Hear Me Out: Dead Sea

Chillwave is not a forgotten genre, and it is easy to imagine why this Parisian electro-pop quartet, Dead Sea wants to treat their music as ‘Turbo Chillwave’. It is a hybrid of Shoegaze and IDM. Their saturated beats and spacey beats simmers deep in your skin, while a female vocalist Caro puts a spell on you with her soulful melisma. We have caught up with the band to talk more about their background, inspirations, and the meaning behind their latest single, “Keep It High”.

Hear Me Out: Dead Sea
Introduced by Charles, Feb 6, 2013

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Hear Me Out: Bernholz

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Jez Bernholz is a guy of many talents. He is a sculptor as well as a musician; a composer as well as a film-maker.  As an pop experimentalist, Bernholz is never afraid to go further. His debut single,”Austerity Boy”,  smartly quoted Madonna’s iconic line from “Material Girl”, surprised both critics and music fans, resulted in receiving warm support.

Two years in the making, his debut album How Things Are Made, will finally see the light of the day on September 29 from Brighton’s Anti-Ghost Moon Ray (a home to Gazelle Twin, Acquaintance and Great Pagans). The album pays an homage to the artist that he dearly respects; Kate Bush’s masterpiece “Hounds Of Love”, David Bowie’s “Low” to name a few. Here, Bernholz talks about how everything started, his musical heroes and the secrets behind his cinematic sound-scope. Also the artist kindly agreed to premier one of the standout tracks from the album proceeding its release.

Background
I first learned how to write songs on a Yamaha Portasound PSS-170, and it’s still how I do it now after diversions into other ways of writing. This project came out of the disbandment of a previous project, and a long process of discovering my individual identity again. I compiled some of my older 4-track ideas in a stream of consciousness fashion, and the whole thing took off from there. I always wanted to make it more like how I would make sculpture and film, and tie all of those processes together. Before that I saw writing songs as a separate entity, but I realised that I could really make the Bernholz project as fully artistically realised as I wanted.

Sound
It’s a combination of many different sources, from programmed electronics and tape loops to found sounds and heavily harmonised vocals. The songs employ ambient and cinematic tropes against more traditional pop elements. I wanted to do something that blurred the lines between high-brow and low-brow preconceptions. I’m very interested in music that reveals several elements simultaneously, without ever conforming to expectations. I aim to record from as many different sources as possible, to abstract and combine fragments of all kinds, and try and make them work together.

Inspirations
So many that are forever changing, but across the board, I will always say the art of Bruce Nauman, Richard Deacon and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton and the music of Kate Bush and David Bowie. Generally, I get inspired by incidental, seemingly mundane, everyday things that seem somewhat heroic in their failure. Clumsily laid out furniture, enthusiastic but incorrectly put together stories by children.

I’m very interested in music that reveals several elements simultaneously, without ever conforming to expectations.

Favourite Bands/Artists
Too many! And it never stops. As I said before, Bowie and Bush, Prince, Laurie Anderson, Delia Derbyshire, Steve Reich, Marvin Gaye, Mansun, The Knife, more recently Julia Holter, Factory Floor, Colin Stetson. The list is endless, I’ll just end up saying lots and lots of names so I’d better stop there.

Secret
I actually think Lionel Richie’s ‘All Night Long’ is the best pop song ever written.

Hear Me Out
What You Want To do’. It’s a good example of how the album was made, starting from an urgent improvisation of loops and drones, that quickly turned into the chord progression made from the bass part, which is my favourite element of the song. It was a very fluid track to write, and the basic template was done in one go, including the mantra lyric. That lyric is really for me. I suffer a lot of self-doubt, and I’m incredibly critical of myself, worried about time slipping by and the pressures of life mounting up. I try to put that nagging feeling to rest by saying reassuring things to myself like “It’s not too late to do what you want to do”, and when I listen back, I’m glad I’ve told myself that, and I hope others can take heed from the sentiment too. Within the song are motifs that appear in other parts of the album, so that when you hear them repeated, they have the effect of a dream where something triggers your memory of that fragment of a moment you have experienced before.

I’ll be touring Europe in October and December, and I’m very excited. I’m so pleased that I have finally released an album and get to see the world performing my music.
I’m very proud, and excited about releasing it as a sculpture as well as a CD – I’ve made a limited plaster block version that you must destroy in order to listen to the music.

Connect With Bernholdz
Anti-Ghost Moon Ray

Official Website
Soundcloud
Facebook

Bernholz debut album, How Things Are Made is released from Anti-Ghost Moon Ray on September 29. Pre-order  here.

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Hear Me Out: Koloto

Select artists/bands introduce themselves on Hear Me Out.
Koloto is an electronic project by a Canterbury beatsmith Maria Sullivan, who is also the bassist of the up-and-coming post rock outfit Delta Sleep. The track she uploaded early this year, “Antares” was discovered by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and since has been talked about amongst bloggers and music news sites around the world. With her broad knowledge and interest of music, she incorporates her elaborate but playful songwriting with warm touches of folktronica, pushing the boundaries of modern UK bass scene. Sullivan talks about how the project begun, the aide of deadlines and an amusing revelation about pony.

Hear Me Out: Koloto
Introduced by Maria Sullivan, May 2, 2013

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Hear Me Out: Hotel Mexico

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This month, we were introduced to the six-piece Kyoto group Hotel Mexio, with their long-awaited release ‘Her Decorated Post Love’ from Second Royal. With bittersweet melodies and guitar tones that sparkle like glitter, as well as their round-about song arrangements and piercing romanticism, it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly where their charm lies. Having performed shows in Brookly and a 7-inch release on British label Double Denim (the label partly run by Pitchfork contributor Hari Ashurst), they are bursting on the scene not only here in Japan but overseas as well.

Hear Me Out: Hotel Mexico
Introduced by Kikuchi, Feb 11, 2013
Translated by Dan Bruner, courtesy of Actually Giant

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Hear Me Out: Grigori

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A producer/song writer from East London, Dev Moran aka Grigori introduces his own soulful electronic project, Grigori. Moran has recently self-released the excellent debut EP, Sinas. This EP is filled with undeniably catchy hooks all coated in the dark and soulful electronica. The sound might reminisce the likes of Jamie Woon, or recently-interviewed S O H N, or even James Blake, but Grigori’s unknown identity is still yet to be revealed–until now. Read on the interview as you listen to the Sinas EP in its entirety below.

Hear Me Out: Grigori
Introduced by Dev Moran, December 15, 2012

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Hear Me Out: Bored Nothing

Selected artists/bands introduce themselves on Hear Me Out.
Bored Nothing is a Lo-Fi shoegaze unit by Melbourne native Fergus Miller. He has recently released his debut record from the Sydney’s Spunk. Bored Nothing kindly sat with us to take part in Hear Me Out to discuss his inspiration, sound, and his background in music.

Hear Me Out: Bored Nothing
Introduced by Fergus Miller

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Hear Me Out: Robert Sword

Selected artists/bands introduce themselves on Hear Me Out.

UK’s ambient producer, Robert Swords took some time to introduce himself on Hear Me Out. His Zen-influenced tranquil sound-scape is absolutely breathtaking. The artist kindly offered us the new track “New Years Bells” for exclusive streaming. Don’t forget to listen to the track below.

Hear Me Out: Robert Sword
Introduced by himself

Background
My interest in composition started when I was six, around the same time I started learning piano. I would write down little tunes with titles like ‘I Wish I Could Swim In The Sea’ and ‘The Sad Story of Ben The Engine’, which I consider my Opus 1 (I can’t remember what the ‘sad story’ was, but the piece was a pastiche of beginner’s piano exercises). I also transcribed the theme tune from Tetris by ear and tried to pass it off as my own composition! I started seriously trying my hand at composition from the age of about 14 onwards.

Sound
There’s a bit of minimalism in there, melodies inspired by folk music, some unusual harmonic progressions and clarity of texture. I’m aiming for something that’s evocative and moving without being oversimplistic or evangelical.

Inspirations
When I was younger, we used to pop into a New Age shop in my hometown. I always listened to the samplers of the CDs from these specialist catalogues they used to have- music for meditation, whale sounds and such. A lot of it was quite simplistic, using out of date sounding synths and stuff. When I was about 13, I found a CD in one of the catalogues called ‘Zen Garden’ by the Japanese American musician and composer Masakazu Yoshizawa and his group Kokin Gumi. The album captivated me with its beauty and intricacy. The album’s been a huge influence on my own music and I’ve been trying to find or compose something like it ever since!

The late electronic composer Nujabes has been quite a big influence on me in recent years- I’m mesmerised by the way he brings in all kinds of disparate samples to create such a beautiful and rich tapestry of sound.

John Adams’s music has also inspired me greatly- particularly Phrygian Gates, Dharma At Big Sur and Tromba Lontana. There’s something otherworldly about the harmonies and structures he uses, and what really gets me is that I can never quite work them out from listening.

Also, it probably doesn’t come across much in my music, but indie and rock music had a pretty prevalent role in my musical upbringing.

Artists You Like
I really like artists and bands who aren’t afraid to switch up their formula and surprise people, while retaining a core musical identity. Neil Young is probably the ultimate representation of this ideal for me. I’m also a huge fan of Bombay Bicycle Club who are great live and on record. My favourite album at the moment (and it has been for a while) is One Way It’s Every Way by a little-known Australian gem of a band called Clue To Kalo.

