Watch: The Horn The Hunt “My Face In Your Eyes”

16 Jun 2015 — Andrew Darley

After a winter spent in Greenland in 2008, Clare Carter and Joseph Osborne decided to try writing music together. The couple’s experiment revealed a creative spark in songwriting and sound crafting. Channeling the genres that inspired them, their band The Horn The Hunt crosses electronic, rock, folk and pop. Now on their fourth album, Wovo, their songwriting has only grown in strength. Both sonically and vocally, they have become more distinguished and tighter as a unit. Their new single "My Face In Your Eyes" highlights their ability to play with restraint; its soothing synth melody rocks back and forth as Clare’s voice heralds the joys and pain of togetherness with others. Its accompanying video sees their live band perform in an unassuming British club hall until there’s only one member left. The video is dedicated to their bassist, Ian Smart, who passed away earlier this year. 

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Interview: GABI

12 Jun 2015 — Zachary Taube

I first listened to GABI’s Sympathy on a ride around Berlin’s Ringbahn. It was one of those bright-yet-cloudy Berlin afternoons where you’re not quite sure where the sun is, and you’re overwhelmed with just how white the sky can be. Sympathy is equally overwhelming; nine tracks of elegant, sensitive, whimsically explorative and intuitive composition, drawing upon an amalgamation of genres ranging from orchestrated minimalism to experimental pop, electronic composition, Balinese gamelan and arcane folk.

GABI aka Gabrielle Herbst is trained in both composition and vocal performance, and it shows; she breaks the voice apart, down into its most basic elements, and composes from that point of reference. Sympathy is less about what Herbst sings (her lyrics are sparse, minimal, and at some points nonsensical) but about how she sings it. She truncates the voice into short bursts or articulation, hocketing with nothing more than a short expulsion of breath to form a skeleton around which the rich fleshiness of her cry, the anxious hesitance of her stringed orchestrations and the eeriness of distant percussion can wrap.

I sat down with Gabrielle a few hours before her recent show at Acud in Berlin to talk about Sympathy, intuitive composition, longing and synesthesia. Check it out below.

Sympathy is out on Software.

Photo by Amanda Hatfield.

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Watch: Jannick Schou “Skov II”

12 Jun 2015 — Henry Schiller

“Skov II” seems to be hiding something. On the latest from Danish noisemaker Jannick Schou, wallops of percussion and melody flex into the expanse of noise by which “Skov II” seems, initially, to be defined. What’s going on under the rug? Sure, samples of neighing horses inflict the track with a sense of doom and gloom, but Schou seems more keen on making your head shake than scaring you away.

The video for “Skov II” highlights the track’s balance of graveyard ambience and late night fun. We’re driven through a world of twisting lines and chattering digital shapes; assaulted by video artifacts and occasionally by obfuscated “real world” images like that of an eye opening and closing (at least I think that’s what it was). Though you might be hard-pressed to come up with a way to categorize “Skov II” (is it the night out or the nightmare?), it’s more than likely you’ll be pulled into its rhythm.

“Skov II” is the second video to be released for Schou’s album Fabrik, which came out Tuesday on Experimedia.


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Norway According to Boska

11 Jun 2015 — Lukas Dubro

I first met Jon-Eirik Boska two years ago at Torstrassenfestival in Berlin. Ever since, I am impressed by his work. Aside from his dance music project Boska, he plays drums with my most favourite Berlin band, Fiordmoss, and for Kaia, a new pop musician who just moved in from Copenhagen. In April he toured Norway with a jazz trio, and over the years has played various styles and genres, from Senegalese music to the orchestral Star Wars soundtrack. Jon-Eirik is somebody who lives and loves what he is doing. He tours, plays, records, teaches and practices more than anyone I know-- maybe he got it from his father who used to play in the famous '80s pop band Ken Dang.

Jon-Eirik is a storyteller, and I've heard many about his hometown Volda in Norway and all people he's met and places he's seen along the way touring through Norway and other European countries while playing his beautiful music to the people. With the recent release of his new EP, Cascades, I asked him if he didn't want to share a few of them. Read the feature after the break and listen to his EP below.

Cascades is out now. Get it over here.

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Swim Platførm “SURFACE 2”

11 Jun 2015 — Richard Greenan

Swim Platførm is French sound artist Romeo Poirier. I wrote some months back about "HVAL FALL", his ghostly collaboration with the Norwegian poet Lars Haga Raavand. Now comes Romeo's debut EP, the svelte electronic collage-work of SURFACES.

Accompanied by an analogue photo set, the EP forms a series of lush, aquatic vignettes. These songs glide in and out of earshot, bustling like miniature engines, finely tuned and rhythmically confounding. With the M.O. writ large, it's easy to imagine a submarine benignly combing the seabed. The restrained legato brass on "SURFACE 2" recalls the Cinematic Orchestra – music from a time when electronica symbolised wide-eyed exploration, rather than darkness for the sake of darkness. I think I can hear radar blips cloaked in ice-cave reverb, periscopic grinds and creaks, the clack of gas cannisters, shifting shingle, or the muted flutter of a chlorine pump. "SURFACE 4's" steady churn brings to mind the factory sampling work of YMO on Technodelic: industrial but somehow good-natured, a symbiosis of machinery and wildlife - like an artificial reef or propeller blades smothered in algae.

