Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens Review 

Kelly Lee Owens has had a long journey to get to her debut self titled album, not least the journey she made from North Wales to the musical ‘promiseland’ of London. Working as an intern at XL recordings, playing bass for acts and lending her vocals for other people’s projects were all part of this. A series of promising stand alone singles and remixes from Kelly have all culminated in this her debut album. This work is a reflection of her time in London and the influences she’s picked up since. She has been billed as a natural talent in the cool Electronic and Dance music she plies and a talented producer on top of that, despite many not having heard of her. The key thing for Kelly is; will she leave a lasting impression now?

‘CBM’ was from her Oleic EP from last year and is the only track from that featured on this album. You’re instantly struck by the clicking beats which bend in sound and focus with Kelly’s echoed and repetitive words echoing around the track with a flashing beat beside it. Her spoken vocals come in and out of focus much like the beats and the song progresses via numerous shifts and well placed synth additions. The song goes into a producer’s solo of sorts with almost vocoded synth chords veering off into a meandering display. In this track alone, the fundamental talents of a producer are there. You do wonder whether the album will sustain itself in its primarily angular and cold aesthetic though. ‘Anxi’ was made with one of those influential people in her recent life in Jenny Hval. The track flourishes gradually from the initial bouncing bass beats to the eerie vocals and string samples of the chorus. This fades away like mist into a pit of heavier beats bouncing off each other with the culmination of them being her ghostly vocal samples and echoed spoken words play in between them. This was indeed an improved varied piece of music with a greater musical awareness. ‘Lucid’ only goes on to confirm this more emphatically. Forlorn and whirring chords set against a high pitched string sample opens the track. The whirring chords form the foundation of the track with subtle rhythmic percussion layered over it as the song goes on. Kelly’s faint and shaded vocals extend into the space of the track and these make up the progression to the shimmering nature of the instrumentation. This then drops into more rhythmic beats and oscillating samples for a sleek and understated finish. 

Reverberating and warped electronica opens ‘Keep Walking’ with Kelly’s soft and wistful vocals taking an assured command of the song. This track has a slow progression with which the whirring and wiry instrumentation serves as a platform for the the vocals as opposed to being the driving force of the song. This is a notable shift in arrangment and method which Kelly pulls off just as well if not better. It is here she goes beyond the Dance and blocky Electronica to deliver a beautiful and multifaceted piece of music. ‘S.O’ opens the album and features an array of styles and sounds with the first minute alone. From sparse minimalist electronica, whirring strings and the light application of tribal beat samples. These go on to combine with Kelly’s airy vocals extending across the distant spaces of the track in a ghostly yet graceful fashion. ‘Evolution’ basically sounds like an improved Factory Floor track with the word ‘evolution’ repeated amongst dance beats and house sounds. However, it takes on a number guises here with this song basically having an awareness of depth and the fluidity of sounds and with this in mind, it is a more accomplished piece of music. That is how you could describe Kelly Lee Owens’ self titled debut. It is a talent of production making itself known to the world. There are occasions where you can predict the outcome of a song in it’s structure, but that’s one of the few predictable things about it. It draw from Dance, House and Electronic influences, but compelling and intriguing music from it by basically not stopping there and adding other elements to it. It’s not a revolutionary album, but she’s certainly created an evolutionary album for the genre. 

Kelly Lee Owens – Kelly Lee Owens = 8.5/10 

Owen Riddle 

Factory Floor – 25 25 Review 

With every new release, Factory Floor seem to shed their skin and provide listeners with a new spin on dance-rooted tracks. From pure acid anthems to sizzling industrial club classics, the newly-turned duo has hopped, skipped and jumped around energetic electronica. With second album 25 25, Factory Floor have taken it back to basics, with authentic loops and diehard precision, but, seemingly in an effort to push their diversity, have gone too far.

Factory Floor’s ‘bare minimum’ approach is ostensibly a slap in the face for the over-compensating layers of tech used in modern dance pop. The majority of tracks are given life through looped basslines and hooks, buoyed by the addition of either gloopy robotic or off-pitch vocals by Colk, plus unharmed hi-hats throughout. Whether it’s simply toe-tapping or a dancefloor invitation, the beat is relentless. There is barely time to come up for air before one unyielding bassline swims into the next. Though this makes it a fantastic album for a spinning class instructor, the tracklist isn’t one for a simplistic, everyday listen. The necessities the twosome thought of clearly didn’t include verses or choruses, as there is the odd intersperse of spat lyrics here and there, but nothing of substance. Also, while the album is a snappy eight tracks long, the songs are extremely lengthy; both Meet Me At The End and Wave comfortably surpass the eight-minute mark, with Slow Listen and Ya hot on their tails. This, alongside the monotonous basslines that drive each track, does make the album somewhat dreary. Even Colk’s insistent vocal loop seems tired towards the conclusion of Slow Listen.

Though the album is centred around modern dance hits, there are clear influences from days of clubbing past. The deep mechanical vocals, most prolific in Ya, scream Kraftwerk, whilst the thumping hook of Wave snapshots the nineties. Yet, a lot of this tracklist is individual to them. Relay keeps to the looped hooks, basslines and percussion checklist, with bursts of “oh’s” uncomfortably clashing, as if to mock their own genre, similar to Slow Listen’s off-beat vocals. What’s most interesting about this album is its little quirks. There are noteworthy differences every now and again: eponymous track 25 25 is driven mostly by the bassline with the hi-hats this time being an add-on feature. Additionally, Dial Me In has impressive robotic harmonising and a more acidic hook reflective of earlier numbers. However, even with such sound meticulousness, and a captivating diversity, it just seems to drag. A lot.

25 25 is an ideal party playlist addition, and I’m sure many DJs would be keen to include Factory Floor’s persistent punchy tracks in their sets. Saying that, this one can only be taken in small doses, before it gets too wearisome, and one song melts into the next.

Factory Floor: 25 25 – 5/10

By Eleanor Chivers

Single Review – RÜFÜS – Desert Night

RÜFÜS are kicking up quite a fuss in Australia at the moment. They are from Sydney and consist of Jon George, Tyrone Lindqvist and James Hunt. They have achieved chart topping success down under with their debut album Atlas last August and naturally the aim is to transfer such success across to other countries. With the Indie tinged Dance sound and style that they plug, then it is very possible. Their single ‘Desert Night’ features the cool and steady bouncing dance beat as the bass foundation while lighter and more shimmering synths cascade over it. The feathery and wistful vocals over the top of that are slightly drawn out to create a little bit of atmospheric quality which is also generated through the synths. The rise and fall of sounds from the more distant and considered to the more immediate and melodic enhance the feel of both. It is a song totally at ease with itself and is a simple yet effective piece of dance music which isn’t so isolating as most dance music. That is what makes it worth listening to.

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