Today, Half Waif unveils her jaw-dropping new EP in full. Following singles ‘Severed Logic’ and ‘Frost Burn’, the body of the EP reveals the complete arc of form/a, which is released as a limited-edition 12” & digitally this Friday, Feb. 24 via Cascine.
Speaking on the EP, producer/songwriter/vocalist Nandi Rose Plunkett explains: “I set out to record form/a on my own, wanting this EP to be a record of what my moods sound like, if I could pull them out of my insides and amplify them. This collection of songs is a look into how those moods affect my relationships, how they take me on journeys through my past, how they transport me into meditations on life and death. These are songs of self, but not self in a vacuum, romanticized into isolation; rather, self as it is given form through interactions with other people and with the physical environment. It is a step towards bringing abstract feelings into a concrete world, so that we may better see each other.”
Listen to form/a in full:
The music Nandi Rose Plunkett writes, records and performs under the name Half Waif is deeply personal and engaging, reflecting her lifelong endeavor to reconcile a sense of place. Raised in the bucolic cultural hub of Williamstown, Massachusetts, Nandi was the daughter of an Indian refugee mother and an American father of Irish/Swiss descent. She was one of Williamstown’s only non-white residents. As a kid, she listened to a wide mix of music that included everything from Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos, to Celtic songstress Loreena McKennitt and traditional Indian bhajans. In college, she studied classical singing and became enamored with the works of Olivier Messiaen and Claude Debussy. Her output as Half Waif reflects these varying influences, resulting in a richly layered collage of blinking electronic soundscapes, echoes of Celtic melodies and the sad chord changes of 19th-century art music.
Next to her touring schedule as a member of Pinegrove, Half Waif has already self-released two EPs and two albums – a split 7″ with Deerhoof, the Future Joys EP in 2013, and then albums KOTEKAN (produced by Devin Greenwood) in 2014, and Probable Depths (produced by Zubin Hensler) last May.
Cover art for form/a was shot by Adan Carlo and hand-stitched by Chilean artist, María Aparicio Puentes. Half Waif’s live band is comprised of Nandi Rose Plunkett, Zack Levine and Adan Carlo.
Following a successful run of UK headline shows to kick off 2017, Half Waif has shared a deeply personal highlight from her forthcoming EP. New single, ‘Frost Burn’ debuts today as the second focus track from form/a EP; a jewel in which singer Nandi Rose Plunkett muses on the challenge of embracing pain instead of eschewing it. The form/a EP is released as a limited edition 12” on February 24 via Cascine.
About the track, Nandi explains: “I wrote Frost Burn while on a writing retreat in Western Massachusetts for a week in December 2015. I was feeling stifled by life in Brooklyn and by living with a partner and never really being alone (in fact, never really wanting to be alone), so I headed back to the country, where I grew up. I rented an apartment from my mom’s friend that had a river running behind it. Geese would flock to the river every day like clockwork. It was totally peaceful and idyllic – what every artist would dream of. But I didn’t feel the way I thought I would. Throughout that week, I felt my same old fears and anxieties creeping through me. I couldn’t leave them behind in the city, as much as I wanted to. Painful memories from childhood were there, in that landscape, and my insidious self-doubts were there, in my body. And that’s where that line comes from: ‘and on my island, / I cannot keep out all the violence.’ It’s a way of saying: no matter how much of a circle I draw around myself, no matter how much separation I create between me and my environment, I am still affected by the dark forces that are a part of me. There is no retreat, really – there is only recognition.”
Listen to ‘Frost Burn’:
Cascine proudly unveils the mesmerizing lead single from new signee, Half Waif. ‘Severed Logic’ is taken from their forthcoming EP, form/a, which is released as a limited-edition 12” on February 24. Half Waif marks a step into somewhat moodier territory for the label while still radiating qualities Cascine has been long drawn to.
Listen to ‘Severed Logic’ here:
The form/a EP is a collection of tracks that expand on vocalist and producer Nandi Rose Plunkett’s exploration of home. “There’s an inherent restlessness in the way that I write and think about sound,” she explains. “I’m the daughter of a refugee, and somewhere in me is this innate story of searching for a home. As a result, I have many – a collection of places that I latch onto, that inspire me, that fuse themselves to me. I’m sentimental, nostalgic – yet constantly seeking what’s next, excavating the sound of my past and coloring it to make the sound of my future. I’m a child of divorce, fiercely loved but forced into independence at a young age; I rocket into relationships with the desire to find roots, commonality, to create stillness in the midst of public noise. In this way, my songs are like the notes of a large scavenger hunt, clues pinned to trees I have known, or tucked under rocks on my path, urging the listener to keep looking a little deeper, because maybe they will find something special in the end.”
In the summer of 2015, a young producer named Oxblood reached out to Korallreven. He wanted Korallreven to know how much their music inspired his own creations. Over time a friendship unfolded and Oxblood began sharing early-stage material with them. Introspective and celestial, it was clear to see where the musical overlap took place. Korallreven’s contemplative arrangements were present in Oxblood’s music, but they appeared as mere brushstrokes – faint stars streaking the night sky. Oxblood’s material is distinct in its own right, pulling equally from progressive house and pop music. Intrigued with the concept of time, Oxblood often plays with transitions – the way people change over days, months and years. Unique experiences that happen only once and how these moments unlock precious bouts of spontaneity and sincerity. Months later, following many emails and a hang in Brooklyn last fall, track “Teenage Crush IV” was born as an official collaboration between artists.
While “Teenage Crush IV” took shape, so did big changes for both Oxblood and Korallreven: Oxblood graduated college and released a stunning two track single. Titled “How Long Is Forever,” and bundled an equally transportive b-side, the single encapsulates Oxblood’s pensive approach to making music. It was released on Gold River Entertainment, the label owned and operated by his manager Matt Bernucca. And in the fall of 2015, after releasing their final single, “Here In Iowa,” Korallreven disbanded.
“Teenage Crush IV” is released June 14 by Cascine and Gold River Entertainment.
A new album announced today which is a collaboration between renowned Italian composer Gigi Masin and cult producers Tempelhof, along with first single ‘Corner Song’. It’s a gorgeous instrumental of woodsy and watery percussion and transcendental soundscapes reminiscent of German abstractionists such as Popol Vuh and with an added New Age tint.
The album will be released on Cascine in North America on and Hell Yeah in the rest of the world on June 10th.
Gigi Masin is a regarded and influential minimalist composer has played a role in the European avantgarde music scene since the 70’s. His work has been sampled by artists including as Bjork, Friendzone, Main Attraktionz and To Rococo Rot. Recent endeavours include performing on the Maxmillion Dunbar and Co La project Lifted on PAN.
Tempelhof (aka the duo of Luciano Ermondi and Paolo Mazzacani) are known in minimal producer circles for their spacious and expressive downtempo tracks. They’ve previously released one solo album (‘Frozen Dancers’) and another collaborative LP with Gigi Masin (‘Hoshi’).
The nine tracks on the album are a kind of ambient travelogue with nods to minimal Japanese electronic music, German avant-garde and echoes of world music, featuring soundscapes that are both classically informed and contemporary, some floating and beatless and others driven by dustings of distant percussion, twinkling keys and wordless vocals.
Ara Koufax from Melbourne, Australia, make music that oscillates among experiments in house, techno and noise – material that steers clear of easy categorization while remaining thoroughly dancefloor friendly. Today, the pair delivers a two-track single for Cascine’s singles label, CSCN, that embodies this approach.
“Kissy Fits,” the single’s namesake, builds at 120 BPMs along a collage of looping vocal samples, INTERPOL sirens and shuffling percussion parts.
Whereas “Infrared,” the B side, underlies a squelching synth with melodic chord progressions to create a pensive atmosphere that drives the listener deep into the nighttime.
Following a feature last year on Cut Copy’s celebrated compilation, Oceans Apart, Ara Koufax have continued to gain momentum with a single for Cutters Records last fall and an EP through their own label, Downtime.
Here’s the new track from Morly that went live last night, called ‘The Choir’, that is released on Cascine. It’s the second track to feature her vocals after her mostly instrumental debut EP, moving from a solemn vocal opening into a bed of haunting electronics topped with a plaintive, hymnal chorus.
The Choir is first new music from the producer, multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter since last years acclaimed debut EP In Defense Of My Muse on Cascine that came out in August. Morly first emerged early last year with the track Maelstrom as part of Ryan Hemsworth’s Secret Songs series. Her songs employ textured and meditative soundscapes over minimal rhythms with a kind of choral quality to them, alternating between traditional and electronic instrumentation and channeling the wintry and expansive surroundings of her native Minnesota.
Tempelhof (aka Luciano Ermondi and Paolo Mazzacani) are known in minimal producer circles for their spacious and expressive downtempo tracks. They’ve previously released one solo album (Frozen Dancers) and another collaborative LP with Gigi Masin (Hoshi) and are much respected at home in Milan and throughout niche producer circles.
Gigi Masin has played a role in his country’s music community since the 1970s via radio, television and in theatre via his directorial work, and his music has previously been sampled by Bjork and To Rococo Rot among others. Recently, his full-length Talk To The Sea is regarded as a benchmark ambient LP, while album Lifted 1, released April of this year, created with Maxmillion Dunbar and Co La under the name Lifted, is still gathering praise.
Their second album together is an ambient exploration with nods to minimal Japanese electronic music, drawing from both classically informed and contemporary soundscapes, with some tracks floating and beatless and others driven by dustings of distant percussion, punctuated with bright pianos, meditative synths and wispy electronics.
The video for the first track to be released from the project is out now, ahead of full details on the album following early next year. Tuvalu is a gently ambient and melodic electronic track captured in the form of a disorienting visual travelogue, through a patchwork of Super 8 footage shot in the seventies by an anonymous Italian video maker, unfolding in classic documentary style over different cultures and terrains. Out soon on Cascine.