After a series of single song releases that pin-balled through the music blogosphere, the Swiss Future Pop outfit is back withVelvet Ghetto, a concept EP of seriously glitchy soulfulness with a heavy existentialist leaning. Although every song on here sounds like it could hijack the airwaves – because it could! – this is music that was written for grown up music connoisseurs who like to be challenged by layered, unconventional songwriting. This is music composed and played by skilled Jazz musicians, and polished up to a Tee by expert sound designers, who fancy the edgier end of the spectrum. There's a nonchalant playfulness at work throughout, an ease with which new rhythm and song structures are thoroughly explored and reinvented. The lyrics are full of accurately curated vivid, cinematic imagery glazed over with a mild ironic charge. If Kafka were alive today and was commissioned to pen a screenplay for Wong Kar Wai, this could easily be the soundtrack.
The EP was mostly written and recorded in Berlin, although a fair deal of file exchanges took place along the way. The sound is still chock full of analog instruments: real drums, the Korg MS20, Juno-60, the SH09, a guitar, a bass, a guzheng, a zither, as well as the sound of a door, some broken glass, and other field recording oddities captured during the recording sessions. Kamikaze is currently stripped down to a duo: Fabio Pinto (voice, guitar, bass, keys) and Alexandre Maurer (drums, percussion, keys). A touring schedule will be available.
Fabio Pinto on the EP, in his own words:
Last winter we were in Alex’s room, in Berlin, recording new songs. I was looking for some lyrics for the song 'Velvet Ghetto' while Alex was in bed with a 39 degree fever. Lacking inspiration I asked him for some creative input and he told me: “write about me, about all of us, isolated in our cozy rooms while scrolling through Facebook and complaining about our lives”.
The idea of the 'Velvet Ghetto' can be found all over the EP. Most songs are about the luxury problems of our generation. As 80s-90s kids, we all felt that we were free to do anything that we wanted to with our lives, we had a carte-blanche to write our own success stories. As we grew up we found out that everyone else in our generation had the same expectations, but that there was not enough room for everyone.
'Half Vision' was the first song we co-produced with Alex. At the beginning it was a real mess. We almost killed each other in the studio. It was also a great opportunity to learn how to collaborate in an efficient way, the key is to leave the egos out of the process.
I started to write 'Happy Nation' when I was in NYC last summer. It's such an inspiring city.. We recorded the melody in the refrain with an old zither harp and a guzheng, which is a traditional Chinese string instrument. We shot a videoclip to this song featuring Lumpi, a four meter long albino python.
'Strange Echoes' is a song Alex started to write alone at my place. I found an old poetry book my grand-uncle, which he wrote in England during WW2 and I adapted one of his poems. It’s about those good memories that so good that they almost hurt, because deep down we know that we'll never be able to live through them again. it’s a very nostalgic text.