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Sydney-based trio Mansionair made their debut with breakout hit 'Hold Me Down' which made radio waves from the clubs of Australia, over to Paris and across the ocean to Brooklyn. It all began in 2014 when singer Jack Froggatt, who had been playing the local music scene, accepted an invitation to top-line a suite of production beats by producer/guitarist Lachlan Bostock and drummer/producer Alex Nicholls. "Hold Me Down," a mélange of ethereal falsetto and ambient-synth-pop, hit one million views in just two months, brought together the individual talents of each musician and solidified the formation of the three-piece band now known as Mansionair.
Soon after, the band signed to Glassnote Records and were handpicked by genre-bending trio CHVRCHES to open on their headline tour across the USA, UK, and Europe. Mansionair went on to join Alt-J and Florence & The Machine on the road, most recently wrapping up a tour with London Grammar.
At the tail end of 2016, Mansionair released bristling track 'Easier,' which has now reached over 12 million streams, a testament to the fan-base they've created in such a short period of time. While working on their latest offering, the band collaborated with Seattle duo Odesza on their lead single 'Line Of Sight,' which has since climbed Billboard's Alternative and Dance/Electronic charts and has amassed millions of streams.
Their expansive almost cinematic textured production meld Froggatt's intimate, honest lyrics. Stories of longing, hope and letting go meet careening sing-a-long choruses and smooth downtempo ballads, held by Bostock's sleek production and Nicholl's beats. Their collaboration is equal and assured.
Now, their breakout turn for the group, 'Astronaut (Something About Your Love)' is a genre-splitting shot from the soul; as playful as it is a sincere exploration of loneliness and distant affections. The song starts with a suite of otherworldly harmonics, "We shoved a microphone deep inside a piano and recorded all the atmospheric noises that came out," Bostock tells. "Like what I imagined an astronaut felt as if he was looking back at Earth."
It's the juxtaposition between Froggatt's intimate vocal delivery and the geographic stretch of Mansionair's production that makes them so intriguing. Another way to view their compositions might be as micro explorations of the grand internal; miniatures writ large. "I love that stream-of-conscious style of songwriting," Froggatt says. "As though you're sitting in the back of a party on a couch and you're just in your own head, overthinking everything."
Nicholls; rhythms bridge both live and programmed percussion: danceable and unpredictable, his beats draw the listener inward rather than blast out. Bostock describes the group's writing and production style (for the most part, done all on their own) as one in which each member is responsible for his instrument but all have a voice in the whole. "We see each of us a dimension in the band. We're three equal parts," Bostock says.
Not only have Bostock, Nicholls and Froggatt expanded their early chemistry into a self-sufficient writing and recording project, but theirs is also a partnership philosophically built on synergy. "We've grown up through this band and we've seen a lot already," Froggatt explains. "I want people who listen to us to know that even though life can throw punches, you can push back through anything and come out the other side."
The best music is music that can make you think as well as feel, sounds that are as visceral as they are cerebral. And the best love songs are those that acknowledge that the power of human sexuality can be just as terrifying as it is thrilling, that the passion that leads us to love can also lead us into dark, dark places.
Welcome to the world of Brooklyn duo Beacon, who explore the dark side of the sweet melody with a sound that’s as seductive as it is subtly discomfiting. The duo – Thomas Mullarney III and Jacob Gossett – met at Brooklyn’s Pratt Institute, where they were studying sculpture and painting respectively. As with many other great musical partnerships, this one involves two disparate sets of influences coming together to form a sound that’s both fresh and exciting. They fuse the deceptively sweet melodies of R&B with an intoxicating undercurrent of darkness, drawing on influence as disparate as Warp’s back catalogue and Underworld.
The fusion of these two sounds – R&B’s melody and sexuality, electronic music’s complexity and, especially, the bass -
heavy sound design of Mullarney’s influences (“Bass is key to our music,” he enthuses, “big, thunderous rap bass”) – would provide a blueprint for Beacon’s own sound: there’s a duality at play here, an idea of something dark lurking beneath a sleek veneer, a sense of latent conflict and uncertain resolution. “I think the balance of inhibitions is at the core of my own songwriting,” says Mullarney. “The love songs we write are ones that have an inherent guilt implied. Inside love lives a more sinister, carnal element that is constantly being subdued or released.”
The duo’s first release is the No Body EP, four songs that deftly walk the line between seductive and sinister. The production takes as much from the world of non-vocal electronic music as it does from R&B and hip hop, setting Mullarney’s vocals against backdrops that define as much of the song’s atmosphere as do the words themselves. As Mullarney says, “We’re channeling some parts of R&B’s aesthetic, and updating them with today’s ambient, electronic instrumentation.” The result? “A kind of displaced, atmospheric pop.” Music for the 21st century, indeed.
$14 ADV / $16 DOS