Strobegirl – Alice

_RingMaster Review

Following the sixties elegance and tantalising charm of the singles Trophy Girlfriend and Honey Boy, Heather–Jane, better known as Strobegirl, slips into something even more bewitching and mesmeric with Alice. Seeding a theme bred in the Lewis Carroll classic within a dream pop landscape, the new single from the British singer songwriter/multi-instrumentalist is a blossom of harmonic seduction and ethereal captivation.

It was over two years ago that Strobegirl mesmerised ears with The Strawberry Sessions EP, a collection of synth/dream pop songs which danced with ears and imagination. Subsequently the Croydon musician released a handful of singles and EP which have either missed the same heights of that first release, or matched and once or twice indeed eclipsed its lingering beauty and enterprise. All offerings though have left a full appetite and pleasure in their wake it is fair to say, Alice no exception as it provides one of the most endearing proposals from the lady in recent times which certainly overshadows those thoroughly enjoyable recent singles.

Alice opens with an evocative ticking and a fall of crystaline notes, they the prelude to a nursery room ambience which swiftly offers childlike innocence which kisses the senses through the song’s imagination. As synths brew their mellow caresses and haunting shadows, the ever siren-esque voice of Strobegirl skips across the brewing canvas. It is a minimalistic soundscape blossomed, yet one in a perpetual dance of provocative textures and melodic flirtation. That nursery rhyme hue continues to add its colour to the warm hug but equally there is an adult intimacy to the lyrical side and creative drama of the song that just irresistibly fascinates.

The song just demands further attention, which means its companion song All Gone Wrong has to wait its turn before showing itself to be a just as fascinating offering, if not quite discovering the same instinctive and matching temptation in its presence and imagination as its predecessor. All the same with bubbly scenery within the mist like touch of keys, at times this brewing a Depeche Mode like ambience, and of course the magnetic vocals and harmonies from Strobegirl, the song drifts and lightly falls like morning dew over the senses. It does call out for a slither of unpredictability or something to wrong-foot and throw off expectations, but from start to finish it has ears and pleasure in its thrall.

Alice is the prize though and more proof that Strobegirl taps into a dreamscape/shoegaze coated pop which uniquely sets her apart from the crowd. Go gets seduced is our suggestion.

Alice/ All Gone Wrong are out now through Strobegirl’s bandcamp.

RingMaster 14/08/2015

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Evokateur: Chime Hours

Chime Hours from London based electro pop outfit Evokateur is the second of a trilogy of EPs from the duo which began earlier in the year with the soulful delights of Crow’s Wedding. The first brought an atmospheric elegance bound within sophisticated electronic sounds whilst an undercurrent of shadows whispered eloquently. Chime Hours continues in the same emotive vein with five tracks which switch on thoughts and emotions with ease whilst caressing the senses with magnetic warmth.

      Evokateur is made up of producer /composer Hector Villaraus and songwriter/lyricist Sarah Villaraus, who from the release of their debut single Wolf Girl last year which included an industrial remix by legend Gary Numan, and its successor Same As You, has garnered perpetually growing praise and acclaim. From their releases and live performances the husband and wife duo has ignited forceful waves of attention from media and fans which the new release can only bring acceleration upon its release on August 20th.

The release opens with the glowing presence of 1684, a song which immediately mesmerises through the wonderful voice of Sarah and the enveloping and triumphant sounds of Hector. The song shows the release is a continuation to the music of the previous release, its body offering further impressive examples of their combined imagination and expressive craft. The song has a reserved entrance with the music keeping the shadows company as the voice of Sarah heats the skies with her dazzling and hypnotic tones. There is a gentle shoegaze feel initially which reminds of artists like Strobegirl which soon expands into a full electronic weave brought with an early Depeche Mode breath. The music fills every pore igniting heated energies and though the song never erupts into a gallop it certainly excites the passions into a pleasurable agitated state.

Whereas the first song was a vibrant pop driven treat the following Post is a deeper emotive embrace upon the ear which opens up more thoughts and feelings before its incisive touch. Melodically enticing and sonically inciteful, the heart of the song reigns as it seals the listener into a cinematic soundscape of passion and reflection. One of the great things about Evokateur is the contrasting yet understanding companionship of sounds and vocals. Perfectly wrapped in harmonic beauty and melodic elegance there is a crystalline element to the compositions of Hector, their surface often sharp and slightly coarse working alongside and against the perpetually warm and teasing kisses of the vocals from Sarah wonderfully.

The single from the release White Horses is quite magnificent, arguably the best song the pair have created to date. The track is a sizzling mix of energies and sirenesque sounds which ebb and flow like the sea with just as much power and grandeur. At times the song teeters on a stomp upon the senses and in others it gives a touching embrace whilst leaving the air slightly blistered. As with all the songs there is a dark side or element at play, on this song it disturbs the whispers with a refined caustic rub to add tension and electricity behind the vocal enchantment.

The release is completed by How Long and a remix of White Horses from Fear Of Tigers. The first has a wonderful crunchy ambience throughout, a crispness to the sound for a musical equivalent to walking though early frost bitten grass on an autumn morning. It is a fresh and provocative texture alongside the equally evocative words and vocals. As much as we can wax lyrical about the music, the composition of and power of the words are just as marked and impressive. The remix gives the single a poppier yet feistier charm, removing much of the underlying darkness and turning it into a more riled energy than on the original. It is a great interpretation and evolution of a great song though still comes second best.

Evokateur is seemingly tagged more as an electro goth band which not really the truth though from the pervading shadows within their music it is a reasonable label in part. The band creates electronic music which draws on and delivers passion within inciteful expression to set them apart from most. They like Chime Hours are outstanding and getting better release by release.

RingMaster 16/08/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright


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Illustrial: Eloquently Violent

Fuelled by emotional shadows and darkened energy the new album from UK electronic/darkwave project Illustrial brings forth a reflective journey born of its creator whilst being the inspirer of personal involvement and feelings. Eloquently Violent is an album which offers a journey through heartbreak, inner loneliness, and slightly destructive dark essences of life. It is vibrant though bringing as much hope as resignation to evoke thoughts and feelings which all can interpret to their own struggles and blistered highlights.

Formed in 2006, Illustrial is the solo electronic project of Baz Badrock (aka Neformore). Early EP Discipline the Devil’s Country drew good responses to the project though it was with the link up with London-based artist Strobegirl a more concentrated attention came their way through songs Don’t Look Back and a cover of California Dreaming. 2010 saw the Genesis EP to be followed a year later by third EP Darkness Falls and a returning full collaboration with Strobegirl on the enthusiastically received album Glitter and Twisted. The same year also saw Badrock team up with another vocalist on two songs Lost City Ghosts and Dream again to very favourable responses. Eloquently Violent is the first full length solo release from Illustrial and easily marks itself from the outstanding sleeve artwork from OneTwoTree Designs through to the sounds within as the best individual and mature work the artist has produced.

The album opens with Xciter, a pulsating electro pop dazzle upon the ear. It has a definite early Fad Gadget feel to its air without arguably the pop infectiousness but is still a satisfying treat. As with the majority of his songs Badrock brings a minimalistic presence to the track allowing its ambient whispers and atmosphere to give service to the passion and emotive heart. The original intent for the album was for guest vocalists on some of the songs but as the release developed Badrock fell into an ease and rapport with the music and his own style to end up taking on the role himself. The opener shows it was not a bad move and again offers up the Frank Tovey comparison here and at varied times during the album.

Heartbeat follows and is a more reserved manipulation of electronic weaves. It brings splintered pulses and fractured melodic twists and only really finds a full appeal when it raises its temperature through an eager and driven energetic surge. It is still a strong and appealing song though showing the variety to the album as well as a firm yet rippling consistency which never leaves one drifting elsewhere in attention.

The title track has a similar feel and intent as its predecessor though seemingly carries a more personal heart for more intensity which ignites further the searchlights of melodic enterprise. It is quite mesmeric as it envelopes the year and continues the strong start commendably. Coming in its wake though is Tribal Dance which did not failed to inspire similar responses though it is as much down to expectations from the title than the composition itself. Expecting something primitive in energy and raw the track is a quiet and one means quiet, measure of beats and electronic whispers. It feels like an interlude to be honest but with a beefier production would probably have made a bigger impression.

From here on in the album brings a fine mix of ideas, textures, and sounds, from the sultry Gothic Fantasy and wonderfully distressing aural violation of My Distortion on to the likes of the New Order influenced The Silence and the haunting darkness that is Dark Night Of The Soul. The release consistently treats the senses to invention and imagination and though at times this exploration does not always quite come off as well as in other parts but it is never less than intriguing.

The latter half of the album unveils further thoughtful and evocative songs as the sinister Horrorgasm alongside the melodic caress of Breeze which inspire responsive feelings to the aural triggers. Eloquently Violent is an album which graces with expressive and satisfying sonic tapestries for the ear to immerse within. It maybe is lacking a raw edge and anger at times to break up the unerring shadowed smooth fondling of the ear but it is a release which effortlessly leaves one in thought and reflection.

Check out tracks from Eloquently Violent on The Reputation Radio Show

RingMaster 02/07/2012

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