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TRAPPED ANIMAL

Emma Houton

The Bath

    Composed after ethnographic study into her Irish folk song roots, and recorded as part of her senior thesis in experimental electronic music, Emma originally wrote The Bath as a piece for eight voices to be performed live. Due to the COVID pandemic, she ended up recording all eight parts alone in her childhood bedroom, mixing and producing it herself.

    On recording the piece, Emma says:
    “When composing the album I had an interest in recreating the feelings I had hearing folk tales as a kid. We had a giant book of Irish folk tales my grandmother gave me, and I was both fascinated and scared shitless by them!
    I intended this to be a live performance initially and so the whole album is scored. I write most of my music by constructing layered loops of my voice using a loop pedal and then singing a melody line over them, and I was trying to translate that practice into a live performance in which each “loop” is sung and repeated, creating the effect of looping without actually recording loops. I was hoping to create something where voice is used as an instrument, rather than standing apart from instruments as it often does I took source material from hymns and traditional folk songs, with the lyrics centering on water-related themes like drowning, baptism, and purification, which I tried to reflect in the sonic environment of the piece through enveloping delays, cavernous reverb, and a general sense of being completely immersed in sound. The concept for the piece in its live form is much more of a production than the album itself, which became more of a "how do I record something written for an ensemble alone with an SM58?" project, and I've figured out how to perform these pieces solo with the loop pedal, in a very coming-full-circle turn.”

    Emma found her way to Trapped Animal Records after a quirk in the Bandcamp algorithm led her to listen to – her now label mate – Maija Sofia’s similarly named debut “Bath Time”. Signed within a fortnight of making contact with the label at the end of 2020, during a bleak winter, the label quickly ploughed ahead to schedule release of “The Bath”. Label partner Kerry Devine says “there was a feeling of urgency to share this incredibly calming product of Lockdown with the wider world, we felt compelled”.

    TRACK LISTING

    01. Candle For The Holy Ghost
    02. Watershed
    03. Idumea
    04. Luster
    05. Bow And Balance
    06. Gemini
    07. Waiting
    08. Going Home

    Jeremy Tuplin

    Violet Waves

      A transmitter receiving and broadcasting stories both mundane and intergalactic, ‘Violet Waves’ finds the Somerset-born artist boasting a diverse programming schedule few others could anchor. Previous record ‘The Pink Mirror’, a satirical look at our failure to remove the rose-tinted spectacles when observing the world around us, might have been an entirely solo affair, yet ‘Violet Waves’ finds Tuplin entwining his band, the Ultimate Power Assembly, in his cosmic spiral.

      Exclusively recorded with the band who joined Tuplin on sojourns through Germany, Italy and two UK headline tours last year, their unfailing presence results in a more brash, bombastic output, espousing the electrifying drama of Scott Walker. Tuplin has always existed within touching distance of a wink of the eye, a tongue in the cheek, and even with the cataclysmic nature of the subjects on display here, Tuplin still manages to not take 2 life too seriously. ‘Killer Killer’ is a feel-good depiction of a love story featuring a porcupine and a chinchilla, the porcupine being the femme fatale and the chinchilla, the ladykiller. Whilst, ‘The Idiot’ finds Tuplin remarking, “The rebels have continued to try to make sense of it / A treason denounced as some kind of astro-physics bullshit” in a nonchalant tone perfectly suited to those who choose to eschew science when contemplating the planet’s future. Fittingly, Tuplin closes with a death wish. “I’ve been thinking and when I die, I would like my heart cut out and projected into outer space / And maybe it’ll catch on and others will do the same / The entirety of the human race / With their hearts cut out and floating in outer space”. Jeremy, we have lift off.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Back From The Dead
      2. Break Your Heart Again
      3. Space Magic
      4. Killer Killer
      5. The Inuit
      6. Swimming
      7. Cool Design
      8. The Idiot
      9. Sally’s In A Coma
      10. She Speaks To Me
      11. Violets Are Blue
      12. When I Die Etc

      Fassine

      Forge

        A Yorkshire farmer who led a challenging and isolated existence, caring for elderly relatives whilst running her farm in the most extreme conditions. She became an overnight celebrity after appearing in an ITV documentary, her virtues of hard work without any complaints, without any expectations of praise or credit, were something an entire nation identified with. Hauxwell is the subject of album track ‘Perfectly Planned’, whilst ‘Hellsto’ looks on admiringly at the working women of WW1 and WW2, who often go nameless, under the radar. “FORGE’ is about the small pockets of communities that are overlooked, unheard, ignored. Their ways of work and living are changing, either drying up or being sold off, and this is causing people to burn with frustration whilst also causing them to reaffirm their strengths and identities”, say Fassine.

        The London trio’s distinctive take on electronic music has previously earned acclaim and support from the likes of The Guardian, The Independent, Clash and more. Yet on ‘FORGE’ they’re bolder than ever before, the instrumentation heavier and more aggressive than on previous full lengths ‘Gourami’ (2017) and ‘Dialectik’ (2016). They still follow tradition in one sense though, opting again to feature a cover, this time Paolo Conte’s‘ Max’ with guest vocals from Italy’s Fabrizio Pagni (Arqtic, Zen Circus). Recorded primarily at London’s Battery Studios, Sarah Palmer, Laurie Langan and James Hayward (Fassine) would play late into the night, adopting a much more improvisational approach than previously, “This process was far more improvisational - a lot of ideas were done on-the-fly in the studio. We had a skeletal demo, then ideas were batted out and put down.

        Far fewer demos were gone through to begin with, and gut instinct was followed much more quickly. We also decided that no matter what the song, if we liked it, it would go on’’. Since their last release, Fassine have been busy on our screens, the London trio’s XTC cover of ‘That Wave’ appeared on the Sky Arts’ documentary on the seminal band, This Is Pop. Their track ‘Whatever It Takes To Help You Sleep’ played as the backdrop to Netflix’s first feature film ‘Velvet Buzzsaw’, and ‘Leaves’ was featured on Oprah Winfrey’s Queen Sugar. ‘FORGE’ literally meaning to ‘create something strong and enduring’. And with this album, Fassine have embodied the grit and grime of their personal heroes to weld into existence something that’s an industrial and hard-hitting piece of craftsmanship. 

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Forge
        2. Limbs
        3. Magpie
        4. Perfectly Planned
        5. Migraine
        6. Everyone Is Guilty To Me
        7. Max
        8. Bloom
        9. Hellsto (The Sweetness Came For Us)

        Maija Sofia

        Bath Time

          Maija Sofia, one of Irelands most lauded young folk artists has produced a timeless debut album, inspired by story-driven traditional folk-ballads, shone through the lens of punk DIY ethos. Following the success of lo-fi dream-pop single ‘Flowers’, Maija Sofia releases her debut album ‘Bath Time’ Sofia took inspiration fromstory-driven traditional folk ballads and shone them through the lens of a punk DIY ethos. The album name comes from the ritual of daily bathing, a whimsical place where most of the lyrics were written. The album deals with the ways in which women's voices, stories and desires have been sidelined and misrepresented throughout history. From Edie Sedgwick to Bridget Cleary, Sofia's songs imagine a world in which silenced women speak back..


          The album was recorded by Chris Barry at Ailfionn Studio and features performances by Ronan Kealy (Junior Brother) and Niall Murphy (Oh Boland). The Gold Shoes’, is a mystical, ethereal opening before the melancholic ‘Hail Mary’, which starts soft, but the music grows in power as Sofia interrogates the sexual hypocrisy of the Catholic church, and the harp feeds into the haunting sound with effortless complexity and depth. ‘Edie Sedgwick’, named after the muse of Andy Warhol has alt-country elements from lap steel player Niall Murphy (Oh Boland) and cellist Laura McCabe (Molly Sterling). ‘The Wife of Michael Cleary’ is an ode to Bridget Cleary, killed by her husband in 1895. Michael Cleary believed his wife had been abducted by fairies with a changeling left in her place. The male vocal is provided by off-kilter alt-folk Junior Brother, with singing in the round building tension.


          ‘The Glitter’ is disturbingly beautiful, an ode to Jean Rhys, a troubled novelist from the Carribean who came to England aged 16 and dealt with issues of displacement and unbelonging. As is ‘Cobweb’ with Sofia’s rich contralto “I didn’t know I was on my own. I’m only as wise as you.” ‘Morning’ mourns lost relationship and the failure of trying to fix a flawed lover. ‘Elizabeth’ dwells on the troubled love affair between Elizabeth Siddal and the Pre-Raphaelite painter Rossetti.. ‘The Trees They Do Grow High’ is a disturbing English folk ballad sung from the point of view of a woman forced to marry an inappropriately younger man.. The album wraps around the listener like a velvet cloak, time is irrelevant, and the pain and complexity of female life has been sharply observed by Sofia. 'Bath Time' is a collection of songs written between Dublin, London and rural Galway, it was recorded slowly over several months by Chris Barry in Ailfionn Studio in Dublin. The guitar and vocals tracks were recorded all in one take and then others we brought in to finish the piece - Niall Murphy from Oh Boland plays lap steel and synths, Christophe Capewell who plays with Lisa O'Neill played fiddle, harp by Meabh McKenna, synths by Clara Tracey, and Cello by Laura McCabe, and some guest vocals by Ronan Kealy (Junior Brother). 

          STAFF COMMENTS

          says: Beautiful brittle guitar pieces, cavernous echoes and Sofia's transportive vocal prowess form together into a haunting and effecting whole. Brilliantly original and reassuringly heartfelt.

          TRACK LISTING

          1 The Gold Shoes
          2 Hail Mary
          3 Edie Sedgwick
          4 The Wife Of Michel Cleary
          5 The Glitter
          6 Cobweb
          7 Morning
          8 Elizabeth
          9 The Trees They Do Grow High 

          Jeremy Tuplin

          Pink Mirror

            Tuplin describes ‘Pink Mirror’ as a “jovial sojourn through some of human nature's so-called dark sides. It's a satirical look at representations of love, desire, vanity, society, the internet and more in the modern world. For Tuplin, the pink mirror represents the rose-tinted spectacles through which we often view our world and/or our own places within it. The album was recorded at Marketstall Recording Studio in South Bermondsey with Mark Estall, the sound-engineer and co-producer who worked on Tuplin’s acclaimed first album, ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’.

            Clash Music described ‘I Dreamt I Was An Astronaut’ as a “cosmic gem”; Tom Robinson of BBC 6 Music called it “unconventional, conversational and intimate”. Tuplin was subsequently compared to such legends as Leonard Cohen, Bill Callahan, Nick Drake and ‘Space Oddity’-era Bowie. Boomtown Fair music festival hailed him as “one of the founding fathers of the lesser known genre of space-folk.” ‘Pink Mirror’ brings it all back to earth, adding soundscapes and swells – and more guitar. During this year’s record-breaking summer, Tuplin released one-off track ‘Long Hot Summer’ to raise money for Friends of the Earth. Through this he caught the attention of independent label Trapped Animal Records as an exciting artist with a social conscience. Album teaser track ‘Just Cos Ur Handsome’ was made available as a limited-edition free download through Bandcamp received radio play from Amazing Radio.

            The track was described by ComeHereFloyd blog as “what you want in a drizzly life that needs a dose of bright sunshine of reality.” First single ‘Bad Lover’, released in November 2018, went down a storm, thanks no doubt to the accompanying video of Tuplin performing with a backing band of ironically-yawning hipsters. For The Rabbits said of the track, “Jaunty guitars, group backing vocals so wonderful the Ronettes would be proud of them, and rolling basslines; it’s Jeremy Tuplin sure, but as we’ve never seen him before.” 


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