Fresh musical delights, Hiva Oa have a new single, Icsis have a new concept album A Great Height is another impressive piece of colour from the rewarding Belfast duo Hiva Oa, the track is from the new EP mk2 (part 1), an EP that is out on August 5th so it seams…. Here it is….
“New material from Hiva Oa has been a long time coming. Sometimes, it seems, a period of inactivity is better for a band than one of constant creation. With the release of their forthcoming EP mk2 (part 1), core members Stephen Houlihan and Christine Tubridy departed Edinburgh, returning to their native Ireland seeking renewed inspiration. Hiva Oa retain the mystery and ambition of their former incarnations, but inject a heavy thrum to their intricate patchwork style, and turn their attentions to themes of fear, loneliness, abandonment and awakening.
On lead single A Great Height the band continue their controlled experimentation by marrying primal, dizzying electronica and a swelling bass hum, with minimal guitar patterns to create a tightly wound, suffocating and intense atmosphere that sets the tone for the EP. Somewhat appropriately it’s an anxious listen, the influence of Thom Yorke on vocalist Stephen Houlihan here provides the forlorn, and almost hopeless, punctuating refrain “…and I fall from a great height.” Elsewhere Seskinore demonstrates their skill in developing percussive motifs that flit from the suspenseful and shuffling, to eruptive, deafening, conclusions. A powerful resolution to each composition is never far from the minds of Hiva Oa.
The latter part of mk2 (part 1) begins to bring subtler intricacies to the fore. Christine is awash with swathes of gentle guitar, gifting the four-minute piece a transcendent quality that, coupled with another yearning vocal, offers the listener a brief glimpse into one of the EP’s more intimate moments, in this near-fearful, dream-like, serenade. Closing track Jonny Brazil again shifts unassumingly from sinewy indie-rock before revealing a raft of squalling guitars and inter-playing vocal melodies. Hiva Oa have become masters of developing atmospheres proving that, for them, a visit to old pastures has worked wonders”.
Hiva Oa is: Stephen Houlihan & Christine Tubridy. Additional studio & live members Matthew Collings and Daithi McNabb
Meanwhile somewhere on mainland Europe, France probably, the rather mysterious band called ICSIS are doing their “other” thing. There’s a new concept album and, well, here you go…
“Pierre Vide Eau is an initiatory work told in Chinese and English, beginning in the dark matter of the cosmos, generating the birth of all forms of life, where energetic principles are enhanced by stork, tiger, leopard, snake, dragon, and concluding by the beyond death experience.
“ICSIS began in 2006, by the meeting of Guilhem Meier (Ukandanz, Poil…) and Jessica Matin Maresco (MeiTeiSho, Spang, OpCit…). The band is first a sextet, with Alice Perret (Lunatic Toys), Guillaume Perret (Electric Epic), Ben Richou and Brice Berrerd, and play a kind of contemporary experimental jazz. In 2009, Icsis becomes a trio, the singer plays keyboard and bass guitar, the drummer produces electronics, and a guitarist. The music turns to rock, with elaborated compositions with wild energy. They record their first album «Fuckiss» (Dur et Doux) in march 2013. In June 2016, they release “Pierre Vide Eau”, a concept-album about kung fu animals, sung in Chinese and English. The line up simplifies, with guitar, drums, electronics, and the 3 voices.