Soni Sfardati

Soni Sfardati is the improvisational duo of Enrico Cassia (Electric / acoustic guitar) and Antonio Quinci (Drums / Percussion) plus additional players as mood demands from Catania in Sicily.

Soni Sfardati - improvisation from Sicily

Soni Sfardati

Don’t anticipate settling back as you take a listen to Soni Sfardati who take the listener on a journey of experimentalism within a framework well recognised instruments. Leaving the listener bemused, but intrigued is a good marker of a band with something of value to add to the world of music and these two stretch incredulity to edges of elasticity, whilst remaining accessible.

One could easily imagine this as music to a modern art gallery, or a production of a new age theatre performance. There are few geographic boundaries to the material which pulls influences from The Middle East, North Africa and New York amongst others. Never easy on the listener Soni Sfardati travel a path which demands the audience wrestles with their brain, as unexpected refrains suddenly emerge from what seems to be a clear section of music.

The recent release of the nine track LP – Sāqiya – which is available on bandcamp, features the vocals of Gaia Mattiuzzi and this combination is well worth adding to the collection.


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Nice Power

Nice Power is the trip-hop duo of Sam Balfus and Alex Meiers who I will loosely call as from Paris in France.

Nice Power - trip-hop from France

Nice Power

Based in two USA cities on either side of the oceans but met in Paris – where they still retain their roots Nice Power make for a refreshing change.

Somewhat experimental in nature the duo stretch the high and low-notes and to be fair, as my settings are always set to bounce the sub-woofers, it took me a moment to realise the tweeters were dancing too. Don’t expect formulaic structures or discernible directions of travel when you hit play, but do let your music system have full range and you will find there are some intoxicating sounds bouncing around the room.

Whilst the music doesn’t seek to tear asunder the edges of the envelope as some of the outfits reviewed do, their reverse and ‘right song wrong speed’ gives the sounds fascinating architecture.

In my view Nice Power have struck a great balance between the unfathomable and the accessible, whilst testing the audience to explore their own dynamics. When a band has the listener becoming their own DJ, I think there is something of fascinating value to the world of music.

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Moral Panics

Moral Panics from Stoke-On-Trent in England is the indie-indie quartet of Andy Gannon (Guitar), Dan Johnson (Vocals / Guitar), Tom O’Neill ( Bass) and Jazz Smith (Drums).

Moral Panics - alt-indie from England

Moral Panics

Smartly combing shoegaze, dance and Britpop but paying homage to none Moral Panics confidently stride their own path and it is a direction of travel worth pursuing. I have to confess, it took me a second listening to get tuned, so if it doesn’t strike a chord first time, leave it a few days and come back to it, as I did.

I can envisage this as being ever on the fringes of many audiences, as it lies in an isolated pool, yet connecting with the soul.

The rationale behind my hesitancy was that it sounded contrived, but on further accepting these are musicians approaching the arena from alternative creative backgrounds, of course they will cast aspersions to genres, whilst drawing from them and if you give them time to gel, you will I hope, find music that has something to offer.

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Peaks a techno duo from Dublin in Ireland is Rory Caraher and James Hyland.

Peaks - Techno from Eire


There is something of an experimental air to Peaks as they play around with textures, tempos and extremes. As to be anticipated tracks can ever be extended and the pair do a fine job in distinguishing the lines of between enough and too much. Though, an extra few minutes to pieces would be perfectly plausible with their material that is best suited in the trance arena.

Each iteration of new material finds Peaks in a new mood, which gives the music an added appeal, as they are not seeking to recompose previous works as many do in this genre and it perhaps this adaptability of style and moment that affords the duo the room to step away from the anticipated. Whilst most of what is reviewed involves at least one string based instrument along the way, it is always a delight to be able to suggest something that lives inside loops and electronics as creative thought and value to the world of music, which Peaks achieve with ease.

A new double A side single – IJWU / Barrels is just a couple of days behind schedule as I write on the 9th, so it may well be live by today – which again changes the shape of Peaks.

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A Venus Fly Trap

A Venus Fly Trap from Skopje in Macedonia is the synth-indie trio of Aleksandar Savovski (Guitar / Vocal), Petar Panevski (Bass) and Goran Stojcevski (Keyboards / Vocal / Rhythm Machine).

A Venus Fly Trap - Synth Indie from Macedonia

A Venus Fly Trap

Casting a critical eye at the suburban well tended lawns, A Venus Fly Trap add a social commentary where reality and gloss stand at odds with each other. Smartly run melodies buffer the antithesis of the context of the music giving it greater impact.

The trio use electronics extensively to add the atmosphere to the tracks, which are underlain by a throbbing bass-line, whilst percussion scatters around the room like a trapped fly, giving a sense of panic. Vocal and guitar combine to add the finishing touches to what are undoubtedly well conceived compositions.

A Venus Fly Trap is a band to take for a run-out at pretty well any-time when there are a few minutes to spare as the textures of sounds offer plenty to consider and need to be focused on to allow the material to fully appreciate the music.

Well established in the local environment, their latest nine track LP – Невреме (Storming), which came out in March and is available from bandcamp, gives hopes of a broader international audience, which is richly deserved.

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