Hello there, welcome to LEM Vol 311. 2022 has been a difficult year for many of us. Far too many of our loved ones, friends, and figures of inspiration have passed on. Certainly, for me, the past twelve months have been clouded with far too many moments of anguish. For this final show of 2022, I have tried to evoke my overall mood as 2022 fades into a distant memory and the new year arrives and hopefully, I’ll summon enough positive, optimistic energy to face 2023. The majority of the cuts selected are new and have not aired before on LEM. Here then is LEM Vol 311- The 2022 Fading Memory Edition.
Never say, “I hate you!” I told my son when he was a rattled child. It’s far too harsh I tried to explain. It’s too definitive I wanted to say. “Hate is an ugly word” I believe I settled on. And, yes it is. Yet, Ruby Hickman reminds us that in a moment of passion, a harsh, ugly word feels so perfect, so necessary. Ruby’s publicity blurb proclaimed, “I’m a 15-year-old singer-songwriter from Leigh on Sea in Essex, I’ve have been writing music for a couple of years now. Suddenly here I am with my first EP! I started solely on piano, but have really enjoyed pushing my guitar and vocals too. I’m writing all the time and currently have another 5 songs almost ready to release”. Ruby Hickman caught us by surprise. She is definitely talented and she certainly knows how to put a song together. I Hate You is from her EP, The Fake You.
Darling hail from Australia, and makes excellent music, their double-sided single Illusions/Isolating shows Caitlin Finn & Joel Glazebrook in fine form. Isolating they say explores a decaying relationship caused by a disintegrating individual who isolates themself from reality and the people who love them. Darling is on 4000 Records an independent artist-led record label with a strong focus on collaborating with Brisbane creatives. We like that.
Alice Kat and Liam James Marsh impressed us so much we invited them onto the show for a chat. About their latest LP, Love, Death, Dreams, And The Sleep Between, Subjangle, their label says, “With an emotionality that comes from the most natural places of the human psyche, this duo always seems able to lyrically express all those heart-rendering ‘love lost emotions that we cannot really fathom and augment such feelings within stunning, laconic, aural textures that simply float like thoughts. We are so incredibly proud that this duo has chosen to collaborate with us once more on another truly beautiful album.” Fine add, “This album was recorded on 8 track without the use of computers”. Wonderful.
Wildflowers is a delicate, intimate look at the bridge between Sophia’s childhood and womanhood, and how it feels to stand on the precipice of knowing yourself. It explores how love and trauma are entangled with identity, and how we allow these things to tighten or unravel as we move through life. Sophia, Currently based in London, has spent most of her life in Perth, Western Australia. She is a vocalist/cellist/guitarist who started her path in the music industry in sound design and composition for contemporary dance and theatre. “I love to see how music and movement interact, and how the two can grow side by side during the process of making a work. In Wildflowers part way through you can hear a bird chirp outside my window. For the background vocals, I accidentally recorded them through my laptop microphone. I ended up loving these little imperfections, I think they make the music feel more human.”
For Three Words, the New Mexico-based singer-songwriter took inspiration from Selkie folklore and the myth of Echo and Narcissus. The result is an ethereal journey with sounds and guitar playing that could be manipulated or looped as an instrumental bed for Sabine’s haunting voice. Altogether she creates a mystical atmosphere that’s curiously intriguing.
Oh, what an exquisite production. All the more exceptional then, when you hear Declan’s modest account of making this record. “The record was written between late 2019 and the autumn of 2020 – mostly at my desk, or between the three rooms of the flat me and my partner were living in throughout the lockdowns. I mixed and fine-tuned it across the winter of 2020 and the best part of 2021. I tried to limit the arrangements from getting in the way of the songs too much, and where I did expand on the arrangements, these were recorded in friends’ houses and makeshift studios across southeast London. Most of the production and mixing I did on the hoof, learning as I went – on my lunch breaks, whilst my young son was asleep, between insane runs of laundry and washing up. The songs cover: being a parent and a child (at the same time); the illness of a close family member; neglect (in workplaces, in government); gratitude (for friendship, for my partner); my hometown, Bristol; the non-linear passage of health and the impending breakdown that I was to work my way through in 2021. I am still not sure of the movements of how we become ill and how we get better!”
Jesy Fortino is Tiny Vipers, based out of Seattle who initially made her name in the early years of the century. The songs feature nothing more than Fortino’s exquisitely delicate vocals and her acoustic guitar, recorded over three days with her friend Joel Cuplin as studio engineer. They are, she says, “Lyrically driven, sort of like storytelling, something you could play with just a guitar while singing around a campfire. I quit my job after the pandemic started lifting and took time to reflect on my life and reassess what’s important to me. These songs are a result of that process of reflection.”
