Sydney-siders were recently treated to one of the best lineups of this long winter in the form of Volumes 2017. Not only did it feature a massive roster of local talent including The Ocean Party, Oisima (DJ set) and Jonti, but more excitingly (for those in the rest of the country at least) was the remix package the accompanied the festivities.
The festival paired up several talents on the bill, including Mezko taking on Body Type, Gauci vs. Hatchie, and finally Wallace/The Goods taking on the Fortunes’ pants filler; 501s.
Fortunes, normally known for their sexy, understated and synth-y swoons, still fair well as The Goods add a whole lot of backbone in their remix. The reworking of the original keys makes them audibly punch along with a driving kick/snare, clearly written with a packed dance floor in mind.
This steady newfound groove forms the perfect foundation for RnB swooner Wallace to lay down her intimate vocals. Bringing in a new female vocal layer gives the remix a wholly original sound. Wallace’s delivery and sensuality is as powerful as the original, but has a uniqueness to it that keeps the track feeling fresh, despite the familiar chords and hooks found in the beat.
You can suss all the excellent remixes from the festival promo here:
For those who have had their ears tuned to Eilish Gilligan‘s musical narrative over the years, ‘The Feeling‘ will come as a reward; something sweet to lift the winter blues, packed with all the elements of an Eilish track that keep us craving more.
From the Melbourne artist’s humble beginnings as a singer with a bedroom project and a SoundCloud account, Gilligan has graced international stages with her dreamy alt-pop group Frida, and as touring singer with Japanese Wallpaper.
‘The Feeling’ brings us back to her internal world, mapping instances when feelings get the better of rationality, and you can get a little lost underground. Lyrically, think Joni Mitchell or Bon Iver. Sonically, think Lorde or London Grammar.
Eilish rides the razor edge of sparse yet bubbly indie-pop, with a sprinkling of intense melancholy. If this is your first time hearing her music, ‘The Feeling’ is a wonderful introduction – it keeps true to the bedroom style of Eilish’s earlier work, while undertones of piano-house and dance-pop are indicative of her growth as an artist.
The track itself is as layered as its subject matter, with the Eilish’s musical roots in classical singing laying foundation to the melody. Easing us in, her voice is almost operatic, decorated with static and accompanied only by a simple but viscous chord progression — a moody opening reminiscent of The XX or The Knife. As distorted vocals kick in over a barely-there beat, Eilish casually puts things into gear and reminds us we’re listening to something that can’t be so easily pinpointed as dance track or piano ballad.
‘I’m in the ground / everyone else flies,’ Eilish sings as the building synths lap like waves that push us from wanting to dance to wanting to write prose poetry about heartache. With the mournfully sung ‘The Feeling comes / it comes again / it takes my breath,’ Eilish brings in a dancehall/house hybrid of layered percussions and synths that weave around her flowing vocals in a deceptively simple manner.
‘Deceptively’ being a key word here, as Eilish has an obvious talent for both composition and writing lyrics. There is a lot to be said for the art of boiling down complex emotional narratives into a skilfully crafted, bittersweet pop track, and ‘The Feeling’ does exactly that. Eilish has given us a track that steps onto the dance floor with its head still in the clouds, inviting us to do the same.
After the release of ‘Eyes Closed‘ a few months ago, Roland Tings has continued to drip feed music from a supposed follow up to his self titled 2015 release.
‘Higher Ground‘ is his first piece of music out in 2017, and continues classic elements of Roland Tings production now paired with various new sounds, most notably the inclusion of vocals from Nylo.
While many of the signature layered-rhythms and structures are still present, they are given a new dimension to work around with the inclusion of a female topline – something we’ve practically never heard before from the Melbourne producer. For the most part this new balance works well. The song never feels crowded, yet still maintains a high level of trademark bounce and energy throughout.
The vocals, when combined with newer house-ier elements, show a continued musical growth in the time off since his last album. This is always encouraging to hear, especially from an artist with such a definitive sound on a debut LP.
Hopefully more of this musical exploration is on display when he embarks on his national tour in March/April.
December 2015 marked the release of light on the willd-wood stream. A swirl of organic, downbeat and experimental electronica was Lux Natura‘s latest album. Every piece the Melbourne based producer puts his hands and mind to captures a clean, emotive atmosphere. ‘Reaching‘ is the latest track to surface on Lux Natura’s Soundcloud since 2015.
Unfolding over six and half minutes, ‘Reaching’ relinquishes a natural energy from the depths of Lux Natura’s hardware and software. A slow bass fueled beat paired with an array of wet, organic, slightly dark textures are softly built, allowing patiently structured percussion to encapsulate the ambient breaks that settle. As each element grows louder, an powerful atmosphere forms. Once greeted with silence, a shake of your head to rid the shock is recommended.
Having been inactive for over a year, it is a pleasure to hear a quality return.
