Posts By Melissa Tan

VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Tim Shiel

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WhoTheHell-2

Illustration by Lucy Roleff

In our new series with Feral Media, we’ve asked a handful of Aus musicians to curate a mix featuring tracks from a genre they’re not associated with, but passionate about. Jonathan Boulet made us a doom-rock listicle in our first instalment (which you can read about here). Our second guest is producer, radio host, gaming mozart + longtime WTH favourite, Tim Shiel.

 

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Words by Greg Stone

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Tim Shiel began his music career releasing sample-based electronica under his Faux Pas alias. Taking cues from luminaries such as DJ Shadow, RJD2 and The Avalanches, his debut full length Entropy Begins at Home was a playful collage of bouncy electronica stitched together with a sense of humour that has remained at the heart of Tim’s music ever since.

After 3 albums and a slew of singles, EPs & remixes the Faux Pas moniker was retired with Shiel deciding to continue releasing music under his given names, most notably scoring the highly successful mobile-based video game Duet which has since spawned a remix album and most recently Duet: Encore Chapters. Tim’s music career took an extreme turn in 2011/2012 as a member of Gotye’s touring band which took in sold out tours of the U.S. and Europe, festival appearances, as well as the U.S. late night TV circuit. This relationship with Gotye’s Wally De Backer recently led the two to create fledgling record label Spirit Level, releasing the amazing sophomore album by Vermont-based band Zammuto.

His latest musical project is the self-proclaimed ‘emotional pop duo’ Telling with singer/songwriter Ben Abraham, which finds Tim steering his electronic production in a more song-based direction. 

In amongst all of this, Tim also finds time to host the radio show Something More on Double J & Triple J, where he explores the eclectic and intriguing world of contemporary electronic/experimental music.

For the second instalment of Virtual Mixtape, Tim has chosen (for want of a better term), modern folk. In his own words, “It’s not folktronica and it’s not freak folk. It’s just a brand of evocative, dreamy folk music that I’m really drawn to and have been for many years.” Furthermore, all of Tim’s selections come from Australian artists – a testament to the quality of music being created on our fair shores.

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Lisa Salvo – ‘Give Me Your Love’

Lisa’s songs are unassuming and thoughtful, and so are the arrangements on all the tracks on her most recent album which she produced with Joe Talia. Her voice is equal parts virtuosity and restraint, her melodies always interesting but never showy. I think this song is truly gorgeous and at times its little more than a shaker and a bass drone, and Lisa’s pure, intimate voice melting through it all.

Fieldings – ‘Idioglossia’

I’m really drawn to all the tracks that Fieldings has put out so far. They are simple folk songs that occasionally open a door to something more psychedelic, these tiny moments of sound design that hint at a kind of dream logic – and then snap you back to earth, back to acoustic guitars and old faithful harmonies. She says she is trying to capture “those moments where the mundane becomes sublime” and I can’t really put it any better than that.

Lucy Roleff - ‘Bodies’

Lucy’s voice is just stunning – I really love what she’s been doing with Alex as Magic Hands, but I’m utterly spellbound by some of what she’s put out just under her own name. I love that, like everyone else on this, she seems to be channeling a kind of folk music that has nothing to do with banjos or mandolins or beards or Mumfords – an idea of folk music that is more universal, that kind of story- telling that existed before popular music, before rock, blues, country etc. Timeless music.

 

Aphir - ‘Hypersephone’

I met Aphir after seeing her play at a little bar in Melbourne last year – she’d just pulled off a forty set of completely a capella music that I’d been completely entranced by. Hers is a kind of digital medieval choral music – hyper-real, borrowing the harmonic ideas of medieval choral composers and sending them echoing through a kind of virtual cathedral space, to create this kind of futuristic religious music. In amongst all that her stories are personal and compelling. Her sound is so unique and so clear.

