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Vessels have just announced their new album, Dilate, for March 2015.
New single 'On Monos' is available now:
Looking forward to the Lexington show.
Feels a relief to get something out there finally
...in Bandcamp. No fair. Still, ace record
For now: http://www.theguardian.com/music/musicblog/2015/feb/23/vessels-dilate-exclusive-album-stream
"In fact, there is only one major deviation from the template of Dilate’s opening moments, in the shape of vocals from Snow Fox, which grace ‘As You Are’ and ‘On Monos’. Pretty as Fox’s voice is, these two tracks are still somewhat frustrating. Given that Vessels have a perfectly good vocalist themselves, in the shape of Tom Evans, it does feel a little like the bolting on of a female singer is a bit of an adherence to trend"
so sick and tired of this trend of women in music. stupid trend.
Couple of other reviews - very positive from the Quietus:
4/5 from the Skinny:
I think it's incredibly well measured and is really their best 'album' as a whole - even the 7 minute+ tracks seem to wash over you so quickly (in a good way) but they're all so cleverly and coherently put together.
i quite liked it on first listen, but that's not really my point. I'm just annoyed that the reviewer implies having female guest singers is just a fad.
I would defend myself by arguing that I think it IS an (admittedly) minor fad in this style of music of late. As an album I feel it's extremely derivative and ends up lacking personal character as a result. The inclusion of, what I happen to think are rather superfluous, female vocals is thus more problematic here than it might be elsewhere, and I think it's obvious in the context of the review that that's the point I'm making.
If it isn't as obvious as I intended it to be then fair enough, but to suggest that I'm criticising "women in music" is still extremely reductive.
the fact that you're calling out the vocalist for being a woman is something that i don't think would ever happen the other way round. The music industry, much like most industries has already got enough ingrained sexism, without journalists suggesting that as soon as women start singing on a particular style of music, it's just a fad.
As I said earlier I'm arguing that Vessels's use of Snow Fox is rather indicative of this record's lack of distinct musical personality. It is in that context that the addition of female vocals feels like a trend or a fad. I accept I could have expressed that better in the review, but I would have made exactly the same point if it was a trend for there to be Mark Lanegan style male vocals in contemporary electronic music and Vessels had done that.
you said that bolting on a female vocalist was adherence to a trend. now you're comparing it to a particular style of male vocal. the difference being that in the first instance you're brushing the underprivileged gender as a whole, whereas in the second, you're targeting a specific style. If there was suddenly a "trend" for male vocalists to sing on that specific type of record, you wouldn't notice, so much, it would just be the style of the time.
I think you're just overly determined to read something different into it to what was intended.
Given the relative lack of female electronic artists who use vocals* the presence of female vocals on electronic music by male artists is, I think, equatable to a trend of a specific style of vocal (male, female, whatever) being used regularly. That isn't "brushing the underprivileged gender as a whole", it's still critiquing an aspect of a musical approach. At least that's how I see it. Perhaps I should have clarified that I meant a certain type of female vocals - because Snow Fox's voice here is little different in style to the vocals in Submotion Orchestra, for example - but I'm not particularly aware of many examples that are radically different that fit the "trend" I'm referring to so I guess I just didn't consider it necessary (ok, there's Gazelle Twin or something like that, but if she or Jenny Hval or someone had turned up on this record it would've been pretty distinctive and thus I wouldn't have made the point in the first place). Admittedly this does assume that the reader already knows about other examples that I'm indirectly referencing, and will thus respond by thinking "Oh, so Vessels have been listening to Faith in Strangers loads" or something like that - always a dangerous game to play as a reviewer I know.
I think the "if there was suddenly a "trend" for male vocalists..." stuff is getting ridiculous and completely irrelevant to this case. I've noticed the use of female vocals in this instance because I am aware of previous Vessels records - in which one member of the band has generally provided vocals - and I have also noticed various other male electronic artists using female vocals (often only here and there) on their respective records. There is also something of a trend for male vocals - in a very similar style to Snow Fox's vocals here, in fact - in electronic music too (e.g. Moderat) but obviously it's not discernible here. If Vessels had roped in a male vocalist who conformed to that trend - instead of using their own vocalist once again - I would have made the same point. In fact I'd probably have made it a lot more strongly because I'm less enamoured with, e.g. Moderat, style vocals than I am with Snow Fox's style of vocals.
Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate where you're coming from, and I should have phrased it a lot better. My only defence is that I found the album a chore both to listen to and write about. However, I don't like the "if it was this way round you wouldn't notice" kind of assumptions you are making, because it's just lazy stereotyping of "ingrainedly sexist music journo", which doesn't apply to me or my views at all, even if I have expressed myself badly in this one instance and left myself open to criticism.
*I feel compelled to point out that there are many, many female electronic artists out there right now making music much more interesting and distinctive than that found on 'Dilate', e.g. Karen Gwyer, Klara Lewis, LCC, although few of them use vocals, and I think you'd be better off buying one of their records than this one.
Very bold move too regarding the switch in focus musically, the DiS interview is really good. There are a lot of men with beards making music for men with beards around at the moment. Vessels could have slipped into that I suppose. Shame they won't be playing some of the older stuff anymore but I like their moxy