Electronic Music

NO GENRE: FIORDMOSS DOES HAUNTING ELECTRO-POP
May 20, 2016 10:54 am

Hailing from Czech Republic, and residing in the electronic dance music hub of Berlin, Fiordmoss produces a haunting strain of electro-pop that culls from folklore, installation art, horror-genre, and avant-garde classical music. It’s the music of nightmares, cold to the bone, veiled in mystery. Each song is a fluid, non-linear progression that pairs Petra Hermanova’s breathy vocal delivery with a patchwork of fidgety sampled beats, synthesizers, and acoustic instruments. Their music draws similarity to other genre-bending traditions rooted in Europe, namely post-rock and post-dubstep, while drawing an easy comparison to Björk.

Fiordmoss is a trans-European collective of drifters bound for unfettered artistic expression. Petra Hermanová and Roman Přikryl were flatmates in Czech Republic when their apartment was engulfed in flames, claiming their musical instruments. Soon after they began recording music, releasing their first EP, Gleise, in 2010. Following a short stint in Madrid, Fiordmoss was joined by Jan Boroš and released their second EP, Ink Bitten, in 2012.  Further sound exploration followed after the band relocated to Berlin in pursuit of dancier grooves with the aid of drummer and electronic producer Jon-Eirik Boska.  Their latest tune “Madstone“, released this past February, recalls an American folklore of a medicinal substance used to draw rabies from victims that have suffered grievous animal bites. The tune will appear on their forthcoming debut full-length album titled Berlin. Fiordmoss are in the midst of a European tour–hopefully a stateside visit will follow.

NEARLY OROTORIO: SIMON LAM’S STRIPPED DOWN  TIN EP
April 15, 2016 11:43 am

Melbourne’s Simon Lam is known by many names. Earlier this month, Lam, who releases solo material through the Nearly Orotorio moniker, dropped his second EP, Tin, via Solitaire Recordings.

Whether contributing vocal tracks or lending his keen sound engineering chops, Simon Lam has done a lot in a short span of time–and it seems like any project he decides to take on tends to make its way to an increasingly wide audience. His career launched in 2010 with the formation of Kins, a group that initially manifested in Australia, but later transplanted to Brighton, England. Kins fused wistful guitar with downtempo electronic breaks. They followed up the release of their self-titled full-length by touring in support of last year’s indie rock blockbuster, Courtney Barnett, before officially calling it quits in February. Meanwhile Lam, who didn’t stay around for Kins to fully come to fruition, was busy parsing together tapestries of his soulful vocals and minimal electronics with I’lls. Next he was building warm synth backdrops to back fellow-Melbourn songstress Chloe Kaul for their project Kllo.  They released a debut EP Cusp in 2015 via Dot Dash / Remote Control.

Lam’s first Nearly Oratorio release Showers was released in 2011, perhaps opening the door to some of his other collaborations. His fluid transition from one project to the next is disorienting indeed, but it’s the sign of an ambitious recording artist dedicated to his art and finding just the right collaborative environment to find inspiration for his next work.

Tin is a collection of oddball ditties dedicated to the wandering thinkers and creatives that occasionally get stuck inside their heads. To soak in this album properly one simply needs to lay back in a comfortable position, adorn a pair of headphones and take it in. Tin captures the essence of Sam Lam’s tinkering, the thought-process of a tireless scientist going through the motions of artistic process. It’s packed with a modest range of percussion adding texture and rhythmic dimension to his tracks which are otherwise bare-bones: Sam’s soothing R&B falsetto accompanied by a trickle of acoustic guitar and under synths.  It’s a great introduction to Simon Lin’s signature blissfully minimal sound. 

ROZES: THE GIRL BEHIND THE CHAINSMOKERS’ HIT
April 12, 2016 1:31 pm

We sat down with Rozes on a couch studded with roses (unintended) at SXSW to learn more about the girl behind The Chainsmokers‘ mega-hit called…yup “Roses.”

The song rose to #6 on the Billboard charts, is a favorite of Justin Bieb‘s, and has become a radio hit, however for Rozes herself, finding so much success in the electronic scene was completely unexpected…

Rozes_photo3

So this is your first time at SXSW!

Yes, it’s very exciting. We drove from Philly tailing my brother’s band down and I drove with my drummer and my boyfriend.

Oh cool so you have a pretty musical family?  

Yeah we’re like the Partridge family.[Laughs] Well my parents actually work in the medical industry but my dad also teaches guitar lessons and everybody in my family plays at least two instruments so music has like always been our thing.

How many instruments do you play?

Well I started on piano, then I went to violin, then saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, guitar…

Wow quite the variety.

I know, I was in a jazz band too.

So how did you end up in the electronic scene?

I never planned to go the EDM route. It just kind of fell into my lap. My brothers were hit up by this DJ, Just A Gentand they were writing toplines and were like ‘hey you know we have a sister who writes music.’ So they sent them to me and then I just wrote this song called “Limelight” which went huge in the EDM world. Then The Chainsmokers found it and so literally what happened was they followed me and messaged me on Twitter that they wanted to work me. So I was just kind of like pushed toward that path, it just kind of happened.

Rozes_Polaroid_SXSWEverything happened so fast. 

Yeah it’s kind of like we never expected it because when we wrote it we were just like oh this is a cool jam. We didn’t think anything of it we definitely did not think radio, I didn’t think radio, I mean I would have never thought that that’s what was gonna happen, like I was gonna get signed or anything. It’s crazy.

Are you comfortable playing live?

Yeah I am, I’m so comfortable actually. Well, I’ve also grown up in theatre so it’s kind of been my home you know. I was the theatre geek that always felt most comfortable when I could throw life aside and put on my alter ego and just be.

Do you have any pre-show rituals you do before you go on stage?

A glass of wine and I put on my crown and my lipstick.

What is your writing process like?

I write all the songs, but I have a producer who I’ll send all of my songs over roughly on piano or guitar and be like ‘here this is kind of what I want to be like’ and they help build it up from there. I recorded the EP (Burn Wild) in a studio in Delaware with my brother’s guitarist, he goes by ETRON. Now when I go to LA I’ll have different producers and we’ll have writing sessions and record in their studios.

What has the music you’ve been writing lately been about?

I would say they’re kind of about how life is changing for me at the moment and it’s like trying to figure out who is real and who is not because I have a lot of people coming out of the woodwork pretending to be my best friend and wanting to catch up and stuff and it’s me trying to file through who’s actually being genuine or not. It’s also about me coping with the fact that people are going to come out just because I have a hit on the radio not because they want to be friends with me and it’s kind of a rough realization but it’s something that has obviously happened.

The personal experience of a sudden rise to fame has sort of become cliche but I still always find myself thinking about what it must be like for people like, say, Justin Bieber. What has it been like for you?

I’ve actually thought about that because I met Bieber when he came to my show with The Chainsmokers at the Shrine Theatre in LA. He’s such a super nice kid and I just wonder if sometimes he feels like are these people just my friends because I’m Justin Bieber, is anyone a real friend? Nobody is prepared for that life. He’s a kid in his twenties and he’s in the public eye all the time, he’s grown up in it. If people had followed me growing up they would definitely be saying “this girl is crazy.” Britney Spears went through it, Lindsay Lohan went through it. I think it’s good that it’s just happening now for me because I got to see life before it all and so I can stay level headed and I’ve got my people that I trust.

That’s so awesome he came to your show I heard he’s a huge fan of the song “Roses!” Has it opened up a lot of other crazy opportunities for you?

Yeah. It’s definitely like having a resume. Like people see your credentials and they are like ‘oh yeah I’ll write with her’ you know. It kind of sucks that it’s that way because people who don’t have that on their resume its just like ‘oh why should I write with that person’ but they could be an amazing writer. You just have to somehow get lucky and get your foot in the door. It’s not really like having a lot of connections, like a lot of people think it is, but mostly you have to make the way yourself.

