Tag: GRETA

The Electricity Club’s 30 SONGS OF 2019

2019 was good for new music. The first two thirds of the year was particularly strong for up-and-coming talent, while a number of veterans returned to making music with synths for the first time in many years.

Inevitably, the quality of new releases couldn’t be sustained and things tailed off during the Autumn period as artists shifted their focus towards the live arena.

The launch of debut full-length releases by relative newcomers has tended to focus towards the winter in order to pitch to the deluge of tastemaker polls that are now prevalent both in mainstream and online media.

Of course, The Electricity Club is unable to include everything in its 30 SONGS OF 2019, so worthy mentions go to SHOOK, CIRCUIT 3, KANGA, FRAGILE SELF, NINA, THE HEARING, JAKUZI, TR/ST, SPELLLING, I AM SNOW ANGEL, PET SHOP BOYS, NO-MAN, RIDER, TINY MAGNETIC PETS, FRAGRANCE. and T.O.Y. for their output this year.

As per usual with a restriction of one song per artist moniker and presented in alphabetical order, these are The Electricity Club’s 30 SONGS OF 2019…


APOPTYGMA BERZERK A Battle For The Crown

Over the 25 years since his debut album ‘Soli Deo Gloria’ , Stephan Groth has straddled EBM, synthpop, futurepop, alternative rock and more recently instrumentals with APOPTYGMA BERZERK. For his first new material since 2016’s ‘Exit Popularity Contest’, the upcoming EP ‘Nein Danke!’ sees a return to the synthpop / new wave format. Part of a teaser single, ‘A Battle For The Crown’ offered a suitably matted austere but crucially did not forget the hooks or the melodies.

Available on the EP ‘Nein Danke!’ via Pitch Black Drive

http://www.theapboffice.com/


BOY HARSHER LA

Stark Massachusetts duo BOY HARSHER formed through an urgent need to produce and consume, so Jae Matthews and Augustus Muller utilised their minimal electronics and intense mindset to create a compelling narrative of deterioration. ‘LA’ featured a wonderfully incongruous mix of icy string synths and orchestra stabs for an enticing display of mutant electronic disco, all brilliantly sinister thanks to its varied use of effects and Matthews’ mournful demeanour.

Available on the album ‘Careful’ via Nude Club Records

https://boyharsher.com/


JORJA CHALMERS She Made Him Love Again

Jorja Chalmers is the sax and keys player for Bryan Ferry but while it was recorded in her boss’ studio, her first solo album ‘Human Again’ exuded a more sombre filmic disposition. Conceived and sketched in hotel rooms during the come down from playing to packed theatres around the world. ‘She Made Him Love Again’ was a song where Chalmers’ breathy vocals possessed a gorgeous forlorn allure and when the icy string machine and deep sax joined in, proceedings lifted to another level.

Available on the album ‘Human Again’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.instagram.com/jorjachalmers/


LLOYD COLE Violins

Lloyd Cole had recorded an experimental electronic album ‘Selected Studies Vol 1’ with Hans-Joachim Roedelius of CLUSTER in 2013, while there was also a solo instrumental collection entitled ‘1D Electronics 2012-2014’. But he put all of that modular knowhow into a song based format with the charming synthy single ‘Violins’ which saw him turn into OMD! However the King of Glum Rock didn’t totally alienate his main fan base, with guitars making their presence felt in amongst all the machinery at the halfway point.

Available on the album ‘Guesswork’ via earMUSIC

https://www.lloydcole.com/


GARY DALY I Work Alone

CHINA CRISIS have been an unlikely influence on acts such as VILLA NAH and MIRRORS, but while these days their synthwork is less pronounced, front man and keyboardist Gary Daly took the plunge with a full length solo record entitled ‘Gone From Here’. The wonderful first single ‘I Work Alone’ acted as both a statement of intent and an affirmation in self-belief. A lovely whimsical piece of Casiotone folktronica, Daly said “it’s very much ‘Neon Lights’ meets ‘Autobahn’”

Available on the album ‘Gone From Here’ via https://www.musicglue.com/gary-daly

https://www.instagram.com/garydalymusic/


DAYBEHAVIOR Driving In My Car

With a range of tempo variation, ‘Based On A True Story’ was the undoubtedly the best album of Swedish trio DAYBEHAVIOR’s long if sporadic career. Including a number of more danceable numbers to counterpoint the more laid back aspects of their cinematic sound without losing any of their exquisite aesthetics, one of the best examples could be heard in the fabulous Europop number ‘Driving In My Car’. It was just one part of a priceless collection of quality Scandipop.

