Kwesachu Volume 2

Back in 2009, two relative unknowns made a mixtape that quietly cemented their statuses as Very Important People in music. Three years later, with numerous releases and accolades under their belt, Kwes and Micachu present Kwesachu Volume 2, the followup.

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Interview: Elan Tamara

Elan Tamara’s second EP Shadows, the first release on Kwes’s Bokkle label, is out now. We had a chat about upcoming material, her writing processes, unusual instruments, and a bunch more…

Oh Drat: I guess you’re a multi instrumentalist, with piano, guitar, bass, saxophone, and of course the Balinese gamelan as well… anything else up your sleeve?!

Elan Tamara: No, no, I’m kind of mainly piano, I’m not really that good at anything else! (laughs)

OD: Ha, fair enough! Do you enjoy the feeling of learning a new instrument more than the ever-decreasing circles of refinement with just one instrument, or..?

ET: I do quite like learning new instruments, but I mean, I never really thoroughly learn them – I think the only thing I really focused on was mainly piano. Obviously I’m quite focused on the gamelan as well, but other stuff I really just learned because before I had a band and stuff if I wanted to record stuff and get it to sound, you know, big in the recording, I had to pick up other instruments as well to fill out the sound… so it wasn’t so much a skill building thing as just getting the basics so that I could realise the sound I wanted.

before I had a band and stuff if I wanted to record stuff and get it to sound, you know, big in the recording, I had to pick up other instruments as well to fill out the sound

OD: Oh okay – on Shadows it does sound like the piano is at the centre of the writing process, do you ever focus on other instruments when writing to get different inspirations?

ET: Yeah, I mean it is nice thinking about another instrument. I’ve only ever written one song on guitar… I’ve written a song on the autoharp actually, which is gonna be on my new EP.

OD: That sounds interesting!

ET: Yeah, I started on this zither I bought off eBay and then added the piano afterwards, so it is quite… it makes you come up with new things, when you try another instrument – or approach, if I try and approach the piano in a new way, that kinda thing.

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Elan Tamara and Dimitri Grimm – For Medals

Christmas is coming – and to celebrate, Dimitri Grimm and Elan Tamara have dug up a ghost of… well not Christmas, but their past. For Medals is a glimpse at an album that, for one reason or other, never materialised – and as terrible a shame as that is, it’s wonderful to be presented with three tracks from an album that could have been. For free, no less.

For Medals is so palate cleansing that there’s no excuse not to have it on standby as an antidote to the inevitable Wham and Mariah Carey onslaught of the festive season.

An air of creativity envelops everything; from the variety of instrumentation and playing styles, to the triplet time signature and wistful chants of the haunting Circadian, For Medals is so palate cleansing that there’s no excuse not to have it on standby as an antidote to the inevitable Wham and Mariah Carey onslaught of the festive season.

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Elan Tamara – Shadows

Elan Tamara’s equal parts haunting, delicate and playful singing and songwriting style make for compelling listening on her sophomore EP Shadows, out now on Bokkle. The piano led instrumentation combines bold melody with ethereal bridge and background work, trading blows then caresses with the percussion as it swells and subsides in waves.

Elan Tamara’s equal parts haunting, delicate and playful singing and songwriting style make for compelling listening

The mastery of stereo field creates an ever evolving world to get lost in for the 20 minutes of this lovely EP, an experience I enjoy repeating again and again.

Available from Rough Trade and iTunes
Shadows EP Previews by Elan Tamara