Track Of The Day: A.A. Williams – ‘The Echo’

A heavy lament that explores the push-and-pull relationship between the heart and the head, London-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist A.A. Williams has shared her latest single ‘The Echo’. Taken from her upcoming second album, As The Moon Rests, which is set for release on 7th October via Bella Union, the track is a powerful blend of Williams’ bittersweet vocals and trademark cathartic drop ins.

“’The Echo’ is a dialogue between a person’s heart and the head,” Williams explains about her new single. “the head [is] trying to persuade the heart that what they need is to take time for themselves and prioritise their own well-being, not seek verification of one’s worth through their relationships with others.”

Originally named ‘Forever Blue’ – which is also the title of her debut album – Williams’ has re-worked ‘The Echo’ into a song of “yearning, sorrow and beauty.” These sentiments are reflected in the track’s accompanying video, directed by Fraser West. The visuals follow a young man on his journey through London during the night, encountering strangers and seeking connection in unexpected places.

Following on from her previous singles ‘Evaporate’ and ‘Golden’, ‘The Echo’ continues to spotlight Williams’ intuitive talent for creating captivating, enthralling music. She will be performing tracks from her upcoming album As The Moon Rests with her band and a full string quartet at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall this Saturday (17th September). You can grab a ticket here.

Watch the video for ‘The Echo’ below.

A.A. Williams’ UK Tour Dates 2022
Saturday 17th September – London – Queen Elizabeth Hall
Saturday 12th November – Glasgow – The Great Eastern
Sunday 13th November – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
Monday 14th November – Milton Keynes – Craufurd Arms
Tuesday 15th November – Birmingham – Hare & Hounds
Wednesday 16th November – Cardiff – Clwb Ifor Bach
Thursday 17th November – Falmouth – The Cornish Bank
Friday 18th November – Bristol – Thekla

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Photo Credit: Thomas Williams

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: AGAAMA – ‘Sarehole Mill’

A captivating blend of hypnotic vocals, experimental instrumentation and altruistic beats, Birmingham-based artist, composer, vocalist and producer AGAAMA has shared her latest single ‘Sarehole Mill’. Taken from her upcoming EP Wandering Worlds, which is set for release on 15th September via The state51 Conspiracy, the track is a warm musing on the importance of spaces that nurture creativity and humility.

“‘Sarehole Mill’ is about places and people that ground us,” AGAAMA explains about the context of her new single. “We all have these spaces and these people. I hope that when people listen to the track (even though they may not know what or where Sarehole Mill is), that it makes them feel nostalgia, safety, fondness and love and makes them think about being in their own city savannah with their mates.”

Exploring this notion through her atmospheric electronics and cinematic orchestral horn arrangements, AGAAMA creates a palpable atmosphere of contentedness, soothing listeners with her jazz-inspired vocals. Her eclectic sounds stem from a childhood rich with varied musical experiences. Growing up in a British-Jamaican household, AGAAMA was influenced by the contemporary classical tastes of her Father and her Mother’s love for Sarah Vaughan and Quincy Jones. She sang in Church on Sundays and studied classical trombone as a teenager, but she also spent her weekends raving to UK bass music and writhing in the mosh pit at metal gigs. This glorious array of musical experiences have all informed her work as AGAAMA, making her sounds as vast and altruistic as her collective memories.

Her upcoming EP, Wandering Worlds, reflects this kaleidoscopic musical vision perfectly, whilst also tapping into something darker. “I grew up listening to a lot of angsty, heavy music – metal, dubstep, prog rock and bass music. I wanted to make something where you could explore angst and frustration,” AGAAMA explains. “I found that having a space to release angst within music was healthy and helpful on my path toward healing. I really wanted to incorporate this brooding, meditative, almost primal thing that hooked me into music. At the time of making the record, I lost complete interest in beautiful sounds and music. I was craving something darker.”

Listen to ‘Sarehole Mill’ below.

 

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AGAAMA UK Tour Dates 2022
19th August – London, Shacklewell Arms (with Muna Ileiwa)
22nd September – London, Hootenanny (with Jack Tyson Charles)
29th September – (EP Launch) London, state51 Factory
3rd October – Birmingham, The Night Owl

Photo Credit: Lucy Feng

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Maria BC – ‘The Only Thing’

A gentle musing on relinquishing yourself to the feeling of being in love again and having that feeling reciprocated, Maria BC has shared their latest single ‘The Only Thing’. Taken from their debut album Hyaline, which is set for release on 27th May, the track is a disarming, tender reflection on the serenity that sets in once you are fully “seen” by your partner in a new relationship.

Following on from their dreamy debut EP Devil’s Rain (2021), on Hylaine, Maria BC has created another tender collection of songs that “Let the world wash over you…rather than trying to pin it to one single thing.” This immersive quality is captured beautifully on ‘The Only Thing’, through Maria’s tentative guitar picks, atmospheric beats and soothing vocals.

“The track is about allowing yourself to be seen fully by another person. When you find they aren’t afraid, you realise you shouldn’t be either,” Maria explains about their new single. “It took me a bunch of tries to finish the arrangement for this one. It felt too sparse, while the song is about that full, effervescent, sun-is-coming-up feeling of new love. I spent several weeks adding parts and scrapping them — you know, getting nowhere. Then, at some point, I realised the refrain of another song I was working on had the same chord progression as ‘The Only Thing’ refrain. I turned that into a kind of counter-melody, Liz Fraser style, and I think it tied the whole thing together.”

The new track is accompanied by a beautiful video, shot by Olivia Q. Pintair and choreographed and Performed by C Green. Watch it below.

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Photo Credit: Ulysses Ortega

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

FIVE FAVOURITES: Sea Change

Equally as inspired by the club music of LA and Berlin as she is by her quieter coastal surroundings in Kristiansand in Norway, Ellen Sunde aka SEA CHANGE’s sounds ebb and flow with a tranquil, yet deeply primal desire to move through a feeling that sometimes escapes written articulation. Her electronica ripples with emotion, but without every feeling weighty or over-thought, reflecting the way she feels about music in general. She’s set to release her new album, Mutual Dreaming, on 11th February via Shapes Recordings.

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 SEA CHANGE to ask about her “Five Favourites” – five songs that have inspired her song-writing techniques and informed her new album. Check out her choices below and scroll down to watch her video for her latest single ‘I Put My Hand Into A Fist’ at the end of this post.

 

1. Aurora Halal – ‘Death Of Real’
Aurora Halal is an amazing techno producer, I’m just totally mesmerized by her productions. This particular track is more mellow, but it’s one of my favorites. I’ve recently been re-watching some videos of her hardware live sets. Wow! A total inspiration. Her music is super sensual and dreamy and has this dark psychedelic and shadowy vibe, and at the same time it’s also danceable. This combination was also something I tried to achieve on my album. She releases on her own label called Mutual Dreaming and, well, guess where I took my album name from? Just a little homage from me there.

2. Lövgren – ‘Power Surge’
Around the time I was producing Mutual Dreaming in my home studio, my friend Lövgren was finishing up his debut album, and his Burial inspired ambient made me realize I wanted to do more ambient textures in my music. I think his combination of hard hitting beats with manipulated vocal samples and textures is amazing. This was the first time I heard his music and I was totally blown away. It’s always really cool to be inspired by friends, it makes you try to reach even higher yourself. This track and the whole album is an amazing hidden gem that more people should listen to.

3. Julee Cruise – ‘Mysteries Of Love’
I was late to the party to watch the last Twin Peaks season, but when I finally did I got this total new fascination for Julee Cruise and her floaty voice over dreamy ambient. So then I had to re-watch Blue Velvet where this song is featured as well. Julee Cruise gives me a very strange and weird vibe – it’s almost too dreamy – I don’t even know how to explain it, but I guess that’s why it works so well cinematically in these films. This song was a very direct inspiration for the tracks ‘Mirages’ and ‘Mutual Dreaming’. I guess I sometimes can be a little afraid of singing too prettily over a beautiful instrumental track. Always a bit afraid of seeming too cute. But on ‘Mirages’ I tried to channel my inner Julee Cruise, and I kind of loved it.

4. Sassy 009 – ‘Okay’
The first time I heard Sassy 009 I was totally compelled by the ethereal feel, combined with her danceable beats. Sunniva who is the producer of Sassy 009 has a really stunning way of making her productions dreamy and experimental, but at the same time there’s several super catchy phrases in each song. It’s like all of them could be the main hook in a completely new track, but instead she spices up her song-writing with it and makes this beautiful forward thinking alternative pop of out of it. When I was looking for a mixer and co-producer for my last album INSIDE I looked everywhere for a person to work with. I tried different things out but didn’t really feel it worked. At that time Sassy 009 was a trio and released their debut EP, and I absolutely loved their vibe. I reached out to their mixer and co-producer and BAM – I found the right person to work with on INSIDE – BAYA and I also worked together on my new album Mutual Dreaming.

5. Haxan Cloak – ‘Excavation (Part 1)’
One thing that I loved about the process of producing my new album was that I felt I had the time to really go deep into learning new production styles. One thing I tried was reproducing tracks that I’m fascinated by, just to learn some new things in the process. This Haxan Cloak song was one of the tracks I tried to reproduce. Since this record came out I’ve been super fascinated by this album and especially this track. How it shifts and turns in the intensity of the production. The combination of the reverb heavy beats together with the heavy side chain makes you feel on edge the whole time. And it’s so dark and compelling that it makes me want to go into the woods and do some witchy rituals. My little copy of this track developed into its own thing and I split in two and it was actually planned to be the first and the last track on my album, but in the end I felt the first one didn’t belong there. But I kept the last part – which is called ‘Rituals’.

Thanks to Sea Change for sharing her favourites with us.

Watch the video for her latest single ‘I Put My Hand Into A Fist’ below.

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Photo credit: Simen Løvgren