Browsing Tag

art folk

Matangi Devi euphonised Vedic astrology in her single, Saraswati Mantra 12 Names of Saraswati

Ancient Indian folk, contemporary art folk, and Vedic astrology converged in the divinity of the debut album, Shakti Ma, from the up-and-coming New Age singer-songwriter, Matangi Devi. The mantra-focused seminal single, Saraswati Mantra 12 Names of Saraswati, is a beguiling exhibition of her deep sense of spirituality, effortlessly projected through her ever-ascending vocal lines and instrumentals which amalgamate to offer a transcendental experience your soul won’t be quick to forget.

To prepare for the album, the Australian composer and performer spent 17 years as a hatha yoga teacher and studied the Sanskrit language with the world-famous teacher, Dr. Lekhmani Tripathi. After acknowledging the profound positive impact of the vibrations of mantras, including how they awake cosmic energy that lingers within us all, she set out to share the divine nature of our universe and enable others to reach enlightenment as a soul-affirming songstress whose music could salve the sickness that this modern age has imparted.

Stream Shakti Ma in full on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Bay Bryan’s debut LP is a reverie of ubiquitous art-folk revelation

Life often imitates art, but LPs which emphasise realism and naturalism to such a vivid degree that you find yourself open to the purity and vastness of reality on this 1,000-mph spinning rock are a little harder to find, making the debut album, The Meadow, from Bay Bryan a ubiquitous revelation.

With vocals as diaphanous as the quiescent folk motifs, the omnipresent grace of the 10-track release becomes a paradox in its freeing yet arrestive proclivities. With sounds of the forestland flourishing in the same vein as Cosmo Sheldrake’s nature-sampled work in the opening singles before the LP embraces some folk traditionalism and elevates it through tantalisingly minimalist guile, The Meadow unravels as a release you should consume whole so that the euphonic album can return the favour.

There may be a lot to lament in this Anthropocene. Yet, as euphonically alluded by the Colorado-born, Manchester, UK-based artist, beauty still exists in the totality of our existence. Allowing the release to spill the solace of resonance; around the brushstrokes of pure rapture are conjurings of pensiveness, which give the LP as much soul as the euphoric dream-like layers.

The concept album may portray the tale of a protagonist trapped in an endless daydream, but with the infectious flower child celestiality, you may just find the inspiration to forego reality too, if only for the duration of The Meadow.

The singer-songwriter is often gratifyingly guilty of bringing their theatre-making talents into their imaginatively cinematic soundscapes, which have garnered rave reviews and airplay from BBC Radio 3. In an era when there is so much hate and fear, artists able to implant us in the sanctity of a daydream away from the waking terror are worth their weight in gold; Bay Bryan may just be the richest artist in the UK.

“I want you to stop. I want you to breathe. And for the next 30min I hope that you let yourself go —immerse yourself in world of the meadow —and get lost with me in it’s golden hue. The adventure is yours for the taking.” ~ Bay Bryan

Stream The Meadow via Spotify

Review by Amelia Vandergast

BREGN inspired cognizance in the ethereal art-rock world of his latest single, Dopamine Mind

The Danish 100% DIY artist, BREGN, explored neurobiology within his ethereal indie art-folk single, Dopamine Mind, to inspire mindfulness around one of the most toxically prolific habits imparted by the 21st century.

Anyone with a smartphone will know the subconscious compulsion to gaze into its black mirror. What is less understood is the key driver behind the habit that is tearing away at our ability to connect with the real world, as opposed to the divisive world depicted across social media.

While the euphonious melodies work to quell you into a state of quiescent meditative calm through the angular guitars against the quasi-jazzy keys, the lyrics allude to the entrapment of our dopamine reward system. With each new notification bringing a validation-soaked dopamine rush, breaking the habit is hard. But it’s a necessary step towards a more enlightened existence, unblighted by the platforms that profit from and exploit our mindlessness.

“It is so easy to get distracted and addicted to those distractions, which are now more instantly accessible than ever. The protagonist in Dopamine Mind thinks it is the phone’s fault, but he reveals that the root of the addiction is elsewhere.

He sets out to reset his mind and restart life, focused on things of meaningful deep value, away from artificial dialogue and small talk.”

Stream DOPAMINE MIND on Spotify and SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

From tragic inevitability, hauntingly filmic beauty is born in Rico Friebe’s single, This Day

Folk singer-songwriter, Rico Friebe, has unveiled the hauntingly filmic second single from his upcoming debut album, Word Value. Born from tragedy and hope, the vividly redolent single, This Day, explores the inevitability of the days we fear the most, alluding to our inability to avert discourses we are compelled to run from.

There is a profound grace in the alchemic vocal layering that spills soul across the stabbing minor piano keys that torridly flurry through the soundscape to reflect the phenomena we have to accept we can’t overcome. In concept and execution alike, This Day is a masterful piece that has left us with plenty of anticipation over the debut album.

Listen to This Day on Spotify from December 23rd. Await the alchemy in the debut album, which is primed for release in early 2023.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Emma Hunter contested the heteronormative hegemony in her latest single, Love is Not a Choice

With the hypnotic grace of medieval mystic, Oxford’s Emma Hunter demonstrated that there’s nothing unnaturalistic about deviating from the heteronormative hegemony with her latest single, Love is Not a Choice.

Queerness may seem like a modern phenomenon, especially in the vision of those desperate to stand on the neck of progression, equality, and acceptance. Yet, even the most bigoted view is bound to widen to the tune of Hunter’s signature flamenco guitar loops, art-rock percussion and arcane vocal layering.

The musicality that takes you on an intercontinental sonic trip runs at the same celestial level as the intrinsic sense of spirituality in the rhythmically arrestive production. Which once again sees Emma Hunter resisting the contemporary constraints of genre.

The official video for Love is Not a Choice, directed by Matt Trevor-Roper, premiered on July 8th. Check it out via YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Welsh singer-songwriter M’ Donwaite is an artful aural vision in his indie-folk single, Watering Can

Watering Can by M' Donwaite

Welsh singer-songwriter M’ Donwaite has released his achingly beautiful, orchestrally-scored indie folk pop single Watering Can. Its delicate intensity creates a beguiling paradox which may as well be pandora’s box for the way Watering Can unpredictably unravels.

With the naturalistic elements brought up against M’ Donwaite’s Tenor vocal notes and the contrastingly lamenting finger-picked guitar strings that bring a little lo-fi intimacy to the release, it is an artful triumph. Yet, it never dares to come close to the same air of pretension often affixed to the neo-classic Avant-Garde. To say M’ Donwaite is the most exciting act from Wales since the Anchoress wouldn’t be an exaggeration.

Watering Can officially released on April 17th; it is now available to stream and purchase on Bandcamp.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Henry Friedman De Miguel takes us around the world with the standout single, ‘Ghost Orchid Has Many Pollinators’ on his debut LP

The 22-year-old Atlanta-based singer-songwriter, Henry Friedman De Miguel, has made his official debut with the release of his LP, The Witch’s Guide to Ecology & Other Times the Earth Has Impressed Me. That may not be the most memorable name for a debut album, but the album itself is sonically unforgettable.

In the jazzy standout single, Ghost Orchid Has Many Pollinators, there’s a touch of the Doors in the psychedelically kaleidoscopic textures and hints of Jim Morrison in the vocals. Yet reminiscences are always fleeting in the cinematic feat of world music that ends with Spanish guitars and art folk harmonies after delivering beguiling Eastern rhythms against tribal drums. If you could imagine what the sex and the city soundtrack would sound like if it pulled in culture from all corners of the world and was complemented by nature-celebrating lyrics, you’ll get an idea of what you’re in for here.

Ghost Orchid Has Many Pollinators is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Only the soulless won’t be spellbound with Mark Lewis Heavenor’s artfully lamenting folk single, Young Boy.

Scottish songwriter, composer and guitarist, Mark Lewis Heavenor has released his most poignant work to date with his morosely gruff art-folk single, Young Boy. While the soundscape paints a quaint sepia-toned ramshackle town in your mind, the music video juxtaposes it by using a soul-sucking British ghost town as a location to place two dancers as they find inspiration despite the lamentable landscape.

Like many artists, Heavenor pulls plenty of inspiration from Tom Waits to create his own artfully rich sound but in every progression, you hear Heavenor push past assimilation into the realm of authentic creation.

The weight of the heavy yet bright vocals crawls under your ribs as you listen to the art-folk instrumentals quiver, rattle and angularly blossom from the fretboard. With the gentleness of Elliott Smith, the lyrical conviction of Kurt Cobain in his more melodious work and the cinematic pull of his Flamenco/Americana Folk guitars, you’d have to be soulless not to be spellbound.

The official video for Young Boy premiered on October 20th; it is a stunner; go check it out on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast