Category: Introducing (Page 2 of 23)

Introducing IŻOL

Poland is not normally on par with the European electronica, however acts like ZAMILSKA managed to break the cycle and establish themselves outside the heart shaped Central European nation.

That said, the country has always been massively into synth music, with enormous fan bases for DEPECHE MODE, ERASURE and CAMOUFLAGE, amongst many other acts of the golden electronic era.

IŻOL is Robert Jeżewski, an accomplished songwriter and producer, having founded a popular Polish DM tribute band ICE MACHINE, which evolved into an original band with four albums under their belt.

Having gone solo, Jeżewski continued the electro trend, releasing two albums ‘The Vagabond’s Wish’ (2017) and ‘Control’ (2019). Based in gloomy Silesia, a place which RATIONAL YOUTH once wrote a synthpop cult classic about, IŻOL is no stranger to melancholic soundscapes, often being based on the provisions from his idols, presented in a fresh and progressive manner.

‘A Lonely House’ is a belter, merging the artist’s love of DEPECHE MODE, with a pinch of CAMOUFLAGE and sounding very similar to Germany’s MINERVE. Preserving the tradition of ultra-melodic ditties, wrapped in a thin veil of nostalgia, with expertly written lyrics and more than decent vocal, the Pole gives many of his contemporaries a run for their money, including those in the UK.

Add a clever video, and you get yourself a powerful addition to your synth favourites. And if you’re stuck for live music during lockdowns, IŻOL performed an online gig this year too. TERAZ POLSKA!


‘A Lonely House’ is from the various artists compilation ‘Neonautics v.03’ released by skyQode, available direct from https://skyqode.bandcamp.com/track/a-lonely-house

Other IŻOL releases can be purchased from https://icemachineshop.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/izol.official/

https://www.instagram.com/jezewski.robert/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/3r3URmy6Ysa1jSwZNfPmrE


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
31st December 2020

Introducing SCALPING

SCALPING are a five piece act hailing from Bristol, a town already with a notable musical heritage.

Over a fairly short time period, the band developed a reputation for their ferocious live shows and secured a support slot with SQUAREPUSHER which unfortunately got derailed due to the pandemic, along with their own standalone gig at Peckham Audio in London.

Made up of James Rushforth, Alex Hill, Isaac Jones, Jamie Thomas and visual artist Jason Baker, SCALPING formed in 2017 with the intention of carrying on Bristol’s musical tradition, but with a sound that eschews hip hop, drum ’n’ bass and trip hop in favour of an aesthetic which combines the synthetic rigidity of EBM and EDM but played primarily with band instrumentation.

SCALPING started releasing material in 2019 with the tracks ‘Ruptured’, ‘Chamber’ and ‘Satan II’ helping to define their sound; one which potentially appeals to both an electronic and rock audience alike. ‘Chamber’ was a frenetic mixture of ascending ‘Computer World’-era sequencers, EBM vowel-bass and aggressive guitars. Accompanied by a trippy, dystopian promotional video, as an introduction, ‘Chamber’ additionally gives the listener an aural feel for SCALPING’s live performances.

Taking the structure of dance music, but melding it with a live band dynamic, the band shows no respect for genre boundaries and successfully manages to achieve the tricky feat of merging these two disparate styles, with Belgium’s SOULWAX coming to mind as a comparison point. More improvisational in nature than ‘Chamber’, ‘Satan II’ skips from one section to another with an uneasy mix of punkish guitars and an almost MANTRONIX-inspired bassline.

The band have recently signed to the Houndstooth label which is a new venture for the Fabric club imprint brand and this partnership sees the release of ‘Deadlock’. Recorded in Bristol and Rockfield Studios in Wales, ‘Deadlock’ is centred around the combo of a frequency modulated synth bass and the kind of thrash-y guitar riff that wouldn’t normally be seen dead in this kind of synthetic company. The influence of UNDERWORLD can be heard here too with a ‘Rez’ style synth part appearing early on in the track.

‘Deadlock’ is accompanied by a video produced by Jason Baker who is also responsible for generating the graphics which are projected behind the band for their live shows. The post-apocalyptic nature of ‘Deadlock’ will come as no surprise and helps to define the overall visual styling of the band (which with an act that has no lead vocalist is no mean feat). According to Baker “The video came from brainstorming sessions with the band. Ideas slowly morphed into this idea of a church service for some weird future tech religion where nirvana is replaced with oblivion and forced onto people through VR screens. Religion done right, basically.”

Over the last few years it’s been interesting to watch many of the metal and rock fraternity embrace electronic music, especially picking up on the much maligned Synthwave genre, even to the point where attendees were actually observed headbanging at a PERTURBATOR gig a few years ago! With this in mind, the direction SCALPING are going in surely means that they are bound to pick up many new fans from both musical sides. The other potential development will be whether the band decide to remain instrumental in nature or eventually adopt vocals into their pieces, this is a question which will likely be answered with what will (hopefully) be an upcoming album for Houndstooth in the New Year.

In the meantime, SCALPING are a visceral and exciting band who are definitely one to watch; a fantastic example of artists who are pushing the musical envelope and trying to get as far as a way from “death by laptop” live experience of many electronic bands.


‘Deadlock’ is out now as a digital single via Houndstooth

https://www.facebook.com/scalpingmusic/

https://twitter.com/scalpingmusic

https://www.instagram.com/scalpingmusic/


Text by Paul Boddy
18th December 2020

Introducing SILVER MOON

For an act who have named themselves after a David Sylvian song, you can expect SILVER MOON to be esoteric and challenging the minds of potential listeners.

Comprising of vocalist Aidan Casserly and musician Mike Wilson, the Irish duo have just unleashed their first album ‘Empty Rooms’, a musical journey in synth, indie and pop about love and life.

Aidan Casserly is best known for fronting the energetic Dublin electro combo EMPIRE STATE HUMAN but with SILVER MOON, he carries over his singing style crossing Jimmy Somerville, Russell Mael, Andy Bell and Lloyd Cole. Meanwhile, Mike Wilson’s production style throws in elements of ERASURE, NEW ORDER, TALK TALK and THE BLUE NILE while also adopting orchestrated textures, guitar licks and countrified strums.

The staccato first single ‘Flame’ sounds like the more six string driven aspects of NEW ORDER as if recorded in an art school in Nashville. Meanwhile the dream-like ‘Luminous’ is equally unusual with glitched techniques, acoustic guitar, pulsating electronic bass, scratching and swoops welded together for passionate vocals and trumpet to go on top… conventional it most certainly isn’t!

Both songs have Aidan Casserly at the top of his vocal range, so full marks to the fella for being able to obtain a middle-aged falsetto without surgery or too much trouser tightening.

But the best track on ‘Empty Rooms’ is saved until last with the beautiful ‘Ode To The Lost’; a number adapted from ‘Barcarolle’, the centre-piece of the 19th Century opera ‘Tales Of Hoffman’ and the backdrop surreally imagines Vince Clarke rearranging Offenbach! Older listeners may remember Elvis Presley offered his variation on ‘Barcarolle’ in his film ‘GI Blues’ with ’Tonight Is So Right for Love’.

A collection of “toe tappers, cinematic head nodders and dance floor fillers” with even some Gaelic blues thrown in, another highlight on ‘Empty Room’ is the lonely solemn drama of ‘Shadows’.

Among SILVER MOON’s heroes and teachers, there is a list of personalities as diverse as Boy George, Scott Walker, Dirk Bogarde, Ennio Morricone, Glenn Campbell, Ian Curtis, Johnnie Ray, Lou Reed, Noel Coward, Pete Burns, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder and David Bowie.

Made with passion and a thoughtful avant pop ambience, SILVER MOON take all these eclectic influences for their poetic artful expression.

“We’re striving to make music (and art) of the highest production value” said Mike Wilson, “There are lots of musical and creative references to the things we love, but we’re creating our own sound and not copying them”


‘Luminous’ is from the album ‘Empty Rooms’ available as a download direct from https://thesilvermoon.bandcamp.com/album/empty-rooms

SILVER MOON present a special online live show on ditto.tv of art and film from 17.00 to 18.00 on Thursday 17th December 2020, to register to view for free, please visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/campfire-presents-the-christmas-special-with-silver-moon-tickets-131026609115

https://silvermoon.live/

https://www.facebook.com/SilverMoonMusic

https://twitter.com/SilverMoonMusi1

https://www.instagram.com/silvermoon_music/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
7th December 2020

Introducing LASTLINGS

LASTLINGS are a Japanese Australian sibling duo comprising of Amy and Josh Dowdle.

Hailing from Gold Coast in Queensland, they released their first EP ‘Unreality’ in 2016 before following up it a year later with another EP ‘Verses’. They also supported Northern Irish indie trio TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB on their 2019 Australian tour.

LASTLINGS’ recently released debut album ‘First Contact’ has been a while coming, but is a well-produced technological derived pop record with an organic presence, as exemplified by one of the singles ‘Out of Touch’ which recalled melodic 21st Century dance-friendly acts like San Francisco’s ANDAIN whose ‘Beautiful Things’ broke through in 2003.

While the album’s title is a reference to the thrill and despair of notable life milestones like first love and first heartbreak, the LASTLINGS name was inspired by a post-apocalyptic tale which Amy wrote in school and there is no doubt that there is a vulnerable melancholic resignation that comes from her rich alluring vocal style.

