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VIDEO: On “Habit,” Angelnumber 8 Draws Us Like A Moth To A Flame

photo credit @jeralddjohnson 

 

L.A.-based singer-songwriter Angelnumber 8 today releases “Habit,” the first single from his upcoming project Digital Tribal, along with an accompanying music video, released via CashApp Studios.

The track begins with Angelnumber 8’s crisp, double-tracked vocals accompanied for a couple measures by echoing synth keyboards, until the beat (complete with itchy-sounding snare) enters, alongside delicately arpeggiated, tropical-sounding electric guitar and deep, rounded synth bass. At points, Angelnumber 8’s voice is transformed with clever use of tremolo, lending a hypnotic quality to his voice and blurring the lines between vocal and instrument. When he chooses to bypass the effect, it’s in favor of double-tracking his vocals using the low bass range of his voice, which lends an additional pleasant depth to the soundscape. The track ends just as quickly as it starts, with mischievous vocal hiccups and gentle yelps seeing the drums and bass out until, at last, all that’s left is the electric guitar.

Lyrically, Angelnumber 8 seems to address some unnamed romantic interest in terms of his addiction to them, but also laments their neglect of him in favor of other distractions, including those that earn them money, but not artistic or creative output. “Breathless/I am again,/Like jeans ripped from the hem/Holding on to a thread/Bending,/Twisting,/With limbs,” he sings, describing his strung-out state of mind after bing neglected by the person he’s addressing.

The ingenious music video (directed by the artist and with visual effects by Zach Beech) finds Angelnumber 8 in an idyllic romance with a glitch-ridden, technicolor digital moth. They cavort together in the wilderness, they have dinner at a “fancy” restaurant (although she goes unnoticed, at first, by the waiter), but their time together takes an unfortunate turn toward the morbid, as well as the surreal. The final sequence is startlingly Lynchian in both its banality and its chilling effect. This writer expects bigger and better work to come soon from this artist on the rise. Gabe Hernandez





VIDEO: INNER WAVE’s “Take 3” Is A Surreal Take On Covid Life

photo courtesy of the artist

 

L.A.-based band Inner Wave has announced the coming release of their fourth and latest album, Appotosis, on September 30th by releasing a music video for album track “Take 3.” Inner Wave are managed by Cosmica Artists + Records.

The track begins with a thick, honky, effortlessly funky bass line rolling alongside a languid but insistent four-on-the-floor drumbeat, both sharing space with polished, delayed synth mallets. Frontman Pablo Sotelo’s vocals are pleasingly lethargic in the way his syllables land in the pocket with the four-on-the-floor groove. Sotelo’s vocals are accompanied by delicate, echoed guitar strums and mournful, siren-like, infinitely stretched synth lines that seem to underline the melancholy and emotional fatigue of his vocals. Plucked synths that dominate during the chorus add an extra layer of dancefloor gloss that wouldn’t be out of step at a local club some night this weekend. The icing on the cake is the lush middle section that leads the song into it’s conclusion, which has an “everything but the kitchen sink” feel, while managing to remain stately in its unraveling.

The track is special in that its music video also marks Sotelo’s directorial debut. It’s a fairly simple affair, but full of symbolism for covid quarantiners. The singer spends the bulk of the video standing camera center, viewable only from the waist up, and wearing a simple white tank top. Footage of vintage road scenes are projected onto the upper part of his face (an enigmatic but potent visual, to be sure), which alternate with multi-exposed versions of himself. Some are lit from the front with a blood-red glow, some from behind with a single blinding white light, revealing a sea of fog at his feet. It’s definitely a pick for best use of minimal prop resources, and the shot where Sotelo slowly struts across the multicolored stage wearing a full military gas mask apparatus is a not-too-subtle nod to the Covid pandemic. It’s an effectively narcotic video for a lush and hypnotic track that accurately reflects the breakdown of time and space that the covid crisis created, and another artistic document to note the events of the past year and a half. Gabe Hernandez





FRESH CUTS: On “Goosebumps,” Gregory Uhlmann Stretches Time

photo credit: Jacob Boll

L.A.-based art-folk auteur Gregory Uhlmann (guitarist and vocalist with local act Fell Runner) has today released “Goosebumps,” an atmospheric one-off single—following up on his Neighborhood Watch album of last July—on Topshelf Records.

 

The art-folk track begins humbly with a simple muted acoustic drum fill, announcing the entry of two strummed nylon-string guitars and an hypnotic, elliptic bass line. The atmosphere of the recording is warm and open, quickly inviting the listener into its center.

Uhlmann’s voice is alternately deeply resonant and choir-boy pure, with a bit of breathiness, especially during the chorus, where his voice fades into a deep ocean of reverb on a single syllable. The addition of a gooey, tremoloed synth about halfway through the song changes the flavor but does so tastefully, as does the entrance of plucked instruments, pitched somewhere between mallets and a ticking clock, along with oceanic synth pads that resemble a school of shimmering sea creatures.

By the time the swelling single-note guitar lines double Uhlmann’s vocal melody and a lone, perfectly-timed cymbal crash signals the conclusion of the song, the listener has been taken on a unique aural journey, where contrasting timbres that shouldn’t fit well together still somehow manage to do so. Gabe Hernandez





Bellhead "Dead Lights"

Bellhead has released the lead single, "Nothing As It Seems", from their forthcoming EP, "Dead Lights", which is due out this Friday, July 16th.

This is the Darkwave duo of Karen Righeimer (Low Bass / Vocals) and Ivan Russia (High Bass / Vocals / Drum Programming).

Bellhead will kick off their "Dead Lights" tour on August 28th at Bottom Lounge with V Is For Villians and Code Name: Phoenix.

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VIDEO: “Retreat” Finds Dzang Soundscaping The Climate Crisis

photo courtesy of artist's bandcamp page

Dzang is the project of L.A.-based electronic producer Adam Gunther, who has released “Retreat,” the lead single from his forthcoming EP Glacial Erratic, due out July 23rd on Bandcamp, along with an accompanying music video.

The moody, downtempo instrumental track begins with ominous FM-synth bells tolling over a subtle bed of digital noise and bleeping, before a soft, swollen bass enters along with a drum pattern that resembles a ticking clock with a seizure. Gradually, sparse upper-octave synth notes and insular, beautiful synth pads enter your ears, with the entire soundscape splitting the difference between serene grooving and cautious searching. The late addition of the metallic shuffling of chains to the rhythm lends extra weight to the track, before it fades out with the same fateful bells from the beginning. Are they a warning? Or are they simply mourning?

Gunter explains that the track was meant to convey the feeling of California’s climate crisis and the need to escape. The accompanying music video “shows a talismanic bird flying through scenes of climate disruption only to arrive at an urban core, unable to escape humanity’s influence.” It’s a chilling but mesmerizing visual paired with music that is just as good at provoking deep thought about our global predicament as it is for blissing out on a late-night highway drive. Gabe Hernandez

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