LIVE: Kælan Mikla – Electrowerkz, London 19.02.19

Having been hand selected by The Cure’s Robert Smith to support Placebo at Southbank’s Meltdown Festival in the summer of 2018, it was no surprise to see Icelandic darkwave trio Kælan Mikla perform to a near capacity crowd at Electrowerkz on Wednesday night.

Presented by Bad Vibrations, the evening began with a performance from newcomer Some Ember (aka Dylan Travis). Clad in a silver shirt and metallic make-up, Travis shared his classic 808, Cold Cave-esque sounds with energy and enthusiasm, before Kælan Mikla took to the stage to deliver a set full of brooding electronic dissonance.

Together, Sólveig Matthildur (synths/keys), Laufey Soffía (vocals) and Margrét Rósa (bass) created a coven-esque atmosphere with their layered drum beats, pulverizing synths, powerful vocal delivery – and a burning stick of incense held by lead vocalist Laufey. A mix of spoken word, angsty screams and extended notes, Laufey’s voice echoed around the venue with poetic prowess. Singing in her native Icelandic tongue, the mood of each of Kælan Mikla’s songs translated clearly – whether listeners were fluent in the language or not.

Despite their darkwave roots, the trio’s live delivery had a gentle pop energy, aided by their animated movements and a colourful light show. Whilst their performance was still haunting and immersive, the chemistry between Matthildur, Soffía and Rósa clearly lightened the mood. After returning for a brief encore – Laufey with incense in hand again – the band left the stage to the sound of rapturous and appreciative applause. A bewitching, indulgent live experience: Kælan Mikla’s set is a beguiling blur of post-punk, gothic noise that ensnares the senses.

Follow Kælan Mikla on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Adia Victoria – ‘The Needle’s Eye’

An atmospheric, introspective exploration of personal exile; Adia Victoria‘s latest single ‘The Needle’s Eye’ is a slow-burning confrontation between one woman and her anxieties. The track is taken from her forthcoming album Silences, set to be released on 22nd February via Canvasback.

Two years after the release of her debut LP Beyond the Bloodhounds and after an extended period on tour and in the spotlight, Victoria turned her vision inward. She explains: “I found when I went back home that the thing that disturbed me the most was the lack of activity. Having to deal with myself once again on an intimate level.” Reading and literature helped her counteract this feeling of discomfort, and tracks like ‘The Needle’s Eye’ are the result of this honest period of soul-searching.

Speaking about the new single, Victoria explains: “I decided to look my fears head on – fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown. I understood that hitherto that moment, I had been avoiding all the small terrors tugging at my heart. ‘The Needle’s Eye’ is the result of allowing all the exiled parts of myself their due, to dance with warring drums. To allow every part of myself to be seen, felt, and heard.”

If the rest of Silences – which was produced by The National’s Aaron Dessner – is as poignant and intriguing as ‘The Needle’s Eye’, then 2019 is set to be a successful year for Adia Victoria. Listen to the new track below and follow her on Facebook for more updates.

Adia Victoria European Tour Dates 2019

23rd March – Paris, France – Le Pop Up du Label
24th March – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Cinetol
26th March – Berlin, Germany – Auster Club
27th March – Hamburg, Germany – Nochtspeicher
28th March – Cologne, Germany- Artheater
29th March – Antwerp, Belgium – De Roma (Foyer)
2nd April – London, UK – Electrowerkz

Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Nik Void (supporting Gum Takes Tooth) – Electrowerkz 25.01.19

Surrounded by smoke and bathed in flickering coloured lights, Nik Void gave a masterclass in how to perform electronic music solo at Electrowerkz on Friday night. Supporting duo Gum Takes Tooth at their album launch for Baba Yaga’s Hut; Void’s obscure but intriguing soundscapes infiltrated the heads of her large crowd.

Positioned behind a desk overflowing with wires and synths, Void skillfully tuned and triggered her equipment, creating intense waves of experimental electronic noise. Many will be aware of Void’s history as one half of Factory Floor, and as one third of Carter Tutti Void, alongside Cosey Fanni Tutti and Chris Carter (Throbbing Gristle/Chris & Cosey) – but even without an understanding of her previous work, Void’s solo set is a truly remarkable experience.

The transitions between tracks are seamless, despite Void being open to “the creation of space for ‘mistakes’” in her music. The mood and tone are constantly in flux; sometimes droney and desolate, other times euphoric and uplifting. Despite her laid-back performance style, it’s easy to see that Void is a woman who is entirely immersed and in control of the jungle of wires that surround her. She moves with ease between synthesizers, making her technical set-up look like it requires minimal effort to manipulate.

There is something transformative about her sound; she communicates complex emotions in unconventional ways with only a few voice samples. She blends elements of techno, ambient, avant-garde and noise into a truly stunning performance, which is made all the more intense by the venue it’s set in. Track names and timings become unnecessary, as Void’s electronic craft-work eludes any kind of labeling or conventional measures/restraint.

At the end of her set, Void graciously bowed her head to the appreciative applause directed her way. Whether you’re a loyal follower or a new addition to the fan club, Nik Void’s live set is definitely going to appeal to anyone interested in diverse, original electronic music.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

LIVE: Sextile – Electrowerkz, London 18.09.18

Beneath the flashing lights and amidst the smoke machines of London’s Electrowerkz, Sextile brought their brand of manic ‘Disco’ to town on Wednesday night. The L.A. band celebrated the release of their new EP with a set full of pounding beats, wailing guitars and glitchy synths.

Greeted by a loyal and energetic crowd, drummer Melissa Scaduto and guitarist & vocalist Brady Keehn bounced around the stage for the duration of their gig. Joined by a brilliant, blue-haired multi-instrumentalist for their live shows, the trio played with an energy that matched their manic synth textures.

Front-man Brady jolted back and forth across the stage, delivering his delayed vocals with care-free aplomb. His movements were mimicked by the crowd who fed from his jagged energy – which amped up each time he played guitar throughout the set – whilst Melissa kept things steady with her relentless drum beats.

The aptly named ‘Mental’ taken from the band’s 2017 album Albeit Living, and new track ‘Spun’ (taken from 3) were highlights in a set that included tracks from both releases. The trio barely paused for breath between songs, and closed the night covered in sweat to the sound of rapturous applause. Sextile’s sound was built for venues like Electrowerkz, and with the help of support act Numb.ers – they electrified their crowd on Wednesday night.

(Support came from Numb.er)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut