ARTIST: Lunar Twin
RELEASE: Night Tides
RELEASE DATE: 17th March 2107
RECORD COMPANY: Moon Sounds Records
The word Hawaii… What does it bring to your mind? A few palm trees? Margaritas? Some tropical birds? Some surfing? Gigantic waves? The wallowing baritone mysticism of Lunar Twin? Blue ocean? Blue sky? The heat? The electronic representation of a film that’s as beautiful as it is dark? What about the surf rock? With the eye catching tag of ‘Hawaii’ on their Bandcamp genre tags list, the LA/Hawaiian based band Lunar Twin’ latest mini album/EP Night Tides was a confusing piece of art from the start. I thought, judging by the glisteningly and pretty cover, the track names and the geographical elements of the band, that the music was to be ‘dancehall’ or a kind of a chillwave outing… But it wasn’t. It turned out to be much more interesting, so interesting, actually, that it garners the esteem of a 5/5 rating. It’s a bamboozling listen; electronica gets thrown in a whirl pool of dark synthwave, lounge music, down tempo hip-hop like instrumentation, dream pop and a dash of experimental rock/art rock music just for good taste. Imagine a baritone cowboy balladeer teams up with a man who knows his way round a keyboard/FX station, they both get really drunk in Southeast Asia and start making lounge music, and then get booked to play a poolside party at some movie stars place in Beverly Hills in the middle of the 80’s… Wild.
Night Tides by Lunar Twin
Night Tides opens with the beautiful tropical, downtempo, electronic vibes of ‘Waves’, which is built around a vibraphone lead percussion section that sits at the back of a contemplative and ‘downtown’ style synth progression. A guitar melds itself into the mix occasionally; forging lighter musical imagery to the context of the synth and piano. The standout, however, is the vocals. Where any old dream pop maverick or uninventive electronic producer would have guaranteed a higher, shimmering voice to sit alongside the instrumentation, Lunar Twin instead throw in the rumble and grit of a deep baritone-lead vocal performance. Thus, instead of two contrasting sounds bouncing off each other in the ‘light’ of the vocals and the guitar and the ‘dark’ of the rest of the instrumentation, the duo instead throw in so many different contrasting sounds that you’re left trying to figure out if you’re on a river boat cruise or lost in the backstreets of Poland in the cold. Its brilliant. ‘Blood Moon’ could very well be the soundtrack to a film noir movie. A nifty drum beat rolls the music along in a similar fashion to the strumming guitar that keeps everything together; built into the foreground of the song, however, is a bonkers genius kind of flamenco guitar picking, the sounds of a subtle string section, and a sequenced synth noise that bounces around in an echo-like fashion. Here the vocals are much more hushed and wicked; locking in magnificently with the lyrics of the song and projecting a much less tropical, more lounge music inspired sound.
‘Coral Sea’ turns things almost completely in a synthwave fashion, it opens with pulsated beat sequencing, the ease of a synth choir, a fantastic drum beat and the deep pipes of the vocals. Again, it’s a kind of film soundtrack, this time to some sort of drive into a city in the dark. The chorus’s beautiful orchestral/synth backing is truly delightful and eventually, as the song goes on, one can tell how the song relates to its title. The second half especially, has the aforementioned flavour of what some would call a ‘dark paradise’ where the sky is far from blue, but the scenery still plays a key role in the mood and feel of the place. ‘Birds of Paradise’ turns fully synth orientated, built around the dancing plucks of synths and further sequencing; showcasing the technical wizardry going on behind the scenes on the release. ‘Prayers of Smoke’ is a similar sound to the synth-laced ‘Birds of Paradise’, although the chorus returns to the duos visual projection of a tropical island or beach. A slow drum beat and wavering guitar tones highlight a swish of spaghetti-western guitar playing that overlaps more sequenced synth ques. The song at times, in a good way, sounds like its quivering and spinning into art-style noise pop, but always regains its focus and rhythm in enough time and effort to saviour itself from complete experimentation. Of all the one-track captures of a kind of mystic-tropical beauty on the release, the title track succeeds wholly in its obtuse, morphing beauty the most. I’m going to try and describe it (and that probably still won’t do it complete justice.) A synth and vocal performance open the song, which tells of a train trip and mentions oceanic imagery in a highly poetic form, then, another synth floats by, coupled with what I can only assume is a sample of some kind of Asian harp or guitar instrument. Throw into the mix an uncanny wave kind of vocal sample that sounds like its in an echo chamber. And while your floating on the dazingly metaphorical ocean of sound and allure thinking just how amazingly nostalgic the whole thing is, you notice that the synth chord progression that glues the song together isn’t actually that sweet and golden; it’s actually kind of dark. Then you think ‘f#ck, those wind chime noises aren’t actually that aesthetically pleasing either’ and then you look around yourself and admit that Lunar Twin have somehow made you re-think your imaginary surroundings. Within the context; the mental imagery of the song, you put the puzzle pieces together and feel very confused, almost in wonderment of the kind of sound they have morphed and thrown together. The moral of the story is, is that the whole thing is ridiculously experimental. So experimental in fact, that you just have to sit back and commend the fact that the band show their skills and pure smarts, their kind of own inventiveness or genius on the song.
