Fresh Faves: Batch 371

In The Forest

Artists at a glance

0171
BLOOM DE WILDE
CHRISTOPHER SCULLION
EVA LAYNE
IN THE FOREST
KOLOTO
LOST SOUND CLUB
TEST CARD GIRL
THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS
UMA

These Fresh Faves were picked by our readers over the weekend – and reviewed by Fresh On The Net’s Tobi this week. You can hear all these tracks in a single Soundcloud playlist here.

0171 – Follow

Hackney-based Future Pop duo Joe Bedell-Brill and Georgie Hoare aka 0171 dial up an infectious dose of sublime vocal hook and sumptuous sonics delivered with dexterous musical depth and deftly handled production.

Blunt riff-rattle atonal and modulated; liquid flow. Pitch-dropped keypad tones breath distant, ambered-pulse; streetlights on hold as the city slips into night. Beats land dry, full, and dense; meat-packed, battle drum-smacked. Electronics shift and shimmer, adrift in the width and depth of the track. Sonics drop, waveform bombs; funky, fresh. Pop piano, brittle, filtered thin and tight; adds fizzing harmonic energy and drive.

Vocals walk percussive with bounce and strut; shifting gears from line to line, working the pace off, against and around the count. A dazzling array of vox hooks echo, cascade, stutter and flex; formant and pitch adjusted; vocal-synthesized, warped on delay or cast wide and diffused by reverb. A 3-minute 5-second tour-de-force in vocal processing delivered with great diligence, in constant and disciplined service to the listener’s emotional experience of the song.

Follow is an impressively accomplished piece of songcraft and pop production; made all the more impressive, when you consider 0171 only released their critically acclaimed debut single, “1000 words” as recently as 2019. Their debut EP, Red Light, went on to draw rave reviews from a host of tastemaker publications later that same year. Whereas many artists have wilted under the spotlight of expectation, 0171 returned in 2020 with the audacious and undeniable, pop-sonic-vocal-freak-fest, Automatic.

Their second single of 2020, and in contrast to the alt-pop swagger of Automatic, Follow very much demonstrates 0171’s ability to craft compelling chart-friendly pop with musical integrity and emotional depth. With their music already firmly established on a number of Spotify playlists, and debut single 1000 Words earning over half a million plays, 0171 are in no danger of wilting under the spotlight of expectation; quite the contrary, they clearly intend to own it. 0171’s second EP Change Nothing is out August 14th.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show 0171 some extra love and support by purchasing their music via Bandcamp.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

BLOOM DE WILDE – Do & Be

London-based experimental artpop artist Bloom de Wilde conjures cascading melodies majestic, image and waking dream with inspired instrumentation, scattered organic.

Hushed mantra rises and falls, lyrical walkabouts; hyper-sanity, thoughts flow unhindered by structure or contrivance; image and idea spill across the melody, Bloom de Wilde’s voice teasing and delighting in the act of creation.

Acoustic six-string arpeggio tickles and twinkles in tender tone, lovingly captured. Great waves of glorious brassy warmth surge in protracted wash, liquid sunset cast deep in the production. Bass strolls and ganders from the back, grounding the composition in earthy low frequency; drums providing a familiar constant for our ears as the eclectic instrumentation dances around the beat.

Having grown-up in the Netherlands with her Dutch artist mother and Indonesian father, who lead his own Gamelan Orchestra, it is little wonder Bloom de Wilde expresses herself in such exuberant and expansive musical terms. And while other artists may fall foul of the great wealth of sample, loop and virtual instrument afforded the modern day producer, by concocting contrivance, ill-judged and clumsy, oft unknowingly trading in dreary cliche; Bloom de Wilde’s musical conjurings, in striking and startling contrast, flow unencumbered by pretence; scattered patterns of percussive pulse and melodic burst, instruments well-set in odd, yet harmonious pairing and inspired, surprising counterpoint; FX, seemingly ill-suited for purpose, drop natural without second thought or guess; and it is in this final regard that Bloom de Wilde excels so well, for she is simply speaking to us in the musical language of her own thoughts and feelings; her perception of the world turned around and projected back at us; and in the act of listening, we are transported to a magical world of Bloom de Wilde’s own imagining.

Bloom de Wilde’s debut EP, The Heart Shall Be Rewarded by the Universe, is out now.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show Bloom de Wilde some extra love and support by purchasing her music via Bandcamp.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

CHRISTOPHER SCULLION – A Hidden Smile

Brazil-based Independent musician Christopher Scullion crafts homemade beats and bespoke sample into a graceful musical scrapbook of moment, memory, and nostalgia.

