Posts Tagged ‘Spacebomb Studios’

Baker

Memphis, TN-based songwriter Julien Baker is the latest addition to the Matador Records roster. The 21-year-old’s devastating and vulnerable debut album, Sprained Ankle, which was originally released in 2015 and now gets re-released by Matador. The album was recorded at Spacebomb Studios, though Julien’s songs don’t share the down-home gloss of the other albums produced there. Instead of beefing up her honest tunes with rich layering like Natalie Prass or Matthew E. White, Baker pares her songs down to their simplest possible format: alone, singing and playing acoustic guitar directly into the microphone, sometimes in a single take.

That decision resulted in a remarkable record, one full of beautiful, personal explorations revealed in stark intimacy. That choice makes a lot of sense for Baker’s voice, both in the literal and figurative sense. Rather than Prass’ sweet, soaring tones or White’s blue-eyed soul, Sprained Ankle is delivered in reedy whispers and chilled coos. Released just before she turned 20 years old, the record still sounds raw – not that her voice lacks control or power, but rather that the weariness of songs about death, breakups, and existential questioning are sung with incredible presence. They’re coming of age songs from someone still coming of age, the wounds still fresh, the big truths currently being revealed. There are the struggles of depression, drugs, loneliness, but the clear-eyed way she faces it all supersedes any platitude.

LP – The album comes with a new 7″ Funeral Pyre. Only Baker can make a song with such a darkly macabre title so heartbreakingly gorgeous, with her signature hushed-yet-lofty vocals soaring over a quietly fingerpicked melody that crescendos into layered, almost-orchestral beauty. The B-side, Distant Solar System, is another unheard song from the Sprained Ankle sessions.

Bedouine is the moniker of Azniv Korkejian, a Hollywood music editor turned recording artist who released her self-titled debut this year. Bedouine was made with the help of Spacebomb session musicians, and though it’s primarily a folk album, this collection of songs shapeshifts and collects new influences along the way. These are plainspoken songs written for quiet moments alone and long walks home, and though the entanglements Korkejian sings about don’t lead to huge, mind-bending revelations, they do leave you feeling a bit more grounded.

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Bedouine sounds like a hot summer afternoon, where nothing moves in the drowsy stillness but the beads of condensation sliding down a tall glass of something iced. Azniv Korkejian’s voice is a confiding murmur, and she sings in languorous tones accompanied by simple guitar or piano arrangements augmented by elegant strings and muted horns. It’s an uncommonly subtle collection, with a classic sensibility that evokes singer-songwriters of the 1960s and ’70s.

Writing topically without being heavy-handed, Korkejian addresses the ongoing destruction in her native Syria, especially in Aleppo. For example, “Summer Cold,” a foreboding tune with stabs of noir-ish guitar, was “a reaction to learning that weapons provided by America were finding their way into the hands of terrorists.”

I am absolutely love everything that Matthew E. White touches. His two albums and his studio, Spacebomb, are forces to be reckoned with. I truly think that White is a visionary and one of the pioneers of this generation of music.
Needless to say, I was excited to hear that he was teaming up with British singer/songwriter Flo Morrissey for an eclectic album of covers. Here’s the list below and a couple of samples.
Gentlewoman, Ruby Man

Tracklist:
01. Look At What The Light Did (Little Wings cover)
02. Thinking ‘Bout You (Frank Ocean cover)
03. Looking For You (Nino Ferrer cover)
04. Colour of Anything (James Blake cover)
05. Everybody Loves the Sunshine (Roy Ayers cover)
06. Grease (Bee Gees cover)
07. Suzanne (Leonard Cohen cover)
08. Sunday Morning (Velvet Underground cover)
09. Heaven Can Wait (Charlotte Gainsbourg cover)
10. Govindam (George Harrison cover)