The locomotive of new music trundles on relentlessly, because yes I’ve decided I’m going to adopt a train-based analogy to fill out this particular intro section, having exhausted all of my heart based ones and my general idle small talk. If you don’t believe me, please do check HERE for all previous editions of PULSE.
Obviously, I don’t really mean for you to go check out how bad a writer I am, I’m tricking you into reading back and exposing yourself to more music for your own good – in the hopes that you gloss over this abysmal claptrap out of gratitude. Anyhoo, moving swiftly on, and continuing on with our ever eclectic musical gifts, here is the latest (but also check out the LAST).
The Grubby Mitts
When it comes to grubby mitts, it usually involves a request (see also: threat) to get them off of something (see: cookies, spouse, alcohol, book, etc.). However, in the case of The Grubby Mitts it would more commonly involve a request for those Grubby Mitts to be shrunk down and forced in earholes, so as to get that grub all up in there and massaging eardrums.
The five piece from Bedford started off as the project of artist Andy Holden and friends/regular collaborators Johnny Parry, Roger Illingworth, James MacDowell, and John Blamey, who have written and performed in many shapes, forms, and varieties since they were kids. The end result is The Grubby Mitts today, and that lies somewhere on a map of quirk that covers English folk, Lewis Carroll, choral music, indie, Yellow Submarine, and the air of melancholy tenderly hugging whimsy.
A Swarm of the Sun
Now, a swarm is a pretty hectic affair, all confusion, chaos, panic, incessant buzzing, and pain. I mean the word has no doubt conjured the traditionally terrifying image of a swarm of bees or rabbits already, and then you throw the sun in the mix and you’ve just got all the previous adverse adjectives plus fire. Frightening, truly frightening.
However, with Swedish duo A Swarm of the Sun the end result is not the swarm itself, but more being stuck on Earth as a swarm of something space based and evil, rabbits for example, block out the sun in shifting shadows. The two-piece’s music matches the imagery of an apocalypse that’s not fire and brimstone, but cold, dark, eternal night time. As with that landscape though, there is a beauty and serenity to the bleakness and solitude, that keeps its hold on you.
Black Yaya is David Ivar, formerly of Herman Dune with whom he recorded some 10 albums, who awoke one day with the feeling he couldn’t be in a band anymore and took himself away from that. This wasn’t a case of giving up the ghost entirely, this was more a case of wanting to express himself more purely and represent himself solely.
The result? Well, Black Yaya was born out of his gathering his stuff and heading to Los Angeles, California near Malibu so he could set himself up by the ocean, taking his instruments and equipment with him, some of which he got in exchange for bottles of tequila. The end result then, sounds exactly like that; the sound of sun, sea, sand, and tequila. It’s all soulful singer-songwriter funk with 70s lime twist and a psychedelic kick.
Fortune favours the brave, and this three piece are brave in their vision. See what I did there? Clever, weren’t it? Clever as fuck you cry! Though, yeah, this experimental triplet of a band have got a solid vision backed by clear intentions that have been previously quoted as wanting to ’cause confusion’. So they’re not in the game of pandering to expectations or being afraid to push buttons.
Blurring the lines between your more instrumental and electronic ends of the spectrum, the band also simultaneously throw a minimalist approach to their music against a maximist, maximumist, oppositist-of-minimalist, one (one of those is definitely a thing, and if it’s not, I call dibs on the term). Making use of layered drones, ambient passages, noise experiments, taut rhythms, hypnotic vocals, cult like chants, dissonance, and melody, Vision Fortune are sticking to their guns.