INTERVIEW: ZAMILSKA

Dense, rhythmic, hypnotic beats and a fascination with levitation permeate the tracks on Polish producer ZAMILSKA‘s latest album, UNCOVERED, which is set for physical release on 19th July. Her jagged soundscapes combine techno textures and intriguing vocal samples to reflect “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”. With her enviable ability to create beats that ricochet around our skulls, we wanted to know more about ZAMILSKA. We caught up with the Producer to talk about the inspiration behind her new record, her upcoming live shows in London (The Shacklewell Arms on 2nd August & Visions Festival on 3rd August), and to find out the details of her previous collaboration with Gazelle Twin

How did you first get in to creating electronic music?
I didn’t choose this profession, it chose me. I cannot see myself doing anything else. I’ll skip the “I have always known I will deal with music” story. It’s all true but a bit of a cliche. I always wanted to be a Rockstar, play bass or drums, throw them into the audience and break them on stage. At fifteen I got my first computer. After stumbling upon Bjork’s Post album, I knew I would be making electronic music and somehow mixing in my inspirations for rock’n’roll and world music. It took many years of hard work to get here, there were moments when I didn’t have much to eat. But I am here, talking to you. Hard work pays off, and if you think something is impossible in life – maybe you just do not want it.

What’s the industrial/electronic music scene like in Poland where you’re from? Are there gig nights or venues who champion the genre?
Perhaps it will sound surprising, but I really do not part take in the “scene”. When I am home I like to stay in, enjoy the quiet. That, of course, doesn’t mean that I stay oblivious to what is happening musically in Poland. I love Resina, with all my heart – cellist, who is extremally talented. Also, I am a big fan of artists such as: Syny, Coals, and Księżyc. The Polish music scene is getting better. We just need to stop looking and trying to follow the West, create our own sound.

Your latest album UNCOVERED is about the concept of levitation. Talk us through this theme, it’s quite a unique concept.
The concept of levitation came up during the album cover design. It was as if a remaining piece of the puzzle fell in place and the entire story came together as whole. It’s about something malevolent that you want to leave your body, come out of you so you can start with a clean slate. Exorcisms, voodoo – all that is on the album. UNCOVERED is a story about cleansing, dropping weight off your shoulders. A fall with an attempt to rise. Ultimately, you do not know if the person is falling or rising.

Do you have a favourite track on the album? If so, why?
That’s a great question. I have never thought about it. When I was making the album, I had a different favorite track every day. The ending of ‘Done’ would almost make me cry. Perhaps ‘Hollow’. I’ve heard someone on the radio saying that it’s the biggest pop banger I have ever created. I like the entire album, it is a story that only makes sense as a whole. And you need to know that it is odd for me to like something in its entirety.

You’re coming over to the UK in August to play a headline show at The Shacklewell Arms. What Are your anticipations for this gig?
I am really excited to come back to London. Playing live shows is so rewarding after all the time spent in the studio. Finally, being able to perform in front of live audience. I try not to anticipate; each show is different. You can play in a large venue and something does not feel right and you can play the show of your life in front of a thirty people audience. People are most important. I really like London as a city, I’ve spent some time there. I hope people show up and enjoy the show.

You’re also going to be playing a set at Visions festival. How are you feeling about that? Any artists you’re aiming to catch on the day?
Unfortunately, I won’t be able to see anyone on the day of my show. But if you can you should see Shygirl. It is a very special show. I saw her in Poland, she is a very cheeky girl on stage.

You host your own radio show on Polish national digital radio. Talk us through what kind of music you play, and how you came to work in radio.
I was invited as a guest on one of the radio shows, we were talking about music, and I kind of took over as a host. Radio execs liked my voice and offered me my own show. However, I just resigned from hosting. I wanted to focus on my own work, with UNCOVERED coming out I didn’t want compromise the quality of the radio show. Becoming a radio host was my childhood dream, but it was getting harder to focus on my projects and sift through fifty albums weekly, in order to choose music for radio. And since I presented music from undefined electronics, from distant corners of the World, novelties and sounds of the 50’s, I couldn’t compromise, after two years, I had to resign. I’d like to return to Polish Radio, if they want me back, as soon as I settle all my present affairs.

You remixed Gazelle Twin’s track ‘Belly of the Beast’ which was featured in the ABC series How To Get Away With Murder. Talk us through the creative process for that – how did you make your mark on her already very unique sounding track? (we’re big fans so please give loads of detail)
You want the details? So you need the entire story. In 2014 my debut album Untune placed twelfth on The Quietus’ list of albums of the year. Gazelle Twin topped the chart with Unflesh. I’d never heard of her, but the title and cover got me curious. A woman charting that high – I thought that she must be wonderful, you know “girl power” – had to be noted. I instantly fell in love. I thought she was genius. Soon after a Glasgow promoter invited both of us to play and The Quietus got involved in promotion of the show – serendipity. I would finally be able to see how she really looked under the pantyhose mask. It turned out we shared a dressing room.

