Information surrounding Cotton Wolf is pretty scant. What is known however; they are based in Wales, have received the seal of approval from Cian Ciaran (Super Furry Animals), who released their Catapelt EP through his own Strangetown Records.
Cotton Wolf’s furtive nature adds a level of intrigue and allows the music to simply speak for itself. Musically, the Catapelt EP is a very promising, downtempo, ambient and electronic excursion. There’s an exploratory feel to Cotton Wolf’s sound. Most tracks utilise a click-clack percussion, intricately pieced together with bass and all manner of sound effects and vocal samples. As a combination of bleeps, chimes, creaks and meandering synth notes push these sonic arrangements forward. It’s an incredibly impressive debut release, filled with pretty chilled but bright, beautiful, yet harsh sounding compositions at the same time. It is requiring of a good few listens for everything that’s going on to seep in (or perhaps that’s just me?).
You can check out ‘Cassette 98’ & ‘Napa’ below, two personal favourites from this incredibly impressive EP. You can also stream Catapelt here or buy it here.
Lyttet is a collaborative project from Kildare musicians Peadar Kearney & Claire Nicole which began back in January of this year.
Both this dynamic duo have featured on here before, Kearney through his solo work and Claire Nicole with guest vocal appearances with Band On An Island / Knoxville Morning. Now based in Toulouse and Montreal respectively, ‘Forever Those Days’ is Lyttet’s debut single. ‘Forever Those Days’ is a soft, soothing and atmospheric song, it’s soothing sounds and floating vocals seem to just drift past, leaving you immersed entirely in this gentle tranquility. By itself ‘Forever Those Days’ is such a beautiful song but it also comes with a suitably dreamy (and brilliant) visual companion, from the extremely talented Stephen Connelly (my right hand man with the BarryGruff gigs).
There’s an EP in the pipeline from Lyttet too, so lots to look forward to hopefully. For now, check out ‘Forever Those Days’ below and get the song from iTunes.
Winterval is the debut solo album from Sam Willis, one half of London-based Walls, and he’s gone and cooked up something rather special. Taking a host of house, techno, minimal and Balearic influences, Willis assimilates these familiar traits into otherworldly electronic music that is not easily defined. Winterval gracefully hovers in an ambiguous hinterland between subtly euphoric and vaguely ambient.
The music is cloaked in a shadowy mystique, flanked by the wispy near silence opener of ‘140 Miles Away’ and eerie closer ‘Twirled With Your Slight Fingers’. Although the more unnerving sides to his sound are maintained throughout, these haunting, atmospheric individual spurts are by no means the pulse of the album. Willis is the master of not missing a beat, sustaining the rhythm and protracting the promise of a euphoric climax, while keeping you captivated through repeated propulsive beats and swirls. None more so than the swirling synth and deep drones of ‘Weird Science’, the twinkling crystalline grandeur of ‘Fox Glissando’ and the spectacular ‘Frozen-Cirrus’.
Chiming notes resonate through every track and the beats are delivered with pin point accuracy. Willis has mixed the warm sounds with a crisp frosty elegance, creating a hypnotic, comforting sound collage. It is no way an exaggeration to say not only is Winterval one of the finest records of 2012, it is one of the most aesthetically complete electronic albums for quite some time.
It is hard to explain, or understand, the reasons why so much quality music is coming from Newbridge (after all I’m from the place and I can hardly even hum a tune). What is clear though, for a small town, the dearth of musical talent is staggering. Another name to be added to the ever increasing list is Peadar Kearney, a 22-year old musician from Newbridge, currently residing and working in Toulouse, France.
From his Gallic hideaway, Kearney has been whisking up some wonderful, bubbling downtempo electronica. Created with a deft touch and delicate attention to detail to furnish us with sounds of tranquility. The rather nocturnal ‘Yonville’ is a case in point; calming, peaceful and oh so smooth, as is the equally lovable ‘Serenade. Assuring he’s not a one trick pony ‘Ahab’ meanwhile, has a bit more a spark to it. Centered around a seductive guitar line, it is met with sharp snappy beats and deep hums, which all sit comfortably side by side.
There are a few choice picks below and if this tickles your fancy, there’s plenty more over on Soundcloud.
Taken from said album, ‘Dark Is The Light’, is a calming, peaceful and tranquil piece of downtempo electronica, Imploded View’s MO after all. It differs from the album track with the addition of wonderful vocals from Livi, a composer and singer living in Saint Louis, which accentuates the sheer tranquil nature of the track.
‘Dark Is The Light ‘is out on November 12th through Psychonavigation.