Night Tides is, in retrospect, a musical interpretation of its title. Between the sunny visions of the tropical ocean and the islands around the place is the scent of experimental waves and a genius, kind of obtuse serenity. It’s a truly beautiful EP, and to summarise all these words and descriptions, I would have to say its major triumph is its originality and creativeness. Said originality and creativeness is achieved through the tight, kind of stripped back production and the great mixing on the release; that really highlights a lot of different sounds on a lot of different tracks. With that said, the actual song writing on the release is at the crux of this praise. Between the wild genre mixing, which includes synth-wave, easy listening, lounge music, dream pop, electronic, oriental music and art rock among others, to the fantastically simple meld between the vocals and the instruments, the duo show their skills in a subtle way from song to song. Sometimes, bands say things like ‘this is a soundtrack to a dissimulated movie’ or something, in an attempt to give a ‘nudge-nudge’ to try and get you to imagine them in a film soundtrack context. In the case of Lunar Twin, you instead make your own connection; and even if that isn’t the connections or thoughts that I had, it is easy to be rewarded from the imagery and thoughts that this music creates. With that all said, it might not be everybody’s cup of tea; the artistic and technical experimentation for the most part is skilfully subtle, but at other times you might need a second listen to focus on every sound on the release. This element is one that I thought was brilliant, but some may believe it is too non-linear. Similarly, appreciate the music for what it is; that’s a piece of experimental mastery, achieved through performance, writing, production and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on Baeble Music and Culture (USA), Sounds and Colours Magazine (Latin America, London), Easterndaze (Latvia) and the Australian based heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Sounds Of Sputnik
RELEASE: New Born feat Ummagma
RELEASE DATE: 16th May 2016
When I first heard that two powerhouses of the underground post-rock, electronic shoegazing & dream-pop scene were collaborating on an album I wasn’t in the least bit surprised. In fact, I was overjoyed! After all it is a musical match made in heaven in my opinion. I was surprised, though, to read that it was going to be Sound Of Sputnik’s debut album because I’d been listening to Sound Of Sputnik for a long time, playing them on Primal Radio and up until now foolishly thinking that they had a back catalogue of albums to peruse at my leisure. Boy was I wrong! Moscow-based Sounds Of Sputnik is the brain child of Roma Kalitkin, a close collaborator of UMMAGMA, influenced by My Bloody Valentine, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Ride & Sonic Youth but with a style closer to Mogwai or Air Formation. What I had been listening to were stunning soundscapes written as a group of tracks but never actually released as an album! I’m talking about electronic, post-gazing soundscapes like: Astronomical Summer, Adaptation, The Mission & Motoroller!
New Born by Sounds of Sputnik
It was then that I had one of those ‘light bulb lighting up over head moments’. I got giddy & I simply had to hear what these two bands could conjure up together musically! So when I received my copy of the album to review what I found was a musical masterpiece! Yes the trademark Sounds Of Sputnik post-rock & shoegazing soundscapes are still there but there is an added injection of something rather special. You see to me I’m amazed at how a collection of musicians fixed on the same trajectory with the same drive & abilities can create brilliant musical ideas and get the best results imaginable in the most harshest of atmospheres! You see ‘New Born’ is groundbreaking on many levels musically but it’s the fact that Roma Kalitkin, Alexx Kretov & Shauna McLarnon managed not only to initiate this project but co-write & record it under what must be a whirlwind of unpredictable political turmoil in Kretov’s home country of Ukraine thats the most amazing thing! And collectively they don’t disappoint!