I was extremely nervous to meet her in person. To the point that my manager had to just usher me into the room. Elizabeth tuned out to be a wonderful woman. I admire her in every inch. She mentioned that she was releasing Unflesh remixed and offered cooperation. I asked if it would be ok if I remixed ‘Belly of the Beast’ and so it began. I never anticipated such good response to this track. In my opinion the original is brilliant, so it was very difficult to change anything. I decided not to add but rather strip it down. Kind of echoed the sound. Instead of reverb – just a hint of dirt and bass. Only a little, not to mess with the genius.

Nine Inch Nails also recommended one of your tracks on their official Spotify playlist. How did you feel about that?
NIN are the music of my youth. I admired them during every stage of their career. They were the best example of an innovative band. A combination of heavy sound with electronic, dirty hits. It is kind of as if Jesus came down from heaven. Only you never believed in God. I didn’t want this to get into my head. I suppressed it, didn’t want this to mess with my head and make me think that’s me done. You know, the idea that Nine Inch Nails know you exist!

Finally, If you had to describe your music in three words, what would they be?
Distracted and inspired by everything…

Huge thanks to ZAMILSKA for answering our questions!

Order your copy of Zamilska’s album UNCOVERED here.

ZAMILSKA UK Tour Dates 2019
02/08/19 – The Shacklewell Arms, London
03/08/19 – Visions Festival, London

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

INTERVIEW: ESYA

Performing under her new moniker ESYA, Ayşe Hassan (Savages, Kite Bass, 180dbm) has been busy crafting electronic sounds designed to delve in to the obscure and absurd nature of life. Having recently self-released her second EP titled Absurdity of ATCG (I), her trademark thunderous basslines are now fused with urgent synths and brooding vocals which captivate by their marked urgency to tell the truth.

Propelled by her desire to always be creating, her new (and older) projects are as eclectic as her influences; ranging from Gazelle Twin to Hannah Peel. We caught up with Ayşe before her headline gig at Hackney venue The Glove That Fits to talk about her new EP, her plans for the year, and what first inspired her to venture in to electronic music… 

Hello Ayşe, what are your anticipations for tonight’s ESYA gig at The Glove That Fits?

With this project, it’s brand new because it’s electronic and I’m singing, so I have slightly different concerns compared to if I was just playing bass. I just want to make sure that everything sits correctly in the mix, which is hard as I’m behind the speakers so I have to trust the sound engineer. I’m excited. I really enjoy doing something that scares me. I feel scared again – in the good way – in the fluttery way when you play in front of people and you’re nervous.

You released your first EP Absurdity Of Being last year. How does your new EP – Absurdity of Atcg, Pt. 1 – differ? What have you learned in the interim between the two releases?

The whole idea of the EPs is that they’re going to be a trio. The first one focused on the construction of the voice, which is my voice and the fact I’ve never really sang live before. This must be the fifteenth time I’ve sang live. The second EP focuses more on electronics which is also quite new to me, as I’ve had to go through this learning curve of learning how to use the equipment I have and how to make it sound good in multiple venues and spaces. The third EP is going to focus more on sounds and bass, so it’ll be a record led by bass and electronics, which I’m writing now. I write a bit every day, I’m constantly writing. The difference between the first and the second EP is that with the second one I was more focused writing the electronics. So on the vinyl I decided to put out, I didn’t want the first few tracks to have a split, I wanted a continual 16 minute song, because that’s how it was originally written.

That sounds really cohesive. The title of your new EP references ATCG – the building blocks in human DNA – how did this influence the sound of your music? It’s quite a unique concept.

I think it’s just me focusing on what I’ve been going through in the past 6-8 years. Life is kind of insane, and it’s kind of absurd and I feel like the whole concept of it and the experiences we go through have a humour in them, but also a beauty that we’re all here on this planet and it’s all a bit mind-blowing. On a more microscopic level – or not [laughs] – being in a band like Savages and playing to thousands of people, and then basically going back to starting something [like ESYA] from scratch is kind of absurd. I find it funny in a strange way because you should never be too comfortable, life has a funny was of messing around with you.

I think the ATCG title is fitting because everything that I sing about on the two records is a reference to the life that I lead, so I feel like it encapsulates every kind experience. There’s so many angles that I was looking at that title from, and I really liked that it could mean so many things to so many different people. Depending on your own experiences, it’s quite ambiguous. I felt that was also relevant to what I was going through and I wanted to express that all of this is absurd so just enjoy life.

Sounds great. What kind of reaction have you had from fans and critics so far?

I self-released both records, so I’ve had a limited budget and I’ve been working in order to earn the money to put out my EPs. I’ve only got 50 vinyl left of the new EP, and I’ve sold out of the first one which is amazing, and most importantly people are responding well to the music. It’s different to what I’ve done before, you’re hearing my voice and everything is recorded by me. I’ve done everything, which has been a challenge in itself. I’m not a Producer, I’ve never really recorded myself other than to write demos, so it’s been a huge learning curve which I’ve found quite empowering.

One thing that used to frustrate me in the past with other records, is that I felt like I didn’t have as much control as I would’ve liked. There’s so much beauty in imperfection, so [the recording] doesn’t have to be perfect. The vocals on both EPs were recorded with just a handheld microphone, so it’s pretty lo-fi if you compare it to a studio record. The bass is recorded in a similar way as well, and I love that. I feel like we’re bombarded with over-produced stuff at the moment and I wanted it to be honest. I’ve worked a job that I don’t particularly like in order to put this record out there, and it’s really amazing that people have purchased it. I really appreciate that.

Having been on a label before, it’s really interesting to see the differences and learn how to navigate an environment without the help of a label. PR was a big thing, when you’re doing it yourself you have to think of everything. How to be creative with getting the word out. I come from a very particular world where I started playing punk bass and have always done things myself, and then being in a band where we were lucky enough to have the support of a big label, and then going back to doing it all myself – I have a lot of respect for musicians who don’t have that kind of support. Because it’s hard, really hard.

Being in different bands sounds like it’s taught you a lot then. From Savages, Kite Base, 180db, and now your new solo project – can you talk me through how each has led to the other? What’s different between what you’ve released before, and the music you’re writing now?

I absolutely love playing live, so me creating this new project was born out of the frustration of being on other people’s schedules. I can’t control when other people need to rest and I do respect that, but also for myself I need to keep playing live, it’s in my blood. Even when I was a teenager I used to put on shows in my house at house parties and get friends bands to come over and play – my neighbours hated it! I was originally thinking with this new project that I was just going to do living room shows, nothing at a venue. So I can go back to really being up close to people and doing the things I’ve missed doing for so many years. It’s that intensity when you’re close to people who really love music, and it’s just you and them, so close to each other.

With Savages I was a bass player, but we all came together to write. I knew at some point because we’d been touring so intensely people would need to take a rest, so midway through that time I started Kite Base, because I wanted to have another option of being able to tour and play. Also, when you’re with three other people who are as passionate about the music you make it can be complicated, it can be amazing but it can be dysfunctional.

With Kite Base it was easier because we were a duo, two halves make a whole! We achieved some really cool things, we put out a record that I love, and we supported Nine Inch Nails [on their American tour] last year which was incredible. That was just the most ultimate of dreams. To actually be able to achieve that in a slightly different way was really special to me. Kite Base was self-funded and we went through stages of having managers and not having managers, so it was another short sharp lesson of how to use what I’d learned through Savages and put it in to practice, which I think is a really great thing to do. We sorted everything for ourselves so it was quite intense. The cost to get out there, and bearing in mind we were self-funding everything, we knew there was no way we weren’t going to say yes to the tour – but the logistics were quite stressful at points. If my visa got turned down, I would’ve cried!

Alongside that, me and Faye [Savages’ drummer] decided to write together. I love working with Faye, I really connect with her so we thought we’d do collaborations. We’re working on a record at the moment and it will feature lots of guest singers, people who we admire, and we’re really happy with the people we’ve worked with so far. My first shows [as EYSA] were just in living rooms performing to friends in America after the Nine Inch Nails tour, just to try out whether I could sing live. I knew I was going to put out an EP because I had so much material and I didn’t want to waste it.

That’s interesting, with the singing, did you always know you could sing? Or was it a confidence issue? Or something that you picked up along the way?

I always wanted to focus solely on one thing. I didn’t want to sing while I was playing bass because I wanted to focus my whole attention on playing one instrument and to lose myself, which I did. I remember many years ago Jehnny [Savages lead singer] joked about me having a mic and I remember thinking “I do not want to sing”. I don’t feel like I’m a natural in front of a mic. Maybe it was because I’d never tried it, but it got to a point where I was so frustrated because there were no shows coming up and I didn’t know when I’d be performing live again, that I thought I’d just try it. How scary could it be? Turns out, it was quite scary!

I think the way I sing has an honesty to it, and I’m talking about things that mean a lot to me so it wouldn’t have worked if someone else was singing it other than me. I remember saying to Jehnny not that long ago that my respect for people who front and sing lead vocals in a band has gone up so much, because having to go through that process is so hard. Even just thinking of the things you say in the spaces between songs! I had a different idea of what that would be before I did it, and it takes a lot of balls. To do it well and master the techniques with the mic and your environment. I’ve gone from playing my bass with my eyes closed not giving a shit about anything other than performing and playing as well as I can, not worrying about my environment and just losing myself. Also, for practical reasons – I can just get in a car with my synth and my drum machine and that’s it. I can be there, and I can sing.

That sounds great too. Who inspired you to first pick up a bass? And who or what got you in to using FM & Analog synths?

With the bass, it was the frustration of wanting to play an instrument but feeling like I couldn’t. At the time I was listening to a lot of David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails and I feel like with the bass, it wasn’t really one person or one thing that inspired me to play, it was a series of things and influenced by what I was listening to. I remember getting really in to Nirvana and thinking “I just wanna play something”. Then I happened to meet someone who needed a bass player, but I couldn’t play bass at the time. They were like “you don’t have to know how to play bass!” which in the context of the band I didn’t really, and I loved that. So I got in to loads of bands who at the time who were just loads of dudes and I was always just the female bass player. Then I got in to a band with Gemma [Savages guitarist] and we had a great lead singer and things were going well, and then when he left Gemma & I wanted to keep going – but I was working full-time and we wanted to play at least three times a week – but then we found Jehnny and then we found Faye, so it all came together. What’s really important is that I’ve always trusted my instincts. I’ve always known that I love making music, even just for myself. I lose myself in what I’m creating.

