Track Of The Day: Soho Rezanejad – ‘Half The Shore’

Uncompromising is a word that’s used to describe a number of musicians, but rarely does it seem truer than with Danish artist, composer and playwright Soho Rezanejad. Digging through her back-catalogue, both under her own name and that of her alter-ego, Angeles, is like uncovering a series of art installations crossed with epic movie soundtracks – as daunting, impressive and overpowering as a mountain range.

Born in New York City before growing up in Copenhagen, Rezanejad seems to carry all manner of influences in her work to date – from the synth orchestrals of Vangelis, the no-quarter given vocals of Nico, and the industrial, goth and post-punk sounds of various British acts of the 1980s. That sense of movement and diverse influences is also reflected in her latest album Perform and Surrender – to be released by the artist’s own Silicone Records in December – which results from a series of performances in Copenhagen, Vienna, Helsingør, Munich, Montreal, Toronto, St. Petersburg, Tromsø and Nantes across 2018 and 2019.

‘Half The Shore’, taken from Perform and Surrender, actually offers a notable change from Rezanejad’s previous work. Opening with a minute of strummed guitar, and gently picked notes that echo in an alt.country style, this is a far more approachable piece than perhaps anything Rezanejad has released before. The voice that follows is shot through with a raw balladic quality.

“Love without trust is a river without water”, she sings, “so don’t leave me”. In a sense, this is old in style and emotion, made new; an artist seeking a brave new front in more antiquated fashions. According to Rezanejad herself, the album was taken from “small scores, bits of stage direction, with performances special to each…” As this suggests, there is the hint of something slightly off-the-cuff to ‘Half The Shore’, not least in the vocalising that teems through the track’s instrumentation like sunlight through mist, around the 2 minute 40 mark. That said, and despite a sensibility that it is perhaps more organic than many of the songs on Rezanejad’s previous LPs, there is still a story being told here, and this is still a soundtrack, of sorts. “I lost someone very dear to me at the time” says Soho Rezanejad of the creation of Perform and Surrender, “All things…resembled a testimony of life and death”. 

An album that is bathed in the rumination that follows loss, ‘Half The Shore’ is one of two tracks that prominently feature strings – the other is the preceding track, ‘Absence’, a violin-led elegy – and both sit at the album’s centre. Nature too, is hidden in spaces within the tracks: the songs of birds appear just at the close of ‘Half The Shore’ as it segues into ‘Hera’, for one example, quite literally dovetailing with but also acting in optimistic opposition to the album’s recurring aspect of mourning.

And what of that title too, just what is ‘Half The Shore’. Evoking images of cliffs crumbling and land being part-swallowed by the sea, the cataclysm that is ongoing but not completed. And yet in the phrase too is optimism – a sense of returning to land, a glimpse of something firm to come back to. You get the impression that, with Soho Rezanejad, there are no obvious or easy answers.

 

Perform And Surrender, the upcoming album from Soho Rezanejad, is out 4th December via Silicone Records.

John McGovern
@etinsuburbiaego

Track Of The Day: Gold Baby – ‘Versailles’

In these challenging and chaotic times, Gold Baby’s latest single, ‘Versailles’, is soothing listening. The lush guitars and swooning melodies wash over you, like someone reassuringly stroking your hair or whispering in your ear, as front-person Siân Alex reflects on the emotional distance growing between two people. 

Mourning the loss of a deep connection, ‘Versailles’ feels particularly relevant at a time where many of us are missing our loved ones. Siân Alex’s soft, almost ethereal voice has a real sadness; a sense of longing and loneliness as she sings “What are we but strangers now, forcing conversation?”

Following the postponement of recording their debut EP, the band say that the song gave them “a creative thread connecting us from our separate bunkers during those weird, long and shitty lockdown months”. And, despite the various elements of this being recorded separately, it all comes together beautifully to create a rich, lush slice of melancholy dream pop. It’s something really special.

 

‘Versailles’ is out now.  It’s taken from Gold Baby’s debut EP, set for release in early 2021.

Vic Conway

Photo Credit: Keira-Anee Photography

Track Of The Day: Poppy Ajudha – ‘Watermelon Man (Under The Sun)’

A charming, empowering re-work of American pianist Herbie Hancock’s original tune, vocalist Poppy Ajudha has shared her version of ‘Watermelon Man’ as part of the Blue Note Re:imagined project. Bringing together the label’s musical past and future, the project features contributions from internationally acclaimed jazz, soul and R&B acts.

“Herbie’s ‘Watermelon Man’ was my first thought when asked to imagine a track from the Blue Note catalogue,” explains Ajudha. “It’s an iconic song and one that has been with me throughout my life. I based the lyrics on my research of Watermelon Men in America, aiming to capture what it may have been like to be a black man in America at that time – newly emancipated but still heavily oppressed – and the race relations that had brought him to this point.”

Through empathetic lyricism and effortless vocal delivery, Ajudha reminds listeners a “change is gonna come, don’t give up on yourself, don’t give yourself away”. In the accompanying video for the track, she continues to celebrate blackness and the strength of the black community by working with an entirely black and mixed-race team.

“I wanted the video for Watermelon Man to be a celebration of blackness in all its forms, I wanted it to show joy and community,” Ajudha explains. “I cast my sisters, my best friends, and my grandma amongst all of the other beautiful souls. It was a really special video for me, and the team captured this vision incredibly. The feeling was unspoken because they just knew what I wanted and why it was important, they felt it too, I’m so happy with how it turned out.”

Watch the video for ‘Watermelon Man (Under The Sun)’ below.

Follow Poppy Ajudha on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify & Twitter for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Scarlet – ‘Bring Me Down’

Having received acclaim from the likes of 6Music and Radio 1, Scarlet have previously captured our ears’ attention with their last single ‘Friends’, which was accompanied by a heartwarming, lockdown-made video featuring friends of the band. Now, they’re back with a frenzied new offering.

Propelled by a fierce unrelenting energy as impassioned vocals and catchy punk-pop hooks race throughout, ‘Bring Me Down’ offers a vibrant burst of life with a raging spirit. Of the track, front woman Jessie Robinson explains:

It’s about constantly being treated like a mug. Being underestimated and held back by people that should be working with you. It’s about not being taken seriously, realising it, and setting yourself free.

 

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Asupremeshot