Paraphoniks was formed when Shatrunjai Dewan and Sid Shirodkar began to explore their shared love for modular synthesizers. In 2016, the duo promoted their second release, ‘Yarns’, with a string of audacious surround-sound shows that featured their music in an 8.1-channel incarnation. Since then they’ve continued to evolve into an increasingly genre-agnostic project, embracing various forms of electronic music with a unique sense of sonic experimentation.
Their latest offering, ‘Silhouettes’, was conceived during a two-week writing stint in the Himalayan hills. It retains the synth-heavy sound the duo are known for, while elevating the production levels, treading more expansive musical territory and conceptual ground. Featuring collaborations with singer-songwriter Azamaan Hoyvoy and drummer Sahil Shah, the album’s non-linear narrative takes inspiration from various modern-day cults and quasi-religious movements.
Dani Terreur invites you travel through his very own heart on ‘Etoile du Kashmir’, a dreamlike electro-pop effort that evokes beautiful summer nights pursuing hedonistic quests. Between artificial pleasures and passionate love, the Parisian artist tends towards an absolute fantasy of romance while being caught up by a very modern cynicism.
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Swedish sisters Jenny and Cecilia Vaz are producers and singer/songwriters with a playful attitude towards music and a fearless mindset. Over the past two years, the pair have released music as VAZ through their own label Kinship Music, which led to performances at festivals around the globe. Their 2017 two-part album ‘Necessary, Pt.I & Pt.II’ featured music inspired by their Cape Verdean background with African drum beats, electronic instrumentals and pop fusion melded together to create a distinctive, atmospheric sound.
The child of a French father and a Venezuelan mother, Sophia Helena Fustec Briceño is a collage of cultures. A one-girl-band who composes, writes, sings, plays and produces everything in her home studio, her energetic creations convey common messages of faith and authenticity. Frequently known as La Chica, she affirms that her influences are widespread; when she’s not dedicated to her productions, she listens to sounds ranging from late-era Beatles and Radiohead to Caribbean artists such as Fania All Stars and Rubén Blades. Currently residing in Paris, international tours and concerts have been recurrent since the formation of her project in 2014. Her latest single “Sola” is an ethereal journey, as looped vocals and driving synthesisers build to a powerful electronic crescendo.
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Today we take a look back 18 years, to recall a jewel from legendary Mexican duo Plastilina Mosh. Founded in 1996 by Jonas González and Alejandro Rosso, the band released their second album “Juan Manuel” in 2000; a 13-track masterpiece, the album features a diverse range of sounds that make it almost impossible to classify by genre, mood or language whatsoever, with lyrics in English, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese.
The journey begins with “Nordic Laser”, an entirely instrumental krautrock piece, perhaps the simplest piece of the album before the madness is unleashed; the grooves of “Boombox Baby” and “Bareta 87” give the album a retro dancefloor sensation, drawing on Giorgio Moroder-esque richness, while “Shampoo” and “Aropador” are subtle and seductive and the likes of “International Stereo (Bassass)” and “Let The Speaker Speak” demonstrate a raw aggressive energy.
A classic record that is powerful, unpredictable, and truly timeless.
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Ape Echoes represent the creativity of the nascent Indian independent music scene. The brainchild of Mumbai based producers and multi-instrumentalists Nirmit Shah and Sid Shirodkar, the project sees the pair combining traditional acoustic and electronic instrumentation with experimental sampling, weaving together a complex immersive musical narrative. The duo formed in early 2016, with drummer Sahil Shah joining soon after, and their debut EP ‘Ape Machines’ was released in August 2017, moving through territories influenced by crossover jazz, electronica, noise, hip-hop, prog-rock, funk, and soul to create a distinctive original sound.
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‘La Niña Quantica’ Julián Mayorga, is a perfect example of the enigmatic Colombian producer’s ingenious, surrealist creations. The “cumbia” begins and a continued mantra that spouts: “A la niña le gusta la física cuántica (the girl likes quantum physics)”; unexpectedly, the lyrics also describe the function of the theory of perturbations in quantum mechanics. With such irreverent themes in his writing, this track from his 3-track EP “Nixon en la Playa” uses tropical elements and Andean folklore alongside progressive electronic experimentation and a somewhat black humor, the most characteristic elements of Mayorga’s sound,
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Otura Mun, an African-American musician and Babalawo (high priest) in the Yoruba religion arrived in Puerto Rico in the late nineties, and quickly positioned himself as one of the most important producers on the island. Accompanied by musicians Rafael Maya, Beto Torrens, Anthony Sierra, Yarimir Cabán and dancer Pia Love, Mun founded the multi-national project ÌFÉ, a powerful progressive synthesis of electronic sound drawing on influences from Cuban rumba, Sacred Yoruba praise songs, Jamaican dancehall, and US R&B. IIII+IIII (pronounced “Edgy-Og-Beh”) is the title of the nine-song debut album from ÌFÉ, released last year. The 45-minute ceremony combines Mun’s fluid, percussive rhythms with spiritual lyricism oscillating seamlessly between English, Spanish and Yoruba. Genre-less yet focused and clear, serene and ethereal at times and determined and powerful at others, this is a record that in spite of its high production values is as unpredictable as it is natural and raw – an astonishing piece of music from a truly unique act.
