Tag Archives: minimalist

Blogathon: Belanger – “Calico”

1 Feb


We received a fair amount of submissions over the last 24 hours from bands and PRs, wanting to be featured as part of Blogathon. There were lots of pictures, band photos, links, effusive praise from other sites and numerous other reasons for us to post their song.

Only one email came with nothing more than a close up picture of what appears to be a jet black panther’s face, and a link. That one came from New York based producer Belanger and the link took us to this eerily atmospheric piece of instrumental electronica. The beat pulses like a heartbeat while synths flash and blink like a hospital ward full of electrocardiograph monitors. Minimalist glitches belie the pristine sparseness of the melody, filling it with flickers and flourishes of sharp digital beats and pops.

Belanger has risen to prominence for his remixes for some of mainstream pop’s favourite darlings, like Britney and Demi. Now he looks to be striking out on his own like a big cat on the prowl, waiting for his moment to strike. It sounds like that moment is now.

”Calico” is out now and available to buy on iTunes.

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Stalk Belanger: Website / Facebook / Twittter

‘G’ is for Garnets

20 Mar


Those of you who have followed this blog for a while may well recall an interview that we did with The Guardian for their Blog Jam series. In it we identified Leeds based noodlers, Garnets as our soon-to-be-inducted ‘G’ band.

That was in May last year. A lot has changed since then, but our desire to feature Garnets as an Alphabet Band never abated so we are delighted that, after the best part of a year, we are finally welcoming them to the family.

When we say a lot has changed, we mean for Garnets. They first came to our attention when our friends over at Rarity In form featured their beautiful, intricate and atmospheric track, “Dance Of The Chloroplasts”. We were captivated by the minimalist and haunting melodies, the sparseness and use of wide open spaces as well as pin-prick precise electronic sounds.

We soon engaged the band in conversation by email but while we spoke on and off for the remainder of the year, publically they dropped off the radar. Newly relocated to London from Leeds and making music once again, we grabbed a cuppa with Sam and Ed recently and the first thing we wanted to know was, where have they been?

”We graduated” says Sam. It’s a short answer but one that actually explains an awful lot. The band as was in Leeds has largely relocated to disparate corners of the country and that has made getting together quite difficult. The band as it was hasn’t got together and rehearsed for some time but Sam himself has shipped all his recording equipment down to London and is currently ”making up for lost time”. The band hasn’t broken up but, as Ed explains, if they waited for everyone to be available at the same time, they could end up waiting forever. ”It’s been pretty much impossible with everyone in different places”, he admits. ”If we hadn’t started doing stuff just as a two piece, there’s no telling how long it would have been before we started recording stuff again”.

Sam has not stopped writing mind you and the band recently released “Fruit”, a super chilled piece of looped electronica with a graceful, music box piano outro as their debut, you can actually buy this, single. While Sam is keen to stress that they are seeing how it goes, there are a few more tracks waiting in the wings to be released, maybe an EP in the not too distant future as well. Good news for those amongst us who were lamenting their apparent disappearance.

Having previously recorded with the wider band, tracks are now written and produced in Sam’s home studio, aka his bedroom. “I don’t have much to go with really, equipment wise”, he admits. ”One good microphone and whatever I have to hand really”, which is quite impressive when you consider the fragility and intricacy of the tunes they are producing. Not that having more or better kit would make a difference, ”I like limitations, I think it adds a lot” says Sam and Ed agrees, ”I think it forces you to work harder on the intricacies”, he says. ”I think if you’ve got too much you become lazy”. ”It doesn’t have any character” adds Sam.

Their influences are not quite as surprising, Sigor Rós and James Blake for example, though Sam is also a big Springsteen fan, which doesn’t come through quite as strongly in their sound but may well translate to live performances. Perhaps jeans and white t-shirts could be the band uniform. Joking aside, live is not really on their mind at the moment, the focus is on writing and recording and what happens next. It feels like they are almost starting from scratch, they say. There is, says Ed, a bit of a launch pad with their previous releases and the fanbase they had already built up but with the wider band spread out around the country it is Sam and Ed who are taking it forward and what happens next is very much dependant on how they and the others feel.

One thing is clear though, it is great to have them back recording and releasing music again, and with more tracks on the way they should be able to take off from that launch pad and hit new heights. It may have taken us nearly a year to welcome them to the Alphabet Bands family, but it was certainly worth the wait.

Stalk Garnets: Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr / YouTube

Listen: Wall – “Left To Wonder”

13 Mar

Wall shoestring

As 2012 came to a close, London based Wall‘s debut track “Magazine” crept into our Top 20 Tracks of the Year list. Thanks in no small part to its elegant and understated beauty.

As 2013 moves swiftly along, she has already moved to greater heights and eclipsed “Magazine” with the feather soft “Left To Wonder”. As is fast becoming her signature, the track is more about the sparsity than a flurry of noise. Showcasing the classic and eternal beauty of quality songwriting, she calls gently “Don’t go back til you’re ready to / to remember”, her words bobbing gently on the still lake of the muted and soft beat below.

Already she is proving herself an artist to be genuinely excited by and it’s no wonder she is already selling out shows and gathering a lot of attention from the blog world and the like.

“Left To Wonder” will feature on the forthcoming ‘Shoestring’ EP which is due for release via Big Panic Records on 1 April (UK & Europe) and 2 April (USA). You can catch Wall live in the UK at Bush Hall, London on 9 April.

Stalk Wall: Twitter / Facebook / Soundcloud

Listen: Wall – “Magazine”

15 Aug

Like most of the UK, we here at Alphabet Bands got completely caught up in the euphoria and sheer amazingness of the Olympics this past fortnight, so much so that we totally forgot to post anything while it was on! As well as becoming fully immersed in pretty much every sport contested, no matter how obscure, bonkers or baffling, we rode the adrenaline charged wave that swept across the nation always the way to the very top. Now, with the games over, the flag passed on to Rio and the flame extinguished, the wave has run its course and we are left, coughing and spluttering on the shore, seaweed draped unattractively about our personage and not a single gold medal winning oarsman or sailor to be seen anywhere around. In short, come down is a bitch.

What we need is something to fill the gap, to help us get over this sense of loss. We need something calm and beautiful, something gentle to ease our wound and smooth the frayed edges of our heart. Enter Wall, a London-based producer and singer-songwriter specialising in intimate, minimalist electro-pop.

Utterly enchanting, her voice is as soft and refreshing as the cool side of the pillow and as fragile as crystal, perched delicately and perfectly atop her sparse, muted soundscapes. It’s no wonder her debut single, “Magazine” (which you can stream below) was snapped up for release by the label arm of Black Cab Sessions in double quick time.

Sport may have quickened our pulse these past two weeks, but it is music such as this that makes the hairs on the back of our neck stand up and sends a shiver down our spine.

“Magazine” will be released on 7″ via BCS Records on 3 September.

Stalk Wall
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