Björk J Files (with contribution from Damian Taylor)

illustration by Katherine Brickman

illustration by Katherine Brickman for Double J

Tim Shiel hosts the Björk J Files on Thursday 11 June from 8pm AEST on Double J in Australia, as well as online to stream for one week starting Friday June 12th.

Damian spoke to Tim Shiel about working with Björk for the show, so be sure to check it out, here.

From J Files:

The Icelandic artist is constantly at the forefront of contemporary music, pushing boundaries with her challenging but beautiful soundscapes and her incomparable vocal style.

Avant-garde, pop, electronica, jazz, house and trip hop all pervade her songs, but Björk’s music is almost a genre unto itself. Her career – from child star to Sugarcubes frontwoman to multi-platinum solo artist – is utterly unique and after nine albums her music is still as breathtaking as ever.

Settle in for a night of stunning music and stories as Tim Shiel hosts the Björk J Files on Thursday 11 June from 8pm.

More here.

Foxtrott “Driven” premiere, with vocal recording and mixing by Damian Taylor

i-d_vice_foxtrott_untitled-article-1431963442

via i-D

Check out the Foxtrott “Driven” premiere on i-D (Vice) – the first single from her upcoming record, A Taller Us.  Vocal recording and mixing by Damian Taylor at Golden Ratio in Montreal.

Foxtrott aka Marie-Helene Delorme says:

“For this song, I chose to make a straight up dance video so people could see and feel what I feel when I compose this music! It was such an amazing experience to shoot this and work with such talented friends.

Thanks to all of you for supporting my project since the early stages and stay tuned for more music, videos and shows! Exciting things coming up.”

Via i-D:

Foxtrott aka Marie-Helene Delorme is Montreal’s latest musical export. Unlike many, she not only writes and sings her work, but produces it too. With the news that her debut album A Taller Us is due out on November 6th through One Little Indian, we are more than pleased to present the video premiere of the title track, Driven. Sticking to her clanky, catchy vibe, Marie’s playful synth pop comes with a dark undertone cemented with a heavy throbbing bass. And because all the best music videos comes with dance routines, this one has provides them across multiple locations. Red rooms interchange with nighttime beaches and otherworldly pink rock scapes, making us want to move our bodies as set off on an adventure. “My goal was to find the perfect balance between rhythms and frequencies, the production style that I wanted to put forward, and lyrics and emotional presence expressed by the voice,” she says. “It was a big challenge I set myself.”

To watch the video and for more, visit i-D (Vice).

Mas Ysa Announces Seraph, Shares “Margarita”(mixing and additional production by Damian Taylor)

MAS-YSA_SeraphVia Pitchfork:

Mas Ysa, the project of Thomas Arsenault, has announced his debut full-length. Seraph is the follow-up to his 2014 Worth EP, and it’s out July 24 via Downtown. That’s the album track “Margarita”—a song named in honor of his mother…

He said of the song: “This is named for my mom, who’s also on the cover art of everything I do. It deals with the trauma of becoming your own autonomous person and that person when you see your parent as a fallible person. It’s a complicated thank you.”

For more and to listen, visit Pitchfork.

Damian Taylor provided mixing and additional production on the album at Golden Ratio in Montreal.

Braids’ Feminist Anthem about “Loving Cake” (mixed by Damian Taylor)

braids-dii-0926-print-copy_Photo-Courtesy-of-Landon-SpeersVia Noisey, music by Vice:

BRAIDS’ FEMINIST ANTHEM ISN’T ABOUT HATING MEN, IT’S ABOUT “FUCKING LOVING CAKE”

Nine out of ten bands would probably use an album that nearly won the Polaris Music Prize as the blueprint for all their subsequent recordings. For Montreal’s Braids, however, that honour seemed to be the impetus to become that one other band. After their debut album, Native Speaker, was shortlisted for Polaris, the band went in a completely different direction with their second album, Flourish // Perish. Jettisoning the hypnotically intertwined guitars that navigated Native Speaker’s elaborate dream pop, Braids reinvented their sound by fully embracing a growing interest in electronic music. Flourish // Perish showed such remarkable growth that it was even too advanced for their keyboardist Katie Lee, who left the band before the album’s release. Although Flourish // Perish didn’t quite receive the same adulation as its predecessor, it did allow Braids to naturally progress the way the remaining members – Raphaelle Standell-Preston, Austin Tufts and Taylor Smith—felt they needed to in order to keeping going.

For their third album, Deep In The Iris, Braids once again made significant adjustments. Beginning with how and where they recorded the album, the trio wanted to avoid the stressful times they underwent for the last album and reconnect not just as a band but as friends. The solution? Extended retreats to various tranquil spots across America to stimulate their creative juices. The plan most definitely worked for the band, as Deep In The Iris is a brave new chapter for Braids. This time around nothing was hidden behind studio effects and computers, allowing the songwriting and production to blossom organically. The most perceptible difference, however, is Standell-Preston’s vocals, which have been pushed to the foreground, allowing her the freedom to speak loudly and clearly about issues the band feels are in need serious need of addressing, specifically the treatment of women in areas such as pornography, abuse, and slutshaming. Noisey spoke to the three members of Braids about the influence of Alanis Morissette, why it was necessary to write a feminist anthem, and how their new album features songs fit for playing in front of a campfire while roasting marshmallows.

Noisey:  To me this album is all about three things: Less reverb, more of Raphaelle’s voice and an emphasis on rhythm.

AT: And more of Raph’s voice was a huge thing for us on this record. It was also our first time mixing with someone else, Damian Taylor. He’s done lots of great work with Björk, the Prodigy, Austra and the last Doldrums record. He lives down the street from us. He moved to Montreal to work with local people, and he’s been a huge supporter of ours.

RSP: He just pumped up the vocals. And we were thinking, “Oh my God! They’re so loud!”
AT: Nobody had ever heard Raph’s voice, and Damian was saying, “If you have a singer with a great voice people should hear it.” And it was a bit of a paradigm shift. We had done a large amount of the mixing before we took it to him, and thought we could already hear a lot of her voice. But then when we went into his studio he just turned up the vocals so much! That was the first thing he did, was to rebalance the vocals with Raph’s voice on top. And it was like whoa, it was so much more powerful.

RSP: At first it was unsettling, but then it was like, “Okay, this is my voice. This is what I sing. We’re going to hear it and listen to it loudly.” [Laughs] It was shocking, but Damian’s confidence in it was affecting. We were very happy with how they turned out.

Read the full interview at Noisey.

NPR First Listen: Braids, ‘Deep In The Iris’ (Mixed by Damian Taylor)

braidsBraids, ‘Deep In The Iris’ was mixed by Damian Taylor at Golden Ratio in Montreal.

Via NPR:

There’s placid grace to Deep In The Iris, the third and latest full-length by Braids, but don’t let that fool you. Something’s churning beneath the album’s calm, cool surface. Unlike Flourish // Perish, the Montreal trio’s icy, challenging record from 2013, Deep In The Iris represents a thaw: Throughout its nine songs, singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston and her cohorts Taylor Smith and Austin Tufts infuse skittering, Björk-like art-rock with melodic allure, confessional directness and quivering warmth. Where Flourish // Perish used prickly electronics and cavernous arrangements to hold humanity at arm’s length, Deep In The Iris turns those same elements into lulling hymns to cleansing and redemption. Braids is not only more approachable than ever; it’s downright magnetic.

Part of Deep In The Iris’ strange charm lies in its instrumentation. Standell-Preston and her crew lean less on digitized, glitch-heavy sounds, opting instead for a more organic mix of pulsing percussion and piano. In “Letting Go,” the opening keyboard chords signal an airy approach, one that Standell-Preston takes full advantage of as she chants the song’s refrain, “The hardest part is letting go.” Her breathy vocals, as liquid and acrobatic as ever, elevate a line that in lesser hands would have seemed clichéd. Meanwhile, the band underscores the bittersweet melancholy with hypnotic patterns of percussion and synths. The hooks are subtle, but they’re huge.

That boldness, both instrumentally and lyrically, is even more striking in “Miniskirt.” In the past, Standell-Preston has couched her lyrics in a haze of poetic abstraction; here, she goes for the throat, calling out misogyny, the male gaze and the language of slut-shaming with piercing, confessional force. The song could almost pass as an epic R&B ballad, at least at first: After a sumptuous, stadium-worthy intro, it corkscrews through a tangle of jittery beats and atmospheric eeriness that never wanders into self-indulgence. Even within the album’s most complex and confrontational track, there’s an immaculate pop edge that mesmerizes.

The raw frustration and outrage of “Miniskirt,” however, feels like part of the thaw. Deep In The Iris is about the good and the bad that’s unlocked when the ice melts. While nowhere near as harrowing, “Happy When” is gripping in another way: Washes of echo and spatters of notes form a fuzzy, haunting drone — that is, until the song comes into sharp focus halfway through, marking a jarring shift that reflects Standell-Preston’s newfound frankness. “Sit down with emotion / Take the time to feel it,” she sagely advises over a melodramatic pounding of the keys before wrapping up with a virtuosic growl.

By the time “Warm Like Summer” bursts into a dazzle of soulful croons, glimmering loops and shuffling drums, it appears that the album’s springtime release is no accident: This is the sound of renewal and regrowth, as joyful and as painful as that can be. In “Letting Go,” Standell-Preston sings with dreamy contentment, “We laid on the bank and had our fill.” On the lush, stuffed-to-bursting Deep In The Iris, Braids has done exactly that.

For more and to listen, visit NPR.