Available on the album ‘Based On A True Story’ via Graplur

http://www.daybehavior.com


FIAT LUX We Can Change The World

Nearly four decades is a long time to wait for a debut album, but with Wakefield’s FIAT LUX, it was been worth it. Recalling BLACK and CHINA CRISIS, the guarded optimism of ‘We Can Change The World’ provided a call to action in these turbulent times within an uptempo setting dressed with bubbling synths and rousing dual vocals sweetened by smooth sax. Steve Wright and David P Crickmore honoured their late band mate Ian Nelson in the best way possible with their recorded and live return.

Available on the album ‘Saved Symmetry’ via Splid Records

http://www.fiat-lux.co.uk/


GEORGIA About Work The Dancefloor

Georgia Barnes is the daughter of LEFTFIELD’s Neil Barnes and the former drummer for Kate Tempest. Although her eponymous debut album possessed a more urban DIY feel, her sound has recently moved into more accessible electronic pop territory. From upcoming second album ‘Seeking Thrills’, the gloriously throbbing workout of ‘About Work The Dancefloor’ took its lead from ROBYN with its rousing Scandipop sheen, offset by a creepy distorted vocal refrain.

Available on the album ‘Seeking Thrills’ via Domino Recordings

https://georgiauk.com/


GRETA White

A Copenhagen domiciled German, classically schooled Greta Louise Schenk teamed up with Norwegian producer FARAO to enter a dreamy synthpop universe. With its unusual rhythmic structure and chromatic overtones, ‘White’ could have been an art rock number? “I often wonder how this song came out of me” she said, “I actually wrote it on my Irish bouzouki, which may explain the chords. I was listening a lot to LANA DEL REY and it was quite a dark time in my life.”

Available on the EP ‘Ardent Spring – Part I’ via Celebration Records,

https://www.facebook.com/greta.geschenk/


HEAVEN Truth Or Dare

Another project of Johnny Jewel, HEAVEN first came to wider attention with the ‘Lonesome Town’ EP. Fronted by the enigmatic allure of singer and keyboardist Aja, the brilliant ‘Truth Or Dare’ perhaps unsurprisingly sounded like CHROMATICS but with more synths and drum machine. While on tour as keyboardist with DESIRE, Aja took the title literally when they performed a cover of NEW ORDER’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and Jewel watched nearby…

Available on the single ‘Truth Or Dare’ via Italians Do It Better

https://www.instagram.com/heaven_idib/


ALICE HUBBLE We Are Still Alone

ALICE HUBBLE is the new solo project of Alice Hubley, previously best known for fronting ARTHUR & MARTHA and COSINES. Hubley’s synth earth mother demeanour came to the fore on the sub-OMD of ‘We Are Still Alone’. While the lilting bass and elegiac transistorised melody were glorious, when the synth strings responded in that ASHRA style, it became perfect avant pop with Hubley sadly resigning to herself that she “couldn’t find the way to make me better”.

Available on the album ‘Polarlichter’ via Happy Robots Records

https://www.happyrobots.co.uk/alice-hubble


IMI I Feel Alright

Leeds based singer / songwriter IMI is gifted with a most glorious soprano but she applies that and her love of analogue synths to an intelligent avant pop aesthetic. ‘I Feel Alright’ with its sharp melodic call and ethereal voices headed into assertive optimism. This most promising young synth talent told The Electricity Club: “This song was written after a few years of struggling with some personal issues and it was a celebration of finally feeling ok and feeling hopeful about the future.”

Available on the EP ‘Lines’ via https://imimusicuk.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/imimusicuk/


INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP Love Girl

Hailing from Sheffield, INTERNATIONAL TEACHERS OF POP and their world of academia would make “eccentric Northern electronic pop” compulsory on the curriculum. From their vibrant and accessible self-titled debut album, the bubbly ‘Love Girl’ was a luscious cross between DUBSTAR and THE HUMAN LEAGUE. Cosmic but catchy, their intelligent musical escapism has been just the tonic in these turbulent times. One of their manifesto statements is “Smile at the neon and the mirrorball”.

Available on the album ‘International Teachers Of Pop’ via Desolate Spools

https://www.facebook.com/internationalteachersofpop/


HOWARD JONES Hero In Your Eyes

Producing his most synthpop work in ages, originally from the ‘Eddie The Eagle’ film sessions, Howard Jones said of ‘Hero In Your Eyes’: “I was really drawn to the part where his parents were amazing, continuing to believe in him when he was obviously not really very good at what he’d chosen to do, they kept supporting him. So him being a hero in their eyes always, that ‘I’ll be there for you’ feeling, I thought that it was something a lot of people could relate to”

Available on the album ‘Transform’ via Dtox Records

http://www.howardjones.com/


KNIGHT$ Hijack My Heart

Coming over like the love child of Richard Butler and Neil Tennant, KNIGHT$ made synthwaves with his sparkly Britalo on his energetic debut album ‘Dollars & Cents’. The Hi-NRG romp of ‘Hijack My Heart’ aped BRONSKI BEAT complete with a closing bursts of falsetto as the Winchester lad tightened his glitzy clubbing trousers to full effect and even dropped in a blistering synth solo to add to the fun. It was a highlight on one of the best albums of 2019.

Available on the album ‘Dollars & Cents’ via Specchio Uomo

https://knights101.com/


LADYTRON Deadzone

LADYTRON produced their last offering ‘Gravity The Seducer’ in 2011. Their recent heavier self-titled reboot saw the quartet of Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo, Daniel Hunt and Reuben Wu entering the ‘Deadzone’. Unsettlingly percussive and full of tension but hitting the spot with the right dose of melodic elements intertwined with haunting grit and grime, LADYTRON were back with a sucker punch. All in all, it was a fantastic comeback.

Available on the album ‘Ladytron’ via !K7

http://www.ladytron.com/


LIZETTE LIZETTE Computer Game

LIZETTE LIZETTE is Lizette Nordahl, a gender neutral Swedish / Peruvian producer and performance artist whose first mini-album album ‘Queerbody’ was released 2017. The beautifully sad Nordic synth ballad ‘Computer Game’ was written in tribute to a departed friend. Showcasing Nordahl’s more emotive side, it was a quality that had not been obviously apparent in LIZETTE LIZETTE’s more danced-based recordings.

Available on the EP ‘Non’ via https://lizettelizette.bandcamp.com/

http://lizettelizette.com/


MACHINISTA Anthropocene

Reflecting gloomier times, ‘Anthropocene’ saw MACHINISTA produce their most consistent body of work yet. Vocalist John Lindqwister and instrumentalist Richard Flow took their time in a refinement of their anthemic signature sound and the addition of some conventionally flavoured twists. The title song took its lead from the dark electronic pop of Norway’s APOPTYGMA BERZERK and owed more than a debt to the haunting riff of ‘Burning Heretic’ in the ultimate sorcerer’s apprentice spell.

Available on the album ‘Anthropocene’ via Infacted Records

https://www.machinistamusic.com/


MECHA MAIKO Apathy

Behind the quirky avant pop of MECHA MAIKO‬ is the talented Canadian Hayley Stewart. ‘Apathy’ from her new album ‘Let’s!’ can only be described as delightfully nuts, with an inventive mix of a jazz swing Charleston vibe, frantic techno dance beats and vibrant synthpop hooks. It showed she was not afraid to blend seemingly incongruous influences to get an end result and with a slight sprinkling of Japanese instrumentation to close, the eclectic creative cycle was complete!‬‬‬‬‬

Available on the album ‘Let’s!’ via ORO Records

https://www.mechamaiko.com/


KARIN MY The Silence

Swedish songstress Karin My sang with veteran combo TWICE A MAN on their poignant environmental catastrophe warning ‘High In The Clouds’ in 2105. Her solo single ‘The Silence’ was one of the first truly great songs of 2019. Swathed in beautiful synths and embroiled in that wonderful Scandinavian melancholy, her gorgeous vocals evoked a forlorn abandonment just as a wintery chill set in with the sad dilemma of whether to give up…

Available on the single ‘The Silence’ via Ad Inexplorata

http://www.karinmy.net/


MICHAEL OAKLEY Left Behind

The mighty Italo Disco statement of ‘Left Behind’ came complete with obligatory orchestra stabs and a rousing chorus, gleefully fusing SAVAGE, RAF, PET SHOP BOYS and BEE GEES within a big Trevor Horn styled kitchen sink! But despite the fun laden octave shift frenzy, the lyrics were concerned with midlife reflection. Michael Oakley told The Electricity Club: “the song is about me feeling like everyone around me was getting settled in their career, getting married and taking out a mortgage.”

