Category: Introducing (Page 1 of 25)

Introducing GEMMA CULLINGFORD

If you had Yoko Ono’s ‘Walking On Thin Ice’ reconfigured as a Balearic friendly electronic disco number, then that in a nutshell encapsulates ‘Tongue Tied’, the latest single by Gemma Cullingford.

From the upcoming long player of the same name, to be released by Elmo Recordings in Autumn 2022, the Norwich-based Cullingford made her debut as a solo artist with ‘Let Me Speak’, one of the singles from which ‘Wide Boys’ got the remix treatment from A CERTAIN RATIO. Also from that 2021 album, ‘I Like You’ was an adventure in art funk that wouldn’t have sounded out of place as a single on Factory Records.

Utilising a minimal programmed backdrop, a stark spoken word reading of Bobby Gentry’s ‘Ode To Billie Joe’ proved to be a highlight alongside the mutant harmonic menace of ‘The Lizard’ and the groovily hypnotic ‘Queen Bee’ which contained a closing instrumental synth passage that came over like Gary Numan gone glitterball.

With a nonchalant but sensual vocal style reminiscent of Sarah Nixey of BLACK BOX RECORDER, ‘Tongue Tied’ exudes a positive if nervous energy in a purer metronomic adoption of electronics. The parent sophomore album promises explorations on “relationships and the different emotions they can bring, from paranoia, yearning and helplessness to lust, shyness and just downright wanting to dance.”

Already a four album veteran before going solo as a member of SINK YA TEETH and earlier in KAITO with Nik Colk Void of FACTORY FLOOR, now that LONELADY has reopened the door to female fronted electronically sequenced post-punk funk in the past year, Gemma Cullingford could be next in line to be embraced by a wider audience.


The album ‘Tongue Tied’ is released on 2nd September 2022 by Elmo Recordings as a CD and vinyl LP

The back catalogue is available from https://gemmacullingford.bandcamp.com/

Gemma Cullingford 2022 live dates include:

Brighton Residents Records (2nd September), Norwich Arts Centre (8th September)*, Ipswich Smokehouse (9th September)*, London Dalston Shacklewell Arms (10th September)*, Manchester Talleyrand (17th September)+, Bristol Crofter’s Rights (29th October)+

*with Alice Hubble  +with Rodney Cromwell

https://www.facebook.com/gemcullingford

https://twitter.com/gemcullingford

https://www.instagram.com/gemma_cullingford/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6WR6hPeb9Qq39fAm88GtcL


Text by Chi Ming Lai
27th June 2022

Introducing ASPRA

ASPRA is the ethereal new project of Sophia Sarigiannidou, best known as one half of the Greek synthpop duo MARSHEAUX.

Although the last album of original material from MARSHEAUX was ‘Ath.Lon’ in 2016, she has been writing, compiling and recording songs over a number of years with the view to a solo release. Perhaps unexpectedly with her first single ‘Velvet’ in 2021, she tapped into her love of shoegaze via an electronic rework of the 4AD cult favourite by THE BIG PINK, a London duo with two long players to their name.

Sarigiannidou took the dense claustrophobic original and converted it into a more fragile atmospheric one. Swathed in crystalline electronics, it recalled mysterious otherworldly air of Julee Cruise and Jonna Lee. Backing the sold-out white vinyl single release of ‘Velvet’ was another cover in the shape of THE FIELD MICE song ‘Anoint’; originally part of a 1990 John Peel session which comprised of material that was written exclusively for it and never released, the alternative rock quintet were signed to Sarah Records but split up in 1991 after falling out during a tense tour in support their third album ‘For Keeps’. Both tracks were recorded during lockdown in Athens.

Although ASPRA’s account opened with a pair of cover versions, self-composed material is on the way with the OMD inspired instrumental ‘Experiment In Vertical Take Off’ being the first fruit of labour, accompanied by an appropriately abstract visual accompaniment.

In the meantime, two fabulous collaborations with veteran electronic composer Lena Platonos have just been released to digital platforms. The suitably enigmatic ‘Markos’ is a reworking of a track from the 1985 album ‘Γκάλοπ’ and prosed by ASPRA en Français, while more percussively swathed, ‘Kymata’ (meaning “Waves”) is a tense yet breathy slice of avant Hellectro pop.

Also in the works is ’Play For Tomorrow’, a various artists compilation curated by Sophie Sarigiannidou including tracks by artists such as Michael Rother, Chris & Cosey, Blaine Reininger as well as I START COUNTING, ELECTRONIC CIRCUS, OMD and CAR CRASH SET is set to be issued later in 2022.


The ASPRA portfolio to date can be listened to at https://open.spotify.com/artist/4zSybhZeWmCnRE73VSXmt8

https://www.instagram.com/thisisaspra/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
13th June2022

Introducing HANNA RUA

From Östersund in Sweden comes Hanna Rua, a dreamy new electronic pop artist based in Brighton who has just signed to Aztec Records whose past and present artists include BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT, NINA and BUNNY X.

With her bright and breezy vocal style, her uplifting debut single ‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ came out at the end of 2021. Supreme synthetic Scandipop with a driving neo-Motorik beat, the Swedes do seem to be better at this kind of stuff than everyone else; ‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ is a delicious YOLO anthem that sparkles with optimism like a danceable take on the love theme of ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ with its ringing overtones.

Asking “what happened to your lust for life?”, it reconnects to a child-like innocence when anything could be possible in life. What ‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ certainly does not lack is a infectious drive. At various points, the electronic bassline even feels like it is about to morph into THE SEX PISTOLS but then again, that is as not as daft as it sounds as they borrowed ABBA’s ‘SOS’ for ‘Pretty Vacant’. And with our young heroine having covered their recent single ‘Don’t Shut Me Down’ and final UK No1 ‘Super Trouper’ on her YouTube channel, the circle is complete.

Hanna Rua’s collaborative partner is producer Sam Martin who served his studio and songwriting apprenticeship with XENOMANIA who worked with PET SHOP BOYS and GIRLS ALOUD. The lady herself said of her co-creation: “I want the song to feel like a sparkling ball of light that is growing and growing, and might eventually explode into a glow that could light up the darkest of corners. But to simplify it – I want it to just be a frickin’ nice tune for you to enjoy”.

Continuing the good work at a more cruising syncopated pace, her new single is ‘Tears On Your Pillow’, a song about unfulfilled dreams and disappointments. With the slight air of Aussie songstress Tina Arena is her collaboration with CLIENT LIAISON, this is the type of melodic synthpopwave that fellow Swedes Max Martin and Oscar Holter have been recently giving THE WEEKND a helping hand with and despite the tone of resignation, it rouses with a message to “get up again”.

Catchy, joyous and hitting all manner of scales, Hanna Rua is a potential new star in the making. Her bright demeanour and morning sun are much needed right now to overcome life’s various curveballs.


‘Don’t Cut Your Angels’ and ‘Tears On Your Pillow’ are released by Aztec Records, available as digital singles from https://hannaruamusic.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.hannarua.com/

https://www.facebook.com/hannaruamusic

https://twitter.com/Hannaruamusic

https://www.instagram.com/hannaruamusic/

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCweRtQ9rOvb-xmASWeffs-Q


Text by Chi Ming Lai
5th March 2022

Introducing VALENTINA MORETTI

Valentina Moretti is an up-and-coming singer, songwriter and producer with a love of vintage synthesizers.

Using a wispy feminine vocal style, her synth laced dance tunes have utilised classics such as the Roland TR808, Roland TR707, Roland TB303, E-mu SP12, Roland Juno 106, Roland Juno60, Roland HS-60, Ensoniq SQ80, Oberheim OB8 and Korg MS20, as well as more recent technologies like the Korg Minilogue, Nord Lead 1 and the latest in the Roland TR series. A former pupil of Mauricio Rojas AKA DJ Klang from her time studying at the G Martell College of Music in Mexico City, her self-titled album collected most of her material since 2018.

Valentina Moretti’s full length debut is impressive with an astute understanding of electronic dance pop that hits that difficult middle ground of appealing to roly-poly synth heads and glowstick waving clubbers. Meaning “heaven” in Spanish, ‘Cielo’ is superb and enthralling, with its bleeps, pulses and squelches all having a melodic presence while providing euphoria for the dancefloor.

Making the most of a punchy uptempo synthwave template, the coy ‘Neon Lover’ imagines a club-friendly MARSHEAUX while the more strident chill of ‘Killed Love’ adopts the afflicted delivery of their Greek neighbour Sarah P.

Despite its lyrical limitations, ’Roller Derby Girls’ is charming nu disco although the wispy ‘Galactic Feelings’ is darker and spacier. The chunky backbone of ‘Disco Sex’ recalls Miss Kittin but with a Latin American vibe but ‘Stranger Kiss’ moves out of the discothèque into something artier and breathier with deep rumbling swirls thrown in for good measure. However with the engaging instrumental ‘Acid Galaxies’, it’s back to nu disco with subtle accents on the drum machine to achieve dynamic effect.

Valentina Moretti had the accolade of her music being sent to the moon courtesy of the SETI Institute working in association NASA and has been developing the use of Artificial Intelligence in music creation, as well as acting as an ambassador for Novation, Arturia, Native instruments and Ableton.

The music of Valentina Moretti is immediate, colourful and groovy, with uplifting moods to counterpoint the retro-futuristic melancholy. Her precocious talent is obvious and shines brightly amongst the newer generation of electronic pop artists.


‘Valentina Moretti’ is available as a pink vinyl LP and download from https://valentinamoretti.bandcamp.com/album/valentina-moretti-lp

https://www.facebook.com/valentinamorettimusic/

https://twitter.com/vmorettii

https://www.instagram.com/valentiinamoretti/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/1smi39GfJBKzbFCPwogmRS


Text by Chi Ming Lai with thanks to Mark Reeder
29th January 2022

Introducing O+HER

A pact which links two subjects together in one action, one body, one vision, O+HER is the new Swedish darkwave duo comprising of Tobias Bernstrup and Erica Li Lundqvist.

Tobias Bernstrup is best known for his brand of Italo Noir as exemplified by his most recent album ‘Petrichor’ while Erica Li Lundqvist is a member of enigmatic trio ABU NEIN whose single from last year ‘Black Light’ featured the talents of fellow Swede Henric de la Cour.

O+HER is much less Italo Noir, encaspulating a much more brooding and gothic presence.

Having shared a number of stages, “It started with humble request to collaborate” the pair said, “Rather than just using our typical sound, we decided to try create some completely new. A creative process with both our voices that led to several tracks instead of just one. O+HER (pronounced ‘other’) was born as a shared vision of a dark cinematic sound landscape, beat and sequencer driven songs with inspiration from the late 80s dark wave set in a contemporary context”.

The first single is ‘Brave Bodies Burn’ which presents a tense baritone versus contralto dialectic over a foreboding electronic backdrop; “It a masterpiece!” O+HER confirmed and it comes with a striking music video filmed by photographer and visual artists Bengt Rahm. “The video is a homage to the opening scene of the 80s cult movie ‘The Hunger’ that features Bauhaus, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon among others. Apart from our own performance, we casted some profiles from the Stockholm post-punk / darkwave club scene. It’s dark, it’s sexy and it tells a story – but it’s up to the beholder to analyse its content”

Describing their creative dynamic, they said “Being alone in your creative process or being a bunch of people in a band is quite different from being a duo. We complement each other in the best of ways and the process from thought to product is much faster. We share the same goal but we have different qualities to take us there. O+HER is truly a power duo.”

O+HER have confirmed they will release a series of singles during 2022 to be followed up by a full-length album on vinyl. But in the meantime, ‘Brave Bodies Burn’ is backed with a cover of ‘Virus Meadow’, a 1985 song by cult English post-punk band AND ALSO THE TREES whose first single ‘Shantell’ and self-titled debut album was produced by Lol Tolhurst, then of THE CURE.

O+HER have spoken.


‘Brave Bodies Burn’ is released by Tonight Records and available on the usual online platforms including https://otherhq.bandcamp.com/album/brave-bodies-burn-single

https://www.facebook.com/OHER-230374215599103

https://twitter.com/other_music_

https://www.instagram.com/other_music_/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/6U2ryZNJpPrxAQlCl2Nz3F


Text by Chi Ming Lai
14th January 2022

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