Kelp – ‘Spleen’

“I know I’m not the hero you asked for, or wanted.. or needed… also I’m really not a hero. Presenting the misadventures of a miniature deep-sea diver fishbowl figurine.”

So goes the surrealist introduction to Kelp; Belfast-based purveys of loungey cosmic electronica fronted by an inch high, ethereal deep sea diver with a preoccupation for vocoders and additive synthesis. Kelp’s debut single is ‘Spleen’ an ethereal, slumbering and woozy slice of escapism. Anchored by a deep seductive groove, hazy vocoder vocals hover dreamily above a delicious blend of bubbling synths, lush strings and flickering electronics as we are treated to a whirring, cosmic and futuristic synth escape. Is the world ready for a loungey electronica outfit fronted by an inch high, ethereal deep sea diver? Maybe not but we’ve seen strange things happen in 2020 and judging by the music, we would be well to embrace this surreal experiment into our hearts.

Listen to ‘Spleen’ below now – it is an absolute joy.

ae inc. – ‘Krystina’

ae inc. is the latest musical project from songwriter & producer David Sanderson (aka David Harks) who has been the recipient of much deserved lavish praise for his work with Safetalk, varying collaborative projects and of course, his solo work.

Adding to this huge diverse and impressive back catalogue is ‘Krystina’; the debut outing for the fledgling ae inc project – and it is up there with the very best of his work to date. ‘Krystina’ struts into view, slinking upon a bed of cushioned beats, deep groove and pulsing synth as hushed melodic vocals flow amid the woozy textures & dreamy harmonies above. It is warm and uplifting, dreamy and seductive as subtle bouts of euphoria and mild ravey undertones illuminate the hazy allure and undercurrent of melancholy. Sanderson already has an enviable back catalogue over supreme quality and ‘Krystina’ is up there with the very best of his work.

Listen to ‘Krystina’ below – it does not disappoint.

ELPENTHE – ‘Rev-O-Lution’

ELPENTHE is the moniker of producer & musician Elliott Beenk. Originally from a small Iowa farm town, he now resides in Venice, CA and where he continues to collaborate as a producer and songwriter —  with current focus on ELPENTHE; his debut electronic-dance artist project.

His debut outing for the fledgling project is ‘Rev-O-Lution’ – a stunning single and a serious statement of intent. ‘Rev-O-Lution’ feels huge and anthemic while being simultaneously open and intimate as it moves through styles and textures, everything held together by a deft ear. The central beat is constructed from samples recorded from the Youth Climate Strike with Greta Thunberg in downtown LA last year. It builds, loops upon loops, with each new layer of groove slotting into place beneath a dazzling blend of warm shimmering synth, luminescent flourishes and woozy haze. Underpinned by dusty beats and deep bass, it quickly swells into a richly melodic, bewitching and irresistible allure. An absolutely stunning cut.

Listen to ‘Rev-O-Lution’ below now.

Monggrel – ‘Dhobi Ghat’

Monggrel is US producer – AKA  B. Wood – who fuses lo-fi beats, dub rhythms, industrial noise, and field recordings into an immersive listening experience.

Monggrel recently released his latest album, Ceremonies, and latest single ‘Dhobi Ghat’ offers a perfect introduction to the record, and the artist. From the first note, Monggrel creates an ominous pitch black soundscape that is suitably murky, eerie and subterranean. Stark, minimal production and haunting repetition creates an eerie vibe for a murmuring malaise of beats, clanking synth and dub infused groove and subterranean tones to swirl around. As ominous as it is, it is super seductive as it thrives amid the sparse, scorched earth tone of the barren atmosphere. ‘Dhobi Ghat’ is bone-chilling but also utterly captivating.

Listen to ‘Dhobi Ghat’ below:

Ian Simmonds – ‘The Falling Tree’

Ian Simmonds is a Welsh musician & producer whose music oscillates between nu jazz or downtempo and heavily produced electronica, often interwoven with hip hop textures.

With 15 studio albums to his name already, Simmonds latest work is the stunning and seductive ‘The Falling Tree’. Lifted from Diffract Records 17-track compilation Rhuba, it is one of many highlights among a superb collection filled with immersive electronica, trip hop, jazzy breakbeats, movie samples, abstract atmospheres, and funky grooves. ‘The Falling Tree’ is one of the most bewitching with its gentle but irresistible groove and soft patter of beats lulling you into a trance as melodies undulate alongside latin flavours, low-slung, bubbling double bass before orchestral bursts and chilling tones create a darker, more sinister atmosphere. It is lush and superbly seductive with its sunken groove and its rich array of colourful sound collages.

Listen to ‘The Falling Tree’ below and Rhuba is here.

ASTER – ‘Unaware Bliss’

ASTER is a singer, songwriter and musician from Glasgow.

Drawing from a deep well of folk, psych, pop and subtle electronica influences, ranging from  the likes of Big Thief, Perfume Genius and Half Waif, ASTER crafts a unique brand of beautiful, expansive, fragile and experimental psych-folk; something born out on new stunning single ‘Unaware Bliss’. It is an exquisite psych-folk daydreamer that whisks us away on a dreamy meditative journey. ‘Unaware Bliss’ meanders gracefully along a blissful groove and swirling, rhythmic psych-folk, and splashes of electronics complete the mesmeric backdrop for ASTER’s bewitching crystalline vocals entrance the listener completely. An elegant, awe-inspiring and charming blend of shimmering psych-folk and glistening electronica – a hazy, soothing and altogether wonderful song.

Listen to ‘Unaware Bliss’ below.

Introducing: Varsity Star

Varsity Star is a Brooklyn-based electronic musician / producer. He grew up in the suburbs of Boston, played jazz through college until becoming comfortable making music alone.

In 2017 he headed to Berlin, partially spurred by a biblical flea infestation in his apartment but also for music and while there, recorded his first album, Model Home.  Now, back on American soil, with a second album under his belt and mostly pest-free, Varsity Star has been occupying his time with shorter form output – singles, EPS, remixes & the like.

Most recently, that has seen the release of That’s Something; a just under 20 minute excursion into a world of electronic goodness built around an ear for melody, playfulness and richness of sound – demonstrated in exquisite fashion by both ‘Ball’ & ‘Treehouse’. ‘Ball’ is playful, pinging here and there, as a bouncing beat dances gleefully with pulsing synth and bendy, playful melodies – it is buoyant, bright and utterly contagious. While ‘Treehouse’ offers a more mellow take on the sound as it slinks and gentle bubbles along richly melodic keys, soft plush beats and twinkly synths as it meanders with a wide-eyed wandering air and peace of mind.

Varsity Star’s most recent release, a rework of ’19TET’ by UK producer Inwards, is a perfect coming together of all these aforementioned attributes. Warm woozy synths drift by like fluffy clouds on a balmy summer day while a flurry of beats – soft and crunchy – rush by like a babbling brook as we are whisked away, transfixed by the serenity, beauty and melodic allure. A wonderfully inventive and masterful producer.

You can sample some choice cuts below and if that’s not enough to sate your appetite, there’s loads more where that came from here.

Samoun – ‘Chakchouka’

‘Chakchouka’ is the debut single from Parisian pairing Samoun. Composed of two ‘famous’ producers, they are described as “the investigators of the Techno Raï genre” – whatever the back story, their debut single is a mouthwatering slice of minimalist heaven. 

Delivered with a deft touch that brings to mind the golden age of French electro (think Mr Oizo, Justice & a slew of other Ed Banger luminaries & early Daft Punk), metallic percussion, peculiar vocal and woozy, ghostly synth creates an otherworldly environment before the bassline drops and things lift off as it swaggers, grooves and moves. It is an absolutely stunning track, one that is not only addicting but destined to get people moving.

Tune in to the stunning powers of ‘Chakchouka’ below – the video is pretty great too:

https://open.spotify.com/track/71N3YYdTgwlCRSKLMmHBRJ


Holly Tomás – ‘Unfolded’

Holly Tomás is a musician / singer songwriter based in the Lowlands of Scotland. Originally from Cheshire by way of the Isle of Skye and Edinburgh, Tomás has been plying her craft from the past three decades in which she has traversed a more traditional singer/songwriter approach to recent incarnations which retain the emotional, intimate vocal textures and are woven into downtempo atmospheric soundscapes.

New single ‘Unfolded’ is a perfect example of the latter; a bewitching and ethereal affair, it unfolds slowly, gently introducing itself as bass murmurs, beats slowly groove and hazy dreamlike textures and atmospheric tones swirl all around Tomás’ beautiful and evocative vocals. ‘Unfolded’ is hauntingly evocative and thrillingly propulsive, evoking moods from melancholy to optimism – impeccably crafted and utterly captivating.

Listen to ‘Unfolded’ below:

Radio Europa – Something Beautiful [feat. Gwenllian Anthony of Adwaith] (Conformist Remix)

Conformist is the moniker of Cardiff producer Michael Simmons – taking inspiration from Public Enemy’s Bomb Squad and cut n’ paste pioneers Coldcut, Steinski and The Dust Brothers to name a few – renowned for his leftfield, meticulous, dense and layered productions.

Conformist has returned with a new remix of Radio Europa’s ‘Something Beautiful’ featuring vocals by Gwenllian Anthony of Adwaith – a teaser of more to come, with a third album expected from Conformist later in 2020. Conformist has given it a fresh new look, a makeover blending an intricate palette of synths, glitches and glistening strings, spliced vocal samples and spluttering beats to create something sophisticated, seductive and supremely inventive. In short, the outcome is stunning.

Listen to Conformist’s rework below: