Pablo Nouvelle “All I need”


Fabio Friedli, aka Pablo Nouvelle, is a young Swiss German soul-boy turned bedroom-rocker whose first album couldn’t get an official release because of all the Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson samples that needed clearing. The term “plunderphonics” seems to have been coined for this studio magician thanks to his particular talent for the art of sampling and restitching. Three years later, his new album, All I Need, is less of a post-modernist chop-up job and more of an organic studio project full of contemplative beats and atmospheric vocals, both skillfully employed to tease out a strong feeling of space and mood.

A surprisingly mature and emotionally delicate second album from a 29 year old who, when not winning awards for his work in film animation, finds time to record 4o tracks for his new album in London and Los Angeles. It has slick, catchy, pop/soul electronica stamped all over it, a feast for chill out lounges, downtempo playlists and elegant Manhattan shopping arcades. Though shamelessly commercial in its intention, the album is rich in feeling and texture thanks to a minimalist approach to the production that lets each track breathe in its landscape. Little wonder it struck me as the potential soundtrack to a film featuring hypersensitive characters figuring out their mercurial relationships on a snowy horizon.

Fabio explains that what starts off as a vague musical sketch at home on the keyboard and drum machine then gets elaborated in the studio with a singer who helps co-write and develop the piece turning it more into a song rather than just a sampling mosaic, a new situation for him formerly used to solitary confinement with his machinery. However sampling still features heavily as the vocals are often looped, chopped, slowed down and generally manipulated in some way to create the essential, raw direction of the track. Often compared to the likes of DJ Shadow and The Avalanches, the beats are tight, crisp, the uptempo numbers aching with dance floor potential.

Joined by a drummer and bassist on stage, Pablo Nouvelle will be on tour throughout Europe for most of spring 2016. Quoting Bonobo, the XX and Radiohead as his influences, I wouldn’t be surprised to find the work of Pablo Nouvelle alongside his heroes on heavy rotation on an intelligent radio station near you soon. With the one Marvin Gaye sample on the LP finally cleared, All I Need is out now on the award-winning Dutch label, Armada Music.

Pablo Nouvelle tour dates in March and April are on bandsintown

Phall Fatale mit «Moonlit Bang Bang» im Helsinki in Zürich

MINIfot_roland_okon_20140901_070_bSo recht weiss man nicht, wie einem geschieht, wenn man sich Phall Fatales zweites Album «Moonlit Bang Bang» anhört. Da ertönen Klänge, die man so nicht erwartet, geschweige denn einordnen kann. Wenn Phall Fatale all die scheinbar unvereinbaren Elemente in einen Topf wirft, entsteht nicht etwa eine braune, undefinierbare Brühe, nein: Sie erschaffen ein Mosaik aus tausenden Farben – die einzelnen Elemente unterschiedlich, die sich zusammen zu einem prächtigen Kunstwerk vereinen.

Akustische Explosionen, mal minimalistisch, mal wuchtig

Bei all den Klangexperimenten erstaunt es, dass keiner der Songs je überladen wirkt. Die Virtuosität der Musiker zeigt sich in der Umsichtigkeit, mit der die Sache angegangen wird. Weil all den akustischen Explosionen genug Raum gelassen wird, zu wirken, kommen sie erst recht zur Geltung; kein kurzes, gewaltiges BANG, sondern ein stetes Bang-Bang-Bang-Bang… Minimalistisch arrangierte Songs wie «Tree House» oder «Night» vermögen einen gleichermassen wegzublasen wie etwa das wuchtige «Crocodile».

Wer sich nach dieser Beschreibung noch nicht wirklich ein Bild von «Moonlit Bang Bang» machen kann, dem sei als Einstieg «Electric Eel» empfohlen: Die treibenden Beats werden einen nicht mehr loslassen. Und da wäre noch der Song «The Girl, The Beat», welcher uns eindrücklich demonstriert, wie sich ein perfekter Popsong im Jahr 2015 anhören könnte.


Die Vielfältigkeit, welche Phall Fatales Musik so spannend macht, ist wohl auch auf die Besetzung zurückzuführen. Da fanden sich Musiker mit verschiedenen musikalischen Hintergründen: Zum seit vielen Jahren aktiven und in der Jazz-Szene bekannten Schlagzeuger Fredy Studer gesellten sich im Jahr 2008 zwei Sängerinnen, Joy Frempong (OY, Filewile) und Joana Aderi (Sissy Fox, Eiko), und zwei Kontrabassisten, John Edwards (Mulatu Astatke, Robert Wyatt) und Daniel Sailer (Frachter, Pol).

phall-moonlit«Fatale Tage» im Helsinki in Zürich

«Moonlit Bang Bang» erschien am 16. Oktober 2015 auf Qilin Records und Slowfoot Records. An den «Fatalen Tagen» im Helsinki in Zürich vom 4. bis 7. November 2015 – quasi ein Mini-Festival über vier Tage – kann man sich ein Bild davon machen, wie die Songs des neuen Albums live umgesetzt werden. Danach spielen Phall Fatale bis Mitte Januar 2016 Konzerte in verschiedenen Schweizer Städten.


Phall Fatale, “Moonlight Bang Bang” (Dist Irascible)

Die aktuellen Konzertdaten von Phall Fatale:
4. November 2015, Helsinki, Zürich, w/ Joy Frempong & Philippe Ehinger
5. November 2015, Helsinki, Zürich, w/ Pol
6. November 2015, Helsinki, Zürich, w/ Fredy Studer, John Edwards
7. November 2015, Helsinki, Zürich, w/ Sissy Fox
2. Dezember 2015, Cinema Sil Plaz, Ilanz
3. Dezember 2015, Le Singe, Biel/Bienne
4. Dezember 2015, Le Nouveau Monde, Fribourg
5. Dezember 2015, Südpol Club, Luzern
6. Dezember 2015, bee-flat, Bern
20. Januar 2016, Le Bourg, Lausanne
21. Januar 2016, Café Mokka, Thun
22. Januar 2016, Kraftfeld, Winterthur
24. Januar 2016, Kaserne, Basel


Orioxy “Lost Children”

OrioxyEvocative storytelling perfectly suits this quartet
Orioxy’s third album resonates most when it re-imagines the template of simple folk music. Evocative storytelling perfectly suits this quartet of Manu Hagmann on double bass, Roland Merlinc on drums, harpist Julie Campiche and Yael Miller’s voice which at best is pure and unadorned, yet rich with the flavour of her mother tongue, Hebrew.

These stories have a modern accent though. Princeless is Yael’s re-telling of the Cinderella tale, it’s riven with longing and bereft of the happy ending. Soft electronic cries, a melancholic double bass and bare drum taps use a delicacy that binds the whole piece together. Yael Miller’s voice flips between innocence and sensuous knowing throughout, calling on her natural ability for drama. Song of Love is wonderfully accompanied by a percussive typewriter as if the singer is dictating her letter. Some type of squeeze box murmurs sadly and drops of electronica fold into a sympathetic bass solo, all the while the fountain-like harp sparkling light and fresh.

Julie CampicheCampiche’s timing seems to fly directly from her heart
The harp is really the heroine of this album with Julie Campiche’s myriad of subtle colours and styles perfectly placed again and again. Her solo in Isha is spine-tingling. This track is ranging and borderless, a landscape of yearning vocals and grooving rhythms helped by tape rewinds and effects. At first the harp captivates with Middle Eastern vibes amid deep double bass twangs that fall into dark scrapes, before the harp emerges in a solo full of soul and expression. Campiche’s timing seems to fly directly from her heart.

I don’t mind Yael’s rapping or the use of the Sami Darg Team (rappers from Gaza) on Bachour Meshouamam (A Bored Boy) but it does break the spell of the delicate web of lovelorn melodies. As an album, Lost Children does face the danger of its gentle downtempo mood coming to a lethargic halt so I welcome a bit more spit and verve. However, this is best done with their own instruments such as in Old World. Using a bow on the double bass and suitable electronics they bring a free rock track together without a whiff of lead guitar.

There could be a further clarity of the unique Orioxy sound
‘Music doesn’t have a style,’ Yael sings and it’s true this album does not fit into a neat genre. But music does need to have a clear identity, and although this is a decent third album I feel there could be a further clarity of the unique Orioxy sound gained through exploring further musical depth and developing musicianship and songwriting skills.

Interestingly, Orioxy do a captivating interpretation of Paul McCartney’s Blackbird. But in a way that cover serves to show what a truly stunning song can do. It’s the track that has stayed in my head. Orioxy have a good line up of gigs, often a chance for a band to get to know itself on a deeper level. Grab a chance to hear them play as I’m sure there will be some wonderful moments of magic.

Orioxy website and tour dates

%d bloggers like this: