Tag: I Am Snow Angel (Page 1 of 3)

I AM SNOW ANGEL Falling Down To The Earth EP

Brooklyn based singer / songwriter Julie Kathryn is I AM SNOW ANGEL and with the onset of motherhood, she has been in a more meditative and reflective mode of muse.

The instrumental ’Elegy’ EP was released in March and showcased a more ambient side but the new EP ‘Falling Down To The Earth’ is a collection of songs of sorts and could be seen as a sequel to the ‘Mothership’ album of 2019.

Written, produced and performed by I AM SNOW ANGEL, ‘Falling Down To The Earth’ sees her return to this planet with a new clarity and presence.

All recorded in the Adirondack mountains during the pandemic, the opening title song has an electro-spiritual quality akin to Moby, centred around the repeated phrase “Falling Down to the Earth’ again with you, falling out of the sky black and blue”.

Adding a subtle metronomic beat, ‘Find My Love’ sees Julie Kathryn utilise a range of vocal treatments including vocoder for some futuristic Americana that hypnotises the listener.

With the EP containing not songs as such, but more sketches with vocals, ‘I See Your Face (In The Strangest Places)’ is the most conventional offering structurally and lyrically but it still sounds otherworldly with a marvellous understated quality. Led by piano, the instrumental ‘Joseph’ ends the EP on a plaintive note.

After the darker tinged to ‘Mothership’, the material gathered on ‘Falling Down To The Earth’ is a return to the dreamier and yes, earthier I AM SNOW ANGEL sound that captures her signature spirituality.

Another EP is due before a full length album entitled ‘Lost World’ which will be more traditional in format. Until then, it’s time to fall back down to earth.


‘Falling Down To The Earth’ is available as a download from 7th May 2021 via the usual digital outlets including https://iamsnowangel.bandcamp.com/

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
9th May 2021

JENNY HVAL The Practice Of Love

‘The Practice Of Love’ is Norwegian songstress JENNY HVAL’s seventh album and the opposite of its self-explanatory predecessor ‘Blood Bitch’ which included stark confessionals such as ‘The Great Undressing’ and ‘Conceptual Romance’.

Now with her anger more subdued, in conceiving her new album’s aural palette, Hval got nostalgic. “I kept coming back to trashy, mainstream trance music from the ’90s” she said, while “writing something that was multi-layered, a community of voices, stories about both myself and others simultaneously…”

Released on Sacred Bones Records, home of ZOLA JESUS and THE SOFT MOON, ‘The Practice of Love’ is quietly subversive like I AM SNOW ANGEL, a body of gentle and mature synthy pop with an ethereal quality which challenges the concept of conventional personal relationships without getting angry.

Featuring friends and collaborators Vivian Wang, Laura Jean Englert and Felicia Atkinson on additional vocals or sections of recorded conversation, it asks “What is our job as a member of the human race? Do we have to accept this job, and if we don’t, does the pressure to be normal ever stop?”

Lightly percussive loops, album opener ‘Lions’ featuring a monologue by Vivian Wang is an exotic pulsing number with Hval’s angelic vocal tones gaining great exuberance as the song progresses asking “Where is God?” in a Scandi-Gaelic styled vocal cross.

With more rhythmic looping and gated synths, ‘High Alice’ exudes a widescreen hypnotism with the surprise of slinky sax and a dreamy understated voice embroiled in optimism declaring “We are something better”. With sparkling arpeggios, the gorgeous ‘Accident’ comes over like a Nordic KID MOXIE, with harmonies, ethnic choir samples and more brass concocting some deep forest escapism.

An ambient spoken word art piece, ‘The Practice Of Love’ title track sees Laura Jean Englert and Vivian Wang expressing their thoughts on being childless. Making valid existential statements, it questions “What does it mean to be in the world? What does it mean to participate in the culture of what it means to be human? To parent (or not)? To live and die? To practice love and care?”

Recalling ‘He Said’, the gorgeous collaboration between Michael Rother of NEU! and Sophie Williams from 2004, the dreamy but solemn ‘Ashes To Ashes’ with its gorgeous swathes of synths has a subtle metallic backbone to contrast the mood. It steadily builds for a resigned acceptance of mortality as “I am digging my own grave / in the honeypot / ashes to ashes / dust to dust.”

