We’ve been huge fans of the blissfully laid-back sound of Australian indie-dance outfit Tora for a while now, and this latest release is nicely seeing us through that always-difficult middle part of the week.
Blame is taken from the band’s debut album Take A Rest which is out now. Watch out for them live too as they’re embarking on an extensive European tour in the autumn, including stops in Manchester (7 October), London (9) and Brighton (10).
Tora – Blame
North London-based producer and artist Raphaella has released her first solo release of the year with the sublime Turn Around. It’s slick and stripped back right from the off, providing just the right backing for a rich, soulful vocal.
Speaking about the track, Raphaella said: “Turn Around is about the moment you walk away from someone because you know they’re no good for you. Your head has made the decision, but you know your heart could betray you any moment. Love is hard and the right decision is almost never the easiest – it’s the last bit of your heart that hasn’t let go, saying if you wanted me to, I could turn around and come right back. Turn Around is the last song before letting go.”
Expect a lot more to come from Raphaella. She has been busy in the studio working on projects with luminaries such as Rudimental, MNEK, Steel Banglez, MIST, Gorgon City, Watermat and Wilkinson.
Raphaella – Turn Around
With a beautiful, soulful and laid-back vibe, Intertwined is the latest track from Purple Ferdinand‘s 7-track EP Rain Or Shine which was released back in February.
With a suitably sleek new video directed by Didyer Zarate to accompany it, the track underlines the promise already being shown by this talented London singer songwriter.
Purple Ferdinand – Intertwined
We’re always on the lookout for what we consider to be a ‘Friday tune’, so you can’t even begin to imagine how happy we were to have this beauty appear before our very ears. Hold On is the brand new track from London-based producer Fabich and features the vocal talents of Josh Barry. An absolute gem, and with a suitable cracking video to go with it.
And while you’re about it, don’t miss the absolutely sublime acoustic version of this song – both versions are below.
Fabich – Hold On (ft. Josh Barry)
Fabich – Hold On (ft. Josh Barry) Acoustic
Rather liking Seasons Change, the first commercial release from Dead Lavender. The artists responsible are so far shrouded in mystery, although we do know that they are a London-based collaborative duo, consisting of vocalists and producers V & Oliver. With a second tune apparently in the final stages, hopefully there’s plenty more where this track came from.
The video was shot in Los Angeles on Christmas Day last year and was produced by the pair with a retro vibe using VCR filters and 90’s colour grading.
Dead Lavender – Seasons Change
Long before Sia became a global superstar, we were HUGE fans of her widely under-acknowledged solo material and her long-running collaboration with the superb Zero 7. If fact, we would go so far as to say her true vocal talents were way better demonstrated with some of these songs that they have been in the more recent chart-topping stuff.
For us, this beautiful song stands out as a particular favourite of her Zero 7 work though, and having chanced upon this live video recording from 15 years ago of Destiny (also featuring the equally talented Sophie Barker – whose vocal levels were not remotely turned high enough on this recording sadly), we felt a ‘Backtrack’ post coming on. So here it is for your Sunday enjoyment…
Zero 7 – Destiny (ft. Sia & Sophie Barker) [Live]
Although relatively little known in the UK, Australian DJ and producer Ok Sure has been making waves throughout Australasia recently. A creator of sublime downtempo electronica masterpieces, Ok Sure – a moniker that is derived from her real name Akaysha – has been honing her considerable skills for years.
A winner of multiple DJ competitions in her homeland, she is in big demand for remixes, whilst her own original material also gets plenty of airplay on many of the major Aussie radio stations.
Ok Sure also delivers big live performances consisting of downtempo, industrial, dark melodic electronica and DJ sets pulsing with techno, deep house, electronica and whatever else takes the mood. As she launches new EP Anamnesis, we caught up with her to find out more about what makes this Melbourne livewire talent tick…
SYNC: Please tell us a bit of the background, how you first started out as a DJ?
