It’s the full moon, Star Wars day AND Landshapes have released their new album Heyoon into the world.
O whatta day. Celebrate!
Landshapes – Heyoon
Lost practices, hidden worlds, secret topics – Landshapes shift around the dark, magical borders of alternative culture, soaking up poetry and peccadillos, high art and low desires.
On their second album Heyoon, released on Bella Union on May 4th, Landshapes explore everything from a 17th Century tale about migratory space geese; tragic Dutch artist Bas Jan Ader who died on a failed Atlantic crossing, the desire to inhabit another’s psyche and nights out at drag bars. With Landshapes, anything could happen.
Previously Lulu And The Lampshades, 2012 saw them accrue a wealth of guitar pedals, a fascination for mind-expanding noise and, following a mis-billing in Paris, a new name: Landshapes.
2013 debut Landshapes album Rambutan was a voyage of discovery as they hunted out this elusive new soundscape. Electronics clashed with traditional shanties, eastern atmospherics met spaghetti western overtones, nothing was out-of-bounds.
Described by one reviewer as “conjuring up images of twisted Tim Burton nighttime fairgrounds where all the rides are manned by Tom Waits”, it combined art, folk, psychedelia and math-rock in a beguiling morass of ominous strings, oddball found-sounds and insidious melody.
The band were still mapping Landshapes though. Over the next year of intense rehearsals and live outings – including CMJ, Green Man and End Of The Road, they honed the self-professed “unleashed and loud” sound into a focused tornado.
They worked with an open palate and freeform approach. “Making patterns, moods, and noises, enjoying conflicts of sound that can be explored and then resolved.” Key to this development was a fortnight spent in a cottage in the woods of Cornwall in September 2014
“Something about all that fresh air, sea, and woods and fire manifested in something much darker and much more menacing than anything we’d written so far,” Luisa explains. “That’s when it felt like we’d started the album.”
After road testing the new material and earning all-female mosh-pits in the process, the band hit Soup Studios in Limehouse with producers Giles Barrett and David Holmes. Here two more songs came together including lead single Moongee, a masterpiece of hallucinatory sludge rock inspired by interplanetary wildfowl, a tale by 17th century Bishop Francis Godwin recently re-imagined by artist Agnes Meyer Brandis.
The resulting album Heyoon is astounding, both sonically and thematically. If you want to take the highbrow road through this dense maelstrom of psychedelic math-fuzz beauty, then focus on the lustrous, unsettling lounge drone of Fire. A reflection of a Lydia Davis story called Forbidden Subjects, the track documents a post-break up friendship. “Conversations are so barbed and loaded, it’s the fire of conflict but also the memory of the fire of chemistry.”
There’s a rich seam of break-up philosophy running through Heyoon. The Lynchian torch-gaze of Red Kite concerns “still feeling deeply affected by a past relationship, but putting that neatly, and tenderly in a box so that you can move on.”
The untamed, carnival-whirling pop of Ader recalls tragic visual artist Bas Jan Ader, whose work still remains unexplained following his death in a little sailboat, alone on the Atlantic. “People have speculated over what he’s sad about,” adds Luisa. “That it could be the absolute loneliness of all humans and that you can never completely know another person.”
Wallow in the bass-fuelled end of Heyoon and you’ll embrace the stampeding thunk-punk of opener Stay, a booty-call set to music that shape-shifts into a post-orgasmic bliss dream in its second half. Then there’s the sultry Gallic trembles of Francois, a courage song exploring gender with luring verses coaxing someone to go out, go to a party and be themselves.
Brooding, beautiful, haunted and occasionally barbarous, Heyoon is a record about secret, hidden things, right down to it’s title, a mispronunciation of a secret pavilion hidden in the woods of south-east Michigan, near Ann Arbor.
“These two guys built this weird structure, kind of a pavilion, on one of their properties, hidden in a clearing in the woods. The story goes that teenagers stumbled across it and it became a place people would escape to. Young teens looking for somewhere to hang out, somewhere just to smoke and drink and do all that stuff, a temple of firsts. You can only find it if somebody takes you there who already knows it. It’s a beautiful story, although we’re probably doing something blasphemous, because it’s a secret, calling our album that.”