Available on the album ‘Introspect’ via NewRetroWave

https://www.facebook.com/MichaelOakleyOfficial/


OBLONG Echolocation

Every now and then, the world needs a lively unpretentious synth instrumental record. With the second OBLONG album ‘The Sea At Night’, the trio of Benge, Dave Nice and Sid Stronarch delivered a collection of rustic electro-acoustic organically farmed electronica! With mood and pace, ‘Echolocation’ was a classic synth instrumental with its crystalline textures and charming slightly off-key blips, aurally reflecting the remote moorland location in Cornwall where it was recorded.

Available on the album ‘The Sea At Night’ via Memetune Recordings

https://twitter.com/oblongtheband


OMD Don’t Go

OMD began their recorded career with a KRAFTWERK homage and four decades on, they came full circle. A great grandchild of Klingklang and cousin of ‘Metroland’ from ‘English Electric’ but refined for BBC Radio 2 airplay, ‘Don’t Go’ captured the essence of OMD’s enduring electronic appeal. With crystalline synth melodies from Humphreys and a spirited vocal delivery from McCluskey attached to a hypnotic Synthanorma backdrop, OMD continue to produce quality avant pop tunes.

Available on the album ‘Souvenir: The Singles Collection 1979 – 2019’ via Universal Music

http://www.omd.uk.com/


PLASMIC Famous

Feisty, fiery and on-message as “your abused Barbie doll from childhood”, Lauren Lusardi, better known as PLASMIC dropped yet another synth bomb with a vivid narrative on the fame game where women have to compromise and serve the male gaze to get to where they want. While pink is her colour, the rugged lo-fi cocoon of anxious sound penetrated the soul with a raging reminder that if “You wanna be famous?”, then really “Don’t be so f*cking brainless!”

Available on the single ‘Famous’ via CandyShop Recordings

https://www.facebook.com/plasmicpower/


QUIETER THAN SPIDERS Komarov

“Beautiful melodies telling me terrible things” said a cartoon meme… with echoes of OMD, the life and death of the tragic Soyuz 1 cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov was captured poignantly in this instrumental by QUIETER THAN SPIDERS from their brilliant debut album ‘Signs Of Life’; Yi Fan from the anonymous Chinese synth trio said: “we were moved by the human story behind it all together with the haunting backdrop of primitive space experimentation.”

Available on the album ‘Signs Of Life’ via https://annaloguerecords.bandcamp.com/album/signs-of-life-2cd-version-master

https://www.facebook.com/QTSpiders/


SOFTWAVE No Need To Hide

Danish duo SOFTWAVE have been gaining momentum with endorsements from luminaries such as ex-members of THE HUMAN LEAGUE Jo Callis and Ian Burden, while improving enormously since their 2016 debut EP ‘Together Alone’. Punctuated by machines of ice, ‘No Need To Hide’ was undoubtedly Clarkean, celebrating positivity in possibly SOFTWAVE’s finest moment yet with one of those rousing Scandipop choruses and coming over not unlike Celine Dion fronting ERASURE.

Available on the album ‘Game On’ via https://softwave.bandcamp.com/

http://www.softwavemusic.com/


FIFI RONG Way Out

The powerful electro R’N’B tinged ‘Way Out’ was the first English language taster from Beijing-born songstress’ ambitious new Anglo-Mandarin bilingual album project. Fifi Rong said of her concept to The Electricity Club: “I’m making a double album. One album in Chinese and the other in English. Not the typical type of translation type of bilingual album from one language to another… So the two albums are all individual songs interlinked in sounds, themes, vibes.”

Available on the single ‘Way Out’ via W Records

http://www.fifirong.com/


US Voyager

Andrew Montgomery, best known as the vocalist of GENEVA who scored hits with ‘Into The Blue’ and ‘Best Regrets’ in 1997, teamed up with Leo Josefsson of Stockholm trio LOWE to form the electronic duo US. If Jeff Buckley had dumped his Fender Telecaster for a Korg MS20, then that is the dark anthemic sound of US. ‘Voyager’ went all spacey avant trance in a wonderful cross-pollination of styles that came over a bit like MUSE at Gatecrasher.

