Tag Archives: Experimental

NUEX Release their Debut EP ‘Affectus’ [TMN Exclusive Interview]


When I first came across the music of NUEX, a DC-based electro-pop duo, I couldn’t help but comment to myself on how different and unique it sounded. It certainly did not sound like the music I usually find myself listening to. But with the sultry vocals of Camille Michelle Gray and polished production of drummer/producer Teddy Aitkins, there’s just something about their soundscape. It’s dreamy, it’s haunting, and quite intentionally, it’s out-of-this-world.

NUEX, with a name drawing from the French word for “heavens, sky, clouds”, materialize a dreamy vibe with dark, mysterious undertones. Their lyrics reflect the moodiness of their tunes– a “serendipitous” occurrence that is said to draw on inspiration on the moody contemplations of life and its sometimes ugly outcomes. I had the chance to get a peek into the headspace of these two new artists and catch up with them about the creation of their latest EP, Affectus. See what they had to say below:

TMN: The dark and emotive mood that comes through in your music isn’t something I hear all too often. How did you come to land upon this sound for your musical identity?

Camille: I think Teddy and I just share an inclination for depth and profundity that naturally comes across in his production and in my lyric writing. Purely serendipity to me! We never *tried* to be deep or moody, we just both see music as an outlet to have those conversations.

Teddy: I agree with her 100%. We both have incredibly diverse taste in music, from funk to classical. I’m not sure why our music turns out the way it does but 80% of the time, when I lay hands on the piano and we begin writing a song, it just turns into the more moody dark sound. I guess it’s our bodies way of getting out our own “dark passengers”.  

TMN: I feel like I hear a little bit of Kavinsky or maybe even Gesaffelstein in your music. Can you share some insight on your influences and inspirations?

Camille: The Kavinsky reference is fabulous, he is one of my favorites. I won’t bore you with my musical influences, too exhaustive to list! So I’ll pivot and say one of my deepest influences is the ugliness of human emotion. I know it sounds vague or maybe pretentious, but I use music and songwriting as a way to explore and question those baser, nastier and darker emotions and to draw some meaning and purpose from them. And then the end product is a lyric or a melody or a song, a way to beautify what is otherwise difficult to feel. Calling the EP Affectus, Latin for emotion/mood, is symbolic of that process.

TMN: How did you two meet and decide to make music together?

Camille: One very vague posting on Craigslist! And to be honest, the start was very rocky, with Teddy and I trying to reconcile our wants and our style. The only thing that really solidified us as a duo was when I wrote Lights Off. Then I was like “Ok, wow, I like this and I like this direction.” Never looked back.

Teddy: Yea, I agree. When I first sent her the song, I don’t think she was really feeling it. I wrote it with a different genre in mind I think.  We weren’t sure of our sound or what direction we were going. We just knew wanted to make music. But once I heard what Camille had done to the song, I knew we had something magical.

TMN: What’s your creative process like when it comes to recording new songs?

Camille: I wish I could say we always sit down together in the same room and vibe off of something, which we sometimes do. But honestly we do a lot of things remotely, both because we are busy and because we enjoy creating in solitude. So Teddy’ll send me some music he created by himself, I will write to and record it by myself, and then it becomes what you hear on the EP, a combined identity of its own.

Teddy: Yea, I think it’s mainly because we love doing what we do in solitude. We still do create together and do a lot of things together. But I think we just enjoy being alone when we create. Also there is something fun about creating something and going to your partner in crime and being like “check out this thought or sound. Lets build on it”. Then we go back and forth in our own space and make it happen. Maybe we both have a lot of anxiety and silly thoughts and creating is our way of dealing. So it feels more natural for us doing it the way we do.  

TMN: Some of your lyrics are pretty heavy stuff. What’s the inspiration behind them?

Camille: Life. And how wack it can be. And how beautiful it can be. And how in-between those two things it usually is. One of our main themes as a band is space and the Universe. I write a lot from the perspective of trying to marry mundane human happenings to something larger than life, hoping to make our experience here seem more meaningful than it appears.

TMN: Is there anything else you’d like the listeners to know about Affectus?

