Mitchell Leonard - Norma - TALMA

Mitchell Leonard - Come Downstairs (Video By Haisi Hu).

Background -  Artists of all muses seek to elicit a feeling, a response, or reaction from their art.  “Come Downstairs”, a video by musician Mitchell Leonard and animator Haisi Hu, which will do just that – raising the hairs on your nape, with breathtaking beauty and a myriad of emotions brought forth in a multi-dimensional art collaboration. Led by a piano-jazz ballad and the moving vocals of Mitchell Leonard, the music is brought to life in a ethereal other-world full of mysterious creatures and mirages, designed by animator and claymation artist Haisi Hu.

With scenes inspired by Max Ernst’s Europe After the Rain and Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp, “Come Downstairs” explores the moment before death – examining the character’s longing, fear, and numbness. “Although the piece resonates with themes of crossing through, it also imparts a feeling of connection to a life-giving source,” shared Leonard. “This is, without a doubt, the most emotionally intense work I have been a part of…there are worlds below the surface of every layer here. Haisi created alien landscapes to reflect the character’s feeling of displacement, and I used an undercurrent of sonic textures to give voice to his pain and awakening love for the world he sees in flashback.”

The video took over a year to produce, with a number of challenges for the team. “It’s been an intensive, elaborate process, with many technical and conceptual obstacles to overcome,” said Hu. From deadlines to budgetary restrictions and unexpected complications, the process was laborious – involving over 100 pounds of clay, and over 2000 cels of hand drawn animation.

The music of “Come Downstairs” was recorded in part by Mitchell Leonard’s good friend and songwriting partner John Creasey, who passed away in early 2016; the video is dedicated to him. Leonard shared, “It seemed only right to dedicate this piece to John. He was an extreme believer in the overwhelming power that music has in exploring spirituality. He loved the more mysterious and elusive elements of the art world, those that were the hardest to define with language.” Mitchell Leonard: WEBSITE, FACEBOOK. Haisi Hu: WEBSITE, FACEBOOK

A collaboration between two artists results in some gorgeous visual art with intricate animation and the intimate and beautiful song 'Come Downstairs'. Combined this is a powerful work that leaves us with two artistic avenues to further explore.


Norma - S.A.D.

Background - Norma have released the video for their new track ‘S.A.D.’ Musically taking their cues from NEU and Faust, as well as the space rock of Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, the Swedish Kraut-rock three piece have written a timely ode to Seasonal Affective Disorder on their new single.

In the video, Lynchian character ‘Neil’ embodies the personal demons of the protagonist. In the band’s words is “a figure that appears especially during the darkest season. We probably all have our personal devils, wherever we want them or not, it’s just about learning how to live with them.”

The video feels like a Lynchian nightmare, following Neil as he appears as a children’s entertainer, hurtling through the countryside in a custom-built car and finally floating off into a dream world amongst laser beams and planets. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

'S.A.D.' in this case referring to Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a fascinating song that sees Krautrock undergo Swedish influence & psychedelic twists. The result is a fabulously hypnotic affair, where the vocals at times pleading and angst filled are driven along by a textured, swirling Krautrock maelstrom of sound.


TALMA - Lifeline.

Background - Seamlessly blending alt, classic and art rock, London-based five-piece TALMA command a magnetic presence that’s more than primed to scale from the ferocious intensity of the UK’s underground scene to the electric atmosphere of arenas worldwide. TALMA’s raw and unshackled live performances are where they truly run riot. They’ve supported the likes of Queen’s Spike Edney and received acclaim for their intense energy and all-out charisma from London all the way to LA, where they found a fan in industry commentator and author Ari Herstand.

Wielding only a microphone, singer Henry Adams captivates attention with a bravado and charm that’s rarely seen among many frontmen. The telepathic tightness and ferocity of guitarists Jack Rennie and James Creed, bassist Pete Warren and drummer Jonny Harrison make TALMA a force to be reckoned with. Where the band draw direct inspiration from the likes of The Smiths, The War On Drugs and The National, they incisively employ a musical diversity and agility comparable to the likes Radiohead and Wolf Alice. The result is a band who operate without creative constraints and who are more than ready to help shape the next wave of British guitar music.

With its cascading production and hook-heavy statements, ‘Lifeline’ is a pulsating alt-rock offering that takes an incisive look at life in the modern city and the sense of alienation that can come with it. Frontman Henry Adams explains: “Lifeline explores the juxtaposition of being surrounded by millions of people – for us, in London – but still feeling a sense of loneliness every day. There are moments where it seems no-one can see you, yet everyone is watching you. This paranoia can drive people away from the city, and so we look for lifelines to tether us to the places we try to call home.”

Adams’ lyrics and unique vocal styling runs reminiscent to that of early Morrissey as he grasps the sincerities of modern life with a swagger all his own. By turns romantic and reflective, and with a vocal line that packs wide ranging emotion, ‘Lifeline’ reveals TALMA to be a return to rock’s visceral songwriting origins. Produced and mastered by Jason Wilson (Reuben, Don Broco, Fightstar), ‘Lifeline’ is a cathartic performance from a band destined to reanimate the seemingly lifeless bones of rock and roll, and challenge any notions that guitar music is dead. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

Fast paced alt rocker 'Lifeline' has just a little hint of The Smiths to it both in the vocal phrasing and feisty tight beat. That said it's extremely catchy and has a fresher modern production feel to it, in fact if TALMA keep on turning out material this, they can sound like any other band they might care to.