Sylvan Esso’s “Coffee” has flourished into full-bodied greatness. Now earning upwards of 300K plays on Soundcloud, “Coffee” marks an arrival for Sylvan Esso. As willowy vocals combine with convulsive rhythms, the duo declares unadulterated idiosyncrasy. With a string of SXSW performances, coming to full fruition with a special shout out by NPR’s All Songs Considered crew for their SXSW 2014 Wrap-Up on Favorite Discoveries, Sylvan Esso are in the perfect position to assert themselves.
Their video for “Coffee” is a slightly impressionistic and disconnected series of slow moving scenes. In whole, it’s a visual defense of dance: its tendency to absorb the dancer into involuntary and organic motion, its ability to heighten self-awareness, and its propensity for sending the dancer into a sure state of euphoria. With members Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn at the center of each scene, the video depicts two people’s real and slightly uncomfortable experiences of movement. From dance floor twirls to drunken house parties and leotard-clad sequences, Sylvan Esso propounds dance as vital to an expressive existence.
Sylvan Esso will be touring with tUnE-yArDs, making a stop at the 9:30 Club on 6/13. Their self-title LP is out on 5/13.
Nashville-based trio, BASECAMP, have released a haunting cover of Ace of Base’s 90s single, “All That She Wants.” Now, in their startlingly stripped-down interpretation of the 90s chart-topper, BASECAMP transforms and unfurls the Swedish syncopated cries into a bluesy skeleton of its predecessor.
In their debut single, “Emmanuel,” the group takes advantage of sounds that create seemingly discordant yet strikingly complementary musical textures, wrought with razor edge accuracy, rock hard downbeats, and skyward bound blues guitar. ATSW is no exception to this practice of weaving the elements like melodic thread. The listener is meant to hear and feel a woman’s honest and unshaded story of lust and desire.
BASECAMP’s mode of operation is one that is highly experimental, but also wildly inventive and well-calculated. For R&B fans and skeptics alike, their music simply begs listeners to lend an ear to its rich and cutting melodies. BASECAMP will be performing at SXSW this week, playing a string of shows until March 15th.
On February 21, Durham, NC based electronic duo Sylvan Esso released their single “Coffee” on iTunes. “Coffee,” a track loyal to the dance floor sounds of the band’s previous single, the handclapped “Hey Mami,” but is less persistent. The melody waits for you: it is inviting, as it oozes with soul and sophistication.
In the duo’s live WAMU session, singer Amelia Meath’s performance is all-in, as physicality and musicality impact one another. Her body moves in waves, floats ethereally, then hunches and contracts as her voice silences. She and bandmate, Nick Sanborn, perform to one another in a lovely, yet unfinished and raw call-and-answer. Meath’s voice is a soulful whisper and instinctual cry—an easy-to-drink potion, which, when entwined with Sanborn’s cerebral instrumentation, creates a sound that both thinks and feels.
VNTC’s Regaws packs in a listening experience that paints, a backdrop of a suave lower Manhattan hotel lobby. The opening notes whirl like foam amidst tunnels of water—so it only fits the progression when the song is slowly pulled out of water and onto land, as the guitar rhythmically surges through muted keys and a subtle drumbeat. I am reminded of how a guitar can color a piece of music with earthiness, planting each chord firmly, the resonant keyboard plucks like melodic rain.
The guitar begins to slowly riff midway through the song. Every reverberation is familiar but stationed affront a novel backdrop, as it evokes styles of early rhythm and blues guitarists. Married with simple ambience, the guitar plays the record into a sultry sort of euphoria. By about three-fourths of the way in, the melody becomes imbued with uncontrolled guitar riffs and opens to the sound of emptiness. Then, the next few seconds of the piece seem to answer all questions as to the sexual nature of the beachy, bluesy tune. Musically, the choice to include the speaking part is ambitious, albeit perhaps a bit heavy-handed. It certainly adds a final, climactic movement to the piece, but unfortunately, at that point, there is not much left to the imagination.
The last minute of the song is where I find myself most entrapped. It is perfect chaos, as the guitar peaks sporadically throughout varying movements, only to gently fall and end the piece in an audible splash, like a dream being put to sleep.