Unless you have been hiding under a rock for the past twelve months you would have read or heard about Ummagma, the Canadian / Ukrainian electronic, dream-pop duo of Shauna McLarnon & Alexx Kretov and their stunning albums UMMAGMA, Antigravity & Lama Remixes LP on which Sounds Of Sputnik created a remix of Lama, another epic Ummagma track and their latest Moon Sounds Records released ‘Frequency EP’. What Ummagma bring to this collaboration is the vision of vocalist, producer/musician Alexx Kretov and the absolutely stunningly beautiful vocal abilities of Shauna McLarnon. Mixing melodic dream-pop with electronic shoegaze, they add their life’s blood to this record and you can hear it in every track that they feature on! From the blistering lead track ‘New Born’ with Shauna McLarnon on vocals through to the brilliant dream-pop/shoegaze laden ‘Light Scheme’ featuring Kretov & McLarnon on duel vocals and on into the epic Sounds Of Sputnik’s post-rock, gaze heavy ‘Blizzard’ & ‘Shades Of The Cosmos’ this album plays effortlessly from track to track! Add into the sonic melting pot the pulsating, thundering ‘Overdrive’ featuring none other than Graham Bonnar (Ex Swervedriver/Brian Jonestown Massacre ) on drums & McLarnon on vocals & what we have is a must have album for anyone who adores everything thats good within the electronic, post-rock, dream-pop & shoegazing genre’s without the frills!
‘New Born’ also feature’s remixes of both ‘New Born’ & ‘Light Scheme’ by Malcom Holmes of legendary Synthpop group OMD, Oleg Mezherovsky & Morozov, Roma Kalitkin himself & Brazil’s Mind Movies!
The album was released on May 16th through the Texas based independent label ‘Moon Sounds Records’ and is also available on various formats through: soundsofsputnik.bandcamp.com/album/new-born
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
ARTIST: Bloodhounds On My Trail
RELEASE: Haunted Isles
RELEASE DATE: 18th November 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Moon Sounds Records
There’s a new found focus on narrative on the new Bloodhounds On My Trail EP (or should that be mini-album?), 'Haunted Isle'. The Melbourne-based behemoths have tapped into a story-telling tradition and married it with the huge, dreamlike soundscapes that they’ve established such a strong reputation for. Building on the sonic structures of last year’s 'Escape II', this feels like a more rounded creation, softer and warmer in places. Combined with the lyrical themes, it somehow imbues the record with a sense that maybe all isn’t lost, and that’s a welcome thought as we approach the end of this bleak year.
Haunted Isles by Bloodhounds On My Trail
It doesn’t seem as though it’ll start off that way with the opening track 'Gallows'. Despite the name though, this is a beautiful swell of a song and immerses us in the effervescing waters of 'Haunted Isle'. The gentle giant 'Over The Wall', is a richly textured piece, huge and fluid. The Loop’s hypnotic harmonies have light bouncing off every layer. The shimmering sound of 'Sink' has a few Cure-like signals in there. Places Like This’s huge chorus is a wave of relief and release. Dare I feel a little hope? 'Words Like Weapons' seems like the most appropriately titled tune of 2016, but if it is bitter, it hides it well under swathes of beautiful noise.
'Bloodhounds On My Trail' had hoped to make it to the UK earlier this year, but it wasn’t to be. Maybe 2017 will see them make it to this Haunted Isle?
The 'Haunted Isle EP' is available to buy/download right now from: moonsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
One of our favourite noisy shoegaze outfits here at Primal Music, the fantastic Melbourne based 'Bloodhounds On My Trail', have announced the release date for their forthcoming highly anticipated brand new EP entitled 'Haunted Isles'. The EP will get its full release on November 18th 2016 via US based independent label 'Moon Sounds Records' and it promises to be something seriously special. Before that however, the band have unleashed the second track to be lifted from the aforementioned 'Haunted Isles' EP. This new track is called 'Places Like This' and it follow's on from the EP's brilliant lead single 'Over The Wall', unleashed to the masses back in September 2016.
'Bloodhounds On My Trail' continue to captivate the underground fraternity with their melancholic style of atmospheric shoegaze that blissfully harks back to that late 80's/early 90's sound of wall to wall reverberation coupled with melody filled vocalisations and driving fuzzed out instrumentation. Firmly stabled within the burgeoning Melbourne based shoegaze scene, 'Bloodhounds On My Trail' create blissed out sonic soundscapes that continue to both enthral & excite us all at once.
This latest track, entitled 'Places Like This', jangles into earshot on a deeply surreal wave of hazy atmospheric guitars before we quickly lurch forward into a tumbling drum pattern and the instantly addictive hum of the bass frequencies. The vocals arrive, suspended knee deep in swathes of blissful reverb, as the track builds in momentum and leads us into a chorus progression that swirls immensely in a maelstrom of beautiful noise. 'Bloodhounds On My Trail' can do no wrong .... and that only bodes well for the full EP release.