Camille: That it took four years for it to get here! Such a long journey. Like it’s only five songs, but behind it all–so much blood, sweat and tears. Also that it is merely our introduction to the world. We have plenty else in store and are excited to be kicking the door open now.

Teddy: The music does the talking.  *said in a Michael Jackson voice* Continue reading

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[EP Review] NVDES – La Nvdité Vol. 2

This High
D.Y.T (Do Your Thing) feat. REMMI
Amsterdam In My Mind
Where Is Your Mind

As a much anticipated follow-up to Vol. 1 released this summer, music collective NVDES has released the sequel La Nvdité Vol. 2 today. De-facto frontman Josh Ocean enlists the help of his musically talented friends once again to produce yet another energy and emotion packed EP. NVDES continues to deliver on their mission of soul-baring creative expression.

Volume 2 takes a decidedly more experimental approach than pop-heavy Volume 1. There’s a bit of everything on this latest EP, but you begin to hear some new musical inspirations come through on this production.

On first track “This High”, the EP kicks off with the familiar post-punk, distorted guitar twangs you’ve come to associate with NVDES. If you keep listening, Ocean and crew lace in some ethereal, almost spiritual crooning. By the end of the song, you’re left with a trappy banger. Quite the musical journey on this track.

Another standout is lead single “D.Y.T.”, a fun, minimalistic dance tune that we featured previously here on TMN. NVDES draws on the help of talented vocalist Remmi for this tune. The following track, “Everyday”, shows a soulful side of NVDES that we haven’t quite seen before. Alongside a distinctly retro sampling/production style, this track introduces a new funky side to the lost love that Ocean so often enjoys writing songs about.

On the whole, Vol. 2 makes it evident that Ocean is delving deeper into certain aspects of his creative repertoire, going beyond the pop-punk electro sound that NVDES initially became known for. Leaning on heavier and darker beats, and lacing in funk and soul elements, NVDES makes an unexpected yet welcome musical pivot, while staying true to their roots of free-flowing, unstructured musical exploration. 

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[Throwback] Nicole Dollanganger – Chapel

Nicole Dollanganger

Hearing something for the first time is great, but how good is re-hearing something that you forgot existed for 9 months? That’s magic. How did it come up again? We don’t know. But it did. And it’s glorious. The throwback is real, and today we’re throwing it back to a song released by an artist named Nicole Dollanganger whose innovation is welcomed by us time and time again.

Nicole Dollanganger has been releasing completely angelic music for the last few years and we’re happy to see her getting some more spotlight. Her release “Chapel” is especially representative of some of Dollanganger’s most enjoyable artistic characteristics—her vocal and lyrical talents. With a voice that possesses its own dialed-in breathy reverb that any artist strives to attain strictly in the studio, Dollanganger showcases her blessedly-toned voice in conjunction with some of our favorite lyrics she’s released yet with this release.

A song for the tragic, “Chapel” has lyrics that impart a kind of emotional gravity on the listener that they might not have been ready for, and we’re fans of songs that can move like that. One of our favorite lines comes at the end of the sorrow-stricken chorus: “You know I don’t love anyone, but I love you.” Wow. That’s real. Nicole Dollanganger makes us feel. We can say that for certain. Oh, and let us not forget– our favorite superstar Grimes is a big fan of her, too. She brought her on to her Eerie project pretty much before anyone else, and anyone who’s a friend of Grimes is most certainly a friend to us.

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[Indie] Daisy Chain – Bianca Casady

Bianca Casady
Daisy Chain

You may have heard of the talented sister duo CocoRosie some time in the recent past. They’ve been making some pretty innovative stuff—characterized by experimental vocals, depth of lyrics, and feminine power. Today we bring you a release from half of the CocoRosie project, Bianca Casady. The Paris-based producer has released her track, “Daisy Chain,” and we’re pretty stoked about how different it is.

The best way we can describe this tune is beautifully morbid, and its morbidity lies equally in the instrumentation as it does the lyrics. Demonstrating her French influence, Casady opens “Daisy Chain” with Mr. Sad Accordion, which is our name for her accordion sample, not an actual person. We wish. She simultaneously brings in a sample of a piano, but it’s like one of those pianos you’d find in an abandoned house off the interstate that you really shouldn’t go in. She continues to play on these creepy versions of accordion, piano and eventually guitar in ways that perfectly compliment her death-ridden lyrics: “We’re all in line for the daisy chain… nothing but a chain gang pickin’ wild flowers by the roadside. No one in the boneyard bringing milk and honey to their loved ones.” We’ll leave the interpretation up to you. But the interpretation we will leave you with is that of the whole song—a creepy success.

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[Experimental] Arca – Urchin


As we sit here writing this post and listen to Arca’s newest track release, “Urchin”, we’re sort of frightened. For us this isn’t a new feeling when listening to the London-based gender neutral producer’s music in the night, but it is one that we welcome. Arca reminds us that there is beauty in ambiguity and darkness—the feelings many of their tracks leave us with.

After a critically acclaimed EP release with Mutant, we were really happy to see that they’d released another track so soon. After listening to “Urchin” we understand why this one came separately from the epic EP, however. This track embodies an industrially ambient density unlike any of their tracks from the unleashed Mutant, and that was made apparent upon the first listen. Retaining their quintessential qualities of stop-motion aesthetic synths, Arca creates an unprecedented low-end depth in this new track. Please keep releasing like wildfire. We can’t get enough.

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[Electronica] Mano Le Tough – Half Closed Eyes

Mano Le Tough
Half Closed Eyes

Mano Le Tough, aka Niall Mannion, is a now Berlin based producer who’s been making crazy moves in the European electronic scene, and we’re hoping it’s not long before he’s as big of a hit with the States as he is with TMN. Getting his start in a seaside village close to Dublin, Ireland, Mano Le Tough brings some electronica serenity to the latest track off his newest EP Trails.

“Half Closed Eyes” is a track that hits us a few tunes deep into the album and changes up its pace at just the right time. Beginning with the kind of experimental “off beat” electronic percussions you might have the pleasure of hearing in a Nicolas Jaar track (*pause for a moment of silence for Darkside please*), the song also opens with a sample of some chopped up and looped vocals. Next Mannion brings in a house bass line and this is when the track really gets us going. The tune starts morphing into something you might hear Bonobo spin—-a progression of symbols and bells, all while continuing with the vocal sample, which is now uttering “on and on…” like any good electronica song should. But don’t worry, the track never maintains its normalcy because the off beat percussions come right back along with some Doppler effect synths and industrial noise, and you can feel good about being weird again.

On top of making madly good music, Mano Le Tough also throws this hot dance party in Berlin called Passion Beat where he hosts himself as a resident DJ along with his buddy, The Drifter. Hosting other names like Nicolas Jaar and John Talabot, we’ve made this a must-go destination in our electronic dance party geo-calendar. Because that is definitely a thing.

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[Electronic] Botany – Bad CGI


Austin-based producer Spencer Stephenson, known by the moniker Botany, stepped out onto the electronic scene in a big way with his new LP Dimming Awe, The Light Is Raw. Demonstrating a significant command of the frequency spectrum, Stephenson has once again created a work that effortlessly combines ambient, hip-hop and psych in a landscape that transports the listener to a place of heightened auditory perception upon the first listen. Stephenson’s artistic interest in paying homage to all the freaks (aka frequencies) is hugely seen in this LP’s own “Bad CGI”, a track that will get you vibing all around.

Opening with a drone-y vocal sample that will come back to haunt you later on in the song, the track has an experimental low end pulse that fittingly follows, setting the driving bass rhythm for the rest of the track. The intro flows seamlessly into a funkier tune as the bass line comes in along with the highs of ambient flutter effects that fill the background of the track. It soon becomes apparent that this is one you can get down to. The transition from a chanty bass track to the track that could easily be dropped at a club is impeccable, and I think that’s what attracts us to Botany’s work the most. Check out the rest of his stuff for a groove-ridden train ride across his Texas-made bridge between the experimental and beats that anyone can feel.

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