One of the most interesting trends in music right now is the resurgence of electronic music like that of the trip-hop golden years (i.e. the 90s). One problem I notice, however, is that the radio is becoming absolutely saturated with these electronic groups and only a few stand out from the crowd. What should an electronic group do so that they aren’t typecast as “just another indie electronic act?”
Enter Chelsey and the Noise with their EP Losing Landscapes. Described in their bio as utilizing “deep analog synths, glitch inspired beats, and aggressive vocals to create a darker breed of electronic music,” this duo of Chelsey Hice and Brent “the Noise” Watters creates a much needed fresh take on the electronic genre.
The album is dark and infectious melodically. The instrumentals are well-composed, the vocals are extremely unique, and ultimately the songs have an immense amount of artistry behind them. Losing Landscapes is kind of like early Nine Inch Nails meets Phantogram and the Cure. It is the 80s, 90s, and modern era of alternative, industrial, and electronic music rolled into one EP.
Chelsey and the Noise is such a breath of fresh air amongst all of the copy-cat acts that are arising in the indie-electronic scene. This duo from the Bay Area is absolutely worth your time.
Losing Landscapes can be found at:
Ambition is sometimes what drives composers insane. Sometimes we get such grandiose ideas that, when we put it together, it turns out to be too great to materialize. Other times, however, these “big” ideas become a large, continuous conceptual work of art. It is the latter that Sunrise Square falls into.
01-09 are, as indicated, nine separate collections of songs (in various numeric groupings) that form one ultimate compilation. It is an extremely vast work but absolutely worth going through as a music reviewer. Sunrise Square’s music is described by the Connecticut-based composer as:
“‘impressionist dance music’ influenced by Wolfgang Voigt, Detroit techno and Hiroki
Azuma’s interpretation of ‘otaku culture’.”
What occurs, to my own ears, is a mixture of ambient, house, and other electronic styles that manages to give off a calm, dance-able musical experience. You can either engage or tune out, and the music accepts either direction.
The three years that Sunrise Square took to make this music was time well spent. I think that there is something for every electronic music fan in this compilation.
Sunrise Square 01-09 can be found at:
When an artist has a clear vision for their work, it is imperative that they follow through with it. aoi, a composer/musician/producer from Montreal, is an example of this actually happening. With his debut EP, entitled 1(EP), aoi (real name Keven Brien) has established that he wants the listener to experience:
“A voyage through lands where the organic and synthetic evolved in symbiosis, when the past and future coexist simultaneously.”
I can testify after listening to this record that this symbiosis occurs beautifully, as numerous genres and eras coalesce to form the final product. You hear echoes of Brian Eno, Pat Metheny, Jan Hammer, Jean-Michel Jarre, and Allan Holdsworth in this record.
1(EP) is ambient, driven, and emotionally complex. Above all else it is experimental in a way that comes across as genuine, rather than pretentious (a problem that sometimes plagues the genre). Don’t let the “experimental” label scare you away if that isn’t your thing, as I truly believe there is enough for the mainstream listener here as well.
In accomplishing his vision for 1(EP), aoi has made an ambitious and beautiful debut record. It is truly something I recommend you give a try.
1(EP) by aoi can be found at https://ao-i.bandcamp.com/
We live in completely insane times. It seems like hope is hard to find, and a good future is nothing but a pipe-dream. It doesn’t hurt to dream, however, and music is a great vehicle for such dreams. The infectious electropop sound of Astronauts of Antiquity, for instance, accomplishes this with ease. In their new single “Future Back,” AoA “advocates a future of harmony and a future that prevents corrupt leaders from destroying the planet.”
The song itself is catchy, with the video providing an even better visual portrayal of the song’s message.
When you look at current music that fuses electronica and rock sounds, you typically get a bunch of indie hipster nonsense. The music doesn’t have any bite to it, and more importantly, it is derivative of everything in its genre.
But wait, there’s actually good stuff out there.
Enter KLOQ. These guys have gotten a ton of press from my site because they deserve to be huge. With their newest LP Behind the Screams, the band has pushed their sound even further. This is not to say that the aggressive “punktronica” is no longer present. The LP just simply features a greater expansion on KLOQ’s core style. Most noticeable are the incredible melodic hooks in the choruses. The songs are infectious in a way that I have not seen from this band.
Present in Behind the Screams is also a shift in lyrical focus. There is a more obvious sociopolitical viewpoint. It is clear that the band have something to say about the state of our world, and it comes across as passionate rather than preachy. Just look at the album’s cover and you will notice that Behind the Screams is clearly a progression in the overall message of the band.
Between the infectious grooves and hooks, it really is a pleasure for me as a music journalist to recommend this record to you. There is so much nonsense on the radio nowadays that the talented artists sometimes get lost in the static.
KLOQ is a band that should never be lost in that static.
Behind the Screams releases on Friday 6/10/16. Follow KLOQ at:
Occasionally you come across truly great artists. The artist I speak of makes you feel almost inferior in the way you create. I’ve recently had this experience as an electronic composer in listening to Ego Death’s (aka Bryn Braughton) new record The Clean Slate. Ego Death’s music spans IDM, ambient, experimental, and electronica; each of which coalesce into a truly incredible experience.
The Clean Slate is an album of intense complexity and malleability. The synths create incredible soundscapes, the percussion gives each song an infectious groove, pianos provide powerful accompaniment and the various stringed instruments round out the experience. There are various sound effects that accompany the tracks that add the extra edge to make them special.
Ego Death states that The Clean Slate “chronicles the slow trudge back to sanity.” The artist expressed his struggles with addiction and depression and seen through that lens this album makes even more sense. I have never struggled with addiction, but I am always under the weight of my mental illness and my music reflects that (so I get Ego Death’s inspiration). The “trudge back to sanity” is so clear in The Clean Slate as you can truly feel the push and pull that the healing process gives.
The Clean Slate is a beautiful and complex record. At times the melodies (especially on tracks like “Chorals 2”) elicited such an extreme emotional response from me I teared up. This record is a deeply profound experience that you should not miss. Check it out and be transformed.
The Clean Slate can be streamed on Soundcloud at the link below:
Ambient music comes in many forms. Some ambient composers draw on melody with various effects to push the songs. Other artists use atmospheric sounds to form their music where it is much more about immersion in the entire songs. Swedish ambient artist Multiface falls more into the latter category.
In his newest release Gangsterism, the artist melds various textures of rhythm, synths, vocals, and various effects to create a dark and ethereal experience. The record takes you into an ambient fever dream where you feel like you are in either outer space or the apocalypse. It’s really hard to explain without listening for yourself what I am getting at; but once you hear Gangsterism it invades your senses.
The album is described by Multiface’s PR team as “sound and noises combined makes this album tense.” Tense doesn’t even cover it. The album is haunting and wonderful. You feel almost like you’re drowning in the looping and distorted sounds but you don’t want to come up to the surface.
As an ambient composer myself I know how hard it is to stand out in this genre. I truly believe Multiface does that. Do me a favor and give this record a chance.
Gangsterism by Multiface can be found at: