there’s something to be said about the appeal of anonymity. certainly in dance music, mystery has become a bit of a signature in and of itself. masks a la daft punk or zomby, pseudonyms or aliases, burial’s entire persona, the ubiquitous “special guest” slot on every bill. secrets are the new black, so much so that it’s not really a secret anymore. for that reason, i tend to shrug off these kinds of anonymous producers, but every so often comes an artist like pearl.
have you ever been in love? georgie fisher has. i don’t know because we’ve talked about it — it hadn’t even occurred to me to ask — i know because i can hear it in her songs. warm, honest acoustic folk music that, while it doesn’t necessarily speak to break ups or relationships, is somehow grounded in the kind of openness that only falling in love can bring to light. or maybe it’s just that georgie’s is the kind of voice that you can tell has broken a heart or two.
the first time i heard georgie play, it was my second week in berlin. she and cohort harry leatherby had set up — guitars, amps, bottles of beer — outside an u bahn station in kreuzberg. we were just about to wander away when they started playing. we danced a bit. it didn’t last long, maybe a song or two, before it started raining and they were gone but i knew — knew — that i wanted to work with her on a piece for littlecity, which as it turns out, is my first rooted in berlin’s music scene.
when i meet georgie for the second time, we are both hungover. over bagels and coffee at friedrichshain’s shakespeare & sons, we talk about street performance, berlin, and her own history with folk music. a native of sydney, australia, georgie moved to berlin a year ago after a short while spent in london, where she recorded her debut EP playground. now based out of berlin, she quit her job bartending to pursue music full-time, a career that finds her not only playing gigs in small venues around the city, but on bridges, in parks, at the local flea market, and in the streets.
i’ve never met lyli jordy in person. i’ve never heard her speak aside from picking up on her ghostly vocals in the productions featured on her soundcloud. we met in the way that seems typical of the music community – over the internet, earlier this summer when my good friend jackie spade pointed me in lyli’s direction, insisting that she has a “voice that needs to be heard.” i tucked into her soundcloud, devouring her every release from dripping, melting dub to complex microhouse or instrumentalized minimal thread through perfect, breathy vocal fragments. and though i’ve never heard it in person, i know for sure that lyli has a voice that, indeed, begs to be heard.
raised on a forest in merrill, wisconsin, nika roza danilova had an early introduction to music, begging her parents to work with a vocal coach at only 7 or 8 years old. based on her small town roots, you might not expect her sound to be so industrial, but as zola jesus, her performance, personal, and musical style is as modern-goth-urban as they come.
ben nevile flies under the radar. although he regularly updates his soundcloud page with what seems like snippets of his musical musings, his profile is decidedly non-descript. he doesn’t have a facebook fan page, or a twitter account. his beatport profile is wiped clean of any telling information, and his biography on the telegraph records site – his home since he first started releasing music in 2001 – is a concise two paragraphs in length. if you take all of this to mean that ben’s artistry is equally as well-kept a secret in the industry, you are definitely mistaken.
it’s only been a couple weeks since local heroes hushlamb – made up of toronto natives sarah lamb and alicia hush – announced their third event, this time a nighttime follow-up to their under-the-sun jam earlier this summer. dubbed “motif local,” the party will host an incredible roster of canadian talent, including the likes of miss hush herself, magnanime, akufen, zeina, ana+one, diagraf on visuals, and of course, ben nevile. taking to the event’s facebook wall to voice their enthusiasm, everyone seems to be waiting on ben nevile. born in manitoba and bred in british columbia, ben makes detailed minimal and techno-influenced music grounded in his canadian roots; humble, organic, and genuine. it’s anything but elitist. ahead of this weekend’s festivities, i caught up with ben to talk keeping a low-profile, degrassi junior high, perfectionism, and what we can expect from the hushlamb motif local.