Secrets
I’ve been trying to start a band for the last 2 years or so, but it’s never quite reached the live stage! Maybe one day…

Hear Me Out


This one’s called ‘New Year Bells’. At the end of a year where pretty much everything seemed to go wrong at the same time, I was sitting with my grandmother, my cousin and my brother, listening to the distant church bells ringing to announce the beginning of 2005. I remember feeling a mixture of apprehension and hope and wondering about how things would progress from there. Over five years later I wrote the piece with that moment in mind (admittedly with the benefit of hindsight!).

Anything you want to add?
I run a soundtrack composition company called Contour Chromatic with my long term collaborator Giles Thomas. Get in touch if you’re making a film, directing a play, creating a videogame etc and we’ll hit you up with a soundtrack. You can find our portfolio and news at www.contourchromatic.co.uk

Connect with Robert Sword
Official
Twitter
Soundcloud

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Hear Me Out: Feather Beds

Feather Beds is an electronic ambient/noise project by Ireland’s songwriter, Micheal Orange. Having only been set up this year, he has released two tracks on his bandcamp. He is currently working on the project’s debut album called The Skeletal System.

Manipulating shogaze noise with fragile electronica into sincere songwriting, the music he creates might reminisce the likes of Sigur Ros, Perfume Genius, etc. His visceral and melancholic song writing are totally unique, and it’s something we are fan of.

The artist kindly agreed to put his debut single “On Your Deathbed” as a limited free download. Listen and download the track from the widget below.

Hear Me Out: Feather Beds
Introduced by Micheal Orange

Background
Well, I started Feather Beds properly in 2012. It’s just me on my own and I suppose I had the idea for it a while ago, but am only getting to it now, for one reason or another. In terms of my background, I’ve played in bands and traditionally I’ve made music in a more collaborative environment, which was/is great, but I’m enjoying working on my own with this, for the moment.

Reason behind the band name
I have a notebook that I keep for ideas, and often I write down ideas for titles or lyrics, etc. Feather Beds was a name that seemed to make total sense to me for this. I liked how it looked written down and I liked how it sounded. It just seemed to fit. Simple as that, really.

Sound
Without trying to be evasive, I don’t really know. For this album that I’m working on, I’m just trying to be as creative and open as possible with it and see where I end up. I’m interested in recording random sounds and noise, and layering. I’ve released two songs so far and I guess you could describe them as sounding slightly melon collie or dark, but I feel they’re kind of uplifting at the same time, which might be an odd juxtaposition. I’m not sure, really. Some of the songs have an ambient/electronic feel, some are more abrasive.

Inspirations
I’m inspired by artists who plough their own furrow. I love when I discover music thats totally unique, or at least unique to me. It’s just something that moves me, when I see someone/something that’s totally uninterested in subscribing to a ‘scene’ or whatever. It’s hard to articulate really, it’s more of a feeling.

Artists you like
I like lots of stuff, a lot from my childhood that my parents would have listened to like, The Beatles, The Beach Boys and The Bee Gees – right through to music I’m discovering in my twenties, it all seeps into your brain. At the moment I’m really loving Max Tundra – he’s a true original and a frighteningly talented chap. I’ve been listening to a lot of Captain Beefheart lately, especially the ‘Bat Chain Puller’ album, which was originally recorded in the seventies, I think, but only came out recently enough. Again, he was a true eccentric and he made very brave and unique music. I love artists like Field Music, Cornelius, Magnetic Fields, there’s so much great music out there and I have lots of favourites. Just to mention some Irish artists that I really like: Autumn Owls, Mail Order Messiahs and Faws. Check them out!

Secret
I’m a drummer. Masquerading as a songwriter.

Hear Me Out

Download

It’s called ‘On Your Deathbed’. I don’t really like when songs are explained too much. It takes the fun away! Music has always been about interpretation, for me anyway.

Anything you would like to add?
I’m working on my debut album at the moment. It’s called ‘The Skeletal System’ and it’ll be out at some point in 2013. Do keep an eye out for that. Be well!!

Connect with Feather Beds
Facebook

Bandcamp

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Hear Me Out: Benny Smiles

Ireland’s up and coming sunny electronic unit, Benny Smiles (aka Ross Fortune) talked to us about his musical background and inspirations on Hear Me Out. He has recently released a warm 4-track EP, Sunshine/Moonlight online. Combining pristine and crisp sounds of digital and organic instruments, his music explores inspirations that run through everything; yes, everything that we all feel and experience so dearly and closely that we tend to forget how important they are. Also listen to the EP in its entirety from the widget below.

Hear Me Out: Benny Smiles
Introduced by Ross Fortune

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Hear Me Out: Solar Bears

On Hear Me Out, artists take the challenge to introduce themselves.
Ireland’s futuristic Sci-fi electronic duo, Solar Bears talked to us about their sounds and inspirations on Hear Me Out. Following their critically acclaimed debut LP via Planet Mu, She Was Coloured In, they are readying their sophomore effort Supermigration, which release date has not been revealed just yet. You can listen/download the new track “Cosmic Runner” from the link after the interview.

Hear Me Out: Solar Bears
Introduced by Rian Trench

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