EXCLUSIVE: ELYXR – Engine

New collaborative project delivers warm, evocative pop…

The arrival of ELYXR offers a new venture via Seattle-based electronic musician/producer Kasson Crooker. Each ELYXR release is designed to be a collaborative project introducing different singers for each subsequent release.

‘Engine’ marks the first of the ELYXR releases and here features Elissa LeCoque from Brooklyn indie-electronic act Kodacrome. We’re happy to announce that The Electricity Club is premiering the track today ahead of its June release.

Engine (feat. Elissa LeCoque of Kodacrome) by ELYXR

‘Engine’ delivers subtle, layered electronic pop elements that, combined with LeCoque’s soulful vocals, lends the whole composition a certain sadness.

Crooker is of course better known as founder-member of synthpop outfit Freezepop and also recently released the Gishiki album via his other side project Symbion Project (see TEC review here). ELYXR marks a different direction from his other ventures with the collaborative element opening up new musical horizons.

“From the very beginning of how I wanted to craft ELYXR into a different kind of musical project, there were some key elements that I was really fixated on” Kasson Crooker told The Electricity Club. “Beyond not making albums and EPs and just releasing a string of singles, the other main element was to have each song be a unique collaboration with some of the amazing singer/songwriters I had the pleasure of knowing through my years of playing in Freezepop and Symbion Project. With my last Symbion Project album Arcadian there were some really unique collaborations with each of the singers helping to craft something unique. So I wanted to go even further with this idea and really reach out to some of my favorite singers to see what we could come up with for some juicy synthpop tracks! The other thing I love about collaborating is knowing that I’ll be pushed beyond some of my normal songwriting habits that can often happen without those outside influences pushing you”.

The collaboration between Crooker and LeCoque came about when Symbion Project opened for Kodacrome at a gig in Brooklyn. “Kodacrome has always captured a real purity with their releases that I’ve been entranced by” comments Crooker. “Nothing flashy or overproduced, with just the right balance of honest synthpop mixed with Elissa’s bewitching vocals. Getting to work with Elissa has been an extreme pleasure and she brings a real soulfulness and honesty to the synthesized compositions and her lyrics have a unique depth not found that often in electropop songs”.

Future ELYXR releases are scheduled for this summer, with the next one loosely scheduled for a late June release. Crooker is keeping details of future collaborations under his hat for now, but hints that there’s some male vocalists that he’s keen to work with.

Meanwhile, ‘Engine’ delivers a good sampling of what this new collaborative concept is all about. Its warm, electronic melodies touch the heart and elicit a certain melancholy – which is what good electronic music is all about.


‘Engine’ is released 2nd June on the Speed Of Dark label.

https://www.facebook.com/ELYXRband/

http://www.symbionproject.com/
http://kodacrome.com/


Introducing ADAM TK

Mesmerizing electronic soundscapes from Sweden…

There’s a sweeping, immersive feel to the soundscapes that Swedish electronic musician ADAM TK composes. ‘V1’ which is taken from the forthcoming debut album V1-V10, is a shimmering soundscape underpinned by a steady beat which seems custom-made for shifting your consciousness into a different gear.

With a background as a TV and Hi-Fi repair technician, 27-year-old Adam already has a familiarity with electronics and technology. At 23, he discovered the likes of Tangerine Dream, pre- Autobahn Kraftwerk and Gas and began composing his own music as a result.

Finding an old and defunct Juno 6, Adam set about repairing the synth and, in combination with the free DAW that came with his computer, began composing his first tracks on it.

Adam’s early work was very minimal, mostly consisting of just a bassline, a simple bass drum and the addition of field recordings. Since then, he’s focused on building his own synthesisers to pursue his musical visions.

After departing his native Stockholm last year, Adam travelled to the mountains of Marocco to work on recording material. The musician is inspired by his immediate surroundings as much as music and field recordings continue to play an important part in his work.

“The mountains of Marocco is a very special place” Adam reflects, “Epic and desolated it gives me just as much melancholy as beauty and that’s exactly what I wanted to bring into the V1-V10 tracks”.

Inspired by the psychoactive qualities of peyote, Adam set up camp in a cave. With a nearby stream adding to the mesmerising sound effects, it’s here that the musician crafted the composition ‘V1’ that would form the first part of his collected works.

There’s a timeless element to ‘VI’ with its soporific washes of sound augmented by delicate electronic noises that flutter in and out. While other musicians might feel the urge to clutter up this broad space with more of a dynamic approach in terms of beats and rhythms, ‘V1’ succeeds on its minimalist foundations.


V1-V10 is released 17th February via Quiet Records.


Introducing SAILOR & I

Synthpop with a Swedish flavour care of SAILOR & I…

Swedish electronic musician Alexander Sjödin caught everyone’s attention with the dark electropop appeal of ‘Black Swan’ in 2016 under the moniker Sailor & I.

Sjödin grew up with an avid interest in music, with the likes of Beastie Boys and Kiss informing the young Swede’s initial musical education. Crafting his own music from an early age, this background activity took on a more active role when he opted to trial out his tunes in public under the guise of Sailor & I.

Taking the name from reading psychology in high school, the duality of the name Sailor & I represents the two wills competing inside Sjödin – reason and drive, ego and id.

There’s a glacial broodiness about Sailor & I’s material that sets it apart from much of the generic club tunes that are floating around on the current music scene. At times the songs suggest hints of fellow Swedish outfit The Sound Of Arrows and comparisons have also been drawn with everyone from Bon Iver to Sigur Rós. Or as Sjödin describes Sailor & I’s signature sound: “orchestras, analog synths, drums and vocals”.

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Sailor & I first arrived on the scene in 2012 care of debut release ‘Tough Love’ which employed an evocative strings arrangement against an emotive vocal delivery from Sjödin. The Turn Around EP, which arrived in 2014, continued along familiar lines and also saw Sjödin’s work remixed by the likes of Âme and Joris Voorn.

Âme’s remix of ‘Turn Around’ gave the track a much more dynamic work-over and it subsequently raised Sailor & I’s profile in the blogosphere, as well as spending several weeks in the Beatport chart.

Adapting his music for live performances, Sjödin performed at several festivals and gigs across Europe throughout 2015. Sjödin also spent time collaborating with other electronic artists, while still working on his own material.

‘Sweat’, which arrived the same year, was built around a plaintive piano melody and subtle electronica. The release also slipped in a cover version of Joy Division’s ‘Disorder’ for good effect.

Signing to the Skint record label, Sailor & I returned in 2016 with the release of ‘Black Swan’. The new release revealed an evolution in Sailor & I’s sound with a much more lush production style and Sjödin’s vocals taking on a whispery, hypnotic presence.

A superb remix version of ‘Black Swan’ by Maceo Plex lent the track a more muscular feel, while keeping Sjödin’s distinctive vocals intact.

Now new release ‘Chameleon’ arrives, ahead of debut album The Invention Of Loneliness, which is due out on 24th February.

‘Chameleon’ (which premiered via Eton Messy) has a subtle power to it that can take a few spins to appreciate. There’s a dark piano melody over which Sjödin’s yearning vocal offers hints of change or transformation. Meanwhile, a gradually-building slab of stark electronics gives the track a dark pop appeal.

Meanwhile, the forthcoming album will gather together ‘Chameleon’ alongside earlier releases ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Fire On The Moon’ – a powerful track that weaves together brooding synths against deep layers of electronics and treated vocals.

Sailor & I have shaped up to be one of the more intriguing electronic acts of the modern era and The Invention Of Loneliness may well be one of the more interesting releases of 2017.


The Invention Of Loneliness is released 24th February on Skint.

Sailor & I play at The Pickle Factory on 2nd March
Tickets on sale now – http://www.alttickets.com/sailor-i-tickets

http://sailorandi.se/
facebook.com/sailorandi
twitter.com/sailorandi
https://soundcloud.com/sailorandi


Introducing FRAGRANCE

Keeping it dark with new French electronic act FRAGRANCE…

If you like your synthpop dark and melancholic, then you could do worse than dialing up Fragrance, a French outfit fielded by Paris-based musician Matthieu Roche.

There’s certainly an element of the sleazy synths of TR/ST working as an influence here with a similarly brooding electronic collage of sound. But Roche has also covered Depeche Mode in the past, with a particularly dreamy take on ‘Photographic’.

Despite Fragrance being lauded by some outlets as pursuing an ’80s approach to electronic music, instead there’s something very contemporary about Roche’s take on composition and style here. It can always be a tough line to balance, but there’s much more at work here than any of the tiresome 6,432 Depeche Mode soundalikes at large today…

Fragrance have now released the EP Dust & Disorders, which features 5 tracks that delve into a world of darkwave decadence, but Roche manages to have a flair for melodic flourishes and mood that keeps things interesting.

On ‘Care For The Proof’ the influence of TR/ST looms large with a vocal approach that’s culled from “Goth Eeyore” Robert Alfons’ own brooding lyrical delivery. Meanwhile, random synths hammer out notes through a dark atmospheric soup.

‘Lust For Lights’ threatens to be a straight-up synthpop number. which at times sounds like a lost Marsheaux tune. It’s certainly one of the EP’s finest moments with a driving rhythmn that’s sunk into a swirling dreamscape of electronic effects. Similarly, ‘Through The Wall’ is built up from a repeating synth motif with swathes of indistinct lyrics.

There’s a more darker approach on the weighty ‘Collapse’ with its bass-infused synth melodies. Meanwhile, EP closer ‘Postcards’ adopts a brighter tone with its echoing melodies and minimalist electronic percussion.

Fragrance offers up a polished set of songs (mastered by Hélène de Thoury from Hante. and Minuit Machine) that’s going to appeal to fans of the darker side of the synthpop spectrum. As a new artist, it’s going to be interesting to see where Roche takes this particular project next.


Download it for free (pay-what-you-want) on Bandcamp :
https://fragrancemusic.bandcamp.com/album/dust-disorders-ep

Stream it on Soundcloud :
https://soundcloud.com/thisisfragrance/sets/dust-disorders-ep
facebook.com/thisisfragrance
https://twitter.com/Fragrance_Fra

AIVIS The Wilderness

New synth duo AIVIS offer warmth and emotion in their debut release…

It’s always refreshing to discover new electronic bands that offer intriguing, original sounds and can be influenced by a variety of bands without having to mimic any of them. Ultimately, it’s always about the tunes and thankfully new synthpop duo AIVIS have done some sterling work on debut release ‘The Wilderness’.

There’s a nice use of harmonies at play here with a smooth, warm feel underpinning the engaging vocals. The sparse percussion adds to the charm and the result is a song that breathes emotion and a sense of style.

AIVIS consists of Aidan and Travis, the former from Scotland and the latter from the USA. The pair originally met online in 2014 and have been collaborating ever since. AIVIS (which is contraction of the pair’s names) and debut release ‘The Wilderness’ sees the culmination of that collaboration and shows an accomplished pair of hands at work. With influences including Robyn, La Roux, Grimes, Marina And The Diamonds, CHVRCHES and Hurts in the mix, it’s a good foundation for engaging electropop.

Lyrically, ‘The Wilderness’ deals with breakups and the emotional turmoil that comes in the wake of the end of a relationship. Born out of personal experiences, Aidan delivers a compelling vocal that tugs at the heartstrings. It’s also served up with a polished video shot in Illinois during the summer (and also marked the first time that Aidan and Travis had met in person).

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The issue of geographical distances involved in any musical collaboration is less of a problem than it would have presented in a pre-internet world. It’s something that hasn’t affected outfits such as Lola Dutronic or Minor Victories. So AIVIS can happily swap music files online and build up the finished songs accordingly. Glasgow-based Aidan provides the melodies, vocals and song structure while Travis in Ohio offers up beats, baselines and instrumentation.

In an interview with The Pansentient League website, Aidan described the music of AIVIS as “Catchy emotional insidious glitchy electronic pop” while Travis adds “Lately I’ve been saying think of Lorde with a male vocalist and darker vocals but more instrument heavy”. The pair also add that fellow Glaswegian electropop outfit CHVRCHES remain a strong inspiration. “They’re definitely heroes of mine” adds Aidan, “and I look up to them for their songwriting and for their authenticity as artists”.

An AIVIS album is already in the works which the pair describe as featuring “Hooks, hooks and more hooks!” and while they haven’t quite tackled the issue of live shows as yet, it’s clear that they’re more than capable of committing to the recorded medium for now.

AIVIS offers up a warmer side of synthpop with an engaging harmonic quality that is certainly worth checking out.


An interview with AIVIS:
http://pansentient.com/2016/11/introducing-aivis/

Web: http://aiv.is
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AIVISofficial/

This article originally appeared on the Wavegirl site.


Introducing JESSE RUINS

Bassy dreampop delights

There’s an intriguing electronic music scene in Japan at the moment which is the polar opposite of the more familiar primary colours of the contemporary J-Pop scene.

Jesse Ruins is a good example of this with their moody electronic soundscapes and ambient pop. We previously discussed the work of Sapphire Slows and both acts typify a flourishing electronica movement in Tokyo.

Jesse Ruins began life as a solo affair by Nobuyuki Sakuma back in 2010. The first release was a cassette issued on Tokyo-based indie label Cuz Me Pain which led to an inclusion on a Cuz Me Pain compilation album the same year. In 2011 Sakuma was joined by the enigmatically named Nah.

The outfit then began to attract interest from various music blogs (including The Guardian and Gorilla vs. Bear). A 7” release titled ‘A Bookshelf Sinks Into the Sand’ emerged on the UK-based Double Denim Records label in December of last year. They also signed to US label Captured Tracks label in late 2011 and this resulted in the album Dream Analysis released in February this year.

There’s a cryptic quality to Jesse Ruins. You’re not going to see pics of Nobuyuki and Nah on the sleeves of their releases anytime soon and the biogs available online offer only the briefest of details. So it’s the music that’s stage front – and great music it is too.

The track ‘Dream Analysis’ itself is a wonderfully tight song of subtle pop that has a driving bassline that recalls New Order. There’s washes of indistinct treated vocals that can find echoes in artists such as Sapphire Slows and Grimes.
Similarly, tracks such as ‘I Knew It’ and ‘Shatter The Jewel’ share this driving bassy pop.

‘Inner Ambient’ is a hypnotic number with restrained rhythms full of mood and atmosphere. Meanwhile, ‘Sofija’ is a track that perfectly captures the dreampop tag with its ambient washes.

Jesse Ruins have also recently made the jump to live shows (they’re touring Japan this month) and appear to be building a steady following both at home and abroad.


Dream Analysis is out now on Captured Tracks.

http://jesseruins.tumblr.com/
http://capturedtracks.com/artists/jesseruins/
https://jesseruins.bandcamp.com/


Introducing SAPPHIRE SLOWS

Ethereal moods from Japan…

One of the more interesting and intriguing acts to emerge from the Japanese electronic music scene comes courtesy of the ethereal soundscapes of Sapphire Slows.

Composing tunes in her bedroom on her trusty laptop this Tokyo-based musician has also made impressions in the west with the release of the True Breath EP – a collection of evocative tunes employing minimal beats and dream-like vocals. Delicate melodies are picked out over dense rhythm beds providing an immersive sea of sound.

There’s a particular spectral ambience present on much of Sapphire Slows’ material. Tracks such as ‘Animal Dreams’ and ‘Spin Lights Over You’ are stunningly effective examples of Sapphire Slows’ use of hypnotic treated vocals combined here and there with insistent basslines and stark melodies. ‘You Got True Breath’ is a broody slow burn of a song that makes fine use of Slows’ dreamy vocal washes.

If there’s a Western equivalent then the closest would be that of Grimes, the Canadian-based artist who, like Sapphire Slows, is a solo artist working with electronic music that evokes a particular ethereal mood. Like Grimes, Sapphire Slows writes and produces her material alone, writing into the early hours in her bedroom. Her set-up is also surprisingly simple, consisting of a Mac, Casio keyboard and a rhythm machine.

Her initial release was the 7” ‘Melt’, issued on the Big Love label last year. She gained interest in the west after sending one of her tracks to LA-based label Not Not Fun who suggested a release, which led to the True Breath EP. Building on this, Sapphire Slows made an appearance in March this year at the SXSW event in Texas where she won over the audience with her solo performance.

If you’re a fan of Technopop, but like to step down a gear or two at times, then Sapphire Slows might be a very good place to start.

An album has been hinted at in the future, but for now the True Breath EP is available for download through all the usual sources.


True Breath is available via Amazon: True Breath

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sapphire-Slows/166948386703427
http://sapphireslows.bandcamp.com/album/true-breath
http://biglove.bigcartel.com/product/pre-order-biglove031-sapphire-slows-melt-7