Let’s review in this entry of the blog the most interesting Electro Pop albums that we had the pleasure to listen in the first days of 2018. This short list consists of very heterogeneous artists: from the conceptual work of SKYGGE to the indie approach of Pola Rise and tUnE-YaRdS, up to the innovative and elegant sounds of BØRNS. Different styles but with the same result: very enjoyable and catchy songs that were born to accompany the best moments of our days.
Note to the readers: an updated edition of the chart has been already published in the blog, check it out!
HELLO WORLD by SKYGGE
Hello World, the experimental work by SKYGGE, was fully reviewed in a dedicated post when the album entered the Best New Music section of the blog. The album is the result of a research project in which scientists were looking for algorithms to capture and reproduce the concept of musical “style”. After a number of initial prototypes, a first group of electronic music artists joined the research team and at some point they took control of the process, and the scientific project became a music project. These artists were invited and coordinated by Benoit Carré (aka SKYGGE) and their work became the beautiful Hello World. The album is based on the idea to feed computer machines with sounds and melodies selected by every artist as input. Deep learning algorithms are then applied in order to allow the artificial intelligence module to elaborate and refine musical elements that are stylistically similar to the initial ones, but “new”. From a musical point of view, the album is strongly influenced by European electronic music and in the end it results in an excellent collection of modern and forward thinking electronic tracks.
ANYWHERE BUT HERE by Pola Rise
Anywhere But Here is the debut album from a new electro pop artist from Poland, Paulina Miłosz, who operates under the stage name of Pola Rise. She published a number of singles from 2014 and eventually got a record deal with Warner Music Poland, which supported the publication of her full lenght work. Her style of electronic music oscillates between pieces of clear experimental nature with notes of avant-garde, and more delicate and catchy songs, which in my opnion are also the ones that better highlight the qualities of this young artist. This album is particularly interesting because of the way in which it is able to give that “indie” feeling to songs that, in their essence, result quite linear and without any particular dynamic development. These are musical sketches, interesting and somehowe engaging, and composed with a light touch that manage to make them very easy to enjoy but, at the same time, destined to leave impercettible traces after the listening.
I CAN FEEL YOU CREEP INTO MY PRIVATE LIFE by tUnE-YaRdS
Merrill Garbus, the US singer and songwriter who operates under the moniker of tUnE-YaRdS, never showed so far any lack of creativity and inventiveness. Indeed, from the beginning of her career she has maintained a minimalist approach to the choice of instruments and music styles almost as if she had the fear of covering, with an excess of effects and instruments, the essence of the motives and the ideas she was transforming into music. And even if this approach maybe precluded the largest audiences, i.e. those that are typically less corageous and less prepared to go beyond those well-established and conventional musical styles, she has still managed however to leave her mark within the indie scene of the last decade. tUnE-YaRdS’ last album, I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life, sees longtime collaborator Nate Brenner become an official member of the project, with the duo confirming more or less the same approach of Garbus’ previous releases. Electronic hypnotic beats remain in fact the baseline over which we enjoy Garbus’ eclectic and thrilling vocal lines. The musical performance is not always up to the experimental ambitions of the duo, but where the desire to explore manages to find an adequate sonic vehicle, their songs can offer a very pleasant escape from the monotony of our routines.
BLUE MADONNA by BØRNS
BØRNS is the stage name for Garrett Clark Borns, an American singer and songwriter who aroused considerable interest a few years ago with his debut album, Dopamine, which presented an extremely innovative, creative and enjoyable version of electro pop. On 2018 he came back with his second LP, Blue Madonna, which showcase once again his very special voice (he’s an intense user of the falsetto technique) but also his capacity to move with ease between glam pop and more atmospheric and articulated songs. Compared to the debut album, the new LP seems to have lost a part of immediacy and accessibility, two elements that had contributed to the success of Dopamine. The songs of Blue Madonna are less immediate and direct than before and perhaps – at first – the impression can be of a less enjoyable collection of tracks. On the long distance, however, the album will for sure gain in profundity and longevity.