Best of 2015…Nordic

Palace Winter

Nordic                   Breakthrough                    Palace Winter

The stars were aligned the day Carl Coleman met Caspar Hesselager during a brief music tour of Denmark in 2013.  Both playing with different bands at the time, it was Danish native Hesselager’s astute foresight in identifying Coleman’s ability to fill  the lyrical and vocal voids in his creative armory, that led him to approach the Australian to see if he might be interested in collaborating.

The pair decamped to Caspar’s Copenhagen studio, rocked out some tunes, and Palace Winter was born. Nine months later, the duo finished recording and mixing their debut EP, ‘Medication‘ but before they even got past first gear, were promptly snapped up by the uber eclectic record label, Tambourhinoceros. (which to this day I still have difficulty in saying).

Since the Summer, Palace Winter have released their stunner of a 5-track EP, wowing audiences across the Euro-zone with their live performances.  They have hit the highs of Hype Machine, been played extensively on the musical mecca that is BBC6 Music, and are now on the cusp of releasing their debut album.

Hold on tight 2016, it’s gonna be a country-rockin’ roller-coaster of a Palace Winter ride.  Yeehaw!

 

Nordic                   Best Solo Artist                 Nils Frahms

Words fail me when it comes to Nils Frahm.  There is too much to say, and not enough words to say it with.  Probably one of the 21st century’s musical geniuses, certainly one of a kind, Frahms has continued to stun worldwide audiences with his ingenious, unique and evocative compositions.

From his various collaborations with Ólafur Arnalds, to his standout, hair-raising performance for the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall;  from his sell out European tour to his ‘Solo’ project, Frahms has been at the forefront of the ambient classical music scene for most of 2015.

An exceptionally talented composer, musician, performer and producer, everything that Frahms has turned his hand to this year has turned to musical gold.

There are very few music artists who have so consistently inspired such awe, who have so frequently reduced their captive audiences to tears – Frahms is one of them.  And if you have any doubts, watch his spine tingling Proms performance, which was championed by the lovely MaryAnne Hobbs, here.

Nils Frahm sir, I salute your genius.

 

Nordic                   Best Group                         Blaue Blume

Copenhagen based Blaue Blume have pretty much dominated the Danish music scene this year.  Having released their debut album, Syzygy, a Danish term for lunar or solar synchronicity or concurrences, to rapturous acclaim, Blaue Blume have pretty much beceome the darlings of Nordic music media.

Having achieved huge success in 2014 both internationally and domestically where ‘In Disco Lights’ was P6 Radio’s most played track, 2015 saw this uber cool quartet take it to another level.  Syzygy took Blaue Blume’s hugely evocative sound, adorned it with operatic vocals, and laced it with strands of tempestuous instrumental and haunting harmonies.  Trimmed  with swatches of rock around the edges, it is an hugely diverse musical meld.  Meticulously produced, with more polish than HRH’s Sterling Silverware, Syzygy is easily one of the best Nordic albums of 2015, giving Blaue Blume a clear edge over their Nordic peers.

Standout track, ‘Sky’, sends shivers up the spine.  Listen to it here.

 

Nordic                   Best Video                          The Chopin Project ‘Eyes shut’

Classical maestros,  Ólafur Arnalds & Alice Sara Ott, make up Chopin Project, whose exquisite crocheting of Chopin sequences into original scores, took the world of electro-classical by storm in 2015.  The highlight for this reviewer was the tear-inducing ‘Eyes Shut’, the beautifully filmed visual for which, adeptly conveys the raw emotion of the music in the most understated way.

Directed by Mani Sigfusson, a long term collaborator of Arnalds’, who created a complete set of immaculate visuals for the project, this is a film whose only aim is to invoke a unique reaction from each individual viewer. Shot entirely in Iceland during the summer, in a stunning if bleak landscape, it is a beautifully simple visual. Strikingly edited, it has allowed the imagery to flow seamlessly with the movements of the musical tide. With the visual for ‘Eyes Shut’, Sigfusson has created a perfect symmetry between film and music.