Sunfear, is the project of Istanbul-based multidisciplinary artist Eylül Deniz, who has been working as a composer, performer, and DJ, with a focus on different facets of ambient and experimental music. She explores electroacoustic techniques, utilizing piano, guitar, voice, and synthesizer. Her LP, Octopus is a rumination on loneliness, memory, and Deniz’s childhood fondness for aquatic creatures. On I Don’t Know Why I’m Crying, a repeating motif serves as the canvas for Deniz’s majestic, reverberant voice. While the source of sorrow remains unknowable, her catharsis is pure and real. It was difficult to select just one cut from this superb album. Very cool sleeve artwork, too.
Two cuts from the EP, Black And White Memories Ignited By The Scent Of Springtime Explode In Colour, a collaboration between vocalist Lila Tristram and musical collective The Last Dinosaur, headed by multi-instrumentalist and composer Jamie Cameron. The five tracks are built around Tristram’s astonishing spectral vocals and soundscapes conjured by The Last Dinosaur that are simultaneously welcoming, warm, uneasy, and gently psychedelic. Modern Aviation says It’s unlike anything else in their catalogue to date.
DenMother is the electronic music project of Canadian singer-songwriter Sabarah Pilon. She incorporates lush, atmospheric vocal elements over layers of drums and synths, a sound that can be described as ethereal converging with the feral. Sabarah Pilon mentions she is “Tying up the loose ends of 2022 – death to make room for life, (part of an alchemical operation you participated in)”.
Glasgow-based songwriter 20-year-old Chloe Trappes aka Dayydream has self-released her debut EP, Bittersweet full of delicate guitar strokes, dreamy vocals, and affecting lyrics. Chloe says she creates music under her Dayydream moniker to distract herself but, simultaneously explore the troubled state of mind she craves relief from. “Daydreaming can be a positive or a negative,” Trappes comments on the inspiration behind her moniker. “It can be a way to invent an imagined universe, a safe place to stay sane and distracted from the chaos of the real world. However, it can also cause a person to retreat, creating a disconnect in their lives.”
Coincidently, Penelope Trappes follows Chloe Trappes. No relation as far as I know. Penelope has been on our radar for some while now because she creates splendid emotive music. The Brighton-based Australian says she wrote Fur & Feather after becoming inspired by the Celtic mythological tale of The Selkie, which is about ‘homing’ – returning to a sense of self. “The Selkie reminded me of how I always knew the time would come when I’d be physically and emotionally alone and because of this I have always kept my own identity intact.” Do make sure you check out more of Penelope’s masterful work and her self-directed video for Fur & Feather.
Another favorite artist here at LEM, Loraine James gives us Reflection from the album of the same name. With unflinching honesty, Loraine takes the listener into how the year felt as a young Black queer woman and her acolytes in a world that has suddenly stopped moving. This pared-down cut evokes so much of the anguish that disturbed the past year.
Miriam Ingram, an experimental singer/songwriter from Dublin, first came to my attention a few years ago, and I’m so pleased she did. Here is an artist who bravely shares her ideas without compromise. Her creative honesty shines through on every recording. Miriam entwines acoustic and electric elements to create music that is both delicate and bold. She is currently working on material for a new album. For this outing Miriam Ingram explains, “For the past ten years, myself and Seán (her 11-year-old son) have been making Christmas songs/cards. We started in 2012 when he was two going on three. As you can imagine, quite a lot has changed since then! To mark the occasion, we decided to make a little album of all the songs. All proceeds will go to the charity Alone.” Miriam adds, “Seán Ingram is on vocals and I’m on Bits and Bobs.” Perfect.
- Ruby Hickman – I Hate You
- Darling – Isolating
- Fine – Eventually, Everyone Will Leave
- Sophia Hansen-Knarhoi – Wildflowers
- Sabine Collen – Three Words
- Declan Pleydell – Leave A Mark
- Tiny Vipers – Tormentor
- Sunfear – I Don’t Know Why I’m Crying Now
- Lila Tristram And The Last Dinosaur – Golden Thumb
- Lila Tristram And The Last Dinosaur – Hey, Mother
- DenMother – Never A Poet (Lobster)
- Dayydream – Sweet Release
- Penelope Trappes – Fur & Feather
- Loraine James – Reflection
- Seán Ingram Ó hÉigeartaigh – Nollaig shona 2022 Nothing Compares
LEM Vol 311
Artwork by Spencer Hurwitz “Misty road, Bar Harbor” 2007 24″ x 24″ Kodachrome print on hardboard. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection