Élan Vital – comprising Renee Barrance (keyboards, vocals), Danny Brady (synths, drum machines, live mixing, vocals) and Nikolai Sim (bass) – formed in 2015 in Dunedin’s None Gallery, an undefined artist-run creative community in a former pharmaceutical factory which is also the home of Death And The Maiden. The expression Élan Vital describes the vital force or impulse of life. The music on “Shadow Self” seems to symbolise that life impulse in an ambiguous zone between machine and human worlds. The sound of Élan Vital blends keyboards evoking psychedelic organ sounds of 1960s garage rock together with contemporary European synth-pop dance music, layered on analogue drum machines. Distorted, overdriven bass guitar adds a further element of chaos into the mix. “Shadow Self”presents a dense claustrophobic swirl of dark dance-tempo synth-pop. Feedback-strafed soundtrack instrumentals for imaginary dystopian Sci-Fi films bloom into upliftingly gloomy melodic dream-pop catharsis about memory, longing and obsession.
1. Shadow Self
Occultation Recordings/Fishrider Records POSEID7E0049