Landshapes: climb inside and explore.
Dan Blackett (drums, vocals), Luisa Gerstein (ukelele, vocals), Heloise Tunstall-Behrens (bass, vocals), Jemma Freeman (guitar, vocals)
One of our longest serving and most magical artists Peter Broderick releases his new album Colours of the Night today on Bella Union; we are thrilled and blessed to share it with you!
Colours Of The Night, Peter Broderick’s first full-length for Bella Union in three years, had a rather odd conception to say the least. The American born multi-instrumentalist and songwriter went along for the ride when invited for a so-called “recording residency” in the small town of Lucerne, Switzerland.
Through several memorable concert evenings in the town on various tours, he developed a friendship with some of the locals, who eventually got the idea of inviting Broderick to be a guest of the city for three weeks while recording an album with a backing band of local musicians. All of which was to take place in the studio of Timo Keller, a local producer and engineer known primarily for his involvement in the Swiss hip-hop scene.
Rewind a few years, back to 2012, which saw the release of Broderick’s last album for Bella Union, the ambitious http://www.itstartshear.com, recorded over the course of three years by Berlin’s producer/pianist extraordinaire Nils Frahm. After spending all that time in the studio, working and reworking to the point of exhaustion, Broderick struggled with the idea of recreating the album on stage, and eventually cancelled all tour plans, ending up in the hospital with a stress-born illness. Struggling to stay healthy and lacking the energy to carry on, Broderick returned to his his native Oregon, where he took a much needed break and slowly started rebuilding his approach toward music and life in general.
At this time of respite came the offer from Lucerne. Having always taken pride in playing all of the instruments himself, without anything in the way of a proper rhythm section, Broderick found the idea of working with a backing band intriguing and refreshing. And refreshing it proved! “I arrived with a pile of songs and just sort of watched as they got carried through the filter of this group of musicians who were coming from an entirely different place,” says Broderick. “It was exciting to let go a little bit, to simplify and consolidate my own role in the music.”
Recording all the basic tracks as a live band, they quickly found a groove and lilt that carries throughout the variety of song styles. From the Afro-tinged title track and playful ‘One Way’, to the doo-wop swing of ‘The Reconnection’ and rather unclassifiable analogue/digital blend of tracks like ‘Red Earth’ and ‘On Time’, Peter Broderick’s latest outing sees the well-versed musician truly embracing his surroundings, however foreign they may be, and allowing himself the freedom to be transformed by those surroundings and elevated to new heights in creative expression.
Colours Of The Night is released today, 27th April, on Bella Union.
Watch the video for One Way below:
DOOMSQUAD is a Toronto-based art project made up of siblings Trevor, Jaclyn, and Allie Blumas. Following on from 2014’s Kalaboogie (Hand Drawn Dracula/No Pain In Pop) the band have announced a new EP titled Pageantry Suite due for release on May 25th via Bella Union.
The trio create experimental dance music that’s heavily indebted to trance and psychedelia. As interdisciplinary artists, the band brings a wide range of influences to bear throughout their work. From far-reaching global beats to the sounds of their local community, it’s all thoughtfully curated and channeled into a project of immersion and unity. The result is a mesmerizing sonic landscape of dynamic repetition. DOOMSQUAD constructs a contemplative space for deep listening, within the music and within yourself.
The band will be performing across the UK & Europe supporting FUCKED UP who have also invited to join them to play a special series of exclusive ‘Zodiac’ shows.
Doomsquad will also play a special headline London show at Dalston Roof Park.
Those dates below…
Saturday 23rd May – LIVERPOOL, Sound City Festival
Sunday 24th May – Marble Factory in BRISTOL w/ Fucked Up
Monday 25th May – Mine for GOLD SOUNDS FESTIVAL, LEEDS w/ Fucked Up
Tuesday 26th May – Koko, LONDON w/ Fucked Up
Wednesday 27th May – Shacklewell Arms, LONDON, UK w/ Fucked Up
29th May – Dalston Roof Park, LONDON tickets