With a growing fanbase already enthralled by Szjerdene’s mesmerising blend of slow burning electronics and ethereal vocals, 3rd single Faded, from the upcoming ‘Paragon EP’ is testament to Szjerdene’s fully realised artistic voice.
Originally produced by Szjerdene alone, Faded in its final incarnation is remastered by Amsterdam producer Full Crate and the next chapter (after Are You Here and Find Me) in Szjerdene’s series of bittersweet tales of love and loss. Pulsing with warmly dubbed out beats and distorted chimes as lashing rainwater hits the imagined window pane, Faded ebbs and flows with a more uptempo, propulsive energy, eventually cutting into space and slowing down again, with softly broken textures. Another acutely personal and wandering journey, Szjerdene’s flawless and ever-hypnotic vocals float above the bass-heavy tones, providing an innately pure soulful injection that cuts through the smoke…
‘Faded’ marks a journey of removing yourself from a situation that’s no longer any good for you. That sober realisation that you feel towards something once the smoke and mirrors have been packed away – A tale of ‘better never, than late’.
Growing up in Hackney, East London, but now based in the central creative hub of Amsterdam, Szjerdene has been quietly honing her luscious take on her craft for the past few years, turning heads around the globe with her own solo material as well as her collaborations with UK electronic maestro Bonobo and Brainfeeder’s Lapalux. Now three tracks into the forthcoming ‘Paragon EP’ (released in its entirety 9th October) , each slice of sublime and soulful electronica a continuation of the last, Faded provides the most dynamic trip out of the trio so far. As the series nears it’s crescendo, the 4th in the series Abode will be released along with the whole package 2nd October, with a special guest collaborator in the mix… who could it be?
Rising songstress Szjerdene glides on with ‘Find Me’, the next instalment in a dazzling series of new tracks from the artist, this time co-produced by mysterious NYC beat maker Quays. An amalgam of Szjerdene’s lyrical daydreaming and Quays’ signature tremors and dimly lit bubbling framework, ‘Find Me’ is moody, fragmented soul at its most laid bare. Unravelling, recurring thoughts of desire and open endings, Szjerdene’s sky scraping range and naked emotion give ‘Find Me’ the soporific quality of slipping into a dark pool, an exhalation of hope in a suspended space in time…
“Find Me was written as a freestyle over an initial skeleton beat made by Quays. It’s a continuation from ‘Are You Here’ in story and this time the character is talking to them self. A fragment from a constant stream thought of self reflection and identity: “The one I’ve known forever – stripped down in front of me”. I flew to London to meet and work with Quays and we finished the track together.”
SZJERDENE has a voice both earthly in its soul and celestial in its purity. Soothingly familiar it may be to some but never has it been so distilled into an artistic statement of sonic and visual intent. Following up critically acclaimed work as a lead vocalist and co-writer for Lapalux and Bonobo respectively, Szjerdene is now destined for solo stardom, starting with brand new single ‘Are You Here’.
Floating on a dusty sound bed of dreamy synths and soft rolling drums, Szjerdene’s evocative vocals emerge with crystalline quality as the track builds with cinematic strings into an emotive modern lullaby with a raw anthemic power. ‘Are You Here’ is destined to soar above fields at sunset this summer. Produced by Glenn Nicholls, Szjerdene puts the collaboration into words: “Working with Glen Nicholls aka “Atatika” is like musical alchemy. He completely understands the sound scape and dimension that my voice travels through and is best accompanied by. I had no doubt, after collaborating on “Blue Lullaby” eight years ago, that I wanted to recreate something timeless with him. Writing ‘Are You Here’ was the perfect opportunity to purposely get lost in his palette of sound once again.”
Growing up in East London, but now residing along the scenic canals of Amsterdam, Szjerdene has been quietly honing her luscious take on the craft for the past few years and turning heads around the globe. With an impressive range of strings to her bow, the first official ‘Patchwork EP’ dropped in 2013 via Ninja Tune and the soulful songstress has since been touring with Bonobo and his ‘Northern Borders’ album playing 175 headline dates and festivals over the past 18 months. Big things are coming for the artist with a body of new material in the pipeline. Abstract in story yet with an accessible heartbeat and that truly mesmeric voice, Szjerdene’s unique mix of soul and folk inflected vocals combined with electronic left field sounds is about as seductive as it gets.
Lapalux knew where and how his sound should change with a second album. As a result, Lustmore feels like a record as compulsively inspired and meticulously crafted as you’re likely to hear in 2015.
Lustmore is loosely based on the idea of hypnogogia, a kind of limbo of consciousness between being awake and asleep. Listeners familiar with his 2011 debut, Nostalchic, will know that Stuart Howard’s woozy, infectious rhythms, enveloping textures and unfamiliarly familiar melodies conjure that territory perfectly.
Lapalux attracted the direct attention of Brainfeeder label owner and electronic music icon Flying Lotus in 2010, and was quickly snapped up by the imprint. Acclaimed early EPs were followed by a number of remixes including Bonobo, Andreya Triana, Lianne La Havas amongst others, before his debut album Nostalchic arrived in 2011. On its release Mojo asserted that: “Lapalux has joined the ranks of contemporary electronica’s finest, like FlyLo himself.” The album was a high watermark, and a statement of intent by a young producer who was pushing electronic music forward.
Lustmore sees the young producer take another stride forward. Opener “U Never Know,” which features another masterful vocal turn by Andreya Triana, sets the tone for the album. “The line ‘I don’t think you’ll know’ describes the mysterious limbo-like state between waking life and sleep,” Howard says.
The sleazy, yearning throb of “Puzzle (ft. Andreya Triana)” is unmistakably sexualized. “It’s a lovelessness,” Howard says, “searching for something more lustful and fleeting. It’s a very visual song for me. It’s about a sort of seedy, underground desire, like an old bar that used to have class, getting slowly seedier, to keep up with the demand for exploitation and filth. I think it sums up the whole feel and mood of the record,” Howard says. “That kind of sultry, seedy undertone and the pieces of the puzzle not fitting together properly, as if in a state of limbo where you don’t know where you are, but there’s something strangely comforting about it.” Those words could well be a credo for Lapalux’s wider musical vision.
The sound palette used in making the album was carefully crafted to sound retro futuristic and otherworldly, having sounds in there that could accompany a Bladerunner or 2001: A Space Odyssey. “Whenever I think about the album I think about the bar scene in The Shining,” Howard says. “There’s something about that strange, hallucinatory psychological madness that relates to the music, both in the making of the actual record and the way it sounds.”
Studying old film soundtracks was a hugely important process for the making of the album. “I really focused on making this album an imaginary visual experience. You can almost see these imaginary movies play in your head when you listen,” he says. “That’s something that I really started to work into my music – the idea of creating imagery and characters, storyline, and emotion.” It’s a process that has certainly worked: Lustmore is imbued with an emotional narrative that never loosens its grip on the ear.
The album Lustmore is scheduled for release on April 6th 2015. ‘Don’t Mean A Thing’ is streaming now on Lapalux’s Soundcloud. Pre-order Lustmore and get an instant download of Closure (feat. Szjerdene) and Don’t Mean A Thing: smarturl.it/lustmoreit
1. U Never Know (feat. Andreya Triana)
2. Sum Body
3. Closure (feat. Szjerdene)
4. Midnight Peelers
5. Push N’ Spun
6. We Lost
7. Autumn (Tape Interlude)
8. Puzzle (feat. Andreya Triana)
10. Don’t Mean A Thing
12. Make Money
13. Funny Games
UK beatmaker Stuart Howard aka Lapalux returns with his new single “Closure” featuring the beautiful vocals from Szjerdene. The single is the first taste from his upcoming second album “Lustmore” for Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint.
The 13-track recordis said to be loosely based on the idea of “hypnogogia, a kind of limbo of consciousness between being awake and asleep.” As he says, “I really focused on making this album an imaginary visual experience. You can almost see these imaginary movies play in your head when you listen.”
Lapalux’s “Lustmore” is out on April 7th 2015. Pre-order it here.