 

Nordic                   Remix/Cover/Edit            Moonbabies ‘Undone’ The Glass Children

Swedish electro-duo, Moonbabies, got a bit of a thing going on in 2015 with their English counterparts, The Glass Children.  They did a bit of “I’ll do yours, if you do mine” kind of remix thing, and lo and behold, produced two very worthy listens indeed.

The Glass Children took the Swedes’ track ’24’, blew the froth off it and covered it in a dark shroud of pulsing electronica.  Ditto, the Moonbabies who whipped TGC’s sombre ‘Undone’ into a vigorous percussive storm.

Picking which one was the best, was really 6 of 1, but I opted for the Moonbabies remix as it was more appropriate to the Nordic nature of the best of list.  Both are wonderful songs, in their original formats and in their remixed states.

Hopefully, 2016 will see more such collaborations between Sweden and the UK!  Come a little ‘Undone’ with the Moonbabies remix here.

 

Nordic                   Album of the Year

Chopin Project is the ground-breaking partnership of improv and ingenuity between German Japanese pianist, Alice Sara Ott, and Icelandic electro-classical wizard, Ólafur Arnalds. Together they have formed a perfect symmetry that has created their eponymous album, an overwhelmingly emotive opus, filled with humanity, sincerity and a great deal of love.

Born from Arnalds fond memories of a childhood filled with Chopin by his grandparents, the project lovingly and tenderly used pieces of the composer’s works, to form an arc through their critically acclaimed compilation of perfectly imperfect, fragile tracks.

Chopin Project is a the coming together of two exceptional talents, to produce an elegant, serene and heartfelt collection of beautifully arranged and outstandingly performed pieces of music.  Standing Ovation.

Bjork ‘Vulnicura’

Blaue Blume ‘Syzygy’

Olafur Arnalds/Alice Sara Ott ‘The Chopin Project’

 

Nordic                   Song of the Year

There was only ever going to be one winner of this and it’s been top of the 2015 pile since the first day I heard it on the Fresh on the Net Dropbox!

Hooked from the very first beat, this fast paced, country-rock-dance track, with its  whacking great beats a la Christian Rindorf and driving Carl Coleman guitars, bit down hard and infected my bloodstream with its addictive potency.

While Coleman also contributes a dreamily enticing vocal, multi-talented Great Dane, Caspar Hesselager, plays out several starring roles on synths/keys/bass/production and mixing.  This tidy little unit has produced such a huge, widescreen, cinematic soundscape with full bells and whistle surround sound, and with such little fuss, that it really quite beggars belief.

 If you don’t already realise how good Palace Winter are, then you really need to get online, download their ‘Medication’ EP and wrap your ears around what is probably going to be one of the biggest Nordic sounds of 2016.
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Rangleklods ‘Lost U’

Blaue Blume ‘Sky’

Palace Winter ‘Menton’

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News Feature : Olafur Arnalds Launches String Sample Library in Collab with Spitfire Audio

Oli

Icelandic electro-classical wizard, Olafur Arnalds, has just announced a new collaboration with Spitfire Audio that sees him launch an especially created and curated string quartet sample library, under the banner, ‘Evolutions’.

Arnalds, famed for his electro-classical fusions with both Alice Sara Ott and Nils Frahm, as well as the more ambient-electronic pop project, Kiasmos, with Bloodgroup member, Janus Rasmussen, is renowned for his classical piano skills, inventive synth compositions and ingenious production techniques.

Arnalds brought a carefully selected string quartet together for the ‘Evolutions’ project, with the sole aim of creating a performance in the style of his own “individualistic, inspiring and haunting aesthetic”.   The resulting outputs will form part of Spitfire Audios ‘Evo Grid’ sample library series for composers, producers and songwriters.

‘Evolutions’ uses Spitfire’s revolutionary ‘Evo Grid’ system to enable songwriters and composers avail of a vast array of samples.  The focus on collating the samples was on the strings players ability “take a note and change it over long periods of time”.  Those notes were subsequently replayed across a variety of “pitch centres” [and] “placed on a peg board grid system on the ‘Putney’ synth.”

The sample user simply pegs which Evo they wish to use or hits a random function that will select one of several million outcomes!

No chance of running out of ideas then!

Available to purchase now at the discounted price of £149.00, for a limited time only, some key points to note about ‘Evolutions’ are:-

  • 3444 Samples
  • 31.4 GB Uncompressed .WAV
  • 15.2 GB disk space required
  • 30.4 GB disk space required during install

You can get full details, as well as a sample teaser and a 27min video walkthrough here.

In case you have any doubt about Arnalds’ abilities, you can listen to some of his productions,  as well as a piece by Oliver Webber created using the ‘Evolutions’ samples,  below.

EP Review : Kiasmos’ Electronic Extravagance Will Have You ‘Swept’ Away

photo-by-Heüinn-Eiriüksson
photo-by-Heüinn-Eiriüksson

This weekend is going to be a busy one for Icelandic electro-wizards, Kiasmos.  Friday sees the release of their latest EP, ‘Swept’, while Saturday will see them fly into Dublin to present their electronic “lux” in the uber trendy, District8.

Kiasmos is made up of Olafur Arnalds, kingpin of the Icelandic Electro-Classical world, and, long term friend and collaborator, Janus Rasmussen,  the electro-pop enchanter who makes up one half of outfit Byrta, and is also a member of Ice-Faroese band, Bloodgroup.

Photo Kiasmos Barca by @paquitobzh
Photo Kiasmos Barca by @paquitobzh

Purveyors of a unique and highly imaginative, minimal-experimental electronic sound, Kiasmos first started playing together in 2009.  They released their debut EP, ‘Thrown’, in 2012, followed by their eponymous album in 2014.

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The new Kiasmos four-track EP, ‘Swept’,  is at once striking, intriguing, bewitching and uplifting.  It is a confluence of classical and electronic sensibilities, a sonic state where musical elegance gets a twenty first century makeover.

Swept Photo by Claudia Godke
Swept Photo by Claudia Godke

EP opener, ‘Drawn’ is quite the breath-taker.  Delicate sparkling raindrops of piano, evolve into a river of swirling abstract chords that become infused with a carnival of percussive beats.  In the midst of a gloriously refined melody, the stick click sounds create a “samba” like rhythm which gives the track an animated quality.  These gloriously exuberant beats provide a colourful contrast to the elegant emotional backdrop that is ever present in Arnalds’ minimalist keys sequences.

‘Gaunt’ continues the percussive fiesta, giving it a full on “funk-samba” upgrade that wouldn’t go amiss on the streets of Rio. It is a track full to the brim with clever contrasts, as pumping electronic beats are skilfully overlaid by slow chilled synth lines, and peaks and troughs of pulsating  rhythms are intersected by brief interludes of gentle piano.  It is a wonderful muddled fusion of emotive tranquility and rigorous effervescence.

Lead track, ‘Swept’ ups the club-mix ante as the EP moves into “dance lite” mode.  Melding typical dance beats with hypnotic piano loops and cool synth sounds, it is the musical definition of the “electric light orchestra”.  Piano sequences shine through a dark low-fi thrum of pulses and percussive grooves, as this track evolves softly but majestically to a vibrant and pulsating climax.

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The EP closes with the Tale of Us remix of ‘Swept’.   Tale of Us is duo Matteo Milleri and Carmine Conte, both of whom were raised in Italy but now live in Berlin.   These electro-mix specialists take their influences from rock through to nu-disco and plop them onto anything musical, from “straight-up dance floor jams to low-slung ambient tracks and more abstract compositions. ”  They’ve ‘swept’ this track off its feet, giving it an altogether more techno vibe with their addition of heavier percussive and bass line elements.

‘Swept’ is a captivating weave of striking melodies, hugely ingenious percussive techniques and intricately arranged electronica, with a subtle classical twist.  The key to its success lies in the subtlety that belies it’s intricacy.  It is masterfully brought together from conception to production, and is a testament to Kiasmos’ adept musicianship, thoughtful instrumentation and their ever growing desire to both explore and push musical boundaries.  If you think that electronic and classical architectures can’t work together – listen to this – and think again.

‘Swept’ will be released on 12″/DL on Friday 20th November via Erased Tapes.

‘Swept Tracklist’

A1 – Drawn

A2 – Gaunt

B1 – Swept

B2 – Swept (Tale of Us Remix )

You can follow Kiasmos on Twitter and Facebook.

‘EITT’ : Ólafsson & Futuregrapher, The Icemen Cometh

F&O
Photo by Sig Vicious

Sometimes music doesn’t need lyrics to speak for it – it’s perfectly capable of speaking for itself, of telling its own story.  Such is the case with the spellbinding compositions on the new collaborative work from Icelandic duo, Jón Ólafsson & Árni Grétar a.k.a Futuregrapher.

The aptly named ‘EITT’, Icelandic for ‘One’, is an allegorical reference to the collective of thematic strands running through the album, as well as the collaborative joining up, of these two renowned musicians.

Pianist Ólafsson, a member of Icelandic group, Nýdönsk, is a multiple award winner famous for working with such avant-garde geniuses as John Grant and  Björk.  Futuregrapher on the other hand, is an highly reputable, multi-tasking musician, producer and co-owner of electronic label, Moller Records, through which ‘EITT’ has been released.

Although both musicians hail from very different backgrounds, after having got to know each other, via several prolonged conversations about music and life, they came to realise that there was a natural synchronicity between them, and agreed to dip their toes into the collaborative pool as it were.

Recorded one track at a time, each individual piano element was firstly laid down by by Jón, then sent on to Futuregrapher, who created his electro-ambient world around each respective piano sequence. “Physically” the pair worked separately, but came together towards the end of the process to make any required cosmetic changes, and complete the final mix.

‘EITT’ comprises eight tracks of electro-classical, avant-garde and ambient sounds filled with humanity, nature, life, and love.  The song titles are in Icelandic: here is a translation, so you can get a feel for the thematic scheme.

1. Myndir = Pictures              5. Nærvera = The Presence
2. Gluggi = Window               6. Hringur = Ring
3. Börn = Children                  7. Brot = Violation
4. Sálmur = Psalm                   8. Vestur = West
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Inspired by nature, natural sounds and humanity, the album is filled with a lot of field recordings taken by Futuregrapher over the past two years.  While the sounds weren’t necessarily recorded with the album in mind, as luck would have it, they harmonised perfectly with the music.  As for the humanity, Futuregrapher lays the credit firmly at Jón’s door. “The feeling and passion he put into the piano playing is so moving.”

Lead track Myndir, which means “pictures”, opens with a continuous synth line, broken up by a very pronounced, spacious piano sequence, which hangs dramatically in the air, whilst sounds of water flow underneath like a musical rivulet. Creaks and scratches of noise, add a humane feel, while delicate synth and bubbling piano chords evolve nicely into a sparkling whirlpool of musical loveliness.

‘Börn’ (meaning children) is probably the loveliest track on the album. It’s a wonderfully uplifting, minimalist piece, featuring happy, laughing and giggling children at play. It’s natural, understated and emotional, without overdoing the sentiment.  The piece conjures up an image of a protective musical space within which the children are playing – in which the music is both looking over and after, these carefree kids, playing away, happy and content. It’s a beautiful thing.

Both Jón and Futuregrapher are fathers, the latter also works in a Reykjavík pre-school, so it’s no small surprise to find they have created a piece of work that involves and relates to children.

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Arni and Jon

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‘Sálmur’ or ‘Psalm’ is as wondrously contemplative as it’s religious counterpart, The Book of Psalms, the title of which is derived from the Greek word ‘psalmoi’, meaning instrumental music.  Coincidence?  Shouldn’t think so.  Life, hope and truth are the themes of Psalms, and this crisp, clean, uplifting, musical meditation conveys them well.  Album closer, ‘Vestur’, with its sweet birdsong, and noisy waves crashing against the shoreline, is a like a sonic ode to nature gilded by exquisitely played, sunny piano chords.  It’s a tranquil ending to a truly enchanting album.

