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.

 

 

Le Pot «She»

LePot_She_CoverThe system has crashed and we nervously float through a spiral galaxy

Le Pot’s album is the first of a planned trilogy, SheHeraZade. After crossing paths in outfits such as Manuel Mengis‘ Gruppe 6, they committed to this project with Mengis on trumpet and electronics, Hans-Peter Pfammatter playing Moog and synthesisers, drummer Lionel Friedli and Manuel Troller on electric guitar. This instalment, She, has thrown off the shackles of melody and musical convention and is driven by atmosphere, environment, feeling. The electronics provide a subtle, post-Apocalyptic white noise; the system has crashed and we nervously float through a spiral galaxy.

This interplay creates expansive landscapes

Ariel Alert sets up the ride with its cacophony of smashing cymbals and firing drum rolls, psyched-out guitar and trumpet, part-quivering, part-soaring. It leads into the track I keep re-playing, Part 1 Desert Whale Song. A sublime sound-piece where the ever-present electronics are so subtle you can’t tell where the instruments stop and they begin. This interplay creates expansive landscapes and mysterious visions: here the band appears as a disorientated submarine in the deepest of pitch-black oceans. The denouement escalates to an animalistic attack of Mengis’ braying brass, distorted guitar and drum blows, that had me on the edge of my seat.

Electronics are the threads invisibly sewing it all together

Throughout the album, the trumpet chatters, squeals, cries in pain but rarely sings – there is a sense of skilful playing and a wilful rejection of tradition, although I could sense echoes of ‘electric Miles’ (Davis). It is perfectly matched by the guitar’s imaginings: from fuzzy strums to almost inaudible bending notes and tripped-out chords. The drumming is a-rhythmical, barging into the argument with its own opinions; sparse and jagged, whilst the synths and electronics are the threads invisibly sewing it all together into a dark collage.

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An echoing guitar drives the track off the cliff into freefall

It’s as if their idea is to drag music back in time to primal grunts or break it even further down into fizzing atoms. They are not always successful in this, but what I am taken by is the quartet’s commitment to space in their music; they allow each sound to breathe and exist even when they build to discordant climaxes such as in Part II Phili’s Boat Bursting or Gezinkt Sind Wir Alle. In this piece the instruments intensify their squabbling chatter; bass notes underpinning frantic trumpet squeals and insistent electric loops, before an echoing guitar drives the track off the cliff into freefall. There is almost a sense of post-punk electronica here with keyboards, guitar and drums uniting in a vague melody.

This is what I think should have been developed – a more tangible shape, even if for one track in order to pull the album back from drifting into clever noodling. Having said that, I enjoyed the trip very much and am looking forward to Hera – which the band say will be an acoustic reflection on the motives of the British composer Benjamin Britten. Le Pot are a band we should all be keeping our ears open for.

Le Pot             Everest Records

 

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