electronic music

The VYB Project & Tobias Lund: “Gradient”

SXSW, and by extension, the year-round Austin Music Experience as a whole, draws tons of international acts, eager to gain traction, to our fair city limits. And outside the live scene, our academic institutions also attract a ton of talent, and not just UT. No, it seems like ACC, in particular its Music Business program, serves as somewhat of a melting pot for artists ready to take their career to the next level.

At least, that’s exactly where Mumbai producer Trishant Bhatt (better known as The VYB Project) first linked up with Copenhagen singer-songwriter Tobias Lund. It didn’t take long for them to realize that Bhatt’s borderless production style and Lund’s soul-pop vocals could make for a colorful combo, and soon enough, they paired up and got to work. And just in time for the holiday, Lund and The VYB Project released the first fruit of their labor last Friday, in what we’re hoping will evolve into a cornucopia of collaborations.

Lund’s sultry pipes grace Bhatt’s crisp drums, evolving electronic arpeggios, easy-going guitar, and seductive synth chords on “Gradient” for a gliding piece of EDM and pop that’ll keep you warm throughout a full spectrum of upcoming winter weather.

Psycho & Plastic: “Back and Forth”

True to its name, ambient music seems best suited only to certain environments. I mean, we typically associate those sounds with New Age yoga and meditation studios; you’re not in your car cranking those healing frequencies up to 11. But that’s kind of weird, right? That we’ve collectively decided percussion and lyrics are must-haves in mainstream music? Enter Psycho & Plastic, an ambient project masterminded by South German composer-producers Alexandre Decoupigny and Thomas Tichai over the past decade. Since meeting in Liverpool and relocating to their current home base in Berlin, Psycho & Plastic have engineered electronic brilliance that gives even Brian Eno a run for his money. And with over four million streams under the belt, the pair have proven that ambient music ain’t just for asanas. At the start of July, Psycho & Plastic released Phantom Bliss, a lyric-less sonic safe space for you to be alone with your thoughts. The aural apparitions on Phantom Bliss are among Psycho & Plastic’s greatest to date, and will have you pressing ‘repeat’ with ambient earworms like “Back and Forth”.

Monsieur Glize: “Voyage”

Plano, Texas may have been the childhood home of Boz Scaggs and birthplace of Anson Funderburgh, yet we don’t typically classify the town as a musical hub, and especially not one for electronic music. But then there’s multi-instrumentalist-producer Fernand Vera, a Professor of Music at Collin College and one half of the classical guitar outfit Kithara Duo. When Vera’s not busy with those obligations, he moonlights as Monsieur Glize, a solo electronic project that envelopes keyboards, electric and acoustic guitar, ambient effects, samples, and drum programming. By the way, that handle’s not just a case of fervent Francophilism – turns out there really was a Monsieur Glize far up a branch on Vera’s family tree – so there’s some extra weight in using the name. Monsieur Glize made his self-produced debut with Dappled Shade in fall of 2020, and has since followed it up with a string of infectious singles. Each new track reveals another layer of Vera’s cross-genre comprehension, with experimental elements of noise rock and dream pop on top of more recognizable electronic styles like dance. The progression of Monsieur Glize’s arrangements also evokes a sense of curiosity, far from the disappointing idleness you hear from a lot of four-to-the-floor beat makers. Yesterday Monsieur Glize released a sample-laden, effects-drenched trance escalation that should sate whatever wanderlust you’re brushing aside under the blistering Texas sun, “Voyage”.

Guesthouse: “Mood #1: Red-Violet”

Though you may not have known him by name, you’ve almost certainly heard multi-instrumentalist Sterling Steffen play around town, be it with Mother Falcon, Sometimes A Legend, The Watters, Wild Child, or even Father John Misty. But outside of his status as a complete savant in the woodwind world, Steffen’s been preparing to unfurl a back catalogue of exotic beats with his solo electronic project – Guesthouse. Guesthouse’seponym came from his cramped Rosedale living quartersalmost a full decade ago, but only now with the additional engineering elbow room of his home’s garage studio has the project begun to take flight. You can expect lots of analog synth, unconventional-but-satisfying rhythms, some fascinating Foley work, and yes – even the occasional saxophone. So show some hospitality to Guesthouse today for the premiere of his driving debut single “Mood #1: Red-Violet”!