Tuesday, August 5, 2008

hybrid by elsiane

So apparently I've given up sleep. As I write this I'm on what's probably my twelfth cup of green tea for the evening. The sky is slowly morphing from inky to dish water gray. You'd think being the hopeless romantic that I am, I'd have a better metaphor on hand. Nevertheless...do I smell a segue into an artist plug?


The world calls it downbeat electronica, I call it my late night playlist. For the full emotional punch, this is a genre that can't be properly enjoined before sunset. Even then, before midnight it's a touchy proposition. Maybe it's because only under the cover of night can I somehow believe I'm cool enough to listen to this kind of thing. Think Portishead, Goldfrapp, Zero 7, and now, completely out of the blue (at least for the uninformed me), Elsiane. Hybrid, Elsiane's sophmore release (available now on iTunes, in stores August 12th), stands up to its companions, and due to its straight forward simplicity in a genre littered with overproduced bloops and blips, often surpasses them. This is languid, post-party, slow-motion synth-rock, with lyrics wailed by lead singer Elsianne Caplette in a voice that heavily resembles an Asian Alison Goldfrapp.

There's an emotional immediacy to this music, little of which has to do with the lyrics (which are for the most part incomprehensible). I'm an admitted lyrics person, but there are things that often slide in my quest for coolness, even in its most tenuous, sleep-deprived state. As a musical duo, Elsiane offers an interesting instrumental dichotomy. You have Elsieanne's inorganic moogs, and drummer Stephane Sotto's organic whacking of hard surfaces with sticks. The instrumentation is a background for Elsianne's larger than life voice which, despite sounding inorganic, is - at least as far as promotional materials claim - all her.

The sun is officially up, thus ending my night of blogging (and cueing a day wherein m.a.b. will be painfully forced to add commas1 to my late night drivel). Like a superhero taking on her alternate persona, it's time to transform to my daytime, twee-loving self. Or rather, much less dramatically, to go to bed. But like a bat cape hanging in the back of my closet, there's my mysterious, late night playlist, lead by Elsiane, reminding me that everyone's got a mysterious, (melo-)dramatic side.

1. note from m.a.b.: And verbs.

(photo Elsiane: Michael Julian Berz)

mp3: "Mend (To Fix, To Repair)" by Elsiane


e, j + g said...

Next time you're up all night, the lyrics are as intimate and beautiful as the music...


Anonymous said...

I think the world calls it "trip-hop" :) I would have enjoyed this album had it not been for the vocals. There's a Massive Attack tune that has a vocalist that sounds exactly like this - and for a moment I sensed Elsiane was imitating her for a song.

Not my cup of tea, even though I am a huge trip-hop fan.

Anonymous said...

this is not trip hop... good but not trip hop at all