Hello again everyone! Here we are again with another ten tracks to hopefully delight your musical taste buds, showcasing a wide and varied styles and sounds that come under the electronica label.
First up this weekend is something unusual for us – a cover version! It’s a radical re-imagining by TyC of Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do, given an electro-soul feel and a total diva vocal performance by Joselyn Rivera. The song has been given a more feisty, soulful edge by the duo, taking it far away from the very corporate pop of the original.
London based Kalli Ma pull of a neat trick with High Shot – it takes inspiration from the more rave end of techno, but filters in through the classic pop song structure. The result is a song that has pounding beats and acid overtones but grafts on a dreamy vocal and a soothing chorus that means High Shot is a tune equally at home in a warehouse at daybreak or your own living room on a Sunday afternoon.
ROTH is a duo from Stockholm. Comprising of siblings Julia and Gustav Roth, the band have excelled with Days, which sees them combine elements of the traditional Scandinavian electropop sound with some anthemic ballad shapes that wouldn’t be amiss on an Empathy Test record. The arrangement alone is enough to enchant the listener, but what pushes the track on to a higher plane are the vocal performances of the duo, which just drip with emotion: Julia’s voice providing the angelic foil to Guatav’s more rock inclined vocal delivery. It’s amazing that they can fit so much in to one song yet have it sound so seamless and flawless.
Archie Fairhurst aka Romare just delights the soul and feet with All Night, as it utilises the most sensual bass line you’ll hear all year to underpin a track that just screams to be danced to! Every beat, every sample feels like an old friend coming back to remind you of the good times you’d had. It feels more like a DJ mix than a track at times such is its immediacy and sense of abandon, but that’s down to the recording process – Fairhurst says it was mixed live and recorded in one take – as were all the tracks on his new Live Sessions 1 EP. All Night is an aphrodisiac – if it doesn’t keep you going for hours then you must have no mojo, musical or otherwise!
American Penguin Prison (Chris Glover) also channels the good vibes on Turn It Up, but rather than evoking the dancefloor, the catchy chorus, bouncy synth lines and infectious guitar licks all add up to a track provides a positive soundtrack for difficult times. The track does have a personal, political theme to it as the central core, with Glover himself highlighting that the track is about raising your voice and fighting for who you are and what you believe in.
You can’t fault a track that opens with a cowbell – other than wanting it to have more cowbell – but don’t’ let the presence of that illustrious instrument blind you to the beauty of SQRD’s new track, Scars. The Swedish-born, Berlin-based lo-fi electronic producer takes some retro sounds and builds them around a minimal but expressive series of beats and synth leads to create an upbeat song that’s twinned with some very insightful lyrics about pain and loss.
London experimental pop duo FKL say they got the inspiration for Violence from a book – Women In Dark Times by Jacqueline Rose. Another track that successfully balances opposing themes and concepts, musically Violence is a minimal electronic ballad with ethereal choral inflections, but Sage Redman’s raw vocals and the forthright lyrics give an insightful and feisty counterpoint.
Drifting Off In A Care Powered Balloon by Tony Njoku is one of those occasional tracks you hear that totally floors you. Vocally there’s echoes of David McAltmont and Anohni but musically there’s no comparison. In fact, I’d struggle to pinpoint an artist or even genre as a reference point, but in sound and structure it has more in common with something you hear as part of the score of an avant-garde opera than a pop radio station. For all that, the song still has a warmth and accessibility to it that is just sublime.
American alternative electro-pop band White Night whisk up an infectious mix of baroque electro with Golden Heart – the song features violins that just tug at the emotions with their plaintive sound, but the song has a solid electronic soul, almost Teutonic in its rhythmic intensity. Elizabeth Boardman’s vocals overlay that with a timbre that is part folk, part rock, which adds a very personal and expressive sheen to Golden Heart.
The final track this week is Cloud Fforest by Magic Panda – aka Jamie Robson, a lo-fi electronic music producer from Norfolk in the UK. It’s a very chilled affair, which probably could be viewed as taking trance as a starting point, but rather than going for mindless euphoria and hedonism, the mellow beats and minor chords create an overwhelming sense of calm and inner serenity as the song unwinds like a long sunny afternoon. Cloud Fforest is dance music for daydreamers and I like that!
That’s all for this week. See you next time!