Tag: East India Youth (Page 2 of 2)


Issued to coincide with her recent tour supporting EAST INDIA YOUTH, multi-instrumentalist singer/songwriter HANNAH PEEL has released ‘Rebox 2’, a seven track mini-album comprising of four covers and three new instrumentals.

Peel first became known for her debut EP ‘Rebox’ which featured music box covers of synthpop classics such as ‘Electricity’, Tainted Love’ and ‘Blue Monday’. Her first album ‘The Broken Wave’ showcased her many talents within a traditional instrumentation setting.

But it was following her recruitment as a synth playing violinist with JOHN FOXX & THE MATHS that has led to an increasingly electronic element to her work. This new template was premiered on the song ‘Harbour’ from her ‘Nailhouse’ EP, while her best body of work to date ‘Fabricstate’ was a marvellous hybrid of the synthetic and the organic. With her seasonal single ‘Find Peace’, Peel went the full electronic hog with a dreamy cacophony of analogue electronics and percussive mantras akin to GAZELLE TWIN.

With HANNAH PEEL’s second full length album ‘Awake But Always Dreaming’ now in the can and due for release in 2016, ‘Rebox 2’ is an enticing stopgap, demonstrating more of the potential that this Craigavon born songstress ultimately possesses. Her music box has now become something of a trademark. She said in 2011: “I discovered the programmable music box when scoring some music for a theatre show in Liverpool”. With parallels to modern sequencing, she explained it used “a punch card type of system, resembling early computer techniques when having to give digital instructions”.

So having applied her technique to the songs of Synth Britannia, ‘Rebox 2’ brings HANNAH PEEL up to date by reinterpreting the work of her modern day contemporaries. A reworking of PERFUME GENIUS’ ‘Queen’ begins this seamless 23 minute collection as reverbed steps snap into unison with the music box and some droning sweeps. As Peel snarls while reciting this anti-homophobic protest song, it sets the tone for what follows.

‘Let The Laughter In’ novelly uses a sample of Peel’s own charming voice as a rhythmic backbone that comes over like psychedelic hiccups while synths and piano layer themselves in.

The music box continues its presence on ‘Pale Green Ghosts’, one of the highlights from JOHN GRANT’s acclaimed 2013 long player of the same name. One interesting point is that the songs Peel has covered on ‘Rebox 2’ are all by male artists, thereby instantly adding a different perspective. The combination of music box, harp textures and haunting, multi-layered vocals on ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ add to the tension already provided by the subtle synthetic elements and dramatic, militaristic heartbeat. Grant’s original was inspired by YELLO and CABARET VOLTAIRE, so it is fascinating to hear that pioneering seed manipulated into something else.

Drifting into the moodily ambient ‘Reverie’, the solemn piano and strings capture accurately the dictionary definition of “an instrumental piece suggesting a dreamy or musing state”. Meanwhile, the stark template of the original ‘Rebox’ lends itself wonderfully to ‘Palace’, originally performed by WILD BEASTS. With only her music box for company, with an innocent bedroom air and the realisation that home is where the heart is, Peel’s arrangement is simple and intimate, yet wholly accomplished. From the most traditional arrangements then comes the most futuristic with ‘Premonition’. A hypnotic sequencer pulses to oblivion while softly layered synth and voice samples augment the framework for a vibrant and enjoyable composition.

The best is saved until last with the marvellous synth / music box hybrid of ‘Heaven, How Long’. Already a classic song of the future by its originators EAST INDIA YOUTH, whereas William Doyle’s version eventually turns into a motorik sonic barrage of sound, Peel keeps ‘Heaven, How Long’ bravely unwavering and lonely. And when her solemn violin joins in, it pulls at the inherent resignation as outlined by the emotive lyric: “In spite of all the love inside me – There is a question I’ve been asking – Heaven how long?”.

The sonic amalgam that Peel and her producer Erland have provided on ‘Rebox 2’ creates a marvellous compendium that crosses centuries of musical heritage, yet looks forward to the future. No-one appears to be making music in the way HANNAH PEEL is at the moment, with the genre blend of the traditional world with the electronic… and with the brilliant uptempo electronic pop of ‘All That Matters’ set for inclusion on her new album, there will be even more wondrous offerings to come from the delightful Miss Peel.

‘Rebox 2’ is released by My Own Pleasure, CD is available now from http://hannahpeel.tmstor.es/ while the download can be purchased via https://hannahpeelmusic.bandcamp.com/




Text by Chi Ming Lai
16th June 2015

EAST INDIA YOUTH + HANNAH PEEL Live at Village Underground

Technology and record company budget cuts have now meant that it is entirely feasible that an act with only one or two members can function perfectly well as a live act.

Whereas in the past, solo electronic-based musicians such as HOWARD JONES were the exception rather than rule, nowadays even rock acts such as duos ROYAL BLOOD and SLAVES are pairing down to the bare essentials, using the limitations of such line-ups to great effect.

When it comes to presenting electronica live, the stripped down approach is risky if there is little or no visual stimulus on stage, and a person nodding behind a laptop isn’t really going to engage for an hour.

Tonight’s event showed that a combination of sheer musical talent, well written songs, pristine vocals and a hypnotising stage presence can hold the attention of a 700 capacity audience without resorting to a support mechanism of lighting and backdrops.

With her performance tonight, HANNAH PEEL’s sound has further shapeshifted into something far more electronic than her earlier folky roots. Accompanied by two banks of synths and her familiar music box set-up, she cut a striking presence on the Village Underground stage. Opening with the title track and then ‘Silk Road’ from her ‘Fabricstate’ EP she alternated between organic piano textures and ribcage rattling bass, all the while sequencing and mixing her sound on stage without resorting to using a laptop.

Peel’s vocals were faultless, the only downside being that during some of sparser moments of her set, the sound of bar chatter became all too apparent, as some of the Shoreditch hipster contingent stroked their ever-lengthening beards and (probably) contemplated the merits of not wearing socks with shoes…

Peel’s solo work first came to attention with her Grand Illusions music box versions of electronic classics including ‘Electricity’ and ‘Blue Monday’.

Tonight she took the WILD BEASTS track ‘Palace’ and gave it the same stripped down approach, replacing the original PolyMoog-style textures with a fascinating instrument which is hand cranked and has each note punched onto strips of paper which can be joined together to create longer pieces.

The song reached its inevitable conclusion when the note-punched roll of paper finally fell to the floor. The final two tracks were new compositions, the first was a synth arpeggio-based number entitled ‘All That Matters’. Putting her Dave Smith Mopho synth to good use, it also employed more of a 4/4 approach than some of her previous work.

The concluding song ‘Forevrest’ had a glitchy feel to it with 6/8 elements and some FX sounds which were reminiscent of a broken Tardis, all the while with Peel swaying seductively from left to right between her banks of equipment.

It will certainly be intriguing to see how HANNAH PEEL’s next recorded material progresses and from what was showcased tonight, it should further her position as one of the UK’s best electronic artists.

EAST INDIA YOUTH AKA William Doyle has in a very short period of time established himself as a firm favourite and any concerns that a one man and his synth approach wouldn’t be able to hold an audience for an hour were soon dissipated, as he started attacking his Novation controller synth for the opening track ‘The Juddering’.

Sounds were panned and shifted back and forth across the Village Underground PA.

Throughout the evening, there were several controlled, almost MY BLOODY VALENTINE wall-of-sound moments with a mid-track sub bass moving some serious air.

With the exception of the intro, Doyle’s set was comprised of a pick of the vocal tracks from his two albums ‘Total Strife Forever’ and ‘Culture of Volume’.

One of the highlights of the latter, ‘Turn Away’ followed and gave an early outing for some live bass playing and a chance to explore the space at the back of the stage.

The combination of the electric bass and Doyle’s satorial suited and booted dress sense recalled a combination of a young Andy McCluskey (with admittedly better dance moves!) and one of the guys from MIRRORS, the use of the live instrument really helping to bring some of the tracks to life and adding even more visual appeal.

The gospel-influenced ‘Looking For Someone’ followed and Doyle’s single voice easily managed to carry the track, which on record has some serious multi-layering going on. The song climaxed in another bass workout and dissolved into a malstrom of FX and feedback.

During ‘Dripping Down’, a sweat-soaked Doyle was appropriately thrown a towel and then spent much of the rest of the set using it because of the sheer physicality used in performing the songs on show.

Centrepiece for the set was ‘Heaven, How Long’, a dynamic track which started with filtered arpeggios and then climaxed in an extended, motorik Krautrock inspired drum pattern. ‘Hearts That Never’ was stretched well over 12 minutes, probably the most dance-influenced track in EIY’s catalogue, it was the track that really got the capacity Village Underground audience moving.

To end the evening, Doyle stepped away from his banks of equipment to another mic set-up stage right and delivered a moving ‘Carousel’. Again vocally pitch-perfect, it was a fitting end to a captivating show.

There was no encore because one wasn’t necessary, the only thing missing was a rendition of ‘End Result’ from ‘Culture of Volume’, but this was a minor quibble.

The Village Underground audience left having witnessed a performer who spent the evening completely caught up in his own musical creations, almost oblivious to the crowd held rapt in front of him. A stunning evening of electronic music, one which will live in the memory for a long time to come.

EAST INDIA YOUTH ‘Culture of Volume’ is released by XL Recordings as a CD, vinyl LP and download



HANNAH PEEL ‘Rebox 2’ is released by My Own Pleasure as a download via the usual digital outlets on 20th July 2015, the CD is available now from http://hannahpeel.tmstor.es/



Text by Paul Boddy
Photos by Richard Price
8th June 2015

EAST INDIA YOUTH Culture of Volume

Before you even approach the music inside, the title of EAST INDIA YOUTH’s second album is significant in that it succinctly sums up what commercial music has steadily become over the last few years.

