There's a lot of good female electronic R&B artists about but despite the quality of the music generally being high the sound is becoming, dare I say it, homogenised and standing out is harder than ever. Step up Hockeysmith ('Kylie Minogue on acid' according to her Soundcloud) who sounds completely rooted in now but who informs her particular brand of R&B with leftfield electronic edges and the spririt of rave and manages to do this without sounding contrived at all. In fact it sounds completely natural.
Two years in the making and Hockeysmith’s (now just Annie – sister and original guitarist Georgie went back to uni) latest project takes root in Cornwall. After putting Hockeysmith on hiatus, Annie retreated out to the wilderness taking up residence in a converted bus distilling the eerie surroundings into her sound. Inspired by the intrepid spirit and historical significance of Cornwall's rave scene (the sometimes local Aphex Twin is a fan and friend), Annie set about a period of discovery diving deep into 90s IDM and trip-hop, incorporating these structures with her first love – the visceral shoegaze textures of MBV, Ride, Cocteau Twins, and Sonic Youth.
In this period, Annie travelled frequently between Cornwall and Copenhagen writing with the aim of connecting the influences of two very different, yet exciting underground music communities. In contrast to the isolation and freedom of writing and recording in Cornwall, Copenhagen became more of a collaborative environment working with friends and family of the Escho label (Iceage, Smerz). Escho founder Nis Bysted helped write and produce several tracks on the album and in turn introduced Hockeysmith's music to the producer LXURY (Andy Smith) who has also worked on a number of the tracks. The result is an adventurous collection of electronic pop that masks its deeper intention of finding strength through vulnerability with a sheen of inviting bubblegum innocence and lyrical naiveté while still preserving its DIY roots and inspirations.
'Holy War', the first track from the forthcoming Hockeysmith album (untitled and currently without a release date), marks a brave step on from the sound of her previous incarnation and ramps up the excitement for a body of work that could give a much needed shot in the arm to the homogenised sound of current electronic R&B.
Listen and download below: