Wow, that week went quickly didn’t it! No matter how much time flies by, we still have new music to uncover and present to you for your enjoyment and delectation! Here’s this week’s selection.
First up this week is American Wit Blu, whose track Stayed takes a lot of the tropes associated with trip hop but nudges them in a lighter and more chilled direction, eschewing the sometimes oppressive pomposity associated with the genre. Stayed has a personal feel to it – mainly thanks to Blu’s vocal performance – and the lyrics which make you feel like she’s singing for and you alone. With only a few releases under her belt, Wit Blu is already showing herself to have her own musical vision and we predict big things for her.
The Wrong Ones is a collaboration between French producer Green Valdener and British singer Jaayns. Cultivating similar music territory to acts like Rokysopp, it makes a different interpretation of the same musical palate, being dark and pensive at times rather than just going for rhythm and melody. It certainly has those too of course, but the vocals add a distinctly human heart inside that very glossy and intricate electronic exterior.
Robin Velander’s Benhus travels through the decades, pilfering from genres galore to create a uniquely haunting sound. With elements of old school EBM, early Pet Shop Boys and a healthy dose of pop sensibility, Benhus adds some epic guitar solos for good measure to give a real sense of listening to something sombre, but special underneath. Benhus translates in to English as ossuary or charnel house, reflecting the lyrics perfectly, as Velander explores a world where hate reigns but hope is still alive.
Brooklynite Steven Salazar is the mainstay of Shanghai Beach, and musically this project seems to exist in some third space where Afrika Bambaataa decided to shun the dancefloors and rappers of New York and instead explore the intricacies of esoteric electronica. As per our previously covered track The Actress, his new release Youth/1709 features yet more pulsating synths, but with hints of Kraftwerk and Clan Of Xymox peaking through the musical undergrowth. Both tracks feature on the recently release Bizarre Mutations album which you can stream on Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
UK artist Ruinarte takes a very melodic approach to downtempo infused electronica on Your Philosophy – her vocals, which have echoes of Dido – are like another instrument on the song, adding meaning and extra layers with just their tone alone. The song flows like water to the sea, taking your cares with it for a while – it really is something you can lose yourself in.
Another welcome return to the blog for Isserley and Good Girl. It’s brief at under two and a half minutes, but it packs a lot in to that short span; most of it dirty and disturbing thanks in part to that earth-shaking bass and the increasing sense of dissonance and dislocation as the track unfolds. It hardly feels like a song at all at the end, but more like a voyage through an industrial soundtrack for the damned.
Correspondence is the recording project of Ben Catt, an electronic musician based in Yorkshire, England; and Playing Field is from his most recent album Wave Recital. It has more in common with the works of Steve Reich or Philip Glass than classic electronica – a series of musical patterns ebb, flow and interweave to create a hypnotic effect, but it’s all underpinned by a sense of rhythmic intensity and urgency that draws the listener in perfectly. Playing Field feels like the opening piece to a documentary that exists only in the mind of the listener. You can find out more about Correspondence over at the Audiobulb website.
Is lightwave a genre? After listening to All So Wrong by Jupe Jupe it really should be. The song takes many of the elements of darkwave but brushes them with a sense of upbeat rhythm and mild euphoria that drags the emotions in to a paradoxical state of melancholic joy. All So Wrong just glides along too quickly, leaving an existential longing behind. The song features on the band’s rather wonderful Lonely Creatures album which you can stream on Bandcamp.
Lauren Marie and Ike Kawaguchi aka Lolahiko are back with Ethanol – yet another barnstormer to follow up Augusts’ Alone. It’s less ambient that the previous release, but again has Marie’s vocals front and centre – her sweet voice delivering tough truths in the lyrics about how you need to confide, to be truthful with loved one and come out the other side stronger and more connected, known. As ever, the arrangement and tempo communicate an aura of longing and warmth that adds to the overall emotional intensity of the song.
Last up this week is Light The Way by the wonderful Mikky Ekko. An anthemic, electro beast of a track which drives along as he sings ‘We always set ourselves on fire to light the way’ – lyrics that burn with emotion as the song catapults it way across the heartstrings. There’s a definite change in sound since the Time album, with more electricity and energy flowing through Light The Way that invites comparisons with the likes of Blaqk Audio or Dreamcar, but is very much his own sound. It’s the second song to be released in advance of Ekko’s anticipated new album FAME which is due out early 2018 on Interscope Records.
I hope something in those top tunes tickled your taste buds and made you want to explore some more of the artists oeuvres! Until next week. Keep living and keep loving music!