Tag: alternative

New Music Friday: Fugues

Northampton/London electronic duo Fugues have just dropped their Merge EP. New Boots gets the lowdown How did you get together? Fugues started as Shannon and Chris O’ Conner with a piano and…

Northampton/London electronic duo Fugues have just dropped their Merge EP. New Boots gets the lowdown

How did you get together?
Fugues started as Shannon and Chris O’ Conner with a piano and voice around mid-2016. We always knew we were electronic focused, having similar interests such as Massive Attack, Hope Sandoval, Unkle, Coco Rosie, Moderat, etc. But it really developed in to what it is today when Jo Burns-Russell joined as co-producer, and we explored more techno and bass music to go with our songs. Since then Fugues has moved forward as a duo with Shannon and Jo. You can still hear Chris’s piano on the EP, but the end result has been more electronically focused. Musically we’re a blend of electronica, heavy basslines with Shannon’s ethereal vocals, and Chris’s classically influenced piano.

How would you describe your sound? The term “trip-hop” seems to be inadequate and do it a disservice.
It’s quite difficult to pin what we are doing into a genre really, which I think happens with electronic music, particularly when it’s not club-focused. There are elements of trip hop, house, glitch, techno…just interesting music. Shannon’s vocals are very poetic and meaningful, which is juxtaposed with the more electronic edge. Generally we’d say just give it a listen and see what you think!

How do you divvy up the work: do you both come up with musical and lyrical ideas?
It’s very much a joint effort. Our vocals were all recorded in a bedroom studio in Clapton, at Tobias Lawrence’s house. The piano at Chris’s home studio in Kimbolton. The other elements were created by Jo at her home in Duston, then it got married together.

Tell us about the EP.
‘Low Bass Lives’ was something Shannon came up with at a music festival and upon her move to Northampton. ‘No longer’ was written by Shannon and Jo in one night that just clicked, then Jo continued to develop it from there. ‘Smokey Red’ was another that was done in Kimbolton with piano and voice, drum and bass samples then developed by Jo over the coming months.

You’ve just started being a live band. How’s that going? Does being an electronic duo bring its own challenges?
Its definitely interesting trying to translate what is 90% computer-generated into a live show. We use Ableton with a series of controllers, Shannon plays synth and has a vocal FX unit, but luckily her vocal performance carries it. We’re investing in more synths and a drum machine soon to try and make the live experience as dynamic as we can. We’re also quite theatrical and want to bring lighting shows and projection mapping over the coming months. We want it to be an experience!

What has been your favourite Fugues moments so far?
We’re really pleased with how the final EP is sounding, at the last stages we bought in an engineer to help with the final mix down, Chris Pettifer [who is a Northants resident also]. He’s really bought what we have done to life. We played our first festival last weekend which was an incredible experience, and something we really want to do more of.

What is your burning desire to do in the future?
I think continuing to develop the show to make it an experience-led thing, with music, lights, projections etc. We are also really keen to keep the momentum going on our releases and hope to have more tracks ready by the autumn.

Merge is out now via Bandcamp. Fugues play the Wonderland Garden Party festival in September in south London

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Record review: Tom Rose & The Heathen Orchestra

TOM ROSE & THE HEATHEN ORCHESTRA TOM ROSE & THE HEATHEN ORCHESTRA [self-released] Orchestral arranger. Bookseller. Gravedigger. As careers go that’s not a bad palette of experience from which to…

TOM ROSE & THE HEATHEN ORCHESTRA
TOM ROSE & THE HEATHEN ORCHESTRA [self-released]

Orchestral arranger. Bookseller. Gravedigger. As careers go that’s not a bad palette of experience from which to paint your tales of humankind. And Tom Rose has done them all. As leader of this Northamptonshire five-piece twisted blues ensemble he’s learnt to weave a consistently absorbing narrative on the freaks and weirdos that walk amongst us.

This twelve-tracker was recorded live last October at Parlour Studios near Kettering, and displays some Hammond-heavy dark forbodings that bring to mind some of the greats of the nu-blues genre: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Tom Waits, Mark Lanegan, Captain Beefheart, The Pogues, with various nods to the original US bluesmen of the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s. The opening track ‘Keep Your Demons’ is the heaviest thing on here, and is reminiscent of noughties blues trio the 22-20s; and before them, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. It feels like the sky will cave in over it’s three minute duration, which is probably the point. ‘Dance To Hell’ keeps the sweaty intensity up, coming across like a potent rockabilly version of ‘Red Right Hand’. It’s on this song that Roses’ preacher sensibilities come to the fore, with references to ‘demons’ and ‘hell’; the morality theme is later returned to on ‘Bible Morals’. If you’re going to tell stories you might as well make them biblical in scale…

On ‘Clay On Wood’ the voodoo punk spirit that has inhabited Jim Jones for thirty-odd years – most recently with his Righteous Mind – comes to mind. The band is really smoking on this number, cutting loose with joyous abandon. ‘Maggots’ slows things down a bit, bringing some smooth 60s atmospherics to rival Dylan with The Hawks, or perhaps The Doors. The grotesque nature of the song that Rose is chronicling is one to listen in sharply for, you get your just rewards. The album continues in a similar vein over its second half: ‘Falling Over’ and ‘All Of You People’ add some nifty guitar licks to enliven, ‘Garden Designs’ decides to add profanity to the spicy mix, and there’s some excellent garage-punk dynamics on ‘Trouble’s What You Got’.

This record is a spirited success and one you can’t ignore, for it has you by the throat from those opening notes. It has a timeless quality too – it could conceivably be ignored in 2018, only to be hailed as a minor classic by future scribes. One thing is for sure, however; we are much better off having it in our lives than not. Praise be.

Phil Istine

Tom Rose & The Heathen Orchestra is out now

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Record Review: The Abrahams ‘The Abrahams’

THE ABRAHAMS The Abrahams (self-released) The band is made up of Ross Alexander II, Max Mclean, Neil Bennet and Jamie Gilbert. The bands’ hometown is Kettering and they describe themselves…

THE ABRAHAMS
The Abrahams (self-released)

The band is made up of Ross Alexander II, Max Mclean, Neil Bennet and Jamie Gilbert. The bands’ hometown is Kettering and they describe themselves as a “four-piece progressive folk rock skiffle beat combo band”, with music and lyrics written by Ross Alexander II. This self-titled album is a real Sunday morning album; relaxing and peaceful with soft and calming vocals. In this album the band address many issues in society with the song ‘Plastic Society’ and the song ‘Holes In My Shoes’, which talks about the ignorance of people; “Just monkeys that learnt to stand tall”.

The Abrahams have taken influences from multiple bands and artists such as Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, CSNY, Cider, Louden Wainwright III, Jeff Buckley, Cat Stevens, Bert Jansch, and Ralph McTell. This is their first album; their songs are calming and peaceful with a real folk feel in the first couple of songs, before they really introduce a heavier aspect by third song ‘1486’.

A few of my favourites from this album are ‘Darling’, ‘Holes In My Shoes’ and ‘Twins and Needles’. The songs enjoyable tranquil feeling means the album would be perfect with a cup of coffee, by the window on a winters morning. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Katie Montford

The Abrahams is available from Bandcamp now for download / order on CD

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