"Your Enemy" is SHAR's latest single, released in February this year. The track begins with ambient industrial sounds, which mutate into an atmospheric layer as the composition builds. A synthy bass sound pushes the song along, accentuated by kick and snare hits, waiting for SHAR's vocals to enter. When the vocals do come in, they are accompanied by keys, causing the track promptly bloom into lush harmonies. "Your Enemy" gives off some serious trip-hop vibes, resembling a stylistic blend of Massive Attack and Glasser. Listen to this track when you find yourself wanting to relax and deal with the nuances of a love/hate relationship.
"Hebedo" is the second single released from Apoptosis, and it showcases Liyv's ethereal voice and her talent composing experimental soundscapes. The track begins with some skittering electronic sounds over a deep synth and playful keys, pulling back as Liyv's vocals add new depth. I can't help but think of Megan James' (of Purity Ring) vocal stylings as I listen to "Hebedo" - spritely and playful. The song takes quite a few turns in it's short duration, making the experience feel much longer than in reality. I can only compare the track to a piece of origami, a piece of paper deliberately folded to create something three-dimensional. Put Liyv's music on and take a long walk - I guarantee she'll add a bit of magic to your day.
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MADI's "Dirty (Word)" begins with a kooky vocalization and a swelling, high pitched synth, suddenly dumping the listener into a pounding beat. Interestingly, there is percussive vocalization used in tandem with the beat between Maddie's vocal lines. The track turns sweeter with spritely arps and a buttery bass line, revisiting the pounding beat and heart of the lyrics: "don't you care to understand? can't you see there's nothing dirty about me."
I really love this track. MADI makes me imagine a collaboration between Amanda Palmer and St. Vincent - which is simply kick-ass. The trippy video is a delightful bonus.
Speaking of Cholly's voice, it is gorgeous. One of the most fun things about this song from a musicianship and arrangement standpoint is the number of turns the composition takes. This song would be a lot of fun to spin or remix. I love Cholly's sense of groove and timing, how the artist weaves her way through the arrangement of the piece, pushing and pulling different emotions, flashing different stress. The full experience of this song, from finding it in my inbox until now, is why I enjoy doing this work.
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"23/IOU" is Turner's latest track, packing together two emotionally vulnerable dark pop tunes. Her signature husky vocals sound as if they should belong in a rock or jazz project, but are sonically refreshing over electronic music. Hanging over angsty synth and energetic arpeggios, her vocals are kissed by autotune here and there, giving them an electronic edge for emphasis. I'm particularly in love with the second half of the track, "IOU," finding it playing on repeat in my head as I try to fall asleep at night. I'm totally engaged and look forward to the forthcoming music video.
Who are your biggest influences; who inspires you?
I get great inspiration from seeing people being themselves and just living their life for themselves. I feel like 'Billie Eilish' is doing a lot of that lately, I really like her. The music video for 'When the party's over' was just wow, one shot! Like, it was one shot! Also the fact that she came up with the whole Idea herself was really nice to hear. Artist, Lucas David is v cool. I think some people are under the impression that its no longer cool to be a stereotypical, pretentious artist type but his authenticity makes it transfixing. Grimes will always be a big inspiration to me because I am all about that DIY approach and if there is anyone who knows about that it's Grimes.
Your debut EP "Adolescent Content" was recently released, what influenced the sound and songwriting for the tracks?
The sound always shocks me when I hear it, because it never makes sense in my head with my interests and Influences but I just let it all happen organically and I love it! The songwriting was as a whole was all based around people in my life, myself included, either being an angsty teenager or acting like like one hence the name 'Adolescent Content'
You've also released a new music video for the single, "Taste of Your Love." How was that conceptualized and completed?
The concept for the music video didn't come about until the song was finish. They never do. With music videos it's funny because my mind will be totally blank for ideas until I know i'm ready with the track and then it all just comes gushing and floods my mind. I think a lot of it is like a subconscious visual. Like, I don't sit down with a script and relate it to the lyrics or anything. I think because my songs are honest and true to my life so are the ideas for the videos. It's the same story, yano? I filmed the entire video in my mothers kitchen and during filming I actually got a nasty knock to the head but as soon as I recovered from that I dove straight into the editing.
What's your songwriting process?
I have spurts of inspiration, be it a riff on guitar or a tune in the shower. Then I tweek and tweek and tweek. It takes me ages to work on a song if I'm being completely honest. Took me almost a year to finish 'Taste of your love' adding this removing that while doing the same with a bunch of other song at the same time. I've only ever written one song in one sitting and it's my absolute favorite song! I had a very dramatic summer and obviously a lot of built up emotion so I just word vomited it all in one go! It was really strange actually. So, I suppose you could say it varies all the time.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
I don't think so. I'm very much a 'what you see is what you get' kinda person. I tend to wear my emotions. My friends can always tell how I feel. Even if I tried to hide it I couldn't. I could write a really cryptic song but I guarantee you I'd have to explain why its so cryptic and hidden hahaha so it would be a little pointless. Let's just cut to the chase.
What are your future plans for your music?
To make more of it!
Tell us something quirky about yourself.
I love writing during a full moon.
"Last Night" by Berlin Taxi put me in a trance. Three things stood out to me after my first listen: first, the dreamy vocals, extremely well placed and delivered, made me think of Joy Division. Something about the lines gives me a Gregorian chant vibe. It makes me think of mantras. The main synth line, a perfect example of an atypical lead line, slides into an almost anti-solo. More often than not, artists spend so much time trying to technically wow the listener that they forget about the myriad of other ways to connect with an audience. Allowing your composition to become more than the sum of its parts, with each instrument supplementing and building off each other is a special skill, one Berlin has a masterful grasp of.
This leads me to my third takeaway, which is the composition in its entirety. The track sparks thoughts of the all the best parts of 80s electronica. For anyone who appreciates the decade, synth, or dancing, Berlin Taxi will give you your fix. The band sounds like you've heard them before in all the best ways, their polish and musicianship make you assume that they're sitting comfortably among the top electronica today. I'm glad I listened and you will be too.
Out of Manchester we find the charming synthpop of Edits, comprised of Liv Westhead (Vocals/Synths) and Chris Abbott (Guitars/Programming). Edits take pride in their D.I.Y. aesthetic; producing everything they make themselves, even their music videos. It's easy to tell there is a methodical care put into their work.
The duo have recently released their latest single, “Cold,” but don't let the name fool you. A punchy beat and warm synth open the track, a blanket of ethereal atmospherics leading to the entrance of Westhead's vocals. She exhibits commendable control as she slides into her falsetto, singing "icy rivers running through my veins." Abbot's guitars blow open the second half of the song alongside the increased intensity of Westhead's haunting wails. Edits' sound makes me imagine a coalescence of The XX and Lacuna Coil, sparking electropop with a dark underbelly.
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Based in Northern Louisiana, Stonerpop are an electronic-synthpop duo, comprised of Jimmie Maneuva, from Shreveport, and Maudie Michelle, originally from Idaho. Together they craft sounds as diverse as the cultures they represent, using thought-provoking lyrics, calming voices, and quirky synth melodies. Their compositions interlock cleverly woven instrumentation, naturally constructed around synthesizers and keyboards, injecting guitars over heavy and firm beats. Distinguished from other electronic acts, they apply a light melodic touch and layered texture, which compellingly play off sharper rhythms. They range from a full-on and welcomed sonic assault to trance-inducing melodies, establishing their vital force to electronic music.
Their new "Apollo" album follows their sophomore release of "Physical Business" in November 2017 and their debut "Stonerpop EP" in 2016. Following their debut, Stonerpop came to be among five finalists nominated for Best Local Band in DeltaStyle Magazine's 2017 Best of The Delta. In 2018, their music video for the track "Headglow" earned the duo an Official Selection in the African Smartphone International Film Festival.
Stonerpop's music is influenced by a range of artists, including Portishead, Garbage, Imogen Heap, Austra, Metric, Phantogram, U.N.K.L.E. and Massive Attack.
Performed and produced in collaboration by Jimmie Maneuva and Maudie Michelle.
All tracks written by Jimmie Maneuva and Maudie Michelle.
Recorded in Shreveport, Louisiana in the Stonerpop studio.
Mixing and mastering by Jimmie Maneuva.
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We listen to all genres!
Souno Mazzi Blog is curated by Maudie and Jimmie