29 Dec 2014 — Evelyn Malinowski
This Berlin pop duo have their archetypes down. As member Laslo Antal approached me with the observation that their aesthetic fits the NFOP one, he was absolutely right; however, theirs is an appreciation for the 80s not unfamiliar to NFOP, but still a somewhat aloof visitor, wholeheartedly welcomed. Singer Sally Jørgensen's vocal range rings perfectly true to that of Siouxsie Sioux, and Laslo Antal bestows a Duran Duran album cover sleekness. Well, they both do. "All The People" has a cool and calm fretless bass line, a David Sylvian-esque, dreamlike delectability and art pop collectedness. There is furthermore mastery over subtle accents and nostalgic melody of a superiorly agreeable sort. The video is simple and intellectually affordable, yet still something you may enjoy viewing several times. Antal's visual assemblage of the two members posing and playing with the stop motion process comes across a bit as a fashion show, yet demonstrates the artists' refined style applied to their music. Isn't that how pop works?
Cult Club will release their debut EP in the new year. Expect to see more words lauding this music in the coming months.
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17 Nov 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Winter is coming, they say, though we want to stress that we're not quoting some overhyped fantasy television drama here. Cause it really is – just step out into the crisp mid-November air today and you'll realise that once again, a year is coming to its end, leaving us with nothing but shattered hopes and unfulfilled dreams; which naturally draws us to music like that of Brooklyn duo Odd Rumblings, otherwise known as Audrea Lim and Gabriel Sedgwick, whose marvellous glacial synth pop sets the mood for the coming season. Take "Ice Floe", the opening track of the project's six-track debut EP Thieves. Rather literally, Lim is singing of dreams of ice and snow, natural conditions that weaken the human spirit and undermine confidence and trust. There is some warmth in the wobbling pads and enclosing progressions, but when the beat has faded away, we're alone again, awaiting the oncoming night.
Now, "Ice Floe" has received a pretty perfect visualisation by Chinese native Jun Cen, who's currently based in New York City. The animated short film, so much more than a mere accompaniment to the song but really a piece of art in its own right, uses stark, icy images for a captivating narration about a young child who is haunted by deep, subconscious troubles from the past. Watch the work's premiere below.
Thieves is out on Public Information. Get it digitally or on limited edition vinyl over here.
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08 Oct 2014 — Henry Schiller
Half Waif's “Ceremonial” was one of my favorite tracks of the summer, so I’m very pleased to be able to share director Grace Gardner's rather autumnal video. Gardner brings Half Waif’s carefully crafted ode to the dark magic of monotony in a video that is perfectly evocative of the song’s themes and tone. It is filmed in a grimy, hand held-style-- almost Dogville-esque-- and degenerates into instagram filtered, slime-gulping voyeurism. The gonzo approach is offset by the synchronized movements of the dances behind Half Waif's Nandi Rose Plunkett, who sing-lurks at the bottom of the screen. The ceaseless repetitions of daily life are a choreography of sorts: one best captured on handheld devices and filtered into a demonic oblivion. The struggle between the humdrum of the everyday and the vile otherness of breaking even the most banal of habits is on full display in both Rose Plunkett's song and Gardner's exceptional accompanying video.
Give this a watch and check out Half Waif’s debut album KOTEKAN here.
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03 Oct 2014 — Johanne Swanson
I wanna know all about how your mind knows how to feel calm and easy. Did you try eating raw, maniacally pressing green juice, or doing a shit-ton of yoga? Maybe you surrounded yourself by beautiful things and popped some pills, but eventually found that the best plan of action was to get messy with a pile of Benjamins. These are at least our suggested strategies on the new video from Berlin's very own UMA, producer power couple Ella and Florian Zwietnig. Get a little blurry with their highly polished, perfect-pop-song sensibility and be sure to catch their dynamic live show on the remainder of their European dates. Here at NFOP, we're especially looking forward to tonight's performance at Kantine am Berghain with Florida's Hundred Waters.
"Calm/Easy" is off UMA's debut self-titled album out last May on Austria's Seayou Records. They are currently in the midst of a European tour with the following dates remaining:
10/3 Berlin, GER - Kantine am Berghain
10/4 Ausberg, GER Augsburg - Soho Stage
10/6 Winterthur, SUI - Portier
10/8 Graz, AUT - Steirischer Herbst
10/9 Munich, GER - Milla
10/10 Bern, SUI - Dampfzentrale
10/11 Nürnberg, GER - USG 6
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30 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Despite having been recently added to Berlin Current's illustrious roster, signifying the project as pushing the boundaries of the city's current musical landscape, not too much is known about the people behind Born In Flamez. Conceptualised as 'transhuman' and making arrangements for a post-gender future, Born In Flamez' utopian vision sits comfortably among projects like The Knife, Perera Elsewhere (who is featured on the EP), or, perhaps the most striking resemblance, Planningtorock. There's tangible evidence that there is a human ultimately responsible for the sounds we hear, but the point is, of course, that it shouldn't matter: all this could have come from someone, or indeed something, else instead. It just so happens that it didn't. The current physical embodiment of Born In Flamez, that particular person hiding behind a mask, is arbitrary, so to speak. Fittingly, "Polymorphous", the title track of BIF's debut EP, was allegedly conceived in the aftermath of a DJ gig at one of the highly notorious GEGEN events at Kit Kat Club, likely the closest thing to a post-human experience Berlin has to offer. Staying pointedly coherent, the visualisation of "Polymorphous" emphatically rejects notions of determinable human nature, resorting to abstract iterations of what could have once been evocative of objects found in a human world. Something strange to come.
The Polymorphous EP is due October 13 via UnReaL Audio. Pre-order the release's physical version – a limited edition etched glass pyramid, no less – now over here. Born In Flamez will be part of Berlin Current's delegation to MUTEK.MX in Mexico City from October 23 to 25.
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08 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Ever since the release of his superb Cruise Forever on London imprint Public Information in 2012, New York via San Francisco producer Austin Cesear has become one of the spearheads of the lo-fi undercurrent within contemporary dance music, consistently following up his acclaimed debut with a cassette on Opal Tapes and a 12" on Anthony Naples' Proibito Records. Against this backdrop, the most striking thing about "La Paloma", the first track of his upsoming mini album West Side – with which the artist returns to PI, is not so much the music itself. Cesear's work is still muffled, analogue, distorted techno, albeit now with added bleakness that would fit well on Berghain's main floor on a Sunday night. Rather, it's the juxtaposition of this established sonic formular with director Paul Clipson's crisp, cool and alienating impressions of nocturnal urban landscapes that so oddly yet perfectly work against each other, creating a mesmerizing, druggy experience.
West Side is out September 29 on Public Information.
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03 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann
While we had to admit to be mildly irritated by their name, The Quietus thinks of Girl Band as "Dublin's finest exponents of hulking, screech-laced noise rock", and who were we to argue with London's finest analysts of contemporary dude rock? Right. There's a brand new video for the band's latest single "De Bom Bom", which we called fresh and angry and aimless, and while avoiding the word "rock" like the plague, we did say noise and forceful and revolt and put all these words into one single sentence, which now makes us seem like the palest imitation of the London lads' mighty wordsmiths; so the joke's really on us, basically. Anyway, what we wanted to point out originally was that the release of said video is only too fitting, as Girl Band are coming to town this Saturday, September 6, more precisely to the wonderful ACUD in Mitte, and the whole thing is presented and warmly recommended by, who would have thunk, No Fear Of Pop. So come by, if only in order to punch us in the face while we're providing pre- and post-show DJ mimicry, playing music that will probably feature noise, but certainly no rock.
Ignore what we just said and check out the event details right here.
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26 Aug 2014 — Henning Lahmann
There are quite a few, actually a lot, things to say about Mirage – and avid followers of this publication should be able to recognise the musician from three other past projects that were all written about on No Fear Of Pop. For now however, suffice it to refer to this post about the artist, written by Olde English Spelling Bee's Todd Ledford, to provide you with some of the context that you might or might not find necessary. That aside, what we have here is without doubt one of the most talented pop musicians of the past years, even though despite what others are saying, of course this LA native is not 19 anymore – and his name is not Robin Nydal, either. But really, who cares about the detail if the melody is so compelling. Watch the brand new video for "Do You Remember", a song from Mirage's proper debut album Blood For The Return. Highly recommended stuff.
Blood For The Return is out digitally via Olde English Spelling Bee and Weird World, with a proper vinyl release following in October.
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