For such a concise discography, the history of one of EDM’s greatest cult duos has been writ plenty large. ‘Summer Calling’. ‘Beautiful Things’. Two tracks, two successive years, two conclusive anthems and ones that masterminded the rocking of countless club floors. That was followed by a recorded-but-never-released long-player, band hiatus, a parting of ways and finally, in 2011, the reunion. All of which has led to this point: the release of Andain’s first official album..
When the demands of their individual careers proved too great, it seemed to spell a premature finale for one of dance music’s most gifted acts. But through ‘You Once Told Me’ fate has intervened. Songstress Mavie Marcos and production wunderkind Josh Gabriel (Gabriel & Dresden) are finally set to deliver their first full length track collection.
Opening the album’s account is their most recent single. Resonating with deep, spacious bass, ‘Turn Up The Sound’s refined Indian-inspired percussive instrumentation backs Mavie’s loud-and-clear call to action. Setting a more chilled, Café del Mar-ish tone, ‘Like’ has an aching, lyrical fragility that’s picked out, to beautiful effect, by Gabriel’s slo-mo beats and enrapturing string sections.
If ‘Like’ is the album’s Café del Mar moment, then ‘Forget Your Face’ is its Café de Noir. Josh marries a filtered, panned omnipresent ticking clock with sharply programmed, snapping break-beats to create a darker, swirling miasma-ish atmosphere. Sutured by Mavie’s intoxicating, indie-edged vocal haunt, it gives another diverse hue to the album.
Explaining Andain’s unique production dynamic, Mavie says: “we blended natural acoustic sounds throughout the album with electronic percussive ones. We made sure tokeep our musical sound pallet made up of our drum kits and analogue synth sounds, consistent throughout. We thought this would result in the most intricate album for the listener – something that is meant to be listened to, in its entirety, as a cohesive piece of music – not just a string of singles.” The combination of Mavie’s classical and rock background with Josh’s never ending love of early 80’s new wave means they bala
nce each other beautifully. “I'm usually the one pulling for the strings, bells, twinkles and melodic sounds, while Josh is great at creating the darker melancholic textures, the synths and distorted sounds to bite you and feel gritty. Beautiful music needs both of these”, she states.
Emphasising that to a tee is the vibrant, cultured drum ‘n’ bass beats of ‘Much Too Much’, which briefly provides the album with a film score-ish edge, whilst on ‘Ave Maria’, Mavie’s meditative, almost story-tell lyrics cast the net further still.
With its imaginative chiming musical box sub-melodies and sporadic punchy beats, ‘Promises’ – the single that heralded their re-emergence – is just as compelling 12 months on. ‘After’ meanwhile brings more poignantly themed lyrics, while ‘What It’s Like’ introduces low-fi rocky guitar notes and shakes in some idiophonic percussion lines.
‘Find Your Way’ invokes more seaside atmosphere and sunset imagery, while the album’s title track summons anthemic sing/shout-it-out lyrics, leant additional dynamism by the exacting programming of Josh’s beats and percs. Closing out the album out, ‘Taken Away’ gives ‘You Once Told Me’ a lamenting, searing complexion; a quiet, compelling final storm that provides its perfect deal-sealing dénouement.
Crafted for a different type of floor, its 11 tracks are filled with translucent melodies, unhurried beats, leading edge FX wizardry, all matched to Marcos’ intriguing, elliptical song writing. Long-promised, now delivered ‘You Once Told Me’ is the Andain album fans old and new have been waiting for. It’s out September the 24th.