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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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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(1) The Brothers

My friends and I were djing at a party in Tromsø. It was amazingly fun, but at 3 o'clock we had to stop. That's how it is up there, the fun always stops at 3. And because of that there are after-parties everywhere.  So we ended up at my friends place accidentally because the door was open. Suddenly this "russ" (what we call high school graduates in Norway) walks in with a friend. Someone holds a short speech where he says the following: "It's really great to be here and to have fun. But we also need to remember that there are other places where things aren't so good. Like in Syria and stuff." We toast and drink to Syria and stuff. The friend of the russ also wants to hold a speech. But he is really drunk. He says something about "the man can hold his liquor." And proceeds to pour a tea cup full of gin for him and his friend. At the end of the speech he just drinks it. He was expecting enthusiasm. But the only thing somebody said was: "See you tomorrow!" He screamed for a while, shouting random stuff and punching his friend the russ. Finally he passed out, vomiting and pissing all over the rug. The host who is a doctor didn't say anything about it until then. I guess she was used to after-parties. Anyhow, she decided enough was enough and called for an ambulance, but they wouldn't get him. Then we called the cops, but they didn't get him either. So we took his phone and called his brother, who finally picked him up. When he walked in he said, "Yep, that's my brother."

(2) The Polar Bears

The next one is clickbait. We have these crazy friends who decided they want to do a concert in Spitzbergen. But these guys are cool kids, they wouldn't do their show in one of those settlements up there called Barentsburg and Longyearbyen -  you can tell by the name the first person there suffered so much that they had to call it that way. Instead, they wanted to play at one of the abandoned mining settlements from the soviet era called "Pyramida." There you can find a statue of Lenin on the foot of a mountain looking like a pyramid. Mining and eating walrus was the only reason why people would go up there in the first place. We got there by boat, because there are no roads. We took all of our equipment with us and power generators, because there is no electricity. We also brought several guns. Because it is illegal up there to leave a house without a gun-- polar bears could eat you. Yes, they eat people! There are a thousand humans on the whole island, and 3,000 polar bears. This is not fair, is it? After our arrival we walked right in to an abandoned movie theater. Everything was covered in a centimeter of dust because nobody had been there for decades. We cleared space on the stage and tried to set up some fancy canvases for my girlfriend Petra to project some visuals. They recorded a music video in there and had an exhibition. The third day we invited people to a concert - but remember: nobody lives there but polar bears. Literally. It's a 4-5 hour boatride from the closest place. Still: 150 people managed to show up. The lesson is: It was a better crowd than the average crowd in Berlin. And remember, we were at an abandoned mining settlement at the north pole.

(3) The Lyngen Alps

I toured in northern Norway for two weeks in May. I played with the father of a good friend of mine called Kaia in schools where we were teaching kids history and played baroque music in a modern way. The Lyngen Alps is a quite small area with mountains up to 1,500 meters high. Right now it's full of ski tourists too. All of northern Norway is very awe inspiring. It's full of these mad landscapes. You could drive endlessly without seeing anyone. No houses, no cars. The Lyngen Alps are particularly brutal. We were driving on a beautiful sunny day, the white mountains around us. We were on the way from one little village to the next. We were driving by the fiord and suddenly there was a lake at the foot of the mountains. We had to stop the car and to go outside. It was so magnificent. It was warm. Four geese took off from the lake, large black and white ones. Most of the water was frozen. I almost cried, it was so heartbreakingly beautiful. With our iPhones we pathetically tried to capture the splendor on our three inch displays. That's when a colleague received a message, which brought him back to reality  "I am getting an invoice," he said. It seemed completely absurd. When we arrived at the school we asked the people how it feels to live in such a place. They weren't impressed at all. "We are just used to it," they said.

Watch Boska eating the artwork of Cascades:

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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Star Horse “Slower Now” (exclusive)

05 Jun 2015 — Johanne Swanson

It is a generalization to say that there is a fundamental difference between being a musician in Europe and being a musician in North America; one depends on an economic infrastructure while the other on a web of interconnected communities. It’s a generalization, but it is an essentialism that keeps resurfacing. There’s more public funding for the arts in Europe, being a musician is legitimized. With greater clout comes money, and the industry doesn’t seem to be collapsing like it is in America. There are more promoters, bookers and labels. And, for the musicians themselves, practice follows suit: Artists seem to turn more inwards on this little continent. Maybe it’s America’s longstanding rhetoric of DIY ethics that has kept that tradition alive, but these days, with their industry crashing and burning, it seems deeply practical to play in your neighbor’s basement instead of the club down the street. Being in a band with your friends is how to survive.

So when Stockholm’s Star Horse sell friendship bracelets as merchandise and organize the grassroots Fuzztival music festival intended to nurture a community, it comes as a pleasant surprise. The band, led by Maja Thunberg and Andreas Ryberg both on guitar and vocals, have been honing their shoegaze sensibility since 2011. What gives Star Horse their emotional resonance is the conversational dynamic between the two singers-- none better exemplified by their new single “Slower Now.” Thunberg’s melody soars while Ryberg interjects each chorus, “Come to me,” and she answers back carrying some obscured narrative along. Beckoning a lover or friend, this is a song that belongs to everyone.

