Premiere: Hannah Schneider – ‘Mirror Sphere’

Having been big fans of Danish duo AyOwA for some time now, especially since they played for us at Notting Hill Arts Club a few years back, we were extremely pleased to hear that vocalist Hannah Schneider has now shared a poignant solo offering, taken from her upcoming album Ocean Letters.

A reflection on life’s beginnings and the emergence of being, ‘Mirror Sphere’ builds with a simmering emotion to a captivating soundscape. Oozing a spellbinding allure, it showcases Schneider’s rich, stirring vocals with a twinkling simplicity. Whilst more stripped back than we’ve come to expect from AyOwA, this solo venture maintains all the glistening majestic splendour and cinematic grace that we associate with Schneider, with an added immersive intimacy and delicate sense of vulnerability. A truly exquisite and enchanting hybrid of sounds.

Of the track, Schneider explains:

“’Mirror Sphere’ was written in the middle of a complete lockdown during the pandemic. It felt like it was a crucial moment in history – almost as if it was the end of it all. I came to think of the earth’s long history, and that everything happens over billions of years – all the way back from the time the amoebas decided to go ashore, to become animals and later humans. We’re just part of the long haul, and that’s kind of a consolation!

This time of isolation and complete quiet sent me back to something basic. A nearness and a simplicity. Creatively, for me it meant going back to where the music started for me – at the piano. Mirror Sphere mixes the acoustic sound of my piano and guitar with electronic and spherical elements into an ambient pop song. The production has been turned down, the vocals are done in one take, and these new songs reflect a new process for me in many ways…

Created in collaboration with producer Nicolai Kornerup, ‘Mirror Sphere’ is out tomorrow, 25th February, via Copenhagen label Midnight Confessions.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Premiere: AyOwA – ‘Is It You Love?’

Following previous releases such as ‘First Frost’ and ‘Alt Det Du Ku’, and having charmed us with the hypnotic beauty of their live set at Notting Hill Arts Club last year, Danish duo AyOwA have now announced the release of a new album, set for release this Autumn.

Taken from the upcoming album, ‘Is It You Love?’ offers a mysterious longing for something that once was. A swirling, evocative soundscape, twinkling keys flow as throbbing beats provide the backdrop for Hannah Schneider’s soaring, rich vocals. Creating an ethereal slice of intoxicating electro-pop, ‘Is It You Love’ oozes a stirring, majestic splendour, immersing the listener completely in its smooth, cinematic grace.

Listen to ‘Is It You Love?’ on Spotify now, and watch the poignant new video for here:

Amoeba, the upcoming new album from AyOwA, is set for release this Autumn.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Photo Credit: Emma Silke

PLAYLIST: February 2020

We made it through January everyone! That achievement alone deserves a shiny new playlist. We’ve put together a list of brand new music to help you celebrate. As February is also LGBT History month, we’ve included a few tracks from some of our favourite LGBT artists in the list too. Take some time to scroll through our choices below, and make sure you hit play on the Spotify playlist at the end of the page.

 

Wilsen – ‘Feeling Fancy’
I cannot get this song from Brooklyn-based trio Wilsen out of my head! It’s a shimmering guitar ode to the softly spoken, celebrating introversion and inherent shyness. It’s taken from their upcoming album Ruiner, which is set for release on 21st February via Dalliance Recordings. (Kate Crudgington)

Bronski Beat – ‘Smalltown Boy’
British synth-pop band Bronski Beat released this classic single in 1984. Whilst on the surface, ‘Smalltown Boy’ is a catchy anthem that easily fills a dance floor, lyrically it tells the story of a young gay man struggling to come to terms with his sexual identity, and his place in the world. (GIHE)

Piney Gir – ‘Puppy Love’
The latest single from the Kansas-born London-based artist, ‘Puppy Love’ reflects on the bittersweet nature of love; both the simple, overpowering desire of first love, and then the ‘black dog’ – a common metaphor for depression and its all consuming nature. Glistening with twinkling hooks and sweeping harmonies, it’s a poignant and infectious offering. Of the track, Piney explains: Everyone feels the darkness sometimes, so I’m singing about it. It’s a thin line between Puppy Love and The Black Dog; both can be all consuming and agonising and at times euphoric, manic even.We cannot wait to catch Piney Gir headline for us on 14th February, at The Finsbury (event info here). She’ll be playing along with Grawlix, Captain Handsome and I Am Her – and all for free! (Mari Lane)

Cold Beat – ‘Prism’
San Francisco band Cold Beat, fronted by Hannah Lew from Grass Widow, have announced details of their forthcoming album Mother, out 28th February via DFA Records, and this is their first single lifted from it. It’s the sort of music I could plug into my ears whilst staring at the fast moving world outside of a train carriage. The world slowly speeding by. (Tash Walker)

Ghum – ‘California’
The new one from total faves Ghum, ‘California’ oozes an eerie, reverb-strewn atmosphere as the distinctive sultry power of Laura Gue Lo’s vocals flow. A grunge-inspired anthem for our times showcasing the unique beguiling allure of this band who just keep getting better. Of the track, Laura explains: “The song talks about a love story that was condemned to end badly. The hope and love that both had at the beginning is represented by the idea of running away to California”. (ML)

Indian Queens – ‘Bubblewrap’ 
A beguiling lament about the state of the planet, London three-piece Indian Queens have shared their latest single, ‘Bubble Wrap’. The track is lifted from their upcoming debut album God Is A Woman, which is set to be released via Cool Thing Records later this year. (KC)

Amaroun – ‘Perish’ 
‘Perish’ is the latest track from previous guest on our radio show Amaroun, and I completely love it. The beats, the vocals, the stripped back simplicity – sublime. Amaroun talks about the themes she evokes in her music which consistently touch on her journey of being a black queer woman, overcoming struggles with sexuality, and the importance of emotional honesty in music. In Amaroun’s words, “this track is an autobiographical reintroduction of myself”. I can’t and don’t want to stop listening. All the latest music from Amaroun will be showcased at the listening party at the CLF cafe Peckham Rye, on 13th Feb. (TW)

ALA.NI – ‘Papa’
I love this latest track from ALA.NI. ‘Papa’ is taken from her recently released self-produced album, ACCA. The whole thing is almost entirely acapella and just beautiful. ALA.NI originally trained as a dancer, but was told that as a person of colour she would never make it as a professional ballerina. Her latest album is a powerful vision of modern womanhood. It’s an unflinching account of pain, anger, sadness, and growth. Check it out now. (TW)

AyOwA – ‘First Frost’
The new single from the Danish duo, ‘First Frost’ is told from the perspective of a couple who have spent their whole life together and are now setting out into the winter to disappear as one. With its swirling synths and the beguiling haunting power of Hannah Schneider’s vocals, it’s a beautiful, shimmering cinematic soundscape. Amoeba, the upcoming debut album from AyOwA, is set for release in September this year. (ML)

JFDR – ‘Shimmer’
This beautiful new track from Icelandic multi-instrumentalist JFDR is about “loving someone who is a bit broken”. It’s lifted from her second album New Dreams, which is set for release on 13th March via White Sun Recording. (KC)

Girl In Red – ‘Kate’s Not Here’
I have no shame admitting I was drawn to Norwegian artist Girl In Red’s new track because a) it has my first name in it, and b) I wear a red coat. It’s lifted from the official film soundtrack for The Turning, directed by Floria Sigismondi (The Runaways, Handmaid’s Tale), which is in UK cinemas now. (KC)

Nuala Honan – ‘Slow Down’
‘Slow Down’ is the first single of 2020 for Bristol-based Nuala Honan and it’s a cracker. Driven by post-punk rawness but with delicate vocals and pounding drums when needed most. It’s a taste of what’s to come from her upcoming second LP, which follows a spell of personal recuperation and sonic evolutions. Loving it. (TW)

Otta – ‘Near Enough A Woman’
I can’t get enough of Otta right now. Their new music is just seeping so perfectly into my ears, it’s what I’ve been craving for so long, but I just didn’t realise. This is one of their latest singles taken from the freshly released debut EP, After It All Blew Over, which is sublime. the perfect combination and concoction of electronic, UK jazz, new soul and RnB. (TW)

Clare Kelly – ‘Less Alone’ 
The tone in Clare Kelly’s voice totally blew me away, so rich and full of emotion, it really sings so beautifully on this song ‘Less Alone’. Describing her sound as “alt-folk mermaid music”, Kelly can firmly consider herself having a new firm fan. Really looking forward to hearing more of where this came from. (TW)

Jackie Shane – ‘Any Other Way’
We’ve played Canadian soul-singer Jackie Shane multiple times on the GIHE radio show, and we’re including her again here because of LGBT History month. Jackie was a pioneer for transgender rights in the 60s & 70s, a time when being your true self was not always welcomed, or accepted. (GIHE)

Pom Pom Squad – ‘Cellophane’ (FKA Twigs cover) 
A stirring, grunge-inspired take on one of 2019’s most popular tracks, this is Brooklyn indie-punks’ Pom Pom Squad’s cover of FKA Twigs’ single ‘Cellophane’. The band have treated Twigs’ material graciously, and frontwoman Mia Berrin’s vocals are as poignant as those on the original recording. (KC)

Half Waif – ‘Ordinary Talk’
The new single from Hudson Valley-based Nandi Rose, aka Half Waif, ‘Ordinary Talk’ is a reflection on coming to accept and find the beauty in being like everyone else. A truly spellbinding slice of poignant alt-pop, it’s filled with captivating glitchy hooks and the raw emotion of Rose’s rich soulful vocals, reminding me of later Radiohead, which is no bad thing. The Caretaker, the new album from Half Waif, is out 27th March via ANTI records. (ML)

Hilary Woods – ‘Tongues Of Wild Boar’ 
A shadowy, captivating exploration of intense discomfort; Sacred Bones signee Hilary Woods has shared this track, lifted from her upcoming album Birthmarks, due on 13th March. Though quiet in terms of volume, Woods’ new single is a fleshy, charged offering that allows her the space to navigate “emotionally charged states” at a pace suited to her. (KC)

Planningtorock – ‘Beulah Loves Dancing’
Planningtorock is one of GIHE’s fave artists, and they’re one of our fave LGBT artists too. LGBT History month feels like the perfect time to give them a spin again. This track is all about their sister, Beulah, and her love of house music. (GIHE)

Premiere: AyOwA – ‘First Frost’

Following infectious offerings such as ‘Alt Det Du Ku’ and 2018’s EP Farvel, and support from the likes of BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music, our favourite Danish duo are back with an evocative new single, ahead of their upcoming debut album.

Told from the perspective of a couple who have spent their whole life together and are now setting out into the winter to disappear as one, ‘First Frost’ flows with AyOwA’s distinctive swirling synths and the beguiling haunting power of Hannah Schneider’s vocals. A shimmering, cinematic soundscape, it’s an utterly captivating reflection on lasting love and the strength of togetherness.

Listen to ‘First Frost’ for the first time here:

 

‘First Frost’ is out tomorrow, 31st January, and Amoeba, the upcoming debut album from AyOwA, is set for release in September this year.

Mari Lane
@marimindles