The beat of Swiss electro pop is TRUE

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Flying the flag for Swiss indie electro pop, TRUE are highly creative Bern-based duo formed by Daniela Sarda on vocals & keys and Rico Baumann on keys, drums, drum machines & sound design. Emerging out of the jazz scene and having cut their teeth on numerous musical projects, the duo came together just over two years ago with the aim of putting their brand of sleek, elegantly-produced synth beats on the European electronica map.

Their sound is deliciously enveloping

True to their aim, the duo have already gained quite a reputation for their sultry, downbeat singles and EPs which are always accompanied by exquisitely made art-house videos directed by film duo Nicole Pfister and Kapuly Dietrich. Their sound is deliciously enveloping due to many strong ingredients: Daniela’s rich sultry voice very apt at carrying emotion, haunting synth arrangements and sparse, compelling beats. As Rico explains, “We like songs that you could play on a guitar or piano, and we put it into an electronic context”. Singles like ‘What I’ve Lost’ and ‘Colors of my Estimation’ are late-night slow-burners that cast shadows on the musical landscape. The lyrics are full of bitter-sweet introspection which hint at the origins of the groups name – “a commitment to unadulterated truth”.

A collectable item in a precious series

Visually, each video and photograph is a studied performance in itself. Not only are True’s videos filmed with a fully live rendition of the song, but each clip has its own particular style, colour and tone, almost as if it were a collectable item in a precious series. The quirky, upbeat ‘Vertyko’ is a seamless take of Japanese 80s-style choreography, blueish hues, mixing up the retro with the futuristic. The timbre of ‘Colors of my Estimation’ is sombre and monochrome to match the moody beats whereas ‘What I’ve lost’ comes at you with dazzlingly bright lights, white attire and a sharp, bouncy rhythm.

Championed regularly by BBC Radio 1 and 6 Music, the duo can be seen at the prestigious M4 festival on the showcase stage at the Moods club in Zurich on 28th March. Keep an eye on this classy Swiss synth pop outfit, released on Mouthwatering Records out of Bern, their name is and their aim is TRUE.

Interesting additional reading: an in depth article entitled “Switzerland: in the creative Spirit” on The Formant blog where TRUEKamikazeSnow GhostsLen Sander among other artists from the Swiss electronic scene are well represented.

 

 

OY: “Life is like a mobile phone your unit comes, your unit goes…”

 

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Akwaaba! Welcome to the  “No Problem Saloon”, the second album from OY, (previously released under the name “Kokokyinaka” last year on Creaked Records), this time repackaged on the Belgian label, Crammed Discs and featuring some extra tracks.

OY are a Berlin-based duo composed of Swiss-Ghanaian vocalist, story-teller, musician, sound sampler Joy Frempong and mysterious drummer & producer Lleluja-Ha. This album is a refreshing, improvised breeze of African-influenced electronica based on a road trip that absorbed sounds and experiences from Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso and South Africa. Tales, proverbs and folklore were gathered along the way to be retold in an experimental, kaleidoscopic style, at times dark and mercurial, other times as joyful as walking through an African market place. As OY sings: “Life is like a mobile phone your unit comes, your unit goes”…

 A charmingly beguiling, left-of-centre, musical adventure

The slam of a taxi door becomes a drum, an antiquated washing machine provides a bass sound, conversation and street noises drift in and out of songs, the lyrics naturally develope from the stories and fragments of popular African wisdom encountered along the way. It makes for a charmingly beguiling, left-of-centre, musical adventure told in Joy’s elegant, playful voice that is as ease in English and French as it is in the numerous regional dialects.

Full of observational delight

Songs about bizarre name choices “My name is Happy” and the sexual politics of afro hair Halleluja Hair” are pure poetry in motion full of observational delight, colourful local custom and Joy’s own personal fire. Her velvety speaking voice entertains us with tales of how you should never run to a funeral of the man who stumbled and died (“Don’t Run Run”) and should you ever find yourself in a village where snoring is a crime punishable by death just start singing instead (“I don’t snore”).

Compassionate observation of humanity

Unknown-2Graced with ambidextrous talents, Joy is mistress of many synths and sound machines, often distorting her voice and playing it back as haunting accompaniment or backing vocals. An impressive wall of sound is at times created between herself and partner as in “Doondari”, where dark voice effects and heavy synth rhythms clash with swirling drum beats as menacing as a locust storm. Contrast this with a playful singing voice that combines rare soothing sweetness and reassuring confidence. ‘No Problem Saloon’ exudes compassionate observation of humanity and wraps it up in multi-textured, exhuberant electronic soundscapes.

 

OY are a wonderful live experience, catch them on stage here!

OY: “No Problem Saloon” (Crammed Discs)

 

Bit-Tuner: «The Japan Syndrome»

bit-tuner_by_martinrichi_3.jpg__630x400_q80_crop_upscaleMarcel Gschwend ist Bit-Tuner. Seit 1997 produziert der St. Galler, der mittlerweile in Zürich lebt, basslastigen Electro, spannt mit Rappern wie Dani Göldin zusammen, vertont live Stummfilme und spielt Bassgitarre bei Stahlberger, der Band, die mit ihrem dritten Album «Die Gschicht isch besser» auch die Schweizer Hitparaden erobert hat.

Solo veröffentlichte der 36-Jährige zuletzt «The Japan Syndrome», das nun auch auf Vinyl erschienen ist. Es ist nach «The China Syndrome» bereits die zweite Platte, die während seiner Live-Residency im Zürcher Club Helsinki entstanden ist.

Auf «The Japan Syndrome» bringt Bit-Tuner seine Sounds aus seinem stetig anwachsenden elektronischen Gerätepark mit Alltagsgeräuschen zusammen, die er auf seiner Japanreise im Frühling 2013 gesammelt hat. Grossstadtlärm und Vogelgezwitscher treffen auf mächtige Bässe, auf Beats, die sich langsam entwickeln und auf zirpende Höhen.

So entwickelt sich eine eigentümliche Dub-Atmosphäre, die zwischen tiefen Strassenschluchten und Stadtpark und zwischen Club und Schlafzimmer anzusiedeln ist. Bit-Tuner ist auf «The Japan Syndrome» einmal mehr ein überaus einfallsreicher Soundarchitekt, der auch dank seinem Band-Hintergrund weit über die Electro-Landschaft hinausweist.

Bit-Tuner: «The Japan Syndrome» (Hula Honeys)

 

Bit-Turner Konzerte: 21 May, Rote Fabrik (Zurich), 23 May TabTap (Shaffausen), 24 May, Palace (St.Gallen) und mehr…

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