Stream “Slower Now” exclusively below. The 7” single along with its B-side “Wherever You” comes out June 9 on Star Horse’s label Häxrummet Records and is available for preorder now.

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Stream: Tasseomancy “Palm Wine Revisited” (exclusive)

02 Jun 2015 — Henry Schiller

Palm Wine Revisited is the second full-length album from Tasseomancy, the Toronto-based experimental folk project of twin sisters (and former Austra members) Romy and Sari Lightman. The Lightmans, along with percussionist Evan Cartwright and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Spence, have delivered an album of haunting pop tracks on which nuanced vocal melodies soar over cleverly minimalist production.

Early Kate Bush should jump out as an immediate point of comparison for Tasseomancy’s particularly theatrical brand of off-kilter folk. And just as Bush’s music is evocative of a pre-Roman notion of British mysticism, Tasseomancy seem similarly indebted to the eerie splendor of cold North American woodland. “The Grass Harp” has the rickety, Elfman-esque theatrics of a chase through some sinister forest, but then surprises with a squeal of overdriven guitar that snaps you back to a land where music is recorded onto digital interfaces, and does not just emanate naturally from trees.

The production on Palm Wine Revisited places a unique focus on timbre, with sections on each song highlighting the interplay between the Lightmans’ powerful vocals and one distinct instrument. Though melodically rich, the tracks have been mixed in a way that is pleasantly minimal; this allows for a more confident display of subtle melodic hooks that might otherwise be lost behind overbearing instrumentation. The second half of the title track, for example, is full of small vocal twists that could easily have been buried behind less experienced production.

Palm Wine Revisited is a haunting album; one that sounds distinctly capable of filling out the space of a large theater. Tracks like the hauntingly sparse “What Life Must I Lead” request to be inhabited: rather than automatically move from track to track, Palm Wine Revisited walks you from room to room in a large, abandoned warehouse, converted piece by piece into a recreation of some ancient forest.

Palm Wine Revisited is out today on Healing Power Records.

The sisters are about to embark on a brief tour that includes an appearance at cherished Fusion Festival halfway between Hamburg and Berlin, and a show at Berghain Kantine at the end of June. Find all dates below:

June 17 // Toronto ON // NXNE @ Mod Club
June 18 // Montreal QC // Bar Le "Ritz" P.D.B
June 23 // Amsterdam NL // Paradiso
June 24 // Paris FR // Pop up Du Label
June 25 // Toulouse FR // Siestes Electroniques
June 27/28 // Lärz DE // Fusion Festival
June 29 // Berlin DE // Berghain Kantine

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Clade “Vietnamese Piano”

28 May 2015 — Richard Greenan

An intriguing solo piano tape here from the previously unbeknownst to me Scottish musician (or group?) Clade, which came carefully sheathed in one Vietnamese Dong note. Recorded on nothing more than a happened-upon upright across a single evening in Hanoi, Vietnamese Piano sounds as if it was recovered following a devastating nuclear blast.

An obvious reference point is the aquatic, shimmery daydreams of Harold Budd, but this is even more decayed. The piano in question appears to be sitting in a derelict building surrounded by rice paddies, with missing teeth and vines sprouting from the lid. There is complexity here though, not just in the chords that pleasantly cluster and orbit like moths around a lantern, but also in the range of frequencies and timbres eked out of this old box. What's left is a meditation on something man-made being gently reclaimed by the earth around it; denatured by nature.

A few cassettes of Vietnamese Piano are still available, grab one while you can here.

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Grounders “Drawing Space”

27 May 2015 — Dalton Vogler

Much like the explosion of chillwave artists that emerged from the wake of acts like Washed Out and Neon Indian circa-2009, we’re beginning to see a handful of bands that will undoubtedly garner comparisons to Tame Impala for daring to dip back into the sun bleached coffers of 70’s nostalgia. But chasing the sound of psychedelia comes with some caveats. It’s difficult for a band to harness the potential that comes from this pursuit, as the line between controlled chaos and an unstructured mess runs thin.

Fortunately, Toronto-based Grounders isn’t one of those bands. The quartet is set to release their debut LP this summer, Grounders, and have a new single dropping this week, “Drawing Space.” The jangled guitars and upbeat tempo contrast with the lo-fi vocals to create a disorienting sense of melancholy. The result is a surprisingly refined track that challenges what a traditional psych-pop song should be. What separates Grounders—and elevates the genre itself—comes from the intricacy of their lyrics, and how what’s being said is enhanced by the instrumentation, not buried by it. 

Grounders is out on Nevado Music.

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Christian Kroupa “A Dangerous Game (909 Version)” (exclusive)

25 May 2015 — Henning Lahmann

More and more becoming the central hub for adventurous new sounds from the still largely unexplored Central European scene, Budapest-based Farbwechsel Records has unearthed young Slovenian producer Christian Kroupa, whose first 12" for the label is a strong and confident statement. While the title track of A Dangerous Game stays in rather calmer waters, carried by warm synth string pads, a syncopated bassline and a repetitive, almost hypnotic sample, the "909 Version" is aptly pounding, built around a straight 4/4 kickdrum for your 5am 'floor desires. The original's gloomy mystery is still there but pushed to the background, leaving room for the rhythm to unfold. Stream the track exclusively below.

A Dangerous Game is out June 15 on Farwechsel. Pre-order here.

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