Advances in audio mastering techniques and listening tastes have meant that record labels now demand that their new releases sound LOUD, in the false hope that it will allow their artists to be noticed above others.

Ironically, because major radio station deploy compression and limiting at the end of their broadcast signal chain, all tracks end up sounding the same volume, so it’s a pretty futile enterprise which often results in the compromising of sound quality (DEPECHE MODE’s ‘Playing the Angel’ is a much cited example of this).

‘Culture of Volume’ is the second album by EAST INDIA YOUTH, the moniker of solo musician William Doyle. It follows ‘Total Strife Forever’ which was nominated in 2014 for the Mercury Music Prize. The album itself showcases a diverse range of influences from PET SHOP BOYS, YAZOO through to OMD and even more progressive sources like PINK FLOYD, VANGELIS and TANGERINE DREAM.

The overture to the album ‘The Juddering’, opens like a long lost VANGELIS out-take from ‘Blade Runner’, heavily flanged and staccato panned synths eventually joined by rising polyphonic portamento chords. The track, which is also heavily indebted to DAVID BOWIE’s ‘Station to Station’, then ends on a plaintive string synth melody as the gated chords fade out leading into the first vocal track ‘End Result’.

An early of the highlight of the album, ‘End Result’ is initially striking because of the complex vocal melody, it introduces Doyle’s voice perfectly, hitting a near falsetto range which glides beautifully above the musical elements which feature subtle ‘You and Me Both’ Fairlight-style tuned percussion textures.

The near Eastern inflection on the main vocal hook recalls MADONNA’s classic William Orbit produced ‘Frozen’ and helps give the track a detached Arctic melancholic feel before a progressive ending featuring overdriven live drums and a soaring, gliding synth lead.

The epic outro explores similar territories to TANGERINE DREAM’s 1978 album ‘Cyclone’ which not entirely successfully, tried to mix live drums with synths, sequencers and vocals. Hannah Peel additionally features on this track and is credited on strings throughout the album too.

The intro of ‘Beaming White’ is unashamedly poppy and saccharine (maybe a little too much so) but with its “conversation stretched to fill the night” lyric, gives the track a more darker feel in places. The underpinning Latin percussion (often underused in current electronic pop) and the sheer melody of the piece could easily have you imagining Neil Tennant providing vocals for the track instead of Doyle.

‘Turn Away’ starts with a wobbling LFO-based synth and almost jazz-inflected ride cymbals and syncopated drums – the track quickly shifts up a gear with rich ascending synths which track Doyle’s vocal constantly throughout. The song’s money shot and “YES!” moment is at 2’16” where a massive synth lead and drum break and shifting time signature completely restores faith that there are still a few current electronic producers out there that aren’t afraid to write soaring melodies and use dynamics in their compositions. After a break for the chorus, ‘Turn Away’ ends after a final flourish with a slightly odd, but effective combination of resonant Moog bass notes and what sounds like sleigh bells.

Mid-album instrumental ‘Entirety’ is very much a homage to UNDERWORLD and stops ‘Culture of Volume’ from becoming too introspective, its aggressive bass and mix of 4/4 electronic drums climaxing in a simple synth melody which again leads back into the track’s main motif.

The album’s centerpiece is ‘Carousel’, other reviews have compared this to early SCOTT WALKER, but the opening half of OMD’s ‘Stanlow’ looms large over this song. It takes an element of bravery to strip a track back this much and eschew any percussion over nearly six and a half minutes, but Doyle manages this with an exposed dramatic vocal performance that is full of melancholy, generating an almost religious atmosphere at points.

‘Don’t Look Backwards’ evokes PET SHOP BOYS again without ever becoming a straight rip-off, whilst ‘Hearts That Never’ comes across as a ‘Dark Side of the Moon’-era PINK FLOYD writing an electronic dance track with imperial phase UNDERWORLD.

‘Culture of Volume’ is an album that throws a hell of a lot of influences into one big melting pot, yet somehow manages via some superb songwriting to emerge the other end as a satisfying and cohesive body of work.

The only negative point (especially considering the title of the album) is that ‘Culture of Volume’ is really heavily mastered in places…

Maybe this is a bit of an in-joke, but it does detract in places during some of the more dynamic sections.

At this rate and with the slew of glowing reviews that it’s gaining, there’s every chance that ‘Culture of Volume’ will secure another Mercury nomination – Doyle is not afraid to sidestep most of the current fads in current electronic music production, and as a result creates something which will be less transient and have far more longevity. You will be hard pushed to hear a better song-based electronic album this year.

‘Culture of Volume’ is released by XL Recordings on CD, vinyl and download

EAST INDIA YOUTH with special guest HANNAH PEEL play the following UK dates:

Manchester Deaf Institute (27th May), Glasgow King Tuts (28th May), Sheffield Plug (30th May), Norwich Arts Centre (31st May), Bristol Exchange (2nd June), Brighton The Haunt (3rd June), London Village Underground (4th June), Ramsgate Music Hall (5th June)


Text by Paul Boddy
25th April 2015

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