What advice would you give to anyone who’s trying to learn either of these instruments?

Just do it. Even if you feel like you can’t play, there’s nothing that’s stopping you. You can always learn. With the electronics, you don’t have to have super expensive gear. I use a keyboard Yamaha DX reface which is £200, and that’s quite cheap compared to other equipment. You can make music from sound recordings, I’ve done that in the past. Do what feels true to you, you don’t have to learn to play an instrument in a particular way, go with what feels right for you. That’s what I did with bass, my style has come from not really learning how to play. I play really low, which is terrible for the back, but I always wanted to be able to play like crazy and to be really solid at keeping the rhythm and lose myself in it and enjoy that moment. Over the years, I’ve been thinking more about tone and stuff, but I think you should do what scares you. If you’re scared to play a particular instrument – just do it. Once you’ve done it, you can just create.

If you’d told me that I’d be singing and playing electronics when I was 16, I’d be like “No way…” so you don’t have to stick to one thing. If you connect with an instrument, just go for it. The more you play, the better you get.

That’s great advice. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

I’m thinking about playing some more shows that are in record stores and are really intimate, because that terrifies me! Technique-wise, I think that’s a really good learning process to go through, and to connect with people. If I can play somewhere where people literally love the records on the shelves around them, that’s really sweet.

The third ESYA EP and the record with 180db will probably be coming out later this year too.

Who are you listening to? Recommendations?

Hyperstition duo who are playing with me tonight, they are two members from a Sheffield-based band called Blood Sport who I love.

I also love Gazelle Twin. I went to see her at Red Gallery – it might not be called that anymore, but it’s a venue near Old Street – and after she came off stage I was like “CAN YOU SIGN MY VINYL?!” and she was like “are you kidding me?” [laughs]. She’s been an inspiration to me actually, because it’s just her and her partner live, and she’s a Mother as well. I really respect how hard she works and how she juggles all of those things. She’s amazing. Her second album Unflesh, that was the soundtrack to my nightmares and I remember telling her that! It comes from a dark place, but it’s so powerful. The honesty in it, that’s why I was so attached to it.

Hannah Peel, slightly different vibe, but she is incredible too. It’s not the typical thing I’d listen to, but the way she plays violin is amazing. I did a tour with her as Kite Base, she played and so did I Speak Machine and after watching them I thought they were both amazing. Tara [of I Speak Machine] is a genius with electronics. These women are pioneers when it comes to electronic music.

Thanks so much to Ayse for answering our questions! Buy your copy of ESYA’s EP Absurdity of ATCG (I) here.

Photo Credit: Chiara Ceccaioni

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: ZAMILSKA – ‘Hollow’

Dense, rhythmic, hypnotic beats permeate Polish producer ZAMILSKA‘s new single ‘Hollow’, the first track released from her upcoming album due later this summer. The jagged soundscape combines techno textures and intriguing vocal samples to reflect “the anxiety of what we want vs what we get”.

From Silesia, the coal-mining region of Poland, Natalia Zamilska’s music combines both melodic and industrial elements in a beautiful yet brutal fashion. Her work has attracted the attention of Nine Inch Nails, who recommended one of her tracks on their official Spotify playlist and recently she stepped into the gaming world and contributed to RUINER (Digital Dragon Award 2018 winner Best Polish Game Soundtrack), which features her music heavily throughout.

ZAMILSKA has also garnered acclaim from Radio BBC 6 Music’s Iggy Pop, Mary Anne Hobbs and Tom Ravenscroft, and with her superb remix of Gazelle Twin’s ‘Belly of the Beast’ which was played on the ABC series How To Get Away With Murder.

With her ability to create beats that ricochet around our skulls and her obvious talent for collaborating, we’re biting our nails in anticipation of ZAMILSKA’s upcoming record. Listen to ‘Hollow’ below and follow ZAMILSKA on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Albums Of The Year 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. Our ears have been filled with sonic delights of all genres, providing necessary catharsis and enjoyment. 

So, it was pretty hard to pick our favourite albums of 2018. But, from luscious indie-pop to thumping electro-punk and eerily dystopian soundscapes, here they are… 

Fightmilk – Not With That Attitude
Following utterly infectious singles such as ‘Pity Party’ and ‘Bank Of Mum And Dad’, this year GIHE faves Fightmilk signed to Reckless Yes and released their truly fantastic debut album Not With That Attitude. Delving deep into subject matter such as the end of relationships, summer crushes and the general feelings of anxiety that come with everyday living, each and every offering on Not With That Attitude is an angst-driven gem; a perfect antidote to life, with a nostalgic nod to the emotions of our younger selves.

I can safely say, although the album was only released last month, it’s been one of my most listened-to of 2018; I just can’t get enough of its luscious, punk-infused indie-pop gems. From the scuzzy tongue in cheek wit of anti-love song ‘4 Star Hotel’, and the jangly riffs and immensely catchy, silky smooth refrains of pop anthem ‘Dream Phone’, to the twinkling heartfelt splendour of personal favourite ‘Solving Crimes In Sweden’, there isn’t a dull moment to be found.

An utterly life-affirming, and completely addictive, collection, Not With That Attitude is not only one of my favourites of 2018, but will hold a special place in my heart for years to come.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Gazelle Twin – Pastoral
A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) combined glitchy beats, menacing samples and an uncanny new costume on her new album, Pastoral. Released via her own label Anti-Ghost Moon Ray, the record marked another transformation for the performer; this time she exhumed England’s “rotten past” and questioned its uncertain future.

I’ve been following Bernholz since the release of her sophomore record Unflesh in 2014, and between Motherhood and curating another two atmospheric records (2016’s Out Of Body & 2017’s audio/visual project Kingdom Come), she eventually released Pastoral – and it was totally worth the wait. Her altruistic style is one that can’t be mimicked – even though she herself is a master at adopting the traits of others, and transforming in to a new species of performer who offers brutality and intrigue in equal measure.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Anna Calvi – Hunter
Along with already being a massive fan of Anna Calvi’s music and eager to hear the follow up to One Breath, I wasn’t prepared for just how much I would love the new record. I’d like to say it’s just a personal thing. Mostly because I’m a writer and there’s a branch of us who only speak about how things make us feel (of which I’m one) but also because Hunter was, at its core, a queer and feminist record.

Hunter is the kind of album I would have given into l’appel du vide for as a teenager: a queer album by a queer artist I love, full of tracks bathed in the queer beauty of art. Of course, queerness is far from all the record is, but every track drips in it and its adjacence to the power of love and of sex and of raw, integral passion untouched by any hand and only feelings.

Because of that and the magnificence of tracks like “Wish” and “As a Man”, Hunter is undoubtedly my record of the year.
(Em Burfitt – Contributor)

Sink Ya Teeth – Sink Ya Teeth
Having marked them out as ‘Ones To Watch’ last year, it certainly seems that Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullinford – aka Sink Ya Teeth – have proved us right throughout 2018; this year has seen the Norwich duo receive acclaim from BBC 6 Music’s Steve LaMacq and The Guardian, support big names such as Chk Chk Chk and Eton Crop, and release their banger-filled debut album.

Filled with addictive, pulsating beats and ‘80s-inspired dance-pop hooks throughout, the album is an epic sonic journey from start to finish. From the pounding energy and funk-fused bass hooks of singles such as ‘Pushin’ and ‘If You See Me’, to the swirling, whirring soundscapes of ‘Glass’ and ‘Complicated’, each track is an utterly infectious slice of thumping electro-punk. And add Uzor’s smooth, soaring vocals to the mix, and what you have is something completely unique and truly exquisite.
(ML)

Haiku Salut – There Is No Elsewhere
For many it will be hard to imagine how an instrumental album can so clearly communicate a message, not just a feeling evoked by sound but a clarion call. On their third album Haiku Salut manage just this though – their most cohesive work to date There Is No Elsewhere is beautiful in sound and theme, as it reflects the dramatic landscape of their Derbyshire home and combats the societal narrative of division with a love-letter to togetherness.

The album moves their intricate and fascinating music on. Here we get a more deliberate and incredibly thoughtful play between analogue and electronic, a blurring of the line between musician and instrument as organic and digital interlock. Community is roused through the clever use of brass bands, while rhythms incite and encircle swells of feeling.

There Is No Elsewhere is a remarkable work from a band who should be considered a national treasure.
(Sarah Lay – Contributor)

TAYNE – Breathe
With a sound as distracting as the shade of pink that creator Matthew Sutton paints his lips with for their live shows; TAYNE’s debut album is a vital, abrasive, cathartic listen fuelled by abrasive synths and explosive pay-offs. TAYNE’s music is some of the most interesting and altruistic I’ve heard all year; blurring the lines between industrial, synth-pop, shoe-gaze and alternative; a visceral cacophony of synth textures and drum patterns, alongside Sutton’s hair-raising screams. It’s an emotional exorcism with a pop sheen, and I’m very glad it dropped in to my inbox at the beginning of this year.
(KC)

First Aid Kit – Ruins
It’s easy to dismiss ‘break-up albums’ as being forty minutes of wallowing in self-pity, however Ruins deals with the whole spectrum of emotions which comes with grieving a relationship without any of the bitterness – demonstrating a gentle strength which we can all relate to. Personal favourite ‘Rebel Heart’ introduces us to the darkness, before the uplifting harmonies of ‘It’s A Shame’ show the empowerment which comes with self-reflection, whilst the twinkling melodies of ‘Fireworks’ convey that common nostalgic, rose-tinted outlook with a chorus worthy of belting out in the shower.