After meeting at fine art college, Clara Cappagli and Armand Bultheel quickly bonded over their shared love of trance music, and began writing music together as Agar Agar, leading to the release of their breakout 2016 EP ‘Cardan’. Since then, they’ve built a dedicated fanbase through their distinctive sound and impassioned live shows, and they’ve consolidated this ascendance on their debut full-length album ‘The Dog and the Future’. Singer Clara Cappagli’s delicate vocals flits over sultry, down-tempo disco beats, progressing from their established dancefloor territory into darker introspective themes as her lyrics tackle ideas of virtual reality and simulated life. Sonically, the album is filled with fat, squelching synths and booming drum machines, condensing the murky energy of classic techno and electro to build a mysterious after-hours atmosphere driven through by indie pop structures and melodies. From brooding opener “Made” to standout tracks like the sinister “Fangs Out” and irresistible hit “Lunatic Fight Jungle”, the record is filled with unique gems, marking the body of work with a depth that underlines the development of this truly original act.
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Hailing from Ireland and Australia but based in Berlin, Evvol’s music is irresistible. With a glimmering cosmic sound driven by ethereal 80s synths and dark rock’n’roll grooves, the duo comprise sonic influences of electronic pop and disco and political themes of feminine sexuality and queer experience to create their own distinctive style. Their latest visuals underline the inherently danceable energy of their music, as moonlit bodies twist and contort to single “Song For The Broken Hearted (Rollin’)”.
New Delhi singer-songwriter Kavya’s roots in music go back a long way, to memories of growing up with her mother and sister and their version of lullabies being songs by ABBA, George Michael and Boney M. A multi-instrumentalist, she encapsulates a diverse range of styles within her music, with her band Mosko dealing in upbeat party starters while her solo work features more understated sombre soulful vocals, ‘Underscore’, her latest solo release, expresses the gut need to not take things too seriously and the rewards of misdirection, as the best lessons in life are learnt when you dust yourself off after a fall. The shimmering lo-fi electronic pop number features Rohan Rajadhyakha laying down the mean piano snippets and Rohan Ramanna on production duties.
Ninth Child’s ethereal voice is etched delicately into the soulful edges of her heavy drops with a psychedelic style that provides a sonic refuge for listeners. With a fiercely feminine energy that is welcome in the growing festival scene, her audiences bathe in the reverberated echoes of her emotional lyrics and adventurous electronic soundscapes, which she writes, produces and visually embodies herself through her own creative and artistic direction. Her “LOVERS” EP dropped early in 2018 to a positive reception, alongside her intense high-energy shows, featuring projections, free-form dance and unique costume design.
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Mumbai-based live electronic act Madboy/Mink are known for their trademark electro-funk sound and high-energy theatrical performances. Delivering a cosmic disco sound with a sonic palette inspired by vivid synthesizers, their third EP ‘Persons. Elastic. Superior. Fantastic’ is a post-punk-infused psychedelic journey that is warm, lush and vibrant, and introduces the audience to a new side of the duo’s personalities. Both members hail from film backgrounds and share a keen interest in retro-futurism (a fictionality of how people in the past envisaged the future); as such, the EP’s standout track ‘Laika’ is a direct reference to the first dog to be launched into space, orbiting the earth in 1957. Contrasting with their previous louder, more club-oriented work, this latest project has an introspective and funky approach reminiscent of Daft Punk, making for a smooth listen whilst also carrying a strong political message about global issues, driven by the theme of space exploration and a perspective on the insignificance of life in the larger scheme of things.
An ensemble of woodwind instrumentation and beatboxed rhythms distinguish the sound of ‘Sistema’, a four track EP released last year by Eric Mandarina. An experienced musician, actor and all-round entertainer, since 2004 he has been studying self-taught percussion, classical guitar and acoustic drums. His latest proposal is a journey that mixes elements of dub and reggae with analogue house bass and funk-infused drum pulses, as lyrics loaded with mundane questions seek to demonstrate the systematic operations that we oppose.