The 'Haunted Isles' EP gets its full release on the 18th November 2016 and you can pre-order it right now via moonsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com
Melbourne based noisy experimental shoegaze outfit 'Bloodhounds On My Trail' have announced a brand new single entitled 'Over The Wall', via the reclusive 'Moon Sounds Records'. 'Over The Wall' is lifted from the bands forthcoming brand new EP, penned in for release on September 16th, and it follows on from 2015's mind-blowing debut release 'Escape II'. The band are made up of Johnny Green (guitar, vocals), Chris Donaldson (guitar), Nik Donaldson (drums) and Ché Walden (bass) & collectively they have a cunning knack of connecting the sonic dots, bringing together a mix of music genres blending hazy melodious shoegaze with driving post punk, atmospheric post rock and growling noise rock thus lighting the proverbial touch paper on a stunning array of mesmerising sound waves. 'Over The Wall' is available to buy/download right now from: bloodhoundsonmytrail.bandcamp.com
Over The Wall by Bloodhounds On My Trail
'Over The Wall' swirls into earshot on a maelstrom of growling fuzzy frequencies before unfolding into a deliciously melodious slice of post punk infused shoegaze. Its driving baseline is captivating as it hugs the steading percussive attack, infectiously twisting around the utterly addictive vocal line, allowing the soaring hazy guitar squall to wash luscious reverberation across the entire musical piece. You can't get a better recommendation than that.
Self confessed Swedish noise rockers Follow The Sea released their stunning second EP ‘Sibirien’ to the masses back in November 2014. Recorded, produced and mixed between November 2013 & March 2014 at Glappkontakt, Sweden and mastered by none other than Alex Kretov (Ummagma) at Ummagma’s own recording studio in Ukraine, ‘Sibirien’ see’s the Swedish duo take a most welcome forward step from their excellent but sometimes under produced self-titled debut EP - ‘Follow The Sea’.
Sibirien begins with the addictive chord sequence of ‘Forest Beach’, a beautifully composed track that builds into that trade mark ‘Follow The Sea’ noise-rock infused thundering chorus break and then, like waves crashing on a beach, calms down only to build once again with Erik’s immense vocals leading the charge to the tracks explosive ending.
‘Forest Beach’ washes over us and in turn guides this listener to Sibirien’s sublime second track ‘Heart of Noise’. This sometimes shoegaze, sometimes noise-rock influenced track is to me closer to what I believe ‘Follow The Sea’ sound like! They’re not strictly stuck in the genre of noise-rock. They have shoegaze tendencies whether purposefully injected or accidently created in studio.
That traditional shoegaze wall of sound is evident not only throughout ‘Heart of Noise’ but well into ‘Sibirien’, the EP’s third track and a personal favourite of mine.This is a stunning piece of music! The production on this track alone is second to none and I commend Magnus Lundgren on his skills behind the mixing console. Erik Solfeldt’s vocals are captivating! They sit atop a polished wall of guitars, synthesizers and thundering drums and guide this track through a maelstrom of sound waves. They are immense! I could listen to them over and over again. I believe that ‘Sibirien’ is the corner stone of this EP. This track should, by rights, show everyone where ‘Follow The Sea’ are musically, right now! It has me believing in them as a serious musical outfit. I’m now getting excited about the future and looking forward to the prospect of listening to a debut album from this band and in turn hearing what they can conjure up in the studio together.
Sibirien ends on the calming influences of ‘River’ and the explosive bonus track ‘Linoleum’, another testament to Erik’s vocal abilities and the production skills of Magnus Lundgren.
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Sibirien is, in my opinion, a naturally progressive & positive step by a band that did not rest on their laurels after recording their debut EP, but jumped right back in and concentrated on creating a consistently strong, well-produced and polished collection of tracks. It oozes confidence and shows tenacity in not only the bands song writing skills but also in the quality of their production & mixing techniques. After two EP's 'Follow The Sea' are showing great promise for future releases. Sibirien is a stunning piece of work by a band on the rise and I wish them well on their travels. Next stop for me is listening to their debut album when eventually they release one.
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Follow The Sea are Erik Solfeldt ,Vocals, Guitar & Synthesizer and Magnus Lundgren Drums & Synthesizer. The Swedish duo recorded, produced and mixed ‘Sibirien’ in Glappkontakt, Sweden. The EP was released through the independent record label ‘Moon Sounds Records’ and is available to buy through their Bandcamp page. You can also find 'Follow The Sea' on their Twitter & Facebook pages respectively.
Del Chaney - The Primal Music Blog - Dublin, January 2015.