Tag: Twin Peaks (Page 1 of 2)

A Short Conversation with I AM SNOW ANGEL

The quietly subversive I AM SNOW ANGEL launches her most ambitious body of work yet in her second full-length album ‘Mothership’.

The space vehicle of Julie Kathryn, the multi-talented singer, musician and producer hailing from Lake Placid, an unusual combination of electronica and Americana has steadily evolved since her self-titled debut EP.

Following works such as ‘Crocodile’ and ‘Desert’, the spiritual intensity of ‘Mothership’ offers a work which is rich and melodic but perhaps a shade darker than where I AM SNOW ANGEL has boldly gone before, reflecting some turbulent times in a volatile world.

Julie Kathryn kindly talked to The Electricity Club about her ‘Mothership’ and where else she might be landing…

Your first album was called ‘Crocodile’ and from the title alone, ‘Mothership’ indicates a great sense of ambition?

This album definitely felt more substantial for me from the start. It feels like one piece of music, split into acts. I knew I needed to isolate myself to create it, and that the finished product would be more intense than what I’ve created in the past. This album was something I felt compelled to create.

Spirituality has been a recurring theme in your music, is ‘Mothership’ connected to that?

Definitely, ‘Mothership’ is an intersection of traditional spirituality and paranormal / science fiction – both of which are present in my inner artistic life. At the beginning of the album, the protagonist struggles in an emotionally uninhabitable world, longing for escape – and even for abduction. When the ‘Mothership’ finally arrives, her fantasy of escape feels more like a nightmare. But in the end, she returns to an altered world where she is enlightened. She can feel love again.

How important was the interim ‘Desert’ EP on your musical journey to ‘Mothership’?

Musically, it was very important. My songwriting on that EP – in particular, ‘Desert’ and ‘Losing Face’ – took me to a deeper place, lyrically and emotionally. I think this served as a bridge to this new, more intense material.

You recorded this album alone in a cabin in the woods, how was it to be cut-off from all the distractions of the city and to function self-sufficiently?

It was so wonderful. I didn’t want it to end. I was able to get lost in artistic flow for days at a time, working around the clock in my favourite place on earth.

Is this what contributed to the nocturnal demeanour of ‘Mothership’?

Yes. In the middle of nowhere during the winter, it was dark and quiet a lot of the time. And I definitely created a lot of the music late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Those are my prime creative hours.

It all starts with a wondrous instrumental ‘Inception’ which is a new path for you?

That piece of music seems to write itself. It didn’t seem like it should have lyrics, so I left it as it was.

‘Honeybee’ is perhaps one of the album’s pivotal tracks, what inspired it?

‘Honeybee’ – like much of the first half of the album – describes a sense of disillusionment and a desire to escape. I chose sounds that reminded me of buzzing bees and gurgling honeycomb, but with an ominous edge, intended to represent a natural world out of balance. Once I settled on guitar chords and synth sounds, the melody and narrative came to me quickly.

Things seems grander on this record, ‘You Were Mine’ sounds like it’s been backed by a huge synthetic orchestra?

I remember creating the music for that song. I was sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace in the cabin with my gear spread out around me. I used some of the sounds from Ableton’s “Orchestral Strings” soundpack, looping and layering various parts – whatever felt natural. The sonic landscape for this track materialized in a really fun and intuitive way.

You’ve opted to include both variants of ‘Honyebee’ and ‘You Were Mine’ on ‘Mothership’, what were your reasons?

For ‘Honeybee’, I felt very connected to my original version – the Cabin Mix – and still I had a nagging desire to re-imagine the song once I was back in New York City. So I spent a day or two remixing my own track (which was a really fun exercise in itself) and I ended up with the City Mix. While the Cabin Mix feels very organic to me, the City Mix is more glitchy and anxious. I thought it would be fun to include them both.

With ‘You Were Mine’, I was curious to hear another interpretation of the song. I asked a collaborator whom I really respect – the Swedish artist / producer THE LAND BELOW to remix the song and I loved his dark twist on it.

You’ve applied more glitch techniques ?

Yes I definitely used some glitchy sounds on this album. In ‘Inception’ I reversed sounds of children playing and simple xylophone notes to create an eerie, subtly off-kilter mood. In ‘Prey of My Own’ and ‘Wake Me’ I chopped, warped and reversed a lot of the backing vocals. And as I mentioned before, ‘Honeybee (City Mix)’ ended up a bit glitchy and crunchy.

‘Loud and Sharp / Hard and Fast’ does what it says on the tin with talk of “falling out more times than falling in”, what was the catalyst for that?

As I was writing this, I was thinking about the concept of “falling in” or “falling out” of love. I started to wonder if there’s an exact moment when each of those occurs. In the case of “falling out”, I envisioned a loved one’s previously soothing voice suddenly sounding harsh and abrasive. And then I realized that I can recall “falling out” of love more times than I can remember “falling into” love… which seems paradoxical.

‘Prey of My Own’ is quite intense and almost claustrophobic, a case of cabin fever?

This song was partially inspired by a post-apocalyptic novel by Emily St. John Mandel, ‘Station Eleven’, that I read while I was conceptualizing this album. The characters in the book, including the female protagonist Kirsten, must fend for themselves in a wild, uncivilized world. In ‘Prey of My Own’, my protagonist has become a warrior in a cold and dangerous winter forest.

The ‘Mothership’ title song and ‘Wake Me’ both have a sombre air?

Both of these songs depict the protagonist’s abduction (or, dream of being abducted). Desperate for relief from her unhappy life, she eagerly awaits the ‘Mothership’, even drinking special elixirs in an effort to expedite its arrival. But when the ship lands, its sound is harsh and deafening. What follows (in the rest of the track and in ‘Wake Me’) is either an actual abduction or a very vivid nightmare that leaves her frightened and disoriented. When the protagonist wakes up/returns to consciousness, she finds that the world has changed, and she has changed.

The lyrical content of the closing number ‘I Love You’ could have many interpretations for the listener?

The album’s narrative ends here. Unaware exactly how long she has been gone from this world, the protagonist wakes up to an altered reality – both internally and externally. Her spiritual composition has changed, and the world feels different.

She finally feels peace and love within herself. She remembers someone she loved many years ago and makes a trek through a new futuristic landscape to find this person.

You must be very proud of ‘Mothership’, what’s the next step as far as presenting it to the wider world?

Thank you so much. I’m hoping to reach as many people as I can with this album, and I’m grateful to people like you for taking the time to listen to and share my work.


The Electricity Club gives its warmest thanks to I AM SNOW ANGEL

‘Mothership’ available as a download via the usual digital outlets

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Julie Drummond
2nd February 2019

HILARY WOODS Live at St Pancras Old Church

Within the sedate setting of St Pancras Old Church in London, Hilary Woods launched her debut album ‘Colt’ with an intimate live presentation.

It couldn’t have been any different from when at the age of 20, she found fame as the bassist of Irish indie trio JJ72. Going on to open for MUSE and COLDPLAY, Woods left the band in 2005 to pursue her passion for film, art and literature.

Woods started making music again in 2014 to begin the journey towards ‘Colt’, a highly personal collection recorded in an abandoned flat somewhere in Dublin. With an invitation from THE CURE’s Robert Smith to play at his Meltdown festival, it is an indication of the regard with which she is held by other musicians.

While ‘Colt’ itself combines piano, synths, field recordings and old string instruments, Woods accompanied herself alone on keyboards and guitar, save the occasional appearance by a violinist.

Opening with a stripped back version of 2016’s ‘Bathing’ from the ‘Heartbox’ EP, Woods’ wonderfully forlorn voice captivated throughout as she simultaneously transfixed herself to her ivory tinkling. It was an indicator of how the show would play out.

