LIOTIA – Be Here (Always)

We’ll be here to stay…

The last few years appear to have been a surprisingly productive period for grassroots electronic acts, particularly those willing to dabble in the margins of what’s normally considered traditional electronic pop. It’s led to a rich seam of music that invites further listening – as well as kept the genre fresh and dynamic.

On that basis, new outfit Liotia offer up an intriguing style that marries the ethereal vocals of Abigail Hubbard with the subtle soundscapes and beats of producer/engineer Matthew Smyth. It’s a style that’s seen them likened to “Portishead meets Little Dragon” – and there’s a lot to like, especially on compositions such as the earthy ‘Blackout’ and the airy mesmerising melodies of ‘So Close’.

‘Be Here (Always)’, their latest release, is a perfect showcase for their brand of haunting electropop. Here, Abigail Hubbard’s cosmic vocals mesh with layered beats and shuffling percussive elements, delivering a mesmerising dreamlike experience. There’s also a certain poignancy to the lyrical content here, which seems to reflect the uncertain times we live in (“To deal with this pressure/Cold pressure feeding of our soul”).

Liotia (pronounced Ly-Oh-Sha) were originally formed when Hubbard was at a local music charity where Matthew Smyth managed the studio facility. Smyth, who works along side producer Adrian Sherwood at On U Sound and is Living Colour’s UK/Europe tour engineer, was impressed by her unique songwriting style and produced her debut EP, People Watching. That in turn resulted in support from Tom Robinson at Radio 6 and led to it being licensed to producer Robert Miles’ OpenLab compilation.

Convinced the project was moving in a positive direction, the duo continued their musical partnership under the guise of Liotia, weaving together a range of acoustic and electronic instruments. Their debut EP So Close /Yours Tonight (which included remix work by preston.outatime) arrived in July 2019 before they signed with Ramrock Records.

Meanwhile, later release ‘Blackout’ gained support from a diverse number of media outlets, including BBC Introducing, Kiss FM (Australia), Soho Radio (London) BBC Radio Lancashire and Total Wired (London). The release was also bolstered by remixes from from Adrian Sherwood and Rothera Point.

Liotia have also been keeping productive during the Covid crisis, spending lockdown penning material for a debut album. Earlier this year, they delivered the wintery charms of ‘Silence’ which saw their subtle electronica augmented by some moody strings (It also gave Hubbard an opportunity to really demonstrate her vocal chops).

Meanwhile, ‘Be Here (Always)’ serves as a perfect introduction into the dreampop world of Liotia, offering up an intriguing fusion of electronica and trip hop that will brighten your day.

‘Be Here (Always)’ is out now: