Archives for posts with tag: Berlin

carla dal forno 2019Each stage of Carla dal Forno’s journey from Melbourne’s experimental electronic pop underground via Berlin to London has been matched with an increasing sophistication of her DIY dream-pop electronica.  “Took a Long Time” is the second song shared from dal Forno’s second album – “Look Up Sharp” – ahead of its October release.

On the basis of the two songs from “Look Up Sharp” shared so far, the new album strips even more of the lo-fi atmospheric haze from dal Forno’s sound while still maintaining an edge of detached unease.

“Took A Long Time” finds dal Forno sounding like a atmospheric stand-off between the fidgety crystalline minimalism of Melbourne dub electronica outfit HTRK and the uneasy post-punk electronic dream-pop of Dunedin’s Death and the Maiden.  

“Look Up Sharp” will be released on LP and CD (as well as digital download) on dal Forno’s own label Kallista Records on 4 October 2019.

Exploded View 2018Exploded View – a collaborative project involving UK-born, Berlin-based musician Anika Henderson with Mexico City based musicians Martin Thulin and Hugo Quezada – have a new album – “Obey” – coming out in September and are sharing “Raven Raven” (well) ahead of the release.

Exploded View’s peculiar take on experimental art-pop has an unpolished and non-conformist roughness that sets the band apart from the free-spirited damaged art-pop of Broadcast or the more mannered retro-futuristic synth nostalgia of Death And Vanilla.

As with the earlier releases (highly recommended) “Raven Raven” demonstrates the new album should continue to incorporate some essence of the raw thrill of The Velvet Underground, and even early Can into its intriguing sonic mix.

“Obey” is out on Sacred Bones Records on 28 September.

full moon fiasco photo by Laura Cherry

Full Moon Fiasco [photo by Laura Cherry]

Day 14 of PopLib’s 31 Days of May for New Zealand Music Month comes from Wellington psychedelic group Full Moon Fiasco and “Summer Eyes”.

“Summer Eyes” is the title track of an excellent album released late last year on Fantasy Fiction. Full Moon Fiasco is another Will Rattray band, and listening to this track, and the other songs there’s a clear link to the music of his other band, Thought Creature.

While Thought Creature mix their psychedelic approach with a bit of dance music and even glam rock, Full Moon Fiasco are more of a ‘traditional’ style of psychedelia. There’s a bit of the spirit of Pink Floyd’s “Piper at the Gates of Dawn” to the sound at times, but mostly it has more of a grainy “Pebbles”/ “Nuggets” era style of garage rock psychedelia. It’s an album well worth the time tracking down an LP copy if you are that way inclined.

Molly NilssonHere’s another from the Night School Records catalogue. As with yesterday’s post of a track from the Sorrow LP re-issue “Whiskey Sour” here is a track from a double LP re-issue of a 2008 Molly Nilsson album called “These Things Take Time”

Nilsson is a Swedish musician based in Berlin. Her minimal “DIY ’til I die” synth pop has an extensive catalogue which can be explored on her website Dark Skies Association.

“Whisky Sour” is a slice-of-life wry observation about… well, waiting in a bar, and all the discomfort, thoughts, memories and reflections this involves. It carries a similar kind of dark fatalistic humour of The Magnetic Fields reflecting on the human condition – Nillson’s morose commentary unfolding like a short story over this hiss and chime of a simple melody from a budget keyboard.

The album is an expansive collection of DIY Casio-tone synth-pop. It was repressed on vinyl – a limited 500 copies – for Record Store Day 2018, and appears to be sold out now. However… there is always the unlimited edition digital download…

Exploded View“Summer Came Early” is the title track from an EP released November last year by Exploded View from Mexico City.

Exploded View is a collaborative project involving UK-born, Berlin-based musician Anika Henderson with Mexico City based musicians Martin Thulin, Hugo Quezada and Amon Melgarejo.

While some broad stylistic comparisons for reference purposes can be made to the kind of free-spirited damaged art-pop of Broadcast or the more mannered retro-futuristic synth nostalgia of Death And Vanilla, or even Stereolab, there’s an unpolished rough darkness to Exploded View’s peculiar take on experimental art-pop.

For every one of the potential sonic reference points mentioned above you can also triangulate the kind of sonic mischief you’d more usually associate with the play-book of The Velvet Underground, Can, Sonic Youth or Thee Oh Sees in the songs of Exploded View.

The notes on Bandcamp for the album state: “Improvisation was the guiding principle and the source of the band’s inspiration. The studio itself was outfitted so that every sound produced in the room would be recorded. A Tascam 388 8-track captured everything – fully live, fully improvised, first-takes only.” This not only helps explain the otherness of their songs and sound, but also means EP and their brilliant 2016 self-titled album, with its its noisy analogue-instrument mutant dance music, are essential acquisitions.

Thought CreatureDay 27 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon is a lost classic from 5 years ago by Wellington-via-Berlin band Thought Creature that not enough people have heard. Time to rectify that with a trip to their “Paradise” (play this L O U D)

“Paradise” is a guitar-heavy psychedelic dance groove celebration which would have sounded at home on a late 1980s Julian Cope album when the 1980s psychedelic pop revival was morphing into rave culture’s transcendental dance music.

Thought Creature’s Berlin sojourn in the early 2010s and their transformation into a noisy psychedelic electronica+guitar outfit led to the formation of two of Dunedin’s best genre melting electronica+ bands today – Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital. Both Dunedin bands trace their formation to Berlin around the time this song was released and the common denominator to all three bands is Danny Brady.

There’s another common denominator too: Erica Sklenars, who appears in this live video of “Paradise” from a Berlin house party and is a regular collaborator with Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital for music videos and live performance visuals.

Elan Vital_2016Élan Vital are an intriguing dark and danceable trio from Dunedin. After an early song “Albtraum” surfaced on a compilation late last year they’ve just released their first single proper, called “Janina” which you can stream and download free/ pay what you like from their Bandcamp page.

“Janina” is one of the (many) highlights of their impressive live performances. Performances which often incorporate the visuals of Lady Lazer Light – visual and video artist Erica Sklenars. Lady Lazer Light’s video for the song combines fake palm trees, swirling foggy mist and black and white images to create a perfect visual setting for the song.

The music of Élan Vital is an unusual combination of darkly psychedelic garage organ sounds and a more European synth-pop stylishness. Having two keyboards working together and no guitars gives the music a dense swirl. Using analogue drum machines, vocoder and other effects gives their set a satisfying and diverse range of moods, from feedback-strafed soundtrack instrumentals to upliftingly gloomy melodic pop.

The band is comprised of Renee Barrance (keyboards, effects, vocals), Danny Brady (synths, drum machines, electronics, live mixing) and Nikolai Sim (bass). Renee and Danny first jammed in Berlin, where they were both living a few years ago, before each finding their way to Dunedin years apart.  You can read more about the origins of the band and what “Janina” is about in a short interview with Renee on Noisey.

Danny’s other current band – Death And The Maiden – also originated in Berlin, so there’s a case for that European cultural capital being something of a musical and spiritual sister city to 21st century Dunedin.

Élan Vital are on tour in NZ this weekend and play at Borderline Festival at Aucklands’ Whammy Bar.

elan vital tour landscape