Fans of Icelandic avant-rockers, Sigur Ros will probably love
this album and that in itself is maybe good enough reason to sit down and give
it a listen. Surma is a 22 year old
Portuguese solo artist who has created an inspiring alternative album in the
form of Antwerpen.
Swathed in some often beautiful instrumentation is moves
from delicate puffs to huge banks of electro orchestration creating pieces which
are completely enthralling and addictive.
Her voice often sounds childlike and on first listening slightly
annoying, but give it time and allow the whole album to sink in and you’ll find
yourself becoming completely immersed in what is a fine fine album.
Perhaps with hints of Bjork or fellow country folk Vaarwell,
Surma finds herself relaying haunting and neo-ambient sounds from beginning to
end not afraid to use unusual samples along the way. In the same way that Sigur Ros make
mysterious and gorgeous masterpieces so Surma appears to be following suit. Each track is cleverly named in a different
language adding mystery and unpredictability to proceedings.
With album opener Drög comes a hint of things to come –
rising from nothing to a wonderful electro landscape that continues through the
album. Angelic voices and simple effects
create a gorgeous end result. Voyager
adds sampled tribal vocals and almost becomes Moby-like before Surma squeaks in
to add her own voice.
Such is the quality of the work that Saag has the strength
to stand alone as an inventive instrumental and Begrenset seems to be recorded live
in an analogue format complete with a musical box clockwork sound. Album closer Uppruni is like being lifted to
Antwerpen is a surprise.
Not because it’s so good but because of how addictive it is. One listen will undoubtedly lead to another
and then, another. Each time you will
unfold another layer of pure magic and heaven.
Quite simply - a lovely album.
The Mourning Party - The Space Between Us CD / DL Out Now 6 / 10 Review by Joseph. Unsurprisingly for a project called The Mourning Party, 'The Space Between Us' is a moody affair. The regimented beats and bass recall 80s post-punk, while echoing synths and guitars add a more modern electro-goth vibe. What stands out is the lyrically nihilistic, spoken word vocal, which adds a flavour of heavier goth/emo to the mix. The first half of this album is relentlessly gloomy; the melodic guitar work of later tracks lifts the mood just a touch, with the Joy Divisionesque 'Long Goodbyes' and closer 'The Haunt In My Home' as highlights. Overall, a darkly atmospheric listen. Bandcamp Facebook If you enjoyed this article please follow hiapop on Twitter here, and like on Facebook here.
Synth duos seem to once more be the thing of the
moment. They were rife in the 80s and there
now seems to be somewhat of a resurgence, as there are with many things. Retro?
Vintage? Call it what you will it was hardly centuries ago, but there is
a simple beauty about it all.
Stonerpop hail from Louisiana in the USA and comprise of Maudie
Michelle (vocals and melodies) and Jimmie Manueva (backing vocals and instrumentation)
and, they hold something a little different and hard hitting about their presentation. Loving a deep and hard bassline helps add a
tougher sound to their work, almost a hyper violence which demands several listens
and helps take away the sometimes soft image of synth music.
Royalty opens the EP harmlessly enough but those thumping
sounds soon act as a backdrop to softer vocals creating a nice juxtaposition,
the addition of a gnarling guitar sound also make for an interesting listen. Title track, Physical Business follows a more
conventional pop route but Headglow stands out as a highlight with a darker
sound and broody vocals knitted together with enough commercialism to give
radio airplay a good chance.
Ending with the instrumental Snowflake, a repetitive but
addictive piece it’s easy to press replay and go through the EP again. At just twenty-two minutes over seven tracks it’s
well worth some of your time. There’s a
place for Stonerpop and it may be sooner than you think.