Available on the album ‘First Contact’ via US Music Space

http://www.usmusicspace.com/


WITCH OF THE VALE Trust The Pain

It was a big year for WITCH OF THE VALE as their highly spirited otherworldly sound, deeply rooted in Celtic folklore and Wiccan beliefs, found a sympathetic audience at Infest 2019. The eponymous track from their second EP introduced serene, yet uncertain feelings channelled via clear but eerie vocals over the croon from a raven. This angelic ballad put all the fears to sleep and demonstrated how Erin and Ryan Hawthorne sound are like nothing else within the world of modern electronica.

Available on the EP ‘Trust The Pain’ via https://witchofthevale.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/witchofthevale/


OLLIE WRIDE The Driver

Although best known as the lead vocalist for FM-84 on ‘Running In The Night’, Ollie Wride unleashed his debut solo album in 2019. The Driver’ put into dynamic realisation as to what SIMPLE MINDS might have sounded like had Moroder-graduate Keith Forsey produced the 1985 ‘Once Upon A Time’ album instead of Jimmy Iovine and Bob Clearmountain. The superb grouchy synth rock saw the Brighton boy successfully pull off a cross between Jim Kerr and Billy Idol!

Available on the album ‘Thanks In Advance’ via NewRetroWave

https://www.facebook.com/olliewrideofficial/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
4th December 2019

GRETA Interview

German songstress Greta Louise Schenk found wider fame in her adopted home of Copenhagen as a member of IDA RED, but always had an inherent desire to do something on her own.

The first GRETA release ‘Ardent Spring – Part I’ was an impressive collection of six airily melancholic songs that were simultaneously kitsch, cool, weird and filmic.

Working with the Berlin-based Norwegian producer Kari Jahnsen, better known to the wider music world as FARAO, the collaboration allowed Schenk’s angelic vocal tones to shimmer and shine within a gorgeously dreamy synthpop universe, as on the gently Motorik ‘Baby’ and the forlorn moods of ‘Spin’.

Greta Louise Schenk kindly found some time to talk to The Electricity Club about seasonal changes, vintage Soviet synths and the understated magnetic allure of GRETA.

So why is spring the best season for you?

Spring for me is not necessarily the best or easiest season, but it definitely is the time of year that inspires me the most. I get very moved by nature blossoming and everything getting reborn in a way, which makes me think about life’s cycles. That often results in a strong need to create, redefine myself and “live” a little more again after a long and dark winter.

What inspired the move to Scandinavia to pursue your dream of a music career?

Because I grew up in northern Germany, Denmark has never been far away. Right before finishing high school, I visited a friend who was a part of the music scene in Denmark. It seemed so much more open and inspiring and made me decide to apply to a music school in DK and drop my plans of studying classical music in Germany. I got accepted, moved to DK and here I am.

Who were the artists you loved which influenced you the most?

I think it’s difficult to say who influenced me the most, because I listen to a lot of music and often first find artists that could have been my influences after someone named them as a reference to my music. I think I get inspired mostly by the people I work with and who are a close part of my process.

While making ‘Part I’, I listened a lot to: COCTEAU TWINS, KATE BUSH, ABBA, TAME IMPALA, BEACH HOUSE and the intro song to the movie ‘Never Ending Story’.

You are a member of the girl group IDA RED, but how did the idea for a solo work come about?

Since a very young age I have performed my songs solo on piano. So GRETA as a solo artist has been existing for a long time.

After I stopped playing with my first solo project WHO IS LOUIS, I felt like something new needed to happen. IDA RED was at its early stages at that time and it was very refreshing and inspiring to create everything together as a group. But I soon recognised that I also needed my own space as a solo artist.

I felt a need to go back to my roots and write songs on the piano again. With WHO IS LOUIS, my interest for synthesizers and arranging my songs started and I developed that with my new songs. I slowly created this solo alias, a new project with my own name, where I could go after all my artistic visions and express myself musically and visually. Of course going to Berlin and recording with FARAO has been an essential part of this.

What fascinated you about FARAO’s music to ask her to collaborate with you?

I was blown away by the whole sound. The super interesting rhythms, the detailed arrangements with so much to experience and yet as clear as glass, the catchy and moving melodies, the organic and electronic sound textures. I felt like FARAO would understand my music and would be able to add a little more structure and edge. She did more than that and working with hear really opened my ears and my mind.

How would you describe the differences in the process of making music between IDA RED and solo?

While IDA RED is a combination of three different backgrounds, three women and three voices where we create everything together and always compromise from start to end, GRETA is 100% me. This is my safe space and place where I can outlive all my ideas, it is also a lifelong searching and finding.

Although I love to work together with a lot of different people and also do that a lot later on in the process, I mostly like to work on my own when it comes to songwriting. This is a very vulnerable space where I want to be in control and be able to first create a foundation and then invite other people into my process.

What is the creative dynamic between you and FARAO, how much takes place together in the same room and how much remotely?

Our process is actually very compact and intense. Like one or two weeks in a row, several times a year. I think ‘Part I’ was recorded over 4 weeks in total. I bring my songs as demo recordings and then we sort out, record new stuff, replace and layer on top.

We rarely write extra stuff, our process is all about the sound and production, structure and dynamic. We are very focused when we work but also have a great time playing around with sounds, eating Berlin’s great Asian food and dancing to disco tunes in the breaks and weekends 😃

The mix process is remote, so is everything that follows the recording, like music videos and stuff like that.

FARAO has a nice collection of vintage synths including some from the former Soviet Union, how did you find these to use, did you have a favourite one you kept going back to?

We used all of them all the time and I was in synth heaven. They add so much texture, warmth and edge to every production. I absolutely fell in love with them! My favourites are the Polivoks, Yamaha CS-15 and Korg Delta.

Both ‘Spin’ and the ‘Ardent Spring’ title song have this beautiful melancholic quality, is it more natural for you to produce something sad but dress it up with melody?

It definitely has been that way for a long time, maybe because I started writing therapeutic ballads on my piano when I was a child.

Right now, I am more fascinated by rhythm and bass lines and then create melodies on top of that. But I guess what really fascinates me is the combination of contrasts, creating layers, also with feelings and emotions, and giving my listener the opportunity to read into my music.

I would say that all my new songs are “happier” or definitely groovier but they always have a hint of melancholy in them.

So is ‘Bad Lovers’ autobiographical?

Yes…. 😉

‘White’ is perhaps the most unusual song on the EP, with its rhythmic structure and chromatic overtones, it could almost be an art rock number?

True, I often wonder how this song came out of me. I actually wrote it on my Irish bouzouki, which may explain the chords. I was listening a lot to LANA DEL REY and it was quite a dark time in my life. This song is one of my favourites to play live. With that and ‘Baby’, it is so easy for me to go into that feeling again and I love to fully live it out on stage.

Which are your own favourite songs on the EP?

I can’t choose. Some of those songs have been with me for a long time. Developing, changing and moving along with me. Maybe ‘Bad Lovers’, this one is my instant Berlin-feeling in a song for me.

Will there be an ‘Ardent Spring – Part II’?

Yes definitely! And I am already slowly and secretly working on something that right now is called ‘Part III’…

What is next for you?

A lot, I have some very special concerts coming up for the rest of autumn and December. One of them is an audio-visual concert with visuals especially created / designed to my music. In November I will go to Berlin to write new music and then I am slowly getting ready for a crazy exciting 2020…


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to GRETA

Special thanks to Nicki Bladt at Celebration Records

‘Ardent Spring – Part I’ is released as a download EP by Celebration Records, available direct from https://gretagretamusic.bandcamp.com/

GRETA 2019 live dates include:

Frederiksberg Country Club (9th November), Odense Cirkus Dynamo (23rd November), Copenhagen Trinitatis Church (10th December)

https://www.facebook.com/greta.geschenk/

https://www.instagram.com/greta.geschenk/

http://celebrationrecords.dk/work/greta/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6qcpBIlSWMhas6waVUKCbK


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
7th November 2019

GRETA Ardent Spring – Part I

This is the story of the classically trained German chanteuse who moved to Scandinavia and found success in a Danish girl group.

And when she made the move into creating something solo, she became inspired and sought the help of a Norwegian who lived in Berlin. Copenhagen resident Greta Louise Schenk found wider fame in her adopted home as a member of IDA RED.

But with her FARAO produced debut EP ‘Ardent Spring – Part I’, she has entered the dreamy synthpop universe also occupied by her Norsk collaborator where her angelic vocal tones can shimmer and shine.

Inspired by seasonal changes, Schenk said: “Spring to me is often where I take my time to think and where my head is filled with chaos and new ideas bloom. Especially the spring in Berlin and Copenhagen has inspired me – the very contrast between nature (which is constantly changing) and hard concrete (which pretty much remains as it is).”

Opening with the gorgeously wispy air of ’Spin’, the magnetic allure of Chinese singer FIFI RONG also looms. Meanwhile the filmic ‘Ardent Spring’ title song captures the delightful oddness and crystalline soundscapes of IONNALEE, although with a looser rhythmic backbone and in a more understated manner.

‘Bad Lovers’ plays with aspects of synthwave with electronic percussion and guitar making their presence felt, but the eerie choir sounds and layered voices keep proceedings distinctly Nordic, something not totally unsurprising with FARAO at the helm.

However ‘White’ pierces in a more sinister manner and counterpoints the dreamier trio of tunes that comprise the first half. With its chromatic overtones, hypnotic arpeggio and lightly swung rhythmic backbone, played by a loud rock band, this could be MUSE.

Driven by a subtle Motorik beat, the uptempo swirl of ‘Baby’ is fabulously cosmic pop that recalls ANI GLASS, another independently minded synth songstress with a girl group past. Closing with ‘Wilderness’, it beautifully captures the emotions of regret and turmoil while maintaining hopes and dreams, with Schenk expressing darkness and light in equal measures.

Kitsch, cool, weird and ethereal, this is an impressive debut body of work by GRETA; if this is what ‘Ardent Spring – Part I’ has to offer, then there is much to look forward to with ‘Ardent Spring – Part II’.


‘Ardent Spring – Part I’ is released as a download EP by Celebration Records, available direct from https://gretagretamusic.bandcamp.com/

GRETA 2019 live dates include:

Copenhagen Musikcaféen (18th October)*, Aarhus Radar (19th October)*, Frederiksberg Country Club (9th November), Odense Cirkus Dynamo (23rd November), Copenhagen Trinitatis Church (10th December)

*with PENNY POLICE

https://www.facebook.com/greta.geschenk/

https://www.instagram.com/greta.geschenk/

http://celebrationrecords.dk/work/greta/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6qcpBIlSWMhas6waVUKCbK


Text by Chi Ming Lai
10th October 2019

Introducing GRETA

Greta Louise Schenk is a Copenhagen domiciled German who first found wider attention in the atmospheric trio WHO IS LOUIS and the girl group IDA RED who she is still currently a member of.

The classically trained composer and songwriter is soon to unleash her debut solo EP, co-produced by the Berlin based Norwegian FARAO who released the critically acclaimed ‘Pure-O’ album in 2018.

Making effective use of a Roland Juno 60, Yamaha CS15, Korg Delta and Omnichord, perhaps unsurprisingly, the gorgeous new single called ’Spin’ does have the wispy air of her co-producer’s own work while the magnetic allure of YELLO collaborator Fifi Rong also looms.

“I had been following FARAO and had listened to her music for a few years thinking that she would understand my music and probably be able to add a little edge” remembered Schenk, “We worked together for the first time in her studio in Berlin September 2017. We are both really into shimmering harps, vintage synthesizers and 80s disco. We are always very inspired and productive when we work together”.

The animated video for ‘Spin’ created by Marie Boye Thomsen and William Reynish cerebrally offers a portrayal of the existential crisis within the human condition. GRETA’s songs aim to echo her thoughts on life and inner contradictions with light and darkness in equal measures. Kitsch, cool, weird and dreamy, it could all get very interesting…

An earlier synthbass driven single ‘Bad Lovers’ took things more uptempo, while the filmic ‘Ardent Spring’ pointed towards the crystalline soundscapes of IONNALEE, although with a looser rhythmic backbone.

This music is indeed far cry from the Scandipop R ‘n’ B of ‘Talk’, ‘Wildflower’ and ‘Oh Girl’ which saw IDA RED gain traction on national radio in Denmark.


’Spin’ is released as a digital single on 5th July 2019 by Celebration Records, available direct from https://gretagretamusic.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/greta.geschenk/

https://www.instagram.com/greta.geschenk/

http://celebrationrecords.dk/work/greta/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
3rd July 2019