So do you think you’re going to stay in the EDM route?

No. I definitely plan to get out of the EDM route. It’s just not really my scene. I keep ending up getting featured on tracks because in my free time I’ll just write to music and it’s just kind of how it goes. I think if I were to do another EDM feature it would have to be something different that allows me to keep growing with it.

Have you been writing since a very young age?

Yeah, I think I wrote my first real song in eighth grade.

Awe, do you remember it? What was it about? 

Oh yeah, I remember it. It was like I had been dating this guy, and you know how middle school relationships are you think you’re so in love like “we’re gonna get married!” But it was actually just a horrible relationship and I couldn’t figure out how to get out of it because I had never had a breakup before. So I just wrote a song called “I’ve Come A Long Way” all about realizing how he’s not good for me.

So that was your first real song. Do you find that you get inspired or tend to write about things you are going through?

Oh yeah totally. I’ll feel something and be like I just need to sit down at the piano. People always ask me “what’s the first thing you’ll do when you get home?” and I’m like honestly I’ll probably just sit down at the piano and write. It’s my hobby and my job, and it’s the best thing ever.

Is it harder to write about other people or even yourself knowing now that so many people are going to hear it and listen to it?

I don’t think so. It’s kind of therapeutic for me. It’s like someone accidentally finding my journal. It’s like being able to tell my secrets in a honest creative way and not being judged for it.

What’s next for Rozes?

I think I just want people to be prepared for something different and I don’t want them to expect anything of me, but I also want them to be ready for something that they’ll love, you know. Because what I’m coming out with is so honest and I always say I’m going to always write what’s true.  Whether it’s about somebody else and so hard core true they have to know it’s about them or whether it’s about myself. There’s this new song I wrote called “Under the Grave” that’s actually about myself. So it’s like I’m not even written off you know, I’ll write about myself good or bad too.

Rozes released a new EP Burn Wild in February and is currently working on finalizing her next release.  

AGE 18, LUPA J PULLS US IN
April 11, 2016 11:16 am

Sometimes it’s difficult to enjoy a prodigy, not because their inherent level of talent isn’t drop-dead impressive, but because we’re confronted with the stinging reality that we’ve inadvertently missed the opportunity to attain a similar level of mastery.

Enter Imogen Jones, aka Lupa J, an Australian electro-pop songstress with a naturally well-built set of bells, and impeccable songwriting chops to boot.  She also happens to be a mere 18 years old.

Lupa J parses together her ethereal intone with an eclectic pallet of atmospheric samples, sharp beats, and shimmering violin, for which she’s also classically trained. Lupa J’s immersive concoctions pull you deep into her shadowy abyss: a love affair that’s equal parts Grimes, Kid A-era Radiohead, and the stylized theatrics of Kate Bush and BJork. Her music twists your nerves down your spine like the negative space in a horror film–These aren’t the dabblings of a typical high school music student, Lupa J is a true example of an Atypical Beast, through and through.  And her moniker is fitting indeed, as Lupa translate from Italian to “She-Wolf.”

Lupa J also already has a moderate collection of tracks that are available via her SoundCloud, including her newest single “Numb” which will be including on her forthcoming debut EP My Right Name, which will see release later this year. While she hasn’t ventured abroad yet, you can only assume it’s inevitable a music label scoops up an artist as ambitious and marketable as Lupa J in short order, hopefully granting us a chance to catch her state side in the near future.

TALK IS CHEAP: CHET FAKER’S DOWNTEMPO SEDUCTION
March 2, 2016 10:40 pm

Some artists are easier to “get into” than others.

Nicholas James Murphy, aka, Chet Faker, is an electronica artist that has you covered in the “chill” department. He effortlessly fuses sleek downtempo grooves with his seductive R&B-leaning croon.  Whether you’re lounging around after a long day, or on an extended evening spin, Chet Faker provides a perfect dose of ambiance and substance to keep your ears entranced.

