The outdoor music festival season is in full swing right now here in Europe and with it comes the annual criticism of the line-ups at many of the major ones. Regardless of the genre – be it dance, rock or alternative – the top end of the bills tend to operate on a two or three year cycle which sees the same acts popping up with numbing regularity. There are only so many bands that can top a bill, some of them might not be available and they may not be affordable. But that doesn’t answer the complaints of the critics as to the conservatism of the events. Anecdotally I’m hearing friends say they’re noticing this trend working its way further down the running order now, so that at some festivals almost the entire bill had played at the same festival in the previous few years. As for the cause? There are many opinions but no real facts – agents and promoters working too closely together, festivals having to play safe due to the costs involved, buy-ons or audiences getting older and less adventurous have all been suggested as causes. The thing is, the festivals are still getting big numbers through the door and ultimately they have to watch the bottom line. For some running festivals may be a labour of love, but they are about making profits for investors. But as we’re seeing here in the UK with top-level football, eventually it results in events becoming something to be consumed quietly and passively, rather than to be lived and experienced. A festival where the audience stands in silence whilst the band played on would be a tragic thing.  And with that, on with the music!

Musician, DJ and producer  Brooks Brown has enlisted the services of Truitt on the track No Service.  The track has a sophisticated, summery feel and rich vocals, giving the songs’ slightly downtempo sound an aura of warmth as well as extra layers of emotion.

 Crème is the new recording alias of Trixie Reiss, a former collaborator with pioneering electronic act The Crystal Method. Helium is the first record to be released as Crème, with Reiss’s vocals are powerfully distinctive as ever and in close synchronicity with the crisply energetic production. It all adds up to reel the listener in to this emotionally touching electro-ballad.

Tell Me It’s Over by Daniella Mason is sure to replicate the success of previous releases such as All I Want – it riffs on the Scandinavian electro pop style, but with hints of 80’s power ballads thrown into the mix, and with the song making the most of her expressive vocals it shows Mason can navigate the balance between  leftfield electronic music and mainstream pop with considerable finesse.

Lucian continues his great run of collaborations with Down The Middle which features the talents of Kid Coyote.  Clara Berry’s vocals lend the song a vulnerable yet sassy edge, adding to its already chilled and catchy charm. This is an alternate version of the previously released track, which Lucian says is a prelude to an EP which will contain re-imaginings of previously released work.

Danish musician Frei delivers a superior brand of slightly jazzy, downtempo on Moody – and to be honest the name of the track captures the ambience of the piece perfectly. The song features on his three track EP Wavy which also contains tracks descriptively called Beachy and Nighty. It’s totally cool and well worth a listen.

OVVLS (pronounced “owls”) create a very cinematic sound, featuring trip-hop beats, brooding  soundscapes and haunting vocals. They released the Recrudescence Trilogy of singles in 2016 (produced by Brian Campbell of Clinic) and have followed them up with a real musical tour de force on Mind Leeches; which sends cascades of inventive musical intensity crashing over the listener in waves of fearful euphoria.

Justin Jay has hit musical paydirt on Stuck Inside My Head, which follows in the footsteps of his Fantastic Voyage release amongst others. With the mellowest of beats, subtly vocodered vocals and somehow lushly deep yet lo-fi production, it gets under your skin almost immediately.

Bels Lotano  is a new electronic music artist based out of Michigan, US . On Chariots they manage to be both uplifting and slightly melancholic, dishing up a languid summer session that evokes sensations of reflection and introspection through its hazy beats and playful vocals.

On Lost Souls Make It,  Piers Baron takes the dystopic disco of Mr. Kitty and an icy bassline that wouldn’t go amiss on the bleakest of darkwave and melds them in to a track that grabs the listeners soul and feet, to make a piece of pulsating political electropop.

Last up this week is yet another sublime slice of evocative electronica from Sirma in the form of her uplifting electro track Eclipse. It sees the Turkish singer take the listener on an emotional journey both lyrically and musically and leaves you feel wistfully sated but at the same time, wanting more. The track features on her current To Love EP.

Thanks for checking out the blog this week, we really appreciate you taking the time to do so and that you have found something in these tracks to help soothe the soul. Until next week!