Single Review – Parcels – Gamesofluck

 Parcels are an Australian five piece from Byron Bay, made up of five high school friends who decided to set up shop in Berlin to pursue their Disco sound. Clearly trying to gain perspective from the career of a certain Mr. Giorgio Moroder; the influence for Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories in 2013. Parcels are definitely honing that German Disco sound and are doing so perhaps a little more faithfully than Daft Punk did. Their new single ‘Gamesofluck’ is the perfect example of this with the shimmering pools of electronica and loose Niles Rodgers riffs with the steady hit behind it all screams Disco. Though it is nothing new, the delivery and arrangement all add to the smooth presentation and so making the track cool and sharp as opposed to cringeworthy. A neat little track from a neat little group that wear their influences on their sleeves.

Owen Riddle

Kwabs – Love + War Review

Kwabs is the stage name of Kwabena Adjepong from Central London. He’s already received much attention in the mainstream media of from the BBC and MTV, having a song featured on the FIFA 15 video game and becoming a Number One overnight sensation in parts of Mainland Europe. Superficial points aside, Kwabs’ moulding of the burgeoning Neo-Soul genre saw him produce a successful EP last year in collaboration with Vienna based producer SOHN. With his debut album Love + War, he’s teamed up with SOHN again as he looks to replicate his success and the acclaim he has garnered in places like Germany as one of the most promising British acts around… no pressure then.

With ‘Look Over Your Shoulder’ SOHN provides the sombre whirrs of electronica as his minimalistic approach brings out the wholesome and smooth quality of Kwabs’ baritone vocals. He also demonstrates his impressive, yet cool vocal range and variations without ever sounding like he’s made much of an effort and in this sense his vocal performance reflects off the instrumentation very effectively. This track is well instrumented and structured as it sends out that intricate, yet punchy rhythm and harmony behind the fluid foundation that is Kwabs’ vocal performance. ‘Layback’ is a more soulful and spaced out affair which features Kwabs isolated vocal reverberating and trembling in the verses and harmonising with the sweeping electronica of the chorus in a wave-like melody. Despite the power of the chorus and the detail of the verses, it still gives off the essence of a laid back and chilled track and that really is a credit to the production and to Kwabs’ effortless vocal ability from which a complex and smooth pop song has came into fruition. ‘Forgiven’ is a track of great strength and power via another immense vocal performance that runs in conjunction with a dramatic vocal instrumentation which basically drives the song with only subtle reverb and electronica being added. It’s a towering performance enhanced by a minimalist production and arrangement.

The album opens with the title track which opens as a heavy electronic affair with whirring and warping synths and flashing samples strung together by a blocky bass line before somehow falling away effortlessly and turning into a groove filled piece by the end of the verse. Again it goes on to fool you by the chorus as it slips effortlessly into a track made of heavy percussion with Kwabs vocals sailing through them. This goes on throughout what becomes a euphoric track and a heightened piece of pop music. Of course there is that hit track that shot him to the top of many of Europe’s charts and that is ‘Walk’. It is a track of consummate boldness and prominence from the apprehensive piano chords that launch the song into it’s churning and rumbling chorus which punches it’s way along as opposed to progressing peacefully. These parts drop off the face of the earth and the song is still carried on Kwabs’ vocal before launching back into the bold and uncompromising chorus. Nestled in amongst these big tracks are the simple string laden, piano ballads of ‘Perfect Ruin’ which simple and more graceful and whilst far from being the best track of the album, it offers up a more emotive quality and a sense of balance for the album. Those such as ‘Wrong or Right’ advance the notion of neo or alt-soul music in a positive light whilst those such as ‘My Own’ or ‘Make You Mine’ offer up some oddly placed moments of pop cheese and see’s Kwabs delivering Justin Timberlake-esque tracks. These are the only weaknesses of what is a more than promising debut from a genre smashing artist with one of the best vocal performances of the year. When is his next album out?

Kwabs – Love + War = 8.5/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

EP Review – Digitalism feat Youngblood Hawke – Wolves

Digitalism are a German dance and synthpop duo from Hamburg, consisting of Jens “Jence” Moelle and İsmail “Isi” Tüfekçi. They’ve been around for a decade now and return with an EP entitled Wolves which features Youngblood Hawke who are an indie pop ground from California. The EP is various remixes of the title track with the radio edit taking the lead on the track listing. It opens with nudging synths in the background and a clasping and crisp pop beat. All this along with the soaring synths are pretty standard dance pop fodder, as is the collective vocals. The stripped back instrumental sections with distant but ever closing synths are nothing too new either. Having said that it’s just a fun dance track and what you see is what you get. By no means profound but probably not the worst thing you’ll hear this year by a long shot. If anything the minimalism of the RAC remix, which is the following track; is a more fluid and less clumsy version of the main track.

 

 

Sunday Suggestion – Giorgio Moroder – From Here To Eternity

Aside from possessing some of the greatest facial hair to ever feature on musicandotherthingz; Giorgio Moroder is one of the great musical innovators, taking electronic music beyond the infancy of The Beatles and beyond the robotic nature of Kraftwerk. He allowed electronic music to flow and fluctuate and there is no better example of him doing so then with the classic ‘I Feel Love’ from Donna Summer, which Giorgio collaborated with Donna on in Germany and his album ‘From Here to Eternity’ was recorded just after ‘I Feel Love’. The title track from the album has a similar vibe with the driving and rapidly rotating electronic beats. It opens with a vocoder vocal akin to Daft Punk’s trademark vocal sound before that driving beat takes over and Giorgio’s imperfect pop vocal takes over. The chorus is faded in out by a shimmering layer of synths before leading into a relentless wave of high placed synths. The track is minimal, slick, efficient, but also dynamic and alive. It’s no wonder that from this point all the headline artists from Freddie Mercury, Blondie and Bowie were queuing to collaborate with the Italian Disco Godfather. Last year Daft Punk had an entire song dedicated to the man which featured a mini – biography at the start. The French duo like so many others, owe much to Giorgio and his legacy is still very fresh in everyone’s minds.

 

 

Single Review – The Notwist – Close To The Glass

The Notwist are a long established group from Weilheim in Oberbayern in Germany. They started off their careers with an indie orientated sound back in 1991 with their first album; to the more produced approach of the electronica of their more recent works. Last week they revealed a new track entitled; Close To The Glass, which is also the title of their upcoming album to be released in February 2014. It will be their eighth full venture. This new track is even a slight departure from your standard electronica towards sample and sound collage driven work. All of it twitching and churning away separately background and at times drawing together the sounds into a united rhythm. The vocals on top of it are all equally manipulated and edited to match the music. That eerie echo and the cutting out of the vocals along with the off tone blips are contrasted by the haunting and unaffected harmonies in the background that film over the music and create a more raw and natural feel to the industrial and cold sounds behind it. It is a song that see’s them develop further into a new direction and signals a lot of promise for the album which should be a master of production and manipulation.

http://youtu.be/zK7QtuT31u4

Image from www.digitalinberlin.de