Ok Sure: I actually developed an interest in music production before i started DJ’ing. DJ’ing was a natural progression for the sound I was taking an interest in at that time. I think I was about 14 or 15 years old and I was really getting into Wet Musik, which was a Melbourne techno collective putting on parties and releasing music. One of the guys from it – Will E Tell – was running DJ’ing lessons and I signed up for a four-week course, started buying vinyl, eventually got my own decks and the rest is history!
SYNC: DJ competitions were a big part of your early development – how did those experiences shape your work now and what opportunities did they present?
Ok Sure: I was about 20 years old when I won the Pioneer Pro DJ Search. That feels like such a long time ago! It was a nice confirmation at that age, to feel like I was on the right track. I was probably a bit lost at that stage wondering what to do with my life; Should I study more? Should I travel? Should I focus on music? I ended up doing all three.
SYNC: Who and what have influenced or shaped your sound up to now?
Ok Sure: Unrequited love, relationships, boredom, friends, other artist, procrastination (when I’m meant to be doing other things is always the best time to make music), frustration, life…
SYNC: Tell us a little about the new EP Anamnesis – how have these tracks developed and how long has the EP been in the making?
Ok Sure: I have been making music for a long time under the alias ‘Ok Sure’ with no real direction as to what I was going to do with it or how I was going to release it. It really started as a side project. I was always holding off on doing official releases as I felt I made a lot of mistakes releasing stuff in the past that I ended up hating. I wanted to sit on tracks for a really long time and if I still liked them in 2-3 years then I assumed I might like them in 10…I hoped. I was approached by a label (Upside Music) who where interested in working on a release and I thought it was time I put something out. So, I had A LOT of music sitting there and basically we just went through it all and picked out what we thought was most appropriate for the first EP. I then spent ages polishing off those tracks and trying to get them to all sound coherent – I did all the mixing and mastering on the EP – as some were from four years ago and some were from last year. Obviously my production skills have gotten better so I just had to re-work a few and get them up to scratch.
SYNC: The technical construction of a track like Xylo seems really complex and yet at the same time, it has a simple atmospheric quality. What’s the typical starting point of your production process and how does the sound evolve?
Ok Sure: Oh man, Xylo is probably about three years old, I can’t even remember how that track started. I’m literally working on like ten things at a time, bag most of the ideas then start another ten. Some tracks stick and I end up going back to continue working on them. Xylo was one of those. Honestly I don’t even know how my tracks happen, it’s hours and hours of being on auto pilot at my computer, tweaking this, going through synth sounds, samples, messing around on my keyboard until something just clicks and I roll with it. Sometimes I even listen back to my stuff and I think, how did that happen?!
SYNC: Where does your creative heart lie – creating your own originals or remixing?
Ok Sure: Remixing is fun but I would say originals I’m more passionate about. I think I was doing so many remixes to get stuff out in the world while I was trying to figure out what to do with all my original material. It was a way to release something and get your name out there without having the stress of releasing your own tracks.
SYNC: Which artists have you most enjoyed working with on remixes – and is there anyone who you would particularly like to collaborate with in the future?
Ok Sure: I think my favourite remix I’ve done is the Habits one (Gerger). I was a bit nervous with that one as I’m such a fan of their music and I thought, can I do it justice? But it came out really well and they were happy with it so that was great. Right now I’ve been listening to a lot of Arca – imagine collaborating with him… a girl can dream.
SYNC: What’s in the pipeline for the rest of 2017? Are there live shows in the diary – or any plans for UK/Europe?
Ok Sure: I have a few live shows this month in Melbourne, working on the next EP which will be a bit different to Anamnesis as I’m collaborating with other vocalists. Unfortunately, there are no plans just yet for UK or Europe but I would love to organise something!
Ok Sure / oksurewhatever.com
We’re finding ourselves still listening to this beauty from Melbourne duo Two People (Phoebe Lou and Joey Clough) having first heard it a couple of months back. If We Have Time has so many wonderful qualities, not least Lou’s understated yet wonderful vocals.
Two People – If We Have Time
We’ve decided that this tune will be setting the tone of our weekend. The wonderful Girl from The Internet is just the most sublime, laid-back five minutes of listening you’ll find and we don’t tire of hearing it. The track appeared on the Los Angeles R&B group’s 2015 album Ego Death.
The Internet – Girl (ft. Kaytranada)
There’s no better way to start the week than with a track that has just the right balance to help get things moving. Away With Me is a cool collaboration between Toronto-based electronic trip Closely and Los Angeles duo Novelties, made up of Kelly Mylod and Sophie Noire.
Its tropical flavour brings the sunshine, whether or not you’re basking in the real thing wherever you are right now!
Closely / Novelties – Away With Me
A supremely chilled out track to start the week, this is Twenty by UK producer Marble Empire (Matt Berry).
The 20-year-old Guildford-based artist – who started out as a producer in 2015 before moving on to performing his own tracks live with a full band – takes inspiration from the likes of Jungle and Nao and you can spot these influences among the many elements going on in this tune. We love it and hope you will too.
Marble Empire – Twenty
Occasionally a track comes along that just sounds so unique and special that typing words here simply seems superfluous. There’s not a lot we can say that can add much value to something so atmospheric, creative, and mesmerising.
Underwaterfall is the work of London artist/producer Bearcubs (aka Jack Ritchie) and is the first track from a forthcoming EP of the same name due out 10 March.
We’ll leave it at that with the words. Just have a listen, then listen again a few more times. You’ll surely fall in love with this track just like we have.
Bearcubs – Underwaterfall
Dark and intriguing, we’re currently being fascinated by the sound and style of Izzy Flynn. New track Faith – her third single – starts slow but builds beautifully into an epic piece that we can’t stop listening to, and you can expect to hear a lot more about her during 2017.
Listing some of her inspirations as Joni Mitchell, Leonardo Da Vinci, Frank Ocean, Frederic Chopin, Esperanza Spalding, Nina Simone, Lauryn Hill and Keith Jarrett, it is fair to say that the London-born singer/songwriter is not an artist who can easily be pigeonholed.
Having trained in jazz at Leeds College of Music, her own style is a fusion of the freeform musicality of her learning and the structural accuracy of Da Vinci’s body series. Alongside the Abstract Orchestra – an all-star Hip-Hop Big Band that have recorded and toured with huge acts such as Amy Winehouse, Jamiroquai, Submotion Orchestra – Flynn has performed around the world. Most recently they supported Mos Def, De La Soul and Afrika Bambaataa.
Flynn graduated with a First Class Honours and Composition Award on the BA Jazz Degree at Leeds College of Music. Primarily influenced by electronic, jazz and R&B styles, with rich harmonies and memorable melodies, her dark and alluring sound could draw comparisons with the likes of James Blake, BANKS and FKA Twigs. And like those artists, Flynn curates every aspect of her creative output. Not just a singer/songwriter, she takes inspiration from her icon Joni Mitchell, viewing her work more as a complete project. While she writes both the music and lyrics, she also performs all keyboard, synth, lead vocal and backing vocals herself. She is heavily involved in the music production and her own artistic styling.
It’s clearly a labour of love for her, and it certainly won’t be too long before many more people get to love her work too.
Izzy Flynn – Faith
Izzy Flynn – Medicine
Hard to imagine a more sublime and chilled out way to start our weekend than this track by the superb Alpines.
The electronic duo of Catherine Pockson and Bob Matthews release new album Another River on 28 October and Heaven is the second track to be released, following Completely which we similarly adored.
In the meantime though, we’re just enjoying this absolute gem of a tune, and hope you will too.
Alpines – Heaven
Here’s a thing of beauty to get you through a Wednesday. Restless Spheres is the new track from Blue States, the electronic music project led by producer Andrew Dragazis.
Featuring vocals from Stockholm singer Mayasa, it is the title track from what will be his first album in nine years, due for release on 16 September and backed up with a show at The Waiting Room, London on 3 October.
Blue States were responsible for one of our all-time favourite chillout tracks Diamente, so it’s great to hear this new material sounding so good.
Blue States – Restless Spheres