Picnics With Pylons is the debut album from Longford based producer Imploded View (aka Jerome McCormick), whose forte till now has been atmospheric downtempo electronic music, and he’s sticking to the script with his debut record.
Picnics With Pylons rarely if ever, emerges from first gear, preferring to meander through a vast and cloudy world of extremely chilled ambient sounds. An air of calmness permeates the entire record from openers ‘Astral Airways’ and ‘Can Drift Would Drift’ right through to ‘Dark Is The Light’, the album moves at it’s own pace. McCormick is certainly comfortable in this skin, he seems at peace, a feeling transposed to the listener as the airy productions wash over you with an ease, slowly and subliminally seeping into the listener’s mind. It all allows time for delicate detail, added emotional depth and mood and thought provoking atmospherics.
It is very much an after-hours record and feels very nocturnal but it does slink in a brighter direction with title track ‘Picnics With Pylons’ and ‘We Ivy’; rare glimmers of sunshine and optimism in an otherwise foggy downbeat world. The focus here is on creating moods, sound textures and ambient instrumentals.
Picnics With Pylons is an assured and composed debut with genuinely well thought out moments of ambience that make for an enjoyable listen. Imploded View is not a name many will be overly familiar with but hopefully this record goes someway to changing that.
Belfast producer Sina (aka Barry Gordon) released his debut EP From Love To Dust back in November last year, via German label, Project Mooncircle.
Sina has just recently released a video for ‘Remembrance’, one of the standouts from what is a very strong debut release. ‘Remembrance’ like the EP, is a jittery journey though his obvious hip hop influences, fused with a dose of gloom and darkness into a chilling, haunting, and relaxing sound. There’s is an overwhelming amount of top class electronic music emerging from Ireland right now and this stuff from Sina is right up there with the best of it.
Check out ‘Remembrance’ and ‘From Love to Dust’, the title track from the EP below.
We have become well acqainted with the talents of Cork City based producer Sad Soul Circus (Finn Yowel) throughout 2012.
His latest release, ‘Colourful Lights’, displays his now almost signature love for down-tempo, chilled-out multi-textured electronic sounds. It is an absolutely beautiful track with a breezy air of tranquility. Check the video which is directed, filmed and edited by Finn. If you like it why not download it gratis from here.
Having already impressed greatly earlier this year with ‘Waves’ and ‘Lost Ideas’, the 19-year-old Cork City based producer Sad Soul Circus continues his upward trend with ‘Splitting Apart’.
‘Splitting Apart’ showers you with chilled out tranquil sounds, which is becoming something of his forte. The track just oozes with a cool and fresh vibe, leaving you simply refreshed after listening to it.
On the evidence of ‘Splitting Apart’ and previous material, his 8-track album which is due out later this year could be quite something. Definitely one to keep the eyes and ears open for.
The list of prodigious electronica artists emerging from Ireland over the past year and a half is damn impressive.
Sad Soul Circus, 19 year old Cork City based Finn Yowell, is another talent to be added to list. He has created something of rather unique quality. The music is a chilled out, alluring array of fresh and tranquil sounds. So far there are two wonderful tracks, both of which have been on constant rotation since last week. ‘Waves’ flows beautifully, a refreshing vibe washing over you while the blissful ‘Lost Ideas’ skips gently by, along a choppy bass-heavy rhythm.
Sad Soul Circus is currently in the process of producing an 8 track album.
Donegal-based SlowPlaceLikeHome (aka Keith Mannion) released his second EP, Coastal Hubs for Chivalry in January.
This is rich electronic music which slowly builds through vast wandering instrumentals, coupled by expansive, seductive and swirling arrangements to create relaxing, thought provoking music. Mannion isn’t afraid to mix things up a little, preferring to work through different electronic styles rather than committing to just one in particular. Take the perfectly chilled-out ‘Carte Blanche’ with it’s warm, relaxing ambient beats or ‘We Learned To Tilt At Windmills’, which sounds like the result of night of passion between Air and Unkle.
You can try a few choice cuts below or grab Coastal Hubs for Chivalry in it’s entirety, for free, from bandcamp.
‘Ver’ is the first new material we’ve heard from Cork produced REID since his terrific debut EP last summer.
The track will feature on the Dreams compilation from LYFSTYL music blog and will be available in full on February 14th. ‘Ver’ is quite different to what we’ve heard a lot more at ease than what we’ve heard previously, breaking softer ground it draws you into a dreamlike trance, carrying you above the clouds.
REID takes to the road soon with some of Ireland’s finest electronica artists right now for seven dates across the country as part of the Lightbox tour.