Between hope and danger by Hante

Hante’s music is always a dark, dreamy escape that I am addicted to getting lost into. As soon as I learned of her new release, ‘Between Hope and Danger’, I immediately had to listen to it. From the get go it contained everything I love about her music – mystery-entrenched soundscapes of unapologetic synth. That and her haunting, echo chamber style vocals.

The opening, “Le Point de Non-Retour”, was a dark choice with a Gothic choir accompaniment and a buzzsaw-style style. Characteristic of a relatively new style of music I’ve discovered called “Witch House”.

“Lies // Light” sounds like she’s experimenting with a typical Synthwave / Outrun style, but still in keeping with her own aesthetic. At times this song has sounds that remind me of old-skool Sega MegaDrive games. This is only going to be a good thing.

To my ears, she is at her darkest during the song “Eternite”. A sweeping, eerie synth is met by a devil’s organ and married by her wistful voice.

In the titular song, “Between hope and danger”, I might be mad, but I can hear references to both John Carpenter – who is par for the course in modern electronic music – and Angelo Badalamenti. For those who aren’t familiar with Angelo, he is the man responsible for many of David Lynch’s film scores. “Between hope and Danger” had echoes for me back to his main theme for Mulholland Drive.

All in all this album is a terrific addition to an already impressive body of work.

P.S. If you’d like to get to know the lady behind this great music, you can read my interview with Hante.

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No Hard Feelings by Hante

Listening to No Hard Feelings by Hante makes me feel a lot more cultured than I am.

Hante is a hugely talented Electronic / Synthwave / Darkwave artist hailing from Paris, France. Her music is darkly melancholic that completely envelopes you when you listen.

I always imagine myself sat in some smokey underground Parisian nightclub when I hear it.

The E.P. has five songs and each one is golden. The first one I heard was actually the second song, “À Contrecoeur”, which Google tells me is French for “Unwillingly”. Everything about this song oozes cool. The opening twangy lick on what I think is an electric guitar; The main awesome synth attack melody that comes in at about the thirty one second mark; Hante’s haunting vocals mixed with the awesome wall of sound that she has created. The song, and indeed the entire E.P., is an amazingly powerful, dark electronic experience.

Nothing’s gonna happen
I’m sinking in a fantasy
If we love each other
Why can’t we be dreaming together?

Living in a French Movie by Hante

“Une Nuit Avec Mon Ennemi”, the third song, has yet more catchy, dark heavy synth melodies arranged with her ghostly delivery. This is how dark synth should be – dark but not depressing.

In “Quiet Violence” Hante seems to push herself further with her vocals. She sounds bigger; more commanding in the delivery and the song is one of the E.P.’s biggest-sounding as a result.

On the whole this music is some of the most interesting I’ve heard in a long while. While I love all the music I write about, “No Hard Feelings” by Hante is in a small collection of exceptional recordings that are completely fresh to my ears.

Anybody looking to broaden their own musical tastes and need a tip on where to look – look no further than Hante.

Please head over to Hante’s Bandcamp page and buy her music.

HANA E.P. by HANA

Hana Pestle, stage name HANA, is from the same musical camp as artists like Grimes, in that she writes, records, produces and performs all her own music. This makes her music undeniably her own, with its own distinct sound.

Her E.P., eponymously-titled, stands as a testament to her abilities as a complete recording artist and a bloody good one.

The songs on this E.P. are ethereal in sound and feeling, but her powerful, commanding voice gives the songs some real weight. There are lots of cool audio sample effects and loops throughout the twenty two minutes of the HANA e.p. too. I don’t think she’d had much production experience under her belt when making this E.P. but her experimentation and persistence really paid off to give us one of the best E.P.s of the year.

Like my father and my mother
I will love you for forever
Hold my hand and dive now sister
Breathe with me underwater

Underwater by HANA

HANA is someone that truly has that “special something” that you can’t quite put your finger on. I mean, yes she knows the ins and outs of her craft; and yes, she has a tremendous vocal and songwriting talent, but there’s also something that is greater than the sum of the parts.

As an aside, if you ever get a chance to see her perform live you should. I saw her earlier this year both supporting Grimes as well as performing in her band with her. From that performance alone, it’s obvious that she isn’t just a performer of this great music – she is it’s creator and its master. She weaves the music to her will for a truly captivating show that you just have to experience.

For me, HANA is on the same footing as artists like Lorde, Lana Del Rey and Tove Lo. It’s no surprise that many of her contemporaries too are big fans. Take one listen and you will be too.

You can buy HANA e.p. from iTunes.

Fast Moving Cars by Carla dal Forno

This single, and indeed its accompanying song, “Better Yet”, is one of the nicest musical surprises I’ve had recently. I’d never heard of Carla Dal Forno before stumbling upon the song “Fast Moving Cars”.

The songs on here are so wonderfully bleak, especially “Better Yet”. I don’t know what it is about the atmosphere that these songs have, or what feelings they evoke, all I know is I can not wait for her debut album.

Chrysta Bell At Oslo Hackney

On Friday 11th April my Girlfriend and I drove down to London for the weekend. It was a great weekend, with the nucleus of this trip was to see Chrysta Bell on her tour.

Who is Chrysta Bell?

Chrysta Bell is an artist in the truest sense of the word. Her voice is one of those that can both charm and haunt you. She commands the performance with such force that it is difficult to explain in mere words. You really need to experience it first hand.

She was touring on the back of an album produced and co-written by David Lynch. David Lynch is definitely present in both the album and on the night itself, but this isn’t just a case of “David Lynch produced it, therefore it’s awesome”. The album is awesome, believe me, but it is due to the equal talents of both David and Chrysta combined. Each on their own are unique and hugely talented, but together they produce something even more special.

I first heard Chrysta Bell in a song from David Lynch’s film Inland Empire. The song Polish Poem was used in the film to such a haunting effect. As soon as I found out about the Album they did together This Train, which Polish Poemfeatures on, I was immediately hooked on the music they were making together.

The Gig Itself

The gig itself was out of this world. Anyone who has seen Twin Peaks would be hard-pressed not to imagine themselves stood in the Road House, watching Chrysta in front of that red curtain. At least that’s how it was for me.

Her vocals were both soothing and haunting, with the melodies weaving throughout the crowd. Her band were great also. Chrysta, of course, was centre stage, but the band weren’t just a faceless few who played the music. The four of them as a whole played the songs with a firm understanding of each other’s rhythms and timing.

The performances that stood out for me were Swing with Me and a new song they played, the name of which I can’t remember. The only song that wasn’t performed that I would have loved to have heard live was Polish Poem. I can only imagine what that would have felt like. The venue did have a 10pm curfew, so maybe Polish Poem would have been performed without the time restriction.

After The Show

When the show was finished I was both happy and sad. Sad because a great show had come to an end, but happy because my Girlfriend and I got to meet Chrysta face to face. I had previously spoken to Chrysta over twitter and I arranged to buy her earlier album, Bitter Pills and Delicacies, directly from her. after the show.

From my own conversations with Chrysta, it is obvious that she cares deeply for her fans. I wasn’t surprised to see her mingling with the fans both before and after the show.

Thanks, Chrysta.