Beginning like an avant-jazz jam, ‘Thumbsucker’ also has folky overtones but sounds unusual with a subtle electronic arpeggio figuring in the interesting hybrid of styles. The spacey ‘Six Red Cannas’ sees Hval’s friendship trio all together within a metronomic dance enhanced backdrop of trancey sequencer driven synths that still maintains a feminine mystery.

Closing with the layered hush of ‘Ordinary’ with whispers, gongs and synthetic raindrops drifting into a transcendental climax, Hval accepts “We don’t always get to choose / when we are close / and when we are not.”

A thoughtful celebration of female empowerment and the human condition, despite being only eight tracks in length, it does feel a lot longer though. Not for everyone, the lyrical expression and spiritual air may require additional investment. But for those who open-minded enough get both the sound and the sentiment, the enlightenment will undoubtedly prove rewarding.


‘The Practice Of Love’ is released on 13th September 2019 in vinyl LP, CD and digital formats via Sacred Bones Records, available from https://jennyhval.bandcamp.com/

http://jennyhval.com/

https://www.facebook.com/jennyhval/

https://twitter.com/jennyhval

https://www.instagram.com/jennyhval/

https://www.sacredbonesrecords.com/collections/jenny-hval


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Lasse Marhaug
6th September 2019

A Short Conversation with I AM SNOW ANGEL

The quietly subversive I AM SNOW ANGEL launches her most ambitious body of work yet in her second full-length album ‘Mothership’.

The space vehicle of Julie Kathryn, the multi-talented singer, musician and producer hailing from Lake Placid, an unusual combination of electronica and Americana has steadily evolved since her self-titled debut EP.

Following works such as ‘Crocodile’ and ‘Desert’, the spiritual intensity of ‘Mothership’ offers a work which is rich and melodic but perhaps a shade darker than where I AM SNOW ANGEL has boldly gone before, reflecting some turbulent times in a volatile world.

Julie Kathryn kindly talked about the landing of her ‘Mothership’ and where else she might be landing…

Your first album was called ‘Crocodile’ and from the title alone, ‘Mothership’ indicates a great sense of ambition?

This album definitely felt more substantial for me from the start. It feels like one piece of music, split into acts. I knew I needed to isolate myself to create it, and that the finished product would be more intense than what I’ve created in the past. This album was something I felt compelled to create.

Spirituality has been a recurring theme in your music, is ‘Mothership’ connected to that?

Definitely, ‘Mothership’ is an intersection of traditional spirituality and paranormal / science fiction – both of which are present in my inner artistic life. At the beginning of the album, the protagonist struggles in an emotionally uninhabitable world, longing for escape – and even for abduction. When the ‘Mothership’ finally arrives, her fantasy of escape feels more like a nightmare. But in the end, she returns to an altered world where she is enlightened. She can feel love again.

How important was the interim ‘Desert’ EP on your musical journey to ‘Mothership’?

Musically, it was very important. My songwriting on that EP – in particular, ‘Desert’ and ‘Losing Face’ – took me to a deeper place, lyrically and emotionally. I think this served as a bridge to this new, more intense material.

You recorded this album alone in a cabin in the woods, how was it to be cut-off from all the distractions of the city and to function self-sufficiently?

It was so wonderful. I didn’t want it to end. I was able to get lost in artistic flow for days at a time, working around the clock in my favourite place on earth.

Is this what contributed to the nocturnal demeanour of ‘Mothership’?

Yes. In the middle of nowhere during the winter, it was dark and quiet a lot of the time. And I definitely created a lot of the music late at night or in the early hours of the morning. Those are my prime creative hours.

It all starts with a wondrous instrumental ‘Inception’ which is a new path for you?

That piece of music seems to write itself. It didn’t seem like it should have lyrics, so I left it as it was.

‘Honeybee’ is perhaps one of the album’s pivotal tracks, what inspired it?

‘Honeybee’ – like much of the first half of the album – describes a sense of disillusionment and a desire to escape. I chose sounds that reminded me of buzzing bees and gurgling honeycomb, but with an ominous edge, intended to represent a natural world out of balance. Once I settled on guitar chords and synth sounds, the melody and narrative came to me quickly.

Things seems grander on this record, ‘You Were Mine’ sounds like it’s been backed by a huge synthetic orchestra?

I remember creating the music for that song. I was sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace in the cabin with my gear spread out around me. I used some of the sounds from Ableton’s “Orchestral Strings” soundpack, looping and layering various parts – whatever felt natural. The sonic landscape for this track materialized in a really fun and intuitive way.

You’ve opted to include both variants of ‘Honyebee’ and ‘You Were Mine’ on ‘Mothership’, what were your reasons?

For ‘Honeybee’, I felt very connected to my original version – the Cabin Mix – and still I had a nagging desire to re-imagine the song once I was back in New York City. So I spent a day or two remixing my own track (which was a really fun exercise in itself) and I ended up with the City Mix. While the Cabin Mix feels very organic to me, the City Mix is more glitchy and anxious. I thought it would be fun to include them both.

With ‘You Were Mine’, I was curious to hear another interpretation of the song. I asked a collaborator whom I really respect – the Swedish artist / producer THE LAND BELOW to remix the song and I loved his dark twist on it.

You’ve applied more glitch techniques ?

Yes I definitely used some glitchy sounds on this album. In ‘Inception’ I reversed sounds of children playing and simple xylophone notes to create an eerie, subtly off-kilter mood. In ‘Prey of My Own’ and ‘Wake Me’ I chopped, warped and reversed a lot of the backing vocals. And as I mentioned before, ‘Honeybee (City Mix)’ ended up a bit glitchy and crunchy.

‘Loud and Sharp / Hard and Fast’ does what it says on the tin with talk of “falling out more times than falling in”, what was the catalyst for that?

As I was writing this, I was thinking about the concept of “falling in” or “falling out” of love. I started to wonder if there’s an exact moment when each of those occurs. In the case of “falling out”, I envisioned a loved one’s previously soothing voice suddenly sounding harsh and abrasive. And then I realized that I can recall “falling out” of love more times than I can remember “falling into” love… which seems paradoxical.

‘Prey of My Own’ is quite intense and almost claustrophobic, a case of cabin fever?

This song was partially inspired by a post-apocalyptic novel by Emily St. John Mandel, ‘Station Eleven’, that I read while I was conceptualizing this album. The characters in the book, including the female protagonist Kirsten, must fend for themselves in a wild, uncivilized world. In ‘Prey of My Own’, my protagonist has become a warrior in a cold and dangerous winter forest.

The ‘Mothership’ title song and ‘Wake Me’ both have a sombre air?

Both of these songs depict the protagonist’s abduction (or, dream of being abducted). Desperate for relief from her unhappy life, she eagerly awaits the ‘Mothership’, even drinking special elixirs in an effort to expedite its arrival. But when the ship lands, its sound is harsh and deafening. What follows (in the rest of the track and in ‘Wake Me’) is either an actual abduction or a very vivid nightmare that leaves her frightened and disoriented. When the protagonist wakes up/returns to consciousness, she finds that the world has changed, and she has changed.

The lyrical content of the closing number ‘I Love You’ could have many interpretations for the listener?

The album’s narrative ends here. Unaware exactly how long she has been gone from this world, the protagonist wakes up to an altered reality – both internally and externally. Her spiritual composition has changed, and the world feels different.

She finally feels peace and love within herself. She remembers someone she loved many years ago and makes a trek through a new futuristic landscape to find this person.

You must be very proud of ‘Mothership’, what’s the next step as far as presenting it to the wider world?

Thank you so much. I’m hoping to reach as many people as I can with this album, and I’m grateful to people like you for taking the time to listen to and share my work.


ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to I AM SNOW ANGEL

‘Mothership’ available as a download via the usual digital outlets

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Julie Drummond
2nd February 2019

I AM SNOW ANGEL Mothership

The ‘Mothership’ has landed and it is indeed I AM SNOW ANGEL’s most ambitious work yet.

The quietly subversive vehicle of Julie Kathryn, the Lake Placid native wrote, performed, programmed, produced and engineered the album herself in a woodland cabin retreat outside New York, although there are some guitar contributions from Charlie Rauh on two tracks.

At eight tracks, while this is not a long concept album in that progressive rock kind of way, ‘Mothership’ has a thematic core which is possibly darker than the dreamier I AM SNOW ANGEL material of the past.

With a political air of alienation, ‘Mothership’ has been described as an intersection of traditional spirituality, the paranormal and science fiction.  After a surreal instrumental intro with the widescreen overtures of ‘Inception’, ‘Honeybee’ provides some Americana twang alongside glitchy atmospheres and dense icy strings, recalling the mysterious air of Hilary Woods who released her debut solo album ‘Colt’ on Sacred Bones Records in 2018.

On the wispy drama of ‘You Were Mine’, the feelings of loss conveyed over an airy collage of mystery are chillingly bittersweet, accompanied by a magnificent synthetic orchestra and a minimal dressing of guitar. More loudly dynamic, ‘Loud and Sharp / Hard and Fast’ does what the title suggests in an aural cocoon of drum loops, bass synth, guitars and voice samples.

Reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti, ‘Prey of My Own’ is intense and claustrophobic.

“One of the big influences for me on my new record was actually David Lynch” confessed Julie Kathryn ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK, “especially the new series of Twin Peaks”.

The sombre air of the ‘Mothership’ title track gives a very austere atmosphere swathed in intensity…

“What follows (in the rest of the track, and in ‘Wake Me’) is either an actual abduction or a very vivid nightmare that leaves her frightened and disoriented” Julie Kathryn said, “When the protagonist wakes up / returns to consciousness, she finds that the world has changed, and she has changed.”

Drifting among sombre strings, ‘Wake Me’ works with detuned spacey synths to provide a twist, building around a steadfast swung rhythm, mighty guitar textures and haunting whispery vocals, before drones and six string make a profound declaration in ‘I Love You’, an ultimate expression of blind devotion which captivates and unsettles simultaneously.

Sonically nocturnal and emotive, embroiled in a delicate melancholy via an earthy merging of technology and nature, ‘Mothership’ moves I AM SNOW ANGEL away from dreams into more cerebral climes but is still quietly subversive.

At the end, there is almost a sense of cabin fever, isolation and uncertainty, reflecting some turbulent times in a volatile world.


‘Mothership’ available as a download from 25th January 2019 direct from https://iamsnowangel.bandcamp.com/album/mothership

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
Photos by Shervin Lainez
23rd January 2019

I AM SNOW ANGEL Honeybee

With her ‘Mothership’ opus about to land soon, Lake Placid’s I AM SNOW ANGEL has presented a new in-studio performance video of her current single ‘Honeybee’.

The vehicle of songstress and producer Julie Kathryn, her wonderful debut long player ‘Crocodile’ was a quietly subversive statement that crossed modern electronica with some Americana twang and even closed with a wispy drum ‘n’ bass cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m On Fire’.

Recorded appropriately enough in a cabin located in the wintery Adirondack Woods which are north of New York, ‘Honeybee’ has been presented in two versions, depicting according to Kathryn: “two iterations of a dark and bittersweet metaphorical world where alienation is omnipresent, and love and salvation are ephemeral (never truly unattainable no matter how much I long for them).”

“In the City Mix” she said, “I overlayed trap beats with glitchy and robotic vocals to help bring the song’s melody to life while also depicting the inevitable merging of technology and nature.”

However, the more sedate and barer Cabin Mix recalls haunting air of Hilary Woods who released her debut solo album ‘Colt’ on Sacred Bones earlier this year; “I employed onamonapia by using sounds that, to me, are reminiscent of the buzzing and gurgling of a honeybee and it’s honeycomb lair, but with a dark edge.”

‘Honeybee’ is the follow-up to the chillingly bittersweet ‘You Were Mine’ and the long awaited parent long player ‘Mothership’ is now slated for 25th January 2019. As well as finishing the I AM SNOW ANGEL album, Kathryn has also undertaken some sound design with her own Dream Pack for Splice as well as engineering and producing ‘No Sound’, the new single by Canadian singer / songwriter Grace Lachance.

But despite the workload, Kathryn simply says: “I’m so grateful that I get to make music all day every day ✨?


‘Honeybee’ available as a download via the usual digital outlets

The album ‘Mothership’ is released on 25th January 2019

http://iamsnowangel.com/

https://www.facebook.com/iamsnowangel

https://twitter.com/I_Am_SnowAngel

https://www.instagram.com/i_am_snowangel/


Text by Chi Ming Lai
5th December 2018

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