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On her debut full-length album ‘Devotion’, Tirzah establishes herself as one of the UK’s most intriguing artists. Entirely produced by the esteemed underground producer Mica Levi (aka Micachu), the record builds on Tirzah’s previous dance-infused releases by introducing elements of contemporary alternative RnB, creating a distinctive other-worldly atmosphere through warped samples and looped percussion led by her husky vocals. Her distinctive candid delivery is at once warm and mysterious, driving each track as her melodies are pitched up, multiplied and twisted to create a sound that is truly original in its tripped-out, ethereal intimacy. This graceful electronic sound is highlighted on lead singles ‘Gladly’ and ‘Affection’, but each of the 11 tracks here introduces a fresh dynamic, resulting in a record of genuine depth that showcases the 30-year-old’s versatility and natural chemistry with long-time friend and collaborator Levi.
Yangze is a fairly new name on the electronic scene, however the man behind the project, Copenhagen-based producer Jakob Littauer, has been an influential figure within the Danish scene in various different roles prior. A part of Copenhagen’s Escho collective which has released music from artists like Smerz and Iceage, he has also performed live with the likes of Liss & Soleima. As Yangze, Littauer draws on his electronic roots, incorporating pitched up vocals and melodic synths, giving his music an avant-garde feel that keeps the optimal balance between challenging the listener whilst still maintaining a very listenable strand of electro-pop.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Valiant Vermin is a rising star with her own signature, experimental sound. Her recent album, ‘Singles’, radiates its own feminine energy through a distinctive bedroom pop sound infused with electronic synths. Real name Bettina Campomanes, she describes her persona as a “bedroom project by some college chick”; she is now based in New York and currently attends university at Bard College while simultaneously making her mark in the music industry.
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CRWN is an electronic/hip-hop project by Filipino producer King Puentespina. Since first starting out his music career back in 2013, Puentespina has worked with various talented artists from his country’s local scene, including BP Valenzuela and Curtismith and even released a joint EP with burgeoning international star Jess Connelly; outside of his producing career as CRWN, he also serves as the drummer for successful Filipino rock band She’s Only Sixteen. On CRWN’s latest album ‘Orchid’, he deftly fuses classic soul sounds with contemporary electronic influences to create beats reminiscent of mellow days at the beach.
Producer OKZharp and vocalist, artist and dancer Manthe Ribane work closely with photographer and film maker Chris Saunders to create a unique collaborative audio-visual project. Though all three originally hail from South Africa, OKZharp cut his teeth in London as a member of LV, one of the first acts to sign to pioneering label Hyperdub. When OKZharp left LV, he spoke to Saunders about an idea for a film, and was introduced to Manthe, who was then a dancer and choreographer for Die Antwoord. They hit it off, and upon hearing Manthe singing to herself, they started collaborating musically, releasing two well received EP’s on Hyperdub, recorded in Johannesburg and London respectively. The recording of ‘Closer Apart’ reflects the song’s title – started on tour, with most of the music borne out of “headphone moments” in hotel rooms, planes and airports in the brief periods of time that the trio spent together in Paris and later Vienna. Okzharp describes Manthe as a co-producer; “she selected instrumental sketches and we developed them together, sometimes just keeping the bare bones or a melody or rhythm, or trying different elements or sounds.” In tandem Pearson worked with Manthe to develop an umbilical visual identity, feeding back into the music, for the live show but also for the audio-visual elements of their work. Even thought the album was built long distance, the short periods they spent together were the basis for creativity; Okzharp recalls one particular moment in Milan last year; “we had a whole free day before our flight so we visited the Salone di Mobile design show. We were so inspired by an installation there just walking around, listening to the amazing soundtrack. That evening our flight was delayed, so we sat on the floor of the airport terminal putting musical ideas down for ‘Time Machine’ on the laptop speakers and writing the lyrics: ‘Tic Toc time, we’ll be fine / Airport queues, cerulean blues / Viper trails cross the skies / Lights reflect in your eyes…'” The album has a softness and openness that contrasts the tougher sound of the preceding EPs; Manthe explains that “the new music is a 360 turn. It an expression of my ‘Lady’ side – I grew up listening to jazz, classic and gospel, I am a very soft spoken person, and it resonates with being confident with that. It’s been crazy finding balance and finding a smart way to strengthen my weaknesses, I had to trust the process. I hope everyone feels motivated and inspired to be more after listening to the album.”
Nights of Rizal (also known as Migi de Belen) is a singer-songwriter dedicated to his chilled out electronic sound. The solo artist has released one full-length album to date, entitled ‘summer/salt’, a project reminiscent of days in the beach and life in eternal vacation. Migi explains the album as having “moody lyrics contemplating on the nature of forgetting & remembering.” The album name refers to an 2012 incident where an injury from a failed somersault forced the artist to re-learn how to walk and eventually, run.