SURFACES is out this week via Kit Records.

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Holly Herndon and the Fortress of Music

11 Jun 2015 — Henry Schiller

Last Thursday, June 4 I saw Holly Herndon perform at Brooklyn's The Wick in support of her fantastic sophmore album Platform. Below, I've provided something of a play-by-play of my experience. 

Herndon has five more dates on her current tour, including one at Berghain tonight.

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Review/Interview: Jenny Hval

10 Jun 2015 — Ethan Jacobs

On the opening track of Jenny Hval’s second full-length release Apocalypse Girl, the Norwegian singer quotes the Danish poet Mette Moestrup. “Think. Big. Girl. Like King. Think. Kingsize,” Hval punches with a soft whisper, enunciating the final consonant of each word so that you can almost hear the flicks of her tongue. The track is like a confessional overview of the album, sprinkled with jarring phrases that Hval pronounces carefully like “soft dick rock” over a backdrop of discordant, bending samples. While the word “kingsize” might inspire associations with the super-size-me mentality of the United States, the word here is more akin to Hval’s zoomed out, big-picture approach with the record. Even with softened, broader themes and more open space, her meditations have never been more poignant.

This may be Jenny Hval's second proper LP, but she has been making music since she was 19 when she joined a goth band called Shelly’s Raven (they couldn’t use Shelly’s Crow because it was too similar to Sheryl Crow). She eventually left the group to record her own music under the moniker Rockettothesky for her first two albums, which mostly gained traction in her native Norway. 2013’s Innocence is Kinky was her first eponymous release, whose critical praise more officially made a name for Hval’s brand of sample heavy, nonconforming pop music that guides blindly through spaces with smart and disarmingly confrontational lyrics. Although the soundscapes of each of Hval’s releases vary, her fascination with language and her ability to use it as a device of confrontation always remains central. On Apocalypse, her command of words allows her to explore broader themes like spirituality and death that she avoided in her previous records.

The last time Hval toured, her frustration with shoddy sound systems at various venues gave way to the erratic explosions of sound and fuzz on her 2013 release. The accompanying lyrics, via some form of mimicry, assumed a predatory, active function. Innocence deliberately objectified the human body using shallow definitions of language: The album begins with Hval saying, “That night I watched people fucking on my computer.Apocalypse Girl boasts the same amount of profanity in its lyrics, but the record more clearly capitalizes on Hval’s desire to create the softer, more emotional music that she deviated from on Innocence. Tracks like “Why This_” and “Heaven” are more sentimental simply because they are quieter pop songs, each element easily traced back to Hval’s aim to create spacious tracks.

With more afforded space for fragile emotion, her crude lyrics explore sexuality as something expansive and natural rather than further exploiting Innocence’s emphasis on a lustful, animalistic notion. For example the recurring comparison of the soft dick and a banana dissolves the sexual connotation of the penis as well as its association with power and success. By softening up (literally) and zooming out, Apocalypse Girl directs more attention to Hval’s intelligent lyricism, especially when it comes to sex and gender. “And when I touched you, I turned you into a girl, only for a moment,” Hval coos over a backdrop of soaring synths and gentle harp plucking on “Angels and Anaemia.” It’s not that Hval hasn’t tackled the issue of gender on her other records, but Apocalypse’s overarching quiet inspires more profound introspection than her other releases. The record leaves space for tender emotions and deep thought, which makes the pictures she paints more vivid and her own experiences more accessible.

Hval may have quieted down on Apocalypse, but her hypnotically shrill and crystalline vocals remain integral, especially when you consider the words they’re responsible for. In “That Battle is Over” Hval’s repetition of “heaven” is so piercing that it sounds like glass could shatter. It’s all very purposeful, though: Hval puts a sharp inflection on certain words and thickly enunciates syllables as if she wants you to hear them echoing in your head after the song is over. Her words resonate the most on Apocalypse because they are impactful in the album’s stiller environments. She’s can’t be easily figured out, but her zoomed out perspective on this album better shows us the bigger picture she was looking at.

Apocalypse Girl is out now via Sacred Bones. Continue reading for the interview. 

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A City Is An Island – Interview with Timothy George Kelly

10 Jun 2015 — Editor

In anticipation of the German premiere of Montréal music documentary A City Is An Island we have talked to the director Timothy George Kelly. The film will be shown at Kino Babylon Mitte on tomorrow, June 11 at 8pm followed by a Q&A with the director, musician Sean Nicholas Savage and artist Jason Harvey.

This interview was first posted on the website of Torstraßen Festival. Read it below the break.

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