The Orbweavers – ‘Loom’

Stuart & Marita are literally the sweetest people I have ever met, and they make beautiful music together. I love that they sing about my hometown and about its history, that they are inspired by local stories and local histories. They create haunting and detailed little worlds and again they litter their songs with these quietly epic moments of grandeur that hint at a kind of fantastical dream world – I love that they can create such beautiful, gorgeous pieces about topics that some might consider mundane; the rivers, suburbs and history of Melbourne.

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Brighter Later – ‘The Woods’

The Wolves is one of my favourite Australian albums from recent years. The arrangements are so rich, its amazing to think about how much love was poured into each track on this album. Its not easy to make such hard work sound so effortless. This track in particular is full of delicious details and left turns – but its Jay’s voice that is the big hook for me, she sounds so gorgeous and strange. I could listen to her sing all day. Jaye is also an amazing radio producer who has done some very creative work with Radio National, which obviously counts for serious bonus points with me.

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PREMIERE: Human Face – ‘Bottom of the Hill’ video

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Session bands too often make the best prototypes for other bands (too long in the shadows, right?). Jumping from a dub reggae jam band to synth-pop doesn’t seem that hard to fathom, but surely the odd urge surfaces. Human Face first started as an avenue for Dan Marsh to venture outside the bounds of his previous role in reggae outfit, The Red Eyes.

The Melbourne outfit are releasing a record in a few months, featuring collaborations with a roll call of Australia’s pop best – Ainslie Wills, Tommy Spender (Spender), Jaye Kranz (Brighter Later), Hailey Cramer and Evan Tweedie (Husky).

Their new video, ‘Bottom of the Hill’, was filmed by the band at Mt Macedon in Victoria. Like the location of the clip, there’s something kind of brooding and redemptive about this track, with its springboard synths and hollowed vocal – “My body’s just a shell at the bottom of the hill, where the wind picks up the dust and draws a line”.

Slowed down at half-speed, the lyrics and rural setting of the clip easily conjures this chirpy synth number into something more sinister. We’ll leave it as friendly pop for now.

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Human Face are playing the Spotted Mallard on Wednesday April 22nd.

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MIXTAPE: Edd Fisher for Cutting Shapes

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cuttingshapes

Dance music parties. Safe spaces for social lubrication and neoprene zip-throughs. The guys from Cutting Shapes are throwing their fourth event this Friday in Melbourne. After hosting the last few CS events in a humble garage, and bringing Swedish duo Genius of Time out for number 3, this week’s event looks like it’s going to be a good one.

Cutting Shapes #4 features beat-hero Edd Fisher, who’ll be throwing disco and afro-beats all up everywhere. Edd hosts Tomorrowland on PBS, has co-curated Wax’o Paradiso parties and notched up a few Boiler Room stints in his time. Edd has made us a mix for the occasion: two hours of uninterrupted everything – featuring locals Fantastic Man, Tornado Wallace, plus extra added horn section for your pleasure.

 

Cutting Shapes is happening this Friday at the newly reno’d Railway Hotel in Brunswick. The event also features Matt Priddy (Raw Wax), Sibling (live), Chris Kings, Jesse Young, Will Cumming, Jean Pierre & Jimi Red. For more event details, visit this link:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1583652448561597

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MAP x MAPCAST: March 2015

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We’re sending a perfectly auto-tuned human to the European Union. This of course, is totally OK because he has a duet with Lupe, a vast knitted beanie collection and a set of really annoying eyebrows. Aside from staking our country’s first claim at the Eurovision trophy we have absolutely no merit to even win – the other choices were quite obvious. Client Liaison performing on a giant rotisserie with flares and a horn section could have been lesser beige that Mr Sebastian himself.

Considerations aside, here’s another round of our monthly world wrap-up: Mapcast. Robbie’s wrap-up of the best new tracks from the Music Alliance Pact – tunes from Denmark, Chile, Canada, Columbia, Ireland and our very own Kučka.

If you’ve got a track you’d like featured as the Australian submission for Mapcast, drop us an email at editors@whothehell.net. Listen to previous Mapcast podcasts at our Soundcloud and check out the full Music Alliance Pact below.

 

Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 21-track compilation through Dropbox here.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Panda ElliotGuerrero (AlexPatri remix)

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Panda Elliot is three in one: woman, band and producer. A fresh new face in the music scene, she recently launched her second album Forastera, which shows a more confident Panda Elliot, well established in her own style. After the eclectic single Ligerita, she released Guerrero, a rockin’ feminine song that forces you to move your head. The track is potent and full of energy on its own, so this remix by AlexPatri extends into the realm of fun, uptempo electronic dance.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
KučkaDivinity

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A continuation of Kučka’s future R&B leanings hinted at in her previous work, Divinity is a lush, surreal affair. Undulating rhythms sync perfectly with the swirling, cough-syrupy synths and Laura Jane Lowther’s vocals, which sound at once sultry and innocent. Think an antipodean Purity Ring.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Passo TortoIsaurinha

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Passo Torto is a quartet formed by renowned musicians from Sao Paulo’s contemporary music scene. Isaurinha is taken from their second album, Passo Elétrico, in which they explore guitars and effects on acoustic bass and cavaquinho (sort of a small guitar often associated with samba), with the lack of percussion elements leaving space for harmonic and melodic experiments.

CANADA: Ride The Tempo
MunroeBloodlet

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Fans of Lykke Li may enjoy newcomer Kathleen Munroe, who simply goes by Munroe. She makes chilling folk tunes like this one with a tinge of Americana (though I guess this would be Canadiana?). Production-wise, Bloodlet doesn’t have too much but it’s perfect just the way it is. Her lovely voice is all you need.

 

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VIRTUAL MIXTAPE: Jonathan Boulet

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Virtual-Mixtape_Lucy-Roleff

Bands and artists are expected to borrow their schtick from a variety of sources. Often, the back story is just as interesting as the output itself. We’re kicking off a new series where we ask artists to make a mixtape based on a genre they’re into, but not necessarily associated with. Sometimes harmony, sometimes hardcore Jonathan Boulet gives us some insight into his ‘doom rock’ brain-chasms below. HTML hi-fives to Lucy Roleff (for illustrating our new national emblem above) and Greg Stone from Feral Media for putting this together.

Jonathan Boulet _ Virtual Mixtape

Greg Stone: I first became aware of Jonathan Boulet as the drummer/vocalist in the now defunct Sydney band Parades, an indie pop/rock group who seemed poised to take on the world, albeit for a brief moment. So it came as no surprise when Jono’s solo project stole the spotlight with its irrepressible pop hooks and sing along choruses. A talent that caught the ear of indie powerhouse Modular, who quickly released his self titled debut album.

Fast-forward to 2014 and Boulet’s most recent album Gubba (released via Popfrenzy), finds him indulging heavier rock moments revealing yet another side to his musical oeuvre, a side previously hinted at through his side-project SnakefaceConsidering this, it is certainly fitting that his mixtape is on the heavy side of things. A cathartic journey through sludge rock, post punk, hardcore and other distorted sub genres best enjoyed at maximum volume.

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1. Sleep – ‘Jerusalem’

Never actually listened to this front to back. We did it the other day while we were on tour driving between Sydney and Brisbane. The heavens opened up as they always do right as you go past Byron Bay. It was getting dark, we were speeding through a typhoon – zero visibility, moments from our imminent doom……with the perfect soundtrack.

‘Stoner’, ‘Doom’, ‘Sludge’ – whatever it’s called, it just doesn’t seem to ever lose its appeal to me. You can get sick of anything, but this is something I come back to most weeks.

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2. Swans – ‘Oxygen’

Michael Gira’s vocals are just straight out funny. I like his sense of humour. I just want a copy of the acapella for this one. Once again, Swans punish their audience with their unrelenting barrage of hits, slides, bends topped off with that undeniable groove.

