Half Waif puts her cards on the table, and they’re looking very hard to beat…
Nandi Rose Plunkett is a talent. That much is obviously apparent to anyone who heard last years Little Elephant Live Session 12”. While it only consisted for three tracks, each of those pulsated with ideas, verve and a pop sensibility that showed a maturity and restraint that her peers are missing. Now she’s gearing up for the release of a new EP, Form/a, next month on Cascine.
The overall theme of the EP is home. What is home? What makes a home, and more importantly, how can I get home? Recently Plunkett said “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 colouring 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.”
So far all we have to go on is Served Logic. This is a song that exemplifies everything that last year’s single, and her comments on Form/a, stand for. There is a slight neo-country Lissie vibe to the proceedings, but this slight genre twist just adds to Served Logic’s charm. It reminds us of all the beautifully heart wrenching story tellers from the past, but the music is contemporary and pops and clicks with a delicate pop charm that makes it hard to ignore and harder to turn off. Half Waif? Oh no, there are no half measure about this!
Form/a is released on 24th February on Cascine
Nick Hallbery, AKA Edison’s Medicine, is starting the year as he means to go on. By this I mean he’s just released a debut EP, Hell Is Never Far Away. This isn’t really anything to get that excited about, as thousands of musicians have released debut EP’s this year, but what marks Hallbery out is that he’s released one that at times sounds like it’s come from three days in the future, but at the same time sounds like it’s also from three days ago.
Hell Is Never Far Away opens with Jean Baptiste, which sounds like Django Django being remixed by Dan Avery. Its catchy, rhythmic, but with a hint of big room flavour to it. Increments is harder hitting than the opener, the breakbeats are slightly tighter, the bassline deeper and the loops more menacing and invasive. As Increments progresses, everything gets tighter and cyclonic. Small eddies appear from nowhere only to disappear a few bars later. Melodies get lodged in your head only to vanish a few moments later, as another one has taken its place.
The EP closes with Godless Woman featuring Matilda Eyre. Eyre’s crisp vocals add an extra texture that was missing on earlier parts of the EP. Godless Woman is haunting and eerie, but in a delta blues way, rather than late night Channel 5 horror film. The combination of organic and synthetic sounds works well and makes you wonder if any of the previous tracks would have benefited from this treatment. After a few moments pondering you realise that no, they probably wouldn’t as you’d miss out on the subtle arranging and production.
This is an EP full of contradictions and xxx. On the surface you think it’s going to be an ambient house affair, due to its genre tags, but when you get into it you soon realise that its far more interesting and vibrant, running the gambit of experimental, tech-house, lo-fi techno and elements of soul pop, due to Eyre’s inclusion. But what is more impressive is how Hallbery has managed to arrange it in such a way that none of its elements are over, or, under powering. It all flows effortlessly along like its normal for all these elements to be occupying the same space together.