Don’t let the delicate opening piano chords of Willaris. K‘s new track ‘Alchemy’ fool you, this is by no means an acoustic number — rather a deep and brooding piece of techno, written solely for a late night dance floor.
Based in Northern NSW, the 23-year-old beat-maker has a sophistication and depth in his productions far beyond his years. The underlying rhythms and melodies in ‘Alchemy’ are solid and engaging enough, but the nuanced moments of production throughout elevate the track to a new level of maturity. These subtle moments of percussion and bass help create a frantic soundscape that is beautifully segmented by the track’s various breaks.
With only one song available online at this stage we’ve no choice but to hang out for more quality like this from Willaris K.
Words by Matt Bladin // Photo by Sarah Chavdaroska
Local beat maker Christopher Port is no stranger to the Australian scene. He’s played drums for artists including Airling, I’lls, #1 Dads as well as live samples for Big Scary. Despite these deep roots he has only recently started releasing music under his new self-titled project.
After a strong first release with his EP Vetement, he followed up with new single ‘My Love’. This softer, more subtle track still draws from his UK Garage influences but takes these references to a new, more spacious place compared to previous tracks like ‘Heavens’. Long, sweeping synth lines are permeated by skilfully arranged vocal cuts, giving the expansive track a sense of drive and direction.
The ‘My Love’ release on Pieater Records has been accompanied by a B-side, titled ‘Sum 1 (‘His Eye is On The Sparrow Edit’)’, a much more percussion-laden track, with equally impactful vocals. Both are out now on more digital platforms.
Seekae have returned from a two year break with a stunning track that could herald a new direction of things to come for the group. The first release out of their recording time at Berlin’s Funkhaus Studio, ‘Turbine Blue‘ is a brooding yet strangely optimistic piece drenched in the atmospheric sounds one would expect from such a recording experience.
As with any Seekae release, the lyrics are beautifully ambiguous but strong themes of vulnerability and longing shine through. The band recently described the track as “a confessionary love song, full of hope but laced with the sheer dizzying heights of the risks involved in a confession”. These lyrical themes pair themselves alongside a slow but commanding beat that caries almost as much emotion.
If ‘Turbine Blue’ is the first taste of things to come, it’s obvious Seekae still have a lot to offer.
British imprint Anjunadeep has been at the forefront of explorative dance music since its launch in 2005. For the past 10 years, it has acted as a platform for many respected house musicians to launch more experimental and forward thinking records, and notably their recent project ‘Anjunadeep Explorations’ is testament to their strong commitment to find a wider audience for these new artists and sounds.
On recent release Anjunadeep Explorations 02 it was exciting to see local Australian talent Amateur Dance was included with his track ‘You Give Me Butterflies’. It opens the four-track EP, giving listeners a great taste of his evolving, fluid production. The track’s hypnotic combination of melody and samples fills the seven-minute run time effortlessly, making it a wonderful opener to an all round excellent EP.
Not only does it sit well amongst the other international producers on the release such as, Luttrell, Tontario and Gacha Bakradze, but it is a definite highlight, and proudly presents a confident snapshot of Melbourne’s local talent to the world.
01 Apr Au Dré – ‘Wanna Know’
Au Dré‘s latest song ‘Wanna Know’ just keep ticking the boxes of my internal ‘do I like this song?’ checklist. It’s silky smooth, and has a melody that is interesting enough to be unique yet draws on a number of older pioneering genres I enjoy, and it makes me want to dance. Though there are a number of elements to the track that are reminiscent of ’80s disco and funk, Audrey Powne‘s vocals are a fierce reminder of Au Dré’s effortless ability to refresh iconic sounds and put their own contemporary spin on them.
With lines like “you are a like a new designer drug and I don’t want very much”, and my favourite “when we get in bed, you better give me head!”, the track has me feeling so many emotions at the same time. I feel nostalgic, I feel vicariously empowered, I feel revamped and brightened. I feel liberated and want to roll my spine and shake my shoulders and hips. If ‘Wanna Know’ is anything to go by, which I’m sure it is, their forthcoming self-titled debut EP will be full of colour and vivacity. Their previous songs, as well as their live show, fizz with spirit and passion – especially given their live instrumentation and physical energy.
Catch Au Dré at the Gasometer Hotel on May 13th for their EP launch.
11 Feb Ara Koufax – ‘Makers’
After making a name for themselves with the release of the emotive single ‘Brenda’ via Cut Copy’s imprint Cutters Records, Melbourne’s own Ara Koufax followed up with the release of ‘Adult Concepts’.
Now with the release of the EP, B-side ‘Makers’ has finally seen the light of day. Interestingly, ‘Makers’ stands as a counter point to the slow and at times atmospheric ‘Adult Concepts’, thought still holds the same level of sophistication in its arrangement. The B-side features a much more driven, even dancefloor-oriented sound that manages to express moments of light of dark without losing its direction.
Coupled together the tracks make for an EP that provides a whole spectrum of musical moments and, for the listener, fits in much more than a two song track-listing would suggest.