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3. Destruction Unit – ‘Slow Death Sounds’

When that guitar comes in it just tears through the speakers like a chainsaw hitting a bloated stomach. That kind of reckless sonic annihilation would make many recording engineers queasy. That’s exactly why it’s perfect.

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4. The Men – ‘LADOCH’

I love how this song feels like it’s over but somehow they get a second wind and it’s back on. This band moves on so quickly from album to album but I’m glad they took the time to blow some steam and indulge in some righteous sonic violence before continuing on to safer territory.

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PREMIERE: Olympia – ‘Honey’ video

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Olympia

Olympia’s new track was inspired by photos of ‘red honey’ – the result of one Utah beekeeper’s idea to feed his bees Candy Canes instead of planting some flora like any other sensible beekeeper would. On ‘Honey’, Olympia (Olivia Bartley) says:

“Honey is about the influence we have on each other. The moment when something happens; you run into an ex, or you open your hive and the honey is the wrong colour. You have this, ‘Is this what I look like? Is that who I am?’ moment.”

The video was shot by director Alex Smith, whose credits include Jack Ladder’s glam-down with Sharon Van Etten, PVT‘s ‘In The Blood’ – or perhaps this low budget one featuring some guy named Chris Martin in soggy thermals stumbling across a beach.

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The video for ‘Honey’ is as stoic as the song itself. Olympia dons a Polly Jean jumpsuit and stance, and has all the lighting controls to power a substation or a late night viewing on Rage. Flash footage of Ballet Russes dancers in the 1930s pique the guilt that Bartley alludes to when she sings ‘Every lover you’ve turned your back on / Turns up new in someone else’s arms / I don’t want to see who I am in you, now’. 

Although the ‘studio’ here is arranged for prime-time, she’s playing live for an empty audience. Won’t stay that way for long.

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‘Honey’ is available to purchase on iTunes now.

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EXCLUSIVE: Nadia Reid – ‘Call The Days’

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nadia-reid

New Zealand’s Nadia Reid sings about the catharsis that comes with about moving to a new town in ‘Call The Days’. While Reid stems from the same ‘nu-folk’ ilk as Hollie Fullbrook (Tiny Ruins), Aldous Harding and our own Laura Jean, Reid’s diction holds a great weight that surpasses her peers. 

This track comes from her debut album Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs – the follow up to her 2011 EP Letters I Wrote and Never Sent. ‘Call the Days’ was recorded by Ben Edwards at Lyttleton Records (Aldous Harding, Marlon Wiliams).

Nadia says that the track was the first song she penned after moving from Christchurch to Wellington; spurred on by a “panic attack” and being “worried about making the right choices in life”.

On the surface, ‘Call The Days’ isn’t a difficult listen – the verses pace along steadily with Reid’s glowing resolve at the helm. There’s a string-like quality to Reid’s diction; her warm falsetto morphs in unison with the cello at times that you forget that both are entirely separate from each other. Reid deals with the misgivings of circumstance quite positively – in the same way that Laura Marling uses token steering-the-ship references and seasonal references (‘I threw out my winter coat / I cut the sleeves off all I’d known’) that same defiance remains here.

And like Laura, it still surprises me how some people still generally reference ‘age’ as an extraordinary justification to make a resonating folk track – as if youth’s poetic schitck these days is only capable of dropping bass and bad raps.

Reid lived and played music in Christchurch for many years before moving to Wellington, both pre and post the earthquake. Sure, the track happened in the midst of displacement and change, but it stays in the comfort of melancholia both in theme and arrangement. It always pivots back to the sane point, hovering around the same central chord.

Reid marks each verse with the phrase ‘I was so sure’, over and over again. It’s an honest self-affirmation, and an important one at that.

Nadia Reid’s debut LP Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs is out via Spunk on March 27th. 

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