The Electricity Club heads back to New York State for its next new artist introduction, Lake Placid to be precise. The location of the 1980 Winter Olympics, it is the apt that this village in the Adirondack Mountains should be at the heart of the beautifully gentle electronica of I AM SNOW ANGEL. The self-produced vehicle of the now Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Julie Kathryn, as can be imagined from the artist moniker, the music evokes images of icy landscapes and crystalline hydro basins.
I AM SNOW ANGEL’s self titled debut EP has been described as “an arresting mix of KATE BUSH and IMOGEN HEAP” and is Julie Kathryn’s first adventure in synthpop having previously made initial forays into Americana Noir at the start of her career. The EP’s most immediate song ‘Grey White December’ is vibrant but whispery with a strong atmospheric quality. The blend of synthetic and organic textures strikes a balance to prove that using electronics does not have to mean raiding the DEPECHE MODE or ULTRAVOX songbooks. ‘Grey White December’ is accompanied by a step animation video that captures the song’s chilling aura.
Even better though is the lead track ‘Let Me Go’; rich in understatement, it is a Nordic styled tour de force swathed in melancholy. The subtle percussive textures provide an enticing backbone to cling onto. Meanwhile, ‘Not The Same’ features some muted guitar drive to highlight Kathryn’s countrified origins and ups the tempo slightly to accompany the soundscapes, a bit like THE POSTAL SERVICE. The intro to ‘Leave The Rest Behind’ though could come from ‘Twin Peaks’, all ambient and ethereal before a Eurocentric electronic rhythm and some pretty synth layers kick in.
Whether this is a full time project or a one-off experiment before returning to more traditional musical values, I AM SNOW ANGEL is again proving that North America is where the some of more interesting developments in synth friendly music are happening. But quite what I AM SNOW ANGEL will do when the weather gets a bit warmer remains to be seen.
The ‘I Am Snow Angel’ EP is available now via Amazon, iTunes and the usual digital outlets
Text by Chi Ming Lai
24th February 2014