Archives for posts with tag: Elan Vital
Thought Creature R1 LTA 2018

Thought Creature performing in the Radio One studio in Dunedin during their 2018 “Ocean Dream” album tour.

Day 6 of PopLib’s 31 days of May New Zealand Music Month madness marathon on psychedelic Sunday is “Talking in Tongues” from the new album “Ocean Dream” by Wellington via Berlin group Thought Creature.

Thought Creature have a distinctive sound and “Talking in Tongues” here shows the range of influences; combining dance music, some Cure-ish post-punk/ New Wave, the raw spirit of garage rock, and a liberal dusting of psychedelia effortlessly into a cartoonish fusion of danceable grooviness.

There’s a good interview with Thought Creature on Under the Radar NZ here.

Here’s Thought Creature’s recent live-to-air in Radio One’s studio in Dunedin – first track is “Talking in Tongues” and hang around for more psychedelic dance goodness after that (including the glorious “Paradise” to finish).

If you recognise the bassist here, it’s Danny Brady of Dunedin bands Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital. Thought Creature was the first band I saw Danny play in, on an A Low Hum tour show at Arc Cafe about 10 years ago. After Thought Creature moved to Berlin, Danny met a couple of other travelling NZ musicians – Lucinda King and Renee Barrance. On his return to NZ and move down to Dunedin he formed Death And The Maiden with Lucinda King and then Élan Vital with Renee Barrance.

As well as Danny, Thought Creature still has it’s original nucleus of guitarist/ vocalist Will Rattray (also in the excellent and closely-related psychedelic garage rock band Full Moon Fiasco) and supplemented on their recent NZ tour by drummer Andy Frost (Coyote) and Jelena Mirceta (Full Moon Fiasco) on keyboards.

 

 

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thoughtcreature201812403Went to see Wellington-via-Berlin band Thought Creature play the first show of their NZ tour last night at the Cook in Dunedin. It was a brilliant night of energetic and therapeutic psychedelic garage dance music. If you are in NZ, make sure you catch them on tour this week. In the words of Will Creature on “Costume Cave” here – “don’t be late!”

“Custom Cave” is from their new album “Ocean Dream”. It fully captures the live energy of their distinctive mix of dance music energy to which a miasma of psychedelic guitar and keyboards and overdriven bass is added.

Thought Creature still has it’s original nucleus of guitarist/ vocalist Will Rattray (also in the excellent and closely-related psychedelic garage rock band Full Moon Fiasco) and bassist Danny Brady (also of Death And The Maiden and Élan Vital) and supplemented on this tour by drummer Andy Frost (Coyote) and Jelena Mirceta (Full Moon Fiasco) on keyboards.

There’s a good interview with Thought Creature on Under the Radar NZ here.

Thought Creature NZ tour dates

EYE_EP_synths“Yellow Density” is the opening track from a 4 song EP by French electronic musician Laurène Exposito under the name EYE.

Those familiar with the early work of Chris and Cosey (formerly of Throbbing Gristle) will find plenty here to enjoy. Pulsing synths, synthetic rhythms, combine repetition and unexpected melodic and tonal shifts. While dark and industrial, it also somehow adds saturated sonic colour and human touches. Laurène’s vocals – more of a spoken narration really – are delivered mostly in French through a fog of grainy reverb, adding layers of ambiguity, mystery and dislocation.

Other tracks go the stranger regions of the minimal synth-wave universe or add a harsh synth-punk noise element similar to Dunedin’s Élan Vital while maintaining a well-constructed balance of sounds across the 4 tracks.

EYE’s “Cocktail Mexico” EP this track is from is available as a 10″ release. Sadly the postage calculation – usually reasonable from the EU – was substantially more than the cost of the 10″ itself so looks like it will be digital download for the time being.

For those interested in delving further into labyrinthine rabbit holes of minimal synth/ electronic music check the releases on Waving Hands a label established by Exposito in 2014 to “to promote fresh new artists from the scene and dig out older ones.”

[Thanks to the excellent WhiteLight//WhiteHeat synth/ electronic music website for the discovery.]

OV Pain_LPDunedin keyboard/ drum/ voices dueo OV Pain have just released the LP format of their dark and thrillingly weird first album and it’s something to behold. Here’s the wonderful “Soon to Be” to draw you in to their (under)world:

The album was recorded at the Anteroom in Port Chalmers and mixed and mastered by local legend Forbes Williams. OV Pain are Renee Barrance (Élan Vital) and Tim Player (Opposite Sex).

The more-or-less-live recording in a big hall gives it a real sense of space and place – simultaneously open and echoing but also imbued with the chill and claustrophobia of some large underground crypt, where these dark tales and timeless sounds are performed with a kind of chanting, ritualistic possession.

This is haunted music, lost souls finding other lost souls, meditations on the darkness around us and within us.  It’s a bit theatrical and weird, mixing post-punk, psychedelia, prog-rock, synth-pop, with magic and witchcraft.

Gloominess has never sounded this colourful, this alive, this thrilling and this essential.

Elan Vital_Black and White_small

Élan Vital – Photo by Phoebe Lysbeth K http://www.phoebelysbethk.com/

Day 13 of our 31 Days of May New Zealand Music Month marathon comes from Dunedin trio Élan Vital. It’s the closing track of their “Shadow Self” album and the song is called “Dreams”

“Dreams” has been a fixture in the Radio One Top 11 in Dunedin for the past 3 months. It’s not hard to work out why: it’s a great song with a compulsive kind of rhythm and lyrics most people can relate to.

“Dreams” stands out on “Shadow Self” for a couple of reasons. It’s the singing debut of Élan Vital (and Death and the Maiden) synth and electronic equipment alchemist Danny Brady.  It’s also the most human of the seven tracks which make up “Shadow Self” – a love song even.

When I first heard “Shadow Self” in its entirety the order of the tracks seemed a very deliberate progression from the harsh mechanical world of the opening title track, through worlds (each of the seven songs is a “world” in my imagination) which progressively incorporated more human elements from the voices and lyrics and emotion.

The album is a fantastic dark and richly textured exploration of scientific and human themes, incorporating lyrics and soundscapes inspired by dreams, nightmares, and horror movies. The music features an unusual combination of contemporary electronic dance music with more diverse influences from 60’s garage psych-rock (the swirling hypnotic keyboard parts by Renee Barrance), post-punk and muscular distorted bass playing a kind of mutant disco rhythm.

The closing track on the album, “Dreams”, conveys the clearest human connection of the seven experiences. It’s a song about release and freedom, love and hopefully even redemption.

From the cha-cha analogue drum machine at the start through to the breakdown and the echoing reprise by main vocalist Renee Barrance coming in at the 3 minute 30 mark the whole song is a seductive dance-floor classic. Danny’s morose yet caring vocals are the perfect understated voice for the song.

If you are in Dunedin there’s an extra chance to catch Élan Vital live at the Pioneer Hall in Port Chalmers tonight, Saturday 13 May 2017 along with another PopLib favourite Bad Sav.

Elan Vital LP playing

Moonlight

The Moonlight released their first album a few weeks ago and are touring NZ at the moment to alert the dozy rugby-obsessed inhabitants of the Land of the Long White Cloud of its existence. Here’s the opening track, the rather wonderful “Across The Room”.

“Across The Room” sounds like it could be a lost recording by the Jean Paul Sartre Experience as they transitioned from winsome melodic strum into peerless fuzzy shoegaze giants as JPSE. That good.

Listening through the album it also seems The Moonlight would also have fitted comfortably amongst the chiming pop of some of the 1990s/ 2000s Failsafe Records roster, which included bands like Springloader, Throw and Dolphin, and post-JPSE bands Kimo and Mulchzoid.

There’s something distinctly New Zealand about The Moonlight LP and it’s low key yearning existential strum. Or, as they so eloquently say on their Bandcamp page: “A pent up need to give permanent shape to the flux of experience. That kind of stuff.”

I’ll be getting a copy tonight at Chick’s Hotel, where they play with the PopLib endorsed Elan Vital.