Inspired by the animated romantic fantasy film ‘Your Name’ directed by Makoto Shinkai, one of the standouts from ‘First Contact’ is ‘Take My Hand’, a fabulously hypnotic club friendly concoction like a more girly EVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL when they went clubby or a more dancey LONDON GRAMMAR.

Both classically trained, LASTLINGS apply a refined musicality to their technical curiosity and lyrical imagination. Meanwhile their sense of fashion and style makes for a thoughtful and striking visual aesthetic.

Other album highlights include the ethereal electronic drama of ‘Held Under’ and the rhythmically punchy but simultaneously haunting ‘Last Breath’. Then there’s ‘No Time’, a suitably futuristic disco tune that pays homage to the duo’s Japanese heritage via the dystopian sci-fi novel ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro and which comes accompanied by its own tragically sad Anime video.

Although ‘First Contact’ exhibits high production values, the tracks all had humble beginnings at home on a computer before being taken to studio to be completes. While mostly being of a four-to-the-floor format, some of the sibling’s classical instincts are revealed on ‘Visions’ although the album closer ‘I’ve Got You’ throws in more boisterous textures as a backdrop for some angelic vocals.

Inspired by the landscapes of Japan, it is not hard to imagine the music of LASTLINGS music used in modern cinema and instrumentals such as the wonderfully infectious ‘AI’ and the brooding interlude ‘9400’ only reinforce this possibility.

‘First Contact’ is captivating pop record that blows away most artists in the mainstream, but has enough cool artistic credentials to reach an audience beyond it. With backing from Universal Music via Astralwerks whose have the likes of DEADMAU5 and THE CHEMICAL BROTHERS on their books, LASTLINGS have a promising future in music ahead of them.


‘First Contact’ is released by Rose Avenue Records under licence to Astralwerks in the usual formats

http://www.lastlings.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lastlingsmusic

https://twitter.com/LASTLINGS

https://www.instagram.com/lastlings/

https://open.spotify.com/album/4dCgqMWPJuBmL0BHiXwIEf


Text by Chi Ming Lai
27th November 2020

Introducing PISTON DAMP

PISTON DAMP are the new electronic pop duo based in Norway compromising of Jonas Groth and Truls Sønsterud.

The classically trained keyboardist / songwriter / arranger Truls Sønsterud has been playing piano since he was a child while singer/songwriter/producer Jonas Groth has been making music for more than 20 years’ experience mostly connected to his older brother Stephan and his band APOPTYGMA BERZERK.

Also connected to acts such as industrial rockers MAGENTA who he helped out on their 2009 album ‘Art & Accidents’, Jonas Groth has slowly been moving towards the front in the last few years and sang lead vocals on ‘Nearest’, an ethereal electronic ballad from the most recent APOPTYGMA BERZERK EP ‘Nein Danke!’.

The debut PISTON DAMP single ‘Something In Me’ was written and recorded with Stephan Groth serving as pre-production supervisor, so perhaps unsurprisingly, it is reminiscent of the more immediate side of APOPTYGMA BERZERK

But ‘Something In Me’ is what APOPTYGMA BERZERK or AESTHETIC PERFECTION would sound like if they were in full synthpop mode. Catchy, bubbly, melodic and rhythmic with an emotively spirited vocal, when Jonas Groth hits falsetto, it provides a most gloriously optimistic lift. Meanwhile, its twin ‘Noget I Mig’ is ‘Something In Me’ sung in Danish and this element adds an extra air of mystery to non-native speakers and reveals the song’s likely Nordic folk influence more explicitly.

The B-side of this debut single is a ‘Blue Heart’ version of ‘Another Pain’ and affirms just as ‘Shout’ did for DEPECHE MODE’s similarly folk influenced ‘New Life’, that PISTON DAMP are likely to have quality first album in the can. Much sparser than ‘Something In Me’, the spacey arpeggio on this version of ‘Another Pain’ allows Jonas Groth to soar, expressing some heartfelt frustration that the love of his life hasn’t even noticed him. And when his multi-tracked vocal ab-libs join in, it starts to sounds like FREIHEIT or ELO or THE BEATLES, depending on your way of thinking!

Both ‘Something In Me’ and ‘Noget I Mig’ come in a number of remixes from the likes of PEGBOARD NERDS, TECHNOMANCER, KLEINMELKER and THE ANIX, although classic synth fans will be most interested in the Extended 12” Remix that comes in the nine-track bundle.

It is the right moment for Jonas Groth to emerge from the shadow of his older brother and PISTON DAMP is a fine vehicle in which take that journey.


‘Something In Me’ is released by Sub Culture Records, available as a download bundle from https://subculturerecords.bandcamp.com/album/something-in-me

https://www.pistondamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pistondampcom

https://www.instagram.com/pistondamp/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photo by Kine Jensen
15th October 2020

« Older posts Newer posts »