Listening to ‘Eitt’ is like having a little sneak peak into a musical nirvana.  It’s an impressively executed album that highlights both Ólafsson’s spectacular mastery of the piano, and Futuregrapher’s keen understanding of arrangement and production.

Gentle, soothing, mindful, spiritual, its natural loveliness is a testament to the organic way in which it was inspired, crafted and produced. Magical. 9/10.

The album, ‘Eitt’ is available now via Moller Records, and Bandcamp.

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You can follow Futuregrapher on Facebook – here.
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A Review of ‘Four’ by #ARNALDSFRAHM – The Perfect Collaboration

Photo by Alexander Schneider
Photo by Alexander Schneider

2015 has certainly been some year for both Ólafur Arnalds and Nils Frahm!  Whilst Frahms took the 2015 BBC Proms by ‘Perfect Storm’, Arnalds has been riding the tide, or should we say tidal wave, of three successful collaborations.  He kicked off the year with the Alice Sara Ott collab, the Chopin Project, and, will end it touring Kiasmos with fellow Icelander, Janus Rasmussen.  In the meantime, both he and Frahms have produced a musical “blurry memory” (Frahms) in ‘Loon’, an EP comprising of what are essentially five synthesiser-led pieces, recorded over five days, in Frahm’s studio in Berlin.

‘Four’ is the exquisite lead track, taken from what is essentially a series of live takes, performed on an Oberheim 4 Voice wired up to a Korg PS3100: “Nils got some new synths and we thought we’d try them out” (Arnalds).

Minimalist, but very much ‘alive’, ‘Four’ opens with electrical pulses of synth, reverberating across a stream of soft melodic chimes.  This pivotal sound sequence, redolent of the anomalous scenario of electrical charges zig-zagging across a soft-flowing waterscape, provides an interesting contrast between raw voltage buzzing over a gently soothing underflow.  As the track progresses, there is a shift in weight as the più forte ‘chiming’ briefly takes centre stage until it softens into thoughtful, spacious, easy peals.  Like the slow plink, plink, of the last raindrops falling, as a rain-shower comes to an end, they bring this sublime wonder to a close.

The dark experimental video for ‘Four’ was directed and filmed by German filmmaker, Misha Shyukin, who so very kindly agreed to give us some background to the film.  “It was a very open brief, I didn’t have to follow any script or narrative.  The visuals are completely driven by my perception of the music. I found that the dark and ambient atmosphere worked well with this quiet minimal track. The video itself is completely CG, using a light projection technique to recreate a light source seemingly floating above a terrain, projecting continuous wavy patterns onto the surface. In the second half I “flipped” the whole setup to achieve the effect of the light coming from underneath the ground, fitting the much calmer music at the end.”

Ólafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm’s Loon joins their first collaboration Stare alongside Life Story/Love And Glory and Trance Frendz on a CD compilation titled Collaborative Works, which brings all of the pair’s recent work together and will be released on October 2nd via Erased Tapes. If you prefer wax, with the exception of Trance Frendz, you can also get most of the works individually on vinyl.

This review was first published in Ja Ja Ja (Nordic) magazine on 27th September 2015

The Real Mc Coy

Debs 2

I am blessed to have the friendship of Debs Mc Coy.  Ask anyone who knows her, and like me, they will tell you that she is one of the loveliest, gentlest, funniest and gorgeous people they know.  “A beautiful spirit”, I think is how one mutual friend recently put it.

I know Debs for a while now; we’re ‘Derbs’, the ‘twin-gal-pal, mad mod’ moderators forFresh on the Net‘, the ever expanding website resource for emerging artists, set up by Tom Robinson some years back, to run in tandem with his weekend gig at BBC6 Music.

