Dear Japan – ‘Kushiro’

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Dear Japan is an intercontinental collaboration spearheaded by two, so far unnamed pairing from Hamburg and California.

The secretive duo do not offer much in the way of background info, preferring to make it all about the music, namely new single; ‘Kushiro’. Whilst ‘Kushiro’ is the duo’s maiden release, it’s not the work of novices. It is a minimalist slow-burner that channels haunting, dramatic and evocative atmospheric sounds tempered by soft yet unsettling percussion, and rich, smoky vocals that evokes a sense of weary detachment. It is mournful and emotive, with a dream inducing, sweeping, cinematic quality. A majestic, captivating introduction, no question.

Listen to ‘Kushiro’ below.

Horizons Acts for 2018 Announced & Playlist

Horizons-2018

As regular patrons of the site will be acutely aware I have a great fondness for Wales, and more specifically Welsh music (not to mention the footballing powerhouse that is Wrexham AFC).

For a relatively small place, Wales does rather well for itself musically and for somewhere of its size, it is surely unmatched in both quality and quantity. From the towns and cities, mountains and valleys, Wales proves itself time and time again, to be an ever reliable source of creative, superbly inventive and experimental sounds across a myriad of genres.

While I am entirely grateful for the seemingly never ending stream of wondrous sounds, something apparent from a casual listen to Adam Walton’s excellent BBC Radio Wales Programme (see also Bethan Elfyn also of BBC Radio Wales & Lisa Gwilym’s C2 on BBC Radio Cymru) or cursory glance at the Focus Wales lineup or the Horizons showcase.

It is the latter that draws our attention today – a collaboration between BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales – Horizons aims to showcase exciting new, independent contemporary music in Wales, providing promotional and performance opportunities, incl. festival slots throughout the year.

Just this week, the twelve acts selected from across Wales for Horizons 2018 were announced. There are some familiar names in there; Adwaith, Campfire Social, CHROMA and Nia Wyn, and some new; Himalayas, I See Rivers, Aleighcia Scott, Alffa, Eadyth, Marged, No Good Boyo and The Pitchforks. Either way, new acquaintances or old, it is an incredibly diverse array of artists.

You can, like me, delve in below:

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Accü – ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’

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Accü is the multifaceted, genre blending solo project of Cardiff-based musician and producer Angharad Van Rijswijk.

Formerly one half of Welsh folk-electronica duo Trwbador, Van Rijswijk previously introduced Accü with a series of super and distinctive slices of otherworldly electronica, and collaborations with Cornershop and Kayla Painter. Accü’s is prepping the release of debut album Echo The Red, due out late this summer, and it is preceded by lead single ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?'; and oh my, it is quite something.

An offbeat exploration of imaginative experimentation and colourful, kaleidoscopic sounds, ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ is a spellbinding cosmic sojourn to psychedelic space. Fusing elements of frayed electronics, squelchy synths, soft-edged psych-pop it tips along a tidy drum beat with reverb-laced vocals swaying through a cascading sequence of crackling, frazzled electronics. Moving with a dreamlike, otherworldly aura; ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ is colourful, imaginative and fearlessly exploratory off-kilter pop.

Feast your ears on the hazy magic that is ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ below, it’s out on May 25 through the impressive Libertino Recordings.

Accü’s debut album Echo The Red is due latter this summer – eyes peeled.

Melting Order – ‘Walk Slow’

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Melting Order is an Italian artist and music producer based in Boston who’s elegant compositions don’t adhere to genre boxes, preferring to indulge his creativity in exploration of genres, sounds and cross-pollination.

Melting Order’s latest release is ‘Walk Slow’ – and it is a humdinger. Opening with some choice whirring noises and some choice beeps and boops. It is when the vocals enter the fray, ‘Walk Slow’ really begins to take its shape. Around the minute mark it sparkles, or perhaps flickers, into a bouncy, synth-led piece, while remaining decidedly mellow but swaggering along with dulcet vocals (a la King Krule) and psych-tones. An innovative and exquisitely crafted exploration that rewards again and again with repeated listens.

Check out ‘Walk Slow’ below!

Jouska – ‘Conversations’

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Jouska is the Oslo-based musical duo consisting of Marit Othilie Thorvik and Hans Olav Settem.

So far the pair have impressed with a steady supply of intriguing and inventive singles as they explore some of the more untapped, out-there areas of electronica. Drawing our attention today is ‘Conversations'; the latest gem from their debut EP Frog Fiction. Jouska eke out a perfect balance between darkness and light. From the devil denouncing intro versus the angelic vocals. Snatched, distorted vocal and uneasy glitchy sounds conspire with heavy hitting, barrelling beats but tempered by a foray of lighter tones and heavenly vocals. This ability to balance often diametrically apposed elements marks their sound completely, similarly so does their inventive forging of the organic and synthetic elements. Jouska’s music is refreshingly inventive and exploratory, qualities matched in equal measure by superbly evocative artwork

Their debut EP Frog Fiction is out now. Tune into ‘Conversations’ below.