BEST NEW INDIE: SVIBES - COLORED WALLS / FLY LOW
The Mississippi Delta meets the steely streets of Berlin on Svibes' "Colored Walls/Fly Low."
Stomping techno beats meeting soulful Southern Delta shouts & barbed wire slide guitar isn't a new development. Towards the end of his lifetime, Blues legend R. L. Burnside enjoyed some success in 1998 with Come On In, where Burnside's authentic Delta blues got the remix treatment from digital hardcore tech punk Alec Empire. When it was released, some critics called the pairing "unnatural," while others cheered its "playful spirit" and the way it "yokes authentic blues feeling to new technology."
R. L. Burnside's "Rollin' & Tumblin" sounds a bit like a bootlegger's horse-drawn carriage lashed to a Maserati. "Colored Walls/Fly Low," the newest single from digital natives Svibes sounds like a gleaming cube, hovering in hyperspace, in comparison.
If R. L. Burnsides yoked authentic blues feeling to new technology, Svibes' are that technology, or at least they've integrated it so far "Colored Walls" could be called "Cyborg Pop."
SVIBES - COLORED WALLS
Svibes is a collaboration between Sanders Bohlke and Chris de Luca. This meeting of musical souls is beyond impressive in its organic, heartfelt fluidity, considering the fact that they don't even live on the same continent.
One half of Svibes dwells in Berlin while the other hails from the Mississippi Delta. It is to Svibes' credit they don't sound much like either of those terrains, instead inhabiting and embodying something entirely new, thanks to the power of technology.
Bohlke's vocals come in, graceful as an angel as de Luca's organ-like synthesizers glow like a sunset over a bayou, or a gleaming polished glass cityscape, take your pick. "Colored Walls" would sound as at home in either environment. The cocoon-like reverb and mid-tempo beats speak to the detachment and introspection of living in a busy city, but the gorgeous atmospheric electronics crack that periphery, allowing for some connection and the hope of escape.
Speaking of the origin of the duo's debut single, Svibes state "In a way, this song is about self-perception. Thinking you are one thing—autonomous, capable—and then being released into the world and realizing you were not what you thought you were. The chorus is some voice letting you go, but warning you to “fly low,” a nod to the story of Icarus.”
Svibes might be keeping a low profile, staying humble and flying below the radar, but if "Colored Walls/Fly Low" is any indication, this low profile's not going to last for very long. They have that heartfelt, emotional edge that made James Blake or The Weeknd superstars almost overnight. Unlike both, however, Svibes stay positive and constructive, where Blake and The Weeknd tend to stumble into miserablism. We Are: The Guard is feeling quite optimistic about this optimistic turn. You don't need to be miserable to be moody or emotional.
J. Simpson occupies the intersection between criticism, creativity, and academia. Based out of Portland, Or., he is the author of Forestpunk, an online journal/brand studying the traces of horror, supernatural, and the occult through music, fashion and culture. He plays in the dreamfolk band Meta-Pinnacle with his partner Lily H. Valentine, with whom he also co-founded Bitstar Productions, a visual arts collective focused on elevating Pop Culture to High Art.