woensdag 18 januari 2017

Ella EP. Ella

Ella is the Dutch-Swiss artist Ella van der Woude. She releases her debut EP which she simply named after herself. Now Ella for people older than I am is often simply followed by Fitzgerald. There is not much of a hint on this EP that this association ought to be made.

Ella is full of atmospheric music. Ella van der Woude completely relies on her voice to carry a song. Underneath is a guitar and things atmospheric. Allow this music to and it will get you into a spell, crawl under your skin and does what music can do. Treat this music aloof, with indifferent inattentiveness and the five songs on the EP are over without one ever having noticed them. Ella demands attention. There is a reward for all that share some time with Ella. Intense beauty is showered out over you.

Ella van der Woude is not totally new on the scene. She played in Houses and played in Amber Arcades, a band that has come by on this blog and certainly will again later this year, as a touring member. After Houses broke up, she started writing music for filmscores and met with producer Stew Jackson. He started guiding her towards setting the ideas for film music into finished songs, obviously without taking anything away from the very basics Ella started to work with: a baritone guitar, a Juno synth and her voice.

The result is something to be elated about. However, it wasn't the first single lifted from this EP, the enigmatically titled 'IDWTGTKY'. I had listened to this song once, somewhere last year and not classified it as special. Little was I to know that this song was to be followed by the beautiful second single 'While You Are Away'. That is when I started listening in a serious way. The mysterious sounding double tracked vocal drew me into the song.

Promo Photo
Although Ella sounds light at heart, there is a lot going on under the surface. The still waters, deep grounds proverb certainly seems applicable here. The soft voice of Ella van der Woude may have a soothing quality, it only takes a little distortion to give it a more disturbing one. Large ripples in the pond from that moment on. Ella does not contain happy music. It has a darker edge to it, besides being serious. Listening is required as I already mentioned. Different moods present themselves, even within songs. Take 'Restless'. The song has a lighter, dreamy quality, in voice and guitar, next to something that I'd call a hopeful despair and this darker side that looms over more songs on Ella. The synths looming in the background play a role here. No matter how empty the song may be by pop and rock standards, it is filled to the brim with different emotions and moods, making 'Restless' an utterly intriguing song.

The surprise of the EP comes in the fourth song, 'Unknown Treasure', when drums and strings enter the music. All of a sudden Ella opens up in a totally different way. A beautiful counterpoint to all the other songs.

Yes, here and there Ella reminds me of something I've heard before. Yet I'm not tempted to drop names. With Ella Ella van der Woude has created her own little spot in the universe. A little, but bright star is shining there. Time will tell how this star is going to grow.

Wo.

You can listen to 'While You Are Away' here:

https://soundcloud.com/ellabyebye/while-you-are-away/s-siBD2

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