You could live within the confines of this beautifully atmospheric shot alone but by adding the accompanying sequence of elegant notes this release feels all the more unique. Jordan Bruce and Larry Jones have produced three tantalising productions beginning with the striking repetitions of Aquilaria which chimes with soulfully charged intent over a fizzy glitch of electronic drum-machines alongside a gentle, yet informed, expanse of tastefully synthesized sound. Next is Sleepy Ghost (Part Deux) which not surprisingly is a touch darker with heavier pads colouring the mood, leaving the evocative strains of Snowy Sunday In Oslo to reignite a more vigorous approach via its rugged bass plus punchy shuffle of beats.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty, Elisa. Let’s start with the music you grow up with and how it informed your attitudes to life? Which bands/musicians remain the most important to you?
I grew up listening to a lot of 60s and 70s rock and folk music. When I was a child, I used to listen to my mum’s records. She owned a small vinyl collection with lots of classics from the likes of The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Dire Straits etc.
The band I discovered later in my twenties that still definitely remain very important to me is Radiohead. For me, it’s the best band of all time. Thom Yorke is a genius.
Can you talk us through how you produced your new single: Black Dolls? Any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you always use?
I remember producing Black Dolls in my home studio in Brussels back in October 2019. The main synth I used is a Prophet V3 from Arturia which made me fall in love with that sound and pushed me to buy a real analogue Prophet VI later that year. I used Massive for the bass and recorded the vocals in a studio.
The Microkorg is not my favourite piece of hardware but, for some reason I end up using it quite a lot. For software, I tend to quite often use Arturia’s V Collection, Native Instrument’s Massive and Wave’s Alchemy Revolution.
Do you feel the human voice has as much to say in Dance/ Electronic music anymore? What inspires you to write the words you do? (I was particularly struck by your intonation on the jazzy/ blues of Dying Stars from the new album.)
I think it depends on the song and the artist.
Dying Stars is a song I wrote many years ago on the piano. It belongs to a phase where I was mostly listening to jazz and blues. I still don’t know how the lyrics of that song came through. When I compose, I tend to let myself be inspired by the energy of the moment. The lyrics I write are very similar to those kind of dreams where you can hardly find a logic in the narrative, but if you go deeper and you try to analyse them, you may find lots of hidden meanings.
What do you hope will change after Covid-19 for club culture and live performance?
First of all, what I hope the most is that all venues and clubs forced to close their doors will be able to reopen. But I doubt this will be the case if we think about the very poor financial support they have received from governments. I think it will take a long time for the industry to recover from this crisis.
How do you see music’s future in terms of how artists generate money? Tell us about the decision to self-release your own music?
With the constant changes in the ways people listen to music, the future of the industry, and what artists stand to gain, is unclear. As we all know, musicians have always made the bulk of their money from live performances and touring. For the future, I hope they could also benefit from greater sources of revenue coming from streaming platforms. I think, there’s a urgent need for a more transparent and equitable model of streaming royalty distribution.
With regard to my music, I decided to self-release this album because I wanted to have a complete control over the creative process. I was afraid a label would have prompted me for a particular sound, selecting which songs should or should not be released.
What is your favorite instrument? Do you own one?
I’m in love with analogue and vintage synthesizers. As said before, I’ve recently bought a Prophet VI. I particularly like how it sounds.
Your new album: Unknown territories is a blend of styles, moods and atmosphere’s. What do you seek to convey most through your music?
I think it depends on the song. Sometimes I seek to convey an idea, sometimes an emotion, sometimes just nothing at all. Writing this album has been a sort of stream of consciousness, a therapeutic and cathartic act. I’ve just followed the flow.
Outside of music who/ what inspires you (in terms of any painters, writers, poets etc)?
Among the philosophers: Karl Jung, James Hilman, Noam Chomsky, Immanuel Kant, Alexander Lowen.
Among the painters: Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock.
And finally. What are you looking forward to most for the remainder of 2021?
I look forward to writing more music and working on a live set which will probably include part of the songs from the album.
Recapturing the search for moments of lost memory John Sellekaers’ brave expedition into unchartered territory serves as a reward for the depth of meaning. Observer Effect is unnerving yet warmly emotional as landscapes are surveyed via the whir of synthesized sound which flows freely, seemingly without the constriction of boundaries and all the while points you in directions to be discovered. It is of course deeply introspective sensing that space in-between light and dark but equally it’s an exhilarating experience such as on the soaring On the Trail, while the contrasting Shelter provides a reassuring embrace.
Release: July 16
Offering the true temptation of notable difference – although quite why the flair of imaginative musicality should qualify thus is a mystery – Silvio Astier’s guitar lays bare the essence of human emotion across six contemplative strings strung out across heavens high. Four numbers occupy the space of this rewarding release of sound each providing a unique escape into atmospheric substance from beginning to end. Sometimes accompanied by drums it is however the introspection of mood which is chiefly explored throughout and is done so in creative ways harnessing the innate power of electricity in the process.
