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Singing Statues: Untitled EP

It’s always exciting when a new artist comes into your life. Your mind is split in two. Will it be original, or just another person attempting to break into the music industry without a hope, producing dross that’s about as original as a chicken nugget. When I heard the music of ‘Singing Statues‘ the latter thought was immediately deleted.

I stumbled upon ‘Singing Statues’ while listening to LA-based producer/artist Teebs. Listed as a top friend, the name ‘Singing Statues’, grabbed my attention, and its description, ‘Visual/Visual/Visual’, persuaded me to check it out. After the first song, ‘Persian Prince’, I was hooked.

It was perhaps the combination of the intense heat in London at the time and the music’s suitably sun-drenched shimmering sound, whatever it was, I knew there was something more to the person behind the music than just a bleak MySpace page. I’d never so much as heard a whisper about the artist before, but the music intrigued me. So I contacted Singing Statues to find out more.

Singing Statues is the work of Bournemouth-bred Ben Thomas, who has been producing music for the past four years under a variety of monkiers, most notably ‘Jackhigh’. On Discogs, Ben is described as a ‘well-known but elusive self-professed non-musician’. Considering he only uses a laptop and a microphone, it is easy to see why he regards himself as a ‘non-musician’, but despite his self-deprecating profile, Ben’s production skills are exceptionally good. His music has the ability to illuminate hazy environments. The more you listen to the music, the more absorbed you become; it has an intoxicating, shamanic element to it.

To compare ‘Singing Statues’ to other bands, ones that come to mind are Bat for Lashes, Lone, Daestro, Grouper, Gang Gang Dance and The Animal Collective. Their music has that unique ability to create its own microcosm inside your head, removing you from the humdrum mundanity of the surrounding world. Not to sound ‘hippy’, but it is almost spiritual. Ben’s songs have a lucid aura to them; unexpected drums, sliding synths, haunting vocals and sundrenched guitars come together exceptionally well.

The first two tracks ‘Summer Smile’ and ‘She’s In The House’ at first appear to be very different tunes, but, in fact, they are very similar. They compliment each other, ‘Summer Smile’ begins with an easy-going guitar, a high clap fades in accompanied with electro-pop synths, Ben’s vocals swirl on top until they get absorbed into the synth. For me, this combination makes the song glisten. ‘She’s In The House’ begins similarly, interrupted by a reverse looped drum. The synths glide in until a slightly delayed organic drum kicks in. The drums add depth and give it that glistening instrumental hip-hop sound, perhaps a result of Ben’s collaboration with Teebs.

‘Caught In A Storm’ is downtempo and heavily atmospheric, the beat is stripped down and decelerated. ‘Walking Through The Sky’ brings the synths and vocals to full effect. The guitar and symbol set the rhythm, whist the vocals enrich the song. ‘Persian Prince’ conjures up the atmosphere of the sun rising over Marakesh. Its thuddy bass, reverbed synths and chopped sounds transports you: close your eyes its bliss.

Singing Statues is Bens attempt at “trying to combine the organic and electronic, using instruments and voice along with electronics and samples.” For me it works and I cant recommend it enough for those lazy summer days.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more from Ben. His recent collaboration ‘Teebs & Jackhigh‘ has proved successful, an EP of their instrumental hip-hop should be out soon. Ben has also launched ‘Sunless Records‘ to represent his previous projects ‘Jackhigh’, ‘Bnjmin’, ‘141’ and ‘Rewolf’. I highly recommend you check it out.