Tag: Danz CM

Introducing VIOLET CHOIR

Phoenix-based VIOLET CHOIR comprise of Mickey Louise and Jesse Pangburn who met at college while studying jazz.

Previously indie rock combo THE PROWLING KIND and dream popsters MRCH, the output from their previous guises appeared in the soundtracks of ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Search Party’, ‘13 Reasons Why’, ‘Shameless’ and’ The Vampire Diaries’.

On ‘Reactions’, their 2017 debut album as MRCH, the duo fully embraced a more electronic sound to the point that it was more or less fully sequenced.

Inspired by the likes of independent artists like COMPUTER MAGIC aka DANZ CM and the synthwave breakthrough, there came a change of style with a change of name. So VIOLET CHOIR was born. Their self-titled EP makes use of a Prophet 08, some Moog via the Matriarch and Minitaur, plus Ableton soft synths simulating DX7 bell sounds. Meanwhile a live kit and drum machines sit in tandem alongside occasional electric guitar and bass.

Moody and percussive without resorting to synthwave clichés, ‘Don’t Come Around’ recalls the feel of KLEERUP’s ‘Nothing Left To Die For’ with Jenny Wilson. Nurtured on jazz and rock, Mickey Louise’s voice comes over rich and airy over an appealing electronic pop song that doesn’t sound as long as its five and a half minutes length might suggest.

Although adopting more of a post-punk template with live bass and guitar, ‘Tonight’ still has plenty of synths to add texture including a surprising jazzier twirl and a particularly piercing but melodic sound reminiscent of the sparkly feminine new wave vibe of PARALLELS or CHROMATICS.

Meanwhile, the chunky fuzz and deeper treated vocal counterpoints on ‘Dream About It’ offer a slightly gothic dimension to a slice of precision disco lento, with its dynamic highs and lows projecting in the manner of THE GOLDEN FILTER.

Maintaining that “life is strange”, the sombre root note bass and strident keyboard arpeggio patterns make ‘Friend Song’ the most archetypical synthwave styled offering on the EP, with the breezily wispy vocals contributing to an enjoyable chorus uplift.

The electroclash-derived ‘Kids On Sunset’ adopts a dominant bass triplet for a galloping rhythmic sway that becomes more addictive as it approaches the dancefloor. The presence of the coy feline allure of COMPUTER MAGIC with her track ‘Fuzz’ in particular and the much missed Texan duo ELEVEN:ELEVEN are strong.

This debut EP is not your run-of-the-mill synthwave-by-numbers and by bringing their experience from other genres, VIOLET CHOIR have largely avoided the usual musical catchphrases that can haunt modern electronic pop. What stands out are the songs and the musicality. Time will see Mickey Louise and Jesse Pangburn fully realise the promise on show here.


‘Violet Choir’ EP released on 19th February 2021 by Fervor Records

http://www.violetchoir.com/

https://www.facebook.com/violetchoir/

https://twitter.com/violetchoir

https://www.instagram.com/violetchoir/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/3l62JBwb5peXmTGwKh4DM3


Text by Chi Ming Lai
20th February 2021

DANZ CM Idea of You

She’s the artist formally known as COMPUTER MAGIC and ‘Idea of You’ is her first single under her new moniker of DANZ CM.

Behind the music is Danz Johnson whose first album proper ‘Davos’ came out under the name COMPUTER MAGIC in 2015. She said on social media: “In the beginning I didn’t know what to call myself. I was so uncomfortable in my own skin, was so sure no one would believe it was just one person making the music…”

New York-based producer added “I wanted to change it because I outgrew COMPUTER MAGIC. I outgrew the shy bedroom pop girl a long time ago. COMPUTER MAGIC might mean something different to you, but to me it represents a skin that I need to shed.”

Capturing a sombre electronic disposition, ‘Idea of You’ develops on the darkness that was apparent on the last COMPUTER MAGIC album ‘Danz’ with its self-referencing title a pointer of things to come. It is all quite distinct from the enjoyably escapist ‘Obscure but Visible’ EP and its utterly charming highlight ‘Lonely Like We Are’.

With her stark statement that she’s “Gotta step back to put things in perspective” summing things up, in the collaborative video for ‘Idea of You’, Danz Johnson and director Matthew James Reilly set off to the desolate location of Death Valley in Nevada to see our heroine take on the role of The Girl Who Fell To Earth.

While recording ‘The Absurdity of Human Existence’, her upcoming first album as DANZ CM, Danz Johnson launched her ‘Synth History’ platform celebrating musicians who have embraced the sound of synthesizers in their work. To date she has interviewed Pete Townshend, Suzanne Ciani, James Murphy, Rick Wakeman, Vince Clarke, Dave Smith and many more.

She then began a crowdfunding campaign to expand ‘Synth History’ into a podcast series and the first acclaimed episode in Summer 2020 discussed the pioneering legacy of Wendy Carlos.


‘Idea of You’ is available now via digital platforms and is from the forthcoming album ‘The Absurdity of Human Existence’ released on 12th March 2021 by Channel 9 Records

https://www.zdanz.com/

https://www.facebook.com/zdanz

https://twitter.com/danz_cm

https://www.instagram.com/danz_cm/

https://www.synthhistory.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
16th December 2020

Introducing COMPUTER MAGIC

Based out of New York State, producer, label owner and songwriter Danz Johnson is COMPUTER MAGIC.

A Japanophile or “shinnichi” as the locals like to put it, Johnson actually released her first album ‘Scientific Experience’ as a Japan only release in 2012.

A prolific musician, a series of EPs filled the interim period before her 2015 long player ‘Davos’ reached Stateside retailers.

From it, songs like ‘Fuzz’ and ‘Give Me Just A Minute’ recalled the early adventures of LADYTRON, while ‘Hudson’ hinted more at the leanings of DUBSTAR.

COMPUTER MAGIC’s self-explanatory ‘Obscure But Visible’ EP released last year has been hailed as her best body of work yet and it has been given a promotional boost thanks to a fabulous video for the vibrant synthpop of ‘Been Waiting’.

Directed by Anise Mariko of mikineko productions with animation from Abi Laurel, the futuristic giddy innocence of ‘Been Waiting’ is superbly captured in this visual accompaniment, which more than illustrates Johnson’s love of the Far East,

Of the remaining tunes from ‘Obscure But Visible’, STEREOLAB fans will delight in the vibey ‘Dimensions’ and wispy naivety of ‘Lonely Like We Are’… in fact, listening to these two songs, it is actually quite difficult to identify Johnson as American! Meanwhile, the short but sweet lo-fi Latin romp of ‘New Generation’ springs a surprise before the more indie sounding ‘Gone For The Weekend’.

It’s a light-hearted, varied collection of songs without a doubt and a fine introduction to the appealing kooky world of COMPUTER MAGIC.


‘Obscure But Visible’ EP is released by Channel 9 Records as a 10 inch vinyl EP, cassette and download

http://www.thecomputermagic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/computermagic/

https://twitter.com/zdanz

https://www.instagram.com/danz_cm/

http://computermagic.bigcartel.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Adam Cresswell
27th May 2017