Release: July 23
Silvio Astier https://www.elalmacenmusical.com
The Eye That Sees Us All has appeared at precisely the right moment. Free from restrictions, open to all interpretations this collection of intriguing, imaginative sounds is a positive feast of stimulating aural pleasure much as the title track demonstrates via shivering voices, stripped back drum-machines alongside a wealth of finely tuned atmospheric tones and noises. The rigorous, impassioned rhythms of Lucy Sky Diamond follows with deep pulsing stabs amid defiant electrical swirls pursuing the notion that music can be eloquently emotional at the same time as being creative and forward-thinking. The brisk dancefloor tempo of Arethusa is next, leaving the more twisted electro elements of Temple Day to do just that. The deep bass punctuating Clair de Lune feels compelling as do the assorted expansions of tripped out sounds which play with rhythm and possibility in neat, equal measure. So by the time the exceptional final number, Tropik Sadness feat. Falco Nero hits all things are suitably bent in and out of shape as percussive intensity along with the knowing pleasure of echoed expanse collectively speaks volumes about this excellent debut album from Shaun Reeves.
I also love music that speaks its own mind. Not caring too much about the sensitivities of trends or the front cover of shiny magazines. This ticks a hundred boxes for me with its collaboration between DJ/ Producer Jay Duncan and saxophonist Ben Vince charting uneasy, unnerving territory via a defiant whir of electrifying, electrical impulse. Add to that a sense of danger as drums ebb and flow, sounds collide and rhythms fire-up pulsing supremely. All of which feels free-form to the point of creating the ultimate, expressive potential on the title track, In Limbo. Hats off to Phantasy Sound for releasing forward-thinking music of such calibre too.
And then we come to Ricardo Villalobos who feels particularity apt to interrupt the abstract nature of it all. Charting some fourteen minutes of analogue infused character there is an almost Classical sense of direction in the way the music has been constructed, more about the architecture of change and movement than safety in numbers as sections of sounds introduce themselves and then dissipate, reappearing at will. Deeply sensual just like it is resolutely soulful, much as anything else deserving of that point of reference the music seeks to satisfy more than mere historical impulse to remain important, energised and evangelical.
Second track, Anti-Purgatorio has a fizzy, dazzling array of beats and machine fuelled percussion to also satisfy the need this time flexing more muscular grooves, though no less innovative and impactful. Let’s hope there is an album to follow…(PS. sterling Artwork by Patrick Savile).
I like beautiful music. The sort that probes, diving into the unknown. Sometimes high, sometimes low. Belfast producer Gregory Ferguson (LOR) has produced a series of events to form this album of sounds, moods and atmospheres that readily generate synthesized noise into shapes that bounce notably around the stereo. Partly composed via inspiration from the night-time of the 1980’s but also with a heavy dash of 2021 production values the tracks stimulate a sense of wonder such as on the wonderful, reflective title track Faith/Reason. The darker, though equally rewarding Aspen Trees tells different tales, leaving the gentle melodies of Eno-esque, Karesuando to complete. Faith/Reason presents an album which paints an imaginative picture while rewarding you with a combination of light and shade that journey’s elegantly throughout the passage of time.
The sounds contained within Structures are seemingly unconnected to the nature of the title as they are let free to fly with a fistful of emotions granting the expanse of potential. Though structured in the sense that they do form pieces of music about cause and effect. The effect being one of introspection as much as it is about openness to light, dark and shades in-between – I always seem to refer to memory in this process too, but I wonder if that’s just me? The titles vary from the serene Heavenly Toy through to the blistering Lay In Timeless Power, with liquid compensation in the form of Desolate Purity. The concluding fourteen minutes of the exquisite Beyond The Immortal Light should likewise give you indication of the intended direction of travel. A place you will want to land.
As an exercise in sheer, excitable force this production from the Miami DJ hits hard in all respects. The drums are tough, brutal even as the snare punctuates the airwaves beautifully, leaving rugged bass to undercut the groves as an eerily familiar synth line is reminiscent of good times, both past and present. Uncomplicated but most certainly direct and to the point of celebrating excess from the label that never sleeps.
I had been so busy with the assumption that Afterlife produced certain sounds that fitted into particular styles of music – notably Balearic etc etc – I hadn’t even realised that Ambient wasn’t one of the genres touched upon. Which in a way seems rather strange as you would imagine it to be a natural space to occupy given the immersive explorations of mood and atmosphere readily kindled across the years. Thankfully though, this must be some of the most engaging work to date from the producer behind the guise not least of all because of the rich intensity, almost too intense at times, which has been created.
Singularity is an epic opening, unfolding in warm waves of reassuring emotion that feels gently blissful throughout each aspect of its meditation on living life. So much so that the proceeding impact of The Lost Birds is like a small shock to the system, aside from the fact that it could be one of my favourite pieces of music in amongst all of the past twelve plus months of madness. I don’t know about you but if music is indeed a universal language then you will also sense a yearning, or loss, located somewhere in the hardwire of memory (hidden from view) as a vigorous whir of contemplation extends beyond conscious belief. There is something about the liquidity of water contained within the body of the sea which conjures up a captured stillness here, pictures from a black and white timeframe that are worn and lost. You may well evoke something completely different of course, unique to your own experience in the process of listening. Everest, follows by reverberating across the space of notes generated from piano to dawn, observing the blur between wind and snow as the energy of raw emotion drips effortlessly across the screen. Next, Secret Life completes the release likewise returning to the grain of torn keys, this time pitched alongside the contrast of eloquent pads seeking out future tomorrows amid the passage of time…and as the music leaves the stage it still echoes within.