What is ElectroNicky?

The ElectroNicky blog explores the idea that music knows no borders. I concentrate on music and musicians that intentionally cross or simply ignore genre borders as well as geographical borders. In terms of genre, I mostly look at cases where electronic music fuses with jazz, folk, singer-songwriter, classical or world music. In terms of geography, I deal with the music of German neighbours, in particular with the music of the Czech Republic - a country that exists side by side with Germany for nearly 100 years. How do Czech and German musicians cross the geographical borders and what consequences does it have for the development of electronic music or electronic fusions in both countries? Are there any limits to these border-crossings? I provide my own commentary, view, and analysis of the existing production, seek new but interesting projects in this genre and geographical area.

St. Vincent – The girl who loves tenderness and brutality
By Veronika Vlachová

The compositions of thirty-one-year old Annie Clark aka St. Vincent are characterized by a delicate feminine grace, musical precision, and strong inclination to indie rock, cabaret singing, and electronic experimentation. In my opinion she not only breaks the boundaries of genre but also of gender – the fine girl with a guitar on her neck brilliantly controls a variety of its effects and makes music that gets under your skin. But it’s not just for this reason that I deal with this charismatic lady on my blog. It’s also because she releases her fourth album at the end of February.

Clark’s first album Marry Me, released in 2006, received much more positive criticism than what is usual for debuts. This might seem even more remarkable for a girl who started writing her songs when she was eighteen and had been keeping them from the public for many years. Shy, wide-eyed, and sensitive Annie Clark, a talented multi-instrumentalist, was rightfully awarded the PLUG Female Artist of the Year Award in 2008. The fame she quickly gained didn’t make her rest on her laurels and after an exhausting tour she produced and released another good piece of work – the album Actor (2009), which represented a collection of various emotional moods and styles. It was this album that uncovered her affection for wind instruments (her love for the sounds of wind instruments proved later in the collaboration with David Byrne).

St. Vincent - Jesus saves, I spend (from Marry Me 2006)

Clark enjoys the combination of tenderness and brutality. She is promiscuous with genre and craves for inspiration. She finds it in Disney movies and books, in TV news, but also in her own experience of loneliness and depression. This experience becomes topical on her third album Strange Mercy (2011). It was varied and moody and because of that so attractive. Clark concentrated more on her voice on this album – she managed to make every song unique just by the color and style of her singing. That is also one of Clark’s strong points: her inventiveness relies on very simple means – she needs no fancy outfit, scandals, or an overly technical music lab.

In 2009 she experienced the essential encounter with David Byrne, with whom she recorded the album Love This Giant. Although this piece of work departs from the previous musical line, the sound of wind instruments and melodic twists characterize Clark’s way of composing.

After almost five years Clark is announcing a new album of her own and, personally, I can’t wait to hear how she’s developed. Judging by two released singles – Birth in Reverse and Digital Witness – she shifted towards vigorous pop, but has remained faithful to her characteristic song asymmetry and ambiguous lyrics. On the other hand, should the whole album be like that, it might be too packed and perhaps a little boring. But I believe that St. Vincent wouldn’t do that to her fans or, for that matter, to herself.

See next blog entry:
09. Dezember 2013
By Veronika Vlachova

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