If music reflects the journeys we all embark on in life then Ruins beautifully encapsulates the complexities of relationships. It reassures us that it is normal to feel a wide-range of emotions all at once – that it is okay to be vulnerable.
(Nicky Lee-Delisle – Contributor)

Hilary Woods – Colt
A contemplative, carefully crafted record which schools listeners in how to come undone: Hilary Woods’ debut album is an exquisitely painful exploration of grief, separation, and abandonment. The Dublin-based artist signed to altruistic label Sacred Bones to release her first full-length record, and the partnership is one I wholly approve of. Comfortably overlapping both acoustic and electronic genres, underneath all of Woods’ melancholy sounds there lurks a quiet power: a power that comes from being honest about genuine pain. When I saw her perform live at St. Pancras Old Church earlier this year, I was overwhelmed with emotion and felt too shy to approach her after the gig at the merch stand, where I bought a copy of her album. If I had, I definitely would’ve thanked her for making such a beautiful, rewarding record.
(KC)

Dream Wife – Dream Wife
It’s hard to find a band who have been as consistently brilliant in 2018 as Dream Wife, and their self-titled debut is a case in point. From Fall meets ESG psycho-drama ‘FUU’, high-school Stooges ‘Let’s Make Out’ and Toni Basil gone garage ‘Hey Heartbreaker’, you might think it’s all a blast. But the group can emote too – ‘Love Without Reason’, ‘Somebody’ and ‘Fire’ showing off their pop qualities. It’s all kept simple, and that’s Dream Wife’s genius.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

The Lovely Eggs – This Is Eggland
Ever since being completely blown away by The Lovely Eggs at Indietracks Festival this summer, I’ve been more or less obsessed with the Lancaster duo. Lucky enough to catch their utterly immersive set for a second time at The Scala this Autumn, I’ve had their This Is Eggland album pretty much on loop throughout 2018.

From the swirling, psychedelic cacophony of tracks such as ‘I Shouldn’t Have Said That’, to the uplifting lo-fi fuzz and anthemically catchy spirit of ‘Hello I Am Your Sun’ and ‘Wiggy Giggy’, the album oozes a frenzied, riotous energy and spiralling sense of urgency throughout. With Holly Ross’ blunt realism and scathing retorts to all the dickheads out there, The Lovely Eggs stand out as one of the most relevant bands around – echoing the feelings of the many, with their subtle social commentary and refreshing cynicism providing an apt accompaniment to the eccentric musicality of This Is Eggland.
(ML)

The Soft Moon – Criminal
The second Sacred Bones album to make my list this year is The Soft Moon’s Criminal. It’s a gripping, teeth-grinding, ultra-cathartic affair; and when heard live it’s a different beast entirely. I have all the time in the world for men who explore their mental states through the medium of music, and listening to Criminal feels like an exploration of this kind. The Soft Moon (aka Luis Vasquez) takes memories of childhood trauma, misplaced guilt and self-hatred, and allows himself to “cross the line” and produce a truly breath-taking collection of industrial, electronic soundscapes here. I’ve had ‘Burn’ on repeat all year long.
(KC)

Chorusgirl – Shimmer and Spin
Following 2015’s wonderful self-titled debut, this year GIHE faves Chorusgirl released their long-awaited new album Shimmer And Spin, and we couldn’t be happier for them. Chronicling a tense year, created during a period of crippling anxiety and a relentless string of bad luck and bad news, the new album is the result of immense hard work and dedication from Silvi, Faith, Udo and Michael. Of the writing process, Silvi explains: “There was barely a month without bad news on a personal and wider level, and at the end of that year, my anxiety started to spike badly. The album became a very important anchor. Every note and lyric were raked over and looked at twice; we were hacking and honing away at the songs for months, trying to craft some sort of sculpture of our state of mind.”

Despite oozing a darker undercurrent than previous offerings, Shimmer And Spin showcases Silvi’s distinctive, lush vocals throughout, as effervescent harmonies and impressive driving riffs flow, creating Chorusgirl’s utterly unique, shimmering sounds. From the sparkling garage-pop of tracks such as ‘No Goodbye’ and ‘In Dreams’ to the simply spine-tingling soaring emotion of personal highlight ‘Stuck’, this album – and the determination that went into creating it – showcases exactly why Chorusgirl are one of my favourite bands of the last few years.
(ML)

ALBUM: Gazelle Twin – ‘Pastoral’

A unique artist with razor sharp vision and uncompromising creativity; Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) combines glitchy beats, menacing samples and an uncanny new costume on her forthcoming album, Pastoral. Set to be released via her own label Anti-Ghost Moon Ray on 21st September, the record marks another transformation for the performer; this time she’s exhuming England’s “rotten past” and questioning its uncertain future.

Bernholz has been honing her own unique vision since the release of her debut album, The Entire City, in 2001. She released her sophomore record Unflesh in 2014 to critical acclaim, and between Motherhood and curating another two atmospheric records (2016’s Out Of Body & 2017’s audio/visual project Kingdom Come), she’s now released Pastoral – and it’s been worth the wait.

“What species is this? What century is this?” she questions on opener ‘Folly’, in a vocal pitch so high it practically curdles the blood. It sets the precedent for the rest of the album – electronic soundscapes that form a permanent sense of unease. Nervous, persistent percussion and repeated lyrics on ‘Better In My Day’ act as an apt parody of the clichéd phrase the track is named after. Bernholz’s warped vocals drip with apathy on ‘Little Lambs’, alongside twitchy synth samples and pulverizing drums. It seamlessly transitions in to ‘Old Thorn’, which recycles the same synth sequences, but which ring out with a different kind of intensity.

