Last month, the BBC 6 Music radio station had their inaugural Blog Awards, in which they asked a selection of UK blogs and music sites to select the award’s categories. The Recommender was one of the nine sites asked to contribute. They requested we choose an alternative category to all the other ‘normal’ awards, so we selected ‘Best Tease Of The Last 12 Months‘ and put up a range of music videos for the public to vote on. And vote they did, in their hundreds. It was a massive success, leading to the eventual winners, IAmAmIWhoAmI, taking the award for their stupendously lengthy viral video campaign, which is now into it’s second year! One of the other nominated videos on offer was the most recent tease of them all, from an artist who had designed a teaser video so totally awesome it simply had to be included. Whisper it, but it was secretly The Recommender’s favourite from all of the nominations.
These days, with a plethora of online chatter constantly buzzing around the globe, it’s absolutely essential for new artists to excite people with your initial launch campaign. Not only do you have to write great music and be fantastic live in this extremely competitive environment, but you also need to have impact and traction from the outset, commonly caused by the online chatter hyping you up. How do you do that? Well, one excellent way is to create a viral video, offering up a taster of what the public is about to receive. The video that arrived from Elliphant a few weeks ago dished up an excellent example of this, with their two minute clip playing their track, In The Jungle, which was blasted out over a rather random, but punchy video of a young boy being wheeled along by policemen in a shopping trolley(!), like a protected king, (see that video below). As odd as that sounds – and oddness also gets people chatting, as you can’t help but exclaim “what the FUCK was that!” at your screen – it had the desired effect as the blogs and Twitter went into a frenzied overdrive. In this instance, awesome music + awesome video = viral success.
NME hit on them, lots of the key online music commentators reacted and the ball was rolling. The question is, who are they, where are they from and how dare they be this awesome!? Unfortunately those questions remain, as very little additional information is at hand as we ‘go to press’, but snippets and rumoured gossip has been passed around. This cock-tease of an artist is apparently one solo female, name unknown – although if that’s her in the photos then, yeah, she’s hot – comes from Sweden and is apparently under the charge of Company Ten, the management team who delivered us Icona Pop and Niki & the Dove – both are Swedish artists due a very busy year as their own debut’s arrive. That might help explain the clever campaign. Aside from all the viral obsession and marketing there’s substance with the tunes though, as In The Jungle delivers an electric shock over the kind of tribal drumming not heard since Crystal Fighters‘ arrived with their song, Xtatic Truth. Elliphant deliver the kinds of thumps perhaps most associated with their namesakes’ footsteps, but they also add a multitude of warped layers that harness rave chords as vocal mantras build up to fantastic crescendos throughout. It even breaks after a couple of minutes to wind in the light guitar riffs from Eye Of The Tiger. It’s at this point you give up any resistance.
The new tune arrived today to continue the campaign. The track is called TeKKno Scene, featuring Adam Kanyama (who is apparently an exciting prospect within the Swedish hip hop scene), and it continues the madness. More off-beat tribal drumming skips you up to the kind of song that Big Freedia would be happy to bounce to. This has roots in all sorts of music, although it shares ideals with the Bounce genre and all it’s unashamed insanity, repeated vocal sampling, and crash-and-bang impact. Elliphant stir in plenty of other elements though, reminding us of the kind of Afro soup that either Santigold or MIA served up in the past, with all it’s multi-layered web of roots. It’s another spaghetti junction of sounds and messes so much with the common pop blueprint that it feels impossible to untangle at first, but their best trick seems to be the ability to excite and inject an addictive rush directly into your brain. It’s music that is impossible to ignore, demanding attention like a loud Caribbean parade passing through your ears. Although it reflects the aforementioned artists, this can still be held up as the kind of original music that’s full of sparks, igniting fresh ideas with every new release. It’s this kind of bravery that pushes things forwards and so we applaud Elliphant for fearlessly ripping open the envelope. What it didn’t win in blog awards it will gain in continued online coverage with a campaign that’s just as exciting in it’s delivery as it is it’s music. (MB)
ELLIPHANT – IN THE JUNGLE
ELLIPHANT – TEKKNO SCENE (feat. ADAM KANYAMA)