yet she still managed to maintain her mistress of darkness credentials.

But would the other Karin (Dreijer Andersson that is) have actually written a song for the Eurovision Song Contest? Although not part of the set, ‘I Feed You My Love’, which is being sung by MARGARET BERGER as Norway’s entry in 2013, displays an accessibility in KARIN PARK that will either subvert conventional pop forms or open up intense musicality, depending on one’s artistic standpoint. As MARC ALMOND once said, one cannot be truly subversive unless there is access to the mainstream and there can perhaps be nothing more mainstream than Eurovision! So The Electricity Club wishes her the best of luck in Malmö.

Karin-park-live4As the set continued, the trancey ‘Out Of The Cage’ played with lovely panoramic textures to add another dimension to proceedings while ‘Fryngies’ was boosted by some feisty aggression that included even more MS20 action. The superb ‘Thousand Loaded Guns’ finished the main set with a dramatic climax that saw both Karin and David frantically drumming in unison before the formal conclusion via her own favourite song, the beautiful ‘Bending Albert’s Law’.

It was a dynamic hour long set that had the crowd transfixed with a powerful, resonant soundbase. It’s not often that a superlative such as awesome is appropriately used, but tonight, it was pretty damn close with how KARIN PARK performed on that stage in London.


KARIN PARK ‘Highwire Poetry’ is released by State Of The Eye Recordings on CD, vinyl and download

http://www.karinpark.com/

http://www.facebook.com/karinpark


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Richard Price
12th April 2013

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