Gazelle Twin’s dystopian carousel of sound continues on following track ‘Dieu Et Mon Droit’, which translates as “God and my right”. The phrase is a motto associated with the British Monarchy, and Bernholz’s lyric “Dripping down like shit in to the sewer” feels like a repulsive but brilliant analogy to the Monarch’s inheritance to divine rights. It’s followed by ‘Throne’ – a brief but intriguing interlude of echos and slowly spoken words about power and the wounds it inflicts. When these tracks are performed live, one can imagine Bernholz’s jester-like, red and white costume acting as a powerful vitriolic visual aid here.

Midway through the record we arrive at ‘Mongrel’, with its lyrics – “what species is this? What century is this?” – shadowing opening track ‘Folly’. Her motif provides an insight in to the exhaustion her exploration of these themes can bring. The line “I’m too tired to protest but I’m too worried I’ll regret this. I’m not ready to accept this” feels particularly poignant in the current Brexit-obsessed political climate. The remarkable ‘Glory’ follows, with its slow-building, beguiling vocals and steady, deep drums that spread out across ominous synths.

The daintily named ‘Tea Rooms’ describes the unease of “living in a pastoral picture”, highlighting the uncomfortable reality lurking behind England’s quaint postcard image. The atmospheric ‘Jerusalem’ follows, before the marching beats and seething spoken-word lyrics of ‘Dance Of The Peddlers’ kicks in. It’s less of a dance, more a defiant attack on the Peddlers she speaks of. It transitions seamlessly in to the heart-palpitating ‘Hobby Horse’, which acts like a warning to said Peddlers to “get on your hobby horse and get out of here”. With her humble recorder, bared teeth and samples of football hooligan chants; Bernholz has created a claustrophobic, charged gallop of anarchy.

The false joviality of the synth sequences on ‘Sunny Stories’ are undermined by Bernholz’s powerful vocal display and an ominous under layer of sinister noise that rings out at even interludes. It’s a haunting penultimate track, and is followed by ‘Over The Hills’ which closes the record with an intriguing forty seconds of voice samples and a hymn-like soundscape. Gazelle Twin delivers her Pastoral vision through grinning but gritted teeth. Her altruistic style is one that can’t be mimicked – even though she herself is a master at adopting the traits of others, and transforming in to a new species of performer who offers brutality and intrigue in equal measure.

Pastoral is released on 21 September 2018 via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray. Pre-order here.
Follow Gazelle Twin on Facebook for more updates.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

WATCH: Gazelle Twin – ‘Hobby Horse’

A unique artist with razor sharp creativity: Gazelle Twin (aka Elizabeth Bernholz) combines glitchy beats, menacing samples and an uncanny costume in the visuals for single ‘Hobby Horse’. It’s the first track from her forthcoming album, Pastoral, set to be released via her own label Anti-Ghost Moon Ray on 21st September.

The video, directed by long-time collaborator Chris Turner, fearlessly displays the themes of the new record; on which Bernholz “exhumes England’s rotten past” whilst simultaneously bringing “its ever-darkening present into focus”. Her costume – Morris-dancer-meets-football-hooligan – is striking enough, but when paired with Turner’s creative use of lighting, slow-mo and close-ups; the visuals become an enticing but nerve-shredding affair.

Speaking about the new video, Bernholz says: “‘Hobby Horse’ is yet another fun-but-deranged experiment in an ever-growing catalogue of collaborations with director Chris Turner. We have a mutual appreciation for the uncanny – especially the kind tinged with a bit of ultra-violence. It’s great working with someone who knows how to capitalise on every kind of “weird” there is, yet still managing to keep performance at the core”.

Gazelle Twin has been forming her own brand of “weird” since the release of her debut album, The Entire City, in 2001. She released her sophomore record Unflesh in 2014 to critical acclaim, and between Motherhood and curating another two atmospheric records (2016’s Out Of Body & 2017’s audio/visual project Kingdom Come), she’s now ready to release the highly anticipated Pastoral – which she debuted live at Supersonic festival earlier this year.

Alongside the release of the ‘Hobby Horse’ video, Gazelle Twin has announced a string of live dates, including a performance at Rough Trade East on Thursday 27th September. We can’t wait to catch her live again, and we recommend you invest in both her new record & a ticket to one of her upcoming shows. Watch the video for ‘Hobby Horse’ below and follow Gazelle Twin on Facebook for more updates.

Pre-order the album, Pastoral, here.

Gazelle Twin 2018 Live Dates
20 Sep – Vooruit, Gent BE
22 Sep – Station Narva Festival, Narva EE
27 Sep – Rough Trade East instore, London UK – 7pm
3 Oct – New Theatre, Warsaw PL (Kingdom Comeperformance)
5 Oct – Soup Kitchen, Manchester UK
11 Oct – Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts, Brighton UK (double bill with GAIKA)

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: July 2018

British summer time is in full swing, and the gorgeous/overwhelming heat makes every day feel like a summer holiday *wipes beads of sweat from brow*. If you’re stuck behind your desk however, fear not! We have a red hot set of new tunes to see you through the rest of the month. Take some time to scroll through our track selections, and hit play on the Spotify link at the bottom of the page…

 

