This jam raises a whole bunch of questions for me but similarly it provides the answers for those willing to take them at face value. I’m even willing to GIVE them at face value. Anyway, I think it’s reasonably well accepted now that the folk bubble has burst and we’re living in a post-folk world that has retained the cream from the top and a few dreggs from the bottom. Obviously, we still have Mumford and Sons (upto you which camp they fall into) but artists like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes will both release records that sell and sell (or stream and stream, given consumption trends). The Tallest Man On Earth will still sell out Opera House shows, yes, but each and every time I see PR batting in a folk act I can only really think ‘whoops’. It’s all pretty and lovely and heartfelt but if you’ll cast your mind back five years folk was actually the realm of the tastemakers which doesn’t really seem to be the case anymore.
So, that established [at least in mine own eyes] then comes the question on everyone’s lips; where to now for Angus and Julia fans? Do they go down with the ship? I say no. No they don’t. And the best possible island to which I can see these folks swimming is one called Willow Beats. Let’s pause to recognise the logical inconsistency of that last metaphor. Willow Beats are Melbourne producer and vocalist Narayana Johnson and Kalyani Ellis. I’m sure more than a few of you are familiar with Willow Beats and are preparing a supersized takedown for my comments section but who there big guy. Ease your heart, hear me out. This isn’t a criticism. Angus and Julia weren’t always reserved for screaming 16 year old girls, I presume they were once the domain of reputable music types. Maybe they were, anyway, I’m swinging blindly here. This is a guy girl duo sporting forest friendly press shots and highly accessible female vocal lines over a semi drum’n'bass beat. Granted, the beat throws you in an entirely different direction to ol’ A+J and there isn’t the reliance on vom-worthy hyper-emotion but I can see this happening in a big way accross the Js. Even artists likes Mammals are blurring the lines between folk and electronica though not in the same way the folktronica acts of 2005-2010 did, but in a manner more beats-centric. Mammals ft. Flash forest even sat at #3 on Hype Machine for a period though in the global domain it’s probably far less edgy.
All of that is semi-vaguely pointing you and I at Cambio Sun whose reasonably recent track Intuition (a total winner, I might add) has been a mainstay of my listening experience since Hugh posted about it a day or two back. Nope, not one for the Angus and Julia fans but for those who once folked, this isn’t a stretch. For those who loved their Sufjans and their Bon Ivers (and were ok with the both of them being slightly exploratory in their more recent sounds) this could have some serious appeal. So again, I direct you to this as a primary example of a transitional artist that heralds in a new sphere within which we can praise the lords of harmony and falsetto. It’s got slow build and some really very pretty tones and again, producer and saccarine vocal have their merry way with each other.
Also we need to collectively agree to do everything within our powers to prevent techno from being an in thing again. It’s on its way.
Valar have been MIA so long that I almost feel obliged to reintroduce them but then that would be rude to the kind souls who’ve stuck with me over the other sixty or so times I’ve written about their songs but back off, this one’s a new’n. It’s called Astronaut and it’s the precursor to the forthcoming 5 track album (fine, EP) that we should see arriving in the next month or so. It unfolds, one layer at a time with old man Parsons doing his part to move things forward in his irregular yet mightily constrained way before the whole thing flattens out with Blackwood’s dulcet sweep atop a bed of harmonised howls. At that point he mentions that he’s ‘dreaming of dying on my own’. “That’s so morbid!” shouts my wife. It’s not at all though, it’s actually smothered in this pervasive contentedness that means that sort of statement isn’t scrawled in a fifteen year old’s diary but instead reclines in the mind of a greened out sherpa. I mean, in a way, aren’t we all sort of on our own? I still haven’t done my 2011 tax and I’ve never felt more so. Someone could make a loooooot of money doing other people’s tax, I’m just saying. There’s no angst and there’s no fear, just a sense of bigger picture as if you’re seeing the world from a great distance. It’s as if one’s floating in space, completing repairs on an unmanned spacecraft. Kind of like… Kind of like an astronaut, you know? Daaaaaamn.
Extra free bonus content no cost attached – It’s the video! These are the authentic faces of Valar! Shoutouts to Pete Covington whose name wasn’t mentioned in main body of text.
First off, let me say that it pains me to have two different players embedded in the one post. I know, it’s not cheese and chalk but maybe it’s something more along the lines of a combined orange and spearmint tic-tac experience. It’s not going to taste like gutter taint but the combination will never reach the lofty heights of either individually. Orange tic-tacs though, what a delight. I can drop a punnet of those treats in a second. Silent Jay comes straight outta Melbourne with a number of similarly tasty cuts and loops, hi-hat and bass regularly making his tracks sound more organism than android and providing a good portion of the regular groove. How long until an MC walks all over one of the beats? Not soon enough I say, not soon enough.
It’s a credit to the man himself that I had such a hard time picking and choosing which Silent Jay tunes to offer up here. If you sift through the digital stratosphere there are literally hundreds (but also not literally) of different tracks he’s put together for various mixtapes and purposes which says to me he has it within his creative womb to proliferate a long spanning canon of jams. Definitely a name to watch within the field of future producers. He’s got the touch.
Swimming come via my sound doctrine inbox and quite kindly mentioned in their correspondance that they read my blog all the time which was a very nice thing to say indeed. Admittedly, far from the first time I’ve read that in an email and I’ve seen the Sound Doctrine monthly pageviews so either some of these bands are lying or they’re all browsing at the same time from the one computer which is a really lovely community-building thought and will save money spent on ISPs. Someone write that down, that’s a great business idea. It doesn’t even matter though because it was a very sweet correspondence and this album of Swimming’s was worthy of the time I’ve given it and more. It reminds me a little bit of O+M’s full length in that there’s a whole bunch of call and return, beats made through vocalisations and staccato strums, clicks and synths. Everything is short and meaningful across and album largely devoid of sonic foam which I rather enjoy. That said, it’s also the complete opposite of everything I’ve just described because what do I know and who am I anyway etc. Seems like there have been quite a few missed opportunities to see this Adelaide trio in Sydney over the past six months but one can hope they’ll see their way up here again soon.
Apparently the ideal ear imbibed companion for skybound pyrotechnics and just as likely the perfect sounding board to the late night regret fueled self-inquisition that you wouldn’t have to go through evening after night after evening if you’d just done the law degree your overly caring yet frightfully punishing mother insisted you should have and then met the gently but correctly spoken speech therapist that would have become your eventual wife. But you didn’t, you thought three chords was enough to see you to the top of the Unearthed indie/rock charts (it was) and yet nobody cared. Why didn’t they care? Now you’ve moved to Melbourne which is reportedly the home of garage rock and you’re reverbing your way from support slot to small bar while some prick blogger writes about “another bloody dj who can’t even play an instrument”. But if it weren’t the jam I’m saying it is, then it probably wouldn’t be muffling it’s way out of your dirty 2009 macbook speakers right now. Got you there mate. These dudes are a legit “band” because there’s three of them and if that doesn’t make them a band then they’re at least a collective borderline a party maybe a crew and easily a clique. Maybe they even have instruments, instragram photos are showing me a few but we’ve all seen those posed for with little to no musical chops so let’s not jump the gun fellas. I’m hoping they’re making their own sounds and cutting all that junk together. Now we’ve just to wait for a little vibe before the subsequent PR package (and I certainly mean package in every possible way) and then we’ll know for certain just what Yujen are about, oh then we’ll know, oh yes. That said, the BPM is probably a little high to see this featured on your usual digital minimalist chilltronica digital haunts or whatever. Tunes below: