'Between the whispered minimalism of the XX and the glitchy
percussion and abrasive electronica that characterised Portishead's recent
work...Donnelly is ever the focal point and she manages a charming
vulnerability a la Bjork...a performer who is naturally captivating.'
- The Line Of Best Fit
'The inevitable comparisons with Massive Attack and Cocteau
Twins....as well as Portishead, Radiohead (no really, one track does -
"Seagull's Nex") and Sia with a side-order of Beth Orton. Yep, pretty
good company, though ultimately they sound like Laki Mera and that's rare for a
band to sound different enough to stand out.' allgigs.co.uk
Glaswegian quartet Laki Mera extend and weave beyond the expected confines of
genre as their boundary-free sound busts conventions like the musical
equivalent of breaking the fourth wall. Released late in 2010, the band's debut
EP Clutter earned breathless comparisons with artists as diverse as the
Cocteau Twins, Portishead, Blue Nile, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Radiohead. Such
eclectism reflected the band's inherent ability to capture a style immediately
recognisable, yet in a realm of its own.
The band's freewheeling direction sees them continue to explore new terrain
with their debut album The Proximity Effect. Their eclecticism continues
where Clutter left off, as they pursue fragile folk beauty (‘Fingertips'),
flourishes of ethereal eeriness with vocalist Laura Donnelly's tender vocals
hanging in the ether like the voice of an imaginary friend (‘Solstice') and a
gloriously atmospheric clash of sinister electronica and enticing pop hooks on
‘More Than You.' The audacious near instrumental ‘Onion Machine' provides a
mid-album highlight as it employs a retro-futuristic synth riff, an emotive
layer of cello, stabs of grinding guitar and an angular time signature.
'A fine piece of work... Not since the Blue Nile's first
recording has such well crafted music appeared from a Scottish band,
Laura Donnelly's voice as affecting as Paul Buchanan's. With
Portishead reborn and the ambience of trip-hop being reassessed, the time may be
just right for Laki Mera to make the leap to more widespread acclaim.' The Herald
'Stunning ambient electronica conjures shapes and textures
occasionally hinted at by Zero 7 but not fully heard and appreciated since
latter day Eno or ambient Japense god, Ryuichi Sakamoto.' tentracks.co.uk
'We're not just a guitar band, and we're not just an electronic band either,'
asserts Donnelly. Andrea Gobbi, the band's multi-instrumentalist and producer
agrees. 'There's no-one else really doing what we do,' he explains in possibly
the most authentic Scottish accent to emerge from a man born in Italy. 'On one
hand that's a huge advantage, but on the other no-one really seems to know
where to place us."'
The duo, both of whom admit to having had little interest in electronic music
as teenagers, first met in Glasgow as Gobbi neared the end of a course in audio
engineering. Gobbi had come to London to study, but his dreams of opening his
own studio were restricted by finances. In Glasgow, however, that dream could
come to fruition. At the time, Donnelly had been away from music for a while
after her previous band split up. When Gobbi recorded Donnelly singing,
accompanied only by a guitar, she was amazed to hear his electronic production
of the track. 'It was a really new path for me in terms of recording music that
way,' she recalls.
And so, Laki Mera's roots were cast. Their ranks were boosted with the
recruitment of drummer and percussionist Tim Harbinson, who had previously
played with another local band playing live electronica, and the classical
trained Keir Long (pianos / snyths) who worked with Gobbi on producing scores
for film and theatre.
The band record at Gobbi and Long's own Carrier Waves studio in Glasgow. It
allows the band the freedom to spend as much time as they want in order to
refine their recordings and to indulge in their sonic experimentations. For
three songs (‘Double Back', ‘Reverberation' and ‘Solstice') that required a
more organic sound, the band decamped to a turf house in Achiltibuie, a small
coastal village in the Highlands. 'Overlooking a beautiful beach and an
imposing mountain range, we felt this was the ideal setting to come and record
the album's more acoustic orientated songs,' explains Gobbi, adding that it
offered a radically different vibe to Glasgow's often gloomy outlook.
The album's title was born from an audio engineering term, but it also revealed
a second layer of meaning. Collectively, Laki Mera wanted a title that would
communicate how people connected on an emotional and psychological level. Not
only did ‘The Proximity Effect' possess a dual meaning, it also conveyed a
parallel with the two key components of their musical approach. Or, as Gobbi
states, 'The technological, electronic element of synthesisers and the organic
acoustic feel of pianos, guitars, strings and vocals.'
Lyrically, Donnelly crafts words which reflect the often mysterious approach of
the music. 'It's all really personal stuff and I try to disguise it as much as
I can,' she says. Sometimes a superficial meaning clouds the song's deeper
concept. On others, she draws influence from similar forward-thinkers from the
big screen; Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Guillermo del Toro and Darren Aronofsky to name
but a few.
The result is that Laki Mera are defined only by themselves: their music born
from a love of innovative, technologic exploration and organic artistry.
'Drawing heavily from trip-hop and ambient electronica influences, Laki
Mera craft carefully ordered and simultaneously shambolic soundscapes...layered
and looped to produce something truly arresting... Just as you end a trip to
the fairground both vaguely shaken and exhilarated, Clutter is a whirlwind
listen that leaves you wanting more.' 8/10, The 405
'A gorgeous collection of ambient panorama and cinematic soundscapes
over the top of which Laura's ethereal enigmatic vocals soar and swoon.'
- pennyblack music.co.uk
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