Category: Introducing (Page 1 of 24)

Introducing HATTIE COOKE

In these days of 40-something males in midlife crisis mode accumulating modulars and Moog Ones like some kind of penis extension, Hattie Cooke’s attitude is wonderfully fresh and fiercely independent.

Hattie Cooke is proudly working class and the “Brighton Synth Queen” is of the view that electronic music should not be an artform restricted by background. And with that, she writes, records and produces her music at home using just GarageBand.

Hattie Cooke’s eponymous 2016 cassette debut captured a traditional singer-songwriter with a Fender Telecaster who was partial to the occasional bit of synth assistance as on ‘Song 14’ and ‘Shut Your Mouth’. The 2019 instrumental follow-up ‘The Sleepers’ was an imaginary film soundtrack with the dystopian John Carpenter-inspired tension of ‘Evacuation’ being a particular highlight.

With echoes of folkie Laura Marling’s artier electronic duo LUMP with Mike Lindsay, Hattie Cooke’s recently issued third album ‘Bliss Land’ combines the approaches of its two predecessors and is more intentionally pop than she has ever been before.

The nostalgic ‘Youth’ captivates via an introspective but accessible vibe reflecting on the excitement and urgency of those formative years; it’s a remembrance that many may have felt in these pandemic times with their understandable anxiousness about the future.

An intimate gravitas comes with the expanded electronic texturing on ‘Bliss Land’ and this is undoubtedly stamped on its opening pair of songs. The hypnotic ‘I Get By’ is superb with ringing hooks, sweeping soundscapes and airy understated vocals that wouldn’t sound out of place on an Italians Do It Better ‘After Dark’ compilation. Continuing that oblique aural connection, the darker “echo chambers” of ‘Mistaken’ are reminiscent of IDIB family member Tess Roby via her more danceable side project DAWN TO DAWN.

Droning with an impending doom, ‘Invisible Lines’ exposes Hattie Cooke’s forlorn vulnerability while the delightful instrumental ‘Fantasies’ expands on the cinematic moods of ‘The Sleepers’ to reveal the origins of ‘Bliss Land’ as music for a label specialising in film soundtracks. However, guitars have not completely disappeared with ‘Cars’, not a cover of the Gary Numan No1 but Cooke’s own take on indie synth with elements of THE CURE creeping in.

Born out of hushed anticipation and anxiety, ‘Bliss Land’ is a largely beautiful set of personal songs that capture the confined surroundings of its creation with hope and trepidation, embracing the fear embroiled in a now-changed world…


‘Bliss Land’ is released by Castles In Space and available as a CD, red vinyl LP and digital download direct from https://hattiecooke-cis.bandcamp.com/

Hattie Cooke will be opening for Alice Hubble at London Hackney Folklore on Thursday 7th October 2021

Hattie Cooke’s Patreon is at https://www.patreon.com/Hattiecooke

https://www.facebook.com/hattiecookemusic

https://twitter.com/hattiecooke

https://www.instagram.com/hattiecookemusic/

https://hattiecooke.bandcamp.com/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/70bAR5vP3r1txDXLnNC3ee


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Adam Cresswell
Photo by Chris Standley
25th September 2021

Introducing DAWN TO DAWN

Born to musician parents, Canadian singer songwriter Tess Roby dedicated her 2018 debut album ‘Beacon’ to her late father.

Building her songs around the understated tones of a Roland Juno 106, there was room for her reflective vocals to take centre stage for an earthy brand of folktronica that was a departure for the Italians Do It Better label. But adding mechanised the beats of a Roland TR808, Tess Roby has a new project in the danceable dreampop of DAWN TO DAWN. Completing the line-up are Adam Ohr and Patrick Lee who bring their Minimoog, Roland System 100, Roland Juno 60, Korg 700s, Korg MS20, Roland SH101 and ARP Solina along to the party.

Based in Montreal, the trio met just after Roby had released ‘Beacon’. Their best song to date is the recently released ’Care’ which was written on a cold winter’s night. Nocturnal yet rhythmic, with an alluring folk-tinged vocal to offset the understated synthetic overtures, there are enigmatic skatted vocals in the vein of Dot Allison for the first two minutes before Roby presents her more coherent contralto over its hypnotic bassline and crisp rhythmic construction.

Directed by Tess Roby, the visual accompaniment to ‘Care’ is a touching ode to summer nights with friends and losing track of time through collective enjoyment. Containing in-car and studio footage, the video is enhanced by its impressionistic quality, thanks to being shot on Kodak 16mm film by Hugo Bernier.

The first DAWN TO DAWN single ‘Meridian’ was more ethereal and sedate in comparison with ‘Care’, although it retained a drifting nocturnal quality with a fabulous multi-faceted vocal arrangement. But the previous single ‘A Colour Named By You’ was much sparser and devoid of drum machine, coming over more audibly reminiscent of Tess Roby’s own forlorn soundscapes as showcased on her solo long player.

DAWN TO DAWN themselves are due to release their own full length album in 2022.


‘Care’ is available as a download single from https://dawntodawn.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/dawntodawnmusic

https://twitter.com/dawntodawnmusic

https://www.instagram.com/dawn__to__dawn/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
30th August 2021

Introducing JOON

It is time soon for more ‘Good Times’ and JOON, the electronic solo project from Maltese producer Yasmin Kuymizakis does her best to remember them.

Written and produced by Kuymizakis with the ubiquitous Italians Do It Better head honcho Johnny Jewel, ‘Good Times’ captures a charming innocence in a dreamy Mediterranean take on Japanese Citypop about more carefree pre-pandemic times with fewer responsibilities.

The song comes from the upcoming debut album by JOON which comprises of both fun upbeat tracks and more personal songs composed over the past 10 years.

In a similar epiphany that Brian Eno had with ambient music, Kuymizakis was involved in a car accident and while recuperating, she appreciated how precious life was. So she taught herself how to use audio software and synths as her form of self-expression. Her experiences led her to co-found the Malta Sound Women Network to bring like-minded women together on the island.

In a self-directed and edited video filmed by Neo Borg Bonaci, a floodlit tennis court acts as the setting for JOON to consider the love of her life as she reflects on “The way you sing your songs and make me dance, the way you take a chance on a little romance” before affirming “You remind me of the good times”.

Previous singles from JOON have included the quirky lo-fi hypnotism of ‘ET’ which was used in a digital fashion show for the Nintendo simulation game ‘Animal Crossing’, a NEW ORDER meets MARSHEAUX styled cover of BANANARAMA’s ‘Cruel Summer’ and ‘Watch The Sky’, an electro-funky nod to Róisín Murphy. Meanwhile, there have been regular collaborations with her compatriot BARK BARK DISCO on tracks such as ‘Til The End’ and ‘Another Play’.

Coming soon from JOON is ‘Orqod’, her first composition in Maltese. Having gained some forward momentum in the past year or so, the future looks bright for the artist formally known as YEWS as she settles into the Italians Do It Better family.


‘Good Times’ is released by Italians Do It Better via the usual digital platforms

JOON perfroms live at Spazju Kreattiv Theatre in Malta on 26th June 2021, the event will be streamed live, more information at https://www.kreattivita.org/en/event/joon-live/2021-06-25/

https://www.templeofjoon.com/

https://www.facebook.com/templeofjoon

https://twitter.com/templeofjoon

https://www.instagram.com/templeofjoon/

https://italiansdoitbetter.com/joon/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Maria Galea
17th June 2021

Introducing R. MISSING

New York City-based darklings R. MISSING are fronted by Sharon Shy, a vocalist with an elegant Jane Birkin-like presence while the studious Toppy Frost does the music.

Shy has been quoted as saying “While most people seem to bond over things they both like, I think it was a very long shared list of dislikes that kept our initial conversations going”.

Previously going under the moniker of THE ROPES with gloomy indie fare such as ‘Love Is A Chain Store’, R. MISSING are much more electronic if no less enigmatic, exploring more shadowy forms akin to other North American acts such as CHROMATICS, TR/ST and NATION OF LANGUAGE.

Their debut six track mini-album ‘Unsummering’ came out in 2017 on the French label Talitres with the doom disco of ‘Kelly Was a Philistine’ being particularly intriguing, although the pair’s post-punk tendencies were still very much looming the brooding title track. The 2020 singles ‘Suzywhereabout’ and ‘Placeholder For The Night’ signalled airier developments in their increasingly synthier sound.

But on signing to Sugarcane Recordings who have been a North American home to artists such as SIN COS TAN, GUSGUS, PROCESSORY, GAZELLE TWIN, FRAGILE SELF and THE KVB, the wonderful new single ‘Crimeless’ is R. MISSING’s most electronic pop noir statement yet, like CHROMATICS carefully reconfigured for the dancefloor with Sharon Shy presenting a whispery singing style that could easily be mistaken for Ruth Radelet.

Accompanied by a video made by Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib, it is a variation on their 2019 installation ‘Vanitas MMXVlll’. Using still life like half-eaten fruit, broken glass, snapped candles, wilting flowers and skulls falling upwards in slo-mo, its original concept was “to reflect our current cultural moment, where formerly stable institutions that once embodied shared values are undermined while pride and avarice have been elevated to virtues”.

As if to reinforce R. MISSING’s fully focussed electronic direction, Icelandic label mates GUSGUS provide two tight dance remixes for ‘Crimeless’ although THE KVB contribute something with more of a psychedelic shoegaze demeanour that also acts a reflection of Shy and Frost’s roots. It could all get very interesting…


‘Crimeless’ is released by Sugarcane Recordings as a single bundle with remixes by GUGGUS and THE KVB, it is available now as a download direct from https://sugars.bandcamp.com/album/crimeless

https://rmissing.com/

https://www.facebook.com/rmissingmusic

https://twitter.com/rmissingmusic

https://www.instagram.com/r.missing/

https://www.hironakasuib.com/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
11th May 2021

Introducing CATHERINE MOAN

CATHERINE MOAN is the electronic pop vehicle of Philadelphian songstress Angel Jefferson and her most recent offering is a rework of DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Fools’ which was originally the B-side to ‘Love In Itself’.

That old chestnut of covering DEPECHE MODE songs is a polarising affair, especially as the hapless trio of Gahan, Gore and Fletcher, assisted by The D(r)umhead and The Noodler have been pretty lame at interpreting their own back catalogue on their last three world tours!

Add to that the number tribute bands and male fronted acts who regularly give their take on DM, the question often asked can often be “what is the point?”

But as has been proven by the likes of Susanne Sundfør, Ane Brun and Laura Dre in their respective interpretations of ‘Ice Machine’, ‘Fly On The Windscreen’ and ‘Strangelove’ over the last ten years, the female voice adds a totally new dimension and perspective.

Like most electronic pop enthusiasts, Angel Jefferson is a fan of DEPECHE MODE’s earlier music and her choice of ‘Fools’, one of only nine DM tracks released that featured Alan Wilder as a solo or joint composer, is an interesting one.

Reflecting on being blanked or “ghosted” as Generation Zoomers today like to call it, ‘Fools’ is given a hypnotically stark treatment with detached but alluring vocals. Although Jefferson does away with the Middle Eastern warble that was part of the original, she inserts her own ad-libs both vocally and instrumentally, with the unexpected augmentation of digital slapped bass.

Previous CATHERINE MOAN works have included ‘Body Work’ which recalls the airy moods of CHROMATICS. Meanwhile ‘The Ordinary’, ‘New Velvet’ and ‘Habitual Conceding’ explore more typically North American synthwave territory.

Interestingly, despite needing more work in the production department, ‘Cut It’ from the self-titled EP displays potential as an engaging slice of European flavoured industrial disco rooted in Basildon and Berlin.

It will be interesting to see where Angel Jefferson takes her sound on her debut album as CATHERINE MOAN due out later in 2021.


‘Fools’ is available via the usual digital platforms

https://www.facebook.com/Catherine-Moan-105421111625150

https://twitter.com/catherinexmoan

https://www.instagram.com/catherinemoan_/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1j3eSDACLPhrEDYDkHYF9I


Text by Chi Ming Lai
7th April 2021

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