Under minimal lighting with a whispery allure in her voice, Woods excelled with her piano on ‘Take Him In’, while ‘Black Rainbow’ captured the serene essence of Julee Cruise.

Remembering absent friends, the gorgeous ‘Inhaler’ left those present breathless in awe at Woods’ previously hidden (to the public at least) range of capabilities.

One of the highlights from ‘Colt’, Woods’ rendition of ‘Jesus Said’ replicated the original, with the wonders of technology allowing its drifting synthesized tones and hypnotic drum machine to augment her beautiful piano passages. Described by the songstress herself as “a song that seeks catharsis”, its meditative trance-like quality was perfectly suited for the occasion.

A bare portrayal of ‘Prodigal Dog’ added some haunting moods while using loop pedals on ‘Limbs’, Woods built layer upon layer of string machine as a piano motif played out the coda.

‘Secret Sabbath’ from her first solo EP ‘Night’ affirmed the evening’s endearing understatement and with enigmatically nothing to say until before her closing semi-acoustic rendition of ‘Daughter’, Woods confessed to having nerves.

But she expressed her heartfelt appreciation of the attentive and informed audience who had gathered. With ‘Colt’ released by the highly regarded Sacred Bones Records who can count Zola Jesus, John Carpenter and David Lynch among their roster, the Irish songstress has proven she is worthy of belonging in such esteemed company.

With a wonderfully captivating performance of just eleven songs, Hilary Woods provided some welcome air and mystique to a world that has been infiltrated by far too many untalented wannabes playing out their lives in public on islands of love or whatever.


With thanks to Frankie Davison and Kate Price at Stereo Sanctity

‘Colt’ is released by Scared Bones Records in CD, vinyl LP and digital formats

Hilary Woods performs at Robert Smith’s Meltdown 2018 in the Purcell Room at London’s South Bank Centre on Wednesday 20th June and The Sugar Club in Dublin on Friday 14th September

http://www.hilarywoods.com

https://www.facebook.com/HilaryWoods.Musician.Artist/

https://twitter.com/_hilary_woods


Text and Photos by Chi Ming Lai
14th June 2018

HILARY WOODS Colt

Sacred Bones is home to many quirky acts; artists that have the very best of the alternative outlook on music and life.

Amongst Zola Jesus and John Carpenter plus the one and only David Lynch, the Irish songstress Hilary Woods feels like she belongs.

Since the music has been the driving force for the once band member of JJ72, with whom Woods (then a teenager) started her wild love affair with performing, it made sense for the multi-talented artist to cross over into film and visual arts.

Her early recordings culminated in the release of a couple of EPs, ‘Night’ and ‘Heartbox’. Writing film scores and theatre pieces gave way to the latest project from the multi-faceted Irish lady; ‘Colt’ is a very private and mysterious debut album, “an intensely personal journey through grief, abandonment, and mutating love”.

Written in an abandoned Dublin flat she was living in with her daughter using the equipment collected over the years, with synths, tape machines, and various odds and ends and utilising any other technology at hand, the “completely broke” Woods set off to create a “way to process and make sense of the everyday”.

Dealing with personal loss, sadness, pain and long lost love, the self-confessed minimalist begins the journey with ‘Inhaler’, a poignant cry for air. The simple piano with nothing much else but sparse strings and a voice of Julee Cruise, meanders through concepts of desolation and loss, eerily floating away Lynch style. What a perfectly dreamy start, but not without the punctuated feeling of uneasiness and dread, and that’s what makes Woods so special.

‘Prodigal Dog’ continues the weightless feel with a gentle rhythm and dedicate vocal, at times reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan’s capabilities, while ‘Take Him In’ is a musicbox tale of abandonment sung in layered voices with only a piano to fall back on. ‘Kith’ brings strings in, simply showcasing the delicacies of Woods’ audio wizardry à la Marnie, pleading to her lover to “lay with me”, again culminating in palpable uncertainty and fear.

The only track with more prominent beats on ‘Colt’ is ‘Jesus Said’. In this semi-religious piece, arguing the existence of God and wanting her life back, with her child like expression, Woods experiments with offbeat piano sounds and other elements randomly added to create a cacophony of arty musical approach.

‘Sever’ returns to a simpler form with a metronomic beat, monochromatically embossed with a Kate Bush-resembling vocal, where the need to “sever these ties… they bide me” is expressed with found sounds in their simplest form over a grainy recording.

‘Black Rainbow’ could have easily been used by David Lynch in many of his productions, being particularly suited to ‘Twin Peaks’, with the stunning similarities to Julee Cruise’s style. This delicately placed track with its celestial qualities describes a sad ending of a beautiful relationship.

“‘Black Rainbow’ was so named because I loved that image, the idea that when that’s all one can see overhead / when a relationship is dying between two people that once loved each other very much – there is no choice but to believe that there is something better for you at the end of it all” says Woods.

The closing ‘Limbs’ offers no change of musical direction, continuing the heavenly serenity, the simplistic approach with delicate piano and bare vocal, and instrumentation sounding like a Japanese koto, with its soothing and fragile properties.

The concept for ‘Colt’ was to achieve “a siren’s song, once mysterious, dark and beautiful, pulling you in” and the Dublin based songwriter certainly achieves that with her first long player.

For Woods, the album was a perfect medium created “as a means to speak with inner voices, explore aloneness, and understand the complexities of desire. As a vehicle for imaginative flight, as a quest for resilience and connectivity to the outside world, as a medium through which to journey into the present, to temper the mind and inhabit the body.”

And for the listener, ‘Colt’ is the perfect calmer in the world full of noise, interruptions, deception and rejection. What the ex-JJ72 bassist has achieved here is a wonderfully balanced, beautifully exercised and marvellously presented piece, which has the power to cut through the ordinary and lift to higher levels of consciousness.

Hilary Woods, you’ve given us a beautiful album and proven that it’s not the endless supply of cash and fancy equipment that makes a great record; rather, it’s the talent and musical knowhow.


‘Colt’ is released on 8th June 2018 by Scared Bones Records

Hilary Woods 2018 live dates include:  London St Pancras Old Church (11th June), Robert Smith’s Meltdown (20th June), Dublin The Sugar Club (14th September)

http://www.hilarywoods.com

https://www.facebook.com/HilaryWoods.Musician.Artist/

https://twitter.com/_hilary_woods

https://www.instagram.com/_hilary_woods/

https://hilarywoodsmusic.bandcamp.com


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
4th June 2018

JOHNNY JEWEL Themes for Television

A year after the ‘Twin Peaks‘ revival series took the ever expectant fans on a journey of weird and wonderful rediscovery of all things Lynchian, the man behind CHROMATICS, Johnny Jewel, surprises his audiences with a long player designed to paint the alternative backdrop and his story of the cult series.

Having performed in the Roadhouse during the very premiere of the cult show by Lynch, with ‘Shadow’ exactly a year ago, Jewel celebrates the anniversary with a twenty one track double album, which hopes to catch glimpses of the unnatural and superhuman.

“It’s been a year since CHROMATICS performed at the Roadhouse. With disintegrated memory through the haze of television snow, I wanted to share a glimpse behind the red curtain”, Jewel states, providing an auditory insight to the magical world of all things peculiar.

A multi-instrumentalist, Jewel runs his own label Italians do it Better on which he features many acts with his involvement. Be it SYMMETRY with Nat Walker, with whom he also forms DESIRE joined by Megan Louise, GLASS CANDY with Ida No, and of course Chromatics, accompanied by Ruth Radelet, Adam Miller and Nat Walker again.