One afternoon, during one of our regular #Dropbox conversations, we got to talking about Debs’ own music.  She happened to mention that both she and Jon Cox had reworked an Oli Arnalds track, ‘Only The Winds’, by weaving McCoy’s ‘Black Winged Taker’ composition through it. The result, as you will shortly attest to, is nothing short of stupendous.

I knew Debs’ work was good, VERY good, but it wasn’t until I came across this certain piece, that the enormity of her un-presuming talent began to dawn on me.  I now felt compelled to tunnel down through crust and mantle, until I reached the inner core of her work.

Yes, feeling sure I had only just scratched the surface, I took a lengthy meander through the works of this wonky tonk woman, a surreal stroll that left me stunned by the extensive diversity, and seemingly endless scope, of Debs’ portfolio.

Due to the voluminous size of  the McCoy musical library, it is impossible to showcase everything here, so I’ve selected a few varied samples of her work to reflect and indulge upon.

First things first though….just who is Debs McCoy?

Debs3

Debs is a Geordie lass and, as if that wasn’t enough (woah!), she is also an artist, photographer, poet/lyricist and multi-instrumentalist.  Jealous?  Too bloody right I am, aren’t you? No? Liars!

Debs obviously queued up more than once when the talents were being handed out.  So what does this uber talented, chatty mod have to say for herself? Take it away Debs….#armflourishthingy

“I started taking classical guitar lessons when I was 6, followed by piano a few years later, but I stopped playing both for a long period of time, as I felt that I was really struggling to marry my lyrics with the music I’d written. Funnily, I could successfully write poetry and instrumental pieces separately. Some years later, after a fractured period in my life, somehow both lyrics and music were easily coming together, in a way they hadn’t in the past, and I’ve continued to write music ever since.!”

Therapy Sessions 1

If you could put music to the endlessly bleak moors, the isolated loneliness, and the tragic sense of loss and despair in Wuthering Heights, Therapy Sessions 1, would be it.  I can imagine #TS1 as a musical backdrop to the scene in which Heathcliff is buried next to Cathy (the side of his and Cathy’s coffins removed so that they will forever lie together side by side).  With hints of a Scottish lament, it is a brooding, doleful, yet somewhat tender piece, given to intermittent bursts of uplifting, almost sparkling, piano sequences.

It opens with a low drone which pervades throughout, providing a tense, forbidding undercurrent, continuously murmuring underground.  Dark minimalist piano erratically dots a melancholic string sequence; it’s almost as if the piano is conveying a sense of someone having lost their way.  There is a feeling of confused desperation about it’s presence in this section, leading us awry amidst dusky shadows.  Even when the piano does lighten, it still doesn’t illuminate the way.  There is however, a subtle change in the soundscape, as the piano becomes suggestive of ripples of water.  Droplets of rain splish down onto a bubbling stream, a warm ray of light filters across the sky.  The mood fleetingly lifts, but too soon the clouds close over, and the lonely darkness once again falls.  We are covered in by a rising blanket of tormented strings, shadowed by skeletal bass piano, until that too fades into the grey, flat-lines, and slowly disappears into another world.

More about Debs!

“I studied Fine Art for 4 years at university then went on to do a post-grad for 3 years in Art Psychotherapy. I’ve always been fascinated with inner and outer experience; music and visual art bridges the gap between the two, tapping into the unconscious. Music helps me to make sense of my experiences and the world around me. If others can also find some connection and personal meaning from what I create then that’s lovely and a bonus.”

Revolver

When I was selecting tracks to feature here, I asked Debs to make some recommendations and the next piece – ‘Revolver’ – was one of her suggestions.

‘Revolver’ is exactly three and half minutes of rich, sumptuous musical velvet.  Utterly captivating, it is a luminous composition made up of intricately woven threads of strings and piano, in which a wondrously warm and mellow shot of single malt cello, counterpoints a looping Philip Glass-like crystalline pianissimo reverie.  The music envelopes the listener with it’s cyclical chord sequences, delightful as a spring morning, arousing as youthful love, spirited as a musical merry-go-round.  It is an exquisitely executed keyboard carousel – enchantingly hypnotic, hypnotically enchanting – exuding radiant hope.  It exemplifies the beauty within Debs’ soul; only the pure of heart, could compose something as innocent and beautiful as this.

It’s Debs again…(she is a chatterbox innit!)

”We’ve all got our own histories and experiences so different stuff taps into ‘us’ in a different way, sometimes with great immediacy.  It’s like when you go into a gallery and look at a painting you know nothing about, you just accept it for its aesthetics, and have an instant reaction to it, whether that’s positive or negative. BUT then if there’s a title to the painting, a little piece of text or, a little bit about the artist and how they came to make the work, it takes on a completely different meaning.

You can look at the most spectacular modernist painting, in the most beautifully vivid colours and think “wow, that’s a really skilled bit of painting”, even if it’s not really your bag.  Then you read that a 5 year old child painted it in 2 hours, and has produced hundreds of similar works, or a blind person has created it, or, someone who’s in prison – it turns everything on its head.”

Rose Madder

And by way of introduction to our next track…

“‘This is a Jon Cox rework/remix of my track ‘Rose Madder’ with Underworld’s ‘Capa Meets The Sun’ for USA record label Nuova Forma for a podcast he curated for them.”

When you hear a song as wondrous as this, with such vocal fragility, is there a need to say anything?  I think I’ll let this one sing for itself.

Magical…!  A sonic web has been spun!!

The Weight

My penultimate choice is another collaboration – this time with cellist Leah Coloff, who has played with such heavyweights as Damon Albarn and Nancy Sinatra!

‘The Weight’ in Debs’ speak is ” … improvised piano, guitar, and cello, with some other instruments (synth etc) … “

It has an eery intensity, an almost Gothic feel of Usherian restless spirits and “The Others” other worldliness.  This is music by which to read Poe (and spend the subsequent early hours awake because every creak terrifies you!).  Aside from #thedark , there is a cross continental sound to the string sequences of this song.  At times Russian, at times Spanish, but at all times Bohemian, gypsy even, the string arrangements (both guitar and cello), add an eclectic flavour to the plaintiveness of the piano arrangement.

This piece is the product of a perfect collaborative synchronicity and, I really do hope that Leah and Debs get together in the not so distant future, to create some more spectacular pieces of music. #hinthint

And so, to the piece of musical genius that brought us here….

Only The Winds // Black Winged Taker

There are very few times in life when you have what I call a ‘Radiohead’ moment – that moment when you hear a voice, a song, a piece of music and you just know, this is a titanic moment in your musical life.  Few artists have given me those shiver filled moments – obviously Thom Yorke with Radiohead has obliged, Mark Hollis likewise. Kate Bush was the first to hit a nerve, and has since been followed by the Manics, Olafur Arnalds & Nils Frahm, Dvorak and most recently, Cortney Tidwell (tbc!).  Few then, have roused such passionate emotion or violent reaction within, for my world to screech to a musical halt.

But, it happened again the other day.  Not with another big name, not with an high profile super group, legendary lyricist, or, even a toilet brush impresario.  Nope, it happened with Debs…which, to be honest, made it all the more stupefying.  And it happened when I played this final piece, which sprang into the music-verse when Debs Mc Coy, beautiful dreamer, took this divine instrumental by Olafur Arnalds, and along with Jon Cox, turned it on it’s head.

There really isn’t anything to say after that is there, so I’ll leave you with some final words from Debs….

“I once had a tutor at art school.  He made us make a three minute film, which we had to show to our fellow students, but, we were not allowed to say anything about it.  Nothing!  When we complained, he got really angry and said …

“…ART should speak for itself…it doesn’t need words”  “

You can learn more about Debs McCoy’s music via the following links:-

Bandcamp

Soundcloud

Twitter

You can find out about her collaborators here:-

Jon Cox

Leah Coloff

Olafur Arnalds