Strings twitch and resonate, high-sonics shimmer in ambient reverse; water sploshes in drop and then fizzes outwards, a handcrafted cymbal rasp cast in liquid. Piano key and brass shatter and tremble, as bric-a-brac percussion cracks, crumbles, and creaks. Voices simper and echo, half-heard, intimate and fleeting; moments documented before being lost to the breeze.

Born and raised in Northern Ireland, Christopher Scullion now lives in Brazil with his wife and three children and their two dogs. Having studied Music Composition and Technology at the University of Hertfordshire, Christopher constructs his music from loops and samples made by recording household and everyday objects. The result is a singularly unique and highly personal listening experience; as though our ears are flicking through the pages of a family photo album; snapshot sounds evoke memories not our own, and yet we feel the afterglow of their meaning.

There is a quiet integrity to the music of Christopher Scullion; one, we might imagine, born of the great depth of feeling intrinsically linked to each sample, beat, and loop; a collection of little histories, carefully arranged together in musical form; a graceful nostalgia that washes over the listener like morning light shining through spring rain.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show Christopher Scullion some extra love and support by purchasing his music via Bandcamp.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

EVA LAYNE – Don’t Take That Boy (Away From Me)

Shrouded in John Barry nostalgia, with swaggering brass and soaring string, Eva Layne delivers a grand musical event of pride, pomp, and Bond (James Bond).

Strings plummet like Stuka bombs from the rafters, as orchestral percussion lands heavy and deep in impact; brass swaggers and struts in boozy wallows and swanky surges; the track moving like a giant panther, shifting in great orchestrated stanzas. Drums keeping the count at the center; kick punching in dabs, as the snare tips and trips at the beat; the Hi-Hat shaken (not stirred), spitting the groove in raspy metallic fizz.

Eva Layne’s voice sits sweetly above the grand theatre of the production (EQed light with airy reverb), working the expansive melody with a light touch that is both surprisingly effective for the genre and compellingly engaging; clever use of backing harmonies sat deep and distant in the composition adding subtle weight and size to the young singer’s voice.

Inspired by a dizzying array of musical influences from Bowie to Blondie to The Beatles, French Pop and Krautrock, Eva Layne’s Don’t Take That Boy (Away From Me) draws instant and inevitable comparison to John Barry’s iconic title tracks of the early James Bond films. And while the production does a commendable job of emulating the grandiose poise, it lacks the panache and subtly of touch of Barry’s compositions; after the crowd pleasing operatics of it’s opening, Goldfinger’s production quickly steps back, clears the stage, and makes the audience wait for a moment, before the singular vocal magnificence that is Shirley Bassey takes the center stage and lights up the world.

And it is in regard to Shirley Bassey’s voice that Eva Layne can not stand the inevitable comparison of her musical intentions, and, understandably, falls short. Bassey’s voice a snarling animal with bite, wit and wondrous depth; and yet, it is Eva Layne’s voice, bittersweet and pop-soulful, that is every bit the star of the show; the talented young singer teasing and toying, gently lamenting and quietly threatening; line by line delivered with an accomplished maturity and impressive sense of economy, Eva Layne knowing when to hold back and under-sing; and in doing so, heighten the emotional impact and dynamic of the track.

Don’t Take That Boy (Away From Me) is an immensely enjoyable and highly ambitious musical venture that, although imperfect, nevertheless delivers the sense of excitement and romantic wonder that so characterized John Barry’s originals. Eva Layne’s voice triumphs at the heart of the busy production, leaving the listener in no doubt of her talent and potential as an Artist.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show Eva Layne some extra love and support by purchasing her music via Bandcamp.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

IN THE FOREST – On The Run

Hertfordshire-based indie-folk four-piece In The Forest combine sweet harmonies with raspy roots guitar and soulful keys served up on a foot-tapping beat.

Six-strings rattle and hum in syncopated riff down the left hand side; vintage keys stretching and sustaining back and to the right. As the 2-minute 9-second track builds, kick stomp and bass join, adding weight and rhythmic drive down the center. The production opens up with grinding overdriven guitar fuzz and cymbal smash; the keys breaking out, expansive and psychedelic.

Vocals walk in a series of short percussive stanzas, working melody about the beat. Harmonies join adding color, depth and width; the four voices resonating together with a natural ease and compelling, uncomplicated flow; graceful layers of voice rushing across the track in deftly timed phrase and hook.

Written in 2017 while “escaping reality” in Devon, On The Run was the first song penned by In The Forest; the four-piece (made up of two sisters and two couples) remarking on how easy they found working together. Having spent 2018 and 2019 experimenting with style and playing live shows, On the Run found itself the second title in their debut 3-track EP released on the 17th June, this year.

As well as being featured on numerous radio shows, on May 28th independent record label, Last Night From Glasgow added In The Forest to their family of artists.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show In The Forest some extra love and support by purchasing their music via Bandcamp.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

KOLOTO – Flight Of The Nebers

Canterbury-based composer of organic electronica, Koloto conjures a brief, beautiful moment of musical freefall, kaleido-sonics rendered parabolic, interstellar drift within our atmosphere.