Chet Baker hails from Victoria, Australia, and since breaking onto the scene in 2011, he’s had no trouble finding an audience for his tunes both at home and abroad. His 2014 full-length debut Built on Glass, made waves internationally, and debuted at the number 1 position on Australia’s ARIA charts.  I’m sure by now you’ve heard Talk is Cheap.

Most recently Chet Faker released Work EP, a collaboration with London-based DJ Marcus Marr. He also put up an immaculate performance for Boiler Room’s #Campaign4Change last October,  I encourage you to give it a spin.

While he might be keeping things on the down-low this year, Chet Faker will certainly be making a splash this festival season – catch him stateside at Ultra, Sasquatch, or Governor’s Ball.

LCD SOUNDSYSTEM’S INEVITABLY TRIUMPHANT RETURN
January 14, 2016 1:40 pm

By now the “farewell concert” has become something of a cliché.

Ever since Jay-Z hosted his retirement extravaganza back in 2003 (which didn’t last very long), the legitimacy of other acts celebrating their exit from show business has been somewhat questionable. Let’s be honest though, are we ever upset when one of favorite artists decides to come out of the wood work and start performing again? Absolutely not.

LCD Soundsystem, what hasn’t been said about them already?  For a band with a relatively short life span of only 10 years, they released three critically acclaimed albums, and for many of us, defined an indelible era of musical history.

Although it’s easy to forget sometimes, given how popular music has shifted toward an EDM-dominated landscape, that there was a time when electronic music wasn’t very ‘cool’ at all.

It was flaunted by cool kids, hipsters.  LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy first made a name for himself by co-founding DFA Records, a record label that quickly picked up steam as an underground advocate for house music’s accession into the mainstream.

By the time LCD Soundsystem formed in 2001 their hometown of Brooklyn had already been transformed into the central hub of hipsterdom (yeah I know, I made up a word, but so what?!).  Indie electronic music was about to explode into a global phenomenon.  Albums like Cut Copy’s In Ghost Colours, Jus†ice’s , and lest we forget, LCD Soundsystem’s Sound of Silver, received not only rave reviews from the music press, but were starting to cut mainstream pop out of the picture all together. This empowering shift marked the beginning of the digital age, for the first time since recorded music’s inception, listeners were choosing their own music, and plugging their iPod’s (that’s right) into their car stereos rather than listening to overly-glossed Top 40 hits and mainly commercials.

By the end of the decade LCD Soundsystem was on top of the world.  Sold out concerts, packed festivals, and Murphy plastered onto the front page of every music publication possible.

Then, like all good things, LCD Soundsystem decided it was time to call it quits.  On February 5th, 2011, the band announced on their website that they thought it was better to quit while they were ahead and go out with a bang.

On April 2nd, 2011, at Madison Square Garden, the band performed their final show.

Hold on, hold on. Where have a heard this before? This is bogus! You know this isn’t going to last! Come on!

Sure enough…on January 5th this note was posted to their website.  That’s right, they’re back. Like really back.

Of course, it’s no surprise that somehow Coachella managed to cash in on their triumphant return. While we can safely assume plenty of festival-goers will flock to the outskirts of Palo Alto to sweat it out this April, where will LCD Soundsystem appear next?  For now, my friends, the answer to that question is shrouded in mystery.  The only hint is a promising yet cryptic message on their website: “2016 tour dates coming soon.”  I supposed we’ll have to wait it out (although, I think it’s safe to assume they’ll be playing somewhere in the vicinity of New York.)

By far the most important tidbit of information is that there’s a new album in the works.

LCD Soundsystem has a pretty awesome discography. It’s dancey, but sophisticated. It’s music that celebrates dusting off obscure records for audiophiles with an interest in obscure music. You know, like cool kids. Hipsters.

So in short, farewell concerts are probably a sham, so don’t drive halfway across the country to celebrate your favorite band’s early–er, I mean, botched retirement. LCD Soundsystem is back and 2016 is going to be an awesome year to ”Dance Yrself Clean yet again!