Tag: Gazelle Twin (Page 2 of 9)

WITCH OF THE VALE Interview

From the serene shores of Loch Lomond and the remote Outer Hebridean Isles, WITCH OF THE VALE have made a fine impression in their comparatively short period of being.

The couple’s musical potential has been rewarded with support slots for CLAN OF XYMOX, ASSEMBLAGE 23, SOLAR FAKE, LEÆTHER STRIP and DRAB MAJESTY while their biggest symbol of recognition in a prestigious slot at Infest awaits them at the end of August.

Possessing some Pagan fervour like GAZELLE TWIN meeting ‘The Wicker Man’ and ‘Twin Peaks’, the folk inspired stylings of Erin and Ryan Hawthorne have chillingly stood out through the release of two EPs ‘The Way This Will End’ and ‘Trust The Pain’.

From the latter, WITCH OF THE VALE’s hauntingly bleak cover of the already explicit and sinister ‘Gods & Monsters’ by Lana Del Rey has become their best known recording to date. Meanwhile, an EP of remixes entitled ‘Changeling’ has just been released featuring a rework of the ‘Trust The Pain’ song itself by LEÆTHER STRIP.

WITCH OF THE VALE kindly chatted about their musical philosophy and existential ideals…

Give us a quick recap on the history of the band so far…

Erin: It started out with Ryan twisting my arm into doing one song, and at the time he promised it would just be this one song. I hadn’t done anything musical in a long time and had zero confidence. We really didn’t have any particular ambitions or strategy when we started doing it, and really never intended to play live shows. A drunken conversation with a local promoter resulted in our first show – a support slot for CLAN OF XYMOX. Things changed gears a bit after that.

Ryan: Our first release was only last October, so there’s been a lot of firsts since then. The first time someone asked us to sign something, the first fan page, the first fan tattoo, the first time one of our musical heroes shared our music, and soon at Infest, our first festival slot.

How much has your geographical background shaped the sound of the band?

Ryan: It underpins our entire sound. We use a lot of early Scottish folk inspired drones with open fifths, evolving reed based synths, strings and brassy textured sounds. The start of ‘Deathwish’ is inspired by the sounds of a Celtic carnyx.

Musically we draw inspiration from Gaelic folk songs. It’s particularly prominent in two of our Waltz songs ‘Your Voice’ and ‘The Way This Will End’.

There’s a dreamlike quality to the music which is counter to the quite biting lyrics. How deliberate is this or does it just flow naturally?

Erin: I wouldn’t say this is intentional. I think the music is pretty dark and melancholy by itself, anyway. Maybe I just can’t write gentle lyrics. I do take a lot of time writing though, it matters very much to me that the words are right.

What is your approach to writing?

Ryan: We have three phases to writing a song…

Write the song
The sound comes later. It may seem obvious, but if we can’t pick up some unplugged musical instruments and have it sound good, then we don’t have a song. Try again.

Destroy it
Once we have something beautiful and then we ruin it. Sterilize any lingering feelings of hope in the song. We use a little distortion on everything.

Abandonment
Buried in the dirt. Left to fester on an external drive. For months a song will stay in this phase, lingering at the back of our minds like mild toothache. Eventually it’s back to phase 1. Repeat the whole thing until we have something we both love enough to release.

How important has playing live been to building your audience? And Ryan, do you have your own drum roadie yet?

Erin: We had shared some music online before our first shows but I don’t think anyone really took note until our first gig.

Ryan: We definitely streamlined what we take with us since that ASSEMBLAGE 23 support slot in London, where you laughed yourself sick seeing us struggling with oversized, non-portable gear. As we write this, we are carrying our gear on the train to play at ‘Beat: Cancer’ in Manchester and Erin has a broken arm. The drum remains a necessity.

Erin, you have a very striking stage presence. How did this develop?

Erin: I’m surprised to hear that anyone thinks that, to be honest. I have horrendous stage fright, and most of what I do on stage is likely a coping mechanism for that.

Ryan: That’s just what Erin looks like.

A lot of folk are quite ‘anti’ streaming platforms like Spotify. How do you view them?

Ryan: we both extensively use Spotify to listen to music and discover new artists. It would be hypocritical for us to criticise it. Unfortunately, you need to be an established artist to be discoverable. Without followers and appearances on prominent playlists, you won’t appear on the algorithms. That’s why it makes such a huge difference if you follow indie artists, share their music, and add them to playlists. Do it!

There is also a fair amount of competition between bands for support slots, coverage etc. How do you feel about this?

Erin: We’ve been pretty lucky in securing good support slots, actually, especially considering we really are still just getting on our feet. I don’t think I’ve felt much in the way of competition between other smaller acts, really. We’re actually a bit concerned about over-playing. You see some small artists who take every other gig they’re offered, which I think isn’t necessarily the best way to gain interest and a following. If you play the same clubs to the same audiences every other month… people stop coming out to see.

I go for dinner ‘Chez Hawthorne’ What’s on the playlist whilst we eat?

Erin: FEVER RAY; their two albums on loop.

Ryan: I hope you don’t mind vegetarian food by the way, accompanied by an Entrée of artists like ALICE GLASS, KANGA, THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE, CRANES and THE CURE.

You are the latest in a long line of breakthrough bands to play Infest. Do you prepare for a show like this differently to a usual performance?

Erin: We’re both quite anxious people, so preparation will likely involve drinking more than usual… so it’s probably a good thing our set is quite early. We’re hoping to include some new material.

After Infest, what’s next?

Ryan: Tricky question, we would love to do some shows and festivals further afield, but that would require having the time and the confidence to reach out and cold contact festival organisers and promoters. We could really use some suggestions or representation in this regard. Don’t be afraid to reach out to us on social media if you know someone who might want WITCH OF THE VALE on their next line-up.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its sincerest thanks to WITCH OF THE VALE

‘The Way This Will End’, ‘Trust The Pain’ and ‘Changeling’ are available direct from https://witchofthevale.bandcamp.com/releases

WITCH OF THE VALE play Infest at University of Bradford Student Union on Saturday 24th August 2019 shortly after doors open at 15:00

http://www.witchofthevale.com/

https://www.facebook.com/witchofthevale/

https://twitter.com/WitchOfTheVale

https://www.instagram.com/witch_of_the_vale/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/7axp614rqaTEKnaeQJ8F3V


Interview by Ian Ferguson
Additional Text by Chi Ming Lai
7th  August 2019

ZAMILSKA Uncovered

The concept of “Teraz Polska” (Poland Now) has been popularised in the Slavic land on both sides of the Vistula River for years.

But could it be that it truly is the time for the Poles to conquer the world of electronica?

Polska has found her own GAZELLE TWIN: enter Natalia Zamilska from the famously darkest part of the country, Silesia. Covered in carbon soot, raising deep from the centre of the Earth, she hits hard with her third album ‘Uncovered’.

The first parts of the undertaking, ‘Untune’ and ‘Undone’ were the formation of the now established artist and ‘Uncovered’ ushers in the new concepts of unearthing deeply hidden sounds, raising rather than falling and defying gravity. Zamilska draws parallels between life in the mining capital of Poland, with the constant noise, trembles and shakes, the true “attacks against the Earth” and creating meaningful music to excavate the electronic beauty for surface delivery.

Katowice may not be the most romantic place on the planet, but it’s certainly a superb backdrop against the industrial sounds which the producer, radio DJ and now vocalist likes to explore.

Zamilska is doing well in Poland with her own radio show, regular gigs and her work has been used by Dior for the catwalk in Japan. She has also remixed GAZELLE TWIN, collaborated with Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra and received a nomination for a Fryderyk, the Polish equivalent of a Grammy (named after Chopin of course).

‘Uncovered’ can be best described as artful and thought through. Nothing is random here, from the opening ‘Message’ with whipped cymbals, distorted radio and heavy bells to the closing ‘Done’, the shape bending scenarios are being played over and over again.

‘Hospital’ is a mirror image of GAZELLE TWIN’s works on ‘Unflesh’ with words thrown in for good measure, while ‘Hollow’, featuring the voice of Polish actress Justyna Wasilewska, repeats its rhythm as if through smoke. The mantric sound asks “what should I tell you” in various voices and time shifts.

There’s a feeling of dread and images of levitation come to mind. The idea of floating and bending into shapes that are unnatural prevails on this record, being visually presented on the artwork where Zamilska is seen in unworldly positions, as if undergoing an exorcism.

‘Still’ meanders between the two with the sinister voice of a fever induced coma, gathering the strength to enter into ‘Gape’. ‘Alive’ is a synth play, strangely musical and super enticing with unusual punctuations; is Zamilska giving her fellow Polish megastar Nosowska a run for her money here? Run Kaśka, run…

Perhaps it’s just a ‘Delusion’, or maybe a mere religious ritual as empty as the Church’s promises. “Wonderful ‘Prisoner’, wonderful” brings the notion of Earth trembling, being forced to part with its precious resources she had been guarding for centuries. Or are we all ‘Blind’ to the obvious?

‘Back’ and ‘Front’ are both cinematic and epiphany bringing, and in Zamilska’s case it’s simple: “I think I only have one dream, to continue to do what I do, to make music. I finished one stage and have started the next – it’s a strange time full of thinking. There is something around the corner, and I just need to be calm. I’m always saying that to myself: calm down Zamilska, calm down.”

Feeling that the instrumentation wasn’t quite enough to convey all she wanted, the Silesian magician introduced vocals to level “the play between the rising up, letting go and being vulnerable, while still being deeply anchored”.

If this is the level of Polish alternative electronica, then the rest of Europe should be afraid, or perhaps Zamilska is merely proving that the Polish are “narodem wybranym…”


‘Uncovered’ is available now as a download direct from https://zamilskaofficial.bandcamp.com/ – vinyl LP and CD released on 19th July 2019

http://zamilska.com/

https://www.facebook.com/zamilska/

https://twitter.com/zamilska

https://www.instagram.com/zamilska/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
16th May 2019

ANNA ÖBERG Vafan Har Jag Gjort!

The Swedish band LADOMIR, who described themselves as “synth and string”, was the jump start for Anna Öberg, who had long been a stand-alone composer and lyricist.

A self-confessed lover of pop, Öberg decided to take the plunge into the ocean of electronica, releasing ‘Härsknar’ as her first solo long player.

This amalgamation of new wave, punk and heavy industrial elements was produced by Charles Storm, known for his collaborations with HÅKAN HELLSTRÖM.

This year sees Öberg’s return with a follow-up, ‘Vafan Har Jag Gjort!’, which sweetly translates as “What the f*ck have I done!”

So, Anna, what the f*ck have you done!?

Promising “further steps into her very personal synth universe and masterful craftsmanship”, Öberg claims that this time she’s pushing “a little harder”, but at the same time “a little more sweet”.

Indeed, the harder pushing, nearly psychedelic sound LSD induced and with rave qualities, introduces the album with ‘Jag Blir Inte Kysst’ (‘I Don’t Get Kissed’), where the artist goes all out with pitch changing vocal, gritty synth and dirty textures, that attack from the onset.

The question of today is ‘Vafan Har Jag Gjort!’, which is repeated several times in the course of the song, pushing further and further like uncomfortable probe, to ease off for seconds before the machine starts up again. From the clear protest song, to this of arm swaying quality, the regretful plea ebbs and flows until it disappears into the abyss of Öberg’s disturbed mind.

‘Daga Att Gråta’ sees a more demure approach with sluggish rhythm, slower beat and poetic verses, interwoven with heavier elements to complete a more uncertain track, full of Pagan imaginary and artistry.

Vintage synth a la FAD GADGET’s ‘Ricky’s Hand’ ushers ‘Jag Såg Dig På En Lördag’ where that Saturday feeling drives the fast paced beats, continuously paying homage to the analogue machinery, showing off the fact Öberg can do “the happy” as well as the harsh and sad.

The unusual returns on ‘Bråk’, which is “fraction” like GAZELLE TWIN meets BJÖRK. The main musical elements are a choir, sparse synth and echoed voices. ‘Ich Bin’ changes the tongue to German and Öberg warns in no uncertain terms the she needs love: “Achtung Achtung Ich brauche Liebe”, over possibly the most interesting musical manipulation on the production.

A PET SHOP BOYS like dance sound enters on ‘Fortfarande 16’. The clash of voices and sounds bursts out like Jack in a Box, paying further homage to synth of the past times, while the closing ‘Omöjligt’ wraps up the album with the strangest of tunes. Dark, smoky and spooky, this persuasive piece evokes uncertainty and fear, with very few sounds, which develop into a plethora of sci-fi light and truly “impossible” imaginary.

Nobody said this was easy listening music, nobody warned against harsh words, nobody prepared against heavy statements, but Anna Öberg cares not. Having Charles Storm taking the reins of production again, as well as the inclusion of the poet Bob Hansson, John Lindqwister and Russ Rydén, Öberg achieves higher levels of musical wisdom, thanks to her ever expanding electronic horizons.


‘Vafan Har Jag Gjort!’ is released by Xenophone International as a CD and vinyl LP, download available from https://annaberg.bandcamp.com/releases

https://www.facebook.com/Anna5Oberg/


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
16th March 2019

Introducing FRAGILE SELF

Inspired by Jean Paul Sartre and expressing the need to be isolated, moving away from other people because they are the cause of mental and emotional pain, FRAGILE SELF are a minimal electronic duo aiming to create dark pop music to communicate the detachment often felt within the human condition.

Like a musical thesis on psychotherapy, the subject matters of their songs range from narcissism to Gestalt therapy.

Comprising of Anil Aykan and Jonathan Barnbrook who each have graphic design backgrounds, their ethos sees the music and visuals work in tandem.

Inspired by the 1968 Ingmar Bergman 1968 film ‘Hour Of The Wolf’, their just unveiled track of the same name is enigmatic, brooding and ritualistic like the recent ‘Pastoral’ work of GAZELLE TWIN whose artwork incidentally involved Barnbrook, best known for his visual presentations of icons such as David Bowie and John Foxx.

He told ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK: “The idea behind the lyric video was to see if it were possible not to have the words just coming up along with the singing but to see if we could keep the all of the words on the screen all of the time.”

Exploring “The hour between night and dawn… when most people die, sleep is deepest, nightmares are most real”, ‘Hour Of The Wolf’ exploits the fine art of the modern modular synthesizer with Noise Engineering’s Basimilus Iteritas Alter, Hexinverter drum modules and the Befaco BF22 filter being the main modules used.

With their forthcoming eponymous album mixed by Erland Cooper whose credits have included Hannah Peel, FRAGILE SELF are cerebrally out there, exploring sonic clusters for the mind. Live performances are planned.


‘Hour Of The Wolf’ is from the modular synthesizer compilation album ‘Modularism 2: Noises Off’ released by Law & Auder Records and available now on all major streaming platforms, further information at https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/modularism-2-noises-off

http://www.fragileself.com

https://www.facebook.com/fragileself/

https://twitter.com/fragile_self

https://www.instagram.com/fragile_self/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
28th February 2019

BLACK NAIL CABARET Pseudopop

Looks like this year witnessed some great releases in the electronic circus, but often the best ones are left to last, and ‘Pseudopop’ may as well be that cherry on the cake of 2018.

Coming from an act that have been climbing the levels of dark synth scene for the last few years, with BLACK NAIL CABARET honing their unique soundscapes, the new album seems to twist things a bit again in the Hungarians’ camp. Having started with a surprisingly punchy version of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’, BNC have since established themselves as the destroyer of everything dainty and soft.

Sat on the dark side of electronica’s moon, Emese Illes-Arvai and her husband pushed their last long player, ‘Dichromat’ over the finish line and continuing to feed the dark poison to the fans of the grittier, dirtier side of synth.

‘Dichromat’ was superb, but if that wasn’t enough, Emese and Krisztian went for the throat earlier this annum with a three song EP ‘Bête Noire’. The title song also appears on the new album; a clever move from the twosome, as the punchy single certainly gives it some. Mrs Arvai, says it as it is with the delightful “I think I wanna kill you, but I believe in peace, bitch!”, which pretty much sums up the concept of the track.

Punchiness aside, the album starts off with minimalistic and quite melodious ‘Icarus’, which represents synth poetry at its best. The ‘Icarus’ flies over the tediousness of life with hope, which materialises in the simplistic use of synth and gentle piano.

The different approach continues on ‘Rhythm X’, showing off a more artistic side to the usual schwarzness of BLACK NAIL CABARET, stepping on the toes of GAZELLE TWIN, at times introducing Eastern influences and the more polished EBM than what BNC’s listeners might be used to. The whole thing is far more pop friendly than the band’s legacy so far. Is this the ‘Pseudopop’ they’re going for?

‘La Petite Mort’ steps wearily over the gyrating beats, as if introducing colours into the signature black and white monotony. What brings one down to reality is the machine-operated ‘Trigger-Happy’ with the mundanity of factory work, the choices are clear “homicide” or “suicide”. Continue at your own risk.

‘90s’ and its Elvis in Hawaii-inspired bossa nova sits nowhere near the standard BNC supplies, which comes in as a pleasant surprise, if not a total shock and is either going to turn off the fans of stompy beats, or make the listener measure the pair with a new found respect.

The normality resumes with ‘Verge On The Creepy’. Back to the heavy beats, industrial samples of marching qualities, Emese goes for waxing lyrical alien-pop style. Greatly invigorated, the tempo slows down somewhat onto ‘Technicolour’, representing a gentler approach where Emese paints the picture with water based colours of the more demure type. The vintage synth connotations make themselves visible on ‘Unrequited Love’. A Bjork-esque approach to more concise electronica and a haunting vocal performance hover over the graduating steps into the quintessential sound of BLACK NAIL CABARET on the closing ‘Resonance’.

Having left the best to last, the twosome present the bomb right at the end. Could this just be a very modern approach to love? To pop? To musicality?

Having achieved so much over the last few years, with their growing fan base, gnawing sense of urgency to provide an alternative electronica source and alien-like synthpop, BLACK NAIL CABARET go twisting the boundaries and breaking the rules on ‘Pseudopop’.

Yes it’s pop, it’s their own pop; something BNC never did before… or are we coming back 360 degrees to their ‘Umbrella’? Either way, the year-end sounds better than ever!


‘Pseudopop’ is released by Dichronaut Records and available as a CD or download direct from https://dichronaut.bandcamp.com/album/pseudopop

http://www.blacknailcabaret.net/

https://www.facebook.com/bncband/

https://twitter.com/Black_Nails

https://www.instagram.com/bncband/

http://www.dichronaut.com


Text by Monika Izabela Trigwell
22nd November 2018

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