Hercules & Love Affair – ‘Blind’
Taken from their self-titled album released in 2008 – the same year I attended London Pride for the first time – and without a doubt, the theme tune to me fully embracing my sexuality; feeling proud of who I was and strong enough to come out happily in all aspects of my life. Last weekend marked the end of the Pride Festival in London, with the Pride in London march on Saturday, where I marched with Switchboard the LGBT+ Helpline that I am a Trustee for. It was a great experience, and only mildly marred by the TERFS protest at the beginning. As a cis-gendered lesbian I denounce everything they stand for and pointedly want to say that I do not agree with any of their statements. I marched for the achievements we have made in society throughout the years to now, but also for all the essential changes still to come…one thing remains the same, it’s about standing for equality. Equality for everyone, everywhere. (Tash Walker)

Indian Queens – ‘Pretty Little Thing’
Equal parts driving and delicate: Hackney trio Indian Queens have shared their new track ‘Pretty Little Thing’ – and it’s as attractive to the ears as its namesake suggests. Released via Cool Thing Records, the single is an infectious blur of hypnotic vocals and shoe gaze guitar sounds. They received a standing ovation after their set at Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival last month, and this track has been swirling around my brain ever since. (Kate Crudgington)

Handsome Eric – ‘Oh No’
I fell a bit love with Handsome Eric on seeing them support Shamir last week at Camden Assembly. As the raw, honest emotion of Stephen O’Dowd propels the track, whirring hooks and a driving energy bring to mind Manchester artist, and personal favourite, Kiran Leonard. Totally luscious lo-fi scuzz of the best kind. (Mari Lane)

Nova Twins – ‘Lose Your Head’
GIHE faves and last week’s guests on the radio show, the immense Nova Twins have just released their ferocious new single ‘Lose Your Head’. Having received acclaim from the likes of The Guardian, and none other than Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, the duo continue to prove themselves to be one of the most exciting bands around with the snarling vocals and addictive, frenzied energy of this latest offering. (ML)

The Empty Page – ‘Deeply Unlovable’
We’ve been massive fans of The Empty Page’s gritty, grunge-fuelled offerings for a while now, and we cannot wait for them to blow us away once again at The Finsbury on Friday! (ML)

Queen Kwong – ‘Raptures’
Slow-building bass lines and mesmeric vocals combine on Queen Kwong’s ‘Raptures’ to form a beguiling request to escape unwanted memories. No stranger to adversity, Queen Kwong (aka Carré Callaway) shows how her “cursed mind” is still as sharp as ever on this brilliant new single. (KC)

Carolyn’s Fingers – ‘Twice Born’
LOVE THIS! Experimental pop band Carolyn’s Fingers always deliver such refreshingly unusual music, where I just don’t want to even try and predict where their music will go to next. There is something about there music that consistently dabbles with art/performance and still I am yet to see them live. A firm ambition of mine. Totally DIY in every way, we full support Carolyn’s Fingers. (TW)

Gazelle Twin – ‘Hobby Horse’
Warped, uncomfortable, but morbidly fascinating: avant-garde artist Gazelle Twin has returned with a new image and this un-nerving new single. I can’t wait to hear more of her unusual electronic cacophonies on her upcoming record, Pastoral, on which she “exhumes England’s rotten past, and shines a torch over its ever-darkening present”. Sign. Me. Up. Now.  (KC)

Pitou – ‘Give Me A Glass’
So gentle, so beautiful, and so delicate. ‘Give Me A Glass’ by Pitou is taken from her new EP I Fall Asleep So Fast, released via Mink Records. I think this track is just mesmerising, and it probably helps that it was the first song I listened to after meeting my niece for the first time. So here’s to raising that glass to the new addition in my family! (TW)

Anna Aaron – ‘Why Not’
Love love LOVE! From the disjointed off-beat vocals, to those heavy beats that underpin this track; how can you not enjoy this?! Described as “crunching electronic pop sound”, I think that perfectly sums up this raw slice of intentionally aggressive music. (TW)

Lizzo – ‘Boys’ 
Another utterly empowering and ferociously fun offering from GIHE favourite Lizzo, ‘Boys’ is filled with all the refreshing wit that we’ve come to know and love from the Minneapolis artist. Reminiscent of the legendary Missy Elliot, this track’s funk-filled groove and joyous sex-positive spirit provides the perfect summer anthem. (ML)

Belako – ‘Over The Edge’
I saw Spanish band Belako at Finsbury Park last Saturday kicking off a day of fantastic music from QOTSA, Iggy Pop, Brody Dalle, Deap Vally and more…. And they are now my new favourite band – it was one of the most impressive, engrossing sets I’ve seen for a long time. They delivered each gritty slice of post-punk with a raw, swirling energy and explained that his track ‘Over The Edge’ is “against gender violence” – a poignant and necessary subject. And I just love its immense, gnarly passion. I’m now thoroughly addicted to their latest release Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence. (ML)

Asylums – ‘Millennials’
Essex indie rockers Asylums have returned with their highly anticipated second album Alien Human Emotions – released via their own label Cool Thing Records – and ‘Millennials’ is one of the stand-out tracks on the record. Slower in tempo, but just as powerful in delivery; the single laments the “generational generalisations” that millennial kids face in today’s society. (KC)