ALBUM: Elsa Hewitt – ‘LUPA’

A captivating reflection on her own thought processes and an extended hand to those who are seeking a similar internal transformation, London-based experimental artist & producer Elsa Hewitt has shared her new album LUPA. Following on from her 2020 EP Ghostcats, the record shimmers with more of Hewitt’s magnetic synth loops and soft vocals, showcasing her truly eccentric spirit across nine fluid soundscapes.

“2020 forced me to look at myself on the inside and it helped me let go of some things and turn around negative patterns and understand how your thoughts and mind influence the way you feel,” Hewitt explains, echoing a sentiment many will be familiar with. For Hewitt though, this process of dismantling her own psyche began earlier in 2019 when she was asked to write a song in response to suicide, having lost a number of friends the same way. She confronted her own experiences of anxiety and depression in the process and channelled them into the ambient, reassuring sounds that form the backbone of LUPA.

“It was a long progression and a lot of other things had to happen at the same time and it really made me face things within myself that I hadn’t been willing to face before,” she confesses about the record’s conception. This compassionate nature permeates Hewitt’s album. Her reluctance to face these difficult emotions dissolves over the course of each track, soothing the stings of loss and confusion that informed them. As with many of her previous recordings, she improvised her way through vocals and synth textures on LUPA, often recording things in one continuous take. This method gives her music a lucid, dream-like quality, dipping in and out of consciousness but remaining rooted in the joy of the moment.

Her talent for reflecting mood fluctuations via breathy vocals and magnetic loops feels effortless, with ‘Howl’, ‘Lavender’ and ‘Squirrelx’ being prime examples of these skilled shifts – her delicate vocal delivery ripples with genuine emotion, underscored by ethereal electronics and tentative beats. Hewitt’s playful side emerges on ‘Car In The Sun’, ‘Inhaler’ and ‘Fuzzy Duck’, but these tracks are usually followed up with sentiments like the ones on ‘IFM’, which are underscored by compassion and a tender desire to absolve anxious thoughts.

On LUPA, Hewitt has constructed a woozy, poetic sublime headrush of comforting electronic sound that provides a pleasant distraction from the overwhelming nature of the world right now.

Follow Elsa Hewitt on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Maria BC – ‘Adelaide’

An ambient reflection on disconnecting from the world before finding your way back to it again, Brooklyn-based musician Maria BC has shared their debut single ‘Adelaide’. Taken from their upcoming EP Devil’s Rain, which is set for release on 5th February 2021 via Fear of Missing Out Records, the track is a blissful, lo-fi meditation on breaking introverted thought cycles.

“A friend of mine used to work as a museum guard,” Maria explains about the inspiration behind their new single. “Guests would almost never ask her questions, so she had a lot of downtime. She would spend hours building ‘memory palaces’ which are a mnemonic device that have helped some people to achieve total autobiographical recall. My friend would spend six, seven hours a day making these palaces. When she told me about this, another friend of mine said, ‘Aren’t you worried about getting lost in your interiority?’ And I thought, ‘damn, that’s so true’. I’ve seen that happen to so many people. It’s happened to me many times — this feeling that I’m stuck in the architecture of my own ego. ‘Adelaide’ isn’t about my museum guard friend — it’s a song addressed to a depressed version of myself, or someone who needs a hand to pull them back into the social world.”

Maria’s metaphorical hand is extended via soft guitar sounds and hushed vocals on the single. “I don’t want to tell you this,” Maria tentatively remarks before carefully unfolding their thoughts over four minutes of ambient sounds. Recorded in Maria’s apartment through April and May of 2020, ‘Adelaide’ is an intimate, soothing offering and a revealing insight into what’s to come from this talented emerging artist in 2021.

Listen to ‘Adelaide’ below.

Follow Maria BC on bandcamp, Spotify, Instagram, Twitter & Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Sergio Gutierrez

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: anrimeal

“I never gave gender much thought before this album,” Porto-born, London-based artist anrimeal explains about her new release, Could Divine. Described as a “computer folk” record exploring the use of texture, limitation and repetition, anrimeal’s new record is inspired by the work of Eva Hesse and other women artists who pioneered the post-minimalism movement.

“I’d always felt alienated by concepts of womanhood, especially the notion that women exist under nature’s control,” anrimeal continues. “[But] seeing women use nature at the forefront of their work, not afraid to create art that could be seen as messy or dirty helped me reconcile those feelings, and motivated me to explore the less conventionally beautiful side of things.” Written, performed, mixed and mastered by anrimeal from home, Could Divine is a beautiful insight into the mind of a flourishing new artist.

We think one of the best ways to get to know an artist is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with anrimeal to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired her song-writing techniques. Speaking about her choices, anrimeal explains: “These are far from deep cuts, but really albums that not only do I know front to back, but also signposted some or other pivotal moments in my life.”

Check out her favourite albums below and scroll down to listen to anrimeal’s latest single ‘Encaustic Witches’ at the end of this post. You can also catch anrimeal and her musical collaborator Freda D’Souza performing a live improv session from home on Youtube at 6pm tonight. (Link here)

 

1. James Blake – James Blake
I remember buying this album on CD when i was 17 and spending entire days during Easter break lying down in my bedroom, looking at the ceiling and just listening. I think it was my first proper introduction to ambience in music, to a sound landscape that was as rich as the actual songwriting. And one of those things I just couldn’t unlisten. From then on, texture became the most important thing to me in music, a language of its own. There was something so personal about the sonic world James built in this album. I don’t think I’d been exposed to a truly DIY record before this one, and it really changed my perception of music as a medium, and ended up informing the way I like to create music today.

2. Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat
Liz Harris, I mean – her music changed my life. Listening to The Man Who Died In His Boat for the first time was like being shown the inside of my brain. The album was sent to me along with Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs with a message of this sort “if you like delay, then you might like these”. This was an even deeper dive into ambient music, and maybe the first time I felt like I could fully relate to what an artist was trying to put out. There’s a dark gentleness in her records, that I’ve only ever felt with music made by women. A kind of understated submerged darkness that is constant and calm. Not depressing nor effusive, just constant.

3. Animal Collective – Sung Tongs
Animal Collective!!!! Field recordings, adaptations of the aesthetics and energy of traditional music, beautifully poetic but slightly absurd lyrics, moments of chaos and of quiet introspection. Seriously, what does this album not have? I can’t say Sung Tongs reflects me exactly, but I think it showed me a side of life that I wasn’t very familiar with before. Having been educated in a strict classical music setting, I needed Animal Collective to show me that there was a fun side to music after all. The clouds opened to the sun like eyelids, and I owe it to this album. I’ve since become a devoted fan of Avey Tare’s catalogue, and I carry this upbeat and earthy world very dearly with me, as a kind of companion.

4. Kanye West – Yeezus
I was so arrested by this album, the first time I listened to it I was petrified and started sweating. It was completely different from anything I’d ever listened to before, it was so bold and genre-bending. I think I use this record a lot to remind me that I can do anything I want with my music. I very much appreciate Kanye’s commitment to art and unhindered self-expression.

5. Sufjan Stevens – Age Of Adz
Even though I was a fan of Sufjan for a long time, Age Of Adz was definitely an acquired taste, an album that sunk in really slowly with time. Again, it’s such a bold piece of work, so well crafted that its existence almost seems impossible to me. There are almost no words to describe this album, maybe just to say that it is a testament to true passion for the art of songwriting. If anything, Sufjan’s music makes me want to experience life with more care, so that I can find his detail in my own reality.

Thanks to anrimeal for sharing her favourites with us.
Listen to her new single ‘Encaustic Witches’ below.

Follow anrimeal on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Facebook & Instagram for more updates.

LISTEN: Elaine Malone – ‘You’ (1000 Beasts Remix)

A captivating, blissfully lo-fi new offering from two of Cork’s freshest talents, songwriter & multi-instrumentalist Elaine Malone and electronic artist & producer 1000 Beasts have shared ‘You’, a re-working of Malone’s debut single.

Led by Malone’s original beguiling vocals and lullaby-esque lyrics, 1000 Beasts has tentatively transformed the track with his distinctive percussion and reharmonizing of each verse, and the result is a magnetic soundscape that acts as an aural tonic for testing times.

“I first discovered ‘You’ way back in 2018, when Elaine first released it ahead of her debut EP Land,” 1000 Beasts explains. “It always struck a chord with me so I reached out to Elaine to see if I could get my hands on the stems and experiment with the track. Thankfully she agreed & then Covid came along and finally gave me the time and the opportunity to sit down and give the piece the attention it deserves – it’s probably one of my favourite remixes to date.”

Listen to 1000 Beasts remix of Elaine Malone’s ‘You’ below.

 

Follow Elaine Malone on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, InstagramSpotify.

Follow 1000 Beasts on BandcampFacebookTwitter, InstagramSpotify.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut