The winter is almost upon the Nordic countries. Time to dive into the darkness with WANHA. This is a project of Joni Vanhanen, a profilic producer/singer/hiphop-artist from Jyväskylä, Finland, known for his versatility above all. In addition to being one of the most respected underground hiphop producers in Finland he has worked with all kinds of music from metal to pop.
WANHA combines all of these influences with surprising ease. The Wait is a slice of trippy downtempo electronica, as dark as the northern days and cold as the nights, with haunting, pitch-shifted vocals that add an even more gripping tone to the distinctively Nordic song. WANHA is working on his debut album, so expect to hear more music from him very soon.
Mindsedge has taken a different approach than on the first album "Theta". They wanted this record to feel smooth and be much more positive, despite retaining the dramatic feel of the previous record. The songs feel tighter and more structured. Shades, the titular track is unique in a few ways. It is a redoing of the drummer's old song that he recorded along with the bassist in their old band. He wrote it himself but we wanted to put a new "Mindsedge" spin on it... so they made it sound nothing like a Mindsedge song. It's somewhat ambient and poppy at the same time (even if it's twice as long as your run-of-the-mill pop-song) and features vocals by Małgorzata Pawłowska (who you can also hear on Pathways) as well as keyboards by jazz guitarist Piotr Grudzińsk. Another unique thing about the song is that it was recorded with instruments downtuned to 432Hz instead of 440Hz. It made them sound deeper, perhaps somewhat broken but also very warm.
Ali Murray is an ethereal folk songwriter/musician from the cold isle of Lewis in the north of Scotland. He writes dark atmospheric folk music with lush sweeping dreamy soundscapes and Celtic-twinged instrumentation. His new album LAND OF EVERGONE strikes a balance that is intimate and soaring, peaceful and haunting, sad and quietly joyful, delicately reverberating with Murray's dreamy voice and guitar playing.
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.