Archives for posts with tag: Blue Nile

Lttle Phnx

PopLib featured Lttle Phnx, the vowel-deprived operating system name for Wellington synth-pop producer Lucy Beeler, back in 2013. There’s a new, and different sounding EP release not long out – “Pyrexia” is its name.

This is all kinds of perfection to my ears. The lead synth part zinging around from ear to ear in the middle of your head here reminds me of Alan Rankine’s soaring crystalline guitar parts from the classic Associates’ debut album “A Matter of Gender”. This is a very good thing.

Another thing these 4 songs share in common with the music of those Scottish post-punk adventurers is a clean minimal production and sparse but perfectly assembled arrangement which leaves space and creates atmosphere and room for those soaring melancholy vocals. Or, as the CMR label write-up explains it, with cyber-erotic perfection: “reverb-wet crystal-encrusted caves of longing”.

Weirdly, there’s another Scottish 80s alternative reminder – The Blue Nile – in the lush 80’s synth sounds employed here and in the feeling of dancing-by-yourself late night sadness it all evokes. I mean sadness in a positive way; as being more comforting for an introvert than the anxiety of dancing with others.

I realise these (possibly annoying/ unhelpful) references say more about my music collection (and state of mind) than anything in the subconscious of Lttle Phnx/ Lucy Beeler, so don’t take them to heart. It’s just a random observation.

Once you’ve listened to enough music it often starts triggering weird un-connected memories associated with times, places and life – and other music (which is associated with times, places and life too). Which is one of the pleasures of listening to new music.

You know the sensations a familiar record will evoke. But with new music your responses are unpredictable and sometimes unexpected & take you where you may never have been before. I like that. I like this too. Thanks Lttle Phnx for these “four intimate moments where time refracts off of the precious walls.”

Here’s day 7 of my 31 days of May New Zealand Music month Bandcamp purchase marathon. I actually bought this back in February… but if I hadn’t already I would’ve today, OK?

Lontalius is the music identity for a shy 16 year old Wellington school kid. I didn’t believe that at first, particularly as it was the 7th EP release on Bandcamp since 2010. But I’ve met ‘Lontalius’ now, and saw him play live in the ‘Renegade Room’ at Camp a Low Hum back in February, so I can attest to his age (though maybe he’s all of 17 by now?).

Once you work your way past the grainy lo-fi of these recordings you will hopefully discover these are some powerful and extraordinary pop songs. ‘Whisper’ – my favourite here – is full of heart-crushing melodic beauty.

It’s the sort of song I can imagine on an early Sparklehorse or Neutral Milk Hotel album and all the better for the fuzzorama production, the low-key resignation of its vocal delivery and 1 minute, 45 second economy.

The other standout song in this consistently excellent 11 minute 6-song collection is ‘The Same (Drum Version)’.

Listen carefully for the delicate pizzicato arrangement in the background of the fuzz-fog to hear what I mean. It reminds me of the sort of arrangement The Blue Nile would add to a song (after a few obsessive-compulsive years in the studio). As indeed does the pervading sense of sweet melancholy.

What sets these songs apart for me is that elegant arrangement of simple instrument parts and the equally understated vocal delivery that conveys so much from so little. Sure you need some tolerance for a bit of ‘lo-fi’ distress to relate to this. To my ear though, this is well crafted bedroom pop of the highest order.

It’s understandable that we tend to focus on a carefully packaged and marketed bedroom pop eccentric from overseas like Ariel Pink and overlook greater potential talent in our own back yard. But with Bandcamp (and Soundcloud) as a facilitator it is now a bit easier to discover it amongst us if we take the time to explore.