Archive | May, 2011

New Music // Memory Tapes

20 May

Memory Tapes is the name of the current project for the prolific New Jersey-based musician and producer, Dayve Hawk. Prior to this incarnation he released music under the names Memory Cassette and Weird Tapes, each with it’s own varied sound. Like so many others he was labelled early as a chillwave artist but has since evolved his sound and carved out his own identity.

Bicycle is probably one of his best tracks to date. It starts out as minimalist toe tapper but quickly adds a heavy bassline that turns it into a bit of a monster…and then just when you think you’ve got it figured out it performs one of the best change ups I’ve ever heard. Please, do yourself the favour and listen to this track but when it gets to the 3:20 mark close your eyes, turn up the volume, and really give yourself to the song. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

New Music // Al Usher – Hilversum

19 May

I challenge you to find information on this guy. The best I’ve come up with so far is that he’s an electronic musician from the UK, working as a solo artist and as part of the duo Partial Arts, and that his music deserves more recognition than it’s probably getting.

Hilversum is a perfect example of that summer day feeling. It starts off slow, like its waking up on a clear morning, rolling out of bed, putting on it’s shoes, and heading out into the day. There’s a lot to love in the intro, especially on headphones. Sounds skitter and clatter around a steady walking beat and a hypnotic spring vibration for a minute or so before some synth pulses join in, adding the first layer of melodic structure. Then comes the lead melody, introducing itself subtly at first, like meeting someone for the first time. And then the melody really comes into it’s own around the 3:10 mark, turning into a playful songbird in a blue sky as you walk along your favorite path in the city. During the middle stretch of the track new layers are slowly added until he finally decides to bring it all together, introducing super subtle vocals around the 5:48 mark, for one final glorious moment where the song becomes something more than just the sum of it’s parts. It becomes a feeling. It becomes…happiness.

New Music // Sally Shapiro

11 May

Sally Shapiro is probably the purest example of the Italo disco revival going on today, and probably the most charming. Sally Shapiro is a pseudonym for the anonymous Swedish vocalist working with producer Johan Agebjörn. The stage name was created to provide a comfortable level of anonymity for a person who prefers to avoid the spotlight, so much so that she will only record her vocals if Johan leaves the studio. And that’s part of the charm of this project. There’s a humbleness, sincerity and innocence to her personality and lyrics that is often hard to find in pop music these days. While most pop musicians gravitate towards the stage and stardom she shies away from it, and that’s what draws you in.

Johan Agebjörn’s production is smooth, sophisticated and catchy. His rhythms are subtle and understated, there are no club bangers here, but that leaves room for his melodies and spacey sounds to take center stage. His production is the best example of new Italo disco happening right now, and his partnership with Sally is one of those rare chemical reactions that creates something unique and special.

Sally tried to take her music on the road, giving her fans a little access, but after a couple shows she admitted what she already knew, it’s just not for her, and she bowed out of the rest of the short tour, leaving Johan to DJ the remaining gigs. She was quoted as saying “What if you just want to be a normal person with a normal job, record songs on the weekends, and spend the holidays picking blueberries instead of going on tour”.

I guess we’ll just have to accept Sally Shapiro’s music on her terms, and that’s fine with me.

 

Sally Shapiro – Miracle

New Music // Oni Ayhun

7 May

While his sister Karin is off creating dark, melodic electropop as Fever Ray, Olaf Andersson, the other half of the brother/sister duo The Knife, keeps himself busy writing scores for operas and creating tracks like this as Oni Ayhun.

Built around a playful melody that loops almost for the entirety of the track, this feels like an exploration of subtle variation. On the surface it may seem repetitive but upon further headphone listens you’ll start to notice all the little details Olaf is adding moment to moment. Clocking in just under 10 minutes, it’s no easy feat to keep a track like this interesting but there’s an effortless craft at work here that never gets boring. When you listen to this brother / sister duo at work on their own you start to understand why The Knife are as brilliant as they are.

New Music // Radiohead – Supercollider / The Butcher

7 May

Only a band this good can release these tracks as afterthoughts.