With a voice of juxtaposing contrasts – both secular in its soul, yet mesmeric and celestial in its delivery – Szjerdene bursts onto the Brighton music scene at The Joker this month, bringing a unique mix of soul and folk-infected vocals to a body of new electronic material that, personified, is both abstract in story, yet exhibited with an accessible heartbeat.
Boasting an impressive back-catalogue as vocalist and co-writer with production giants Lapalux and Brighton’s very own Bonobo, and her first official ‘Patchwork EP’ dropping in 2013, it seems Szjerdene is now destined for solo stardom as she releases her second EP: Paragon.
Presented in its blissful entirety, including two brand new singles co-written with Lapalux, Abode and Glass Age, the Paragon EP is composed of six original tracks, each unravelling with its own related tale of love, loss and self-discovery.
Calling upon some of electronic music’s most exciting producers, including Quays, Glen Nicholls, and Lapalux, Szjerdene’s spellbindingly pure voice and stirring melodies collide seamlessly with a signature framework that listeners may familiarize with the likes of London Grammar, MS MR and Lykke Li. Since performing and writing with Bonobo on his ‘The North Borders’, and with Lapalux for ‘Closure’ earlier this year, Szjerdene has evolved into a solo force of nature throughout 2015, turning heads around the globe.
In the artist’s words: “Working with Glen Nicholls aka “Atatika” is like musical alchemy. He completely understands the sound scape and dimension that my voice travels through and is best accompanied by. I had no doubt, after collaborating on Blue Lullaby eight years ago, that I wanted to recreate something timeless with him. Writing Are You Here was the perfect opportunity to purposely get lost in his palette of sound once again.”
And what a collaboration it makes. The first track on the album, Are You Here, is one hell of an opener as an emotionally charged track, beginning softly and slowly layering Szjerdene’s expansive vocal range until it accumulates into anthemic refrain.
The story continues in third track Find Me, written as a freestyle over an initial skeleton beat made by Quays, this time as an exploration of self reflection and identity: “The one I’ve known forever – stripped down in front of me”.
The journey ends where it started but this time with a new sense of self. The stripped down, bare melodies of Abode describe an account of an out of body experience where you witness the “evolved you”. Never a finished product, merely a project. In this current state you realise that you are “Paragon of your own virtue”.
Following a story of self-discovery, we’re looking forward to seeing how the EP is performed live. Find Szjerdene at The Joker on November 12, tickets available here.
Release date: 6th November, 2015
1 // Are You Here (prod. Glen Nicholls)
2 // Closure (prod. Lapalux)
3 // Find Me (prod. Quays)
4 // Glass Age (prod. Lapalux)
5 // Faded ( co-prod. Full Crate)
6 // Abode (prod Lapalux)
By Nammie Matthews