Head First Then Heart by Flowers and Sea Creatures – Buzzin Fly
Ben Watt’s Buzzin’ Fly’s house may be built on four-four foundations, but there’s always been more than ample space for diversions from this path, and the label head has shown himself to be a shrewd ear for more eclectic artists to bring to his roster. Montreal band Flowers And Sea Creatures first appeared on the imprint back in the late summer of 2010, and have proven themselves a double attraction, their ethereal electronica soothing the grey matter, and providing fodder for some fantastic remixes from the likes of The Revenge, Ewan Pearson, Mano Le Tough and Fred Everything. Off the back of their album last year comes a new track, Head First Then Heart, and a pair of supplementary mixes.
The title track is a beatless soundscape that makes the most of Graham Baxter’s vocals, echoing over a wistful piano, using no more than the simple arrangement to nevertheless tug at the emotions. An acoustic guitar’s entrance works up to only a cursory final minute of synths, but they come only to build presence, adding a tide of sound to the track’s austere beginnings. A remix from Norwegian nu-disco pairing Ytre Rymden Dansskola inserts a warm low end and cascading notes that highlight the original’s melodies, bringing them onto the dancefloor. Closing out another accomplished EP is a remix of album track Electronique from Lephtee, transforming it into a dubby, almost intangible workout that’s given life by the duo’s distinctive vocals.
Just You And Me by Baikal – Maeve
New labels are ten a penny these days, so sticking your head above the parapet takes some luck and a finely-tuned ear. In the case of new imprint Maeve, six ears are deemed better than two, with Berlin-based Irishmen Mano Le Tough and The Drifter, and a mystery Dutchman joining forces. Having grown up together in Greystone, the two soon became involved in Dublin’s music scene, moving from bands to decks, and once reunited in Berlin began Passion Beat, a party that’s garnered a devoted following in its short two years. But a logical next step is not necessarily an easy step, so it’s reassuring that the two-hander that graces Maeve’s first EP is a benchmark that sets out the imprint’s stall in fine fashion.
Baikal is another cohort of Mano and the Drifter, and his tracks were road tested by Mano before the pair were happy to put the seal on Just You And Me. And in the case of the title track, it’s not hard to see why it worked on the dancefloor. Starting measuredly, with bright hats and nagging b-line, the Drifter’s rasping vocal and wandering synth usher in the meat of the track, a slowly throbbing beast that stays just out of the eyeline, snare fills and acid stabs balancing its restrained power perfectly. Why Don’t Ya begins similarly understatedly, in no rush to go for the obvious or easy, building pressure with interlocking melodies before whirling into a vortex of vocals, and dropping into a blissed-out breakdown, teasing the listener as it threatens to cut loose. If this is what we’re to expect from Maeve, then we’re all ears.