In ambered chimes resonate deep and expand outwards across the stereo-field; shards of electronics cascade in shifting spirograph; deep-space pulsar burst rhythmic, fused magnetic and collapse binary deep; percussive event horizon. Synth-phonics rise, statuesque and monumental; sine waves crafted physical, through manipulated harmonic resonance; a sudden eruption in the ethereal to render the gaseous solid and fundamental.

After spending a number of years playing with a host of bands (including a 5 year stint as bassist for math rock outfit Delta Sleep), self-taught guitarist and multi-instrumentalist, Maria aka Koloto, began experimenting with ever-developing musical software that allowed for the manipulation and processing of sound in increasingly more complex and intricate manner; at the same time, her passion for individual composition and electronica grew; the resultant musical works would become to be known, collectively, as Koloto.

Since her debut release Primer in 2013, Koloto’s work has earned a growing momentum of recognition from music press and radio alike; and, In may of 2019, Apple released a short 3-minute 13-second video, entitled Meet the Creators — Apple Arcade set to an adapted version of Koloto’s Cedar Shed.

Listening to Koloto’s self-described “organic electronica” is akin to listening to music not de-constructed; but rather, realized into existence at an atomic level; as though the limitations of our Earthly bounds are rendered temporarily null and void, and for one fleeting moment, we are astral and free to drift across the cosmos; parabolically-balanced interstellar overdrive, set the controls for the heart of your imagination.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show Koloto some extra love and support by purchasing her music via Bandcamp.

Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

LOST SOUND CLUB – Computer Head

Social media in absentia musical artist/band/collective (delete as appropriate) Lost Sound Club drop Holy Thursday neo-grooves fused in liquid bass, caramelized guitar and tectonic drum patterns.

Bass works the groove in a series of rapid dabs, punctuated by occasional and well-timed pause; vintage keys chime with soulful bell and funky undertone bled long into the sustain. Electric six-string fizzes in David Axelrod lounge lizard spits and exploitation-era porno riffs. Schifrin strings shift uneasy, sliding toward dissident resonance; Don Siegel’s San Francisco, painted in dirty tones; an underbelly exposed.

An atonal Speak & Spell tech-platform roll-call/glossary of internet terms (Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, iTunes, etc), trades blows with shrill, off-tonal, child-formant formed mantra.

Computer Head is taken from Lost Sound Club’s forthcoming album The Sky Remains due to be released 3rd of July. Drawing inspiration from the acid jazz soundtracks of Lalo Schifrin, that director Don Siegel used so successfully for his 1971 neo-noir masterpiece, “Dirty Harry”, “Computer Head” delivers engaging groove-a-fication with great and accomplished success.

In these challenging times for musicians, and if you can find it, why not show Lost Sound Club some extra love and support by purchasing his/her/their music via Bandcamp.

TEST CARD GIRL – Holds Me Down

Manchester-based singer-songwriter Catherine (Caffs) Burgis aka Test Card Girl delivers a compellingly quirky dose of retro-midi-infused indie-electro-pop with infectious beat and ear-catching melody.

Cartridge-loaded arcade-game tones dab, buzz and rattle; lo-fi beats cough and sneeze in tight dry pockets of rhythm; the bass gently grinding in loop and turn, coxing the groove rather than driving it; while fragile electronic chimes resonate brittle and fizzy, a glorious mess of retro-synth-sonics.

Catherine Burgis vocals walk, light footed, with supporting double and harmony set back and deeper into the production; the backing vocals adding a sense of timeless depth and nostalgia. Lyric and melody are delivered with disarming simplicity, unassuming and without pretence or contrivance; engaging the listener effortlessly, resulting in your attention being drawn without you even realizing it.

Catherine Burgis took an unconventional path to solo artist, deciding at the age of 35, in her own words, “to swap the pint glass for the guitar”, or at the least, she adds, “hold both concurrently”; embarking on her musical journey at the same time as becoming a stand-up comedian. After winning and making the finals of several national comedy competitions, Catherine decided 2020 would be the year she focused solely on her music and building up her live experience.

And while the Covid-19 outbreak has put pay to building up her live experience, Catherine continues to work on her forthcoming album, Seven Dolls (due for release in the winter) with her producer Dave Fidler.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show Test Card Girl some extra love and support by purchasing her music via Bandcamp.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

THE HAPPY SOMETHINGS – Millionth Girlfriend

Independently unpolished three-piece The Happy Somethings cook up an upbeat helping of home-brewed indie-pop to raise a sardonic smile and swing your pants to.

Six-strings rattle and rasp, chugging and tugging at the shuffling beat; bass shifting up and down the neck in quickly worked dab and run, while kick and snare punch and smack; the instrumentation shuddering and shaking like a rag ‘n’ bone cart. The, at first, apparently simple, lazy, hazy composition, changing up and then breaking down; successfully crafting surprising musical contrast and dynamic into the compellingly home-brewed production, without losing any of the disarmingly engaging hands off, thrown-together feel.

Vocals run in rushes of understated quickly paced melody, delivered in well-judged harmony; lyrics infusing the otherwise upbeat 3-minute 55-second track with an unapologetic put down and mocking, “Who’d want to be your millionth girlfriend? No one really wants to be your friend at all.”

Based on the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire border, self-described “jangly, fuzzy guitar band”, The Happy Somethings are, in their own words, “happy to remain firmly plugged-in to our own electrical sockets with the blinds down and the kettle on.”, where they spend their time, “writing, recording and sharing what we’ve come up with on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify and other social media outlets.”

Like a ramshackle, lo-fi reincarnation of The Smiths, The Happy Somethings’ Millionth Girlfriend is a lazy, hazy indie-gem of inspired musical depth, darkly underscored by acidic, biting, satirical lyric.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show The Happy Somethings some extra love and support by purchasing their music via Bandcamp.

Official | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

UMA – Standing In The Sun

Independent singer-songwriter Uma fuses soundscape and memory, image and thought, framed by scattered instrumentation and textual layer; heartfelt nostalgia cast timeless in musical form.

Reeds breathe outward into the ambient, as arpeggio fall delicate and set in the middle-distance; lo-fi vocal-phonetics add texture like sifting sands, shifting about the stereo field; percussion rattles and shakes, clinking and clattering in a rich rhythmic chatter; half-heard elements of tremolo conjure movement barely perceivable in the depth of the production. Brass pulsing and pushing in protracted stab and swoop, infusing the warmth of sun-bronzed earth.

Uma’s vocal drift and wander in freeform observation and wonder; recalling and reflecting upon confusions, convolutions, and conversations of the past; often paired wide left/right, rather than down the center of the track, yielding the middle ground to the instrumentation; this, in turn, imbuing the production with a unique sense of infinite depth stretching back and beyond the vista haze.

Born in Catalonia in 1995 to a British mother and Thai father, Uma spent much of her childhood traveling; her mother trained in the performing arts and father working in a hospice in the slums of Bangkok, the diverse experiences of Uma’s formative years forging a deep awareness of and empathy for the lives of those around her.

Classically trained in the violin from the age of four, Uma embraced innovation and diversity in her music; drawing inspiration from a contrasting range of influences (from Joni Mitchell to Ella Fritzgerald, Macy Gray to Florence and the Machine). Now based between London and Barcelona, Uma released her debut EP, Bel-li, on April 30th of this year by way of London Label, Slow Dance Recordings.

In these challenging times for musicians, why not show Uma some extra love and support by purchasing her music via Slow Dance Recordings’ Bandcamp.

Official | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Bandcamp

Uma

PS from TR: If you’ve submitted a track that hasn’t been picked for the Listening Post, our team has definitely listened to it and there’s no need to send it again: feel free to send us an even stronger track another week. The same goes if you were picked for the Listening Post but didn’t feature in our Fresh Faves.

But if we’ve recently featured you in our Fresh Faves – or on my BBC Introducing Mixtape – please wait three months before sending us another track, so we have space to help other deserving artists… For more info see Robinson Has A Good Old Moan.

Uma Photo by Esther Boyarizo

Tobi

Tobi works as a Mastering Engineer (via Tobisonic Mastering), mastering a wide range of genre. Tobi also remixes and has recently released his debut solo production, All These Things under the handle Tobisonics. Find him on Twitter @masteredbytobi Read More.

9 Comments

  1. Great reviews Tobi and my Spell check didn’t alter you to you alter ego Toni this time! Lush top 10 and unlucky to some who just missed out. Happy Tuesday all y’all.

  2. Great reviews and so much detail Tobi. Well done. And lovely to see so many bands and artists who have become friends over the last few years all making the faves in the same week. :)

  3. So much detail in the reviews, as an artist I would really like that!

  4. Great detailed and information-packed reviews. And we’re really chuffed with the one you gave us! Thanks so much.

  5. David Emmerson

    Excellent reviews and level of detail. I never knew Dave Fidler did production work on other artist records. Definitely a very mellow list of songs this week. Lockdown must be getting to everyone.

  6. Great work Tobi! Great tunes! Congratulations to all who made it to the faves!

  7. Louise Toal

    Wonderful read Tobi ❤ 😊

  8. Great stuff all round and fine reviews Tobi

  9. Úna Quinn

    Great detailed reviews Tobi. Well done 😊

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