(Sound)Clouds Over London [HDMW38]
29 May, 2013
Folks, it’s time to shed your cynical, post-post-everything expectations and step outside into the soft morning light. Although we’ll be spatially remaining in London for today’s article, the music treads far from the ultra-modern, urban landscape. Read on, and take a breath of fresh air with these artists:
Helena Dukic – A nymph of London with an enchanted voice. After a lifetime of performing classical piano, Helena began secretly penning “pop” songs while studying music at Cambridge University. I say “pop”, because these light-hearted, deceptively simple tunes are far more charming and whimsical than the average indie pop outfit. Around her polished piano playing and angelic voice, Helena scores quirky melodies with eclectic instrumentation, such as violins and xylophones, that complements the innocent love songs and fairy tale lyrics.
Though Helena has only seven songs to her name, one can already hear how inventive her songwriting has become. The strings in the endearingly tragic “Magic Toy Shop” blossom with grandeur, while the plucked strings and bells in “Little Girl” create a kookily sinister vibe. Helena’s most recent composition, “Come Along” (which, by the by, is on Audio Antihero’s latest and greatest compilation), is also her most fleshed-out tune, a vibrant concoction of driving drums, dramatic strings, and enigmatic french horn, licked with gleeful xylophones.
On “Raindrops” and “Reverse”, however, Helena foregoes her signature whimsy for more elegant piano ballads. The latter, in particular, is especially impressive for its sweet, subtle violin accompaniment, and sudden jerky interludes.
Many of Helena’s works are available for download on her Soundcloud page. You can also expect to hear her on Mark Whitby’s shows in the coming months, so keep your ears peeled.
Monkton Wyld – A man, a passion, and the timeless, rustic beauty of his earnest folk outfit. London-bound L.J.A Brown plays guitar, his accomplished pal Anna Ryan adds touches of harmonium, mellophone, xylophone, and other percussion, and the two together invent lively, yet intimate music, resplendent with both members’ lovely vocals.
The “Silver Trumpet” set, in itself, is a rich collection of tunes from a quiet, simpler yesteryear. It kick off on a joyous note, with the bright and rambling “Old Money New Money”; the following two tracks are more solemn in nature, but nevertheless shine with Brown’s nuanced, fluid picking. He muses solo on a relationship that could never be on “Hate Your Jazz”, while “Circuitous” is a heart-rending duet between Brown and Ryan. But the final track – my favorite, “Pick Up The Windows” – is a sublime, effervescent number, that bubbles with xylophone and skips along in mesmerizing 3/4 time before concluding on some wild, enthusiastic riffing.
Outside the “Silver Trumpet” set, Monkton Wyld has also recorded “Sunday Psalms”, another xylophone-kissed, skipping number with some of Brown’s most fantastic vocals.
At the moment, you can only hear Monkton Wyld’s recordings on their Soundcloud page; nearly all of their works, however, can be downloaded gratis.