Having only recently released his third opus, ‘Digital Rain’, the fan of all things analogue introduces an insight into the “sonic exploration of the sounds I was hearing in my nightmares.”

‘Themes for Television’ is Jewel’s idea of a ‘Twin Peaks’ soundtrack, it is his very own version of events, in which fear is paralleled by desire, release and uncertainty.

“I wanted to find my way out of the maze by focusing on beauty over fear — like the way the fractured sunrise looks in a dream.”

And indeed from ‘Requiem’ to ‘Infinity Room’, the sound manipulator culls six hours of recordings into bite size pieces of extraordinary vision of his own making.

Through the mercenary ‘Black Room’ with its fear inducing aura, into Laura Palmer’s dance-like bossa nova of ‘Loveless’, or the gloomily hopeful swish of ‘Red Curtain’, Jewel leads us into his very own Lynchian inspired universe, where ‘Tomorrow is Yesterday’ and ‘Red Door’ leads into ‘Purgatory’.

DESIRE join Jewel on ‘Saturday (Evening)’, its ethereal vocals and enthusiastically optimistic outlook with glimpses of Julee Cruise’s genteel approach to the vocal. The opening titles to ‘Shadow’ are here too, of course, reminiscing the Roadhouse stage bathed in cobalt, giving the perfect backdrop to hypnotising sounds and eerie sequences.

The rough sounds of ‘Caffeine’ gingerly induce the ‘Waking Up’ process, where delicate notions are crashed with feelings of dread and hopelessness. The dainty bells of ‘Breathless’ ring the graceful melody, forming beautifully, yet sad, laced with sinister feelings, yet forward looking future, to be exhausted into the fading ‘Infinity Room’, where there is no hope left.

Maybe the only hope is ‘Windswept’, with the Lynchian creation of Dougie Jones aka Agent Cooper’s awakening from a dazed mechanical dream, and the longing saxophone adding to the melancholy of his existence.

‘Themes for Television’ is a marvellous surprise from Johnny Jewel; a worthy celebration of his awe for Lynch and the showcase of what masterdom the sound manipulator can achieve with a minimal approach.

There’s nothing left to do but get lost in the difficult to resist capability of his musical designs… and perhaps dream of further ‘Twin Peaks’…


‘Themes for Television’ is released as a CD and double Cherry Pie vinyl LP on 29th June 1018, available from http://italiansdoitbetter.bigcartel.com

https://www.facebook.com/johnnyjewelmusic/

https://www.facebook.com/ITALIANSDOITBETTER/

https://twitter.com/idib_


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
22nd May 2018

A Short Conversation with HILARY WOODS

Hilary Woods was just 20 when she first found fame as the bassist of Irish trio JJ72.

‘Long Way South’, a percussive angst ridden slice of alternative rock in the manner of JOY DIVISION’s ‘She’s Lost Control’, reached the lower reaches of the UK singles charts in 2000.

Three hit singles ‘October Swimmer’, ‘Oxygen’ and ‘Snow’ followed but after two albums plus tours opening for MUSE and COLDPLAY, Woods left the band in 2003 to pursue her passion for film, art and literature.

In 2014, she started making music again with her resultant EPs ‘Night’ and ‘Heartbox’ both finding media acclaim. June 2018 sees the release of her debut album ‘Colt’, recorded on eight-track in an abandoned flat somewhere in Dublin and mixed in Berlin.

Combining piano, synths, field recordings, drones, occasional beats, old string instruments and Woods’ wonderfully forlorn voice recalling Julee Cruise, the record will be released by Sacred Bones Records, home of Zola Jesus, John Carpenter and David Lynch.

If the haunting new single ‘Prodigal Dog’ is anything to go by, the Irish songstress undoubtedly belongs in the company of her esteemed label mates. For its visual accompaniment, the predominantly monochromatic self-directed video captures the song’s dark and claustrophobic mood while allowing plenty of life into the earthy atmosphere.

With ‘Colt’ about to be unleashed and a prestigious appearance at Robert Smith’s Meltdown 2018 following not long after, Hilary Woods kindly chatted to The Electricity Club about her return…

‘Colt’ is very different from your musical past with JJ72, what inspired you to head in a more ethereal direction after your time away from music?

It’s what came out and what naturally arose when I sat down at the piano on my own. I can’t pinpoint one particular inspirational force behind it, I do think though creating music on your own is a very different beast to a band context and that in itself shapes the material.

They often say art is a reflection of life, how has yours been these last few years?

I’m in my music and my music is in me but we all live many inner lives through the course of our day. I feel all art reflects strands of what preoccupies us, but not all strands.

Is the album a reaction to your past?

I’m not sure if it reacts as much as dialogues with a lot of elements from different stretches of time. The act of making the record no matter what time / where the songs were drawing from, was very much a present thing.

You opted to blend acoustic with electronic, had there been any temptation to keep things purer or were synths a malleable aesthetic that you couldn’t resist?

A malleable aesthetic I couldn’t resist.

The EPs ‘Night’ and ‘Heartbox’ helped you dip your feet back in the water, how important were they in helping to realise your own sound?

Very. I have a different relationship to both of them, ‘Night’ gave me confidence. You learn by doing about what works and what doesn’t.

Speaking of dipping your feet in, ‘Bathing’ was a particular highlight of those two releases…

What I like most about ‘Bathing’ is that it has evolved live into something I’m currently more connected to. The video took months and was a painstaking undertaking!

Did the deal with Sacred Bones Records come out of the blue?

No, we had been in conversation for a while.

‘Inhaler’ is something of a beauty and a fine trailer for the album. What’s that about and how did that come together?

‘Inhaler’ is about feeling the presence of someone who is absent and a longing to return to how things once were between two people. I recorded many different versions of it, and spent a long time playing around with sounds.

‘Black Rainbow’ sounds like it could have appeared on the soundtrack of ‘Twin Peaks’?

It does have a tone of ‘Twin Peaks’, atmospherically it reminds me of a dystopian 50s dancehall.

Rhythms are not particularly prevalent on this album, although there are percussive elements to ‘Prodigal Dog’. Has this template been conscious for ‘Colt’?

Rhythm is key in all the songs just not in a percussive sense, although there is a strong presence of beats but certainly not on every track. I ran with what felt most natural for the record as a whole.

‘Jesus Said’ is one of the stand-out tracks and one which uses actually mechanical beats, so what inspired that one musically and lyrically?

I think it’s a song that seeks catharsis, it reminds me of a spinning dervish that works itself up into a trance except one that is grounding, gets into the bones.

There’s some lovely piano on ‘Jesus Said’ and ‘Take Him In’, what is your training as far as keyboards is concerned?

I sit down at the piano every day. It’s the instrument I feel most at home on, so that would be my training ground.

You’re going to be taking ‘Colt’ out on the road, what format will these shows take and how are you feeling about them?

I will be playing solo shows, the record is intimate and so is the live show. It’s stripped back, I’m looking forward to them.

How do you hope things may develop over time for you?

I’d like to keep excavating, playing, writing, making and doing what I love.


The Electricity Club gives its grateful thanks to Hilary Woods

Additional thanks to Frankie Davison at Stereo Sanctity

‘Colt’ is released on 8th June 2018 by Scared Bones Records in CD, Vinyl LP and digital formats

Hilary Woods 2018 live dates include:

London St Pancras Old Church (11th June), Robert Smith’s Meltdown (20th June), Dublin The Sugar Club (14th September)

http://www.hilarywoods.com

https://www.facebook.com/HilaryWoods.Musician.Artist/

https://twitter.com/_hilary_woods

https://www.instagram.com/_hilary_woods/

https://hilarywoodsmusic.bandcamp.com


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
17th May 2018

« Older posts